“I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.”
Revelation 3:19 NLT
There are two things in this scripture:
1. The discipline of Jesus that comes upon those that are His because He loves them.
2. The prompt response of the child of God to that discipline.
The church belongs to Jesus! Those who are His church (children) are under His righteous hand of discipline. The writer in Hebrews shares this word with us: “And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:5-11 NLT It is the love of God that brings discipline to the church. His discipline declares that we are His. Let me give an example: If I were walking in Wal-Mart with my children and one of them was causing a ruckus, it would be my responsibility to take charge of the situation and bring them under my correction. However, if the ruckus did not involve my children, but someone else's, I would have no jurisdiction. My children are my responsibility! Other children aren't. Let me clarify something: Jesus is the Omnipotent ruler of all creation. He has authority over all things and all people. However, He has given man a free will. That free will allows each of us the power to choose. Adam and Eve utilized that free will in Genesis 3:1-7. As a result, we became children of the devil, incarcerated by him in sin and death. In His divine love for us, God gave us (the sons of Adam) the ultimate gift - His One, and Only Begotten Son. (John 3:16, Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 9:15). God became a man to die in our place and to pay the ransom for our sin. Now, we can choose to be His obedient sons and daughters or we can continue to be a child of the devil. Those who have come under the loving Lordship of Jesus Christ, confessed their sins, and have repented, are now His children. We are spiritually birthed into His family (the church). He loves His church! “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”
Matthew 16:18 NLT “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her” Ephesians 5:25 NLT Jesus is Lord of the Church!!! He has the right and responsibility to discipline the church. “For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?”
1 Peter 4:17 NLT The true church of Jesus Christ will experience the disciplining hand of God upon it when it is out of line. God's discipline is always meant to help us. God wants His church to correctly represent Him! Just as earthly children carry the image of their earthly father and mother, so should we, as children of God, bear the image of our Heavenly Father. When we decide to step outside the bounds of His will and way, we can expect His disciplining hand. Finally, we must hear, and promptly heed, His call. His call is intended to save us from the devastation that sin leaves in its path. God isn't a cosmic kill joy! He knows what is right and best for us. “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”
Romans 2:4 NLT Discipline is always a moment of sorrow, but results in a lifetime of blessing. In His goodness, He calls us to repentance through discipline. The choice is ours - receive the discipline and live or reject it and die. “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT We, the church, need to hear and heed His call. Let's accept God's board of education upon our seat of learning. Take a moment and pray this prayer with me: Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I humbly ask you to help me hear the voice of Your Holy Spirit and heed Your call. Help me trust your loving, merciful hand of discipline. May I develop Your character and display Your likeness as I live on this earth as a member of your church!
Rev. Curtis Norris