Hope for Your Marriage


Hope for Your Marriage
I Peter 3:1-7
Simon Peter was a married man. We know that from the scriptures. So he is speaking to us not only from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but he also is speaking out of his own experience. He is talking to us about the subject of marriage. He is talking about the relationship between the wife and the husband and the husband and the wife. 
I want to point out to the ladies that he writes six verses for the wives and one verse for the husband. I'm saying that for my own protection because if I preach six times as long to the women as I do for the men, I'm doing it because that's what Peter laid out for me.
But actually all seven of these verses wrap around the subject of the wife. What you have here in scripture is a beautiful picture of a godly wife. I'm sure that the desire of every wife in this building is to be a godly wife, that you be the kind of wife that the Lord desires you to be for your husband.
I want you to notice first of all in the opening verses what I'm going to call
I. A Godly Wife's Testimony.
He begins by saying, "Likewise, ye wives." He seems to be dealing with a particular situation in these verses.
In the New Testament time there were those who were coming to know the Lord, and it was not uncommon for a wife to be converted and come to know Jesus as her Savior and her husband to be unsaved. 
We know the Bible is very specific that believers are not to marry unbelievers. The Bible says that we are free to marry whom we will in the Lord. You are to marry a Christian mate. I don't know how anybody can expect their marriage to be anything of what God expects it to be if you consciously and knowingly disobey God's Word and marry someone who does not share your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Evidently these were wives who already were married, had come to know the Lord as their Savior, and their husband was unsaved. It is a specific situation here.
The Bible makes it plain that the wife in that situation is not to leave her unbelieving husband. First Corinthians 7, verse 13, says, "And the woman who hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him." The Bible does not say to leave your unsaved mate. But it does give us in these verses of scriptures some guidelines that will help a godly wife to be the kind of a positive testimony that God wants her to be to her unsaved husband.
I want you to notice that her testimony is to be a testimony which is submissive. 
verse 1
Subjection or submission means to rank under. It's not a word that has anything to do whatsoever with equality or inequality. It is talking about the matter of function. It is talking about how the marital situation works, how it is put together. God is the one who has designed the institution of marriage, and we go to the Word of God to find out what God has to say about what makes marriage work.
I remind you that these are not the words from the Apostle Paul. Paul uses the same kind of terminology and he talks about being submissive. Some people say, "That's just Paul. He wasn't married and he was all out of joint because he didn't like women and that's why he said for the wife to be submissive to the husband." Yet I remind you that Simon Peter is a married man and he also says, "Wives be in subjection to your husbands."
That's a hot button in our culture today. That gets people all riled up. That gets people all worked up. Yet God says that this is the way marriage works. There is no inequality in gas in an engine when it submits itself to the carburetor. That's just the way a car functions. If the gas goes all over the motor without being subjected to the carburetor, then you're going to have confusion and disruption.
God is saying, "Here is the way the institution of marriage works." It simply means that the wife is to understand how God has put the family together and she works accordingly.
We're not talking about inequality here. The testimony is to be characterized by being submissive.
But then he moves on and he says that the testimony of a godly wife, if she's got an unsaved husband in particular, is to be characterized by being redemptive. 
He says, "If any obey not," that is, if they are an unbeliever, if they have adamantly refused to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior, "If any obey not the word."
What he's saying is, "Here's how a godly woman is to go about being a positive testimony to her unsaved husband." It says here that you are to do it without a word. You are to do it without a whole lot of talking. 
I think most of us would say that it would be better if we talked less. Here is a wife and she has just come to know the Lord and her husband is unsaved and she really wants him to be saved because she loves him so much. With all of her heart she wants him to come to know Jesus as her Savior, and she get a little over zealous about the thing. 
She gets worked up a little and she starts begging him to come to the Lord, and she starts preaching to him and starts nagging him and she's doing everything she knows to do to try to get him saved. She puts tracks under his pillow at night, and she pastes John 3, verse 16, on his beer can, and she turns up my sermon tape so loud that he can't watch the ball game. She kind of goes overboard and she hinders the situation just a little bit.
The wife must come to understand that if you have good horse sense, you don't become a nag. That's not the way you win your unsaved husband. 
But it says that if they are not obedient to the Word, without a word they may be won, "By the conduct of the wives," that is, by the lifestyle of the wives. It says in verse 2, "While they behold your pure lifestyle."
