We are in week 6 of a walk-through of the Book of 1st Peter...We chose this Book for study because it so perfectly relates to our current situation in the society in which we now live...1 Peter is a Letter from Peter to 1st Century Christians who had fled to 5 Roman Provinces in Asia Minor (Turkey)...
Which after fleeing persecution...Found themselves once again becoming isolated and outcast...In a society which strongly rejected their Faith and lifestyles in Christ...
With social and cultural persecution quickly apparent there as well... And growing rapidly around them! (horrible in 50yrs)
The Letter was sent to encourage and instruct the Christians...On how they were suppose to persevere and conduct themselves in a godless and immoral culture...In the past couple of lessons we have seen Peter begin to address the need to maintain respect and subjection to authority...God even went as far as to say,"That to obey authority was to obey Him!" Because HE is Sovereign over any and all authorities on earth... And He has established those authorities, good or bad... In His Wisdom and Plans! Even in a fallen and often unfair culture...
Our ultimate goal is not based upon how easy or fair life can be...But to show genuine care and love for others above ourselves...Even, and especially, for those who show no love in return...And to keep unity and order, rather than hate and chaos...Peter has emphasized this in relation to every area of society...Including our attitude towards government, brothers and sisters in Christ, and people in society! Now Peter will carry this structure of unity and order into God's plan... For the home...Equal And United!
1 Peter 3:1-2 (ESV)
1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
Scriptures such as this one have been misused and misunderstood so many times in our modern culture...By both husbands and wives!! As teaching that women are somehow inferior to men...The misuse of this verse has, no doubt..Played a big and fair part in the some of the feminist movement today...
Even if you are not a feminist... But a true obedient Christian...These words can bring question or resentment!
We have taught on this subject several times in the past few years… Because they have come up in different passages…But we are going to be looking at everything with a different perspective today… So don’t tune out! If you will just watch and listen with a truly open and trusting heart...You and I will see some of the most beautiful and foundational Truths of God's Word come to Light today!
Unity Is A Choice For Love...First... Realize the context of these words as they are written in the 1st century Roman and Jewish culture...In this culture... Women were expected to fall in line with whatever beliefs and religious practices their husbands followed...And this NEW "RELIGION" was wiggling it's way into society...
Causing much division in the homes...As wives broke the cultural mold and became followers of Christ! This was one of the many things the culture held against Christians of this era...
Peter is telling the wives not to be disrespectful or to bring conflict...Because that would go against everything a true Christian heart should be set upon...But rather, to win them over by the overwhelming unity and acceptance of their husbands...
Showing them the change and care in their hearts through Christ!!
Something we SHOULD ALL LEARN, in regard to our attitude towards nonbelievers... Especially aggressive nonbelievers! The goal is not to disrespect, devalue or embarrass...But to show love and acceptance, even in disagreement! But secondly... And far, far more importantly...Peter is expressing the most powerful, and desired thing God wants for His people... And conveying this Truth at the "home level"... UNITY! Again... Return to Jesus' final prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane...We know one of His most desperate pleas...Is for US to become one with He and the Father... As They are One...But listen to the second part of that prayer...Remember... His last most heart-felt prayer in His final moments!
John 17:11, 20-21 (ESV)
11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one... 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Jesus' greatest desire for us besides our Salvation... Is for US… HIS PEOPLE… TO be ONE in love...So... Let's break this down to a very practical understanding...
Of exactly WHAT it means to become one in reality... In action...
Becoming one with another individual, means: Agreeing together in interest, purpose and direction...Placing the other before self in needs, desire, protection and provision...Learning everything about one another intimately...Knowing their needs, fears and desires as well as your own...And wholly giving of self to share in, live out, face head on, and accomplish those shared desires... As ONE unified force! It means my joy and satisfaction are deeply and solidly connected to another's life and passions!
This Is the whole purpose of Jesus becoming ONE with the Father!! Not because He was inferior! Not because He didn't have a Will of His own! But because the sacrificial act of totally giving One's own will completely away to another...To be wholly united in One Plan... One Passion... One Direction...
Is the ultimate act of love, trust, intimacy…AND ONENESS!
Contrary to inaccurate popular opinion... Scriptures NEVER say a woman is to follow the leadership or authority of any other man!! Women are equal and set free in God's Word! More than anywhere else in the world's view... To lead, work, control, and be independent...This Command is for the husband and wife ONLY...So they may experience this oneness in intimacy, purpose and direction...So their home and their children may experience order, direction, respect and the giving of self in love as they grow! THIS is not just a plan for a husband and wife...But it is the goal for ALL of mankind in Christ!
1 Peter 5:5-6 (ESV)
5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
Ephesians 5:18-21 (ESV)
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
All of us... Everyday... Have need to be submissive to one another in different times and circumstances! And no perceived inequality, nor gender, nor money, nor social status can dictate this submission... Only unity and peace in existence...Just like the PERFECT relationship of Jesus and the Father!
We see this submission of selves to community slipping away in our times... This total lack of respect! We see the very fabric of our society slip away with it...Into selfish, violent chaos!
