Timely and needful. Tim Chester’s treatment of a difficult issue is both pastorally sensitive and biblically faithful. A “go–to” aid for those who find themselves in need of help and counsel when the rod of chastisement strikes. Warmly recommended.
Derek Thomas, Senior Minister of Preaching and Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina
Tim Chester is a first rate spiritual physician who knows how to apply the soothing balm of Scripture. For anyone who wants to understand what God is doing in Christian suffering they need look no further. This is a first rate book to be read and re–read.
Melvin Tinker, Vicar of St John’s Newland, Kingston upon Hull, England
The Body of Christ needs this book. For who among us hasn’t struggled to endure and be trained by hardship? In this pithy volume, Tim Chester tells us how we can move beyond the pain of life’s heartaches to enjoying the harvest of righteousness and peace promised in Hebrews 12.
Janice M. Cappucci, Biblical Counselor and author
As I read these pages, Tim’s writing stirred my heart with the truth that we enjoy a God who so loves us, His children, that He refuses to neglect our souls.
Jason Helopoulos, Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, Michigan
This book has opened my eyes to a wider view of God’s discipline, and in doing so has set me to further searching the scriptures, and my heart, in a desire to grow in my understanding and appreciation of this aspect of my Father’s love. That is the particular joy of God’s Discipline, it taught me to understand God’s discipline, but more, to want to see it, and to desire more of it in my life.
John Hindley, Pastor of Broadgrace Church, Norfolk
We believe in God who is sovereign over all things. Therefore we believe in providence, not coincidence. But many of us struggle to understand what the Lord is doing with us as he shapes the ups and downs of our daily lives. ‘Why did he allow this?’ ’Why didn’t that happen when I felt sure it would?’ Tim Chester has written a fine, down to earth book tackling such questions. It is full of Biblical common sense and will be helpful to every Christian who reads it. It not only helps us to understand how God trains, corrects and develops us spiritually through life’s circumstances but leaves us genuinely encouraged by our Father’s loving purposes.
John Benton, Managing Editor, Evangelicals Now
I’ve written a short book on God’s discipline. It arose from my own desire to figure out what God’s discipline involves, how we can spot it in our lives and how we should respond. ‘Encouragement’ isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind when we think about God’s discipline, but that is how the writer of Hebrews describes it. It’s encouraging because our heavenly Father uses suffering to shape more into the image of his glorious Son.
Imagine a city in which people resort to violence to settle disputes. People readily shout abuse at one another and rain down curses on one another. People get mad when someone cuts them up in traffic or when the call centre cuts them off.
Imagine a city in which it is common to find someone distraught because their partner has been unfaithful. Husbands boast of their faithfulness, but openly go to strip clubs or secretly use pornography. Children blame themselves for their parents divorce.
Imagine a city in which people say one thing, but do another. People have to swear on their mother’s grave because no-one trusts anyone else. You are always suspicious of people’s motives.
Imagine a city in which people stab you in the back when they get the chance. People always demand their rights and disagreements escalate into feuds.
Imagine a city in which people fear the postman’s arrival because they cannot pay their bills. People live in gated estates to protect themselves for the less well-off. People know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Welcome to my city. Welcome to your city.
Imagine another city. It is, if you like, a city within the first city. A different kind of city.
In this city people get angry with one another. But they do not let it escalate. They do something constructive with their anger. They take the initiative. They seek reconciliation.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother [without cause] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”(Matthew 5:21-26)
In this city people are prone to lust. But they do not let it escalate. They take the initiative to cut it off at its root. They take constructive steps to avoid whatever might provoke their lust.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.”(Matthew 5:27-32)
In this city people do not have to swear they are telling the truth. They do not let suspicion escalate. They have a reputation for honesty. People trust one another. If they say they’ll do something, people know they’ll do what they said they would do when they said they would do it.
“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37)
In this city people get wronged. But they don’t let it escalate. They don’t pay people back. Or rather they pay people back with a blessing. They do something constructive. They take the initiative. They do good to people. They’re willing to help even people who’ve let them down.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:38-42)
In this city people share what they have. Their homes are open, they eat together and help those in need. No-one feels left out because they don’t have enough money to participate in the community’s life.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies, [bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you] and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)
A city like that would be good news. It would be gospel. That city within the city would be a light in the darkness.
“You are the light of the world … A city set on a hill …” (Matthew 5:14 ESV)