Loving Discipline

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:27, Proverbs 19:18, Ephesians 6:4
Date: 08/19/2000 
Christians should love disciplines and any discipline given should be done in love. Every Christian needs discipline and self-control in their lives. Discipline is different than punishment. Discipline is designed to help us and yields the profitable fruit of righteousness.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Good Morning, The message this morning, Loving Discipline, can be interpreted two ways. It could be, of course, our loving discipline and, of course, it could be meant discipline given in love. I intended it that way, because I think both apply. Christians should love discipline and as Christians any discipline we administer should be given in love and so either way you take it, it will work today and that was the design. I especially want to reread a passage, a portion of our scripture reading. 1 Corinthians 9:27, I want to emphasize the point of Paul, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection lest when I have preached to others I myself should become disqualified or cast away.” A crucial, intricate element of the Christian life is discipline, self-discipline.

You cannot be happy, you cannot be successful, you cannot be saved without understanding this principle. So it’s worthy of our attention, wouldn’t you say? Probably we ought to begin again with a definition, discipline, this is, of course, according to the Microsoft Bookshelf Dictionary, “A. Noun that means training that produces moral or mental improvement. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training, self-control,” I want you to underscore that, “self-control. B. To control or control obtained by enforcing compliance or order, a systematic method to obtain obedience, as in military discipline. C. A state of order based on submission to rules and authority, a teacher who demanded discipline in the classroom, punishment intended to correct or train, discipline, to train by instruction and practice, especially to teach self control, to teach to obey rules or accept authority, to impose order on.” Now catch this, we are called to go make disciples of all nations.

The word discipline comes from the word disciple. You cannot be a disciple without discipline. Now I’ll tell you why I think this is so important, it’s core to our understanding as a Christian. The greatest motive for the Christian is love; we should be driven by love. God is love, he wants to reproduce that characteristic in each of us, it’s not natural. The antithesis of God’s glorious motive of love, that Agape love is selfishness. Unrestrained we are controlled by selfishness. Discipline is controlling the selfishness, if you do not control the selfishness, selfishness will control you. Discipline is not love. We are not saved by discipline, is that clear? I’m not teaching righteousness or salvation by discipline. But you cannot have control of self without discipline.

Now discipline is not the same thing as punishment, let me see if I can illustrate. If a person is caught in the act of some civil offense, they commit a crime. They will be put in prison for perhaps six months, 90 days, a year and the purpose of they’re being incarcerated is two-fold. One is punishment, the other is discipline. The punishment is supposed to be redemptive in nature. They are being punished by society in the hope that the punishment will bring about a change of behavior, they can be reintroduced in society and behave themselves, they learned a lesson and you know sometimes it works that way. I know some people; you know I’ve been in jail many times, not just visiting. I’ll tell you what, it gets your attention and some people who are in jail because of their bad behavior, they come to their senses and they say, I have learned my lesson. I don’t want to ever be here again, I don’t like having other people control me. I don’t like not having the freedom to get up and go when I want to leave.

It’s a terrible feeling to be incarcerated. They are punished, but it’s redemptive, there’s discipline connected with it. But suppose a person, because of their crime, gets 10 consecutive life sentences. That’s punishment, but it’s not discipline. They’re not hoping to improve that person’s behavior so they can reintroduce them into society. Ultimately the discipline that God gives you and me is designed to bring about a change of behavior that will make us ultimately fit for heaven. It’s redemptive, most of the time. When the final judgment falls on the lost and probation closes that punishment is not redemptive, you understand.

That punishment is eternal in its nature and there is no discipline there, it is simply pure unpolluted punishment. That’s the wrath of God you find described in the plagues. Now here’s the idea, if you would like to avoid pure punishment, then you must embrace and love discipline. Did you get that? Discipline, how many when you hear the word discipline, discipline. Does it sound like and offensive word, come on fess up. If you were to pick your favorite word, would you pick discipline? And growing up when your parents said discipline, did it have positive or negative connotations, how many would say negative? Okay. Now how many of you who are parents have thought of discipline as a positive thing? Isn’t it strange how we change when we reverse roles? I’d like to try before the message is over today, to encourage you to love discipline.

Discipline is a means, not in itself, but it is one of the tools that God uses to save us. It’s not a bad thing. Now I’d like to see if I can describe some of the ways that discipline is very important. First of all, lets take it at its elementary level. We discipline our children to get even with them right? Is that the purpose of discipline? Turn with me in your Bibles to Hebrews 12:7-11, you can remember that 7/11. Hebrews 12:7-11, well I’m going to back up to verse 5 if that would be okay with you. Verse 5, Hebrews chapter 12, “And you’ve forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as sons,” children. “My son, do not despise the chastening, the discipline of the Lord.” If you don’t despise it, it means love it. “Nor be discouraged when you’re rebuked or disciplined,” corrected by Him. I’m giving you the amplified version here. “For whom the Lord loves, he chastens,” disciplines, “and he scourges,” spanks, “every son he receives.” Notice that, He disciplines, scourges, punishes some of the children He receives. What’s the word there? Every.

