Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 8
First of all, I wanna say blessed Father's Day, especially to our Heavenly Father, and then to you, all fathers, those of you who love and lead your family. Keep this question in mind as you listen to this message from 1 Peter 3. Why did Peter dedicate six verses to the wives and only one verse to the husbands? The answer might surprise you. Stay tuned.
Warning, warning, warning: this message is dangerous to your flesh. Because next to the subject of money, the subject of marriage relationship is very hard and explosive for a pastor to handle. But since I'll only tell you what the Scripture says, I pray that you'll not only be challenged, transformed, but be blessed in the process. What really compounds the problems in our society when it comes to marriage and husband/wife relationship is that there are so many conflicting voices on the subject. There are so many self-made experts on the subject. There are so many opposing views on the subject, so many arguments over the subject. And that is why, when it comes to the home and the marriage of a transformed identity, those who have identity being transformed in Christ, you can and you should go no further than the Word of God, amen?
The God who made us, the God who loves us, the God who redeemed us, the God who constantly watching over us and over every need we have, he has given us the blueprints in his Word. He's given us all that we need to know in his Word. He not only provides us with the architectural blueprint, but he's constantly supervising the process of building our homes and our marriages. And so, if you would turn with me please to 1 Peter chapter 3, beginning at verse 1 to 7. We are smack in the middle of this series of messages from 1 Peter, which I'm calling, "Identity Transformation," because that's what God desires for us. Our identity not be in our title, not be in our job, not be in where we go, who we are, but to be in Christ and in Christ alone. We come to this very significant part in the middle of this series from 1 Peter chapter 3, verses 1 to 7. I'm gonna ask you to stand in honor of the Word of God.
"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives... When they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."
Some of you perhaps thought of the question, how come that Peter dedicates six verses to the wives and only one verse to the husbands? Now, if you asked that question, that's a great question. I'll give you a Youssef answer. Because men have short attention span. Well, I'm glad you got the joke. Now let me give you the real answer from the Word of God to that question. The Apostle Peter, guided by the Holy Spirit, writing to these new believers in Roman society, in Roman culture. In Roman culture, they were expecting the wife to always follow the husband's religion. If he decides to add one, two, or three, or more gods to the household gods, she goes along. Women did not have much of a say back then until the Christian faith came in. And please make no mistake about it, the Christian faith is the women's liberation faith, amen.
And so, Peter spends six verses speaking to the Christian wife who has an unbelieving husband. And for the believing husband, when he comes to the Lord first, you only tell him you need only one thing. A believing husband needs to do one thing. It's in verse 7, I'm gonna come to it in details, that the husband is to be thoughtful, caring, supportive, nurturing, sensitive, and considerate. That's all. That's it. That's not much. But in reality, if you examine the Scripture closely, you're gonna find that Peter gives more responsibility in one verse to the husbands than the six verses to the wife. Now that you know why it's six verses versus one, we just look at the passage. There are four things that I wanna share with you. For those of you who are taking notes, I'm gonna speak a little slowly so you can write them down.
Four things I wanna share with you from this Word of God. A believing wife does not need to use words in her witnessing to her husband. That's verses 1 and 2. Secondly, he's speaking to a believing wife married to a nonbelieving husband. He's saying your inner beauty of character is your greatest strength, verses 3, 4, and 5. Thirdly, he says your submission and obedience to God will set you free from fear, verse 6. And then, verse 7, the secret of blessing is in the husband's knowing and serving his wife. All right, let's unpack this. First of all, verses 1 and 2, you don't have to use words in your witnessing to your unbelieving husband. "Likewise, wives, submit to your husbands". I know the word "submit" or "submission," it creates heart palpitation. In fact, I know there are some people that I used to know in my old church where they used to hyperventilate at the word "submission". But the Bible also said that we are to submit to one another. They leave that out.
You see, when the Bible said in Ephesians for the man to love his wife as Christ loved the church, he is placing the onus on the husband, because a person can submit without loving, but you cannot love without submitting. And here, Peter is saying that sometimes when a new believer, like a new believing wife, in their zeal, in their vim and vigor, in their delight in the salvation of the Lord, they are anxious for their unbelieving husbands to come and experience the same thing. They want him to experience forgiveness. They want him to experience the peace of God. They want him to experience this inexplicable love of God through Jesus Christ. And so, in their zeal, they can end up, please excuse the expression, nagging their husbands.
Hear me right on this one. Since conversion and since salvation is a God thing, it's a God thing in its timing, it's a God thing in its circumstances, its a God thing in the circumstances surrounding salvation, and therefore he is saying you need to trust God with your husband's salvation. You need to trust God with all of your heart instead of harping on him. Your harping at him will not speed the timing for their salvation. You beating him over the head with it is counterproductive. Just trust God. Trust God's timing.
Now, let me stop here and have a word from the Word to the single people. Single people, young people, students, there is a Word from God for you, and you need to remember this later on when you're dating and getting married. Don't forget it, okay? You can write it down if you want to. Very simple, don't marry a nonbeliever. That's it. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, "Don't become unequally yoked," because that's gonna be unbearable. Now, remember this when the time comes, okay? If you start dating a nonbeliever thinking that you're gonna change him or you're gonna change her, think again. If you get involved with a nonbeliever with the hope that you might convert him or her, what you're doing is you're putting God to the test. You have to understand that Peter's speaking to a nonbelieving couple who's... one of them, the wife, came to Christ first. Always remember the context. And so, you don't have to use words in your witnessing to your unbelieving husband.
