Last time we were together we were examining some of the commands that God gives through Peter to wives, but today the tables turn. Today Peter turns his attention to the husbands. Remember that Peter is giving practical instruction for Christian living - that is how we are to behave and function in society. We have talked about holiness and reverence and faithfulness, but these are all more dealing with generalities for all Christians. Now Peter is getting specific. He’s starting to meddle - and praise God that he does. And so Father as we approach this passage today I pray for guidance as I speak and wisdom as we all hear from your word. I pray for us to be teachable and humble, to listen to your instructions and obey. We thank you, we love you, and we pray these things in Jesus name - Amen.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Remember from our studies before that no passage of scripture is given without context and any time you see the word likewise it is quite literally connecting the thought you are about to read with the thought that came immediately before it in the text. So Peter says likewise, husbands there is an appropriate way for you to live with your wife, a proper way to engage her and love her that is pleasing and honorable before God. And Peter says it’s this: live with your wives in an understanding way, show honor to them, and remember that they are co-heirs of grace with you. So let’s examine these things.
1. live with your wife in an understanding way - Have you noticed how much comedy centers around men’s supposed inability to comprehend the minds of women and women’s total ability to understand men? Can I be honest with you all for a minute? I hate that kind of comedy. I think first and most importantly that it is not only demeaning to men, but perpetuates a stereotype that gives men an excuse to be lazy and not try to understand their wives. Secondly and just as a side note if there any budding comedians listening it’s just lazy comedy - it’s been done a million times before and takes zero effort to tell such a joke. How bout trying to do something original ay? So gentleman the command of scripture is to live with your wife in understanding - that word in Greek is the same word we get knowledge from - Gnosis. That means you are to live with knowledge of her - you need to know your wife. And I’m not just talking about a passing knowledge of stuff about her, you need to have a relationship with her, to know her, deep down, the innermost core of her being - who she is spiritually. You need to know and value your wife’s soul, her person and being. We only tend to know that which we care about. All the things and people we don’t care about we don’t concern ourselves with knowing about them or investing in them or building a relationship involving them. Gentlemen if you are married or you are going to be married than you need to be involved, you need to care, you need to know, you need to invest. If you’re unmarried and you’re not willing to do that - don’t get married because it’s only gonna turn out badly. If you are married and you have this attitude of not knowing, of not caring about your wife you need to straighten up buttercup. Get your act together, stop focusing so much on yourself all the time and go pay attention to the woman God was gracious enough to put in your life and that you are utterly undeserving of. In American culture for too long we have sugarcoated every single thing we say and we’ve told out men, oh it’s ok for you to not be concerned about your wife, it’s ok for you to behave this way or that way - as long as you are trying and remember that Jesus forgives you that’s what counts. NO! Enough with the excuses, enough with easy cop-outs. You are the husband, the head of your household - you are responsible before God for your marriage and your family. It’s time to buckle down and take that seriously. It’s time to invest in your wife instead of counting the days till you can buy your next distraction. If you’re buy some new two wheel, hundred horsepower toy and you haven’t taken your wife out on a date in the last four years, buddy are you doing it wrong!
2. Show honor to your wife - Now I know this one is gonna cause some pain, strain, and hemorrhoids of the brain for our feminist friends because of the wording here so let’s address that first and get it out of the way. Peter specifically says to honor the woman as the weaker vessel. Oh our delicate modern ears have been offended, how dare someone say that men and women are not exactly the same in every single regard. Come one people, let’s grow up from the naive notion that men and women are exactly the same. We are not the same. We’re not the same in design. We’re not the same in function. We’re not the same in how we think, how we speak, how we work, or how we play. We are different and that’s good. It’s something to be celebrated, not loathed and denied. So why does Peter say weaker? Is he anti-woman? Is he degrading women? Certainly not. Rather there are a couple of things being communicated here. First is the most obvious, women are typically physically weaker than men. That is definitely a general truth and not an altruism. I am entirely aware that there are women bodybuilders and MMA fighters who could tear me to pieces. But as a general rule, a reality of science in the world we live in is that female human bodies are not as strong as male ones. You can be mad at me all you want for saying that but I dare you to go look at at all the world records for bodybuilding, running, swimming, and pretty much any type of sport or physical activity and you will find that men outscore women in every category. Male bodybuilders outlift female bodybuilders by over 150 pounds - that’s a whole person people- we’re not talking like a loaf of bread difference between personal bests. Running, Hicham El Guerrouj still holds the world record for the mile run with a time of 3:43 while Svetlana Masterkova holds the female record of 4:12. Again we’re not talking about practically no difference. In the world of running a 29 second difference is forever. The list goes on and on - men and women are built differently. Our muscles form differently, our bones form differently - I’ve told you before forensic specialists and archaeologists can tell what the gender of a person was just by looking at parts of a human skeleton - they don’t even need the whole one - that’s how different we are. Even the density of our bones is different. So please lets stop with the juvenile women are the same as men in every way shenanigans, because ultimately such a practice degrades women by saying they have to be the same as a man to have any value. And that my friends is exactly what Peter is teaching against. He says your wife maybe physically weaker than you, but you better treat her with honor, because she has the same dignity, value, and worth in the eyes of God that you do, not only because she is an image bearer of God, but as a Christian she is a co-heir of grace with you. Wow you wanna talk about important - this idea of heirship is important. In the ancient world there were some cultures in which women could not inherit property, a male relative inherited anything that she might in our modern culture have a right to. In a few cultures women were even treated as property - those were few but they did exist. In Peter saying this about heirship he is establishing that women and men are both inheritors of the Kingdom, the present and coming grace and gifts of God. He is making clear not only the base idea of personhood for women, but the exulted and privileged state of being a full inheritor. In the context of the command to husbands we see that we are to respect and love and value our wives as do our own selves.
But here’s the fun part - remember that as Christians we look at all that the Bible has to say collectively as the word of God- not just certain bits and pieces. So let’s jump over to what Paul has to say because he builds on this idea and goes even more in depth than Peter does.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Did you hear that? Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Gentlemen, do you love your wife enough to sacrifice your life to save hers? What about taking upon yourself the full weight and punishment of her sins? Do you love her that much? Ladies you thought you had it rough in the command to submit to your own husband - I contend that that looks like a cakewalk compared to this. This isn’t a love that is passing or fading. It’s not a love that grows weary or bored or dissatisfied. This is not a love of simple words and flowery poetry - this is a passionate, consuming love that drives a man to withstand agony and torment, to burden himself with pain and suffering because he knows that the person he does it for is worth it to him. That’s the love that I’m talking about - the love that we see in our savior and Lord Jesus Christ. Gentlemen - love your wives as Christ loves you, as he gave himself up for all of us. It’s a tall order, but it’s not a request men, it’s a command.
This morning maybe you don’t know that love that we’re talking about - the love that empowered Jesus take the nails in his hands and whip upon his back and the thorns upon his brow and even the full weight of our sins. If you do not know that love come find me after service I want to tell you about Jesus. But maybe this morning you are ready to repent and receive his mercy and grace. Maybe God has been moving and working in your life and you are ready to confess the belief you now have that Jesus is Lord and that you trust him completely as savior. If that’s you we have a time for you to make that public declaration right now as we stand and sing together.