April 03, 2022 Pastor Steve Behlke

God, Marriage, and Husbands

God, Marriage, and Husbands

This sermon was recorded on Sunday April 3, 2022.

Just as an observation, it seems like most of what our culture says about men, women, marriage, sex, husbands and wives, leads to worse marriages, broken homes, and selfish, unsatisfied individuals.

And societally, the “good life” seems to boil down to immediate gratification for the individual. Desires win out every time. Self-control loses.

And women often lose in this.

And families. And men.

Deep stuff, like preferring the other, long-suffering, and extending forgiveness, love and respect, as a necessary grace—things that great marriages require—take a back seat to desire, individual indulgence. But again the fruit of this is rotten and painful. And the cultural too often has ripple effects on the church.

So when God speaks about marriage, sex, husbands and wives, it sounds either outdated or counter-revolutionary. 

Women, you are liberated. If you are a slave of Christ you are free. But do not use your freedom to indulge sin, use it to serve Christ who loves you. 

1Pet. 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,  

Just as Jesus Himself submitted to perverted authorities and unjust laws, and religious rulers who targeted Him for His faith. We’re all to submit like him to government, and to our bosses at work, even horrible bosses. 

1Pet. 2:19 For this finds favor, [GK., lit., "For this is grace"] if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 … When you do what is right and suffer for it [and] you patiently endure it, this finds favor [lit., "this is grace"] with God. 

Understand, this is grace. For it takes an act of faith and love for Jesus to do this. This is grace, for it is something only God who is working through us who can do this. This may even find favor with the person to whom we are extending grace—or in a word, respect. And this pleases God.

1Pet. 2:21 …You have been called for THIS purpose, since Christ also suffered FOR YOU, leaving YOU an EXAMPLE for you to FOLLOW in HIS steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; ||| 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

And God rewarded Christ Raised Him from the dead. Seated Him at His side. And God applies this same principle of submission in marriage, 

1Pet. 3:1 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 [your beauty] must not be merely external—braiding the hair, 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 [peaceful, respectful] 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 [this is how they made themselves beautiful in the sight of God], being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, [Even though Abraham acted in fear, not trusting God, he put Sarah at risk, but She hoped in God and expressed courage and strength beyond his. She is one of the greatest women in history], and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.  

Even if you disagree with him. Even if you disagree on a big issue.

This is how you trust Jesus and demonstrate grace as a wife. God finds this incredibly beautiful. Grace. Faith. Love. Respect. You are building your husband. Christ is building him up through you.

As much as you need to be loved or cherished, even on a bad day—you’re husband needs to be respected. His masculinity. His opinion. Leadership. 

If you argue and point out all that’s wrong and disregard him—that’s not just you being you. That disrespects Him. That wounds him. But by doing this, you are building a longterm relationship and a lasting good. And as we’ve seen throughout 1 Peter, God will eternally reward you in this.

Now Peter speaks with husbands. You too are called to follow Jesus in your marriage. He doesn’t tell husbands to submit to your wives, since you are her head, not boss, but the head, just as Christ is head of the church, 

3:7 You husbands in the same way [as Jesus], live with your wives in an understanding way, [GK., "live with them according to knowledge"] as with someone weaker, since she is a woman [GK., lit., "as a weaker vessel, as a woman"]; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

This is likely implying to live with them in an understanding way. But it says to live with them according to knowledge. According to the truth, since she’s weaker, since she’s a woman. A direct reading to the Greek says,

(Greek) 1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with them according to knowledge, as [since] a weaker vessel, as [since] a woman; and show her honor as a co-heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers are not hindered.

Western culture has such an antagonistic, us-versus-them, women-against-men spirit that it takes offense at this. Since culture influences believers, some of us might recoil at this too: a weaker vessel? Since she is a woman?

Yet this is God’s Word, God who loves us and made us, male and female…

Weaker vessel refers to your wife’s physical body. Not her mind or her will.

And for all history, the physical strength of males over females is undisputed. That’s why men did the heavy labor, went into coal mines, off to war. It’s why men don’t play contact sports against women or race them; it’s why women tee off from a closer tee box. Men have a physical advantage.

This is not demeaning but simply acknowledging God’s design. 

God gave women her physical body, ⅔ size of muscles, wide hips, soft curves, and a uterus, the ability to bear children. God made your wife different. He made you, men, to be physically stronger, muscle mass for speed and power, for hard work, labor, battle (provide and protect)…

In Seinfeld terms, “The female body is a work of art. The male body is utilitarian, it’s for getting around, like a jeep.”

If the male body is a Jeep, the female is a fine-tuned Ferrari. A man is more like Tupperware, a woman is fine china. More delicate, more fragile—meaning, treat her with due care.

Yet today our society insists there are no differences, and no absolute truths about men and women. Even obvious differences are social fabrications or constructs. So it is a diabolical sin to suggest that women are any less manly, or any weaker or slower or different than men. 

