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A Marriage Made in Heaven - Part 1: God’s Plan for Wives

Notes & Transcripts

A Marriage Made in Heaven - Part 1: God’s Plan for Wives

1 Peter 3:1-7

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 6, 2013

*Marriage is easy! -- No??? Getting married is easy. Being married can be extremely hard. Why? -- Lots of reasons:

-One is that we are extremely complicated creatures.

-And we are sinful creatures.

-There are powerful forces at work in our country trying to rip the fabric of our families apart.

-Our pervasive media consistently presents ungodly lifestyles as entertainment. (Two and a half minutes of “Two and a Half Men” will prove that to you.)

-On top of that, life has challenges that can hit us like a tidal wave.

*Marriage can be hard. But it can also be heavenly. The reason why is because the whole idea came from heaven. -- And we can have a heavenly marriage, if we follow God’s marriage plan. So let’s look into the God’s Word to see God’s plan for a marriage made in Heaven.

1. In this passage, Peter started by talking about wives, and part of God’s plan for wives is about respect.

*God’s plan for wives is about respect for their husbands. Peter stressed this truth starting in vs. 1, where he said, “Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.”

*Then in vs. 5&6, Peter said:

5. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,

6. as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

*This is not a popular message in 21st Century America. And one good reason why is because women have historically been treated as second class citizens in our society. If you don’t believe me, then think about when women got the right to vote in this country. Do you know when it was? -- It was the same year that my daddy was born: 1920. That’s surprising isn’t it? (1)

*And when we look at some famous men in history, we can find a second class view of women. Tama Starr put together a book composed of put-downs of women through the ages. For example, Martin Luther was the leader of the Reformation and a hero of the faith, but in 1538 he said: “Eloquence in women should not be praised; it is more fitting for them to lisp and stammer.”

-In 1817, Napoleon said: “Nature intended women to be our slaves. What a mad idea to demand equality for women!”

-And in 1975, American playwright Henry Miller said: “I enjoy women as a breed, like a dog. I don't mean that in a derogatory way.” (2)

*Also think about how many women have been sexually harassed on the job. Two women in my own family have been through that nonsense. And under these circumstances, it’s easy to see why some women are skeptical about this part of God’s Word.

*But Jesus Christ has done more to help the cause of women than anyone else in the history of the world. And women are generally treated far better in Christian nations than anywhere else in the world. Think about the brutality of the Taliban against women in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Plus know this: The Koran specifically allows husbands to beat their wives. (3)

*But in Ephesians 5, the Bible tells husbands to treat our wives as a precious treasure, and to love them just like Jesus loves the church. At the same time, God does tell wives to submit to your husband. Voluntarily choose to yield to him. As Jonathan McLeod points out: “It is not the husband’s job to make his wife submit.” (4)

*It is not our job to make our wives submit. The Lord wants wives to voluntarily put themselves under their husband’s authority. And the problem is that most people don’t like to submit. I had a huge problem with that when I was growing up. I didn’t want anybody telling me what to do! But God calls all Christians to submission. It’s not just for wives.

*In fact, submission is one of the main themes of this letter from Peter:

-In 1 Peter 2:13, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake. . .”

-In 1 Peter 2:18, “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.”

-In 1 Peter 3:1, “Wives, be submissive to your own husbands. . .”

-In 1 Peter 5:5, “Younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. . .”

-And also in 1 Peter 5:5, “All of you be submissive to one another. . .”

*Five times Peter tells believers to submit:

-Submit to the law.

-Submit to your boss.

-Wife submit to your husband.

-Young people submit to your elders.

-All believers submit to each other.

*Even Jesus submits Himself to our Heavenly Father, so it is a most proper thing to do. We read about this truth in 1 Cor 15:24-28, where Paul said:

24. Then comes the end, when He (i.e. Jesus) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.

25. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.

26. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

27. For "He (i.e. God the Father) has put all things under His feet (i.e. Jesus’ feet).'' But when He says "all things are put under Him,'' it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.

28. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

*When the Bible talks about the Son being “subject” to the Father, it is the exact same Greek word God used over in 1 Peter, when He talks about us being submissive. So, submitting is a most proper, Christ-like thing to do.

*Usually when we consider wives submitting, we think: “Well it’s not too hard, if the husbands act the way they should.” And of course that’s true.

*But notice that’s not what Peter is talking about here. In vs. 1, he’s talking about husbands who aren’t believers, husbands who don’t obey the Word of God. “Do not obey” in that verse is a strong expression. It means a husband who deliberately sets himself against the truth.

*But Jesus calls us to go the second mile. And that’s what Christian wives are called to do here. This does not mean that a wife should submit to being abused by her husband, or to do anything wrong for her husband.

*But God does call wives to submit to their husband. And since this is God’s plan, He gave men a built in need for respect. Men respond to respect. So, one of the worst things a wife can do is to berate or put down her husband.

*Sixteen hundred years ago, early church leader John Chrysostom gave an example that sounds like it could have been written yesterday. Chrysostom said: “A wife should never nag her husband (like this): ‘You lazy coward, you have no ambition! Look at our relatives and neighbors; they have plenty of money. Their wives have far more than I do.’ Let no wife say any such thing.” Verbal put-downs from a wife are poison to a husband’s heart. (5)

*On the other hand, one of the best things a wife can do is to find ways to give your husband respect. Of course, we don’t always deserve our wives’ respect. But we need all the help we can get! So as a Godly act of grace, respect your husband. Give him more respect than he deserves.