Now when you’re baptized, God says to you what He says to Jesus, you are now His beloved son or daughter in whom He is well pleased. That means there will be no more discipline, right? No, now you are adopted in the family and whom the Lord loves He corrects. So when God is correcting you through His various means should you resent it, or should you embrace it? It’s something that’s designed to save us because He loves us. Notice verse 7, if you endure chastening God deals with you as sons. Have you ever been chastened by the Lord? Have you been disciplined by God? I have, many times, I know it’s not over yet. Sometimes I have been a repeat offender and God has been a repeat disciplinarian and I haven’t learned my lesson and I keep going through the same punishment. But do not chafe under the rod of God, it’s there to save you because He loves you. If you endure, if you receive, if you submit to the chastening of God He’s dealing with you as children. For what son is there whom a father does not chasten? How many of you were disciplined by your parents? Let me see your hands.

No, no, how many of you were never disciplined by your parents? Would you brag about that? Who wants to room with these people? I bet you're tough to get along with; you probably like your way. It’s important to be disciplined. My father didn’t discipline me enough if you want my opinion. But if you are without chastisement, without chastening, of which you’ve all become partakers than you are illegitimate. King James has another word for that, and not sons. Furthermore if we had human fathers that corrected us and we give them respect. “Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of Spirits and live? For indeed they, the earthly fathers chastened us for a little time as seemed best to them. But he chastens us for profit that we might be partakers of his holiness.” They chastened us that we can behave better in this life. He chastens us that we might be fit for eternal life. “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present.” Can you say amen? Have you been chastened by God? Not too many people enjoy it. I knew this one Christian family.

It was a Norwegian couple and when I lived in Palm Springs and I was a baby Christian. I went to this non-denominational Christian home, called the Joshua House. A man named Homer owned this home and he had a house with a lot of different Christian families there and Bible studies constantly going on and there was this one family there. I only remember this man’s name was Eric and he and his wife, they had a little girl and they really tried to practice the Word. If they ever needed to discipline her they always did it in love, they prayed with her and that little girl would thank them for spanking her. Now that’s weird, isn’t it? Because we know, “no discipline at the time seems joyful.” But they had impressed on her so much that they were doing it reluctantly but they had to because they loved her, to save her and she was grateful for the discipline.

When one is actually happening, it’s generally not appreciated. “No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those that have been trained by it.” So chastening, if given in love, bears peaceful, profitable fruit. Here’s a quick rundown of some very politically incorrect proverbs. But they’re in the Bible and I’m going to read them to you, because I’m a Bible preacher. Proverbs 19:18, “Chasten thy son while there is hope and let not your soul spare for his crying.” Why do you think Solomon said it, “while there is hope”? Have you noticed that when the concrete is soft you can move it a lot easier? You can bend a tree when it’s young, but as time goes by and the concrete cures and the tree hardens it gets really hard to train and to change the patterns of behavior.

Now by the grace of God you can still do it, it takes a jackhammer and a chain saw, but you can still do it, right. There’d be no hope for me because I had some very bad habits after my tender years had passed and God is working on me, but it takes a more aggressive approach. It takes dynamite and, you know, you can still change the concrete, sometimes you need to repour it. Proverbs 22:15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Now I need also say, very quickly, some people have abused these scriptures to abuse children. Some people have taken these scriptures to think the rod is a baseball bat and that they have license to beat their children black and blue under the sanction of God. And, of course, I hope everyone here knows that the Bible does not endorse that. Probably a good pattern, it may not be perfect, but some of you have heard of the popular book, matter of fact we were coming out of a society that was so twisted in our concepts of raising children, psychologists were teaching whatever feels good, let the child find themselves.

You know I went to a school called a free school. It was right during this era, where the psychiatrist and psychologists were teaching that if you just leave the children to themselves they’ll discover who they are, don’t force them, don’t punish them, they’ll be okay and I went to a free school with no rules. No discipline, no chastening. Several kids attempted suicide, it was a school, it was a disaster, it was a fiasco. All year long bedlam, didn’t have to class if you didn’t want to, didn’t have to go to meals or wake up, we were raiding the kitchen, school went out of business because we vandalized it so thoroughly, it went bankrupt. Well during that era, people were finding out this philosophy doesn’t work, James Dobson wrote a book that was not only the birth of the whole ministry, Focus on the Family and it was called “Dare to Discipline.”

Have any of you ever read that book? Oh, it was politically incorrect, but it talked about giving discipline in love and sometimes that might mean corporal punishment, you shouldn’t bruise or wound the children. God’s prepared a place to receive the correction. That should be the place, the seat of understanding. The Bible talks about the laying on of hands. It’s appropriate. People become Spirit filled after a laying on of hands. Have you read that in the scriptures? But it should be done in love. It should not be leaving marks and scars. Someone’s going to take this tape to Child Protective Services and they’re going to take away the Batchelor children. Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” It would be safe to say to his father too. You can’t just leave them to themselves. Children need to be watched and governed, they need to be guided. And the rod and the rebuke, you know what that means, rebuke is communicating when they’re misbehaving. Now you don’t try and drive them into the ground and make them feel like they are worthless, but it’s talking about correction, that’s what rebuke is Biblically and the rod is the physical aspect of correction. So you need both. I don’t think every offense requires that you lift the spanking paddle.

