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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

Option #1: "The Lord's Discipline"
Hebrews 12:4-11
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

  I. We are not to give up when it comes--v5

 II. We are to understand that the Lord's discipline is a sign of His love--vv6-10; 2 Sam 7:14; Acts 14:22; 1 Pet 5:10

III. It brings results--v11; Isa 32:17; Rom 5:3-5, 14:17b; Gal 5:22-23

 

Barnes Notes on the New Testament:

(Discipline) yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness--It is a tree that bears good fruit, and we do not expect the fruit to form and ripen at once. It may be long maturing, but it will be rich and mellow when it is ripe. It frequently requires a long time before all the results of affliction appear--as it requires months to form and ripen fruit. Like fruit, it may appear at first sour, crabbed, and unpalatable; but it will be at last like the ruddy peach or the golden orange. When those fruits are ripened, they are:

(1)Fruits of "righteousness." They make us more holy, more dead to sin and the world, and more alive to God. And they are (2) "Peaceable." They produce peace, calmness, submission in the soul. They make the heart more tranquil in its confidence in God, and more disposed to promote the religion of peace.

The apostle speaks of this as if it were a universal truth in regard to Christians who are afflicted. And it is so. There is no Christian who is not ultimately benefitted by trials, and who is not able at some period subsequently to say, "It was good for me that I was afflicted. Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word." When a Christian comes to die, he does not feel that he has had one trial too many, or one which he did not deserve. He can then look back and see the effect of some early trial so severe that he once thought he could hardly endure it, spreading a hallowed influence over his future years, and scattering its golden fruit all along the pathway of life. I have never known a Christian who was not benefitted by afflictions; I have seen none who was not able to say that his trials produced some happy effect on his religious character, and on his real happiness in life.

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Children's Message: Hebrews 12:10: Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

 

Visual: comic strip of Dennis The Menace--"In the Corner"

 

This is something that we often don't want to talk about. The word is DISCIPLINE. Do you know what the word means? (Allow for answers) It can mean being punished so that you don't do it again. Maybe the problem was with a boy who was playing with matches. Dad or Mom must use some discipline because two very bad things could happen: 1) He could get burned; 2) He could burn the house down, killing himself and his family too. So the discipline has to be done for his good and for the safety of his family.

God disciplines us, too. But it isn't just when we do bad things; he disciplines us the way a football coach or a gym teacher makes you run laps. He does it to get your strong so that you're ready for the game or ready for life.

Whatever the case, please remember: mom and dad or the coach or the gym teacher aren't disciplining you because they don't like you; they discipline you because they love you and they want to help you.

The Bible says that God disciplines us so that we may share in his holiness. "Holiness" is the opposite of sinfulness. God disciplines for the same reason the dad did when the boy was playing with matches. He wants you to learn that sin is harmful. Discipline keeps us out of trouble.

Sin was so bad that Jesus had to come here to give his life into death on the cross so that we could be set free from sin's power. His rising from death makes it possible for us to say NO to sin and mean it. His death and his rising from death keep us from falling under the power of sin and to be a part of God's holiness.

All that is true because your Heavenly Father loves us enough to discipline when we need it. Thank God for how much He loves us.

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Option #2: "(God's) All Fired Up!"
Jeremiah 23:23-29
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

 
The Point: God is all-powerful, incapable of being manipulated by anyone or anything, and also all-knowing--nothing can be hidden from Him
 
The Problem: we are sometimes manipulated and manipulators, seek to hide from God and/or hide Him from others 
 
The Promise: God will continually expose our sin and bring us to repentance, nourishing us through His Word and Sacraments
 
(Based on and inspired by a homiletical help from Henry Gerike in Concordia Journal, July 2004)
 
Notes:
 
1. Micah says that the false prophets are those who preach "peace" (Micah 3:5). By this he means those prophets who say that everything will be okay and there is no need for repentance. (Ralph Klein)
 
2. The nearer God comes, the farther away that near and immanent God seems... Faith is what remains after the experience fades... God’s word is not a slow warm fire in the fireplace, able to warm and cook food. God’s word is a consuming fire able to burn anything combustible. God’s word is not a gentle knocking at the door. It is a rock-shattering hammer blow. When faith fades and hearts grow hard and callousness takes over, God in his mercy sends prophets. We live in such a time. We always live in such a time. Who is willing to meet God so that God’s people may experience him? (Mark Hillmer)
 
3. If only preachers of the truth and Christians in general worked with equal eagerness [as the false prophets] to spread the saving truth! ...False doctrine is as dangerous as idolatry. (Theodore Laetsch)
 

 

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