Sermon Notes & References

A Word to Husbands

1 Peter 3:7

July 14, 2019

After the same manner, O husbands: dwell together with your wife, by way of discernment, showing to her respect as the less physically robust spouse [Gr., female vessel, a Hebraism] and also as inheritors together of the life-giving grace; with this objective, that your prayer lives be not hindered.        (RGH)


A. Commitment.          Husbands

    1. Their Spiritual Model (Is Jesus Christ)

    2. Their Spiritual Leadership Footnote

B. Companionship.  Dwell with them

    1. State not Status Footnote

    2. Being Joined Together

C. Communication.  According to knowledge

    1. With Understanding

    2. Her Vessel and Yours

D. Consideration.     Giving Honour

    1. Respect

    2. Co-Heirs Footnote

E. Communion,       Your Prayers

    1. Peter on Prayer

    2. Prayer Partners Footnote

Endnote  1 Peter 3:7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  A Word to Husbands


A. Introduction

    1. Our V. B. S. Is Over!

        a. and it was a busy one for many people

        b. I know that I didn’t get in my usual amount of sermon preparation

        c. so I looked for some help in teaching from this verse in the sermons of some other pastors

        d. many of the points that I will make today will come from a message from this verse by the David Holwick, the recently retired pastor after almost 30 years of the Ledgewood Baptist Church of New Jersey – too many to give him the deserved credit for each one Endnote

        e. but I shall try to give the names of the others as I quote them

        f.  but, in reading their sermons

            (A)    I realised again my own short-comings as a husband

            (B)    and was reminded of a sign in a variety store where I occasionally worked as a teen-ager – you have probably seen the same sign:


    2. “We get too soon oldt, und too late smardt.”

        a. certainly, in the matter of being a husband, I find this true for me

        b. realising now the need to break habits taken on over a lifetime

        c. to be the married man to my wife that I should be

        d. the fact that I am happily married today is only

            (A)    by the grace of God

            (B)    and the graciousness of the wife He has given to me

        e. so men, I am pointing to myself as much as to you today

        f.  and ladies, please be patient with us!


    3. The Outline

        a. Pastor Zimmerman quotes Howard Hendricks, the noted Bible teacher,, “If your Christianity doesn't work at home, it doesn't work.” Endnote

        b. then gives four “C’s” to outline this verse to which I have added a fifth

            (A)    I.  Commitment.          Husbands

            (B)    II.     Companionship.  Dwell with them

            (C)   III.   Communication.  According to knowledge

            (D)   IV.    Consideration.     Giving Honour

            (E)    V. Communion,           Your Prayers


B. Commitment – “Husbands”

    1. You husbands likewise’ or ‘You married men in the same way or manner


    2. Their Spiritual Model (is Jesus Christ)

        a. it was from this perspective, we read that passage, Ephesians 5:25-33

        b. because Jesus Christ is the husband of the church His spiritual bride

            (A)    in this relationship he is to be our model

            (B)    specifically He loved the church

            (C)   indeed He gave His life for His bride

        c. we as husband are to follow Christ in such a commitment

            (A)    ‘In the same way or manner’ echoes the word to wives, 3:1

            (B)    so that as for the wife, so also for the husband, Christ is the model

            (C)   His commitment to the Father’s purpose took Him to the cross

        d. commitment is fundamental to marriage

            (A)    forsaking all others’ in the marriage vows is part of its expression

            (B)    so are the words, ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.’

            (C)   romance, ardour, hugs & kisses are the frosting on the cake

            (D)   but it is the determination to make this other life as precious to us as our own life that make a husband and wife to be truly united

            (E)    for a married man, this is a part of his following in Christ’s steps


    3. Their Spiritual Leadership

        a. preceding the passage we read in Ephesians 5 are these words: “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Saviour of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23)

            (A)    defining this leadership cannot be done in a vacuum

            (B)    it must take into account the words that followed there, just as it takes into acount the words that follow here

            (C)   ‘being the boss’, ‘ruling the roost’, ‘being a control freak’ – none ot these fit in with Scripture & especially with this verse

            (D)   but neither can abandoning the responsibility of leadership

        b. Ray Stedman preached a sermon on this verse some 50 years ago Endnote

            (A)    he commented, ‘Many marriage counsellors dealing in this area have pointed out that in our American life, for some strange reasons, we do not teach men to be men. Therefore, many men grow up and get married who are nothing more than grown-up little boys, still looking for mothers rather than wives. They want someone to minister to their physical needs, keep them well fed and happy, and soothe their egos when they get hurt.’

