Faithlife Sermons

Silent Soul Winning

Through the years, I’ve heard people say, "I wasn’t looking for God when He found me." Let me give you a modern example of this process.
Astronaut Charles Duke is one of only twelve men who have left footprints on the moon. He was the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 16 Mission. He now lives in New Braunfels, Texas. He wasn’t a Christian when he walked on the moon. Here’s his story:
"After walking on the moon, I was bored. Fame, fortune, a spot in the history books: I had it all. But if you had been a fly on the wall in my home, you would have seen that I wasn’t so hot. I was failing miserably as a husband and father. Though I had gone to church all my life, I had all of God I needed in that one hour every Sunday morning. Even the moon had not been a spiritual experience. I wasn’t looking for God. I only knew Jesus the way you know the U.S. Presidents--in name only. My business succeeded, and the money rolled in, but I was bored again.
"But Dottie wasn’t. She had changed. Her depression had lifted, and she demonstrated a new, believing faith. She turned to God--not me--for answers to her problems. One night I attended a Bible Study with her that focused on one penetrating question, 'Who was Jesus?' All my life I had said the words 'Son of God' but had never trusted Him. That night I came face-to-face with the opportunity to follow Him. I prayed with Dottie in the front seat of our car and gave my life over to Christ. I didn’t see angels. I didn’t hear music. No blinding lights. But I knew what I knew. It was real.
The next day I awoke with an insatiable desire to read the Bible. It cost the government $400 million for me to walk three days on the moon--and it’s over. But to walk with Jesus is free and it lasts forever!"
Last week we saw a strange place from which the light of the Gospel could shine… from the life of a Christian slave. We saw that if a believer lives his life in a Godly manner, even though he is a lowly slave, his powerful life will silence accusers and bring glory to Jesus.
Peter now addresses the sojourners and their domestic relationships. The culture of the time was that women simply followed the religion of their husband, and had no say or right to say what they believed personally. Peter introduces a radical concept for the time. He proposes that women can believe something different than their husbands, because they have value as an individual with separate thoughts and convictions, and those beliefs have value. So how in the world can a woman reach her unbelieving or at least disobedient husband without turning him off completely to her new found faith? Peter gives the answer… it is to learn the art of Silent Soul Winning.

Submitting In Love Is The Right Thing to Do.

1 Peter 3:1 KJV
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
Ephesians 5:21–22 KJV
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Colossians 3:18 KJV
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

hupotasso (ὑποτάσσω, 5293), primarily a military term, “to rank under” (hupo, “under,” tasso, “to arrange”),

Submission is the Wise Thing to Do.

...they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives
Proverbs 11:30 KJV
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; And he that winneth souls is wise.
The word translated “if” in the Greek text refers to a fulfilled condition. The word “even” in the Greek text is not brought out by the translators. It is, “even if.” “Obey not” is the translation of a word which speaks of a state of unbelieving disobedience. The word means literally in its verb form, “not to allow one’s self to be persuaded.”
These husbands were of that obstinate, non-persuasable type that will not listen to reason. Their wives had often given them the gospel, but they had met it with stiff-necked obstinacy. Peter exhorts them, in view of their husbands’ obstinate rejection of the gospel, to stop talking about it, and just live a Christlike life before them.1
1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 72.
The word “won” in the Greek text means “to gain, acquire,” in the sense of the acquisition of money in James 4:13, here, “to gain” anyone by winning him over to the kingdom of God. “A soul won is a gain to our Lord who bought him, a gain to the one who won him, and a gain to that soul itself.”
1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 73.

Submission is the Silent But Effective Thing to Do.

1 Peter 3:2 KJV
While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
The husbands in question “do not believe the word,” for their wives had certainly tried to explain their new faith to them and some husbands probably would have visited their wives’ church to see what was going on. Since these men had not accepted the gospel, they were likely discouraging their wives’ dedication to Christ and attendance at Christian activities, especially when they discovered that the women no longer accepted their household religion. Peter does not suggest that the women should give in to their husbands and discontinue Christian activities, but that they should not allow their freedom in Christ and domestic discomfort (with some understandable hurt and anger) to make them feel superior to their husbands and obey them less. Instead they are to be model wives. This seeking to please is far more likely to win their husbands over than continual nagging. It will also commend Christianity to the wider society. The term “win” is a commercial term meaning “to get commercial gain” or “to win something,” but in Christian usage it is a missionary term meaning “to make a Christian” and is used in parallel with “save” in 1 Cor. 9:19–22. 1
1 Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 116.
The word “conversation” today refers to the interchange of language between two or more persons. When the a.v. was translated it meant what the Greek word means, “one’s behaviour, manner of life.” Thus do some English words change their meaning in the course of time. This manner of life included in it submissiveness to their husbands. Both Peter and Paul found it necessary to impress upon the Church that incompatibility of religion did not justify dissolution of marriage. This subjection to their husbands would also be a factor which God could use in winning their husbands.1
1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 73.
Jill Briscoe talks about the difference between her family and her husband, Stuart's, family and what that brought to their own marriage. She says, "My father, a quiet, gentle man, considered himself head of his home: protector, defender, and provider. My mom was a sweet, Scottish-born Presbyterian. She believed in the sovereignty of God and her husband. My father adored my mother, put his considerable business assets into her name, and looked to her to raise the children. When my sister came of age, my father supported her when she became an excellent car mechanic and raced cars. Eventually she took her place at his side as partner in his successful car business.
"Stuart's family was strict, conservative evangelical. His father was an elder in a small local assembly of believers, and he took seriously his responsibility to rule the household well. He considered himself the authority in his family, while his wife, a bright, articulate, efficient lady, considered herself in subjection to her husband in everything, carrying those convictions to her dress, her hair style, and silence in the presence of men at the church.
"Newly converted at a college in Cambridge and having just been introduced to Stuart's family," Jill says, "I remember wondering greatly about this amazing mode of doing things. I sensed an unconscious frustration of unexplored desires and frustrated gifts in my mother-in-law. It was as if those gifts sat meekly inside her heart with eyes downcast and wearing a hat.
"In that moment as a new believer," Jill says, "I believe I stumbled on an important truth of what submission isn't. Submission isn't sitting down on the outside while you're standing up on the inside."
(Source: Jill Briscoe, "Hilarious Hupotasso," Preaching Today, Tape No.117. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Grace at Home--Part I, 6/11/2011)
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