Summary: A Mother's Day message coming from a different angle.


TEXT: 1 Peter 3:1-6

1 Peter 3:1-6 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; [2] While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. [3] Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; [4] But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. [5] For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: [6] Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.


-I fully realize that this is Mother’s Day and I am sure that you perhaps think that this is a strange passage to use to honor our mothers. As always, I would like to provide a setting of context of this biblical passage.

-It deals several matters:

• The sanctity of biblical marriage.

• The unique relationship that God ordained for marriage.

• The reality of a believing wife who is living with an unbelieving husband.

• The chastity or purity of a godly wife and mother.

• The power of a focused and spiritual heart over the superficiality of the outward appearance (that so many women find an enslavement to in our culture).

-In fact, here is what the Lord would have us to understand about what a godly woman looks like:

• She has a godly heart that cannot be corrupted by the outward pressures of society—v. 4

• She is marked by a meek and quiet spirit—v. 4

• She has a high value when God looks at her—v. 4

• She has complete trust in the Lord—v. 5

• She adorns or beautifies herself with a spirit of submission—v. 5

-I would also add that if we read just a bit further in 1 Peter 3:7 we find that men who treasure and value their wives and mother of the children moves into a powerful realm of their prayer being answered. Peter notes that if men do not treasure and value their wives that their prayers are hindered. If ever there were a time when our prayers definitely need to be versed in authority, it is now! Men, we must do our part!


-The apostle Peter pulls back from history in his time somewhere around 1950 years (for us 2500 years ago) plus a character that many of the saints of that scattered and persecuted church would have been familiar with. He speaks of Sara, the wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac.

A. What Sara’s Days Looked Like

-If we were to take a look at Sara and what she had to contend with, I suppose the following matters could have been said about her. She would have felt the pressure of her circumstances just as all of you mothers would feel them in your life in 2014.

• I can sense an uneasiness in my spirit over this matter with Lot. He is Abraham’s nephew but there is a tension that is pressing on Abraham and I can feel that nothing good is going to take place from this. I wish that Abraham would have obeyed God and left him in Ur when we pulled out of there.

• I can began to see that the communication that we have with Lot and his wife and girls is becoming strained. I wish that things were not like this.

• I know that men sometimes can be so driven toward success and I feel that with Abraham. My husband, my hero, the one that I loved so much has been working so hard here lately to keep the flocks and the men under control that he is exhausted when he comes in from work. It is a silent supper and then he passes out on the couch from weariness. I wish it weren’t like this! I remember so much life and happiness in the early days of our marriage.

• I so wish I could be an encouragement to him but I feel overwhelmed with trying to keep Isaac and Ishmael out of their fighting. Ishmael is such a bully and when someone is picking on my kid, it takes so much out of me. I want to speak in ways that I know I shouldn’t. I feel so alone in my struggles!

• I also have to contend with the horrible choice that Abraham and I made with Hagar. How I wish I would have trusted in God and waited for things to work out as God had planned for them to. But as usual, I jumped the gun a bit and Abraham heeded my advice and now this matter of Hagar and Ishmael is going to literally be the death of me. I hate it when Abraham casts his eyes toward that young little Hagar as he periodically does. I think that I am over the hill now and that he cannot love me as he once did.

• My life is so hectic trying to juggle all of this with Lot, Abraham, Isaac, Hagar, and Ishmael. How did things get so complicated? Sometimes I feel like life has me by the throat and I am trapped. That young princess I used to dream of being has long since departed. My dreams have gotten away from me!

• It has been so long since Abraham and I were able to just have time for the two of us!

-What I have just spoken to you about is almost hard for most of us to fathom because when we read the Bible or hear someone preach about the characters of Scripture, they seem so distant, so saintly, and so far above us. But on this Mother’s Day, I have pulled a character that Peter held up as a pattern and showed you that there were deep and dark issues in her life just as there are in our lives today.

B. An Illustration About a Very Bad Day

-Over the years, I have read in more than one book about a story that Judith Viorst wrote entitled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I have heard John Maxwell and former First Lady Laura Bush both make mention of this little story. If ever there was a little boy who had a bad day, it was Alexander.

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

-Little Alexander was right. He had a terrible day at school. He had a horrible dentist appointment. He had a very bad day at the shoe store. You would think it would get better but it didn’t.

There were lima beans for dinner and I hate limas. My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas. I hate my rail-road train pajamas. When I went to bed Nick took back the pillow he said I could keep and the Mickey Mouse night light burned out and I bit my tongue. The cat wants to sleep with Anthony, not with me. It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

-But Alexander isn’t the only one who has ever felt this way before. I am certain that all of us here today have wished that the Lord would call us to the quietest place on the earth where no people were around.

C. A Desire to Flee

-The Psalmist said it like this:

Psalm 55:6-8 NIV I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. [7] I would flee far away and stay in the desert, [8] I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.