            (B)    he goes on, ‘This emphasizes the responsibility of the man in giving intelligent leadership to the married life. Every man is ultimately responsible to God for what his home becomes.’, and

            (C)   If the man does not exert leadership at all, then the wife must take it on, thereby forcing the woman to assume a role for which she is not made, and, … she does not basically and essentially desire. One way men do this is by lopsided leadership. They feel that their major concern is to make a living, and it is the wife's job to run the home.

            (D)   so he fails in the moral and spiritual leadership by word & example


C. Companionship – “Dwell with them”

    1. ‘as you live with your wives’, ‘dwelling with them’, ‘your life together’


    2. State not Status

        a. the Greek word here corresponds literally with the English ‘cohabiting’

            (A)    but without the negative implications of that term

            (B)    for the emphasis is on the togetherness, the ‘with-ness’

            (C)   though an unusual form in Greek, this continuity is commanded – it is not an optional come and go, not a now and then situation

        b. so, though marriage gives a couple a legal status, that is not what is in the forefront here, but rather their continuing state as man and wife

            (A)    it is God’s answer to God’s evaluation: “It is not good that man (Hebrew: the Adam = mankind) should live alone; ... I shall make a help meet (=suitable) for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

            (B)    that word, ‘help’ (or, ‘helper’) does NOT mean ‘servant’

            (C)   in fact, it is the highest form of assistance: it is the same word as is used of God Himself (e.g., Psalm 33:20, “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.”; cf Psalm 46:1(Heb. 2)).


    3. Being Joined Together

        a. I have a twisted sense of humour – as you well know – but the scary part is that over the years, I have found the same is true of Maureen

            (A)    some incident or comment will strike me in a funny way

            (B)    and before I have finished making a remark upon it, Maureen will finish what I was about to say ... really scary!

        b. marriage is a two-way street

            (A)    the responsibilities in it are never one sided

                 (1)    both sides have obligations.

                 (2)    cannot be all husbandly privileges and wifely duties

                 (3)    in Christian ethic, every privilege has a corresponding obligation.

            (B)    this was a new concept in ancient world

                 (1)    Roman writer Cato: “If you were to catch your wife in an act of infidelity, you can kill her without a care and no fear of a trial; but, if she were to catch you, she would not venture to touch you with her finger, and, indeed, she has no right.”

                 (2)    but in Christianity, both parties have the same standards.


D. Communication – “According to knowledge”

    1. Literal Order of Greek

        a. most English translations, including my own, rearrange the order of the original language, but this somewhat distorts the sense

        b. so, remembering that ‘dwell with’ is a command (as in the AV etc.), let us give an extended paraphrase of the first part of the verse

        c. ‘keep on dwelling together according to knowledge (understanding) as to the ‘weaker’ womanly vessel ...’


    2. With Understanding

        a. a selfish or self-centred person will never understand another

            (A)    part of carrying our the responsibilities of a husband is to be able to enter to some degree into her world

            (B)    I picked up a book to glance at the other day: Dr. Kevin Leman’s “Becoming a Couple of Promise’

                 (1)    and was leafing through it looking at the headings

                 (2)    and came across these words

                 (3)    ‘It took ten years of marriage before I finally realized that the most important thing to my wife Sande was not sex.’

        b. you see, understanding another person means discovering differences

            (A)    accepting, appreciating and valuing those differences

            (B)    which cannot come to pass without communications

            (C)   how do you spell communication? L-I-S-T-E-N-I-N-G !

            (D)   to her dreams, aspirations, concerns

        c. understanding your wife is not to mould her into a second you, but to enable her to be all that she can be by the grace of God


    3. Her Vessel and Yours

        a. I have here two vessels (bone china teacup, pottery mug)

            (A)    the Jews used the term vessel to refer to the body as a container of a person, which is used by the person as an instrument

            (B)    you will find this use in the Scriptures elsewhere

            (C)   one of these represents a womanly vessel (to use the exact Greek expression) – which?

            (D)   if there is a womanly vessel, there is also a manly vessel – which must be the other one; appropriately called the ‘mug’

        b. now, one can be rightly called the weaker

            (A)    is it any less useful? ... any less admirable?

