Finally..."Be Prepared to Give an Answer"
This is one of those sermons… This should be a great encouragement for the church today. For those on the front-line of the Gospel. Unfortunately, because of the great encouragement satan and man has attacked these words really from the beginning of time. In reality, none of us were in Asia Minor with Peter when he said these words. None of us were there when they were written down, None of us heard the nuance when Peter was saying them. None of us understands what particular situation Peter was responding to when these words were recorded.
I hope that I’ve peaked your curiosity! Let’s read the passage and they get to some interpretation
1 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. 3 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. 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.
OK, I’ve said it. Now through the years and even currently men and women use this passage for all the wrong reasons.
Men, this passage does not EVER encourage violence against women. That is NOT the global message of scripture. The global message of scripture is equality, respect, kindness, love and lots of other adjectives.
Women, this passage does not say that you should not wear makeup, earrings, have your nails done or your hair colored and styled.
What it does say is that men and women should be in relationships that are full of respect, honor, love, care and compassion for each other.
Like I do at times we are going to look at the end of this passage as a way of giving context to the beginning.
Beginning in V.8
8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
and then V.13-17
15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Finally… ALL OF YOU!! Not just women and not just men;
HONOR IN YOUR HEARTS CHRIST THE LORD AS HOLY! Live a life that is full of Hope, Faith and Inexpressible Joy in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Have a unity of mind… Be on the same page with your spouse, know what your goals are, know the steps its going to take to get those goals. Know that your number one goal is to win your spouse to Jesus.
I told my story a number of different times and used it in a number of different ways. But the fact is that Jill married a non-Christian. She knew the command
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
I didn’t know the scripture and even if I did it probably would not have stopped us.
I do not recommend the first two years of our life together to anyone.
God moved in very specific ways to win me to Christ. And satan fought him every step of the way. They battled for my soul and PRAISE God, satan lost!
So following this unity of mind with your spouse are some specific directions to ALL of US married or not, to and with our spouse or not.
Be sympathetic to one another
Have brotherly love for each other
Have a tender heart
Approach each other humbly
Do not repay evil with evil. But overwhelm evil with love.
Be a blessing to each other… not a millstone around anothers neck.
Why would you want to act like this… this is a lot of work. we have to eat a lot of humble pie in our relationships to follow these commands.
Given all that we have heard in the last part of the passage let’s move to the first part of the passage. It’s tough passage and I have described before. It is a core teaching, but it is meant to be in context with what we have just talked about.
So, hang on to your hats and move back to 1Peter3.1
1 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,
Don’t get stuck and throw out the rest of the verse after hearing
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands...”
The force of that verse comes in the next statement. “So that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over, without words by the behavior of their wives”
Here is a question for you, both men and women. What lengths would you go to win another person to faith in Christ?
Would you go to a bar and talk about Jesus?
Would you go to a homeless encampment, like to one in our back parking lot and talk to those who live there about Jesus?
Would you go to the notorious dumps outside Mexico City where thousands live eating scraps of garbage and talk about Jesus?
Would you even be willing to have a cup of coffee, when we can ever do that again. with someone and have a God discussion with them?
That statement is undoubtedly directed at the specific situation that Peter observed and reacted to. But like so many of those that we have seen and well see in our coming study of the Book of Acts, there are some deep spiritual concepts involved.
I will take the time to provide context to those “obey statements” in the coming weeks. Over arching it is absolutely right to say that Christ desires submission to each other , for the sake of each other and for the sake of the Gospel!
I think we want to forget the “for the sake of the Gospel” part because we don’t know how, we don’t care to, it’s uncomfortable to talk about Jesus to a non-believer. Once we have experienced Grace, Mercy, Forgiveness and Redemption we are all in with this Jesus thing.
But we are not “in” enough to want to share with a sick and dying world in desperate need of Jesus Christ. Saying… that’s the Pastor’s job or that what I support missionaries for. What can I say… i’ll just leave that one lay there.
The next verse that we want to handle head on it V.3-4
3 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.
Whatever you do, however you dress and act, both men and women, girls and boys should represent Jesus well. Now of course standards change over time. I’m sure some of you remember suits, ties, long dresses and bonnets in the church.
I do clearly remember the week that Jill, who father and grandfather where both Baptist Church Pastors, who wore jeans to church. And she was NOT struck down with a lightening!
If you can stand before Jesus and he will support what your wearing then it’s OK by me. Now for the young men and women in our world. Others have the final word. God has given others special rights over kiddos. Obey them.
All of us… Let our our inner spirit and unfading joy show the world out worth is not measured in man’s eyes but in God’s eyes.
The last statement: “Let our our inner spirit and unfading joy show the world out worth is not measured in man’s eyes but in God’s eyes.” serve as the anchor to verses 5-6
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.
Using Sarah as the example necessitated pointing submission towards women. This is a cultural example from the time to Peter. and one that we should follow now.
The very last statement there is very telling of the culture in Peter’s time. This was a time of NEW FREEDOM in Christ, It was sweeping the Mediterranean world. Women were not just merely property. God and Jesus recognized them as equal under the protections of God himself.
Frankly, there were generations of submission to ugly, ugly husbands who treated wives as property and slaves. And probably treated the slaves better.
There is a challenge there for women, especially “free women,” Especially Jewish women. The pagan women would have no idea who Sarah was and what she did.
As Sarah was submission, so we all should be submissive to will and ways of our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ.
Here is the kicker to verses 5 & ^
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.
Don’t stop with verse 6. You violate one of the key principles to scriptural interpretation
Context, Context, Context.
Because with the example of Sarah we also have the example of Husbands
Live with your wives in an understanding way
Showing honor that women are due…women, act like you deserve honor.
You are due this honor and respect because of your “gracious gift of life” that you bring.
Men and women… do all these things so that nothing will hinder your relationship with God through prayer.
So why would do all of these things...
Yes, everything that we have heard today is “fair”
Yes, it is good to treat each other, either men or women with respect.
Yes it is good to honor women for their position as mothers
And men as their position as fathers
We still have not gotten to the great big point that is just screaming at us… It’s Peter’s main point, it’s Paul’s main point, It’s the reason that Christ came, it’s reason that he left us with the Holy Spirit. If you haven’t caught it here it is.
15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
If you honor each other, you can set Christ apart in your hearts.
HE IS THE BIGGY...
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
All of the preceeding scripture and examples gets us here. The world and frankly generations of Christians have gotten so distracted by the examples that they have missed the point.
If someone asks, why do you act differently in the face of illness, death, disease, persecution. Why do you have such a steady as you go attitude?
Here is my answer...
When you [brother and sister’s in Christ or non-believers] see the world going to hell in a hand basket. And you look to us for answers we should as the verse calls us to
“give the reason for the hope that we have,” and to do it with gentleness and respect, keeping above the fray, above the culture but being immersed in the culture so that even those that lie about you would have no grounds to be believed.
I hope that I can be that person one day. I’ve got a ways to go. I’m not giving up through, I’m growing each and every day on my journey. Because like you, I still retreat to old ways and old patterns. Sometimes those patterns are sinful and I have to confess and seek forgiveness.
But there are those times… when the Spirit gives me the words and encouragement that drive the Gospel into my soul and because of that, it flows out of me and into the world.
You see God is a Waymaker, he will make our mission clear. He will work a miracle if he needs to get us in a place where he can use us for His glory and honor. He is a miracle worker when he can redeem us from all of the garbage in our lives and use us for his good and for the good of the world around us. Don’t ever forget that you are God’s agent to bring as many as possible to faith in God.