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rose-white-and-pink3Key verse – 1 Peter 3:1a, 7a, “Ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands … Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel”

2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”

Our theme – Husbands and wives both have responsibilities in their relationship.

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Introduction

Marriage is one of the most important human relationships. No wonder Peter spends a few sentences to help his readers with this sometimes-difficult institution. But Peter’s thoughts haven’t been confined to marriage. He is very concerned about all kinds of relationships in society — with the government, with masters and slaves, and with marriage. He knows that if Christians are perceived as social rebels and radicals, their message of the Gospel won’t be heard and the Christian faith won’t grow.

The most important earthly relationship a married person has is with their spouse because that relationship tends to impact all their other relationships. If the husband-and-wife relationship is not what it should be, the parent and child relationship will not be what it should be, resulting in a less well-prepared child. Also, the family and church relationship will not be what it should be, resulting in a weakened church.

The husband-and-wife relationship impacts a whole host of people. Peter addressed that relationship as an opportunity for husbands and wives to demonstrate Christ’s type of submission.

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Satan’s Attack on Marriage

Satan is the Father of Lies, the Deceiver, and he loves chaos and conflict. He also loves spoiling God’s work of reconciliation in the world. He loves doing whatever he can to interfere with God’s movement in the lives of people and nations. He is a master of looking for cracks to find his way in and do damage. We are foolish to forget that Satan sees Christian homes as anything other than primary targets for his evil strategies.

If we want to destroy God’s plan for peace, where would we attack with spiritual warfare?  An assault on marriage and family would be a guaranteed, far-reaching return on the Enemy’s investment. If marriages can become places of strife, distrust, and bitterness, generations of believers and all those around them can be turned away from the love of a Heavenly Father who has called out a Bride for His own Son. If you want to crush the world, marriage is a great place to start.

We have to be filled with and controlled by God’s Holy Spirit. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27) The Enemy is vigilantly looking for an opportunity in your home, in your marriage, in your heart, in your parenting, in your children, in your bedroom. Let’s see how Satan is doing.

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The Hive Law Firm did a study on the divorce rate in America.  Some of the data regarding their study of May 2, 2021, are as follows:

Lack of Commitment  94.4 %; Infidelity 88.8 %; Excessive Conflict 72.2 %; Married Too Young 61.1 %; Financial Issues 55.6 %; Substance Abuse 50 %; Religious Difference 33.3 %; Domestic Violence 27.8 %; Health Problems 27.8 %; Lack of Family Support 27.8 %; and, No Pre-martial Education 22.2 %

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The average length of first-time marriage in the US. is 8.2 years; The high school sweetheart divorce rate is 54%; The divorce rate for first marriages is 30.1%; The divorce rate of second marriages is 22.03%; The average length of second marriages is 9.2 years for men; The average length of second marriages for women is  8.1 years; The divorce rate of third marriages is 25.8%; The divorce rate in California is 41.9% & 42.6% in New York, and The divorce rate in America is 44.6%.

The interracial marriage divorce rate is 15.1% higher compared to same-race marriages. After 10 years of marriage, interracial couples had a 40.2% divorce rate, compared with a 34.9% divorce rate among couples who married within their race. The Christian divorce rate for those who did not regularly attend church was 60%. The Christian divorce rate for regular church attendees was 38%.

In addition to the above here is a link on the effects that same sex marriages have on children of 2014. https://www.unitedfamilies.org/marriage/same-sex-marriage-harmless-or-harmful/ and here is a more recent gallop poll showing how far we have been deceived by the satan regarding the percent of people who support same sex marriages. https://news.gallup.com/poll/350486/record-high-support-same-sex-marriage.aspx.

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Marriage God’s Way

The movie, “The Princess Bride”, has a wedding scene in which the marrying minister says, “Marriage is what brings us together today.” While his delivery of that line was meant to be humorous, he spoke a great truth. Marriage is indeed a great unifier.

It is a solemn, respectable institution created by God Himself, and it joins together a man and a woman in amazing oneness. May I add that it does not say “it joins a man and man” or a “woman and woman” together. Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of the grand plan for marriage created by God our Creator and spelled out in Scripture in the Book of Genesis. We should be reminded that:

(1)    Marriage creates one new family out of two: (Genesis 2:23-24, “Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh ….’ ‘Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife”)

(2)    It provides a pure outlet for a divinely designed desire: (1 Corinthians 7:2, “because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband”)

(3)    If forms a mutually helpful team: (Proverbs 31:10-12, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life”)

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When looking for a new car, potential buyers look at more than the exterior styling. They check out the inner workings that make it run smoothly and efficiently. However, when choosing a spouse, some are not so careful. They (both men and women) make the same mistake and discover too late that a beautiful body is camouflaging a defective mind and soul.

