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LESSON 9 - DIVINE DISCIPLINE

                  LESSON  9   DIVINE DISCIPLINE

INTRODUCTION: OUR LESSON THIS WEEK IS ENTITLED "DIVINE DISCIPLINE."


I. WARM UP

     A. MOST OF YOU ARE PARENTS. AS PARENTS DO (OR DID) YOU BELIEVE
     IN DISCIPLINE?

     B. DOES GOD BELIEVE IN DISCIPLINE: IS HE LIKE US? (PROV 3:11-
     12: "MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE LORD'S DISCIPLINE AND DO NOT
     RESENT HIS REBUKE, BECAUSE THE LORD DISCIPLINES THOSE HE
     LOVES, AS A FATHER THE SON HE DELIGHTS IN.")

     C. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE FOR YOU DISCIPLINING YOUR CHILDREN? (TO
     GET THEM TO OBEY, AVOID DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR, AN EXAMPLE TO
     YOUR OTHER CHILDREN.)

     D. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT GOD DISCIPLINING YOU? THAT IS: 
          1. DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE EVER BEEN DISCIPLINED?
          2. OR DID YOU JUST THINK IT WAS BAD LUCK?

     E. IN THE INTRO TO THE LESSON IT SAYS, "GOD'S ACTS OF JUDGMENT
     ARE ALWAYS REDEMPTIVE IN PURPOSE..." THEN IT TELLS ABOUT A GUY
     WHO WAS SENT TO REFORM SCHOOL BY A JUDGE AND IT CHANGED HIS
     LIFE: FOR THE GOOD. AND THEN THE LESSON SAYS "GOD DESIRED TO
     ACCOMPLISH FOR EACH CITIZEN OF JUDAH WHAT THE [JUDGE DID FOR
     THAT YOUNG MAN]. SEVENTY YEARS AWAY FROM THE HOMELAND OF
     PALESTINE WAS A LONG TIME."

          1. JUST ASSUME THAT YOU WERE BEING SENT AWAY FOR 70 YEARS
          AS DISCIPLINE. HOW WOULD YOU BE AFTER THAT? (DEAD)

     F. IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DISCIPLINE AND JUDGMENT? LETS
     GET INTO THAT AND JUMP INTO JER.

II. JUDGMENT OR DISCIPLINE?

     A. TURN TO JER 25. IN THE FIRST 6 VERSES IT SAYS THAT THE LORD
     SENT HIS PROPHETS AGAIN AND AGAIN TO TELL THE PEOPLE TO TURN
     AWAY FROM THEIR SINS. LETS PICK IT UP AT v. 7 BY READING v.7-
     11.
     
          1. THE LESSON CALLS THIS DISCIPLINE. WHAT DO YOU SAY?

          2. DO YOU REMEMBER THAT GOD CALLED THE PEOPLE WHO WERE
          TAKEN INTO CAPTIVITY THE "GOOD FIGS?" (JER 24:5)  AND HE
          CALLED THE PEOPLE WHO WERE LEFT THE POOR, UNEDIBLE FIGS?
          (JER 24:8)

          3. THE FACT THAT THEY WERE "GOOD FIGS" WOULD SUGGEST THAT
          THIS IS DISCIPLINE AS OPPOSED TO JUDGMENT?

          4. CAN YOU IMAGINE A DISCIPLINE THAT LASTS YOUR ENTIRE
          LIFE?
               a. DO YOU THINK THAT CAN HAPPEN? IS THAT THE LESSON
               HERE?

III. THE NATURE OF DISCIPLINE.

     A. LETS TURN TO HEBREWS 12:3-11. READ.

     B. VERSE 3 AND 4 SUGGEST THAT THESE PEOPLE WERE FACING 
     OPPOSITION THAT MIGHT ("NOT YET") GET WORSE TO THE POINT OF
     SOMEONE GETTING KILLED.

          1. PAUL HAS A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THEM IN v. 5 & 6.
          WHAT IS HIS ENCOURAGING WORD? (HE LINKS THIS OPPOSITION
          WITH "DISCIPLINE" AND SAYS THAT DISCIPLINE SHOWS THAT GOD
          LOVES YOU.)