Your testimony is not something that is to be so much heard as it is to be seen. Dear wife, if you've got an unsaved husband this morning, let me tell you the best think you can do to win your husband to the Lord. Be a good wife and be pure and kind and loving and you make him the very best wife he could ever have, and somewhere along the way it may be that that husband will sit you down and say, "Dear, I've been watching your life during these days of our marriage and there's something different about you. I wonder what it is." That way you can then give him "the" word and you may win him to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Your testimony should be submissive. You testimony should be redemptive. But that's not all. 
He says in verse 3 that your testimony should be attractive. He's talking about godly wives. 
verse 3
Now he's talking here about the appearance of a wife. He's talking about the importance of the appearance of a wife. 
We know a great deal about some of the social customs and things in the New Testament day. We know that the women of that day were very elaborate in their dress. 
In fact, sometimes they would import wigs made out of blonde hair. They would wear those on their head. They would put silver and gold jewelry and adornment in their hair. They would have clothing of the very finest fabric. They really could dress in startling and extravagant ways. Some of the depictions we have been given of that is of their hair way up. It kind of looked like an explosion on Mount St. Helens. They were decked out.
I've seen some hairstyles today that look to me like an explosion in a mattress factory. I've never seen anything like it in my life. A wife came home and said to her husband, "I've had my hair set." He said, "Really? When is it going to go off?"
Some groups have misunderstood this. Some groups have taken this statement to mean that woman should not wear fine gold or jewelry and that they shouldn't plait their hair. You have to be careful of that because if you say that verse says that you shouldn't wear jewelry and you shouldn't plait your hair, then you're going to have to go to the third statement and say that you've got to go without clothes too. I don't think any of us want to go that far.
He is not saying here that it is unimportant how a Christian wife looks. It is important how you look. You should look as good as you possibly can for your husband. That's how you should look.
Sometimes some women have the idea that it's a mark of spirituality to look like an unmade bed. Vance Havner said, "To be all out for God you don't have to look all in." 
There are a lot of wives that have that idea but what he's saying is, "Don't let your attractiveness, don't let your beauty, be something that's on the outside, but let your beauty be something that's on the inside." Do you see the contrast he's making?
"Whose adorning," he says in verse 3, "let it not be that outward." Then he says in verse 4, "But let it be the hidden man," that is, the hidden person on the inside." 
By the way, you Christian boys out here, I know that the first attraction you have is the looks of that girl. But I want to caution you to not just fall for the outward appearance of the girl. That's like going to a house sight unseen and buying a house on the basis of whether or not you like the paint on the outside. You might check to see if there is some plumbing on the inside and see if there's a kitchen inside and if there is running water on the inside. Don't choose a mate, boy or girl, on the basis of outward things. Check on their spirit. See if they are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.
"Whose adorning," let it be on the inside. Verse 4 says, "A meek spirit," that
is, a gentle spirit, "a quiet spirit," that is, a calm spirit, "which is in the sight of God of great price." Outward beauty fades.  Inward beauty remains. Outward beauty is temporal. Inward beauty is eternal.
Sometimes you read about these celebrities and stars as they get older and how desperately they try to keep themselves looking young. 
They get nose jobs and they get tummy tucks and all kinds of things. You don't know what you're seeing when you see that. It's a mess.
If you live long enough, your old body is going to get old. What you need to be working on is to keep your spirit on the inside beautiful. That's something that will never grow old. I know godly women who are beautiful and gorgeous because they are gorgeous on the inside. That's what he is saying. Let your testimony be an attractive testimony, and it will never grow old.
In verse 5 he says, "Here's who your examples are to be, Christian ladies." He says, "For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves." He goes back to the Old Testament. Your example should not be a Hollywood star. Your example shouldn't be some rock singer. Your example should be some godly example from the Bible. 
He uses one. Her name is Sarah, it says in verse 6. It says, "Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord." She was very submissive. Sarah, at the age of 90, was so beautiful that the King of Egypt tried to seduce her. That's some drop-dead gorgeous! But what he's saying that made Sarah really beautiful was that submissive spirit, that inner beauty. It says that that is to be the example of a godly wife, being in subjection to your husband.
Verse 6, "And are not afraid with any terror," which is not giving in to hysterical fear. There's a great deal for godly wives to cause them to fear today. There is the welfare of their family, the culture in which their children are being subjected to. 