Of all people, Solomon should have known this. After all, he was the wisest man who ever lived. 1 Kings 3:12, “I will do what you have asked, I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be” and in 1 Kings  4:29-30, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the sea-shore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East”.

But Solomon followed his own desires rather than God’s command and married women whose allegiance was not to God (1 Kings 11:1-2). The results were disastrous. Solomon’s wives turned his heart toward other gods (1 Kings 11:3-4), and God became angry with him (1 Kings 11:9). The kingdom of Israel was eventually divided and defeated (1 Kings 11:11-13).

It is difficult to make good decisions if our allegiance is to someone who does not know and love God. Marriage God’s way brings a man and a woman together to honor Him and to help society. We celebrate marriage for the ways it brings us together in God’s name according to the Scriptures.

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  1. The Wife’s Subjection – (1 Peter 3:1-6
  2. The instruction concerning subjection – (1 Peter 3:1, “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,”)

Scripture teaches that the Christian wife should recognize the role of headship given to her husband: “Be in subjection to your own husbands” (1 Peter 3:1). The relationships between God the Father and God the Son helps us to understand the relationship between a husband and wife. The Bible clearly teaches that God the Father and God the Son are absolutely equal in all their characteristics and abilities.

However, the Son’s role during His life on earth definitely placed Him in submission to the Father. Likewise, God created men and women equal in personal worth and standing before Him. Also, in a marriage He has established a head-submission relationship. This plan is God’s design not a male scheme, although some men have abused their role (Genesis 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:11-14).

The head-submission principle is illustrated by women of the Old Testatment. Peter uses Sarah’s relationship to Abraham as a specific example of a submissive wife.

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  1. The results of subjection – (1 Peter 3:1-2, “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives”

Some Christian wives faced the challenge that their husbands knew the gospel message but had so far refused to accept it (just like today). Peter encouraged these wives by saying their husbands could be won to Christ by the holy living of their wives.

How can you submit to a husband who is not a Christian? You can’t submit to him spiritually, of course, unless he is submitted to Christ. Nor can you submit if he requires you to commit some sin, since your submission to Christ takes precedence over your submission to any human being. But submission to your non-Christian husband, Peter makes clear, may be an important element of his conversion to Christianity. When he sees the reality of his wife’s faith as it’s worked out through her life, it is a powerful testimony to him of the truth of the Christian message.

Missionary George Muller told of a wealthy German whose wife was a devout believer. This man was a heavy drinker, spending late nights in the tavern. She would send the servants to bed, stay up till he returned, receive him kindly, and never scolded him or complained. At times she would even have to undress him and put him to bed. One night in the tavern he said to his cronies, “I bet if we go to my house, my wife will be sitting up, waiting for me. She’ll come to the door, give us a royal welcome, and even make supper for us, if I ask her.”

They were skeptical at first, but decided to go along and see. Sure enough, she came to the door, received them courteously, and willingly agreed to make supper for them without the slightest trace of resentment. After serving them, she went off to her room. As soon as she had left, one of the men began to condemn the husband. What kind of a man are you to treat such a good woman so miserably?” The accuser got up without finishing his supper and left the house. Another did the same and another till they had all departed without eating the meal.

Within a half hour, the husband became deeply convicted of his wickedness, and especially of his heartless treatment of his wife. He went to his wife’s room, asked her to pray for him, repented of his sins, and surrendered to Christ. From that time on, he became a devoted disciple of the Lord Jesus. He was won without a word!

George Muller’s advice. Don’t be discouraged if you have to suffer from unconverted relatives. Perhaps very shortly the Lord may give you the desire of your heart, and answer your prayer for them. But in the meantime, seek to commend the truth, not by reproaching them on account of their behavior toward you, but by manifesting toward them the meekness, gentleness and kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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  1. The example of subjection – (1 Peter 3:5-6, “For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear”)

Peter clarified the concept of subjection by appealing to the example of Sarah and other unnamed women of the Bible. We are told that Sarah obeyed her husband and called him “lord” (Genesis 18:12). This may not seem too significant, but to Peter’s readers the term was a testimony of Sarah’s submission to Abraham. The word “lord” shows respect, leadership, and recognition of the one responsible for the operation. Wives who evidence this kind of subjection toward their husbands join the ranks of Sarah as her daughters, as long as they do well and are not overcome with anxieties and fears.

