Mark Driscoll, Pastor Mars Hill Church:
Marriage & Men
Jesus is the only perfect man to ever live. Because most men fail to look to Him as our example, there exists 2 extremes in men: chauvinism and cowardice. Pastor Mark Driscoll preaches to men about being real men who love God and serve their family well in this sermon from Trial.
You’re listening to Trial: Eight Witnesses from 1 and 2 Peter. In this twenty-eight-week sermon series, Pastor Mark Driscoll examines the books of 1 and 2 Peter through eight character witnesses that come forward to testify about your life. For more info on Trial, visit 8witnesses.com. And for more audio and video content, visit marshillchurch.org.
Well, howdy Mars Hill. Back to work. Good to see you all. If you’re new, my name’s Mark, one of the pastors here at the church. Quite a few announcements today. I’ll get through ‘em quickly and then we’ll be in 1 Peter 3:7. If you’ve got a Bible, you can go there.
First, this summer I’ll be leading a tour of Greece and Israel, if you’ve always wanted to go to where Jesus was, we’d love to have you join us. You can find details online at ujtours.com, and also on the hero box on the front page of marshillchurch.org.
Interesting media week as well, Time magazine, the latest issue, the cover story is “Ten Ideas Changing the World Right Now.” And we’re number three. We’re number three, right there. The “New Calvinism” is what they call it. And there is sort of a theological resurgence going on globally that we praise God to be a part of. And they talked about how the epicenter or the passion for all of this is coming out of my dear friend Dr. John Piper’s church in Minneapolis and right here at your very own Mars Hill. So there you go. Praise God for that.
Also, we had a big debate here on Friday night for ABC’s Nightline. Some of you may have been able to join us. I know many of you prayed. I just want to say thank you. I think it went real well. The crew honestly was great, loved the crew, had a great time with them. And they were very gracious to us and great to work with, and it was a real honor to partner with them. Carlton Pearson was involved, and Deepak Chopra, and a great, sweet Christian sister named Annie, who’s got a brutal testimony, but really Jesus has done a wonderful thing in her life. And so it went well. You can pray now for the edits. They’ll take a few hours and edit it down to a few minutes. I think we said “Jesus” enough that they can’t cut him out no matter how they cut the thing, which is always the hope. But it will be on Thursday night 11:35 locally on ABC, the “Nightline” show. So if you want to watch it, that’ll be this Thursday night. And if you miss it, we’ll post the link online on the blog at marshillchurch.org and you can find it online as well.
Well, that brings us to our sermon series. We’re in the middle of the Trial series. If you’ve not obtained the study guide curriculum, please pick one up on your way out. It will give you an introduction and overview to the book and also discussion questions if you are a parent with your children and help guide discourse in your community groups. If you’re not in one, we would just beg you to get in one. These are smaller groups that meet throughout the week for discussion and friendship and accountability and the like.
I want to plug a few books as well as we hit these issues of marriage and gender and masculinity and femininity. Last week we talked about the women in 1 Peter 3:1-6. This week we will talk about the men in 3:7. Two books that I think are exceedingly important. We have ordered multiple copies and are selling them at a good discount at all the campuses. The first is Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. It is put together by my dear friend, Dr. John Piper, and another good friend, Dr. Wayne Grudem, men that we love and appreciate and respect and enjoy very, very much. They’ve each taught at various Acts 29 boot camps and we consider them dear friends. This is the seminal work on gender roles and issues. It was published in the early ’90s. It was Christianity Today’s “Book of the Year” and it remains a perennial favorite here at Mars Hill. You’ll want to pick a copy of this up, particularly to answer specific questions about what I’ve covered last week and this week.