I think more times than not, that ought to be left on the shelf and you ought to try to reason with them, but there is a place for that. Ephesians 6:4, when this discipline is administered, it should be done in love, not in vengeance. Now, I’m not just talking to you, I’m talking to me. I’m a father with a whole litter of kids and I can safely say, I’ve been there and done that. Last night Micah was at our house, 6’2”. I don’t spank him anymore; I would not survive the experience. And Micah was playing with Nathan who is 4 years old. It was fun to watch the kids play. Micah has turned out to be a good boy and so has Daniel. I’m proud of all my kids, but I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve had to pray many times, “Lord, please save my kids in spite of me, amen.” You can keep praying that prayer even after they grow up, amen? That God will use His discipline when maybe yours wasn’t the right formula. And I’ll tell you there were times when the kids defied me and instead of spanking them in love, I got even. You react in anger, swift retribution.

You don’t communicate, you snatch them up and you swat them and sometimes I’ve disciplined them and found out they were innocent, because I did not communicate with them first and doesn’t make you feel about that big. Because you can never take it back. I’m glad the children, especially when they’re young are forgiving. Bible discipline should save, it’s redemptive, Proverbs 23:13. Did I read you Ephesians 6:4? “And you fathers do not provoke your children to wrath.” Don’t discipline them to anger them. Have you noticed that kids respond to discipline differently? Some of the kids, they’re not here today, so I can say this, Micah, when I would spank him, that never resulted in a repentive attitude of wanting to cooperate. He would plant his feet and he’d get mad and he would sit, “I’m not going to cry, I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of knowing this hurts.”

He was very defiant, he didn’t respond to that. Daniel he would respond, at least for 10 minutes, to that kind of discipline. You have to also measure the discipline for the children, because otherwise you will encourage wrath in them and that’s not the desired effect. Real discipline should bring about positive changes. Proverbs 23:13-14, “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod,” that sounds severe doesn’t it, but that’s what it says, “he will not die.” I remember my father spanking me. You’ve heard my story about the shoeshine machine; some of you have read the book. Let me tell you real quick, some of you don’t know. My dad had a shoe shine machine in the hall of the house. I woke up early one Sunday morning. I just wanted to help him shine his shoes. So I went and got his shoes out of the bedroom. Everyone was asleep, I was bored.

He had this machine, you press this button on the top, he still has that machine today, he showed it to me, and it had a black furry wheel that would spin around and a red furry wheel that would spin around. I used to sit there and turn the machine off and on with this little switch and feel the brushes spin at hurricane velocity. I woke up I got his shoes, I decided to shine his shoes and I buffed them and I didn’t notice any difference, so I thought they need shoe polish. I knew my dad kept shoe polish under the bathroom sink and so I went and got some of the liquid shoe polish. And I poured a generous amount, I knew the black shoe polish probably went on the black brush, I thought. I poured a liberal amount of black shoe polish on the brush and then I turned on the machine. It went sssppppsshhhh, and it just sprayed a black rainbow up the wall in the hall, right through the middle of a very expensive picture of a Spanish Conquistador across the ceiling and down the other side of the hall.

Well I went back in the bedroom and I thought, “I’m going to pretend I’m asleep, because nobody saw this; nobody’s going to know. There’s no witnesses.” I was only like 4 years old, but I still remember this. Pretty soon I heard my dad rustle around in the bedroom and he got up and I heard him walk out in the hall and I heard him, “Hhhhttt, hhhttt, uhhh,” these sounds of shock and then I heard him say, “Doug E!” Now I wondered why he called me out right away, because my brother Falcon was there and my step-brother John was in the house and he said Doug E right away. So he came into my room, where Falcon was also sleeping, and I scrunched up my face like I was still asleep and he said, “Doug E,” and I thought to myself, “He doesn’t know, nobody saw me.”

Pretty soon he roused me and I acted like I was sleeping and he said, “Come in here,” and he pointed to this ominous looking black rainbow and he said, “Do you know anything about that?” I looked at he menacing symbol there before me and I said, “No.” He said, “Okay well, then I’m going to spank you.” And he took me over his knee and he pulled down my little pajamas, or he undid the flap. You remember they had the little flaps in the back, the trapdoors and that’s what it’s for, I guess. He began to swat me and these stinging swats could be heard through the house on my posterior. Even my brother, he used to like to watch me suffer, he was awake now watching from the door, sympathizing. I was going, “I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it.” And then I went, “I did it, I did it, I did it!” Now that’s what I picture when it says you’ll beat him, don’t spare your soul for his crying, he won’t die. Then my father sat me up and he said, “I’m not spanking you because you made a mistake, I’m spanking you for lying.”

