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Submitting to a Sinner

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 24, 2022 12:00 am

Submitting to a Sinner

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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August 24, 2022 12:00 am

Feminist messages are flying at women from all angles. Submission? That's weakness. Gentleness? That's insecurity. Humility? That's old fashioned. As culture swings from one pendulum to another, Peter brings us a more radical ideal.

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Sin makes us shrink our lives to the narrow confines of our little self-defined world. Sin causes us to shrink our focus and our concern to the size of our own wants and our own feelings. Sin causes us to go around through life way too self-important.

Sin is essentially anti-social, one author said. We don't have time to love other people and we don't have time to love our own spouse because we're too busy loving ourselves. If you're married, I have some news for you.

Don't let this shock you, but here it is. You're married to a sinner. Of course, you already know that. What you might not be so quick to acknowledge is that your spouse is also married to a sinner. Sin has tarnished every relationship, every single one. Therefore, marriage is not immune to sin's effects. Today, Stephen begins a teaching series on marriage called For Better or For Worse. It comes from 1 Peter 3 where Peter gives God's wisdom for husbands and wives. Stephen's calling today's lesson, Submitting to a Sinner. Paul David trippin' his book for couples titled What Did You Expect?

I think it's a great title. He compared a wedding to a vacation brochure. You know this is true.

If you've ever looked at a vacation brochure or website before traveling there, no vacation site will ever look as nice or function as well as that promotional information. Well, the truth is for those of you who are married, when you stood and repeated those vows for richer or for poorer, you never had any idea how poor that poorer would be. When you promised for better or for worse, you had no idea how worse it could get, right? I love the humorous tongue-in-cheek story I read some time ago. Three months after her wedding day, the young bride rushes back into the pastor's office.

She's hysterical. She said, Pastor, my husband and I had our first big fight together. It was really bad.

It was awful. Now what am I gonna do? And the pastor said, just calm down. It isn't as bad as you think. Every marriage has to have its first big argument.

It's okay. She said, well, all right, but what am I gonna do with the body? Maybe there are reasons why our world is kind of skeptical about this kind of commitment. Maybe there's a reason you can now lease wedding rings one month at a time.

You really can. Maybe there's a reason the traditional vow of as long as life shall last has been rewritten to say as long as love shall last. In 1960, 70% of all adults were married.

Today that number is half. More and more couples are living together than making that commitment. I think the reason why is summarized just a couple of days ago by an unbelieving actress who was interviewed, and she, after separating now from her second husband, said this rather telling statement.

She said, I think the idea of marriage is romantic. It's a beautiful idea, but I don't think it's natural to be monogamous, and it's a lot of work. In other words, if it's beautiful, it really shouldn't be so much hard work. It is, in many ways, against our nature.

It runs counter to who we are apart from what God wants us to be. In fact, it's going to demand spiritual wisdom and spiritual commitment, spiritual power. The Bible says, by wisdom, a house is built.

By understanding, it is established, and by knowledge, its rooms are filled with pleasant riches. That's quite a promise, but it takes God's wisdom to build, to establish, and to fill with precious things. So where can you find God's wisdom?

It won't be on the telephone, so go ahead and turn all your cell phones off, okay? How are you going to find that wisdom to build, establish, and fill your home with the right things? I'm glad you asked, because we're at the text where we begin to uncover the answer. Now, verse one. 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.

It's just this first phrase. In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands. Now, this opening, in the same way, makes you immediately ask the question, in the same way as what? In the same way as God the Son submitted himself to God the Father. They are equal in essence, equally divine, yet subordinate in function. In that way, as God the Son submits to God the Father in doing his will for the purpose of redemption. The larger context, in fact, it goes back to chapter two and verse 13, which we've studied. It includes the believer's submission to the institutions of government and authorities. It takes us then, in verse 18, as we've studied, into the modern world of domestic servitude, the equivalent modern-day employee-employer relationship, which we've studied in detail. Now, in chapter three, the verb appears again. In this same way, wives, be submissive to your husbands. Now, be careful here. Peter is not telling wives to submit to their husbands like you submit to your employer or to your emperor, with their codes and orders and decrees.