In addition, I would commend to you all God, Marriage, and Family by Andreas Kostenberger. Got to meet him personally. He lectured at our Acts 29 boot camp in Raleigh recently. Great guy. In my opinion, this is the best theological work that has been written regarding practical gender issues. He deals with singleness and courtship and dating and marriage and homosexuality and heterosexuality and birth control and abortion and divorce and remarriage and the qualifications of an elder, and the book is amazing. It is exceedingly thorough. He is a first-rate scholar and I believe the footnotes are about eighty pages. I would pay the money just for the footnotes. It’s that good. And so we use this for our premarital class and for all of you, I would commend it to you. If you’re married, you really need this. If you’re single, you really, really, really need this before you make a tragic mistake and marry a complete loser. It happens.
Now what we’re gonna do in the sermon, as well, I’m gonna preach and then we’re gonna do Q&A at the end. And so if you do have questions, you can text message them in. Last week we took questions from the ladies. This week the gentlemen and the ladies are welcome to text message. We’ll do this across all campuses, and it will be “trial 8” with your question to 95495. I’ll take some time at the end and answer as many of those as I possibly can.
I will say, as well, by way of preface, today’s sermon is for the men and it will have a particular tone that is fitting for the men. You ladies are welcome to listen in, if you can. But if you brought your boyfriend, you picked a good day. So how about if we do this, we’ll just read the whole verse and then we’ll pray. 1 Peter 3:7, “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.” That’s our verse. Let’s pray.
Father God, I pray that our time would be pleasing to you, that it would be profitable to us, Lord God, as well. I pray for those men who are here that are cowards, they’re silent, passive, impish, worthless men, they’re making a mess of everything in their life and they’re such sweet little boys that no one ever confronts them on that. I pray for the women who enable them, who permit them to continue in falling, those who are mothers and sisters and girlfriends and wives. I pray, Lord God, for those men who are chauvinists, those who are mean, who are brash, who are rude, who are harsh, who, Lord God, think they are tough when in fact they are Satanic. God, I pray for those men that they would have the courage today to not fight with a woman, but to fight with you, to actually find their rightful place in creation, that they might receive a good rebuke so that they can become honorable rather than dishonorable sons. God, I pray for my tone, I pray for our men, and I pray for the women who are listening in. I pray, Lord God, that they would know this comes from a heart of passion, deep concern, and love. I pray, Lord God, that we would think biblically, critically, humbly, and repentantly, and that, Lord God, there would be dramatic life change by the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Here’s where we will start, to understand Peter’s words regarding marriage, we need to set them in the context of the first marriage. Every marriage is implicated by the first marriage, and the story of the Bible is this, that God made our first parents, Adam and Eve. He made Adam first as the head and the leader of the family. He is the leader. He is made first. He names the woman, that’s a leadership act. God says that everything is good, but one thing is not good, and that is that it is not good for the man to be alone.
So God creates the woman, Genesis 2, to be his helper. This is not a denigrating term. God, in places like the Psalms and the book of Hebrews, declares himself to be our helper. But they are to work together in a complementary fashion like a right hand and a left hand, if you will, that the man is to be the leader and that the woman is to be the helper and they are to work together.
God then brings them together. He officiates the first wedding. Marriage is one man, one woman, and one covenant. It’s one flesh for one lifetime. God lays out a process for all men to follow. First leave your mother and father. Peter is echoing this, Paul echoes this, Jesus echoes this. That means you, men, you need to grow up, leave your mama’s house, get a job, worship God, pay your own bills, stand on your own two feet, take care of yourself. If and when you do that, then the second thing God says you can do is marry. Find a woman, love her, and then enjoy the fruit of marital union. The two become one flesh. You get intimacy with your wife biblically. God says that all of this is very good. Adam and Eve are in love and everything is fine until Genesis 3.
In Genesis 3 Satan comes and he engages Eve, not Adam. He twists, maligns, misrepresents, misquotes God’s Word. Eve, rather than ignoring him or rebuking him, she engages him. Twice in the New Testament, Paul says that she was deceived. She was well intended, but intentions aren’t enough. There was an old Puritan proverb, and I love the Puritans, but their proverb was “When Adam was away, Eve fell astray,” and that’s not how it went. The Bible records that, as she was arguing with Satan and then ultimately agreeing with Satan and then conspiring with Satan to disobey and dishonor and disregard God, Adam was right there saying and doing nothing. The Bible says that she partook, Genesis 3, and she gave some to her husband who was there with her the whole time.
