Reading: 1 Peter chapter 3 verses 1-8:
• For the first time in her life
• Four year-old Suzie had just been told the story of "Snow White":
• She could hardly wait to get home from nursery school to tell her mommy.
• With wide-eyed excitement, she retold the fairy tale to her mother that afternoon.
• After relating how Prince Charming had arrived on his beautiful white horse,
• And kissed Snow White back to life,
Suzie asked loudly: “And do you know what happened then?"
• "Yes," said her mom, "they lived happily ever after.
• "No," responded Suzie, with a frown, “they got married."'
Sadly we live in a world where people believe the idea:
• That getting married and living happily together
• Do not necessarily go together.
Quote one cynic said:
"Marriage is not a word; it is a sentence".
Quote Jane Austin:
"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance".
Quote Mae West:
"Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution yet".
Compare marriage to the story of, "The Three Little Pigs."
• Like the first two pigs, many couples build their marriages out of straw and sticks,
• Only to have them collapse when adversity blows.
• The more solid, lasting, and enjoyable marriages, however,
• Are built out of the same material that the third pig used i.e. bricks.
The apostle Peter gives us some good advice in these verses concerning:
• The bricks that we need to use,
• If we want to build strong & happy marriages:
• Peter gives us some good advice;
• But notice his teaching is reciprocal.
• That is; teaching that never places all the responsibility on one side:
• When dealing with relationships the advice is always given to both parties.
• - i.e. Gives advice to slaves, he also gives advice to masters.
• - i.e. Gives advice to children, he also gives advice to parents.
• -& So here he gives advice both to wives and husbands.
Note: now if you were listening to the reading you may have noticed something:
• Peter gives six times more advice to wives,
• Than he does to husbands,
• Now don't take that the wrong way!
• It is not that Peter was male chauvinist, who is putting women in their place!
• In fact the opposite is true;
• The extra advice given by Peter is a sign of his respect, love and care!
Remember the time & the culture that this letter was written in:
• And that will explain why these verses unequally divide themselves up like they do.
• In ancient civilization, women had no rights at all.
• Under Jewish, Greek & Roman law women were the possessions of men.
• Property owned by their husbands.
• YET in these verses Peter does not talk to women as objects owned by men,
• That may have been the cultural understanding, but it was not God’s!
• Peter under the guidance of the Holy Spirit says to his readers, the opposite is true;
• The fact he takes the time to advise them, show that he views women as equals!
Now in verse one Peter is addressing a particular problem:
• If a husband became a Christian, that meant no domestic problem because;
• His wife would automatically go with him to Church, she would do as she was told.
• But if a wife was brave enough to became a Christian, while her husband did not,
• That would have caused major ripples in the domestic pond!
• So the Apostle Peter takes extra space in his letter,
• To pass on some good, helpful, practical advice for any women in this situation.
The Apostle Peter:
• Will give to wives four bricks of advice, essential to building a strong marriage:
• Remember these bricks are not for throwing at each other, but for building with!
• Note: they are relevant whatever the culture or period of time you find yourself living in.
• They are timeless truths for building a happy lasting marriage.
(1). Actions (verse 1-2):
The first brick Peter hands her is called "Actions".
"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 behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives".
The key term in the verse is the word “Submit”:
• Now just because our Bibles indicate a new chapter;
• Don’t assume Peter has changed the subject matter here.
• Note: the expression; “In the same way”,
• This connects these verses with the previous passage that began in chapter 2 verse 13.
Peter has been talking about submission:
• He spoke of Jesus submitting to his heavenly Father.
• He spoke of citizens submitting to the government.
• He spoke of slaves submitting to their masters,
• And here he continues the same argument with wives submitting to husbands.
For a wife to submit to her husband:
• Does not mean she becomes a doormat for him to tread all over her.
• It is not referring to the husband being better or more important than the wife;
• Rather it is expressing God’s order, God’s plan for a happy marriage.
• And this advice is not dated or culturally obsolete, it is still up to date today!
The tendency for many wives as they read this verse, is to say to Peter the Apostle:
• “No problem!
• Just as long as my husband is attentive, takes out the rubbish, cuts the lawn,
• Walks the dog, plays with the children, doesn’t turn on the T.V. the second he gets home,
• And of course does it all in a spiritually sensitive manner!”
