Marriage Matters Series Sermon 2, Wives

Marriage Matters Sermon 2
~Submit~
Tyson Graber, Herscher Christian Church 
June 12, 2011
1 Peter 3:1-7

Before I begin to try and apply God’s word to our lives today from Peter 1 let me offer you the context of all of this marriage talk.

First, it comes from the context of my life as a husband who is married to a wonderful wife, then as a Pastor who gets to work with many husbands and wives who are going through both good and bad times, and finally it is from the context of the original text written by Peter.

I stand before you this morning as a man that has been blessed in marriage over the past 10 years,   more than I could have imagined.  I praise God that He has given me an amazing wife who, by His grace, has been able to see past my flaws,  who loves me and who allows me to lead according to God’s design.

We are completely committed to each other, and believe that marriage is a covenant, not only between us, but also between God.  I have been faithful to her and only her even before I had the courage to tell her that I loved her, and I have just recently started to get better at communicating my commitment and love for her.

I also stand before you this week as a pastor that hurts for many of you.  Just this week, I have seen the hurt of broken marriages first hand.   In one week, I have looked into the eyes of more people than I would have ever thought who were broken because their spouse has recently told them the marriage is over.

So, this morning, I speak to you as someone who knows the blessing of marriage, but who has recently seen the terrible hurt of  broken marriage.  What I share with you is for the purpose of your own good.  I want what if best for you and your marriage, and I want what is best for this church family.

Make no mistake about it, when we follow God’s guidelines for marriage within the church, not only will our marriages be more healthy, our church will be more healthy.

Submission and Authority

The key concept that we must understand and commit to through this text from 1 Peter is the concept of submission and authority.

1 Peter 2:13-25

Peter explains submission as it applies to us as citizens in relation to the government,  and employees in relation to bosses, and so on.  For that matter, from 1 Peter 2:13 to the end of the book, Peter’s main emphasis that submission applies to all forms to Christian Living.

For example,  in 1 Peter 5:1-10, he teaches that the Elders and the Pastors should submit to Jesus and the Christians in the church should submit to their leaders.    In the middle of these two bookends about submission with the government, at work and in the church Peter talks about submission in the home in our text today from 1 Peter 3:1-7. 

Today we are going to deal with verses 1-6 as it mainly pertains to the ladies and next Sunday on Fathers Day we will look at verse 7 as it pertains to the men.

Before we get into any of this let me acknowledge that this is a very debated portion of the Bible and there may be times in the next two weeks that you and I may disagree.  When it is all said and done, let me assure you that we can both be Christians and disagree on some of these issues. But, in my humble opinion, unless we really take the time to wrestle with God’s will for marriage, we will miss many  blessings, and I desire that we all be blessed in our marriages.  So today,  please allow God to lead us in this study and practice of marriage through submission instead of allowing Satan to continue to destroy Christian marriages through selfishness.

Here is the bottom line.  Last week, from Genesis 2 we saw that God’s design for marriage was to united husband and wife as one ..., and the two become one.  This week we will see that God helps to ensure this union of two becoming one through submission.

Ensuring the Union of Two through Submission

Submission as related to marriage is found in many places in the Bible.  The most famous reference is probably in Ephesians 5:21 where Paul says, ‘submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.’  This means ‘be willing to put the interest of others ahead of ourselves.’  Too many marriages are destroyed by the exact opposite of this, which is ‘selfishness.’

God is saying stop being selfish and submit in the best interest of your marriage.  This is God’s design.  If you are one, act like it!

"Wives in the same way be submissive to your husbands."

So, how does Peter encourage wives to submit to unity with their husbands?

Look back to verse 1 (Wives in the same way be submissive to your husbands)  Notice, it does not say ‘women should submit to men.’  It says that ‘wives should submit to their husbands.’  Peter is talking about ‘one woman submitting to one man.’

I realize a lot of you woman don’t trust men anymore.  That’s alright, if I were you I wouldn’t either.  Many of them aren’t worthy of trust.  If you desire to be married you only need to trust and submit to one guy, your husband, that is all!  Peter is not asking for more than that.

Submission of Equals

This also doesn’t negate the equality of male and female or husbands and wives.  Male and female were both created in the image of God.  There is equality and difference at the same time.  That is the way we were created.

The husband is to humbly, sacrificially, lovingly, and gracefully lead his wife as Paul says Christ leads and loves the church,  and the wife is to respectfully follow the husband’s leadership as we follow Christ’s leadership.

Guys don’t you dare go on any ego trip with this.  This is ‘Christlike, sacrificial leadership,’  men.  We are called to lead our wives by giving everything up for their blessings as Christ did for us. 

