Fellow Heirs of the Grace of Life

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Please remain standing for the reading of God’s Word as we continue our consideration of
Peter’s first epistle. My sermon text this evening is 1st Peter chapter 3 verse
7. We consider the first six verses. On the last Lord’s Day evening tonight we
consider verse 7. I’m going to read verses 1 through 9 to fill out the
context a bit but our focus will be on verse 7 and you’ll find that on page 1205
in your pew Bible. So friends let us hear God’s holy word. 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 when they see your
respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external the braiding
of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry or the clothing you wear 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 for this
is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by submitting
to their own husbands as Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him Lord and you are her
children if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 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. Finally all of you have unity of mind
sympathy brotherly love a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for
evil or reviling for reviling but on the contrary bless for to this you were
called that you may obtain a blessing. The grass withers and the flower fades
but the word of our God endures forever. Let’s seek the Lord’s blessing on the
preaching of his word. Oh Heavenly Father we ask that you would strengthen me your
unworthy servant to declare your word with clarity and power this evening and
we pray that you would help us Lord whether we are married or single whether
we are men or women boys or girls to see the relevance and significance and
importance of this instruction that you’ve given to us in your word and we
pray that by your spirit your word would find a lodging place in our souls this
evening and bear much spiritual fruit in our lives. We pray these things Heavenly
Father in Jesus name and all of God’s people said Amen. You may be seated.
The title of my sermon this evening is fellow heirs of the grace of life and
there’s four key words the children can be listening for this evening the words
consideration grace honor and life. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus
so declares the title of a popular book that was written some time ago. Now I
have to confess to you brothers and sisters that I’ve not personally read
that particular book but based on a search on Wikipedia I’ve come to
understand that its contents basically deal with relationship dynamics and
challenges that exist between men and women and plus I like the catchy title.
In any case it’s a title that expresses well the fact that while men and women
share a common humanity we have also been created with some profound
differences. Differences which due to sin can make it seem like we are coming
from different planets. You ever wondered husband about your wife or wife about
your husband? You ever thought to yourself what planet are you from?
Well brothers and sisters because of our sin these these differences between men
and women can often make communication between the sexes difficult and can
often be a source of conflict between the genders but from the standpoint of
God’s word these differences were actually given by God to enrich human
life to enrich relationships to promote human flourishing and they were
intended to promote complementarity instead of conflict between the sexes.
Not only are men and women obviously different biologically but they also
tend to think in different ways they tend to approach issues and problems
differently and they also tend to view the world from somewhat different
perspectives. Yet in spite of all these complementary yet real differences
between the genders our passage for this Lord’s Day evening reminds us that both
men and women who are true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ share something
deeply significant in common besides just their common humanity. Christian men
and Christian women are fellow heirs of the grace of life through faith in the
Lord Jesus Christ as he is offered in the gospel both Christian men and
Christian women have received the gift of eternal life that is the kind of life
I believe that Peter is speaking of here in this passage when he talks about
being fellow heirs of the grace of life it’s not just that we are fellow heirs
of natural life biological life but we are fellow heirs of eternal life if we
are in Christ. St. Peter applies this truth specifically to the marriage
relationship in our passage for this evening reminding believing husbands
that their wives are heirs with you of the grace of life as we’re told in verse
7. Friends if we’re going to truly appreciate the significance of this
brief passage that we’re considering tonight and and understand how this
applies not just to those of us who are married but to all of us as well then we
need to understand some basic Bible truth about men and women so let me
briefly have us review some basic Bible teaching on men and women that must be
understood to appreciate this passage and first of all friends the word of God
makes it very clear that both men and women are created equally in the image
of God this is made very clear all the way back in Genesis chapter 1 let me
just read Genesis chapter 1 verses 26 and 27 where we read these words it says