Many of you men only understand your sin in terms of commission. You say, “I didn’t steal anything and I didn’t kill anyone.” There is also sin of omission. Adam’s sin was sin of omission. He didn’t stand up, he didn’t speak up. He didn’t love his wife. He didn’t lead his family. He partook as well. This caused sin, separation. They hid from one another and from God. God then came in great mercy and love, calling out for whom? Adam. Genesis 3:9, “Adam, where are you?” That would be God’s call to many of you men today. What have you done? Where are you hiding?
Though Eve sinned first, God held Adam responsible because marriage is a covenant. Malachi 2, Proverbs 2, marriage is a covenant and in every covenant there is a head who is appointed to oversee the covenant to ensure that the covenant terms are kept and the members of the covenant are cared for. Within marriage, the man is the covenant head. That’s why in the New Testament, you will continually read in places like 1 Peter 3 and Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 14 and 2 Corinthians 11 in various places that the man is the head. This does not mean, as we talked about last week, that he’s better than the woman, but that God holds the man and the woman responsible for their sin, but he puts an additional burden on the man for the well-being of his family.
And so God calls out to the man, “Where are you?” God calls the man and the woman forward. He deals with the woman’s sin. He deals with the man’s sin. And there is subsequently a curse that is placed on both men and women, the daughters of Eve and the sons of Adam.
For Eve, her curse will be children, they will be painful. Additionally, she will distrust and mistrust her husband. She will have many fears that cause her to want to rule over him to dominate him. That curse in Genesis 3 for Eve is the same as the language that is used in the next chapter of the Bible, Genesis 4 around verse 7 where it says that sin wanted to rule over Cain, that Eve will want to rule over Adam like sin wants to rule over Cain. That some women will do this through crying and manipulation or sex or threatening or being sweet or being pushy or being naggy or being bossy, but one way or another, they’re trying to play their men like puppeteers do puppets, that’s her curse.
For the man, his curse is that his wife won’t immediately or easily respect him and that his job will be marked by thorns and thistles. Any man who’s tried to make a living and feed a family knows that the curse is still in effect, that work is hard. Now, we were given work to do before sin entered the world and it’s become increasingly more difficult for a man to feed his family since the curse.
God then makes a promise that ultimately Jesus is coming, Genesis 3:15, the protoevangelium, the first gospel. That he will defeat Satan and he will undue all that Adam has done. 1 Corinthians 15:45 calls him the last Adam. Adam’s loss will be overcome by Jesus’ victory as he crushes Satan’s sin and death.
Now, from that moment forward, the gender wars ensue and men are prone to go one of two directions, not understanding masculinity in general and marriage in particular. One is cowardice. They, like their father Adam, are passive cowards. They avoid responsibility, they avoid conflict, they dump parts of their curse on their wife. There are also men who don’t want to be like Adam, who don’t want to be passive, silent, worthless cowards, and they overcompensate and they become chauvinists and bullies and thugs and jerks and bad boys, and the history of the world is really marked by these two men.
And most of you men don’t know what masculinity truly is. And your proclivity will be toward either cowardice or chauvinism, too little or too much. I’ve been dealing with men for enough years, at this point, that I have seen a certain kind of guy a certain number of times. And I’ll share with you some of these guys.
We’ll start with the chauvinists first. The chauvinists don’t understand masculinity and how to treat a woman. There are four basic versions of this failure that I have witnessed.
The first is No Sissy Stuff Sam. This is a guy, he doesn’t know what a man is, he just knows a man’s not a woman so whatever a woman is he’s gonna be the opposite. Right? Some of you guys had this dad. Mom hugs, so he doesn’t hug. Mom says she loves you, so he doesn’t say he loves you. Mom kisses you, so he doesn’t kiss you ‘cause that’s girl stuff. This guy doesn’t understand that men and women are both made in the image and the likeness of God, that they have the same emotions and passions and experiences and they tend to express them in masculine or feminine ways, but being a man is not the opposite of being a woman, that you’re both made in the image of the likeness of God and you express yourself in masculine and feminine ways.
