By VANCE DRUM

Our Sunset Music Director Jerry Hinson sang a beautiful song, “I Believe, Lord, Help My Unbelief,” on Sunday.  Thank you, Jerry.

The Sunset pastor on Sunday continued our Drawing Near to God series with a message, “Action toward Your Spouse:  Stirring the Flame.”

The text was from 1 Peter 3:7:  “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect…, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

God created and then married our first parents Adam and Eve.  Marriage, Paul says (Ephesians 5) is a mystery, and it is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Body, the church.

Just as God intends for our relationship with Christ to be dynamic (not boring or stagnant), so he intends our relationship with our spouse also to be dynamic—growing, not stale.

Our relationship with Christ is to be redemptive and a blessing.  So also our marriages should be not a source of chaos, turmoil and a curse but a blessing and a joy to both husband and wife.

But alas, we live in a fallen world, and our marriages sometimes fall short of God’s expectations.

The pastor made two points:  (1) Considerate and Respectful; (2) Heirs and Prayers.

(1) Considerate and Respectful.  V7: “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect….”

It is a fact that in most of the history of the world, and even today in much of the world, women have too often been disrespected, used and abused by bad religion and by the men around them.  In some countries, women, even wives, are not much more than slaves who live their lives a degradingly subservient manner to those in power in the house.

Jesus, however, elevated women.  He shocked his traveling companions by having a conversation with a Samaritan woman, and he healed the daughter of a non-Jewish, Syrophoenician woman.

Women and men have equal redemptive standing in God’s eyes (Gal 3:28):  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Peter in our text instructs husbands to be considerate and respectful of their wives. We must listen to our wives, and carefully consider and esteem what they say.

Being respectful means that husbands do not blow off what their wives say because their wife said it.  Instead, we should highly regard it precisely because she said it, and not someone else.

We do this because we’re related in a marriage covenant in which we are to love our wives as we love ourselves.  Husbands must pay attention to what their wives say, and highly consider it.

Does that work?  Yes, it works.  If we disagree on a judgment call, we’ll have a discussion about it, and, as Paul said (Ephesians 5:21), we “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Stirring the flame?  We do it by showing kindness, love and forgiveness to each other.  Even though we have different gifts and do different things, we must make time to do some things together.  Without paying attention to one’s marriage, the flame gets cool and may die.

(2) Heirs and Prayers.  V7b:  “… as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

Peter says here that husbands and wives are one, that is, they’re in the marriage covenant together. They are joint heirs of God’s gifts in this life and the life to come.  Just as Christ and the Body of Christ—his people—are inseparable, so husband and wife are inseparable in the eyes of God.  One doesn’t get into heaven before the other because of one’s gender. We are functionally different but redemptively equal.

Then, “so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”  Disrespecting my wife will cause my prayers not to be heard.  God’s way is best!

“Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.  For great is his love toward us….” [Psalm 117:1-2]

May we—and all America—praise the Lord this week as a mighty revival sweeps through our land—our prayer from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.