He said, “Now go in the bathroom and wash your face.” I had black spots all over my face. And here I’m going, “I don’t know how that got on the wall, wasn’t me.” You know, I wonder sometimes, we lie to the Lord, you know, “No it’s not me Lord. It’s them.” And He sees our hearts. “And deliver his soul from hell.” It says, “You shall beat him with a rod and deliver his soul.” Why did my dad spank me? For lying. To get even or because if I did not learn while I was young and tender, first of all you never get away with anything. If your parents don’t catch you, God always does. You never get away with anything, never, never, never. You’ve got to learn that, if not, then you’ve got to learn it in prison. If that doesn’t work, then it stops being discipline and it’s eternal punishment. “Deliver his soul from hell.” Now you all know what I mean by eternal punishment, the results of the punishment are eternal. 1 Kings 1:6, two of David’s sons were eternally lost, they were good looking boys. Adonijah and Absalom, brothers, handsome.

You know it’s always easier to spank our ugly kids than the pretty ones, right? No, evidently with David it was. The Bible says, have you ever read this? “His father,” speaking of Adonijah, “had not rebuked him at any time by saying, Why have you done this? because he was also good looking.” His mother bore him before Absalom. Adonijah rebelled, tried to take the kingdom. He died for his rebellion. Absalom rebelled, these boys were raised spoiled. They were so used to being showered with accolades for their good looks that they grew up spoiled and unaccountable and when they wanted it, they wanted what they wanted, when they wanted it. Because they did not learn self-control, are you listening to me, they died. They were lost. Samuel tells about the sons of Eli. Eli was a good man, but he did not discipline his sons, he did not restrain them when they were young, so they did what they felt like doing when they were old and they were in the ministry. That’s a really bad combination, lack of control in the ministry.

Young Samuel was sent with a message to Eli. “God said, For I have told him that I will judge his house forever and the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile and he did not restrain them.” You need to restrain your children when they’re young. When they’re doing wrong, as parents you stand in the place of God and we must discipline them in love. Otherwise you’re asking God to do it and then it really gets tough. 2 Samuel 7:14-15, David is given a prophecy by Nathan regarding Solomon, “I will be his Father,” God says, “he will be my son.” If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with a rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men, but my mercy I will depart from him as I took it from Saul whom I removed from before you.” You know it’s interesting, Solomon was the son of David’s old age and I can’t help but wonder if David maybe hadn’t learned his lesson by then. Solomon was still young when he came to the throne and God was saying to David, “I’m going to teach him also,” and He did. You read the story of Solomon and he ended up being rebuked later in his life.

This philosophy that is so popular and prevalent that you can be successful without self-control and discipline is very deadly. It’s a doctrine of devils. Acts 14:22, “Paul strengthened the souls of the disciples,” remember what disciple means, same root word as discipline. You cannot be a disciple without discipline. “Exhorting them to continue in the faith, saying we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” We are often disciplined through trials and tribulation; we must welcome and love those disciplines. 63% of adults strongly agree that parents today are too lenient and permissive with their children.

Are you aware of that? You know, I think it was King Henry VI of England was the first and only infant in history who had to give official approval to being spanked and he selected his own nurse to do it. Of course, he was only nine months old and they took his thumbprint and put it on a document that gave her permission to reasonably chastise him from time to time. Even a king, it was understood, even a king needed discipline and to learn self-control if he was going to rule and control others. Those who have succeeded in God’s word are always the ones who have learned self-control. Look at the great rulers, Joseph. Did Joseph go through the discipline of God’s trials? Spending years in prison, spending years as a slave. God through his learning self-control in those environments was preparing him to rule.

Now Jacob loved Joseph and you have to admit, even though Joseph was a godly young man, his father indulged him. Indiscreetly indulged him, it was a bad choice because it aroused the jealousy of his siblings. Now Joseph had a good heart but to be prepared to rule to world as he would, prime minister of Egypt, he had to go through the discipline of God’s trials and you know why Joseph ended up successful? He received, he endured, he loved the discipline of God and God in His own time was then able to take him from the prison to the palace in one day because he learned the lesson of loving God’s discipline. We need to be careful not to overindulge our children. Don’t you like to give your children gifts? Don’t you like the joy they demonstrate when they have something new, something that makes them happy, they’re preoccupied with some positive diversion, or entertainment or toy? But you can ruin them by giving them too much. Sometimes you need to spare your soul for they’re crying because you love them and not give them everything they want. It’s like this pastor who had a teenage son, finally got his driving permit and started campaigning with his father for permission to drive the car. And the father said, “Well, I’ll make you a deal.

You spend a little more time bringing up your grades, spend some time reading the Bible, cut your hair and then we’ll talk about it.” After about a month the father brought the boy in and he said, “Well I’ve noticed that your grades have come up and I see that you’re having your own personal devotions, but the hair is longer than ever.” The young man said, “Well dad, you have to admit, Moses had long hair, Jesus had long hair, Samson had long hair.” The father said, “That’s right. And they walked everywhere they went.” You got to learn to have the appropriate self-control and discipline. Don’t give them everything that they’re asking for, just because they’re asking for it. Billy Graham said, “A compass is narrow minded. It always points to magnetic north. It seems it’s very narrow in its view, but a compass is not broadminded. If it were, all the sea and all the planes in the air would be in danger.” We must discipline ourselves personally to fight any deviation from the course Jesus has set for us. We cannot be tolerant of any other course; to deviate is sin.

