Text: Hebrews 12:4-24(Luke 13:22-30)

Sunday August 21st, 2022 – Pentecost 11

Trinity – Creston/Mount Ayr

Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Our text for this 11th Sunday after Pentecost is the Epistle lesson from Hebrews 12 that was just proclaimed.

Let Us Pray: Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to remind that your love for us is eternal and never ends. When we face trials and discipline in life, may we always trust that we are enduring these for the sake of preparing us or others for eternity. Amen.

Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:

: A young boy named Johnny is with his mother at the grocery store. As they’re in the checkout line, Johnny sees another young boy take some chocolate from the shelf, put it in his pocket, and quietly walk away.

Johnny is hungry, and the chocolate looks good, so he follows the other boy’s example. It seemed so easy. After Johnny’s mom finishes paying, they walk out of the grocery store and to the car. It’s there that his mother notices the chocolate.

After some direct questioning, his mom gets the truth, and she is not happy. It’s one of the worst days of Johnny’s young life. His mother scolds him, makes him apologize to the manager, and it’s no candy for a month.

2. How do we see ourselves in this story? It depends on your perspective.

a. Johnny’s perspective:

(1) When Mom first finds out, Johnny gulps and thinks to himself, Mom is going to kill me. He tries to lie, but he soon realizes that Mom sees through the lie.

(2) Johnny believes in that moment that Mom is so disappointed in him that she no longer loves him but rather hates him.

(3) Also, Johnny told her about the other boy, but she’s not mad at him. It must be that she loves him more.

b. Mom’s perspective:

(1) Mom is terribly disappointed and angry, but only because she loves Johnny so much. She surely doesn’t want to kill him, but protect him.

(2) However, she knows that if her son is going to live long and well, he needs to be disciplined.

(3) As for the other boy, she’s already forgotten, since her focus is on her son, whom she loves.

c. Our perspective:

(1) When we suffer or are dealing with the consequences of our sin, our first thought is that God hates us. (Give examples.)

(2) We believe that God has just been a helicopter parent waiting for us to do something bad so that—“Bam!”—he can catch us in the act.

(3) We see our suffering and pain, and we think God is cruel because he’s putting us through all this affliction. God just wants us to suffer and die.

d. God’s perspective:

(1) Even though we’re disobedient children (more disobedient than we can imagine!), God loves us more than we can comprehend. Everything he does is guided by his great love for us.

(2) When God disciplines us, it’s because he’s making us holy, just as we are already holy in Christ. He is preparing us for eternal life, just as we already have eternal life in our Baptism.

(3) God does not want us to die, but to live.

1. So, then, how do we know which perspective is true for us?

a. We’d like to see things from God’s perspective of love, but how do we know he loves us? We know he loves us because he made us his sons (vv 5–6).

(1) How are we God’s sons? Through the blood of Christ, who cries for forgiveness and reconciliation, not vengeance (vv 18–24).

(2) God’s discipline then is not a sign of his disfavor, but a sign of his favor. As the writer to the Hebrews reminds the Church: They suffer not because God hates them, but because he loves them (v 7). In fact, if they got away with everything and were not disciplined at all, it would mean they weren’t God’s true children (v 8).

(3) Therefore, during times of trial, when our perspective, like Johnny’s, sees God as the enemy, let us see ourselves as he does—as sons.

b. And if discipline is seen as coming from a loving Father to his dear sons, it must be good for us.

(1) It is! It is preparation for the heavenly Jerusalem (vv 22–24).

(2) See from God’s perspective! We live in the suffering of a sinful world for a very short time. God’s discipline is his way of guiding us, lest we ourselves fall and lose our blessed forever.

(3) And what a blessed eternity it will be—a city of gold, feasting with the angels, perfect holiness, with Jesus!

c. So we endure under trial with hope, not despair, with the result that this present suffering will produce a harvest of peaceful fruit (v 11).

(1) God is shaping us by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament that we might be more like him each passing day.

(2) God wants us to bear fruit, and so he purifies us from all unrighteousness.

(3) This is God forming us, not rejecting us, in trial.

From God’s Perspective, You Are His Son . . .

and That’s What Matters.

Johnny’s mom had a good perspective. But if she, a sinful mother, disciplined her son lovingly according to her best judgment, imagine how wisely and lovingly our heavenly Father is disciplining us!

The temporary pain, suffering, we face now does not compare to the glory he will reveal! Therefore, strengthen your hands and knees and forge ahead, because you are walking to glory (v 12).

rYou are sons, God says, his sons through Christ, and that’s the only perspective that matters. Amen.

Now may the peace of God which passes all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.