And see these guys tend to think that to be a man means this, you can belch the loudest, spit the farthest, fart the stinkiest, and punch the hardest, that’s a man. That’s not a man. That’s a joke. That’s a joke. There’s no woman here today praying, “God send me that. I want a real man.” But too many guys, especially guys that are single too long and guys who, you know, put twenty-seven guys into a one-bedroom apartment so they can each spend $30 a month on rent and spend all their time just rocking out to “Guitar Hero,” that’s what those guys think, and they’re idiots.
Number two, Success and Status Stewart, this is the guy, he defines himself, the Bible says, by what he has and does. He has this sort of leftover, hyper-jock competitive mentality. “Here’s how much I make. Here’s how my company’s doing. Here’s my car. Here’s my house. Here’s my success. Here are my wins. Here are my victories.” And he treats his wife just like another trophy, her job is to look pretty and be quiet and just make him look good as yet another notch on his belt. He doesn’t love her well, doesn’t serve her well. He’s more worried about his income and his possessions than his wife and his children.
Number three, there’s Give ‘Em Hell Hank. This is the guy, he’s got anger, violence, short temper, rude, crude, mean. He’s harsh, he’s overbearing, he’s intimidating, he’s scary, he is scary. Are you this guy? Is your wife scared of you? What kind of man intimidates a woman?
Number four, I’m the Boss Bob. This guy is just bossy. He thinks wherever he is that he’s the king of the whole thing. He’s always telling everybody what to do. He stands back at a distance like a drill sergeant and just barks out orders to his wife and barks out orders to his children. He has a hard time keeping a job because he always is bossing around his employer and his employees and no one can stand him. He thinks that being a man means being bossy and overbearing. And these guys are the worst when they show up to church. They want to be in authority, not under authority. These are the guys who show up and immediately say, “I want to lead, put me in charge of something.” You’re in charge of shutting up, that can be your specialty. These are the guys when you rebuke them, they just leave the church and they take their wife and children with them and their wife and children suffer ‘cause this is the guy who loves to be in authority, refuses to be under authority, likes to tell everyone what to do and he himself can’t be told anything. I’ve got a list of these guys. You can see it in their wife’s face. She’s miserable. You can see it in their children, they despise their father and he’s oblivious because he’s an imbecile. And they go from church to church to church and eventually it’s like “Well, we can’t find a good church” meaning “I can’t find a pastor dumb enough to take my orders.”
That’s how chauvinism works itself out. And you, men, when you read the Bible and you read words like “head of the household,” if you think it means something like this, you’re an idiot. You’re abusive, you’re dangerous and you’re a fool. Some men say, “Well, I’m not like that.” You may be worse in a different way. Those are the cowards. You’re just like your father, Adam.
The first is Little Boy Larry. Little Boy Larry, he’s a total sweetheart. He’s a guy, in his twenties, thirties, God forbid, forties, can’t keep a job, forgets to set his alarm. He’s eight years into his undergraduate studies, works part time ‘cause it stresses him out. Still lives with his mom. Maybe he moved out, but his mom’s always worried about him so she brings him groceries and picks up his laundry and helps pay his bills. Little Boy Larry is a totally nice guy, he’s a real sweetie pie so nobody ever kicks him in the batteries. He gets away with murder. Little Boy Larry really loves his mom because she’s always changing his proverbial diaper. And his hope is to meet a really nice gal with a good job and a house so that he could go from his mom to his girlfriend or wife. And he’ll come up with dumb ideas like, “I’ll be the stay-at-home dad. I’m really good with kids since I am one. They really like me because we relate to one another as children.”
