Today we’ll discuss the Biblical theology behind discipline. God actually says a lot about discipline in the Bible and it is from God’s word that we draw out our principles for living and ministering to people. When I think of the theology behind discipline in student ministry, there are some great verses in the Bible that I use to build that theology:
Proverbs 23:13-23 – “Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death. My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice! Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right. Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord. You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed. My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course. Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags. Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old. Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.”
Hebrews 12:1-11 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people, then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
1 Corinthians 5:1-5 – “I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you – something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother. You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship. Even though I am not with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit. And as though I were there, I have already passed judgment on this man in the name of the Lord Jesus. You must call a meeting of the church. I will be present with you in spirit, and so will the power of our Lord Jesus. Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day the Lord returns.”
**These are some pretty harsh verses, I have to admit. But they paint a picture of just how important the purity of the church is and how important discipline is. Discipline, even harsh discipline, has the ability to save people from themselves.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It CORRECTS us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
**even the Bible is useful for disciplining.
There are many, many more passages that deal with the topic of discipline… but I think we get the picture: Discipline is mandated from God. It’s something that we MUST HAVE and MUST DO, even in student ministry.
tomorrow I will go into further detail about what to do when a student has inappropriate behavior.