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Replanting Eden, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
September 1, 2022 12:00 am

Replanting Eden, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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September 1, 2022 12:00 am

Men, do you want to go back to Eden? Do you want the joy of a marital union that honors God and satisfies your desire for companionship, intimacy, and love? Peter shows us the way.

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R.C. Sproul

Marriage is not a quid pro quo arrangement. Hey, if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

It's been a week since you scratched mine, so I'm not going to scratch yours for another week. You do this, I'll do that. Listen, it's easy to love the loving. It's easy to be gracious to the gracious.

It's easy to care for those who are caring. It's not what he's talking about here. He's talking about doing this as a command and obedience to the design of God to fulfill 100% of what He wants of each of us. It's tempting to approach marriage as a 50-50 relationship. Have you ever heard marriage described like that? As a 50-50 partnership? With that mindset, we expect to put in about as much as we expect to get out.

No more, no less. That's not God's design for marriage. God's design is for you to fulfill 100% of what God asks of you, no matter what your spouse does. As Stephen continues through his current series on marriage, he comes to 1 Peter 3.7. This is a lesson that he's called, Replanting Eden.

Grab your Bible if you're able and let's rejoin Stephen now. I'm not sure how long this tired old joke has traveled around that marriage is a fine institution if you're willing to be put into an institution. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there in our world that view marriage that way. In fact, we're living in a Western world that now, according to recent polling, finds a large majority with the view that marriage is an outdated institution for those who want to enter into it. In our generation, we reached an interesting milestone where more couples are living together than marrying.

Frankly, our self-absorbed, self-promoting, self-serving world finds it difficult to surrender to the foundational principles within marriage, first and foremost, self-denial, which is why marriage has the opportunity to be the most sanctifying relationship on the planet. It can be simply because it calls men and women to die to self and especially men. If you have your Bibles turned to 1 Peter 3, we finally arrive at the subject of men. Women never thought it would arrive. You have lived to see it.

Here we are. As you're turning, the Apostle Paul described marriage to men in these kinds of terms. He wrote, love your wife like you love your own body. Love your wife like you love yourself, Ephesians 5, 28. He also gives the ultimate command when he tells husbands to love their wives like Christ loves the church. And if you're wondering what that might mean, Paul goes on to add, who gave himself up for her. That's the ultimate act of sacrificial love, self-denying love, Christ literally dying so that he can redeem sinners to himself and call them his bride.

That kind of sacrifice isn't a partial sacrifice. You don't almost slightly die, do you? You don't die 60% and remain alive 40%, do you? If you die, you're dead. I know this is very profound truth, but it's the truth, isn't it? Marriage is tantamount to dying. Dying to self-desire, dying to self-ambition, dying to self-preservation, dying to self-will, dying to self-absorbing, self-satisfying lives. A good marriage is a marriage that is constantly putting self to death.

There's just no more room then for you, which means then that a successful marriage isn't so much about finding the right person as it is in being the right person. Linsky, the Greek scholar, made this interesting statement about marriage returning to God's original design when he wrote nearly a hundred years ago and commenting on this particular text, he wrote this, you cure selfishness and you replant the Garden of Eden. Isn't that an interesting thought? You replant the Garden of Eden. This is why marriage, by the way, happens to be the greatest demonstration of the love of Christ and the Gospel. You're in 1 Peter 3 where Peter has been describing what the world can't dismiss. It can't ignore this kind of Christ-exalting, Gospel-delivering marital relationship. Now he began, as you may remember, with the wives in verse 1, ranking under their husbands' leadership in voluntary submission.

And in our study we explain how this is an undermining of her personal worth or value, but an expression of it. She now has the unique opportunity to model Jesus Christ who voluntarily submitted to the will of his Father. Jesus was and he is co-equal in his essence.

He is co-eternal. He is equally divine with the Father, yet willingly subordinating himself to the will of his Father. So the submissive wife models that, though equally human and equally valuable and co-equal in essence as it relates to the Gospel voluntarily submitting to the will of her husband. Now the husband has a unique opportunity to model Christ as well by giving in sacrificial, self-denying love, winning and keeping and caring for his bride. So in a good marriage, both the husband and the wife model different aspects of Jesus Christ, their Lord and leader. Now having spent six verses on wives, Peter wraps up the paragraph by delivering one verse to husbands.