You’ve got to have self-control if you’re going to a Christian. Now stay with me, I’m not teaching that we save ourselves by self-control, stay with me. Lets quickly look at some of the ways that discipline plays in the Christian life. We need discipline in our speech. James 3:2, “If anyone does not stumble in word, he’s a perfect man and able also to bridle the whole body.” Why is discipline in speech so important? Because, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Discipline in speech indicates discipline in heart. The opposite of discipline in speech, the Bible says is a fool. Proverbs 29:20, “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 18:13, “He who answers a matter or speaks before he hears what’s going on, it is a folly and a shame to him.” One of the areas where I think we would all do well, I’m at the head of the list, is learning self-control and restraint. Knowing what to say and what not to say, when to speak and when to be silent. The Bible says that there is a time for all these things.

Discipline in diet. You didn’t know I was going to say that. It’s very important. Let me tell you why I think it’s so important, especially in our day and age. We’re constantly being programmed by our culture to look for ways to live like gluttons and live like Spartans. Now I just came up with that, but it’s accurate isn’t it? We want to be able to eat fat food, with artificial fat and I hear on the radio they’re advertising these products, fat absorb, eat all the fat you want and it will absorb it all and you can keep eating like a pig and not be accountable. You know how sin entered the world? Through indiscreet choice of food and it wasn’t even fattening, was it? It doesn’t say anything about the tree of good and evil being full of calories. The Bible says, “Blessed are you, O land, when you eat of her strength and not for drunkenness.” You know what that means? Eating, it’s okay to eat things that taste good. I do to and I’m talking to myself, once again. The ideas that you want to eat primarily for strength, for nutrition, for health and whether it tastes good and whether it’s got all the sweets and stuff, that should always be a secondary consideration. The first thing is, are we eating for strength? “Woe to you, O land, when your king has a child, and when they feast they gorge themselves in the morning.”

I’m paraphrasing right now. Part of Christianity is self-control over what we eat and drink. The Bible says, “Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, do it all to the glory of God.” Some people have made a god out of diet and I should hasten to say, while I glance heavenward, so that nobody will take it personal, that we’ve got people who are gluttons and overweight and we’ve got people who are gluttons and skinny. Amen? Some people our metabolisms are different. I’ve been blessed with a little more active metabolism than some people, but I can eat copious amounts of food and my cholesterol stays down. I chose my ancestors very carefully. Proverbs 23:2-3, “And putting knife to your throat, if you are a man given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies for they are deceptive food.” Think about that mental picture. You’re sitting here at the buffet, “Oh, that looks good,” and you take out a knife and put it to your throat. It’s saying self-control, discipline yourself, amen. Do you want to learn to get a grip on your appetite? Join the military. Isaiah 55:2, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and for that which does not satisfy?” We want to make sure and eat and drink that which satisfies that is genuinely nutritious. All right, another area of discipline, church discipline.

Should a church ever exercise discipline if members that take the name of Christ, that are in the church, and they are not following the standards of Christ and they persist in defying the doctrines and teachings of the Bible, should they be held accountable? What do you do if you meet somebody and you find out that they’re frequenting a bar, they're smoking and drinking and they're living a lewd lifestyle and they're on the books of the church? Is it appropriate after laboring with that person in love to take their name off the books because they are not a Seventh Day Adventist? Let me tell you something that is a special frustration for me. I’m a convert to this church. I’ve discovered that whenever the issue of discipline comes up and it’s a mandate from Jesus, it’s a mandate from the Bible, from the Spirit of Prophecy, that when people who take the name of Christ are not following the teachings they should not be on the books. But whenever you go about attempting to remove a name from the books, especially if it’s somebody whose parents are members, it’s almost as though being a Bible Christian is a right that you are born with. It’s not. If you are not living the light your name should not be on the books.

Because you are trying to save that person and as long as they’ve got their name on the church books and they are living in the world they’ve got the illusion that they are Christian and they’re on their way to hell. You are not doing them a favor; you’re hurting them. You should administer some loving discipline to get their attention. Let me give you a scripture from the Bible on this subject. 1 Corinthians 5:4-5, there’s a very serious problem in the church. The child of one of the members, it was an adult child, was having an illicit relationship with his step-mother and nobody did anything about it because the father held a prominent position in the church. Paul is outraged that they are looking the other way because it is politically incorrect to deal with this particular member and he says, “You’ve got to deal with it. He needs to be lovingly put out of the books.” “In the name,” verse 4, 1 Corinthians 5, “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you’re gathered together along with my Spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his Spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Now how many of you have read this before and been confused by this scripture? Some people have read this and they think, once they’re saved, they’re saved.

