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Honorable Conduct: Submission to Family

How do we show people that we are not evildoers?

First Peter 3.1–7

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • June 17, AD 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Blade – First Peter 2.21–25


  1. The power of women,

    18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
    Yes, four which I do not understand:
    19 The way of an eagle in the air,
    The way of a serpent on a rock,
    The way of a ship in the midst of the sea,
    And the way of a man with a virgin.
    (Pro 30.18, 19)

    1. First Esdras 3 and 4 of the Apocrypha illustrates this proverb, when
      1. three young men present to King Darius their beliefs in the strongest thing.
      2. The first man presented a persuasive argument for wine.
      3. The second man argued convincingly that the king was stronger than wine.
      4. The third man showed how women outdid wine and kings, saying,
        1. Women have borne the king and his people,
          1. who obey him, or
          2. work in his vineyards.
        2. Women make garments for men, and without women men cannot be.
        3. Men love women more than gold and silver.
        4. Men leave their parents to cleave to their wives.
        5. Men work and turn the profits over to their wives.
        6. And he listed more reasons why women were stronger than even kings.
          1. Then the young man proceeded to show that truth outdid women.
          2. However, my point is to show the power of women.
    2. During the Clinton Administration,
      1. they were planning a bombing raid in Iraq.
      2. Now imagine what goes on in planning something like that, and
        1. the power that the planners have at their disposal, but
        2. when one of the generals went home that night,
          1. he was told the movie was already picked out and
          2. he had no say in the matter.
  2. With all that in mind, 
    1. you will read in First Peter 2, that Peter said,12 …hav[e] your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation (1Pe 2.12).
    2. Peter then shows us how to prove to the Gentiles that we are not evildoers.
    3. In verses 13–17 he instructs us to submit to every ordinance of man.
    4. In verses 18–25 he instructs us to submit to our masters, or employers.
      1. In 3.1–6, he will instruct Christian wives to submit to their husbands, and
      2. in verse 7, he will instruct Christian husbands.
        1. If Christian women remember their influence as I have demonstrated,
        2. they will understand why Peter gives the instructions that he does.


  1. First Peter 3.1–6 – Honorable Conduct Before Husbands 
    1. First Peter 3.1, 2 – Honorable Conduct: Submission

      1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear (1Pe 3.1, 2).

      1. Even as we submit to government and masters,
        1. so let wives submit to their husbands,
        2. especially wives with unbelieving husbands.
      2. Some men will not listen to any talk about Christianity.
        1. However, some may still be won,
        2. as he watches her manner of living.
          1. Her integrity impresses him, and
          2. he might turn from the life of the world to the life of Christ.
            1. That is power!
        3. By doing this,
          1. she both honors the social order, and
          2. changes it to bring it to Christ.
      3. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes,1 To everything there is a season,
        A time for every purpose under heaven…

        7b A time to keep silence,
        And a time to speak…
        (Ecc 3.1, 7b)

        1. She will not win him to Christ by nagging him into it, for
        2. if she tries such a method, Solomon warns again,17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house,
          Lest he become weary of you and hate you.
          (Pro 25.17)
      4. Also, remember what Paul told the Corinthians,2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men… (2Co 3.2).
        1. Your husband knows you and reads you, and
        2. he sees Christ in you by the way you live.
      5. Therefore,
        1. while submission is an obligation from God,
        2. she sees it as an opportunity for the man she loves.
    2. First Peter 3.3, 4 – Honorable Conduct: Inward Adornment

      3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God (1Pe 3.3, 4).

      1. If you want to win your husband to Christ,
        1. you need to remember what Jesus is all about, and
        2. He is not about the flesh, but the spirit.
          1. Focus on what is on the inside and
          2. it will show up on the outside.
      2. Hairstyles, jewelry, and clothing will not win him over to Christ.
        1. How will those things make him think of
          1. repenting of his sins,
          2. dying to self, and
          3. looking for baptism that he may lead a Spirit-filled life?
        2. No, it is the Fruit of the Spirit, or
          1. as Peter says, “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”
          2. that God values those things, and
            1. if your husband sees that you value what God values,
            2. it will have a profound influence upon the man in your life.
      3. Think about it:
        1. Will loving your husband first
        2. increase your love for God, or
          1. will loving God first
          2. increase your love for your husband?
      4. Peter says in this letter that there are things precious in the sight of God:
        1. Our faith (1.7)
        2. The blood of Christ (1.19)
        3. Christ as the Living Stone (2.4)
        4. Christ as the Chief Cornerstone (2.6)
          1. Jesus is precious to us (2.7)
        5. Inward beauty (3.4)
          1. What is outward beauty without inward beauty?
          2. The Holy Spirit through Solomon paints a picture for us,22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout,
            So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
            (Pro 11.22)
    3. First Peter 3.5, 6 – Honorable Conduct: Fearless Doers of Good