And I might look unfair. This isn't because women need more help, I don't think. It's probably because of the simple fact that women love information and men don't read the direction. So at least get one verse in there and maybe we'll keep them awake for that long. Actually, I'm teasing. As you're going to observe with me over these next few weeks, this one verse for husbands is as loaded as the previous six verses for wives. In fact, you can work your way through this. If you're a Bible teacher or a Bible study group leader, you're probably already looking at the verse and you can easily define it by making four observations and I've done the same in making four points. Let me show you. Verse seven of chapter three, you husbands in the same way live with your wives in an understanding way. Point number one, this is a divine command. This isn't a suggestion, this is a divine command.

Notice further, as with someone weaker since she is a woman, point number two, this is a creation distinctive and we'll look at later the distinctives of gender. Look further and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life. Point number three, this is a prophetic incentive.

A marriage is actually pointing our world forward and then that your prayers will not be hindered. Point number four, this is a spiritual ultimatum. Let's cover the first point today. Beginning of verse seven begins, likewise, stop there.

We're going to take our time, aren't we ladies? Oh man, I'm in this by the way, guys. If you think, oh man, I got to preach this. My wife's hearing me preach this. Okay, I got to go home and live it.

So I'll trade with you any day of the week. All right, let's find out what that means. Likewise, just as there are things, this is what he means, for the wife to do and act and live out and obey. Likewise, there are things for the husband to live out, to act, to believe, to obey. A good marriage is never a one-way street and Peter begins his comments to husband with this command. Here it is, live with your wives in an understanding way. Now ladies, if you thought it was impossible for you to have the commands delivered to you about being submissive, imagine how impossible this command is for men. I mean, how many men in here can raise their hand and say, I understand my wife?

It's unanimous. Well, do we have an auditorium filled with disobedient husbands? Some wives are going, no, no, no, or honest husbands. We would like to think that, right?

Probably honest. Now before we dive into the meaning of understanding your wife, don't skip over so fast, this first expression. Husbands, live with your wives. This isn't a reference to your address.

This isn't, once you're living in the same neighborhood, it would be a great idea if you lived in the same house. It's not a reference to the address. It's a reference to your attitude. In fact, the verbal form here in the original language is so rare, it only appears here in the New Testament this one time. In fact, one author writes that this expression in the Greek language is the nearest equivalent we have to the English expression, making a home for. Making a home then gives us our distinction.

We say it like this. There's a vast difference between a house and a what? A home.

That's what Peter's saying. Essentially, husbands, make your house a home with and for your wife. That's going to require much more than you just bringing home the bacon. I brought home the paycheck.

What more does she want? This is an attitude you're bringing home yourself. Live with, dwell with, partner with, commune with, is the idea. Your wife. By the way, I read recently the results of one survey that the average husband and wife talk to each other 37 minutes a week. That's past, you know, they get the butter and get the kids and let's go and whatever.

It's conversation, 37 minutes per week. That's a housing arrangement, not a home. That's surviving marriage. That's not growing a garden. It'll never replant Eden. In fact, it's possible.

We're all very aware. It's possible to go days, weeks, months, years with sort of this, you know, truce where the weapons are laid down. Still the undergirding attitude of competition has replaced cooperation. Unresolved conflict kind of wears away the fabric of the marriage and people can stay together, spouses, for good reasons, but never the best reasons. Like we live in a world, those that do marry who often stay together for the sake of the children.

That is commendable, but that's not the biblical reason. I actually came across one case recently, an 89 year old wife and a 92 year old husband had been married for decades, sought for a divorce. 89 year old wife, 92 year old husband, the judge was astonished and he asked them why after all these years, do you now want to divorce?