Little Boy Larry is a joke. He gets away with murder, especially in the Christian church where he tends to be majority. Women who are attracted to these men say, “But I really love him.” Yes, you’re attracted to him as a mother is attracted to an orphan child, but that’s not a marriage. That’s a mother-child affection. That is not a wife-husband affection. You don’t look at this man, ladies, and say, “I respect him. I want my sons to be like him. I want my daughters to marry men like him.” You say things like “He has a lot of potential and no one understands him.” I do, he’s an idiot, and he’s fooled you.
Number two, there’s Sturdy Oak Owen. This is the dad who goes to work and comes home, pays the bills, turns on the TV, and checks out. This is the dad who he is physically present but emotionally absent. He’s always working on his car. He’s always on the Internet. He’s always in his study. He’s always in the garage. He’s always in the yard. You say, “Dad, you were never there.” He’s like, “I was always there.” Yes, in a comatose state. There’s some of you here, your dad never said, “I love you.” He never hugged you. He never encouraged you and what he would say is “What do you mean I wasn’t a good dad? I put food on the table. I put a roof over your head and I came home every night and I was there.” He wasn’t there, present, connected, participating. That’s a coward. That guy’s ultimately a coward. He’s afraid to get involved in the lives of his wife and children.
Number three, there’s Hyper-Spiritual Henry. This guy drives me insane. This guy drives me insane. This is the guy with the Christian T-shirts, Christian bumper stickers, always listening to praise music, always reading the latest trendy Christian garbage book. Everything’s about God, but it never really makes any sense. He wants everybody to know how hyper spiritual he is to the point where his wife and children are embarrassed by him. The kids don’t bring friends over to the house. “How come you don’t bring your friends over?” “Dad, ‘cause you’re embarrassing. You keep talking about the Canaanites and want to argue over circumcision. You’re embarrassing.” Some of you had this dad, you’re out to dinner, guy comes to pour the water, he’s like “Do you know Jesus is the water of life and he can have streams of living water come from you?” The fourteen-year-old kid grabs his salad fork and is trying to go under the table and find their jugular and just end their life ‘cause their dad’s embarrassing. Last name is Flanders, terrible. To be the spiritual leader, gentlemen, does not mean that you’re just a total, freakish odd ball.
Number four, there’s Good Time Gary. Good Time Gary, everybody loves him, life of the party. He is funny, he is charming, he is winsome, he is entertaining. There’s always a crowd of people around him. Everybody likes him. He gets along with everybody and here’s the key, everybody loves him, nobody respects him ‘cause he’s a joke. That’s why he’s so funny, he doesn’t just tell jokes, he is one. Every time something happens in his life, he just turns it into a joke. He doesn’t realize that his life is the joke. Can’t hold a job, can’t pay his bills, can’t get out of bed in the morning, can’t follow through on a commitment, can’t stay organized, can’t see anything through to completion. Everybody loves him, nobody respects him. He’ll draw a crowd, but they won’t follow him because he’s not going anywhere, he’s not a leader. A wife who’s married to this guy, eventually, he becomes not so cute, not so funny, not so clever. He becomes profoundly annoying. She’s tired of the jokes and the good times and the “everything’s funny and aren’t I clever and cute?” She wants a real man she can depend on. She gets sick of it.
Men are prone toward chauvinism or cowardice; too much, too little. Now the key is to understand the gospel. The perfect man is Jesus. The man that we were supposed to be like is Jesus. Our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, comes into human history to live life as the perfect man. God-man to be sure, but perfect man nonetheless. You and I need to take our cue for masculinity from Jesus.
Now the key to masculinity is this, Jesus takes responsibility for himself. He works a job. He takes responsibility for me. See, the cross is where Jesus substituted himself and died in my place for my sins. Now you need to know this, my sins are my fault, not Jesus’ fault, but Jesus has made them his responsibility. This is the essence of the gospel, the Good News. If you understand this, this will change how you view masculinity. A man is not the one who can spit the farthest, punch the hardest, fart the stinkiest, yell the loudest, he’s the man who takes responsibility.