If this plan brings unity, care and peace in a society...How much more for the relationship between a man and a woman? The closest relationship He's created... That reflects He and the Father...When done as God 's Plan wills us...Marriage is the perfect mixer of love, unity and direction for two lives…
THIS IS WHY IT IS THE RELATIONSHIP OF JESUS AND THE FATHER!
Ephesians reveals BOTH sides of the plan...
Ephesians 5:22-24 (ESV)
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
The wife (Like Jesus), abandons herself to the direction and will of her beloved... To have one view together... To go in one direction together...
Ephesians 5:25, 28-33 (ESV)
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself...
The husband abandons his own pursuits...And sacrifices his life to honor, cherish, nourish and hold fast to his most precious gift! He makes every call to the best of his ability...Drawing from the knowledge and skills of all involved...
To lead for the Glory of God…With the best interest of everyone in his care ABOVE HIMSELF...In total sacrifice of his own wants and pleasures...Loving them more than his own life!
And in doing so...The two become ONE in an amazing, intimate, trusting, peaceful, productive, POWERFUL way...Unrepeatable without such sacrifices and subjection to one another!
THAT... Is God's Perfect plan of being ONE...Which the world can never attain in it's self-glorifying, self-serving, independent thought process!
What about when they are not the wisest or even nicest in their leading? Well, revisit what Peter just previously said about following such leading from our governing authorities...
1 Peter 2:18 (NKJV)
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.
Paul, through Christ, even tells wives to follow the lead of unsaved husbands... (1 Corinthians 7:13-16) Do you think they are always the wisest? But as long as they are not leading against God... There is to be unity in mind and purpose!
Because this shows an interest, devotion and trust...That may be what it takes to show God's love is real to that husband! And because this shows a love for the person…And unity with their life...Even over having your own way...
1 Corinthians 7:13, 16 (ESV)
13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him... 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband?
Jesus said this kind of submission...Between a husband and wife...Between all believers, in shared love and interest above self...Is the proof to the world that He is REAL! More so than apologetics, programs or even giving!
WHY?! Because only the selfless love of God...Can make you give yourself to the desires of another in true joy! Peter continues with his description of a Godly woman and man in an ungodly society!
1 Peter 3:3-7 (ESV)
3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
Peter finishes this sermonette with advice that is so very needed in our society today...He tells wives not just to worry with outward beauty...But to show beauty in spirit as you trust and join to your husband's leadership in real desire to be one in life and direction...Rather than in a constant state of resistance and separation!
Nothing will bring more cherishing, more desire, or more loyalty... From a man...
Nothing will make a wife more appealing than any other woman... Than to know his wife trusts him... And is on his side... No matter what comes!
A man MUST ABSOLUTELY KNOW HE IS TRULY NEEDED!! (World pushes independence) HE IS CAPABLE AND TRUSTED! If he is not… He will disengage…So STOP belittling, disagreeing, correcting, and disrespecting him in front of others or alone! Show admiration, trust, respect…Speak constructively and lovingly! And that trust… That shown NEED and RESPECT for him as a man and leader…Will make you the most cherished, coveted, beautiful woman in the world… He will look nowhere else.
I Peter 3:7 (ESV)
7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Peter closes this subject with instructions for the husband...Not to dishonor, disrespect or take advantage of her weaker physical form...But to honor her as an EQUAL HEIR TOGETHER in Christ!! And if he does not... God does not even want to hear his prayers!
We will stop here... Because Peter, as all good preachers do...Starts the next verse with, "And finally..."But goes on with another several points for 14 verses!!
Can you not see that God's plan for the home has NOTHING to do with holding someone back... Or with inferiority... Or loss of individuality...But it is the very core of what true love and unity demands! It is the very key to
intimacy in our lives...And in our walk through this world...It is the very key to peace, trust, cherishing, and giving worth...As we submit to oneness... And sacrifice to serve one another!
As with everything else truly intimate and selfless in love...It is ridiculed and rejected by the world...But we see how the world is fairing...Can we not trust... Can we not wholeheartedly see and buy into a relationship so awesome...That it is the very model of God the Father and His Son?!!
Leave this broken world behind... And sincerely embrace God's Way...Just see what it brings into your life and relationships!! Peter uses this as only one example of a much greater PLAN... Mutual subjection and respect to those around us is a lost way of life...And God's love... Society itself... Cannot go on the way we are headed!
This is foundational for God's Plan! (Here is the lesson!) We ALL have to be different... We have to begin to show true care and respect to those in authority and governing positions... We are to show love and honor... Not rebellion! And we especially must pursue this oneness with our Christian brothers and sisters...
By becoming truly interested and concerned in the lives around us as well...And giving ourselves in subjection and servitude to one another...To share our burdens...
And meet one another's needs as God leads! BUT IT ALL STARTS IN THE HOME… (This part for ladies) IN THE MOST INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP GOD HAS GIVEN!
7 DAY CHALLENGE!
Don’t argue, correct, challenge or belittle… (Positive)
Show genuine faith in his abilities…
Compliment and encourage him…
Show that you actually NEED HIM in your life…
AND WATCH WHAT HAPPENS TO HIM!
DO… YOU… TRUST HIM? DO YOU WANT A BETTER LIFE? MORE OF CHRIST?
IT IS... THE WAY!
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