*Serve the Lord by submitting to your husband. Sarah gives us a great example in vs. 5&6. Here Peter said:

5. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,

6. as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

*Sarah obeyed Abraham. As the Amplified Bible says in vs. 6, “Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority). . .”

*She followed Abraham’s guidance, and that took a lot of faith, -- especially when God called Abraham to leave his family and home, not knowing where he was going. What a blessing Sarah was to Abraham!

*When I was dating Mary almost 40 years ago, I remember sitting on the steps of her apartment behind the bowling alley in West Monroe. And she said, “Wherever you go, -- I will go with you.”

*I didn’t begin to realize it at the time. But that was a life-changing, eternity-changing example of Biblical submission. That one sentence of commitment set us on the road to where we are today. And I am an infinitely better man because of my wife’s voluntary, grace-filled submission to me.

*Part of God’s plan for wives is respect for their husbands.

2. But God’s plan for wives is also about right living.

*It’s the kind of life Peter talked about back up in vs. 1&2, where he said:

1. Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,

2. when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear (or Godly reverence).

*The KJV says “conversation” instead of “conduct” in vs. 1&2. But when the KJV was written, “conversation” meant a whole lot more than speaking. It meant your conduct, behavior or lifestyle. So God calls wives to a lifestyle that is chaste or modest, holy and pure, -- in short: a beautiful life.

*Right living is also the kind of beautiful life Peter talks about in vs. 3-5, where he said:

3. Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on fine apparel;

4. but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

5. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,

[1] Notice here that God’s priority for women is internal beauty.

*Verses 3&4 don’t forbid fixing your hair or wearing make-up or jewelry. These verses just put the focus where it needs to be: On the inward beauty of the heart. Ladies, God wants you to look at yourselves the way He looks at you. Be beautiful on the inside with purity, reverence, faith and gentle, quiet strength.

*Audrey Hepburn was one of the classic beauties of the 20th Century. And here are some of the beauty tips she once gave:

-“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

-For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

-For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.

-People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anybody. . .

-The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

-The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.

-It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows.

-And the beauty of a woman with passing years -- only grows!” (6)

*God’s focus for women is on the inward beauty of the heart.

[2] And Church, notice that internal beauty is eternal beauty. Verse 4 says that this kind of beauty is “incorruptible” or unfading.

*I guess by now that your Christmas tree is long gone. The tree we had in the church this Christmas was one of the prettiest I have ever seen. But the problem with those trees is that they start dropping needles faster than I dropped my hair!

*All outward beauty in this world fades away. There are no exceptions. That’s why God’s plan for wives is about inward beauty. It’s the only kind that will never fade away.

*God’s plan for wives is about the inward beauty of right living.

3. But His plan is also about reaching.

*Peter confirms this truth in verses 1&2, where he said:

1. Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,

2. when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear (or Godly reverence).

*Believers: We are in this world to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ! That certainly includes the people in our home. But some people are hard cases. Some of the most faithful people in church today are wives whose husbands never darken the door.

*What’s a wife to do? -- God’s Word says that you should try to win them with that beautiful life we just covered. This does not mean that you never witness to Him. Of course God wants you to share your faith with your husband.

*But what if he’s not willing to listen?

-And will he be willing to listen if your life doesn’t line up with what you say?

-You must try to win them over with your Christian love and lifestyle.

*Live a life that proves:

-Jesus Christ is the Lord God Almighty.

-That He loves us.

-That He died on the cross for us.

-That He rose from the dead.

-That He is your Savior and Lord.

-And that Jesus will save them, if they trust in Him.

*Win him over to Christ with a worthy life.

*Let me take you back to those apartment steps behind the bowling alley 40 years ago, and the commitment Mary made to Godly submission: “Wherever you go, -- I will go with you.”

*That commitment was a major milestone on the road to my salvation. There was almost a direct line between that day on the steps, the day of our marriage, and the day of my salvation. God surely used Mary’s life to help lead me to the Lord. And I am still becoming a better man because of my wife’s grace-filled submission to me.

Conclusion:

*God wants us to have heavenly marriages. And men, we surely need to do our part. We’ll talk about that next week in verse 7.

*But tonight we’ve seen what God has to say to wives:

-God’s plan is for wives to have voluntary, grace-filled respect for their husbands.

-The inward beauty of right living.

-And a life that reaches the lost.

*Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.

(1) Encyclopedia Article from Encarta - “The Right to Vote”

(2) Source: “A QUIET REVOLUTION” by David Holwick - 1 Peter 3:1-6 - First Baptist Church - Ledgewood, New Jersey, July 6, 1997, illustration #1678

(3) The Qur'an, Surah 4:34

(4) SermonCentral sermon “Being Submissive in Days of Rebellion” by Jonathan McLeod - 1 Peter 2:13-3:12

(5) David Holwick illustration # 3351 - SOURCE: Discipleship Journal, #89 - TITLE: How Should Husbands Love Their Wives? - AUTHOR: John Chrysostom (C. 347-407) - PAGE: 118 - DATE: 911995)

(6) http://www.geocities.com/wwjoke/ - Source: “Dynamic Illustrations” - JAS 2002 - Appearance

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