then God said let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them
have dominion over the fish of the sea over the birds of the heavens and over
the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on
the earth so God created man in his own image in the image of God he created
him male and female he created them male and female men and women are both image
bearers of God this is also confirmed by implication in chapter 5 Genesis chapter
5 verse 1 where it says this this is the book of the generations of Adam when God
created man he made him in the likeness of God male and female he created them
and blessed them and named them man when they were created and so Christian
husbands especially need to remember that their wives are equal image bearers
of God as they are I am reminded of what our shorter catechism says in
summarizing how God created man in question 10 the question is how did God
create man and I’m sure some of you know the Bible based answer to that question
the answer is God created man male and female after his own image and knowledge
righteousness and holiness with dominion over the creatures and friends
because both men and women are God’s image bearers both should be treated
with equal dignity and respect but while both men and women are image bearers of
God the scriptures also indicate that both men and women are equally fallen in
Adam and thus equally in need of a savior we hear a lot today about toxic
masculinity well there is toxic humanity whether you’re man or woman
there is a toxicity to us because of our fallenness in Adam this is brought out
very clearly in that famous fall passage in Genesis chapter 3 verses 16 through
7 16 through 19 where God confronts the woman and the man after they ate of the
and it says this beginning in verse 16 to the woman he said I will surely
multiply your pain and childbearing in pain you shall bring forth children your
desire shall be contrary to your husband but he shall rule over you and to Adam
he said because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the
tree of which I commanded you you shall not eat of it cursed is the ground
because of you in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life thorns and
thistles it shall bring forth for you and you shall eat the plants of the
field by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the
ground for out of it you were taken for you are dust and to dust you shall
return even though humanities fall into sin has impacted men and women in
different ways such as for example the woman experiencing pain in childbirth
and the man having to labor by the sweat of his brow in order to eke out his
existence in order to gain his daily sustenance nevertheless men and women
are both guilty of original and actual sin and thus both are under the wrath
and curse of God for sin and both are equally liable to all of the miseries of
this life to death itself and apart from God’s redeeming grace in Christ to the
pains of hell forever so men and women are both created in God’s image men and
women are both fallen in Adam and liable to the curse and judgment of God but the
good news of the gospel is that Christian men and Christian women are
both equally redeemed in Christ and are spiritually equal and one in their
standing before God the Apostle Paul makes this very clear in Galatians 3
verses 23 through 29 Galatians chapter 3 verses 23 through 29 we read these
words it says now before faith came we were held captive under the law
imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed so then the law was our
guardian until Christ came in order that we might be justified by faith but now
that faith has come we are no longer under a guardian for in Christ Jesus you
are all sons of God through faith who’s he addressing there well he goes on to
make it clear for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ
there is neither Jew nor Greek there is neither slave nor free there is no male
and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus and if you are Christ’s then you
are Abraham’s offspring heirs according to the promise praise be to God but
though it is true that Christian men and Christian women are equally redeemed in
Christ it also remains true that God continues to assign different roles to
men and women within the husband-wife relationship and those different roles
are brought out in Ephesians 5 verses 22 through 33 where the Apostle Paul as he
is using the the relationship between the Christian husband and the Christian
wife as an illustration of the relationship of Christ to his elect
church what does Paul write well he says this wives be subject wives submit
yourselves to your own husbands as to the Lord 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 now as the church submits to Christ so also wives should submit in
everything to their husbands husbands love your wives as Christ loved the
church and gave himself up for her that he might sanctify her having cleansed
her by the washing of water with the word so that he might present the church
to himself in splendor without spot or wrinkle or any such thing that she might
be holy and without blemish in the same way husbands should love their wives as
their own bodies he who loves his wife loves himself for no one ever hated his
own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it just as Christ does the church because
we are members of his body therefore a man shall leave his father and mother