Some of you are not big, you’re not strong, you’re not tough. In the cage fight, it’s not going to go well for you. In a squirt gunfight, it’s not going to go well for you, but you can still be a man if you’re responsible. Jesus died for my sins, He took responsibility for me. Once you understand how Jesus’ masculinity is one of the means by which as covenant head he has served us well, then you realize to be a man means to take responsibility as the head of the covenant of marriage.
That means you take responsibility for yourself. Some of you guys are a total joke; I have no respect for you at all. You can’t get a job, keep a job. You can’t keep your hands off a girl, you can’t stop downloading porn. You can’t pay your own bills. You can’t get out of bed in the morning. You know what? If you can’t even take responsibility for yourself, you shouldn’t even get a pet, let alone a wife, let alone a kid.
See, marriage is for men, it’s not for boys. And too many men act like boys and too many boys think “If I get married, that will make me a man” and it never works like that. Boys who get married, don’t become men, they ruin women and sometimes children if they have them.
You need to take responsibility for yourself, your own church. You become a member of a church, your own job, you pay your own bills, you walk with God, then take responsibility for your company. Take responsibility for your church, take responsibility for your wife, take responsibility for your kids. Take some measure of responsibility for your city. See, being a man is not finding other people who can carry your load. Being a man is carrying your load and loving a wife and children and carrying that load as well.
By becoming a Christian, gentlemen, you realize that Jesus is the head of the new covenant and then he teaches you how to be the head of the marriage covenant. He makes you the member of the church. As you become a member of a church, you become part of the collective, not individual, collective Bride of Christ and as you follow Jesus, you learn how to lead. And by submitting to spiritual authority and shutting up because you innately know nothing about anything and submitting yourself to instruction instead of the fool’s parade that you call buddies, you can grow in wisdom and then be ready to love a woman for a lifetime.
Now my tone is for the men. We speak to men differently than women. Part of this is theological. Peter will say it in 1 Peter 3:7, that women are the weaker vessel. Think of a goblet and men are like a thermos. You could drop a thermos, bang a thermos, you could dent a thermos, it’ll be fine. You treat a thermos differently than you do a goblet. Were this a women’s conference, I would not call you all idiots and imbeciles and fools, that you’re a joke, okay? But you men, this is where it needs to go. You’ve been glad-handed and buddied up and positive thinking and you’re a winner and Jesus loves you and you can do better. And I’m telling you, you’re a joke. And the real men in the room know it and they see it. And maybe there’s one woman that you fooled and she doesn’t see it because like Eve, she’s deceived.
First Peter 3:7, here’s what he has to say. “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 prayer may not be hindered.” In the previous verse, 1 Peter 3:6, you may recall last week he said that women, when it comes to marriage are prone toward, what? Fear. Fear. And you know what? Those fears that the women have about marriage are legitimate, they are.
If a woman marries a man, she’s trusting him with the rest of her life that he won’t hit her, cheat on her, that he’ll work hard, that he’ll pay the bills, that he’ll love their children, that he’ll finish the race well, that he’ll walk with Jesus ‘til the end, that if she gets sick, he’ll look after her, that if she is dying, he will be faithful to her. Gentlemen, it is a terrifying thing for a woman to trust a sinful man.
As a man, I don’t think I fully understood this until I had daughters, and now I have some understanding of that fear. The thought of taking one of my daughters and walking them down the aisle and handing them to a man and trusting that he will love them and protect them and serve them and care for them and look after them, it causes me fear, grave concern.
The women have legitimate fears and what Peter is saying is that men need to be a particular way so that those fears are alleviated. And I love his words, “in an understanding way, showing honor.” That’s a man. That’s a man. Now as I say this, many of you guys will nod your head and say, “Yeah, that’s me.” No, you’re not. So let me practically unpack this for you. Every man who hears this, even the best men among us, has areas of repentance and growth that are required. And so I want to talk to you men about some things that your woman will fear.
Number one, you need to honor her maritally. What this means is, gentlemen, you’re not looking for a girlfriend if you are single. You’re not looking for a roommate. You’re not looking for a cohabitation partner, you’re looking for a wife. You’re looking for a wife. If he can’t even honor you while dating, that is when he is on his best behavior. I don’t care if he apologizes, does he repent and lead? Being sorry is not enough, being Christ-like is what is necessary. Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Is he selfless or selfish? Does he give himself up for you or does he take from you?