You could kick them out of the church, they could live for the devil and they’ll be delivered in the day of the Lord Jesus. No, that would be diametrically opposite to all the teachings in the Bible. What he’s saying is, “You come together, you put him out of the church, and if you’re not in Christ, if you’re not following Christ than you are part of the devil.” If you’re not in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land than you’re still a slave to the Pharaoh in Egypt. Paul is saying, “Let him go back to Egypt, put him out and he will hopefully some to his senses and repent that he might be saved.” Picture this, if you will, you live in the south during the summer months, Louisiana, mosquito ridden, no Alaska, better yet. Mosquito’s are as big as buzzards there, they say and you’ve got your family there. One of your kids is really misbehaving, he won’t cooperate, he’s throwing his foot around and so you say, “Okay, outside.” You put him outside and you latch the door and the mosquito’s bite the daylights out of him.

He starts pounding on the door and says, “I’ll be good let me in.” “Thus delivered to the devil for the destruction of the flesh that his soul might be saved.” When he comes to his senses and comes back in. That’s what it’s saying, it’s not saying a person can be saved, give them to the devil, they’re going to be saved. The idea of this discipline is to redeem them. Like the prodigal son, he’s in the pigpen, comes to his senses, wants to come back home. “Give them to the devil for the destruction of the flesh that his soul might be saved,” when he comes to his senses, is the understood context. Do you understand that? Yes, we do people a terrible disservice when we let them go on month and year after year, living in the world for the devil. Their names are on the books, they never show their faces in the church. People in the world know what they’re lives are like. I knew this one church when the subject of discipline came up they all just felt so unqualified to deal with these individuals. They say, “Who should cast the first stone.

We need to love them.” And that’s true and I think if people repent then you can receive them, you keep them. But if a person is living in defiance you need to lovingly put them out. There’s this one man, known in the community as a convicted pedophile and when it all hit the news the church never did anything about it, out of love and that person. Not only was in the church, he was officiating up front. People in the community whose children had been molested by this individual had no idea he was a member. They brought their children, they came to visit the church one day and there he was in the bulletin, holding position in the church. Now what do you think that person did when they came in? They took the kids, they turned around, they walked back out and they said, “This church doesn’t stand for anything.”

Friends, I believe the Bible teaches membership has its privileges and if you’re going to be a Christian then be a Christian. Those who are wandering, let’s do everything we can to bring them back, but if they’re persisting in following the devil, then you need to administer some loving discipline, amen? Nobody wants to say amen very loud to that one. Let me read something to you from Christ’s Object Lessons. “Christ has plainly taught that those who persist in open sin must be separated from the church.” That’s plain enough. Jesus said, Matthew 18:16-17, “But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word might be established and if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to even hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” He’s to be put out along with the lost in the world. These are the words of our Savior, friends. You do everything you can. There’s a process to bring them back, to reclaim them, to redeem them, but if they persist in living like the world, then they can be part of the world. It cripples the church when we do not deal with these things. Did you know that? It really does, friends. All right, lets go onto something else.

Discipline in prayer and devotions. It’s important for us to develop discipline in our personal devotional lives. I have regular devotions every day. I’m not bragging to you because you know what, sometimes I don’t feel like it. Sometimes I would rather run out and do something else I’ve got on my mind, but I have a commitment that I’ve made to Jesus and my own soul that I need my regular devotions and it’s a discipline with me. I try to exercise some self-control. Sometimes it’s hard, because I might be deciding that I need to read something that I’m not enjoying, but I read it anyway. How many of you parents make your children eat things that they may not enjoy? Let me see your hands. Why do you do it? “But I don’t like the taste.” “Well then don’t eat it.” Is that what you say? Mrs. Batchelor, she puts a little broccoli and peas on everyone’s plate, including mine, yuck. And it’s just good self-control. Sometimes you’ve just got to learn to eat something you may not like. You know why? You might develop a taste for that which is nutritious, that’s the hope, amen? You’ll never do it if you say, “All I want to eat is pizza everyday.” Which a lot of kids, if they had their way, that’s what they’d do. Oswald Chambers said, “Beware of saying, ‘I haven’t time to read the Bible or to pray.’

Say rather, ‘I haven’t disciplined myself to do these things.’” People do what they want to do and I think that if you really want to know the Lord you need to make a conscious decision to have a personal discipline to read the Bible and pray. Some people have this diversionary excuse, they say, “I’m spiritual. Well no, I don’t go to church and I don’t read my Bible and I don’t pray, but I’m spiritual.” As though religious is bad. It’s very important to be religious and regular devotions are part of that. Romans 8:13-14, “For if you live according to the flesh, you’ll die, but if you live according to the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the body, you’ll live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Romans 5:3-4, "We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance, character and character, hope." These trials and disciplines that God allows us to go through, they’re producing a good character. Now in connection with devotions we need discipline of thought. This is really one of the most difficult areas and one of the most crucial to understand. Have you ever tried to control your thinking? Now whatever you do, I do not want you to think about a pink monkey climbing up a barber pole, don’t do that.