I would certainly hope not. You might follow those orders and decrees and ordinances, but that definitely isn't going to lead to the kind of marriage that fills its rooms with precious things. The opening adverb, in the same way, means that the citizen and the employee and the wife and even the Lord Jesus, as we observed his life, submit with the same motive, with the same sacred perspective, for the same reason that you submitted to an institution, an emperor, an employer, with that higher perspective, which leads you to bring glory to God. Submit with that same sacred motive and that same sacred perspective. You are ultimately, then, wives submitting in the same way that is out of love for and out of obedience to and for the exaltation of the glory of God and his wise purposes and plans. So you might write in the margin the commentary where it says, in the same way, you could add there in the margin, for the glory of God. In the same way, that is, for the sake of the glory of God, be submissive to your own husbands.

Now, you might have already skipped ahead through this paragraph instead of listening to anything I've said so far. And you might have noticed that there are six verses dealing with the wives and only one verse dealing with husbands. And that seems lopsided. Six times more information and instruction given to wives than husbands. Some men might say, that's because we don't need as much instruction. That's not the answer. Someone might think, well, that's because women love information more than men. They actually read the directions.

So they're appreciating the fact that, no, we're still guessing. I would agree with one author, in fact, several of them, as I prepared for this study, who suggested that more space is devoted to Christian wives here, simply because many of them had husbands who were either indifferent or opposed to the gospel. And that definitely fits the context here, doesn't it? Submitting to husbands who may not be obedient to the word. That's when it really gets difficult. And I'll tell you, rather honestly, over my years of ministry, it is easily six times more likely for me to hear from a devoted Christian wife who is suffering from an unspiritually minded husband or unbelieving husband than the other way around.

I think that's exactly the problem here in Rome and today to this day. Women want to know how to respond to that most difficult environment, how to respect their husbands. We're in that most difficult situation where their husbands provide little to respect. In fact, really this is a challenge when you see what we're being told in relation to wives responding to husbands. We ought to be the kind of husbands that are giving wives someone to lead, or to follow, I should say. Giving them some example, making it as easy as possible for them to obey God. Now while Peter is speaking to all wives, I believe there's no specific group of members in the church that was more in need of warm encouragement and godly counsel and understanding than these wives who now because of their faith it's implied have come to Christ or married to unbelievers.

Very difficult situation. Perhaps not nearly as painful as a wife who is married to a man who says he's a Christian but is spiritually indifferent, uninterested in leading. I've never had a wife over 31 years of ministry come to me and say, you know what bothers me about my husband is that he's committed to being a spiritual leader. Really bothers me that he wants to read the word, he wants to give godly counsel, just really ticks me off.

Never have had that happen. I hear the opposite. Notice again the context. You wives be submissive to your own husband so that if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be one without a word. Now more on that wordless testimony next Lord's Day. But for today, what exactly does it mean for a wife to be submissive? I mean, you just mentioned the word submission and our culture bristles with, you know, patriarchal bigotry.

Here you go. And even in the evangelical church today, this is a bad word. Submission is probably one of the more controversial issues in practically speaking in the New Testament church today. Let me answer the question by first telling you, according to scripture, what submission is not. Submission is not based upon the belief that women are inferior in essence, morally, intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually.

That would mean that Jesus, as he submitted to the will of the father, would be somehow deficient or inferior. Furthermore, submission is not based upon the belief that religion is not blind obedience. Not many men have used this as sort of a theme verse, you know, taping it to the, you know, inside the van, you know, where their wife drives it.

Submit. This is not where a wife becomes a doormat for a man to walk over, where she isn't allowed to make any decisions or suggestions or exercise any management responsibility in the home. I can tell you that if it weren't for the skillful management of my wife, I wouldn't be here today in my right mind. In fact, that's how other religions view submission, not Christianity. Christianity does not promote subjugation. It doesn't treat a woman as a thing.

It elevates her, gives her dignity. In fact, if you just stay with me long enough in this series, we'll eventually get to where Jesus, through Peter, tells men that if they misuse their headship and they treat their wives callously or unkindly, they might as well stop praying because God has stopped listening. Let me give you another thought. Biblical submission is then not the basis for verbal or physical abuse. In other words, if you're listening to me and your husband is physically abusing you and you're hiding the bruises, contact the authorities and then let us know so that we can shepherd you and protect you and provide for you and provide counsel for your husband.

