THE WIFE’S PRIVILEGED STATUS ENTITLES HER TO SPECIAL CONSIDERATION FROM HER HUSBAND
There are all sorts of Entitlement Programs in the United States today. Most of them Welfare programs based on meeting certain criteria – people are entitled to receive certain benefits.
We are going to talk today about a very special Entitlement Program that God has set up – one that some of you here today certainly qualify for; and you kids need to listen up, because some of you may qualify for these benefits later on in life as well.
I am talking about God’s special Entitlement Program for the wives of Christian husbands:
THE WIFE’S PRIVILEGED STATUS ENTITLES HER TO SPECIAL CONSIDERATION FROM HER HUSBAND
Last week we talked about the responsibility of Christian wives to submit to their husbands – with special instructions if their husband was not saved
Remember: submission is not really tested in areas where you agree with your husband. It is best seen in those areas where you find it difficult to rank yourself under the direction and leadership of your husband.
Not talking about being a doormat; not talking about weakness
Danger in our approach to Bible study: how can we let a week go by before explaining the rest of the passage that balances the few verses we have covered??
Importance of Balance in all of these instructions
cf. message to submit to govt authorities
balance = reminder that they are charged with fulfilling their mission of punishing evildoers and praising those who do right (v.14)
cf. message to submit to employer
balance = they are not our ultimate boss; we are ultimately serving the Lord and responsible to Him = the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (v.25)
3:7 provides the balance to the responsibilities for wives laid out in 3:1-6 – It would be easy for husbands to take advantage of a submissive wife and to exploit her and to mistreat her
You might be thinking as we get started here that you are not receiving the benefits you should from this Entitlement Program God has set up –
just because things are out of whack does not give you the freedom to live as you please; verses 1-6 still apply;
it just means that you might be in a context where you are being called to suffer as Christ suffered
We should be more concerned about the spiritual destiny of those persecuting us than about the problems they are causing for us;
Christ demonstrated this to the ultimate degree when He cried out from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”
I. WHAT TYPE OF SPECIAL CONSIDERATION?
A. Considerate Companionship
dwelling together with them in accordance with knowledge
according to knowledge:
knowledge of God’s design
knowledge of your wife and her role and her strengths and weaknesses
cf. Leave and Cleave = the basis for dwelling together; forming a family unit; concept of one flesh;
certainly there are some overtones and applications in this passage relating to sexual relationships as well and the consideration and gentleness and tenderness that must be expressed by the partner who is physically stronger and commands a higher level of authority
talking about staying at home; spending time together
cf. the culture of NT times – husband was around the house much more – probably home for lunch a lot; worked out of a shop adjoining the home or worked in the fields around the home; a lot of interaction and active training of the children for their adult roles; a lot of apprenticeship;
we are much more disconnected; easier for the husband to step out of his wife’s world and to create a separate world for himself where the problems of the family and the priorities of the wife can’t touch him
Wife values that companionship; requires communication
Is our wife really our best friend? Go away on business trip – miss the companionship; doesn’t take long to get lonely
Examples of how not to live with your wife in an understanding way:
1) Treating your wife as a pack mule – you can carry the whole load – throwing every responsibility on your wife until she collapses (or a work horse)
2) Treating your wife as a jackass – unintelligent fool that doesn’t know anything
3) Treating your wife as a mouse – Squelching her personality; being overbearing; allowing her just to squeek a little once in awhile – but not helping her to grow into the person God intended for her to be
4) Treating your wife as a lion = king of the jungle; bowing to every demand; abdicating our leadership in the home and allowing her to take over and rule the roost; some husbands are completely dominated by their wife; they live as a mouse in their home
5) Treating your wife as a golden retriever (get this for me; do this for me;…) rather than as a helpmeet provided by God; wife not intended to be your slave
6) Treating your wife as just one of the worker bees rather than as the queen bee
one of the masses; vs. That very special and unique one
B. Active Appreciation — “assigning honor”
Key = What value do I place on my wife? How precious is she to me? What type of gift did God provide for me?
Value of a Wife:
Proverbs 31:10 “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.”
Proverbs 3:13-14 “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, And its gain than fine gold.”
Prov 12:4 “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband”
Prov 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.”
Prov 19:14 “House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord.”
Church, the Bride of Christ:
Matthew 13:45-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
Parallel Passage: Eph 5:22-33
Practical ways to assign honor:
1) Tell her you love her and appreciate her
2) Tell others that you love her and appreciate her (especially in her presence)
Prov. 31 – her husband will praise her :
“Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all”
“a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised”
3) Treat her as one who enjoys a privileged status
Frustration builds up easily in a wife when she is not shown that special consideration to which she is entitled
II. WHAT TYPE OF PRIVILEGED STATUS?
A. Endangered Species Protection – both emotional and physical and spiritual protection
many forms of wildlife enjoy a special protected status that often we can’t even understand – Yes the spotted owl is one of God’s creations – but how concerned or worked up need I get about my responsibility for its protection??
The kids and I joke around when some of the environmental commercials come on the TV – trying to lay a guilt trip on us for not spending our emotional and financial energies on a crusade to save the whales or the tuna or the …
but one form of wildlife we need to protect = our wife
She is a weaker vessel – physically (comparison here is to her husband)
Can you imagine a coed track meet – what event could a woman compete on equal footing with a man??
more sensitive emotionally (cf. example of how Eve was first to fall to temptation)
She is a woman – taken from man and dependent on man
Strange culture we live in – people trying to get rid of their privileged status – I don’t want any special consideration; I don’t want to be treated any differently than a man…
B. She is heir with you of the grace of eternal life
Equal Spiritual Privilege
What a gigantic step forward this concept was for women in the first century church!
Tendency for those in high positions to look down and despise those in lower positions
Gal. 3:28-29 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man (Did Peter think that this meant that slaves no longer had to submit to their master?), there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
Understand this verse in its context:
speaking of the role of the law in relation to faith
emphasizing that both Jew and Gentile come to God on the same basis = thru faith rather than by fulfilling the works of the law
the law really condemns all men – because no one can keep it; everyone comes to God on the same spiritual basis; the gospel of grace thru faith means that everyone comes to God on the same basis and is incorporated into 1 body with equality of spiritual life and privilege – no scond class citizens in the kingdom;
talking about membership in the body of Christ – not whether there will still be distinctions in roles and authority in different contexts
People have taken the verses related to this and twisted them all out of context – losing sight of the glorious truths that are taught – What is more important than equality of spiritual life and privilege??
Equal pay for equal work??
Being allowed to fight in the military alongside of their male counterparts??
Wearing the same clothing so that you can’t tell men and women apart??
Having the same Unisex hairstyle so that you can’t tell them apart??
C. That Your Prayers be not Hindered – Effective Prayer Partnership
implies that you pray together regularly
How much value do I place on my prayer partnership with my wife?
What do I think God intends to accomplish thru our joint intercession?
(1 Cor. 7:5 there is a time for marital relations and there is a time for abstinence and for intensified joint focus on prayer)
Importance of wife’s perception – often perception = reality
Not enough for me to think that I am showing my wife consideration; actively honoring her; protecting her as I should; treating her as an equal spiritual partner – especially in the area of fellowship and worship and prayer…
What does my wife think
Design your own questionaire – Interview your wife to see how she feels you are doing in these areas