Here is where the rubber meets the road.  Peter is saying there are going to be times when the husband and wife have different ideas about their marriage.  They will disagree.  I have been married long enough to know that is true.  There will be times you just aren’t on the same page.

Tiffani and I agree about most things in our life.  There are, however, moments in our marriage when we don’t agree.   We are not talking here about small details, we are talking about the stuff that matters.  We are not talking about trying to figure out where to go to eat on date night because he feels like fish and she wants chicken.  Those are easy ...., just give her what she wants.

Take my advice, just love her, serve her, do what she wants.  I have found it is a blessings to both of you more times than not.  I am not talking about those small details like where to eat or what color paint should be.  Those are easy.  We are talking about the major matters.

  • How much can we spend on a car
  • When do we start having kids,
  • How many kids,
  • Will we home school or not
  • Should we rent, buy, or build a house
  • Where will we go to church

These are Major matters that we are talking about here.  The big ones!  There will be times when even in the best of marriages you don’t see eye to eye on these matters.  We know we are always striving to be united as one in everything from our study of Genesis 2, so what happens when things just don’t work out and you don’t agree?

Some of you who have been married more than a few months probably can relate and you have had those moments when you just don’t agree on something major.

I believe the husband has some good options at this point.

1. Continue to Pray and discuss with your wife and Be patient.  Wait for her to come around.

2. Appeal to a higher authority (pastor/counselor).  Let them make the call.  If you’re not convinced either way, submit to this higher authority. He can make the decision.  There have been times when I’ve talked with my dad about a disagreement Tiffani and I were having and he’s had to tell me, “Tyson, you’re wrong.”

3.  If the matter is pressing and/or a decision cannot be reached, the husband must decide. His wife should submit to the decision.  That is the language the Bible uses.  There may be times when wives just need to follow the leadership of your husbands. 

We must decide ahead of time that this is God’s Will, because if we don’t, we will always be fighting and in that fighting we give the devil a foothold and he begins to destroy the marriage.

The Blessings of Submission

When you ladies hear these words, because of the world we live in,  many of you begin to roll your eyes and think, “This is some hogwash from 2000 years ago,” and, “I don’t really need to listen to this idea of submission at all because it will do nothing but hurt me.”  Let me suggest to you that, in the correct Biblical context, submission by a wife helps her much more than it would ever hurt her.

For example, just last night I asked for Tiffani to submit to me as we disagreed. 

After we came home from camp, and we were getting settled, I noticed something.  Tiffani didn’t say anything, but I could tell by her silence and her actions that ... something was wrong.  Now, ask any of the guys, when the wife gets silent and he can tell something is bothering her, it’s time for an apology, some roses... something to fix ‘what you did wrong’...  So, I asked her what was wrong.  At first she wouldn’t give me an answer, but then she confessed that she just didn’t think she had done a good job at the camp teaching the little ones.  I told her to stop right there.  That was entirely bogus.  Those kids were blessed, they learned a lot, and they had a great time.  “Tiffani, you are just going to have to listen to me, and stop thinking like that, because it couldn’t be further from the truth.”

In the past, Tiffani has neglected herself to care for me and the boys.  I don’t know if it was because she didn’t plan or buy, or prepare  as much as she thought, so decided to go without, or she just thought she had too much to do and didn’t have time to sit down to eat...  and I have had to instruct her to submit and sit down, eat.  Or I’d noticed she was wearing sox with holes in them, and I’d instruct her that she HAD to buy some new socks, or I’d pick up a bundle for her myself.

You see, more times than not, my demand for submission is for Tiffani’s own blessings because I love her more than I love myself.

If the husband is always demanding submission over disagreements about major issues you need to seek changes because your demand probably disagrees Biblically.  But if those submission struggles are because the husband wants his wife to be more blessed than she would like, you probably are on the right track.

The “Unequally Yoked”

Peter goes onto say in 1 Peter 1:1-2 “If”

This concept is repeated in other places in scripture and is directly connected here to Christian wives who have non-Christian husbands.

Here is how this happens. 

  • Two non-Christians marry and the wife becomes a Christian;
  • Or a Christian woman chooses to make things messy and marries a non-Christian;
  • Or a Christian woman marriages a man who says he is a Christian, but after being married for a time, stops following God or confesses he never was a Christians and chooses to live in sin.

Theses are very difficult situations and are often very painful because it is very hard for Christian woman to follow the leadership of a non-Christian husband. 

What should she do?