And they answered, we wanted to wait until all our children died. That marriage decades earlier, the weeds of life had taken over and choked off the blossoms of companionship and enjoyment. Those are the things, by the way, that blossom on the stems of sacrificial love and humility and commitment. Beloved, a garden never happens by accident. My wife and I love driving back home for a lot of reasons, but we're always struck by the fact that whenever you drive back into North Carolina, the scenery just improves wonderfully. You notice there are these beds of flowers and arrangements of plants and shrubs and crepe myrtles and sometimes it's acres of wild flowers along the interstate and interstate on and off ramps. Sometimes they're scattered, sometimes they're choreographed perfectly, sometimes arranged by color. My wife and I have never gone, well, look at that coincidence.

Isn't that amazing how that just happened? No, it took expense. In fact, I've been told by several people that it's the money earned when North Carolinians purchased vanity plates. That's the budget. Good reason to buy vanity plates.

I have one. Poimenos, the Greek word for shepherds. No one ever will know what it means out there, but I do. It's a good reminder. That money, I feel better about that today, actually goes to those arrangements. And then it took timing and it took planning and it took skill and then it took labor and then it took sweat and then it took more sweat and then it took more sweat. In the state of your marriage, the same is required. And husbands, according to the thinking of God revealed in his word, we happen to be the chief gardener in the marriage.

We take the lead in replanting, as it were, the garden of Eden. Now notice Peter writes, husbands live with your wives in an understanding way. Your translation might read, live with your wives according to knowledge.

Both good translations. The word here refers to insight and then a conscious sensitivity. It combines the idea of intelligence with action. So it's not just knowledge, it's application. One author said, it is intelligence through observation that leads to consideration by means of action.

So it's both. That kind of thing isn't going to happen in a moment. In fact, it's going to take a lifetime of study. Maybe you're old enough in the faith and you've read these passages and maybe you've been to a marriage seminar and you're well aware of where we're going as we track through this, but has it ever occurred to you that a woman is never told to understand her husband? It's interesting to me. Probably the fact remains that most women probably do already. They're more observant, more intuitive. They're gathering data all the time. They're picking up on everything.

They're constantly watching and weighing. One author, I think it's very funny, said this. He said, women are satellite antennas picking up signals and information from around the universe. Men are cordless telephones and if they wander 200 feet away from home, they lose the signal. Generally, not always, but generally, that's true. Nevertheless, the interesting command remains that the less intuitive are to understand the intuitive.

The less observant are to watch, the more observant. Men tend to let each other off the hook. They talk to each other. Okay, we talk to each other and say, you just can't understand women. I mean, they're so complicated. I'll never figure out women. Has it ever occurred to you as well that the Bible never asks you to try and understand women? It asks you to try and understand a woman, one woman, your wife. That is a lifelong self-denying, self-giving, Christ-modeling process. Keep in mind, as one author pointed out in my study, this command isn't necessarily for us to gather just simply superficial knowledge or surface understanding like her favorite ice cream flavor or her favorite color or her favorite restaurant.

Those things are good. What Peter is talking about here is related to knowing her challenges and her desires and her needs and then acting on that knowledge by giving yourself to assisting and encouraging and guiding her through life. This is where the husband literally plays out the role of shepherd. Men, keep in mind, you have been given the privilege and the task to shepherd your wife until she's handed to the chief shepherd.

You are shepherding her home. By the way, and I want to insert this here, Peter did not tell earlier the wives to respect and follow their husbands because they deserved it. He didn't tell women to have this gracious composure if their husbands are loving or even if their husbands are followers of Christ because, you remember, if you've been with us, the immediate context is they're unbelievers.

They're disobedient to the gospel. Now, husbands, the same shoe is going to fit here for us. He's not suggesting that if your wife respects you and follows you and if she has gracious composure, then study her. Sacrificially love her. Care for her. Now, in spite of the fact that she might not have a gracious spirit and respect for you. See, marriage is not a quid pro quo arrangement. Hey, if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

It's been a week since you scratched mine, so I'm not going to scratch yours for another week. You do this, I'll do that. Again, that's an arrangement. Listen, it's easy to love the loving. It's easy to be gracious to the gracious.