and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh this mystery is
profound and I am saying that it refers to Christ in the church however let each
one of you love his wife as himself and let the wife see that she respects her
husband and so friends since we have reviewed these these very basic
foundational Bible truths about the relationship of men and women let us now
return to our passage for this evening which addresses husbands in particular
and if you are a wife or if you’re single I don’t want you to tune out
because these principles these truths these principles are applicable in a
general sense to all of us so let’s all heed what we what Peter writes under the
inspiration of the spirit here and so we consider next as we go to first Peter
3 verse 7 the husband’s responsibilities within the marriage relationship Peter
writes 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 as we noticed on the
last Lord’s Day evening Peter spends more space in this passage addressing
wives in particular wives who found themselves within a context of a a mixed
marriage to a pagan husband he addresses these wives because they
faced unique circumstances and unique challenges given the historical context
and the culture of that time in doing this Peter proves himself to be a
top-notch pastor who is sensitive to the special needs of the suffering sheep
committed to his care but Peter doesn’t leave the husbands without direction or
guidance as if wives had all of the responsibilities in the marriage and
husbands had all the privileges within the marriage relationship no on the
contrary though Peter says very little in this verse to the husbands the little
that he says communicates a great deal he has a lot to say in these few words
now in verse 7 Peter assumes that both the husband and the wife are believers
unlike his address to the wives many of whom would no doubt have been married to
pagan husbands this makes sense in light of the historical context of the culture
of that time where the wife was expected to adopt the religion of her husband and
even today in certain cultures around the world there is an expectation that
the wife will follow the religion of her husband and since this was the case the
wife of a man who was converted to Christianity would have been expected by
the culture of that time to adopt the Christian faith of her husband of her
converted husband it seems to be a valid inference from the biblical data that is
available to us that as a general rule more wives followed their husbands from
paganism into Christianity than husbands followed their wives from paganism into
Christianity though there are some indications in the scripture that some
pagan wives refused to follow their husbands into who converted to
Christianity 1st Corinthians 7 verse 12 is an example of that but nevertheless
as a general rule it seems that at the time if you were a wife a pagan wife
married to a pagan husband and your husband was converted to Christ it would
have been natural and it would have been assumed that you would follow your
husband into his new religion but what about a situation where you have husband
married to a Christian wife well Peter’s instructions to husbands are simple here
and to the point and they apply to all husbands whatever your marital
circumstances may be whether you’re married to a Christian wife or a non
Christian wife first of all the first thing that that Peter says is husbands
be considerate of your wife husband be considerate of your wife he says
likewise husbands live with your wives in an understanding way when it comes to
being sensitive understanding gentle kind and caring some of us men can be a
little bit clueless at times I’m not here to beat up on men there’s there’s
plenty of attacks on on men and masculinity in our culture today and I
don’t need to add to that but it is true that sometimes we men can be a bit
clueless in this area and indeed throughout the history of fallen man
there has been this false but very common idea out there in many cultures
that says that true masculinity entails being stoic being emotionless being
boisterous insensitive domineering being tough while a case can certainly be made
that biblical masculinity involves the husband ordinarily in being the
provider and protector for his wife and family and in that sense men should
indeed be tough at the same time there is a world of different difference
brothers and sisters between true biblical masculinity on the one hand and
an apostate pagan aggressive and often cruel machismo on the other hand based
on passages like this one we can say that the standards of pagan apostate
quote masculinity stand in direct opposition to the way God’s word
presents genuine godly masculinity you see friends a true man a man who is
living up to his calling as a man before his maker is a man who is Christ
like contrary to the way that our Lord is often portrayed in Christian artwork
and media Jesus was anything but effeminate I mean think about you know
there’s a reason why the second command was given we are not to make images or
a pictorial representations artistic representations of any of the persons of
the Godhead and I believe that would apply to the Lord Jesus Christ as well
because think about it how is Jesus often portrayed in works of art he’s
often portrayed as this very pale long-haired hippie looking guy you know
