Going Deeper With the Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler
Date: October 23, 2016
Text: Connected for Good: Generous Marriages

BIG PRAYERS

GENEROUS MARRIAGES

1 Peter 3:1-7, ESV

SCRIPTURE

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.

1 Peter 3:1-7, ESV

BIG IDEA

As believers we are connected for good. That is, we are connected to one another and to Christ for eternity. We're also connected in order to do good, to fulfill God's good purposes. Each week we acknowledge God's generosity in giving his son in order to make reconciliation possible between a holy God and sinful humanity. God is generous and he desires his people to be generous in the fullest sense of the word-gracious, magnanimous.
 

BACKGROUND

This week we consider Christian marriage--the uniting of a man and a woman in covenant before God and the congregation. What is marriage for? What makes a marriage generous?

If we do not take the time to consider the purpose and nature of Christian marriage, we will just muddle our way through life trying to do the best we can--we wing it.

It's possible to do better, to be more. If you are married, you are connected to one another for good.

Consider the words of the Statement on the Gift of Marriage found at the bottom of this document:   

     God gave us marriage as a holy mystery in which a man and a woman
     are joined together, and become one, just as Christ is one with the church.

The Apostle Paul tells us that marriage reflects something of the relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and his church-that is, those have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Marriage is a mirror. It shows us something about God, and it certainly shows us something about ourselves as well. And what it shows--whether good or bad-it shows to those outside of the Christian faith as well.

QUESTIONS

1.   Peter refers to his readers as "strangers and aliens" or "sojourners and exiles," highlighting the fact that the Christian ought always to find himself not quite fitting in with secular culture. Consider your life, your worldview, to what extent are you comfortable? To what extent are you not? 

2.  Peter's concern (2:12) is that the conduct of his readers be a positive witness to the gospel of Christ. As you look at your own life, especially your marriage, would you describe it as something that presents a winsome picture to a hostile world?

3.  Peter uses the phrase "be subject to," three times in the first three chapters of the letter. His concern is that through mutual submission, we may maintain peace and a positive example to the world. Are there times when it is better to give in than to fight a decision you oppose in order to preserve peace? Support your answer with three references to Scripture.

4.  Through marriage we learn something about another, but we also learn a great deal about ourselves. Can you think of an insight into yourself that you gained either through your spouse or another friend?  

5.  Peter refers to husbands who "do not believe the word" (3:1) What does he say may be used by the Holy Spirit to bring them to faith? What characteristics are true of the woman God uses in this way?

6.  Peter tells husbands that they should, "live with your wives according to knowledge." Mark indicated that this could mean loving your wife in a way that she is able to receive or that is related to her "love language." Do you agree? 

7.  Note that Peter speaks harshly to men who act inappropriately toward their wives-specifically, those whose actions are physically or emotionally overbearing. What does Peter say is the result of such sin? 


PRAYER

Gracious God,

We pray that you would use your Word by means of your Spirit to continue the journey of becoming more like Jesus.

We know that your desire is for marriages to flourish through self-giving love rooted in your love. Help us to lean on the grace of your gospel and the strength of your grace to deepen our love for one another.

Help us to hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess knowing that you are faithful.

Amen.

STATEMENT ON THE GIFT OF MARRIAGE

We gather in the presence of God
to give thanks for the gift of marriage,
to witness the joining together of this man, and this woman
to surround them with our prayers,
and to ask God's blessing upon them,
so that they may be strengthened for their life together
and nurtured in their love for God."

God created us male and female,
and gave us marriage
so that husband and wife may help and comfort each other,
living faithfully together in plenty and in want
in joy and in sorrow,
in sickness and in health,
throughout all their days.

God gave us marriage
for the full expression of the love between a man and a woman.
In marriage a woman and a man belong to each other,
and with affection and tenderness
freely give themselves to each other.

God gave us marriage
for the well-being of human society,
for the ordering of family life,
and for the birth and nurture of children.

God gave us marriage as a holy mystery
in which a man and a woman are joined together,
and become one,
just as Christ is one with the church.

In marriage, husband and wife are called to a new way of life,
created, ordered, and blessed by God.
This way of life must not be entered into carelessly,
or from selfish motives,
but responsibly, and prayerfully.

We rejoice that marriage is given by God,
blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ,
and sustained by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, let marriage be held in honor by all.