How does a sermon for husbands apply to those who are not husbands?

groomOn Sunday, I preached a message to husbands about how to be good husbands.

1 Peter 3:7
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

I had hoped to spend some time helping non-husbands apply the principles to their lives, but ended up leaving it out for the sake of time.

Is there value for non-husbands to listen to a sermon to and about husbands?

Consider that the inspired writers of NT epistles wrote most of their letters to churches. Much of their instruction deals with the responsibilities of the general church population. “Love one another” and “pray for one another” are exhortations to Christians of all categories. However, much that is written in these letters focus on the responsibilities of particular categories of the church population. There is instruction to wives, to husbands, to servants, to deacons, to elders, to children, etc. It was the plan of both God and those NT writers for everyone to hear these instructions – even if the instructions were given to a category of people different from his own.

Why? What does God want husbands to hear about the responsibilities of their wives? Why did God want masters to hear about the responsibilities of their slaves?

Why does God want you to hear instructions to husbands even if you are not a husband? Let me offer several reasons.

You need to know God’s calling for husbands so you can pray properly. If you are a wife, pray for your husband. If you are a child or young adult (teenager), pray for your father. Perhaps you are a single person with no intention of getting married. Still, you know husbands, and you can pray for them.

Pray for your shepherds and deacons in this matter. There are biblical qualifications for elders and deacons that pertain to marriage. Satan would like to see men disqualified for public leadership in the church. In light of this, pray that God strengthen men to remain qualified.

If you are a single man (young or old) desiring to be married one day, you need to prepare yourself for marriage. Don’t wait until you’re married to find out what a God-pleasing husband is! Let me give one example for now. From 1 Peter 3:7, you learn that you should strive to be an understanding leader. Are you a leader to your sisters? To people at work? To others in the church? To others at school? Lead according to knowledge.

What are you doing right now to prepare yourself to lead your future wife?

If you are a single lady (young or old) desiring to be married one day, you need to know what you should be looking for in a husband. What does a godly man look like? You need to know. When you make a marriage commitment, you committing to submit to a man. If he is not godly, your life will be hard! Be ready to identify a man who leads with understanding and one that will honor you as a fellow heir in the grace of life.

What kind of “check list” do you have? What’s high on the list? Does your list match God’s lists of “characteristics of a godly man?”

No matter who you are, you need to equip yourself to give biblical counsel to others. God wants you to use the Scriptures to teach, reprove, correction, and train others. You may be able to challenge or encourage a brother in Christ who is struggling to be a faithful husband. When you hear a Christian brother dishonor his wife, you need to use Scripture to help him. This is a good place to remind you of some things we learned in 1 Timothy.

1 Timothy 5:1-2
(1)Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers,
(2)the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.

No matter who you are, you need to hear God’s instructions to husbands at the same time husbands hear the instructions so that husbands feel wholesome, godly pressure to heed God’s instructions.

We can listen to Bible teaching on the radio, and if we don’t feel like applying the truth no one knows the difference. There’s no pressure. God designed the local church in such a way that husbands hear the truth at the same time others are hearing the truth. Some husbands squirm because they know others are aware of their laziness as husbands. That wholesome, godly pressure is part of God’s plan for husbands…and for you!

If you are a divorced man you need this passage as a standard by which you may judge your behavior and attitudes from your previous marriage. This passage may be used by God to bring about appropriate confession and repentance for past sin. God may lead you to confess your sin in order to find relief from guilt.

If you are a parent, you need to help your children prepare themselves for marriage. You can’t start this preparation too soon!

crossNo matter who you are, you need to see that Christ is the perfect husband. Marriage was created by God to be a picture of the church’s relationship to Christ (Ephesians 5:32). Our marriage should point others to Christ! When you see God’s instructions to husbands, you should admire Christ as the perfect husband! Acknowledge that Christ is “wins our hearts” as He calls us to follow His leadership. Consider how He is gracious, understanding, kind, sweet, patient, clear, consistent, yet firm in His leadership of you. Consider how He bestows honor on you (1 Peter 1:7)!

No matter who you are, you need to hear God’s instructions to husbands because His instructions to husbands contain principles which apply universally. Let me take Peter’s instructions to husbands and flatten the principles to help you my appropriate applications to your own life.

In 1 Peter 3:7, Peter describes two conditions which husbands must meet in order to receive mercy and find grace before the throne of grace.

Universal principle: There is a way to live that hinders prayer. Peter is showing two specific ways this is true for husbands, but, in fact, it is true for everyone. We might readily say (and we would do well to say so), “praying helps me live right.” But, it is also true that “living right helps my praying.” I won’t develop this any further right now since I will have the opportunity to do so in our series in 1 Peter. For now ask yourself, “Am I living in a way that hinders my prayers?”

The first condition husbands must meet: Peter exhorts husbands to lead their wives with understanding (or, “according to knowledge”). To lead in way that pleases God, husbands must seek to understand (1) God’s will concerning marriage and (2) his wife.

A second universal principle: A godly leader seeks to understand God’s will concerning his sphere of authority and/or influence.

A third universal principle: A godly leader leads with understanding as he considers the weaknesses and potential struggles of those he leads. This is very important for parents. Parents should try to make it easy for their children to follow their leadership. This might involve the giving of explanations for decisons they have made. It may mean that the parents allow the children to give input into important family decisions. Parents should pay attention to the spiritual struggles and temptations of their children and take the necessary time to equip them and encourage them to live for God.

I could go on and on with this, but I think you get the point.

I pray everyone is challenged and encouraged by Peter’s instructions for husbands…because they really are instructions for everyone!

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