It says she should preach ‘wordless sermons.’  Those who have unbelieving husbands should not nag or be preachy, but rather love, serve, and respect their husbands, praying that God would use these actions to soften the husband’s heart.

It means you show the Good News of Jesus to Him and not try and cram in down his throat.  (Just bring him to the preachers office or to Sunday morning worship for that.)

Seriously, Ladies, I have heard some of your husband are saying, “I don’t want to hear about Jesus any more from you.”  Instead, preach wordless sermons, and when asked, share ..., but otherwise, Peter is saying, ‘Live your Godly life with patience so that he might be won to Christ.’

Peter goes onto say that wives need to show true beauty.  Wives are to cultivate true beauty

1 Peter 1:3-4

Peter is saying true beauty needs to come from within.  There is nothing wrong with outward beauty, but it is “fleeting and deceptive.”

Proverbs 11:22 “Like a gold ring in a pigs snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discernment.”

Peter is not negating beauty and nor would I ever want to do that, but beauty in a marriage is ultimately an issue of character.  He calls it a “gentle and quiet spirit.”

Peter is not suggesting that women be quite but this word is better translated in this text as “gentle or humble spirit.”  Not that she will never speak, but when she does she knows when and in what manner to speak and always honor both the Lord and her husband. 

A noble woman of God will show great discernment in every way.  This woman of Proverbs has wisdom on her tongue.  She is not the woman of Proverbs who is like ‘the dripping faucet that can’t be shut off.’ 

But when she speaks she helps to guide, influence and encourage her husband.  Wives, you are to help us, share with us your thoughts but do it with grace and compassion,  not with a cruel nagging nature.

All Peter is saying here, Ladies, is ‘work on your tone and purpose if you would like to be a blessing and heard by your husband.’

Peter goes on to say.  Seek Godly women to model after.

Seek Godly Women as Examples

1 Peter 3:5-6a

Wives should seek to know exemplary women. Peter gives Sarah as an example ..., and the Bible is clear that she is flawed. She is exemplary for her honesty and repentance, not because she is perfect; she ultimately did submit to God and to her husband.

She was not perfect. She convinced Abraham to ‘commit adultery so we can have kids.’
She went along with lies to protect them from harm from powerful rulers.

Why would he say, "Ladies, look to Sarah"?  Not because she was perfect, but because you are imperfect. You won’t be perfect.  Sarah wasn’t.  You don’t have to be perfect, but you want to be making progress by the grace of God.

Sarah laughed at God.  Some of you feel the same way about this idea of submitting to your husband.  Many women want to laugh at God when you learn He demands submission.  Some of you have laughed at God this morning.

But God is inviting you to laugh your laugh, make your mistakes..., but to decide to change and submit.

Wives should fight fear

1 Peter 3:6 (You are)

Fear (what if it doesn’t work out? what if I’m unhappy? what if my husband makes a bad decision?) makes life miserable and should be fought against by faith.

Men, we have made it easy to fear marriage and life because for years men have mistreated their women.

Ladies don’t live out of fear, but live out of your faith.  Allow God to set out the guidelines for marriage, and obey the Lord.

Stop being selfish.   Submit first to the Lord, and then to your Husband.

Submission Does Not Mean:

1. A husband is in ultimate authority.
 Above the husband is the church.  All the elders.  Call the police.  The husband is not the ultimate authority.

2. A wife does not have independent thoughts.
 She doesn’t look to her husband and ask, “What do I think?”

3.  A wife does not seek to influence her husband.
 You are to help your husband.  After God and the holy Spirit, a wife is the greatest guide for a husband.  Tiffani is a great help.  Pray and conversation.

4.  A wife must obey her husband’s command to sin.
 “No, I follow God’s authority, not yours.  I follow Jesus.”

5.  A wife is less intelligent or competent than her husband.
 We are not talking about IQ.  I have seen wives who are smarter than their husbands.  To be honest, there are things that Tiffani is much more competent at than I.

Submission Does Mean:

1. A husband and wife are equal with complementary roles.
  Both are in the Image of God, are complimentary, not in competitive roles.

2. Wives are to submit like Jesus did in Gethsemane (Luke 22:42).

3. Husbands are to lovingly lead like Jesus does the Church (Eph. 5:25).
 Jesus dies for the church.  Do you submit to Jesus?  Yes, Why

4.  A single woman should only marry a man she can follow.

5.  Christian marriage shows the gospel.
 Jesus took responsibility for something that wasn’t his fault.
 The man loves and tries to take responsibility for his family and his wife even when things are difficult and not his fault.

Pray that we would stop being selfish and submit to God’s plan for marriage!