How many of your just envisioned a pink monkey climbing up a barber pole? Don’t think about it again. Have you ever had the devil put a thought in your mind and you say, “I don’t want to think about that,” and the harder you try not to think about it, the more you think about it, because you’re trying to think, “Am I thinking about what I’m not supposed to think about?” You go crazy in that little circle. You know what I’m talking about. You say, "The devil's harassing me. He keeps putting this thought in my mind." What’s the answer? “Overcome evil with good.” Now most of us have been blessed with the capacity of not being able to think about two things at the same time. So start singing a song, start directing your attention to something that is good. You overcome evil with that which is good. Is it important for us as Christians to control our thinking? It’s absolutely important, because you are what you think. “Blessed are the pure in heart, they will see God.” Philippians 4:8, “Finally in conclusion, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, it there’s virtue, if there’s any praise, meditate, think about these things.” You become like what you think about.

When you’re having your prayer and devotions, by a show of hands, how many of you find that your mind wanders? How many of you never have your mind wander, lets do it that way? That’s better, some of you never respond to any question I ever ask, okay. You’re afraid it’s a test and you’re going to get it wrong. We all struggle, because especially the devil wants to keep us from disciplining ourselves to focus our minds on prayer. You know what a sign of maturity is? It's that your attention span increases. Now I’m convinced that if I was a child today, based on how I was growing up, I would be diagnosed with ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. I’m convinced. I don’t mean to detract from people who genuinely may have those problems, but I had a very short attention span. I am not sure it was a sign of a mental disorder, I think it was a sign of genius. I was just bored and pride. But I had a really hard time concentrating because as soon as I’d lose interest in whatever the teacher was saying or whatever I was reading, my mind -- I was a great daydreamer. I had an A+ in daydreaming. My attention span was that long and I was always interrupting and going here and there with my thoughts and part of it was because I ate Twinkies every morning for breakfast. My mom, my brother and I often fixed our own breakfasts.

We’d have coffee and Twinkies and then she’d send us off to school. And if I was alive today they’d be giving me lithium and all these different drugs, trying to help me, but, and again, I know there are genuine problems that people struggle with, but one of the signs of maturity is your attention span as you get older. You know little kids have a very short attention span and as they get older we try to discipline themselves to focus their attention, even though they may not want to, longer. By the time they get to college, they’ve got to spend countless hours focusing on different material and books and subjects they may not even be interested in. You know I remember someone telling me, "Doug, college is very good, not just because of what you learn, but the discipline that happens in college." So we need to discipline our thoughts to control what we think about.

The devil is constantly trying to put the wrong thoughts in our minds and we must choose what to think about, because idleness is the devil’s workshop. If you’re mind is just kind of floating around all the time, he’ll give you something to think about and it’s usually not the right thing, amen? Discipline in anger. I’m almost out of time, but I’m not quitting until I finish this subject. Discipline in anger. Ephesians 4:26-27, anger’s not all bad, that’s why I didn’t say discipline from anger. Some anger is good. God gets angry. Jesus got angry. The Bible says, “be angry and do not sin,” in Ephesians 4:26. Proverbs 16:32 explains it better, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Proverbs 19:11, “The discretion of a man will make him slow to anger.” It is glorious to overlook a transgression, we must learn self control over our tempers. It’s a whole subject in itself, how much evil has been wrought in the world and marriages and families and churches because people lose their cool. They lose their tempers.

Never is somebody more unchristian then when they’ve lost their temper. You’ve heard me say before, when you lose your temper the devil finds it. People are often temporarily demon possessed when they lose their tempers. Real discipline brings freedom. No horse gets anywhere until it’s harnessed. No steam or gas drives anything unless it is confined. You ever thought about that? What makes gas push a car down the road? It’s confined, it’s controlled. No Niagara has ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined. Men are free to soar into space because they willingly confine themselves into a tiny space capsule, designed and produced by highly trained scientist and craftsmen, that have meticulously followed instructions and submitting themselves to rules which others have defined.

People lose weight not by talking about it, but by keeping their mouths shut, it’s through self-control. Dwight Moody says, I have more trouble with D.L. Moody than anyone else I ever met. So before we criticize anyone else we need to take a look at ourselves. It takes discipline to be clean, amen? I’ll tell you, when I lived up in the mountains and the only way I could bath in the wintertime was to jump in the melted snow from Mt. San Jacinto that took self-control. To jump in is one thing, to soap and get back in and rinse off, it’s very difficult. I remember a Christian minister I respect, he said part of his regular schedule every day is not only does he shower, but before he gets out of the shower he turns off the hot water and he turns on the cold water. This man served as a missionary and while he’s in the cold water he thanks God for his discipline.

I heard Jodie Overfield say, a few weeks ago about some of the health benefits of turning on the cold water at the end of your shower and I’m starting to do that again. I don’t like it at all, but I know it’s good for me. I don’t know why it’s good for me, but I heard it’s good for me and so I’m doing it. It takes discipline to be rich. If you want to be successful, that’s right. Proverbs 6:10-11, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep so shall your poverty come upon you like a prowler and like an armed man.” Proverbs 10:4, “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” You need self-control to work and then you do things that you don’t feel like doing. Proverbs 13:4, "The soul of the lazy man desires, but has nothing, but the soul of the diligent will be made rich." Proverbs 20: 4, "The lazy man will not plow because it’s cold outside, he’ll beg during the harvest and have nothing." I remember I was selling firewood, had a partner I won’t name and it was wintertime.