It is natural for a woman to come up with a conditional response:
• "Sure, I'll be that kind of wife-IF-he is the kind of husband he should be."
• But that misses a major point of the passage.
• Peter’s directive is not meant just for women who are married to Prince Charming,
• (Let’s be honest, there are not too many of us around!)
Peter is writing here with the wrong kind of husband in mind:
• He addressed wives of husbands who are coach potatoes, slackers, unsaved!
• His advice is; to Christian women who have unbelieving husbands,
• Those who have heard the gospel but have chosen to reject it.
• Verse 1:"Even if any of them do not believe the word".
Think back for a minute to the other groups in this letter:
• Citizens and government.
• Remember most ancient peoples did not choose their kings or rulers.
• Slaves and masters;
• Again slaves did not choose their masters, they were purchased at the market.
• In the ancient world most wives did not choose their husbands,
• Arranged marriages were based upon financial stability rather than romantic love.
Therefore, wives like the other groups mentioned:
• Perhaps thought life was unfair, or it had dealt them a poor hand.
• Peter’s advice to these wives is simple, practical and will make a positive difference.
To Christian wives married to non-Christian men:
• Peter does not say, “End the marriage”.
• What he does say is; “Change the marriage”;
• Bring your partner to a living faith in Jesus Christ,
• That way you will both pulling in the same direction, submitting to Christ!
So in these first six verses:
• Peter gives us some advice concerning the best way to win husbands to the Lord;
• The best way to do that, is by demonstrating the right kind of behaviour.
One wife whose husband had no interest whatever in Christianity;
• Every Sunday she would nag him, 'Won't you come to church with us?'
• And every day she would ask, 'Have you said your prayers today?'
• She put little tracts between his pillows when she changed the bed sheets,
• And Bible verses under his sandwiches when he took a packed lunch to work.
• It was all to no avail.
• One day, in despair, she dropped to her knees and prayed fervently;
• That whatever the obstacle was to her husband becoming a Christian,
• Her prayer was that God would take it away.
• Suddenly there was a flash of lightning,
• And she completely disappeared!
• Preaching, scheming, nagging, bargaining, shaming,
• These only alienate the man and worsen the situation.
• But the powerful witness of a wife's submissive behaviour.
• Peter says: "Will attract the husband's attention and draw him back".
• Farmers in Taranaki, New Zealand, thought a mysterious new disease had struck;
• When they suddenly found their cattle going blind.
• They later discovered the cause;
• The cows had been watching pipeline welders on the Kapuni natural gas pipelines.
Minister of Electricity Tom Shand commented:
"Nobody explained to cows that it is dangerous to watch a welder at work
unless you wear dark glasses".
• Now an Auckland firm has produced a 'Moonmaster'.
• A pair of welding glasses specially designed to fit a cow!
The Apostle Peter says in these verses:
• "Make no mistake about it",
• Even though a husband may be stubborn and rebellious toward the Lord,
• He still studies and watches his wife intently,
• When she lets her faith speak through her godly behaviour.
• In fact he uses a Greek term in this verse that means "to peer intently":
• i.e. they will be attracted to them, like the cows to the torch-light.
“Successful marriage does not depend on marrying the right person,
but rather being the right person”.
(2nd) Brick is labelled "Adornment" (vs 3).
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair,
and the wearing of gold jewellery and fine clothes".
Peter is drawing a sharp contrast between inner beauty and outer beauty:
• We live in a world that majors on the externals, the outward appearance.
• Peter is not saying, "Ignore the way you look!"
• Rather your preoccupation should be godly character,
• Be balanced, outward appearance is (effemeral) ephemeral, Internal beauty is eternal.
R.T. Kendall & his son went to look at the Mona Lisa.
• After queued up for over an hour to view it, his son turned to him and said:
• "That is the ugliest woman I have ever seen, can we go to McDonalds now?"
• No appreciation for a masterpiece,
• Simply taken up with the temporal, the advertising men have done their work
• Peter says; wives don't be taken in like that;
• Outward appearance is important, but internal beauty is much more important.
Quote: Arab Proverb:
“Marriage begins with a prince kissing an angel and ends with a bald-headed man looking across the table at a fat lady”.