It's easy to care for those who are caring. It's not what he's talking about here. He's talking about doing this as a command and obedience to the design of God to fulfill 100% of what he wants of each of us. He focuses here on men. This is the kind of marriage, the quid pro marriage never moves forward because there's no foot on the gas pedal. And he's essentially telling men here, give it the gas, put your foot on the gas pedal, move forward, take the initiative. Maybe you're saying how, you know, I don't understand much about her. Well, the command understood well here from Peter implies that you act upon that which you do understand and then you continue to observe and might learn a few more things and then act upon that which you then learn. This is a lifelong study.

This is self-denying, Christ-modeling love. Cure selfishness and replant the garden of Eden. As we've done in the past, we leave room for some practical suggestions.

Here are some garden tools to work with in your own private garden. Let me give you two or three of them. First of all, don't be thoughtless. Plant seeds of politeness. You don't even need to come here to know what's polite. You don't need a graduate degree.

You don't need to know any of the original languages. You know enough by observation what is considered polite. In other words, don't be rude. Don't be uncouth. Don't be unkind.

And here's where men like me, you might say, yeah, that's me. Don't be the expert, you know, the fixer. Be polite.

I thought it was funny. I read this recently. A man had attended a seminar. His company had put on the subject of efficiency, how to be efficient. He decided that he would help his wife be more efficient too.

He'd share the knowledge he'd learned. A few days later he was telling a coworker who had attended the seminar as well, how's it going at your house? He said, well, one morning I was sitting at the breakfast table, I've done the same for decades, watching my wife make breakfast and I realized as I'd watched her do the same thing that she had an inefficient routine. She made lots of trips to the refrigerator, stove, table, cabinets, often carrying just a single item at a time. So I said, honey, why don't you eliminate all that legwork by carrying more than one item at a time? The guy's friend asked, well, how'd it go? He said it worked. It used to take her 20 minutes to get breakfast ready and I now do it in seven.

Good for her. By the way, the apostle Paul adds a note to husbands along this same garden tool as he writes to the husbands of the church. It's a very interesting phrase. He says this, husbands love your wives, we've heard that before, but then he adds, and do not be embittered against them.

Colossians 3, 19. Don't be embittered. The word for embittered carries the idea of rudeness, of harshness, of being sharp-tongued. Paul's statement is actually referring to a man who has arrived at the state of embitteredness. This is his ongoing impatience and thoughtlessness. This is a man who, frankly, has become filled with himself so that he no longer cares if his wife is hurt or happy, whether she's crying or contented. Just do it in another room, for goodness sake.

Try to watch the game. That's an embittered state. And he kind of dares her to trouble him with her troubles. This is the kind of thing that was exaggerated and yet it happened. It was reported in the news that a couple had been married for decades.

He was 72 years old. And he had hooked up an air raid siren in his house to stun his wife into silence. CNN reported, so you know it's true, but anyhow they reported on it, that whenever this man's wife complained, he flipped a switch, turned on the air raid siren, stunned her into silence. Finally, the neighbors complained, taking over the whole neighborhood.

He reluctantly took it down, but he explained to the police before he did it. He said, look, it works every time. You might not have an air raid siren, but unkind, impolite, rude, harsh, inconsiderate actions will speak as loudly as the siren. There's no excuse, brothers, is there, for us to be rude, discourteous in public or in private. It's not only going to hurt our marriages, but it will hurt the demonstration of the gospel to those we work with and live around because they hear us. They hear our comments. They hear the way we talk.

What do they hear about your wife from you on Monday? There is more for us to learn. However, we're going to have to pause this lesson until next time because we're close to the end of our time for today. This is Wisdom for the Heart and our Bible teacher, Stephen Davey, is calling this lesson, replanting Eden. If you joined us late and missed the beginning, you can go to our website where we've posted this entire broadcast. You'll find us at This current series, for better or for worse, is the basis for Stephen's book by that same title.

If it would encourage you to have that book for yourself or to share, it's available at a special rate today. Learn more online or call us at 866-48-BIBLE. Join us again next time for more Wisdom for the Heart. Thank you for joining us. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-03 19:49:24 / 2023-03-03 19:58:25 / 9

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