CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE
DEFINITION: Chastening means to discipline in order to correct errors or faults.
FACTS ABOUT CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE:
Reasons for chastening and discipline. It is the nature of sin to rebel against authority. This is what caused the original sin of Lucifer (Satan) and of man (Adam and Eve). Because of this basic sin nature, we all rebel and need correction at times.
Pastors or spiritual leaders have the authority for discipline within a church or ministry because they have the responsibility for the spiritual welfare of followers (Hebrews 13:7). You are to respond positively to your spiritual leaders so it will be a joy for them to lead you.
God expects parents to discipline their children. The Bible says that a person without discipline will die without instruction–spiritual death for sure, and maybe even physical death (Proverbs 5:23). Proverbs 23:13 says “do not withhold discipline from a child.” Moses commanded Israel to teach their children to observe all of God’s words (Deuteronomy 32:46). The Bible says: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, NASU).
God disciplines believers through His Word, trials of faith, and adverse circumstances.
The purposes of chastening and discipline. It leads you to repentance and corrects sin (1 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Corinthians 7:9). It keeps you humble (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). It teaches you spiritual discernment (1 Corinthians 11:31-32) and to obey God’s Word (Psalm 119:67). It encourages you to be faithful (1 Corinthians 5:6-7); protects the testimony of the church (1 Timothy 3:7); and is restorative (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 6:14-15).
Chastening and discipline confirm God’s love for you. It confirms that you are a child of God and that He cares about you (Hebrews 12:8, Psalms 94:12; Proverbs 3:11-12).
DEALING WITH CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE:
Consider chastening a reason to examine your life. As the Apostle Paul admonished, “…let a man examine himself…” (1 Corinthians 11:28). Examine your life for sins of commission (things you should not do) and sins of omission (things you should have done but didn’t).
Confess any known sin. Chastening sometimes occurs because of sin, so confess any known sin. When you do, God will cleanse you from all unrighteousness, meaning even sins of which you are not aware (1 John 1:8-9). Pray the prayer of David: “Cleanse me from secret faults” (Psalm 19:12).
Do not be discouraged by discipline. Know that through chastening, God confirms His love for you (Hebrews 12:7-11). You are actually blessed when you are disciplined by God (Psalm 94:12)
Remember what has been called the “golden rule” if you deal with situations that require discipline: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” (Matthew 7:12, RSV). Always ask yourself:
-What does God’s Word say about this?
-How would Jesus handle this?
-How would I want to be treated in this situation if our positions were reversed and I was him and he was me?”
Use these biblical guidelines for discipline:
-Go first to the erring brother and solve the matter individually and personally if possible. If the erring believer will not listen to you and repent, go again with witnesses. If he still refuses to hear you, take the matter before the entire Church (Matthew 18:15-17).
-Discipline should be with a proper spirit. Spiritually mature believers are to first judge themselves and then deal with offenders in a spirit of meekness, love, and helpfulness (Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 15:1-2; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8, and Galatians 6:1-4).
-Correction should be done with the purpose of restoring the offender who has been taken captive by Satan (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
-Opportunity should be given for the erring brother to respond. If he repents, the leader can restore him to fellowship and ministry. If the offense is serious, the offender may need to be removed from active ministry until he sets his own life and home in order. If he is rebellious and does not repent, he must be removed from leadership and possibly, the church fellowship.
-Private problems and public sins should be handled differently (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; Galatians 2:1-14; 1 Timothy 5:20). In the passage from Matthew it seems the problem was between two individuals. It was to be dealt with by enlisting the aid of other believers and, if the offender would not listen, by excluding him from fellowship. In the other passages, the problems were matters of public record so they were dealt with publicly.
-Exercise discipline only on the basis of factual knowledge. “Hearsay” evidence is not sufficient, and there must also be two or three witnesses to an offense (Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5:1 and 1 Timothy 5:1,9).
-If correction is totally refused, discipline may include exclusion from the fellowship. One of the greatest gifts God has given believers is fellowship with others believers. One of the most severe punishments is withholding such fellowship (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 2 John 7-11; and 3 John 9-11).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE:
Blessed is the man you discipline, Oh Lord, the man you teach from your law. (Psalms 94:12)
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. (Psalm 119:67)
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. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.(1 Corinthians 11:31-32)
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 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. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7-11)