Summary: Sermon 10 in a study in 1 & 2 Peter
“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. 7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. 8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. 11 “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. 12 “FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.”
In recent weeks and months in our church we have had more than one opportunity to discuss the oft repeated phenomenon in our society of the presentation of seemingly difficult questions that Christians then struggle to answer, even sometimes among other Christians.
I am referring to the ones that are always around, but tend to pop up every decade or so in a more public forum of some kind, asking, ‘Does God want us to be rich’, or ‘If God is love, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people’, or ‘Would a merciful God send anyone to Hell?’ and so forth.
Now for those who might read this sermon outside the context of our local congregation, I should say here that the ultimate conclusion we whittled the discussion down to was that in most cases the confusion and the difficulty that arises, comes out of the fact that the wrong question is being asked.
Here is an example of what I am saying. The Bible does not indicate that God specifically desires any person to either be wealthy or poor or somewhere in the middle. The concern of God expressed in the Scriptures through His prophets and Apostles on the topic is that Godly stewardship be exercised with all that God has given to us and that we be content with what we have, whether much or little. More importantly, we concluded further, God is not concerned as much with what we have as with how much of us He has.
I believe that response bypasses the original question, which arises out of error and leads inevitably to further error; often from the pulpits of charlatans who are getting rich by appealing to the greed of their spiritually dwarfed congregations.
So it is with most of those other ‘hard’ questions that are asked, usually, out of ignorance of God and His Word.
Now I open my sermon with these comments because we have come to another of those portions of scripture where the temptation is very strong, and the penchant of the fallen human mind is to be very quick, to ask the wrong questions.
“Here we are in the 21st century. Does God really still expect women to be submissive to their husbands?” “Is the instruction of 1 Peter 3:3 that women are to dress in a very prescribed way when in church or otherwise in public?” “Are you gonna tell me that because Sarah called Abraham ‘Lord’, I have to call my husband lord? ‘Cause I gotta tell ya pastor, that ain’t gonna happen!’
Well, these are questions that make some preachers jump right over the first six verses of 1 Peter 3, and the last 12 verses of Ephesians 5 and some other places like Colossians 3 and Titus 2. Believe me, it happens.
Lynn and I were in a church where the pastor was preaching –and I use the term loosely- through Ephesians. The Sunday he was coming to Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord”, his own wife and several other ladies sitting with her on the second pew were holding signs face down on their laps. On each of those signs was a large, bold print “NOT!” and they were prepared to lift their signs for him to see if he uttered the wrong words in his sermon.