A Marriage Surrendered to God

This past Sunday, I preached from 1 Peter 3:1-7 which deals with the subject of Christian marriage.  The theme of this section is Christian submission, and it is all patterned after the submission that Jesus Himself displayed in His earthly life and ministry.  Peter shows how Jesus is the perfect example of what a surrendered life truly looks like.  In every possible way, God the Son was surrendered to the will of God the Father.  As Christ’s disciples, we are to be surrendered to Him in every way.

A life that is surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ will have a practical application within a marriage relationship.  There is no greater relationship among human beings or one that is more important than marriage.  It should come as no surprise then that Satan hates marriage and will do everything he can to destroy it, simply because of the picture that it is of Christ and His church.  Marriage is a mysterious and wonderful relationship, a glorious gift God has given, but it is also hard.  Pastor and author Tim Keller has said:

“Modern culture would have you believe that everyone has a soul mate; that romance is the most important part of a successful marriage; that your spouse is there to help you realize your potential; that marriage does not mean forever, but merely for now; and that starting over after a divorce is the best solution to seemingly intractable marriage issues. All those modern-day assumptions are, in one word, wrong.”

Over the last several decades, marriage has been in a steady decline in our society.  The divorce rate is nearly twice as high as it was in 1960.  In 1970, 89% of all births were to married persons, but today only 60% are.  Prior to 1960, more than 72% of American adults were married, but only around 50% are in 2018.  How ironic it is that we have more information available about marriage than ever before and yet we have more marital problems and divorces than did those generations before us.

Marriage is more about being the right person than it is finding the right person.  It is something that we have to work at, and success doesn’t come automatic.  And when you add to the mix an unbelieving spouse, it can be especially difficult.  Such was the case for many of those Christian women to whom Peter writes.  They had come to faith in Christ, but their husbands had not.  He also calls upon these godly wives to be subject to their own husbands, and remember that they have an opportunity to lead them to Christ.  And lest we think Christian men are off the hook, he’s going to give us some instruction as well.  He says that husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding way, showing them honor as equals.  Christian husbands need to understand the precious value of their wives and honor them as joint heirs of the grace of life.

There are three parties involved in every marriage—the husband, the wife, and God.  If I can live as a surrendered disciple in my home, then I can live as a surrendered disciple anywhere.  But if I’m not living as a surrendered disciple in my own home, then I really can’t live as a surrendered disciple anywhere.  And so what Peter says in these verses really gets to the heart of where we live—our homes and our marriages.

Check out the sermon notes from this past week for more:

A Marriage Surrendered to God (5-13-18)

When You’re Taken Advantage Of

One of the most painful experiences in life is the feeling of being taken advantage of by someone else.  I’m sure all of us have been there at some point or another.  Maybe it involved being wronged by someone you trusted, or being ripped off by someone who used you for their own ends, or being mistreated by someone in a position of authority.  A common reaction to such mistreatment at the hands of others is to seek revenge.  There is a part of us that wants to retaliate.  Well, the believers to whom Peter’s letter is addressed had known that kind of hurt. They knew what it meant to be taken to the cleaners, to be exploited and used, and totally taken advantage of by their persecutors.  How were they to respond?  Peter gets to that in 1 Peter 2:18.  Here, Peter takes up the issue of submission to authority figures, in their case as servants, to ‘masters,’ even to those who were treating them unfairly.

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Second Place

In life’s greatest contests, everyone wants to come in first place because no one really remembers those who come in second.  But someone has to.  Not everyone gets to sit at the head of the table, but in no way does that make them less important.  The Bible is filled with stories of those who come in ‘second place,’ who are largely unnoticed by others, but are still upheld as examples of obedience and faith.

One of the most unnoticed characters in the Old Testament is Jonathan, the son of Israel’s first king.  Jonathan was next in line to follow in his father’s footsteps.  Had God not intended to bring Saul’s failed dynasty to an end, Jonathan would have indeed been king.  And yet nowhere do we read in 1 Samuel that Jonathan is resentful about it.  Instead, he was a friend to David and demonstrated great loyalty even though it meant he would not be king.  David would be the next king, and Jonathan would be passed over.  He was content with second place.

Jonathan is a picture of humility and a willingness to be second.  We live in a world that constantly says that you are number one.  Selfishly looking out for our own best interests comes natural to us.  Humility is certainly one of those character traits that we praise in others, but don’t necessary seek for ourselves.  Jonathan’s willingness to yield the spotlight to David merely illustrates the humility of the Christian life.  Rather than living as rock stars in our own minds, our lives must be gospel platforms that point others to David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Even Jesus Himself, the One who is Lord above all, made Himself of no reputation and took the form of a humble Servant.  We must follow in His steps.

“Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son.  Help me today to realize that life is not about me, but is all about Jesus.  May my life be a simple platform for His grace and glory to be on display for others to see.  Amen.”

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