(A Chosen People – Series in I Peter)
Westgate Chapel 11/19/00 I Peter 3:1-7
PROPOSITION: As we follow the pathway of submission to authority that Jesus has prepared for us, we need not fear if we trust the Lord instead of words, instead of physical appearance, instead of domination.
- THERE is a fundamental ingredient of authentic Christianity that is missing today…and it is the cross.
- “O, PASTOR,” you say, “the cross is not missing.”
* I have a gold one hanging around my neck.
* We have one on our church building.
* I have one on my T shirt.
* I sing all kinds of songs about the cross.
- NO, I am not saying that the symbol is missing. We have done a good job of that in our society.
- I AM suggesting that what is missing in contemporary Christianity is you and me on the cross.
- PAUL wrote, in Galatians 2:20,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
- TWO Sundays ago I preached from I Peter 2:13 to 3:7 on the submission of the Christian to authority in the state, authority in our community (church to work place) and authority in the family.
- AND this morning, with the Lord’s help, Rita and I are going to take a closer look at submission and respect in the Christian family.
- BUT unless you and I are living the cruciform life, the “I” that we battle with will never submit to anything or anyone, anywhere.
- IN Galatians 2:20 Paul says, “I no longer live…”
- BUT the truth is, for most of us in this building, that is not the case. We are very much alive. We squirmed off the cross a long time ago, if we ever were crucified with Christ.
* We bristle over perceived injustice that puts us on the ‘short end of the stick.’
* We defend ‘our rights.’
* We demand things be done our way.
* We act as if our perspective is the only one that could possibly be correct.
* We regularly go on the attack against authority wherever it exists in our lives.
* Disrespect frequently comes out of our mouths towards those in authority.
- IF any of these statements describe you or me it is a sure sign we have climbed off the cross.
- ONCE again, from Paul in Galatians 2:20,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
- GOD is calling us at Westgate Chapel to be crucified with Christ.
- THERE is no other hope for your marriage.
- ALL the counseling in the world will do nothing unless you are willing to be crucified with Christ, stop living yourself, and let Christ live in you.
- BUT we are afraid!
- WE are afraid that if we lay down on that cross….
* Our wives will take advantage of us.
* Our husbands will take us for granted, or stifle our freedom.
* We won’t get our way.
* We won’t reach our potential.
- SO our marriages become roped-in boxing rings with two frightened people…. Both determined to win each round….because they are afraid that the first one to submit will be the loser.
- AND today, Rita and I are here to call you to the cross in your relationships….and that without fear.
* Not because our marriage is perfect.
* Not because we have always lived the cruciform life in our family.
* But because of the unchanging, powerful Word of God…and our deep love for your marriages, your families, and your children.
- TWO Sundays ago we studied I Peter 2:13-15 about being submitted to authorities in matters of state!
- WE also learned, from verses 16-17, about submitting to one another in our community, from your local church to the workplace.
- TURN with us now please to I Peter 3:1-7, and let’s learn from the Holy Spirit about submission to the authority in the home, the family.
- HUSBANDS and wives, let’s consider the cross of Christ in our marriages today…and consider laying our lives down for His sake…without fear.
- I HAVE entitled this sermon, “No Fear.”
ii. conduct rather than words
- REMEMBER the heart of the whole subject of submission, in 1 Peter 2, is Peter’s description of Jesus, our Shepherd whom we follow.
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. (22) ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ (23) When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:21-23)
- JESUS submitted to the will of the Father, even going to the cross, because He entrusted Himself to God.
- HE left the outcome in God’s hands.
- HE trusted….without fear…because He was confident in the heart and character of His Father.
- THE family described in 1 Peter 3 has a Christian wife and an unbelieving husband.
- IN this situation, if the Christian wife gives in to fear, one way she may try and wrestle control of the home is through the use of words.
* Explaining words.
* Debating words.
* Nagging words.
* Argumentative words.
* Abusive words.
* Negative words.
- WHAT is behind all these words is the fear of losing control of your dreams, your life, or your future…..fear of not having any say at all.
- AND to these Christian wives, haunted by fear, Peter says in I Peter 3:1 (page 1202),
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your 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, (2) when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”
- THE words, “in the same way…” is an adverb that connect wives…to Jesus’ submission in 2:23, and to Christians’ submission to every authority, in 2:13.
- THE Greek word for submission means to “rank yourself (come into line) under.”
- GOD has instituted submission as part of our lives because…
* It is consistent with life within the godhead, the Trinity.
* He is a God of order, not chaos, and chaos is the fruit of anarchy.
* Order is a means of productivity, and fruitfulness is God’s heart for His people.
- SO, for the family, God has instituted the husband as the final authority, not because the husband is superior, but it is simply a role God has called the husband to fill.
- IT is not about VALUE… it is about ORDER.
* God’s purpose in the submission of the wife is the unity and happiness of the family.
* His purpose is the smooth and joyful functioning of the family….which is not possible with two willful people launching scud missiles at each other from their respective corners.
* His purpose is the salvation of the husband.
- GOD calls Christian wives to this submission in the home even if their husbands are not believers…and the Greek of verse 1 clearly implies that the husbands in view here may even be antagonistic to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- SO rather than using words, God says that it is the conduct of the wife that will win the day and win the husband.