You won't be the first one where we have provided sanctuary. Submission is not a free pass for violence or even bad behavior. Warren Wiersbe put it this way, headship is not dictatorship. It is the loving exercise of divine authority under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Still others would say that submission, the principle of submission and the principle of headship, are the result of the fall of Adam and Eve into sin. That submission and headship were never God's original design.

The opposite is actually the truth. Adam and Eve were created with inerrant roles and responsibilities of headship and submission respectively and they had within that relationship perfect unity, openness, transparency and cooperation. Sin actually involved the violation of the principle of submission as Eve acted on her own independent authority in response to the tempter's offer and then Adam violated the principle of godly headship in submitting to Eve's offer. Following the fall of Adam and Eve, God delivers to them the effects of this curse in Genesis 3 that man is now gonna work by the sweat of the brow, the earth is not gonna respond to him.

He's gonna have to tame it, it's gonna be hard work. And woman's desire will be for their husbands, literally her desire will be to dominate, to attempt to control her husband, Genesis 3.16. So the battle in marriage and in a marriage relationship came as a result of sin. Cooperation turns into competition.

As one author said, wedlock becomes a deadlock. So at the outset of our study, what you need to understand is that the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter is beginning to explain to us in this paragraph what is nothing less than a radical reversal of the effects of sin and the curse. It's gonna take us back to how it ought to be, a return to the kind of relationship God intended in the beginning for a husband and a wife. So what is biblical submission? Well the Greek verb Peter uses here, hupoteso, means to willingly rank under, to willingly rank under in order to complete.

It's an administrative term by the way, which means to voluntarily assist in order to complete. Genesis back again in chapter two, especially in verse 18 where God makes this rather startling statement where he says, it is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper suitable for him. So the concept of a divinely created assistant to complete the man is found in his creative design long before sin occurred. God effectively is saying, I'm going to make Adam a help meet. In other words, I'm gonna create for him a personal assistant in every way and the implication is that Adam will then be able to accomplish God's purposes for his life, which he would not have been able to accomplish in glorifying God without her assistance. That doesn't mean by the way that a single man or woman is somehow out of the will of God or that they can't complete God's assignment for their lives. This is simply God's creative design in general for those who marry.

This is his intention for you. And for those of you who do, to whom Peter is addressing here, this is one of those defining roles of the help meet the assistant. Let me illustrate it with just a simple analogy. Maybe you have an administrative assistant at work.

Maybe you have an assistant in the shop or in the store or in the office. Are they less valuable as a person than you? Are they lesser in essence? Are you superior to them as an individual because you have more responsibility? Are you better than they are because you make more money? Are they inferior to you in character because you set their schedule? Are you, by the way, closer to God than they are because they're your assistant? Of course not.

So likewise, the husband, we're not talking about a husband who is superior or better or more valuable or more important or closer to God because of his role. By the way, is that assistant at work really helpful to you if they never offer any ideas to you or question you or correct you or proof you or improve what you're doing or suggest you should do it differently or tell you what you forgot to do and remind you what you need to do? Aren't those the qualities of a good assistant at work?

Absolutely. I walked into my office on Tuesday and my administrative assistant said, what are you doing here? I said, is there a problem? She said, you're supposed to be at the airport.

I missed my flight, had to reschedule. Likewise, the submissive wife who voluntarily ranks under in assisting her husband will offer ideas, ask questions, make corrections and improvements and suggest options and other ideas and remind you what you forgot, remind you what you should be doing. So the world's idea of submission that you're a doormat, the Bible, you Christians, no, no, no, that's not Christianity. Their idea is very different than God's. God's idea is a voluntary selflessness.

Submitting to a husband's leadership is a choice to complement him with your unique gifts and talents rather than compete with him. So in other words, the principle, in fact, the beauty to me, the beauty of biblical submission is rooted in understanding the sovereignty of God in his creative design. He didn't stop with Adam and Eve.