When you get married, men, you are to be a one-woman man. That’s the requirement of an elder and that is the example for all men. You’re not the flirt guy. You’re not the female buddies guy. You’re not the download porn guy. You’re not the “I got another gal on the side I always keep in case of emergency” guy. You’re not the wandering-eye guy. If you are, you’re not honoring marriage and you’re not honoring your wife. I know some complete fools, they like to take their wedding ring off when they go out to the sports bar with the boys. Do you honor your marriage covenant? Do you take responsibility as the head of the marriage covenant, take responsibility for the well-being of the woman?
See, a woman has great fear. If you don’t honor marriage, she is statistically going to go into poverty upon divorce. She will become yet another single mother. She’ll have to find a way to explain to the children of why they shouldn’t be embittered against you even though you’re a loser. See, these fears are very legitimate. See the women have seen this so many times that they’re fearful of men.
Honor her physically. He says that the woman is the weaker vessel. What that means is that generally speaking, if a husband and a wife get in a fistfight, he’ll win. I’ll give you an example. Many of you have seen Grace. If we get in a fight, it’s not a fair fight. I have an eighteen-inch neck, she has an eighteen-inch waist. If someone breaks into our home, I’m not “Go get ‘em, baby. You’re the tough one here. I’ll pray. I’ll pray. I’ll pray. I’ll pray imprecatory prayers in the closet.” You know, I mean.
You know what, gentlemen? You are stronger than your woman. Do you ever hit her? Do you ever shove her? Do you ever push her? Do you ever grab her, restrain her? Do you ever raise a hand and threaten her? Do you ever intimidate her with physical violence? Do you give her that look, that pierced, glazed, violent, angry, don’t push it, now’s a good time to shut up look? Do you tell her, “I’m getting very angry, you should just shut up right now. It’s gonna go bad for you”? Do you get right in her face? Do you intimidate her with your presence? Shame on you. A man who picks on a woman, what a joke. What a joke. Have you ever forced yourself on a woman? You’re a rapist. You’ll say, “She’s my wife.” You’re a rapist.
You know, when someone is attacked, we call it abuse. As horrible as that is, what is even worse is torment. Torment is when you’re abused and you can’t get out. This is like prisoners of war and those that are held captive in slavery. For some women, their version of slavery and captivity and torment is called marriage. Their husband is physically intimidating. She’s afraid of him. She can’t leave, at least that’s what she thinks. She feels stuck, particularly if she’s got children. Some of you guys are tormentors and abusers and rapists and husbands and Christians, and that is absolutely inexcusable.
See, women are afraid of this. Most men don’t walk around thinking about their personal safety. I know a lot of women who do. Does she feel safe with you? Ladies, if you’re dating a guy who has ever been physically violent, run for your life, run for your children’s life, run for your grandchildren’s life. If he’s ever even threatened you with violence, there is something profoundly demonic in that man. There is something sincerely wrong in that man. He will then apologize, tell you he is sorry. He will shed a few tears, say it will never happen again and he will subtly shift the blame to you. “You know when you do that, it just makes me really angry. Don’t do that again.” “Oh, okay, it must be my fault.” It’s never your fault. It doesn’t matter what you say or do, if a man hits you, harms you, he’s in sin, no excuse.
And there are some guys, some absolute block-headed idiots who think when the Bible says that you’re the head of the home, that it means you get to be the bully. There’s nothing uglier than a guy who then takes this same disposition toward his children, especially his daughters. The grossest, vilest thing is a man who hits a woman and the man who hits a woman is willing to hit his own daughter. It’s disgusting. Some of you ladies are very foolish with who you spend time with. You’re like Eve, easily deceived. And men, we need to honor the women physically.
