Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From one of Pastor John’s Old Testament Classes
Discipline is being taught the truth. The truth disciplines the soul not to rely on one’s own understanding. Hopefully, it will happen with us as it happened with Apollos. He taught as well as he could the things about Jesus. But when Paul’s friends, Aquila and Priscilla, heard Apollos teaching, they took him to the side and “taught him the way of God more perfectly.” Then, Apollos had to make a choice. Either he could rebel and continue to teach as he had been teaching in order to maintain his exalted status among men, or he could humble himself to the truth and receive the discipline of the Lord. Apollos had to be willing to change if he wanted to truly know God and serve Him acceptably; he had to be willing to admit that he was wrong and to forsake that wrong. Thankfully, Apollos made the right choice. Doing so did not make him look foolish, as a proud man would have thought; instead, it made Apollos wiser.
What Apollos received from Aquila and Priscilla was discipline in the Lord, not chastisement; it wasn’t punishment for any evil that he had done; it was guidance into a more perfect way. It was discipline in the right ways of the Lord, and his discipline always brings godliness and spiritual knowledge with it.
Peter was disciplined by a vision from the Lord and was forced to go to a Gentile’s house when he would not have otherwise gone. Peter had been chastened previous to this, of course; he knew what chastisement was. So, he knew that what he received from God on a roof top in Acts 10 was not chastisement for wrongdoing; it was simply holy discipline, and it promoted Peter into an even more perfect will of God in an area of spiritual life that Peter had never known. God’s discipline always makes us wiser, more fruitful, and better soldiers in the army of the Lord.
The fifteenth chapter of the gospel of John contains a good example of this, found in a parable Jesus spoke. First of all, he told his disciples,“If you abide in me and my word abide in you, you will produce much fruit.” Then he told them, “If you do not abide in me, and if you do not bear fruit, you will be cut off.” Now, what do you think is the opposite of being cut off? At first, no doubt, one might think that the opposite of being cut off would be just to be left on the trunk to grow, but that is not the case. In the kingdom of God, the opposite of being cut off is being cut on, or being pruned, just as the opposite of being cursed is being blessed. Child of God, if you disobey Christ and refuse to walk after the Spirit, you’ll be cut off and be damned. But if you obey Christ and walk in the Spirit, God will do the opposite of cutting you off; He will prune you so that you will bear more fruit and be saved.
God’s pruning does not cut us off; it just cuts us down to size.
Apollos was cut down to size by Aquila and Priscilla’s knowledge of the truth. Peter was cut down to size by an astonishing vision from heaven. And afterwards, they both were happier and holier than they had ever been in their lives.
Next Time: Discipline and Chastisement, Part 3: Scourging