He included you. So find yourself in that creative, sovereign act of God who knew wives what your husband would need and thus like Eve, the first wife he created, God created you with your unique gifts and talents and perspectives in order to complete in your assistance that man, which means that together you make a complete package in bringing him glory. Haven't you ever wondered why God puts opposites together? Haven't you gotten old enough perhaps to see a couple, you know, dating, knowing why they are so different? They think they're a lot alike, but just wait.

They're going to discover all those differences. And isn't it true that all those differences that happen to be one of the most irritating things about marriage is at the same time the most enduring, the most protecting, the most balancing aspect of marriage? I'll never forget a man telling me after church one day how different he and his wife were in every possible way. And what really provoked my attention to him is he'd been married over 50 years. And he said, we're still so very different. In fact, this wise, older, godly man looked at me and kind of laughed as he said, the only thing, the only thing my wife and I have in common is that we were both married on the same day. That's it.

That's it. Well, let's wrap up our introduction really today by just rehearsing together three general reminders. And this will be for both husbands and wives.

There's so much. In fact, it's really kind of hard to whittle it all down to just five sermons. First, remember that you are building a marriage with your marriage in a fallen world. In a very real way, you're trying to build by the strength and grace and wisdom of God a marriage and a culture that is constantly trying to steal your tools.

You're busy trying to build something and people around you are always taking your pliers and are trying to take your screwdriver and your hammer and your glue and all the nails and what you need. There are no encouragement. The world system is a gravitational pull away from selflessness and into selfishness, which is at the root of someone saying, you know, marriage is a great idea, but takes too much work. In fact, monogamy is just unnatural. So I'll go from one partner to the next.

Love is all about them. William Barclay wrote that submission is when a woman voluntarily chooses selflessness. Submission, he writes, listen to this, is the death of pride. He'll apply that to husbands later, but it's true here. Submission to a husband is the death of pride.

And the world is constantly going to send you wives messages. Look, that isn't going to be good for you. I mean, why in the world would you ever want to chase around something that requires the death of pride? That isn't going to make you happy.

Yes, it will. Because the happiest, most fulfilling moments of life are those selfless moments where your pride is crushed and humility rises to serve someone else. Wasn't Christ himself fulfilling the glory and purposes of the triune God when he humbled himself, accepting the limitations of that redemptive purpose?

In fact, he died because of it. Secondly, remember, you committed yourself in marriage to a fallen sinner. You're not only trying to construct a marriage in a fallen world, you committed yourself in marriage to a fallen sinner. You happen to have married a sinner. Can I get an amen?

Yeah, you're very polite. You married a sinner, but you're a sinner too. In fact, marriage is the union of two sinners. And what do sinners do naturally? Sin makes us shrink our lives to the narrow confines of our little self-defined world. Sin causes us to shrink our focus and our concern to the size of our own wants and our own needs and our own feelings. Sin causes us to go around through life way too self-aware and far too self-important. Sin causes us to be offended most by that which offends us. Sin is essentially anti-social, one author said.

We don't have time to love other people, and we don't have time to love our own spouse because we're too busy loving ourselves. That's what sin does. That's what sinners naturally do. Peter is implying here as this topic opens in chapter three that marriage is not an escape from a sinner. Marriage is an attempt to glorify God by winning that sinner to glorify God with you, allowing God to demonstrate in and through you the gospel to them just as Christ loved us while we were still sinners. And a fallen spouse is God's assignment for developing and demonstrating grace. And it begins here in 1 Peter chapter 3 with a wife submitting to a sinner, and in so doing, demonstrating the ministry of marriage and the grace of God.

That was Stephen Davey and a message he called Submitting to a Sinner. It's from Stephen's series on marriage called For Better or For Worse. Stephen has this series available as a book. If you're married or if you're single and considering marriage, this book provides biblical insight into the marriage relationship. During this series, we have Stephen's book available at a special price. Give us a call today at 866-48-BIBLE and we can give you information. Take advantage of that opportunity and then come back and join us next time Stephen continues through this series of 1 Peter here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-06 14:39:02 / 2023-03-06 14:48:25 / 9

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