Secondly, he says your inner beauty of character is your greatest strength. I know every culture and every age, and I lived in three or four of them, and every culture, every age, they have their own idea of what beauty is, okay? Today in America, the unrelenting pressure on young women is unbelievable. I shudder when I see the unrealistic pressure that women are under today. I really do. I mean, they want women to wear size 2 and have size 50 in confidence. It's unrealistic. And that is why when your identity is being transformed by Christ in Christ, your confidence should be in him alone. Back in Peter's day, Roman women spent untold hours braiding their hair. They really did. It was the thing to do. And not only braid their hair, take long time in braiding it and doing different styles, but they stick gold and silver in it. They do, and wear all kinds of jewelry.
As a matter of fact, there are some historians who have said that sometimes a wife would have the entire family net worth on her hair. And that's why he's saying what he's saying here. So, what is the principle that we need to learn for us today? Listen carefully. Modesty and simplicity in dress, not to attract people's attention and make them envious. Simplicity. Paul addresses this problem of being dressed to kill, particularly in worship, in church. He does that three times. He does it in the Corinthian church and he does it to Timothy in his writing. Why this dress to kill when you go to church should not be even thought about? Because the emphasis when you go to church, the focus should be Jesus and not the provocative dress that takes men's eye off Jesus and on you. That's really the principle here. And so, first, you don't have to use word in witnessing to your unbelieving husband.
Secondly, your inner beauty of character is your strength. And thirdly, your submission to God will set you free from fear. Will set you free. Look at verse 6 with me. Now, I want to remind you of the message before last, when Peter said for a transformed identity in Christ, it is manifested by all of us, every single one of us, young, old, everybody, we become a blessing. We become a blessing to our country. We become a blessing to those in authority. We become a blessing to our employer. We become a blessing in the workplace. We become a blessing in our community and our homes. Remember that? How? By our submission to the law of the land, to one another in marriage, and to a spiritual authority, and so forth.
But listen carefully, because you have to understand this. I told you then and I'm explaining it again now, that in the Word of God there are levels of submission. Submission to God is higher than submission to the law of the land and those in authority. So, if the law of the land forbids you from obeying the Word of God, you say what? No. See, there's a level of submission. Then the submission to government authority is above submission to your employer. And so, if your boss ask you to do something illegal, you say what? And here, it says the same thing to wives. Submission to God comes above your submission to your husband.
So, if your husband asks you to sin, what do you say? Verse 6, "If you do right," that is submitting to God, "then you have nothing to fear". Peter is saying that a believing wife in the Roman culture, or any culture, when you are living in obedience to God, when you are living in obedience to the Word of God, you will have joy in ministering to your unbelieving husband. If you place God first, if you place God's Word in its rightful place, then your unbelieving husband will be a blessing to you, even though he's not a believer. If you honor God first, if you honor God's Word, then you will have confidence and inner peace which the world can never understand, and that is the bottom line here. If you fear God, you'll fear nothing else. Did you get that? If you fear God, you'll fear nothing else.
And so, he says, first, you don't have to use words in your witnessing to your unbelieving husband; secondly, your inner beauty is your greatest strength; and thirdly, your submission to God will set you free from fear. And fourthly and finally, and here comes the big one, Christian husbands, you must know everything that is to be known about your wife. You got that? Why? So that you may minister to her, so that you may serve her adequately. And that is to know more than just how she likes her coffee or tea. This is to know what brings her joy and what pains her. That is to know what encourages her and what discourages her; to know what lifts her up and what pulls her down; to know what blesses her and what put dreads in her life.
You are to study your wife like studying for comprehensive examinations. You've got to know everything about the subject. And that's what it means to live according to knowledge. In fact, that's accurate translation. That is, you know everything about her. It means that you know when she wants to talk to you and when she doesn't. And if she wants to talk to you while you're watching your favorite sports program, don't mute that darn thing, just turn it off. That's the Word of God. And 45 years also helps, because I made my fair share of mistakes. I got a witness here. I need to tell you that living with your wife according to knowledge is not the same as pandering to your wife. Did you get that?
Living with your wife according to knowledge is not the same as pandering or just going along for the sake of going along, and I'm gonna tell you why this is important. It's not the same as giving in so you just cut the discussion and you don't have to talk anymore. No, why? Because pandering will backfire sooner or later. Pandering or just giving in to get along will not get you in absolute agreement, heart, soul, and mind. And when you don't have an absolute agreement, heart, soul, and mind, your prayers will not be answered. It's gonna be hindered from being answered. Pandering or just giving in does not get your prayers answered.
Listen to me. Coming together in agreement, and I'm talking about total agreement, not just, "Well, I'll go along with you," and I'm talking about total agreement, is gonna get God to answer your prayers. Look at verse 7, "So that nothing will hinder your prayers". Here's a warning. Here's a warning. The devil knows that there is power in agreement in prayer between husband and wife. He knows that there's power in prayer when there's absolute agreement with two brothers in Christ or two sisters in Christ in a church. He knows that. And so, what does he do? He works overtime to divide us, divide our homes, and divide our marriages, and divide our families, and divide our church leaders. Why? To neutralize the power of agreement and answer to prayer.
When a husband and wife come in absolute agreement, heart, soul, and body, and mind on an issue, that is honoring to God, consistent with the Word of God, brings glory to God, God will move with power. He will. He has. I've seen it too many times to doubt it, and I know many of you have too. But I need to warn you. I need to warn you, the opposite is true. The book of Acts chapter 5 tells us about a husband and wife who agreed to lie to the Holy Spirit, and they both dropped dead in front of the church. Let me ask you this. What is keeping you from coming into agreement? Is it a sin in your life? Is it selfishness? Is it lack of faith and trusting in the promise of God? You know what it is, I don't. I know it in my life. You know it too. Whatever it is, will you give it up today?