• Marriage that is going to last and improve with age,
• Needs to be focused on inner beauty more than outward beauty.
• Adornment is important,
• But no-where near as important as attitude, wise is the wife who catches both!
(3rd). Brick for wives is called "Attitude" (vs 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".
Having talked about inner beauty Peter now explains what that beauty should be:
• Peter uses two words: "Gentleness and a quiet spirit".
• Another word for "Gentle" is the word "Meek" not "Weak".
It takes great strength of character to display meekness:
• "Meekness" is not insisting on your rights, your way, your.....
• Strength under control i.e. Horse that has been broken (power under control).
• It is the way Jesus described himself in Matthew chapter 11 verse 28-29:
• "Learn from me for I am gentle (meek) and humble in heart".
And "a quiet spirit" connotes tranquillity:
• Peter is not saying that wives should be silent doormats.
• Rather, he's describing a woman of strong character and self-control.
• Someone who displays, quiet elegance and dignity.
• Such beauty captures not only the hearts of men, but also the heart of God.
(4th). Brick that Peter mentions is "Designated Attention" (verses 5-6):
"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.
Like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do what is right and do not give way to fear".
In this verse Peter draws an illustration from the Old Testament:
• Sarah and the positive and helpful way she responded to Abraham.
• She took the time to understand and be sensitive to his needs.
• The Greek verb for "Obeyed" means to listen or attend to another:
• It's the idea of paying close attention to someone.
Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him “lord”:
• I can honestly say, that I have been called lots of things by my wife,
• But I don't think she has ever used the word "lord"
• But if you go back into history and examine the story of Sarah & Abraham;
• As found in Genesis chapter 18 verse 12:
• You will discover that Sarah said this "within herself."
• She did not go around publicly calling Abraham "her lord".
• Rather, in her inward life,
• She recognized him as her head, and this recognition was displayed by her actions.
Peter teaches here, that those women who follow Sarah's example are her children:
• Jewish women are descendants of Sarah by natural birth.
• But to be her daughters in the best sense, they must imitate her personal character.
Peter is saying:
• Wives don't give away all your attention and energy;
• To meeting needs outside the home:
• Start within the home, with your husband.
• Pay attention to him, take the time to listen and respond to his needs first.
Now it's time for the husbands:
• To step forward and receive the bricks Peter has for them.
• There are three, and they're all found in verse 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".
(1st) Brick seems to be a rather obvious one: "Live with your wife".
2tramps sitting in the park, watching the world go by:
• One of the spotted a middle aged man sitting on a bench some distance from them.
• One tramp said: "I'm sure that's our new bishop".
• The other man looked across. 'It never is! He's too young to be a bishop.'
• 'I'm sure it is! I saw his photo in the newspaper. I'll bet you ten pounds it is.'
• 'You're on!' said his friend. 'How are we going to find out?'
• 'I'll go and ask him,' said the man confidently, and he walked over.
• 'Excuse me, but are you the new bishop of this diocese?'
• The stranger grabbed him by the throat, squeezed so tight he could hardly breathe,
• And hissed at him, 'Look, pig face, I'm having my lunch, and if you don't leave me alone
• I'm going to knock your teeth right out of your mouth!'
• The man regained his dignity as quickly as he could and returned to his friend.
• "'Well, what's the verdict,' his friend asked.
• "No good! The bet's off”,
• “He won't say whether he's the bishop or not".
Being a husband means more than:
• Staying in the same house, eating the same meals, and enjoying home comforts,
• In other words: being more than a lodger!
• Just as you would expect a bishop to demonstrate the right behaviour,
• So a husband should demonstrate the right behaviour!
The Greek term used here for live means "to dwell together,":
• And it suggests; "being closely aligned or intimately familiar with one another".
• More than living in the same house, eating the same meals, and enjoying the same bed,
Warren Wiersbe when talking to a couple before they get married:
• Would give them both a piece of paper and a pen,
• He then asked them to each write down 3 things the other person likes doing the most.
• He said the bride to be would make her list almost instantly,
• While the man would sit and ponder.
• His conclusion was that, the bride to be, was normally right,
• While the men often missed the mark completely!