I really don’t think women are valued in a progressive world as they are by God. As much as our culture claims to hate men, it tries to make women more like men. It values masculine qualities for women over feminine ones.  

And there is real confusion in the world. In young people. It’s tragic…

So men, in a culture where women appear angrier, more aggressive. The nasty women movement. Fight like a girl. When so many movies and commercial presents woman as the hero who can beat up five men. Peter says to know the truth. And I think God speaks to a man’s heart with this,

1Pet. 3:7 You husbands in the same way as Jesus, live with your wives in an understanding way, [lit., “Live with her according to knowledge.” Understand that she’s not the same as you, she is not as strong as you. So treat your wife with special honor] since she is a weaker vessel, since she is a woman…

It doesn’t matter if Facebook, the media, or the culture shout at you, “Your wife doesn’t need your protection, or your provision, or your leadership.” 

Husbands, live with your wife according to knowledge. Know the truth. And love her like you don’t care what the world says about women or marriage.

Cherish your wife. Honor her femininity, protect her heart, protect her! Cherish her, lead her in love, and provide for her. No, this doesn’t mean your wife can’t work, but it does mean you need to (1 Timothy 5:8).

Husbands, live with her according to knowledge. Know her strengths. Value them. Rely on them. Allow her to soar in them. And know her weaknesses. Her fears. And protect her in them. Love her in them. Allow her to be vulnerable with you. She may have more fears, worries. Okay, she’s a woman.  

And fear comes out like control or anger. Be gentle. 

Col. 3:18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 

Fear sounds like control. It sounds disrespectful. Understand her. Listen to your wife, she has lots of opinions. And I have not mastered this, but even when she thinks you are the problem. Be gentle with her. But also be strong. You are the head. God holds you responsible. So turn to God. Together. Act in love. Don’t do what you like but what is best for both of you.

More and more young husbands are growing up in broken homes. Single parent homes. Many of us didn’t have a great role model in the home. 

The apostle Paul tells us,

Eph. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church…

No we may not have seen a godly husband loving his wife when we grew up, but we have Jesus, who both models and helps us to love our wives,  

Eph. 5:25 Husbands, [agape] love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, ||| 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, ||| 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 

God tells husbands to agape love your wives. In other words, This is one-way love. Love regardless of response. Regardless of merit. Treat her well, as Christ does the church, even when it feels she disrespects you. Even if she treats you like your opinion has little weight, your leadership is unimportant.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. This is grace. And she needs it as much as you do. 

And this is how Jesus loved the church. 

Some wives believe this means her husband must do whatever it takes to make her happy. “Happy wife, happy life.” But this is not how Jesus loves the church. Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her [set her heart apart to Him], having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [speaking the truth in love & uniting in the truth], that He might present to Himself the church [His wife] in all her glory.

Jesus does whatever it takes for His bride to become all that God has for her. He gave His life for us. He leads us in His Word. He protects and provides for us. He lets us make mistakes though too. He doesn’t leave. Not even when we are stubborn, proud, argumentative, or uncaring. He loves and forgives us, He tells us our worth, and He values our partnership.

As the husband, as a servant leader, this means you serve your wife, and really your family, by leading and protecting and providing for them. 

As much as your wife totally respecting you, your leadership, your character, your role as husband, and how much that touches your heart, your loving actions can impact your wife’s heart. The more you, by God’s grace, cherish and honor and nurture your wife, as Christ does, the more beautiful your wife becomes. But no doubt, just as a wife’s respect doesn’t always transform a husband, your love won't always transform your wife. BUT…

5:33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Wives, if a husband does treat you with honor, and he protect you in your weaknesses, and he works hard to provide for you—double respect him. Know that he loves you. He’s trusting God. And He’s going against the culture. But you’ve got a good man. Of course, we can all grow. You may want him to be more, but grace is what wins it. But #respect. #submission. #Helpmate. Help him. Not by your many words, but by your quiet spirit and respect.

Husbands, if your wife shows respect, if she does submit to you, hey, protect her and value her even double. Know that she’s trusting God, she’s going against an ungodly culture. And she’s acting as a holy woman with the strength and courage of Sarah. See this. Honor her for this. Value her submission with protective wisdom and love. Cherish her even more…

So treat her with special honor as the weaker vessel, since she’s a woman. 

Also, show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life.

She is not only a precious gift to you she’s a precious child of God. At your side is a coheir of eternal life, a holy woman of God, a servant of the Lord; she belongs to Him; she is loved and honored by X. Together you bear His image, male and female. In marriage you two reflect Christ and the church.

Lead her with love early on, for you’ll be married for years, and your actions have consequences. Things we do early in marriage have lasting results. How we treat our wives has an effect on our fellowship with God…

Our sin doesn’t prevent God from answering our prayers. Our pride does. Our arrogance. If we treat our wife as inferior to you, unworthy of love and grace, that’s the pride that wounds her, defies God, and rejects His grace.