      5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror (1Pe 3.5, 6).

      1. Holy women of former times trusted in God, believing
        1. that if you do things as He teaches and commands,
        2. you will have good success.
      2. Consider Sarah.
        1. Abraham and Sarah epitomize a godly couple.
        2. She called him lord (Referring to him as such in Genesis 18.12),
          1. that is, she respected him, and
          2. he respected her in return.
            1. Do you want your husband to treat you like a queen?
            2. Treat him like a king.
      3. Sarah had influence with the great patriarch Abraham.
        1. The Scripture shows him deferring to her in various situations, because
        2. of the way she treated him.
      4. If you want to be one of her daughters,
        1. first, do good, and
        2. second, do not be afraid of any terror,
          1. not doing these things out of fear, but
          2. out of obedience to Christ and His example.
      5. Therefore, your true adornment is submission.
  2. First Peter 3.7 – Honorable Conduct Before Wives

    7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered (1Pe 3.7).

    1. As the wife is to honor her husband, so husbands are to honor their wives.
    2. Honorable Conduct: Dwell with Understanding
      1. How can I honor someone if I do not understand that person?
      2. Is there anyone on earth who does not want to be understood?
    3. Honorable Conduct: Give Honor
      1. He should honor her as he would a weak vessel.
      2. How do you treat a weaker vessel?
        1. So treat your wives.
        2. Give her a place of honor.
          1. If you want her to treat you like a king,
          2. treat her like a queen.
    4. Honorable Conduct: Treat as a Joint Heir
      1. Your Christian wife
        1. is a joint heir with you in the grace of life.
        2. How then should you treat her?
      2. If she is not a Christian,
        1. then what Peter said to believing wives about unbelieving husbands
        2. should be practiced by the husbands,
          1. that is, do not hound her about it, but
          2. win her over with your Christ-like spirit.
      3. Peter declared that if you do not follow these instructions,
        1. your prayers will be hindered.
        2. God does not want you sweet-talking Him,
          1. if you do not sweet-talk your wife.
          2. I was like that with my daughters.
            1. Do not sweet-talk me
            2. when you bash your sister.
        3. The Lord thinks that way, according to Malachi 2,13 And this is the second thing you do:
          You cover the altar of the LORD with tears,
          With weeping and crying;
          So He does not regard the offering anymore,
          Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
          14 Yet you say, “For what reason?”
          Because the LORD has been witness
          Between you and the wife of your youth,
          With whom you have dealt treacherously;
          Yet she is your companion
          And your wife by covenant.
          15 But did He not make them one,
          Having a remnant of the Spirit?
          And why one?
          He seeks godly offspring.
          Therefore take heed to your spirit,
          And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
          (Mal 2.13–15)


  1. The Christian believes that the way of God is right, because 
    1. the Christian believes that God knows what is right, best, and what works.
    2. Therefore, when He says
      1. to submit to every ordinance of man,
      2. to submit to masters or employers, and
        1. for wives to submit to their husbands, and
        2. for husbands to understand their wives and honor them,
          1. Christian men and women do these things, because
          2. the God who created us
            1. knows what He is talking about, and
            2. His way leads to success.
  2. Follow God’s solutions to the problems of life and 
    1. find inner peace, and
    2. you will see that such will
      1. glorify God,
      2. save lost souls, and
      3. strengthen your brethren.
  3. You may have to reassess your goals in life 
    1. to see whether they are the same as God’s goals.
    2. If you make God’s goals your goals,
      1. you will find new meaning in your life, and
      2. you will have joy that no one can take away from you.
  4. Trust and obey God, and you will gain power and wisdom.