with a long robe he looks incredibly effeminate and think about how Jesus is
often portrayed in Christian film not always portrayed this way but he’s
often portrayed as a very kind of soft soft-spoken effeminate guy with a
British accent you always have to have the British accent right you know but
that’s not the way the biblical Jesus was the biblical Jesus was not effeminate
in fact our Lord Jesus was the perfect model of godly masculinity Jesus Christ
was strong and courageous God told the Old Testament Jesus or Yeshua Joshua be
strong and courageous the true Joshua the Lord Jesus Christ he was indeed
strong and courageous as he led forth his battle against the world the flesh
and the devil as he as he did battle for us as our Savior from sin he was strong
courageous he was bold he confronted sin he spoke truth to power he took godly
initiative but he also was a man who was kind compassionate and sensitive he
showed his strength by resisting the devil in the wilderness he showed his
strength and courage by boldly confronting sin in the religious leaders
and the hypocrites of his day and he showed his strength especially by
willingly voluntarily stretching out his arms upon the hard wood of the cross
to redeem us from our sins to bear in his body the weight of the wrath and
curse of God in our place as our sin bearer and substitute that took courage
that took fortitude that took strength that we cannot even begin to imagine but
our Lord Jesus also showed mercy to the Samaritan woman he spoke words of
kindness to the unclean woman with the flow of blood and healed her he accepted
the homage of a deeply sinful woman with a past as she wet his feet with her
tears and dried his feet with her hair and of course he himself wept at the
tomb of his friend Lazarus children you know what the the shortest verse in the
Bible is it’s found in the Gospel of John it’s a verse that says what Jesus
wept Jesus was no wimp he was not effeminate but Jesus wept he was kind
he was compassionate so what does the example of Christ teach us about the
kind of husband a godly man should be he is a man who is faithful to his wife
womanizers are not characterized by godly masculinity if you’re a womanizer
if you’re unfaithful to your wife you’re not masculine by the godly standard of
masculinity a faithful husband a godly man a man who exhibits godly masculinity
will be 100% committed to his wife be faithful to her and to her well-being a
Christian husband’s love for his wife is to be a reflection of the way that our
Lord Jesus Christ loves his elect church and how did Christ love his church by
laying down his life for her by giving himself up for her by laying down his
life for her that she might be cleansed and sanctified at the very least this
involves living with your wife in an understanding or considerate manner as
Peter states in our passage for this evening so husband be considerate of
your wife but husband also honor your wife honor your wife Peter goes on to
say he says husbands live with your wives in an understanding way showing
what showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel now we see that language
of the woman being the weaker vessel today and we read that through our
modern filter and we think ah Peter’s insulting women he’s saying they’re
weaker well again as dr. I Howard Marshall points out he says here the
fact that Peter says the wife is the weaker vessel shows that he has in mind
her comparative physical weakness compared with the man in other words
Peter is not saying that women are inherently less intelligent or inherent
or that their character is is inherently worse than the character of men or that
Christian women are less spiritual than Christian men he’s not saying that he’s
simply stating a fact that is a general fact of nature and that is that as a
general rule men tend to be physically stronger than women and Marshall goes on
to say the thought too widens out from that of physical sexual relationships
and emphasizes the need for gentleness on the part of the husband in all aspects
of the marriage relationship so brothers in Christ brothers and sisters in Christ
but you brothers especially you husbands especially if your wife husband if your
wife is a believer then she is an heir with you of the grace of life and
whether you’re men a man or a woman a boy or a girl married or single look
around you all of these brothers and sisters in Christ around you they are
fellow heirs with you of the grace of life and so we should honor each other
and husbands especially should honor their wives and again as I mentioned
before this heir with you of the grace of life the life that he is speaking of
here in the context would seem to clearly be a reference to the gift of
eternal life and not merely to God’s provision of natural life believer your
wife is also a sister in Christ and together you are heirs of an everlasting
inheritance in the new heavens and the new earth therefore honor her for God in
his sovereign grace has honored her with the gift of life everlasting life in
Jesus Christ but so husbands be considerate of your wives honor your
wives but husband also seek to promote the spiritual health and well-being of
your wife and family Peter says 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 why so that your prayers may not be
hindered this language clearly implies this is clearly implied in other
instructions that Peter has given to the husband in this verse that that husbands