• This verse contains the preposition "with";
• Which reinforces the idea of togetherness and close companionship:
• Therefore, it is the husband's task is
• To promote and maintain harmony and intimacy in the marriage relationship.
• Challenge this morning;
• Men, maybe that’s something we can do in the week ahead!
• To make the effort this week;
• To do or go somewhere specifically because it will please our wives!
(2nd) Brick for husbands is "know your wife".
Answer: "Be considerate."
I hearing about a man who had a nagging wife?:
• "Talk, talk, talk, talk," he said to his friend.
• "That's all my wife ever does is talk, talk, talk."
• His friend responded, "well, what does she talk about?"
• He replied; "I don't know, she don't say".
The Apostle Peter says: "Husbands be considerate."
• Husbands, listen to what she's saying.
• Be sensitive to her cares and concerns.
• Consider the pressures she lives under.
• Take the time and initiative to discover her fears, desires, plans, and feelings.
• That's the kind of openness and involvement that it takes to know your wife:
• And it is also one of the major ways husbands demonstrate their love to their wives.
(3rd) Brick Peter offers husbands is "treat her with respect".
"Treat them with respect as the weaker partner".
• When Peter uses the phrase “The weaker partner”;
• I believe he is talking about the physical frame;
• Penny is mentally, morally and even spiritually stronger than I am.
• But I can beat her at boxing, football, tug of war etc.
Husbands, you are assigned to nurture and uphold your wife's honour:
• That includes more than just treating her with the best of manners, although that's a start.
• She is a partner with a point of view that deserves to be heard.
For a clue as to how deeply we're to honour our wives:
• Note that the same Greek word for “honour” used here is translated "precious"
• When it describes the "Blood of Christ" in 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 19.
• Both terms share the same Greek root, the idea is that a husband is to consider his wife;
• A priceless gift, a precious treasure worthy of the highest esteem.
• Not like the man who calls his wife "treasure";
• And when somebody asked him why he replied:
• "People are always asking me, where did you dig her up from!"
• The Bible says: "She is a precious treasure worthy of the highest esteem".
Peter goes on to reminds his male readers that their wives are "heirs with them":
• Equality was unheard of in the ancient world,
• But Peter gives that revolutionary principle here.
• The husband may be the "thermostat" in the home,
• Setting the emotional and spiritual temperature.
• But the wife is the "Thermometer",
• Letting him know what the temperature is!
(4th) and final Brick Peter offers husbands is "fruitful prayers"
"So that nothing will hinder your prayers"
• Unless a man fulfils his obligations,
• There is a barrier between his prayers and his God.
"The sighs of the injured wife come between the husband's prayers and God's hearing".
A Christian mans relationship with God cannot be right:
• If his relationship with his wife is wrong.
• When they are at one with each other, they are at one with him.
Story about some grandparents:
• Who were about to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary.
• They were by then, I'm sure, great-grandparents, because they were well into their 70s.
• Ted eyesight wasn't too good, and he had lost much of his hearing during this time.
• And yet they were still getting along together and celebrate this great anniversary.
Their family came from all over and enjoyed celebrating together:
• Through the midmorning into the afternoon.
• Finally, toward sundown, all the family went home.
• Bessie and Ted decided to walk out onto the patio,
• And sit down and relax on the bench and watch the sunset:
• The old gentleman pulled his tie loose and leaned back and didn't say much.
• Bessie looked at him somewhat in wonder and said to him,
• "You know, Ted, I'm real proud of you."
• The old gentleman turned and looked at her rather quizzically and after a moment said,
• With a puzzled look on his face;
• "Well, Bessie, I'm real tired of you too!"
Peter is telling all husbands and wives:
• Don't just grow old together, grow wise!
• Of course you need the right bricks to build with, but there is one other greater key.
• One of the great tourist attractions in the world;
• It is visited each year by thousands of people:
• It stands 179 feet tall and is a work of beauty,
• Problem is the architect built it on ten feet of foundations.
• The leaning tower of Pisa,
• Has all the right bricks but no foundation.
Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7 verses 24-27.
• Be wise! Build your life on me (listen & do!!!)
• Make me the foundation on which you build!
“Marriage is a two-way street. Both sides must be maintained”.