The Discipline Of Sonship

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Series: Sonship

Sunday 12 July 2015 – Kobus Swart

(Matt. 13:52); 2 Kings 4:8-37; Mal. 4:6; 2 Kings 5:15-27; (Ex. 3:6); (Rom. 8:28-29); Heb. 12:4-11;
(Heb. 5:8); Job 36:13 (Amp); Job 5:17; Prov. 3:11-12; Prov. 6:23-24; Prov. 12:1; Prov. 13:1;
Prov. 15:5, 32-33; Prov. 19:18; Prov. 23:12-14; 1 Tim. 4:7-8; 2 Tim. 1:7 (Amp); Gal. 5:22;
(1 John 2:16); Rev. 3:19; 2 Tim. 3:16-17 (Amp & Msg)

When God starts something His intention is for it to multiply. So often, however, we’ve seen that which God started, falling into the wrong hands and before you know it, the move of God stagnates. The cry in my heart is for history not to repeat itself in this generation. The scribe that has become a disciple of the kingdom will take out of his treasure things both old and new (Matt. 13:52). You do not throw everything away. There are treasures that God delivered throughout the church age which cannot go lost. We have to see this international universal ‘wineskin’ connected so God can pour out the best wine which is reserved for last. He is not going to pour out the best wine into old broken wineskins.

Elijah was the only prophet who gave a double portion to his spiritual son. God wants the anointing to expand and increase, not to diminish. He passed the anointing to Elisha his spiritual son. Right to the very end the enemy tried to distract Elisha but he kept his eyes on Elijah and he received the double portion. I have no doubt that as Elisha was pouring water on the hands of Elijah for so many years, that Elijah at times had to discipline him when needed.

Elisha also had a servant who was also positioned to receive the double portion from him. Elisha tried to impart to Gehazi throughout the story in 2 Kings 4. The Shunammite woman’s son had died and she carried his body up and laid him on Elisha’s bed. Then Elisha said to Gehazi, “Gird up your loins and take my staff in your hand, and go your way; if you meet any man, do not salute him, and if anyone salutes you, do not answer him; and lay my staff on the lad’s face.” The mother of the lad said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” And he arose and followed her. Then Gehazi passed on before them and laid the staff on the lad’s face, but there was no sound or response. So he returned to meet him and told him, “The lad has not awakened” (vs. 29-31). This is sad. Why was the anointing on the man of God not transferred? Why was Gehazi not able to obey the instruction in faith and see the miracle happen? Something was wrong. Something blocked the flow of the anointing. When Elisha came into the house, behold the lad was dead and laid on his bed. So he entered and shut the door behind them both and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him; and the flesh of the child became warm. Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes. He called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Take up your son.” Then she went in and fell at his feet and bowed herself to the ground, and she took up her son and went out (vs. 32-37). Gehazi should have sat down with Elisha and asked, “What did I do wrong? Why did it not happen through me?” That would be a normal response if you are teachable.  One of the greatest assets you can have in the kingdom is to have a teachable spirit. Do not let arrogance take over your life when God is trying to correct you. God is serious about seeing the double portion go from one generation to the next, but we need a teachable, humble spirit.

Naaman, after being healed of his leprosy, returned to the man of God wanting to show his gratitude by giving him something. But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will take nothing.” However, Gehazi, Elisha’s servant took the gap. “As the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him” which he did.  But after Gehazi returned with the goods and hid it, Elisha asked him,  “Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money and to receive clothes and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants? Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow (2 Kings 5:15). Something hindered Gehazi from receiving the impartation of the double portion of the anointing which was on his master Elisha. Look at the generational flow of blessing from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob, to the nation of Israel, multiplying all the time. God believes in the generational flow (Ex. 3:6). In this case the curse on Gehazi would follow his descendants forever. It could have been the other way around where the anointing would double in each generation. Gehazi missed being in that line of positive impartation from one generation to another.

One question we may ask is, has Elisha perhaps failed to discipline Gehazi? We do not know but it is a valid question. If we cannot receive discipline, there is something wrong. We sometimes miss the purpose of Godly discipline. A father who truly loves his children will discipline them. The absence of discipline from a father actually shows that he does not love his children. Even Jesus had to be fathered by an earthly father until he was thirty years of age. Even as a boy He needed to be disciplined. He learned obedience by the things He suffered (Heb. 5:8). You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:4-11). Look through these verses and some of the incidents in your own life. He loves you and is bringing discipline into your life. It is actually a privilege and God’s confirmation of your sonship.

Some people become angry when they are disciplined. But the godless and profane in heart heap up anger [at the divine discipline]; they do not cry to Him when He binds them [with cords of affliction] (Job 36:13-Amp). We must watch our reactions when we are disciplined. Be teachable and rather be happy when you are disciplined (Job 5:17). Look at this on two levels, from your natural fathers if you are still under age, and if you have become an adult you are still under authority if you are part of a spiritual house where there is Godly authority and fathering grace. A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke (Prov. 13:1).        He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility (Prov. 15:32-33). Part of being open to discipline is humility.

Paul said to Timothy, “You can even discipline yourself” (1 Tim. 4:7-8). How do you discipline yourself? For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control (2 Tim. 1:7). Self-control is a fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:22). Temptations are all around us knocking at our door (1 John 2:16). This is something our young people need to hear. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent (Rev. 3:19).

How do we bring discipline in the house of God? Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17-Amp). If you have ears to hear the Lord will bring correction when needed in your life if you are open and teachable.

A few suggestions on self-discipline:

  • It takes discipline to spend quiet time before the Lord. You need to discipline yourself to spend time in the word and time in God’s presence. Taking time off to meditate takes self-discipline.
  • The discipline of fasting, say for 3 days or 7 days. That takes self-discipline and you can benefit by that, spirit, soul and body.
  • Devote yourself to Bible study, an hour or two hours a week.
  • The discipline of serving. Come to the leaders and ask where you can serve.
  • The discipline of confession. If you have done someone an injustice, it takes discipline to go and confess and set it right.
  • The discipline of guidance. Take the hand of somebody younger than you and ask if you can help them.

Take the word of God that comes and remain open when it comes to bring discipline in your life, to your attitudes, your response to authority, your response to being corrected. Be open! You can only gain by receiving correction and discipline. Stay soft and teachable before the Lord. God brings discipline to us as sons. He is confirming our sonship.