- AND that conduct is…
1. Submission….to their husbands.
2. Life of purity….virtuous conduct (Proverbs 31).
• She brings him good, not harm.
• She is productive in those things that benefit the family.
• She is energetic and hard-working when it comes to the priorities of the home.
• She is clothed with strength and dignity.
• Listen to verse 30 and see its connection to the passage in I Peter 3,
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
3. Reverence for God….and Proverbs 31:30 said it best.
- CONDUCT rather than words….that’s what Peter is saying in verses 1-2.
iii. heart ATTITUDES rather than outward appearance
- LET’S move on in the passage.
- HEART attitudes rather than outward appearance.
- YOU see, besides words, another way that a woman can try and control her life is through her physical appearance.
- IT doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that a man is stimulated by what he sees….and in particular when it comes to the opposite sex.
- AND unless a Christian woman really has her trust in the Lord, she will be motivated by fear, and resort to working the angles through her physical appearance.
- THIS passage is NOT suggesting that you should not care for yourself….but it is addressing fear-based manipulation, obsessing over hair, jewelry, and clothes.
- LOOK at I Peter 3:3-6,
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. (4) Instead, 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. (5) For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, (6) like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.”
- WE all know what men look at….and that was what got Samuel in trouble when God sent him to anoint the new king for Israel. He looked at the outside and picked a strong, good-looking son of Jesse.
- AND God said to Samuel,
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)
- IT doesn’t really matter what men see when they look at you…it is what God sees when He looks on your heart that counts.
- I PETER 3:4 says that heart attitudes are “of greater worth in God’s sight.”
- LADIES….God is checking you out!
- AND in these verses Peter says that in the long run the attitudes of your heart, wife, will carry the day rather than trusting in physical appearances.
- WHAT are these heart attitudes?
1. Gentle and quiet spirit (verse 4).
2. Putting your hope in God, like the holy women of the past (verse 5).
3. Submitting to your husbands (verse 5).
4. Doing what is right (verse 6).
4. Not giving way to fear (verse 6).
- WORDS are often motivated by fear….it is your conduct that counts.
- OBSESSION with physical appearance is motivated by fear….it is your heart that counts.
- SO, let’s go to the cross, wives, and lay our lives down without fear….believing God will guard and protect what we have entrusted to Him.
iv. Partnership rather than domination
- OK husbands, now it is your turn to come to the cross.
- GUYS, when we get fearful that we are not getting our way, what do we do?
- WE try to dominate!
* By physical intimidation.
* By anger.
* By forceful, sometimes abusive words.
* With money in the family budget.
* Threatening divorce or abandonment.
* Quoting all the verses to our wives about submission….and demanding it.
- BUT is domination the way of the cross in the family?
- PETER says, it is not domination, but partnership.
- LET’S read it together.
- I PETER 3:7 starts with,
“Husbands, in the same way…
- THERE is that adverbial phrase again….”in the same way.”
- IT connects husbands to the theme of submission in I Peter 2:13, and 3:1.
- IN every New Testament passage about marriage God always balances the call to the cross evenly between husbands and wives.
- IT is the same in Ephesians 5:22 where it says,
“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”
- BUT not only does that Ephesians passage later command husbands to lay their lives on the cross for their wives….but just one verse above, in Ephesians 5:21 it says,
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
- SAINTS, we have to get back to the cross.
- THIS humble, submitting, preferring one another attitude is the way of the cross.
- THE Christian life is a mutual surrendering of our lives on the cross so that we can live productive lives together, freed of selfish and demanding agendas.
- IT is not about domination.
- PETER writes,
“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.”
- WHAT is it that husbands are to do “in the same way?”
1. Live with your wives.
• Not separate existences under the same roof.
• Not so engrossed in your career, the Sonics, or your motorcycle, or golf game that act as if she doesn’t exist.
• Not TV, your buddies, and pizza.
2. Be considerate.
• That word means thoughtful.
• Be thinking about....
- her interests?
- what makes her happy?
- what is her love language?
- what does she need to be fulfilled in this life?
3. Treat her with respect.
• In the small ways….open the door for her, pick her up under the canopy when it is raining, honor her physical appearance with your words and gentleness. Treat her like a lady.
• In the more important ways…solicit her opinions on all things, pay attention to and value what she has to say.
• Invite her into your life as your partner, and do everything in your power to respect her interests in the decision making.
• Make as few decisions as you possibly can using your God-given final authority….and when you do fast and pray to make certain that it is in hers and families interests when you do (and not a self-serving decision).
• Lay your life and ambitions….that was the example Jesus gave you for your role in the family.
“…husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..” (Ephesians 5:25)
i) She is the physically weaker sex.
ii) She is a co-heir of the gift of eternal life.
iii) You won’t make it if anything cuts off the effectiveness of your prayers.
- THERE it is! The Christian marriage, lived in joy and fruitfulness….with BOTH partners living the life of the cross.
1. Godly conduct…not words.
2. Heart attitude….not outward appearance.
3. Partnership….not domination.
- WE are so afraid! Afraid that if we…..
…..lay down words, we will get run over with no one to protect us.
…..don’t rely on our physical appearances, we will not get the attention we crave.
…..don’t dominate the marriage, we are somehow less masculine, less in control.
- BUT God is calling us to the cross with those fears this morning….and calling us to a higher standard for our marriages and relationships.