If Any Obey Not The Word

Posted by on Jan 22, 2012

If Any Obey Not The Word

“If Any Obey Not The Word”

MP3 Version: “If Any Obey Not The Word

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 3:1-6

By Pastor Mike Withem
First Baptist Church
Ranson, West Virginia


A. (Illus.- Several years ago a lady joined our church who’s husband was not a church-goer. In fact, not only did he not attend church, but he was not even saved [believer in Christ]. A few months after she joined, this same lady came to me for advice concerning how to live with a husband who was not a Christian. Without going into any detail, I immediately took her to 1 Peter 3, and we had a little Bible study on the verses that Bro. Mike read just a moment ago.)
1. Why these verses?
2. Because they address this very situation, where a woman who is saved, finds herself married to a man who is not.

B. “HOW does this happen?” someone asks.
1. It happens in one of TWO ways.
2. Sometimes a woman who is saved marries a man who is NOT saved.
3. While this is very common today, it is most certainly contrary to biblical teaching (principle).
4. For example, the Bible plainly says in 2 Cor. 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
5. And so, sometimes a woman who is saved marries a man who is not saved, even though she shouldn’t.
6. Another way it can happen is that sometimes a woman comes to Christ AFTER she is married, but her unsaved husband does not. (This was the case with the dear sister that I mentioned a moment ago.)
C. But, again, the question is this, “What is a woman to do, a woman who is saved, if, for some reason, she finds herself married to an unsaved man?”
1. How is she to handle that situation?
2. May I say, first and foremost, that she should…

I. Stay With Him.

A. Leaving him is NOT an option.
1. Bailing out of the marriage is NOT an option.
2. Divorcing him is clearly NOT an option, unless infidelity is an issue.
3. Paul dealt with this very situation in 1 Cor. 7; notice what he wrote in Vrs. 13, “And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.”
4. Notice again the words, “…let her not leave him.”
5. And so, leaving him is not an option.
6. Now Paul did go on to write in Vrs. 15, “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases:”
7. In other words, if he decides that he no longer wants to be married to a Christian woman and leaves her, she should let him go.
8. However, if that is not the case, if he is happy being married to her, even though she is a Christian, she should NOT leave him.

B. The Bible is very clear when it comes to the subject of divorce.
1. There is only ONE justification for divorcing your spouse, and that is infidelity.
2. Do you remember what Jesus said in Matt. 19:9, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery:”
3. Notice again the words, “…except it be for fornication,”
4. Now this does not mean that divorce should be automatic in these cases.
5. Where there is true repentance on the part of the offender, as well as a willingness to forgive on the part of the offended, even these marriages can be saved.
6. However, if this is not the case, then as sad as it is, divorce is a justifiable option.

C. And so, “What is a woman to do, a woman who is saved, if, for some reason, she finds herself married to an unsaved man?”
1. First and foremost, she should stay with him.
2. May I say, also, that she should…

II. Be A Model Wife.

A. Notice again Peter’s words in Vrs. 1 of our text, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word,”
1. And then in Vrs. 6, “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord:”
2. Now what is Peter telling wives here?
2. He’s simply telling them that even if their husband is not saved, even if he is not a believer in Christ, even if he does not share their faith in Christ, they should STILL be submissive and obedient wives.

B. Now there is a very important principle here that both wives and husbands need to understand.
1. Our responsibility to be good wives or good husbands in no way is lessened if our spouses do not reciprocate.
2. In other words, if you husband is a lousy husband, you should still be a good wife, and if you wife is a lousy wife, you should still be a good husband.
3. (Illus.- I remember counseling with a lady once who was extremely upset with her husband, and to be honest, she had some very legitimate complaints. I knew her husband well and I knew that in may ways he was not a good husband. After she had finished telling me about all of her husband’s shortcomings, she asked me, “Pastor, what should I do?” I will never forget the surprised look on her face when I said to her, “Be a model wife.” She said, “Wait a minute, we are not talking about me here, we are talking about my husband.” I said, “I know, but you asked me what YOU should do, and what YOU should do is to be the very best wife that you can possibly be.”)
4. The same thing is true if the situation is reversed.
5. If a husband comes to me complaining about his wife, I would give him the very SAME advice.
6. I would say to him, “Be a model husband. Love your wife. Honor your wife. Be the very best husband that you can possibly be.”