            (B)    in fact, bone china is remarkably strong (as are women; e.g., a nurse; but the point is that she, in general, is less physically robust)

            (C)   in childbirth or emergency, women show extraordinary strength

            (D)   & the ‘mug’, especially when angry, doesn’t know his own strength

            (E)    is a godly woman, on account of her fragility (or beauty) to be considered any less worthy? ... intelligent? ... useful? No.

        c. this is an important part of communication & understanding


E. Consideration — “Giving Honour”

    1. ‘bestowing respect as also to joint heirs of grace of life’

        a. when you put the verse in its order in Greek

            (A)    it is not because of her weaker (in general) physical frame

            (B)    but because of her equal spiritual frame in God’s eyes

            (C)   that the husband is to give her honour, just as does God


    2. Respect

        a.  Chrysostom's advice, 1,600 years ago: “A husband must never exercise his authority by insulting and abusing his wife. Whenever you give your wife advice, always begin by telling her how much you love her. Nothing will persuade her so well to admit the wisdom of your words as her assurance that you are speaking to her with sincere affection. Show her that you value her company, and prefer being at home to being out. Esteem her in the presence of your friends and children. Praise and show admiration for her good acts. And if she ever does anything foolish, advise her patiently. Finally, never call her by her name alone, but with terms of endearment, honor, and love. If you honor her, she won't need honor from others; she won't desire praise from others if she enjoys the praise that comes from you. Prefer her before all others, both for her beauty and her discernment, and praise her.” KI #3351


    3. Co-Heirs

        a. Remember that women have equal spiritual rights.

            (A)    Christianity brought in this revolutionary idea.

                 (1)    women did not share in worship of Greeks, Romans, Jews.

                 (2)    (among Orthodox Jews, still do not, own area in synagogue)

            (B)    women are co-heirs with men in spiritual matters

                 (1)    Emphasize: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

                 (2)    the Spirit is given to both men and women (Acts 1:14, 2:1-3)

            (C)   God’s grace, giving eternal life, was given equally to men & women


F. Communion – “Your Prayers”

    1. ‘So that nothing may hinder your prayers.’


    2. Peter on Prayer

        a. John Piper has preached an entire sermon on this part of the verse Endnote

            (A)    with references to that which follows as well as 4:7

            (B)    and makes the interesting point that in these verses

                 (1)    it is not prayer that makes us to live aright

                 (2)    but that living right helps us to pray

                 (3)    for though prayer is a gateway appointed by God to right living, God has also set a way of life that will aid us in prayer

            (C)   the priorities of marriage that have been given earlier in this verse

                 (1)    are all focussed in the direction of our communion with God

                 (2)    and the last words of the verse are connected with what precedes by the words ‘so that’, or ‘to the end that’

            (D)   let us briefly summarize those points

                 (1)    there is the commitment to thoughtful, spiritual leadership

                 (2)    there is the living together in a loving & understanding fashion

                 (3)    there is the paying of the respect that is due to her


    3. Prayer Partners

        a. the word ‘your’ in the phrase ‘your prayers’ is plural; more than one

            (A)    I spent some time pondering whether it was plural because

                 (1)    Peter is speaking to husbands in the plural

                 (2)    or, is it referring to the prayers of the husband and wife

            (B)    and, this is not a question which any of these preachers, or, for that matter, any of my commentaries gave an answer

        b. but all the way through this verses, as well as those preceding

            (A)    it will be found that each of the aspects of the word given by Peter to husbands is in relationship to the wife

            (B)    each one has an impact on both spouses

        c. now it is clear how that can be true for the husband’s prayers

            (A)    John Piper says, ‘So concerned is God that Christian husbands live in an understanding and loving way with their wives, that he “interrupts” his relationship with them when they are not doing so.”

            (B)    this is in accord with what God has himself declared

            (C)   if God’s people would not obey His commands, then ‘the heaven which is over your head shall be bronze ...’ (Deuteronomy 28:23)

            (D)   in a very real way, then, his prayer can be hindered

        d. and if the wife be denied these which are her marriage rights

            (A)    having to live in an unspiritual home environment

            (B)    an atmosphere that will discourage her own prayer life

            (C)   or make it less joyful than it should be in God’s plan.

            (D)   Piper: To take the time to develop and maintain a good marriage is God's will; it is serving God; it is a spiritual activity pleasing in his sight


G. Conclusion

    1.  Keep the horizontal in tune with vertical, and start in the home (Holwick)

        a. Our relationships with God can never be right, if our relationships with people are wrong.

        b. It is when we are one with each other that we are one with Him.