Lesson 8: WASHING AND DISCIPLINE

To define sin, you could perhaps say "It is rebellion against God and His will." It is saying YES to Satan's suggestions and NO to God's commands and exhortations.

The Christian becomes lax, does not heed the warning of the Holy Spirit, is tempted and falls into sin.

What happens now? Is he lost? Should he just forget his failure? What shall he do?

The penalty of sin is death. You were once under this condemnation (John 3:18; Romans 6:23). But "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). He paid the penalty for all your sins--past, present, and future and you have the promise that you "shall not come into condemnation (judgment)."

If a son gets a traffic ticket for speeding and the father pays it, the legal obligation has been met. The court can never call him in again for this same offense, but this does not settle everything at home between the father and son. It is now a family problem. Fellowship has been broken. What must the son do to secure his father's forgiveness?

FELLOWSHIP--WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The words translated fellowship and communion come from the same word in Greek. It means more than just friendship or comradeship. It means joint-participation or sharing of some common thing. It could be work, joy, sorrow, suffering, or many other things.

The Key passage is I John 1:5-2:2 . Read this portion before going on.

FATHER AND SON
A father takes his small son for a walk. They enjoy walking together through a little park. They watch the birds flying, feed peanuts to the squirrels, and enjoy the beautiful flowers. In his eagerness to see and investigate all the wonders around him, the little son becomes quite dirty. As he comes to a stairway the steps look steep and dangerous to him. He sits down and goes down one step at a time. Of course he gets very dirty, but his father brushes him off. He does not mind because he knows his little boy does not know any better. But there are some things that cause a problem.
The father tells his son to stay out of the mud. The son thinks it will be fun to splash through it. Perhaps he sees other children playing in it. If he disobeys his father's commandment he also breaks the fellowship between them. They cannot enjoy this together.

THE KEY TO FORGIVENESS IS CONFESSION
Confession. The Greek word has an important meaning. It means "saying the same thing as another." Understanding this word is one of the most important things in understanding the Christian's life of fellowship.

Fellowship is immediately restored when the son says, "I was wrong getting into the mud." But if he says, "I haven't done anything wrong; the other children are playing in the mud," he is making his father a liar (I John 1:10).

The father will now be required to discipline the son so he can see his wrong and acknowledge it. Then the next time he is tempted he will not get into the mud.

GOD IS LIGHT
I John 1:5 tells us that "God is light." That is, according to His nature He is holy, sinless, and pure. Verse 7 says: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

WASHING
If you obediently live in the light you posses, you will have fellowship with Him, just as the father and son in our story. While you do this, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses (the Greek indicates constant action) from all sins of omission, sins of ignorance, sins you are unaware of, things you have not grown enough spiritually to recognize as sin. It is through this provision that sinful men can have fellowship with a holy God.

CONFESSION--AGREEING WITH ANOTHER
If the Holy Spirit through your conscience, a friend, or in some other way points out a certain thing you have done and says, "That is sin," you are to confess or AGREE with Him, or say the same thing God says about it, and determine to put it out of your life and never do it again.

If you do this immediately, the only break in your fellowship will be during the act of sin, for God cannot participate with you in sin.

"He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all un- righteousness" (I John 1:9) . Christ has already paid the penalty for your sins but God's purpose here is to cleanse from the defilement of sin, to make you more Christlike, to train and not to punish you.

If you refuse to AGREE with Him and to call what you have done SIN, as God has, then He will have to chasten (discipline) you.

Confession has to do with KNOWN sin, not UNKNOWN sin. It is sin that has become a distinct issue. As you grow spiritually, a few years from now you will see many things in your life which you do not recognize as sin today.

CHASTENING
Read Hebrews 12:5-13 . Chastening means disciplining, or correcting, or reproving. The word is used primarily in regard to child training. The object of chastening is training not punishment.

GOD'S THREEFOLD PURPOSE IN CHASTENING
1. To cause you to acknowledge your sin so you may be restored to fellowship and be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:27).
2. To reveal His Fatherhood and warn you that He deals with you as with a son (Heb. 12:5-8).
3. To reward you. Sin may be the cause of loss of reward, not salvation (II John 1:8).

METHODS OF CHASTENING
A human father soon learns that he cannot train all his children in the same way. One child may be corrected by just talking to him; another may be totally different and require spanking; perhaps another must be denied some privilege. As a child grows the method of training him will probably change.

God is all-wise and will use the best method for each of his sons. You may be denied some privilege or have a favorite possession taken from you. God may send sickness, or a combination of these. All sickness should not be considered chastening, but it should call for soul searching (Psalm 139:23). Some children cannot be told but have to try everything for themselves, and God has the following method for them.