It’s like a leaky roof, no one wanted firewood in the summertime, most people waited until it was rainy and cold and we’d have to go out and we’d be sold out of our summer supply and we were out in the winter looking for dry trees, because you can’t cut a green one down and burn it in the winter. Driving around in the woods in the cold, damp rain, cutting down trees. I remember one time I was out there for hours. The ground is muddy, you go to split a piece of wood and every time you hit the wood with your maul mud splattered back up in your face and it keeps on sinking down in the mud and you’re having to pull these pieces of wood out of the mud and throw them in the truck. It’s miserable and your fingers are cold and wet. I was working with a partner and after an hour or two, we’d have to work all day like that to get a cord of wood and after an hour or two, he was a Christian, he says Doug, “God’s spoken to me. It’s not His will that I should do this. This is bad for my health and I don’t believe that it’s God’s will that anybody should work under these circumstances.”

I said, “Well, we won’t get any money if we don’t.” “Well I don’t know what God has planned.” So he walked away and left me and I had to cut the whole thing, the rest of it by myself, out there freezing mud. I actually worked a little better because I was mad. Took the wood down, sold it, got my money. I figured he worked for 1% of the time. I brought him his 1%. He was a little disappointed, he wanted more money. I said, “No, the Bible says that if you don’t work you don’t eat. God’s told me that.” Now that’s a very simple thing, but you know the same principle applies everywhere. If you want to be successful, if you want to be wealthy, you’ve got to work. You know it’s not a sin for Christians to be wealthy. I think a Christian should earn all they can, save all they can and give all they can, amen? We should be faithful, good stewards, not only means good giving, it means good earning, amen? To earn requires discipline. People think, “I just keep buying lottery tickets and I’ll win the lottery,” and that’s their idea of how to get rich. If you take that same money and work and put it in the bank and wait and control your spending, there’s some discipline. Say amen. Discipline in spending, not just earning. You would be rich. You know the greatest prosperity in history came to the United States following WWII.

Some people think the prosperity was due to the industrial machine that America built to furnish the equipment that America built for the war. I heard something this week that struck me as a new thought that I agree with. It was not the industrial machine, but what happened was you had a nation of people that went into the military that has the most grueling discipline program and you’ve got all these people that had been in the military that had to learn life and death discipline. The conditions, the grueling, the unbelievable conditions in battle that require self-control and discipline. Those people after the war took that into the work field. That’s what brought America the greatest prosperity; people learn self-control. Now there are two emotions, I’m going to finish where I started. There are two emotions that are at war in every human heart, the spirit and the flesh. God’s love and the antithesis of love is selfishness. Left to ourselves without discipline we will be selfish people. The whole idea of discipline is that God might teach us self-control. Can we do that by ourselves?

If you forget everything I said in the message, please don’t forget this. I’m not teaching that we save ourselves by self-control; you can’t have self-control without Jesus. Without Him you can do nothing, but through Christ all things are possible. When God sends discipline into your life, whether it’s through trials or circumstances, whether it’s an opportunity to exercise self-control, embrace it, love that discipline, because those are the means He’s using to help us become like Jesus. When Jesus went to the cross, do you think He consulted what was convenient? Now, He didn’t do what was comfortable. He said, "Not my will, thy will be done." He exercised the ultimate in self-control when He died for you and me. When Christ went to the cross, He did that that we might be disciplined. He took our eternal punishment. Remember there’s a difference between punishment and discipline.

He took the punishment for our sins, that hopeless punishment. He could not see beyond the portals of the tomb when He went to the cross. He was facing the second death for you and me, that we might be disciplined and be saved. It was a loving discipline that He’s offering us. Jesus said, "If you will come after me, you need to take up your cross." You know what that means? Self-control, accepting discipline, "And follow me." There is no discipleship without self-denial and discipline and if you’re willing to receive and to love the discipline that God sends, because you’re a child and because He loves those he discipline and He disciplines those he loves, then why don’t you reach for your hymnal and we’ll sing that familiar song on a hill far away, The Old Rugged Cross, 159. Lets stand together as we sing this, could we?

You know I chose this song, especially for the last phrase there, "I will cling to the old rugged cross." Who would cling to a cross? Except we're clinging to what it represents, that Christ took our punishment that we might embrace His discipline. That we might reflect His character. You know the Lord sends different discipline into our lives. I hope we’re all committed to being better parents today, but much beyond that when we consider God our heavenly Father, He has marvelous and millions of ways of bringing discipline into our lives. It might be a health crisis. His discipline might come in the form of a conflict with somebody. He wants us to behave as Jesus would. It might be in some economic challenge and God has all these different ways that He allows His trials to come into our lives and it’s so much easier if you draw near the one who holds the rod, it lessens the blows. If you embrace the cross, then suddenly there’s joy and we can see that God isn’t disciplining us because He loves us. And it means that we’re children and it should give us a peace and a security that He will finish what He started in our lives. Is that your desire friends? To pray, "Lord, help me to love your discipline." If it is, let’s sing the last verse together.

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