          2. THINK OF THE WORST PROBLEM THAT YOU HAVE HAD IN THE
          LAST TWO YEARS. WERE YOU GLAD FOR IT?

          3. SHOULD YOU HAVE BEEN GLAD? (LOOK AT v.11. IT SAYS 
          THAT DISCIPLINE IS NOT PLEASANT AT THE TIME, BUT IT CAN
          PRODUCE A HARVEST OF PEACE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS. SO WE
          SHOULD BE GLAD)

          4. WHAT DOES v. 8 SUGGEST IF WE ARE NOT DISCIPLINED? 
          (THAT WE ARE NOT GOD'S SONS.)

               a. CAN YOU IMAGINE ANYONE THAT YOU COULD SAY IS "NOT
               GOD'S SON?" (SURE. SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT CARE
               ANYMORE. SOMEONE WHO IS BEYOND REACHING.)

     C. VERSES 11 AND 5 GIVE US ADVICE WHEN GOING THROUGH
     DISCIPLINE. WHAT DOES v.11 SUGGEST IS ESSENTIAL TO GETTING
     THIS HARVEST OF PEACE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS? (BEING "TRAINED" BY
     IT.) 

     D. WHAT DOES VERSE 5 SUGGEST ARE ESSENTIAL WHEN WE ARE 
     GOING THROUGH DISCIPLINE TO GET THIS "TRAINING?" ( NOT MAKE
     LIGHT OF IT.)

          1. HOW CAN WE MAKE LIGHT OF DISCIPLINE? (SAY IT IS AN 
          ACCIDENT? SAY IT IS NOT OUR FAULT? SAY IT IS NOT
          SIGNIFICANT?)

          2. DOES GOD APPROVE WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO US? (MATT
          10:29-31 SAYS THAT GOD KNOWS THE NUMBER OF HAIRS ON OUR
          HEAD AND THAT A SPARROW WORTH ONLY HALF A CENT DOES NOT
          FALL TO THE GROUND, "APART FROM THE WILL OF [THE]
          FATHER.")

          3. CAN YOU IMAGINE A GOD WHO HAS WORTHLESS INFORMATION,
          LIKE THE NUMBER OF HAIRS ON MY HEAD, BUT IS NOT INVOLVED
          IN MY DAY TO DAY LIFE? (IN JOB GOD GAVE SATAN A HARD TIME
          FOR MAKING HIM HURT JOB FOR NO REASON. JOB 2:3

     E. WHAT ELSE DOES HEB 12:5 SAY IS ESSENTIAL WHEN WE GO THROUGH
     DISCIPLINE? (NOT TO LOSE HEART.)

          1. HOW COULD WE LOSE HEART? (TO GIVE UP. TO SAY THIS IS
          TOO HARD.)

     F. SO THOSE ARE THE TWO EXTREMES THAT WE MUST AVOID: IGNORING
     DISCIPLINE BY SAYING IT IS NOTHING. AND NOT LEARNING FROM THE
     DISCIPLINE. HEB 12:11 SAYS DISCIPLINE HELPS US IF WE ARE
     TRAINED BY IT.)

IV. JUDGMENT

     A. IN JER 25:15 GOD TELLS JEREMIAH THAT THIS 70 YEAR CAPTIVITY
     FOR JUDAH IS DRINKING THE CUP OF HIS WRATH. WE HAVE EQUATED
     THIS WITH DISCIPLINE. 
          1. LETS TURN TO JER 25:28 TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS IF THEY DID
          NOT ACCEPT THE DISCIPLINE. READ JER 25:28-33.

          2. IS THIS MORE DISCIPLINE? (NO. THIS IS JUDGMENT. THE
          PEOPLE ARE DEAD.)

----- IF NEED MORE TIME:
          
     B. IT SEEMED THAT IN THE OT "JUDGMENT" CAME MORE PROMPTLY THAT
     IT DOES TODAY. WHY?
          1. HOW DOES GOD'S PATIENCE AFFECT BOTH SINNERS AND 
          SAINTS?


V. NEXT WEEK: PROPHETS OF PEACE