REAPING WHAT YOU SOW
Read Galatians 6:7-9 . God may let nature take its course. The unsaved also reap this type of judgment in both this life and the next. It often seems as though God hastens the harvest for the sinning Christian; that he reaps what he sows sooner than the unsaved. God uses reproach, suffering, or other consequences to chasten and bring him back to Himself.

ATTITUDES AND RESULTS OF CHASTENING

DESPISING
"Despise not the chastening of the Lord" (Hebrews 12:5). There are indications in the Scriptures that when Christians despise, hate, or rebel against the Lord's chastening, He sometimes takes them Home (See Proverbs 15:10); I Cor. 5:5; 11:30; James 5:19, 20; I John 5:16). This is a sobering thought. Children sometimes misbehave in public, and correction may not seem to do any good; rather than stay and bring reproach upon the family name the parents take the children home.

A Christian is made fit for Heaven by the shed blood and righteousness of Christ. But because of his conduct he might be unfit to continue to represent the household of God in this world.

Every premature death should not be regarded as a result of sin. On the other hand, be very careful not to despise God's chastening in your own life. "Nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him" (Heb. 12:5). Do not be like the child who cries every time he is punished, because he is being disciplined and not because he regrets doing wrong. He gains no benefit from it.

GOOD RESULTS OF CHASTENING
It will bring forth "the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb. 12:11). It brings you back to the place where you will confess your sin, and be forgiven and cleansed (I John 1:9) . In this way you become "partakers of his holiness" (Heb. 12:10).

HOW MAY YOU ESCAPE CHASTENING?
"For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world" (I Cor. 11:31, 32).

The Father is seen here waiting for the self-judgment or confession of His child. If the child will not judge the sin himself and confess that it is wrong, then the Father must judge it. God is longsuffering but He also loves you.

God shows His love to you by chastening even though at the time it may make you unhappy (Hebrews 12:6,11). This is part of the method used to change you (into the same image (of Christ) from glory to glory" (II Cor. 3:18).

MEMORY HELPS
Purpose: Hebrews 12:11
Proper attitude of a son: Hebrews 12:5b [(1) not despising and (2) not fainting.]
Chastening is by the Father: Hebrews 12:7.

The way to avoid chastening
and self-judgment: I Cor. 11:31,32
THEN Confessing: I John 1:9, Psalm 32:5.


Assignment: Extra blessings:
Hebrews 12:5b Hebrews 12:7
Hebrews 12:11 Psalm 32:5
I Cor. 11:31,32



1. Match the following words and their meanings:
Fellowship (a) disciplining or training
Confession (b) communion or joint-participation
Chastening (c) saying the same or agreeing with another
2. Becoming a Christian means that you will not sin any more (I John 1:8,10).
True False
3. If you deny this, what do you make God (I John 1:10)?
4. Galatians 3:13 teaches your sins can be forgiven:
if you promise to keep the law
if you join the church, are baptized, and start to tithe
because Christ redeemed you from the curse of the law
5. If a Christian confesses his sin, he is cleansed from the defilement of that sin and restored into Fellowship with God (I John 1:9). True False
6. After you have confessed your sin, you should not let Satan make you feel guilty by bringing it to your remembrance (Isa. 43: 25).
True False
7. How many sins does God list in Proverbs 6:16-19 that He especially hates?
8. You can sin by not doing some good thing which you know you should do (James 4:17). True False
9. Sin separates a Christian from God (Isa. 59:2). True False
10. What might keep you from being restored into fellowship with God (Ps. 10:4)?
11. Psalm 139:23,24 teaches you should try to hide your sins from God so He will not be offended. True False
12. If you do not judge your sins God will chasten you (I Cor. 11:31,32).
True False
13. You cannot prosper if you hide your sins (Prov. 28:13). True False
14. If you are chastened you should
Rev. 3:19 (a) know God loves you
Heb. 12:11 (b) not despise it nor faint because of it
Heb. 12:5 (c) bring forth "the peaceable fruit of righteousness," if you have learned your lesson

15. Make a list (FOR YOUR OWN USE) of all the people you remember who have wronged you. Now go through the list one by one and forgive them (Eph. 4:32). Many Christians hinder their usefulness by an unforgiving spirit, Do not let this happen to you. Now destroy the list and do not let Satan use these incidents to bring bitterness into your life again.
16. Have you memorized:
Heb. 12:5b Yes No
Heb. 12:11 Yes No
I Cor. 11:31,32 Yes No
17. Extra blessings:
Heb. 12:7 Yes No
Eph. 1:7 Yes No
Ps. 32:5 Yes No
I John 1:7 Yes No
18. Have you read:
I John 1:5-2:2 Yes No
Heb. 12:5-13 Yes No
Gal. 6:7-9 Yes No
19. How many other chapters this week?