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Heb 12:4-11   What does Heb 12:4 tell us about the level of persecution that had reached those to whom the author is addressing?  Is it likely in light of such a statement that the author is writing to believers in Rome, where the first state-sponsored persecution against Christians broke out and was most concentrated, or to believers in Jerusalem and Judea where Stephen (Acts 7:59-60), James (Acts 12:2) and perhaps others (Acts 8:1, 12:1) were martyred?  In addition to the better things the author has been relating that are found only in Christ Jesus, as well as the severe warnings about the consequences of falling away, with what further reasoning does the author exhort his readers to persevere in the trials facing them?  What do these verses teach us about the reason why God allows His people to suffer persecution and other afflictions?  When facing such trials, should our response be to doubt God’s goodness and wonder if He has forsaken us?  See Heb 12:6-7.  What does the author call those who are without discipline?  See Heb 12:8.  What is the relationship between discipline and being a true, legitimate son?  Think: does an illegitimate child born of an illicit union typically receive the same training and discipline as a true son either born of a lawful (in the eyes of God) union or adopted?  Will children typically subject themselves to the discipline of another in the same way they do to their true parents?  What does this teach us about why “bastard” is a derogatory term and why illegitimacy is a social evil to be avoided?  Notice the two-fold nature of true sons: they are lawfully born, and they subject themselves to the discipline of their fathers; what does this teach us about the necessity of being genuinely born again (i.e., begotten of the Father through the seed of His word) as well as the danger of not subjecting ourselves to the training and discipline of the Lord?  See Heb 12:5, cf. Is 30:9.  How does the discipline of God, the Father of our spirits, compare to the discipline of those who are the fathers of our flesh?  See Heb 12:10.  For what purpose does the author say God disciplines His children?  What is both the immediate result and the final result of such discipline?  See Heb 12:11.  Consider the seriousness of the persecution and affliction confronting the recipients of this letter that the author describes as discipline, and notice also that “scourges” in Heb 12:6 is the same word John used for how Pilate had Jesus beaten (Jn 19:1, Mat 20:18-19, cf. Heb 5:8); what does this teach us about what God is most concerned with: our immediate, temporal comforts, or our eternal well-being?  How does such discipline compare to the “time out” philosophy advocated by humanistic psychologists and educators?  Cf. also Prov 13:24, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15.  In light of Biblical chastisement, might those children who only experience “time out” be described as being “without discipline”?  And again, what does the author call those who are without discipline?  See Heb 12:8.  What does this teach us about the central importance proper child-training must have in our homes?  Who is ultimately responsible for such discipline in the home?  See Heb 12:9, cf. Eph 6:4.  How might a child’s perception of a loving God be distorted if he/she never experiences true discipline in the home and so develops the notion that a “loving” father is always concerned with his child’s immediate, temporal comforts?  What might be the reaction of such a one who immediately receives the gospel promise of eternal life with joy, but is then faced with the Lord’s chastisement that prepares us to “share His holiness”?  See Mat 13:20-21.  Again, what does this teach us about the central importance proper child-training must have in our homes?

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