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  1. The Wife’s Adorning – (1 Peter 3:3-5)
  2. Fleshly adorning – 1 Peter 3:3, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes”)

Peter rejected three particular things as improper forms of adornment for women:

(1)    arranging hair,

(2)    putting on gold jewelry, and

(3)    wearing fine clothes.

Obviously, Peter did not intend to rule out all hair dressing and gold jewelry any more than he intended to forbid all clothing. He was communicating a basic Christian value that genuine beauty comes from within a person rather than from the physical exterior. Perhaps these Christian wives, anxious to please their unconverted husbands, were depending more on fashions than on the beauty of inner character developed by the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter raised their sights to higher standards.

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  1. Godly adorning – (1 Peter 3:4-5, Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands”)

In a world full of screens and beautiful, seemingly perfect people, it can be easy to get lost in the quest for physical beauty. This can leave us with a feeling of hopelessness or even worthlessness, as it can seem impossible to obtain the beauty that is coveted by so much of the world.

However, true, unfading beauty is much more than exteriors. “Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:4, NIV). The Bible tells us our beauty is not measured by the clothes we wear or how we look. Instead, we have inner beauty, which is based on who we are, not what we look like.

A Christian woman’s best adornment is her Christ-centered personality as the Holy Spirit displays His graces in and through her life. The graces Peter mentioned are a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4) and a spirit of proper subjection (1 Peter 3:5).

A wife who has a meek and quiet spirit will not nag, sabotage or scream angry abuse and will refrain from embarrassing or degrading her husband (Proverbs 21:9). A spirit of quiet submission does not mean that a wife has no voice. She should be free to discuss matters with her husband, expressing her views and the reasons behind them. But when she and her husband do not reach the same conclusion and a decision must be made, she will allow him to make the decision and bear his responsibility for it before God.

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The Christian Husband – (1 Peter 3:7, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers”)

  1. His proper relationship to his wife.

“Dwell with them according to knowledge” requires the husband to recognize the facts about his wife as they live together, and seek to understand her temperament, personality, strengths and weaknesses. He must not treat her in the same way he thinks about himself. God made her different, and the husband needs to recognize, to accept, and to appreciate that.

A husband should recognize that there exists between him and his wife a common spiritual bond, as well as emotional and physical ties. A Christian husband and wife are “heirs together of the grace of life” (verse 7). This is total equality in their privilege of relationship with God. They should enjoy mutual spiritual fellowship with the Lord and in His Word. In the blessings of eternal life, a wife is not weaker, or inferior, or ranked beneath her husband. The two are joint heirs, sharing in common the blessings of Christ.

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2. The results of failing to heed the instruction (1 Peter 3:7).

All husbands need to pay attention to the instruction to honor their wives and then actively seek to do so. Marriage roles are important to God. When a husband and wife fail in their responsibilities to each other, they will cause far-reaching consequences. Yet, those couples who embrace their roles will realize tremendous blessings. Though submission is a word often associated with the role of the wife, both the husband and wife must submit to God by caring out the roles He has given to them.

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Closing thoughts:

Matthew 19:6 says, “They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate”

Some people would like to leave open the “lock” in wedlock. The vows “for better or for worse … till death us do part” sound too risky. One liberal minister said that marriage as we’ve known it is obsolete.        Yet, studies show that married people tend to be happier and healthier. A Gallup Poll conducted in 1998, revealed that 95 percent of Americans consider marriage and family life to be very important to them.  However, a 2019  poll by the Pew Research Center found that 54% of Americans say being married is important, but not essential, for men and women to live fulfilling lives.

God put a padlock on wedlock because man needed the support and fulfillment that is inherent to a lifelong commitment. In Genesis 2:18, the Lord said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

We must recognize that God is not only the architect of marriage but also the One who holds it together. A marriage should be made up of three people: a wife, a husband, and Jesus Christ. The foundation of a Christian marriage needs to be a commitment to love and honor the Lord.

Is Jesus the third person in your marriage? He can bring lasting stability to a new relationship, and He can revive the love in a faltering one. But you must surrender to Him, letting Him show you in His Word how He can be your foundation. He’s the bedrock for wedlock.

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Put Christ FIRST if you want your marriage to last.