are to seek the spiritual health and well-being of their wife and family but
but Peter says in particular to the husband that he is to do so he is to he
is to promote the spiritual well-being of his wife and live with her in a
considerate way and to honor her why so that your prayers may not be hindered
what does this imply it would seem that Peter is here assuming that Christian
wives and Christian husbands would indeed pray together it’s almost as if
Peter saying of course if you’re if you’re a Christian married couple if
you’re a Christian husband and a Christian wife you’re going to pray yes
you’re going to pray separately in your personal devotions and you’re going to
pray with the church as you are gathered for holy worship on the Lord’s Day but
you’re also going to pray together as a married couple but if the husband is not
living with his wife in an understanding way or is not showing honor to his wife
as a fellow heir of the grace of life then how can he expect their spiritual
life together in the home to be harmonious and unhindered it’s also
possible that perhaps Peter has in mind a general principle that that strife
and conflict in the marriage relationship like strife and conflict in
the broader relationships that we have in the church will inevitably hinder
one’s own spiritual relationship with the Lord but in any case husband let me
ask you are you seeking to live in peace and harmony with your wife are you
seeking to promote her sanctification by washing her with the Word of God how
can you and your wife pray together and how can you expect harmony in your
relationship with God if you are neglecting to cultivate peace and harmony
in your relationship with your wife men let us seek to be understanding tender
and respectful towards our wives and let us seek to honor them that our prayers
may not be hindered but in closing by way of a general application of this
passage to all of us in closing let me say that we see here in this passage the
responsibility of all believers to cultivate the true beauty of the inner
person in this passage is revealed the responsibility of all believers to
cultivate the true beauty of the inner person back in verse 4 as Peter was
addressing the wife in particular he says 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 now again Peter is specifically
particularly addressing the wife in that exhortation but what does he say he lays
before us a general truth a truth that in God’s sight a gentle and quiet spirit
is precious is it just precious for the woman for the wife I would venture to
suggest brothers and sisters that by way of more generic application of this
passage this applies to all of us we are to cultivate the inner beauty of a
gentle and quiet spirit this can only be done in union with Christ and through
the power of the Holy Spirit and through the Word of God but let me ask you are
you seeking to cultivate true beauty we have no beauty in ourselves in our
fallenness in our sins we are ugly we are distorted but God in Christ makes us
beautiful he clothes us through faith in his perfect everlasting righteousness
and he cleanses us through the blood of Christ he renews us by the Holy Spirit
so let us seek to walk in step with the spirit and cultivate the true inner
beauty of the heart we see this also implied in the words that that Peter
addresses to the husbands as we apply these truths in a broader sense yes this
applies specifically and particularly to the husband-wife relationship but is
it not the case that all of us should seek to dwell together as the forever
family of God as brothers and sisters in Christ that we should seek to dwell
together in a considerate understanding way is it not the case that we should
honor one another as fellow heirs of the grace of life and that’s why I when I
read this passage earlier I read on through verse 9 because and I’m going to
close my sermon this evening with these two verses as Peter wraps up this
particular section of his epistle of his first epistle he says this finally all
of you as he branches out and applies this to the entire body of Christ he
says all of you have unity of mind sympathy brotherly love a tender heart
and a humble mind do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling but on the
contrary bless for to this you were called that you may obtain a blessing
brothers and sisters we have received the greatest blessing of all the
blessing of life eternal let us by the grace of God out of gratitude for God’s
gift of salvation seek to be a blessing to each other by exhibiting unity of
mind sympathy brotherly love a tender heart and a humble mind amen let us
pray heavenly father we thank you and praise you Lord God for your amazing
grace and love to us in Christ and we pray that by your spirit you would help
us to take these truths to heart and we especially pray for the married couples
in our midst that you would strengthen our marriages strengthen the
relationships between husband and wife and grant oh Lord that we would take
these instructions from your word as they truly are meant to be as the
instruction of the Lord and by your grace enable us to put these instructions
into practice within our own homes we pray these things in Jesus name and all
of God’s people said amen as we respond to the preaching of God’s word and
prepare to celebrate the Lord’s Supper let’s rise and we’ll sing together
we’ll sing together number 202 here oh my Lord I see thee face to face 202