But God wants godly woman to be the kind of women who trust in the Lord and live for the Lord Jesus Christ. That's the kind of wife God wants you to be for your husband.
In verse 7 we find the second point. "In like manner." Notice the repetition, "In like manner, ye husbands." Now he is going to talk about
II. A Godly Wife's Treatment.
He's going to talk about how a husband is to treat his wife.
He tells us how he is to treat her emotionally. He says in verse 7, "Dwell with them according to knowledge." What that means is to live with them, live your life with them, according to understanding.
Learn all you can about your wife. Learn their biological make up. We do know that women and men are very different. They are different biologically. They are different emotionally. They are wired differently. 
The husband has to learn his wife's fears. He needs to learn her concerns. He needs to learn how she responds. It's a lifetime. You think you just about have women figured out and then they throw you a curve. You think you understand and got it down and then something else happens. By the way, men are the same way. Men are different too. Women, you think you have the old boy figured out and then the next thing you know you don't have him figured out. 
He says to dwell with them according to knowledge which is to understand them emotionally. 
Then he says, "Giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel." That's how to treat your wife physically. Give honor unto her, as unto the weaker vessel. 
The word vessel is used in two different ways in the New Testament. Paul said on one occasion that we have this treasure in earthen vessel. He was talking about the human body. Now, Peter uses the same word, vessel, and he is using it to refer to his wife. 
He's talking about caring for her as of the weaker vessel.
He's not talking about inequality. He's still not talking about matters of equality. He's talking now about a physical difference.  One of the problems that the feminist had with this whole deal that they've been on for a few years is that they try to say that there are no biological differences between men and women, and we know that is just patently false on the surface. There are differences.
Dr. Robert Kerlan, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, said, "If the battle of the sexes were reduced to a tug of war with a line of 100 men on one side of the trench and 100 women on the other side of the trench, the men would win every time." That's true. 
He is simply saying that a man has to recognize the fact that he has a delicate vessel when he has a wife. She is like a delicate, fragile vase. He is to care for her. 
He is to honor her and he is to treat her with dignity. It is never appropriate for a man to be publicly critical or disparaging of his wife. You put her like a vase in a prominent place in your home. You put her there to be admired and loved and cared for and to be guarded because an expensive vase can fall and it can break easily. So he's talking about how you take care of your wife. Honor your wife.
I heard about a Mexican riding along on a little mule and his wife was walking along side. Someone said, "Hey, man, why isn't your wife riding?" He said, "Because she ain't got no mule!" That's not the way to treat your wife, guys. You are to be honorable. Treat them with honor as unto the weaker vessel.
Then he tells you how to treat them spiritually. In verse 7 it says, "And as being heirs together." 
There's the equality.   "Heirs together of the grace of life." You are living life together.
I was thinking about these couples who have had hurts and have been hurting in our fellowship here. It is as you go through these experiences in life that you are drawn together. It's the hard times that really help you become the heirs together of the grace of life. It's as you pray through these problems and it's as you deal with these heartaches that you are drawn together. 
It doesn't get easier as you go along the way. It gets more difficult. Sometimes the burdens are greater and sometimes the heartaches are deeper and sometimes the pain is more poignant. But it is those times that draw you together and make you heirs together of the grace of life. 
He says, "That your prayers be not hindered." Your spiritual life is tied into your marital life and into your home life. As we learn to love one another and as we learn to work together, God says that we become heirs of the grace of life together.
I want to point out something to you now. Look at verse 1 and verse 7. 
He starts off verse 1 by saying, "Likewise." In verse 7 he says it again. "Likewise, ye husbands." Notice the repetition. It means in the same manner. He's referring to what he has previously written about in the second chapter.
In the second chapter, you may recall, that he has laid before us the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who submitted Himself to the will of God. Basically what he is saying in verses 1 and 7 is, "Wives, in like manner"; "Husbands, in like manner." He's saying, "Wives and husbands, the way to be a godly wife and godly husband is to be as much like Jesus as you can possibly be." 
If you want something that will help you to be the kind of wife you should be and the kind of husband you should be and the kind of father and mother you should be, then give your heart and your life to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Edgar and Olivee Wilson
It was that sweet, consistent, Christ-like life of a godly wife.
Let's bow our heads and pray.
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