C. This same principle can be applied to all human relationships.
1. Take, for example, the employer-employee relationship.
2. Notice 1 Pet. 2:18, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.”
3. Notice again the words, “…but also to the froward.”
4. Do you know what that word “froward” means?
5. It means “warped, crooked, perverse.”
6. And so, what Peter is telling us here is this: even if our boss is the WORST boss in the world, as long as we are in his employment, we have an obligation before God to be the BEST employees that we can possibly be.

D. Is your husband unsaved?
1. Is your husband saved, but not a good Christian?
2. Is your husband, generally speaking, a terrible husband?
3. None of these things lessens your responsibility to be a good wife, and so, my advice to you is to be a model wife.

E. Now I know what you are asking yourself right about now. You are asking…

III. Why?

A. “Why should I stay with my husband, why should I be a model wife, if my husband is not saved, or if he is not a good husband? Why, pastor?”
1. Of course, the bottom line is, you should do it because God in His Word commands you to do it, and those commands are clearly UNCONDITIONAL.
2. But there is another reason.
3. You should do it because this is your BEST HOPE of seeing your husband change (for the better).

B. Notice again Vrs. 1 of our text, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”
1. Did you notice the phrase “…without the word”?
2. I’m afraid that a lot of wives think they can change their husbands by preaching to them, or as some might put it, nagging them.
3. Ladies, let me tell you something about me (and I know something about men because I am a man), men don’t like to be preached to by women, especially their wives, and even if they know in their heart that you are right and they are wrong, you’re never going to get them to admit it by preaching to them. (Take my word for it!)
4. In fact, all you will accomplish by preaching to them is that you will cause them to “DIG IN THEIR HEELS” a little deeper. (You will only make matters worse.)

C. But someone asks, “If preaching isn’t going to work, then how am I going to convince my husband that he needs to change?”
1. The answer is, “YOU are not!”
2. You can preach to him until you are blue in the face, and YOU are not going to convince him to change.
3. You see, this is something that ONLY GOD can do!
4. But God does need your help!
5. “HOW does God need your help?”
6. He needs you to live an exemplary life before your husband.
7. He needs you to stand by him (be his helper).
8. He needs you to submit to him (place yourself under his authority).
9. He needs you to be everything that a Christian wife ought to be to her husband.
10. Notice again Vrs. 1 of our text, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”
11. The word “conversation” here means “behavior” or “lifestyle.”
12. What Peter is saying here is that wives should seek to win over their husbands, not by preaching to them, but by being the kind of wife that God intends for them to be.

D. But someone asks, “HOW is that going to win over my husband? How is that going to result in his being changed (for the better)?”
1. The answer is found in Rom. 12:20-21, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
2. Notice again the words, “…but overcome evil with good.”
3. I’m afraid that a lot of wives think that the way to overcome the bad behavior of their husbands is by behaving badly themselves.
4. You know, this “I’LL SHOW HIM” mentality!
5. The problem, however, is that if you respond to your husband’s bad behavior with bad behavior of your own, that only encourages MORE bad behavior on his part, making things even worse than they were.
6. God’s way is to “overcome evil with good.”
7. God’s way is to “heap coals of fire on his head” (not literally, of course).
8. God’s way is to “feed him” if he is hungry, to “give him…drink” if he is thirsty, thus “KILLING HIM WITH KINDNESS.”

E. By the way, God practiced this very principle Himself in bringing us to Him!
1. Notice the question that Paul asked in Rom. 2:4, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
2. Listen, if God used His “goodness” and kindness to win us over to Himself, don’t you wives think that you would be wise to use this same method in trying to win over your husbands?
3. But someone asks, “Pastor, can you GUARANTEE that this will work with my husband?”
4. No, I can’t guarantee that it will work with your husband, but I’ll tell you what I can guarantee, I can guarantee that if you try any other method, it will NOT work!
5. But then, because of your past experience, you may already know that.


A. Perhaps I am speaking to a wife this morning who’s husband is not the kind of husband that he ought to be.
1. Perhaps he is not saved.
2. Perhaps he is saved, but he is not right with God.
3. But for one reason or another, he’s not a good husband.
4. What should a wife do in this situation?
5. First and foremost, you should STAY WITH HIM.
6. And then you should BE A MODEL WIFE.
7. WHY?
8. Because the way to overcome evil is with good.

B. By the way, the same thing is true when the situation is reversed.
1. Perhaps I am speaking to a husband this morning who’s wife is not the kind of wife that she ought to be.
2. What is a husband to do in this situation?
3. First of all, you should stay with her.
4. And then you should strive to be a model husband.
5. You should love her, honor her, and pray for her, no matter what.
6. Why?
7. Because the way to overcome evil is with good.

C. Perhaps I am speaking to someone this morning who is not saved.