Summary: What Peter teaches us in these verses can apply to the life of every Christ-follower at one time or another, but Peter’s primary focus is on the marriage relationship.
How to Be an Effective Witness at Home
Preached by Pastor Tony Miano
Pico Canyon Community Church
Introduction: This morning we’re going to talk about how we can be effective witnesses in our homes. In our passage for today, I Peter 3:1-12, we’re going to tackle some issues and circumstances that some of you may be very sensitive to. What Peter teaches us in these verses can apply to the life of every Christ-follower at one time or another, but Peter’s primary focus is on the marriage relationship. If you haven’t already, open your Bibles to First Peter 3, and let’s read verses 1-12 together.
“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, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 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. 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.”
“Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
“To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 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.”
“For, ‘LET HIM WHO MEANS TO LOVE LIFE AND SEE GOOD DAYS REFRAIN HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING GUILE. AND LET HIM TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; LET HIM SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE UPON THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.’"
Again, our text centers on the husband/wife relationship, which is the key relationship in the home. As we can see with even a cursory reading of the text, far more attention is given to the Christian woman who is married to an unbelieving husband than is given to the Christian husband. The reason for this is that there were many women in the early church who were married to non-Christian husbands. This particular group of women was in need of more spiritual guidance and loving support than any other in the body of Christ.
Now, I think it’s appropriate to clarify here that Peter is dealing with women who came to Christ after they were married. He is not talking about women who chose to marry outside of their faith under the auspices of leading their prospective husbands to Christ. In fact, I had an opportunity to minister to someone, just the other night, in my role as chaplain for the sheriff’s station, who has a child who is going to marry an unbeliever. The argument being made by the child is that if he gets married, he’ll be able to lead his fiancé to Christ. I just think that that is an incredible burden to place on a young relationship—especially since we, as individuals, can’t save anyone. Only God, through the power of the Holy Spirit can do that. But sometimes love can fog our glasses and we rationalize away the wisdom of God’s Word.
The prevailing wisdom of God’s Word, as illustrated in God’s teaching to Israel, is that believers should marry only those who share the same faith. We find this in the Old Testament Book of Ezra, chapters nine and ten.
As far as the New Testament, there are no Scriptures that specifically say, “Thou shalt not marry an unbeliever.” The closest we come, and what has been accepted by biblical scholars throughout the generations to be the verse of New Testament Scripture that speaks about this issue, is II Corinthians 6:14. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
Don’t worry; if you have married an unbelieving spouse, you are not going to hear me say, “Do over. Pack your bags, leave home, and try again.” You won’t hear me say that. You are not a second-class believer. And if you are married to an unbelieving spouse, I want you to be encouraged by what God’s Word has to say today.