Sunday, Jul 17, 2016
Wife's Gentle & Fearless Submission to Her Husband
Speaker: Todd Murray
Passage: 1 Peter 3:1-6
Download Sermon

This message is not just for wives; it is for husbands, and it is for singles hoping to be married in the Lord someday.  Of course, the learning in this study is rich for wives, but often husbands do not fulfill their Biblical responsibility in leading.  In such error, husbands can contribute to wives' submission difficulties.  Let’s all learn today, so that we can help one another grow in Christ-likeness.

Today’s passage (1 Peter 3:1-6), starts with a command for wives to be submissive to their husbands.  Why does God’s Word command this?  Simply stated: the will of God is mediated through delegated authority and the wife places herself in the position of maximum blessing when she submits to her husband’s authority.

There are four specific insights found in this passage:

  1. Continual call to be submissive (verse 1):
    • Continual = over and over during a long period of time.
    • With a willing demeanor in honor, since the husband’s authority is from God.
    • It is not a gag order on all speech or a cancellation of the Bible’s one another commands.
    • She should still express concerns over sin, respectfully.
    • It is not always agreeing with his decisions, but careful expression of her views, so he does not over-capitulate (danger of manipulation).
    • She is never to follow her husband into sin (i.e. sign a false tax return).
    • Submissiveness does not mean the wife is inferior.  Think in terms of Christ’s submission to the Father; He was not inferior or demeaned as He submitted, thus:
      1. The Church is not demeaned when submitting to Christ.
      2. The people of God (the Church) places themselves in the position of maximum blessing when submitting to Christ.
  2. The Gospel witness of submission (verses 1-2):
    • Husbands who are “disobedient to the word” are unbelievers.
      1. The word “if” refers to some, not all husbands
      2. Alternatively, Peter could have used the word “when” to reference all Christian husbands who stumble into sin (cf. 1 Peter 2:8).
      3. Thus, this passage specifically speaks of winning over lost husbands.
    • Unbelieving husbands receive a gospel witness from their believing wives perhaps resulting in them being won to Christ (saved by Him through faith and repentance).
    • She trusts God in her continual submission and contributes to the winning over process with her behavior, not in her expression of gospel truths in words.  Her acts, deeds, motivations, facial expressions, positive attitude and demeanor are all submissive.
    • She is gentle; not frightened as she submits and trusts God.
    • The unbelieving husband watches her pure, honorable, and respectful behavior.  He sees clearly, because he is in close proximity.
  3. Inner beauty of the wife’s submission (verses 3-4):
    • Let her adornment not just be external.
    • Rarer is the woman who adjusts herself in the spiritual mirror of the heart.
    • She pays more attention to the inward, rather than the outward.
    • Like the Lord, she is concerned with her inner beauty for gospel purposes.
    • Peter is not forbidding external adornment, but he is adjusting the focal point to the hidden person; why?
      1. Because God loves the inner…. The inner spirit is precious to Him!
      2. It is a gentle and quiet spirit that the Lord loves.
      3. In regards to the husband’s leadership, she is gentle and quiet.
    • Men: Examine what it is like to submit to your leadership.
      1. Examine how you lead.
      2. Does your leadership lend itself to a gentle, quiet, and submissive response?
      3. Consider turning up the clarity on your leadership.
      4. Consider how your leadership can be more god-honoring.
    • Wives:  Reflect Christ on the inside.
      1. Examine what not to wear on the inside.
      2. Christ describes Himself as meek and humble.
      3. Christ says the gentle will inherit the earth. Clearly, gentleness is of great value to the Lord that He would prize it so highly.
  4. Holy models from the Old Testament (verses 5-6).
    • Peter refers back to ancient times to show us that the temptation to not be submissive is common for all time.
    • Sarah is submissive to Abraham, not because she hopes in him, but her hope is grounded in God.
      1. It is God who will provide all of her needs.
      2. She knows that in her submissiveness that any scars that result can be completely covered by God’s grace.
    • The #1 enemy to submission is not willfulness. 
    • The #1 enemy to submission is fear.
    • At the end of verse 6, we see a gift from God that he identifies this enemy.
      1. God has never, ever failed to be faithful.
      2. The temptation is to fear anything that terrorizes.
      3. God is provoked in our trials when we choose to fear, instead of trusting Him.
      4. Wives become like Sarah, when they submit without being fearful.

Additional resource for further study: 

Book Title:  Friends and Lovers: Cultivating Companionship and Intimacy in Marriage

Author:  Joel R. Beeke

Amazon Link