-There are probably more mothers here today who have certainly thought that if not uttered them under your breath.

-The pressure and the groaning in this old world has not always been like it is now. There was a time before the Fall of Man that things were peaceful, ordered, and reverent. But every bit of that changed when Adam and Eve gave in to the temptation of the serpent and fell to their sin.

-Suddenly the world has trouble ushered into it.

The ground that had once brought forth food now had to be labored with and sweated over by Adam.

Adam is now fighting with briers, thorns, and thistles as they try to choke out the fruit of the ground.

Eve is dropped into a world of pain as she bears children.

-But that is not all that poured into the world because of sin. There were other elements that came with the Fall:

• Fear

• Shame

• Guilt

• Disappointment

• Arguments

• Tears

• Temper tantrums

• Murder

• Divorce

• Crime

• Violence

• Cursing

• Poverty

• Starvation

• Racism

• Wars

• Cancer

• Sickness

• Death

-When mothers begin to have to contend with these things, they can feel like Alexander and decide that they are not just having a bad day but having a bad life.

D. The Devil’s Lie of “If Only”

-The devil loves to start playing up on and feeding a sense of ingratitude about your life. He tries to get you to listen to the lie of “if only.” “If only my circumstances were different, I would be different!” Have you ever felt like that before?

• I wouldn’t be an impatient person. . . if I didn’t have kids.

• I wouldn’t be so angry. . . if she hadn’t said that to me.

• I wouldn’t have lost my cool. . . if my children wouldn’t have marked up the furniture.

• I wouldn’t struggle in my marriage. . . if my parents hadn’t verbally abused me and made me feel worthless.

• I wouldn’t be so bitter. . . if my husband hadn’t run off with that other woman.

-The devil loves that kind of talk. He wants all mothers to say in effect, “Something or somebody made me the way that I am!”

-Sara could have let the circumstances of her life consume here in such a way that she never would have been what God had determined for her if she would have given up. Think for a moment about Abraham, even though he was God’s man, he had some hang-ups.

• He lied and said that Sara was his sister so he could save his own hide.

• He ran off with a much younger woman and had a kid.

• He let Lot scam off of him for years.

• He was looking for this so-called city that God had told him about.

-Sara could have given in a said, “If my circumstances were different, I would be so much more than I am!” That is a lie the devil wants to use on mothers, on all of us for that matter, so that we never grasp the fact that God has much in store for us!

• If my upbringing would have been different!

• If my environment were different!

• If the people around me were different!

. . . I would be more patient, kind, loving, content, easier to live with. . . fill in the blank!

-Let me push this a little further. . . this “if only” game the devil likes to us on mothers and women. . .

• If only we didn’t have to move. . .

• If only we lived closer to my parents. . .

• If only we had a bigger house. . . more closets. . . more storage. . .

• If only we had more money. . .

• If only my husband didn’t have to work so much. . .

• If only I were or were not married. . .

• If only I were married to someone different. . .

• If only I had children. . . or didn’t have children. . .

• If only I hadn’t lost that child. . .

• If only my husband would communicate. . .

• If only my husband would be a spiritual leader. . .

-But there is another way!

E. Sara’s Response

-That is to look toward the response of Sara as she fought against every challenge that was in her life. For those mothers here today who think that life has passed them by and they no longer have any contributions to make, I would point out the life of Sarah really didn’t start until she was 65 years old.

-There are other biblical versions that open up 1 Peter 3:6 in a little different manner that should bring hope:

1 Peter 3:6 NASB . . . you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

1 Peter 3:6 Moffatt NT . . . you are daughters of Sara if you do what is right and yield to no panic.

1 Peter 3:6 MSG . . . You'll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.

1 Peter 3:6 WEYMOUTH . . . you have become Sarah's children if you do what is right and permit nothing whatever to terrify you.

-This is a key that Peter interjects here. . . Don’t give in to fear and intimidation! That was Sara’s response.


-If we ever needed the apostolic mantle, anointing, and presence of mothers in a generation it is now!

I recently was listening to a message on Holy Ghost Radio by Pastor Joel Holmes of First Pentecostal Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas. He related that how as a young man, his mother not only had a strong influence of prayer over his life but there was a strong influence of discipline also. He said that she was very vocal about the kids that he ran around with and the girls that he took a liking to. More often than not, he said that his mother would get a switch or a belt and do a little adjusting to his attitude. He may not have been too thankful then but he is profoundly thankful for that now! He said that he truly believed that his mother prayed the woman he ended up marrying into his life.

-I don’t believe that will just be for Brother Holmes but I believe it can come to pass in the lives of apostolic mothers all over the globe. Even if your children may have drifted and are far from God at this moment, there is something about praying for them and believing the God can still move in such a way that they can and will be delivered.

Philip Harrelson

May 10, 2014