Additionally, honor the woman emotionally. Some of you say, “I’m not emotional, I don’t connect.” You should. Men and women have the same emotions. They express them in masculine and feminine ways. Your wife needs intimacy, that’s “into me see.” She wants you to know her. She wants to know you. She wants you to open up. She wants you to be passionate and loving and honest, and she wants to know you and she wants to be known by you. And the Bible says that Adam was with his wife, Eve, and he, what? He knew her. He knew her.
There are too many guys that turn marriage into a job description. He does his responsibility, she does hers, and there’s no emotional connection whatsoever. And see, those are guys whose sins are sins of omission. “I didn’t hit her, I didn’t yell at her.” Yeah, but you didn’t love her. You didn’t connect with her. You didn’t encourage her. You didn’t pursue her. So ultimately, you failed her.
Honor the woman verbally. How do you speak to her? Do you have nasty nicknames for her? Do you raise your voice? Do you threaten her? Do you give back-handed comments? Some of you guys would say, “I would never hit a woman.” How about with your tongue? How about with your tongue? Not just speaking to your wife, but about her. Not just speaking to her in her presence, but speaking about her in her absence. When you wife is not there and you’re with the boys, how do you speak of her? What do you say about her? You know what? Your children will pick this up as well. You start saying horrible things about your wife, and the children will be left in this horrible position of choosing between their mother and father and invariably some of the children will despise their own mother and speak evil of her in an effort to remain loyal to their father. See a division in a marriage includes the children, they’re stuck in the middle. They’re casualties of the war.
You men could defuse this and take away this fear by honoring her verbally. Speaking honestly, respectfully, lovingly to her and about her. See, some of you guys, you forget. You say, “Well, Jesus isn’t there. My wife isn’t there. I get to say whatever I want.” No, Jesus is there even when your wife’s not there. God, see God hears everything. God sees everything. God knows everything, and you’re not getting away with anything.
Do you honor her financially? “If a man does not provide for the needs of his family, he’s denied the faith and worse than an unbeliever.” There’s a verse. See, the woman’s curse was her children and submitting to her husband. The man’s curse was providing for his family. And what the weakest, most impish, worthless men among us do is “Oh, my load is heavy. I know yours is heavy, but I need you to carry half of mine too.” Men, you gotta work. You gotta work hard. You’ve gotta out-work the other men if you want to feed your family. That’s your responsibility as a man. If you want any men to respect you, if you want your wife to respect you, if you want your children to respect you, you pay the bills. You make the money, you feed the family.
We live in this day where there are guys telling their wives, “Hey, birth control, abortion. We can’t have kids. You make too much money. I don’t like responsibility.” Shame on you. There’s nothing sadder than a woman who loves Jesus and wants to be a mom, and the husband keeps saying, “I’m the head of the home, no.” What he’s saying is “I’m in charge and I command you to sin,” to deny all of your maternal instincts. Titus 2, “The woman should be homeward in her orientation.”
And I know that some of you guys are gonna hear this. You’re gonna say, “Oh, but this is outdated.” Yes, and I would say look at the condition of marriages and families in our culture and ask if it’s working. The latest statistics, 40 percent of all children are born out of wedlock. It is now at the point where women aren’t even pretending they’re gonna ever get married. They go to college, get a good job, get pregnant, have a kid. They’ve lost any hope of ever finding a guy who can actually carry the load, and that’s tragic. We’re a culture that is working hard to protect women and children, and no one has the common sense to beat on the guys who are the cause of so much of the pain.
I know guys as well, they’re not generous. I know one guy, he’s such an idiot. This guy makes decent money and he’s totally chintzy with his wife. She gets no spending money, can’t go out to coffee with the girls ‘cause he’s a total control freak and tightwad. Be honoring of your wife financially, and I’m not saying you’re gonna live at this lavish and high level. But what I am saying is this, you live within your means, you make a budget, you tithe, spend, save, invest well. And I know it’s hard to live on one income. I know it’s hard. I know it’s particularly difficult in this economic climate, but for some of you boys, it’s a built-in excuse to be irresponsible.
Statistically as well, if you have children, and put them in day care so mom can work, the other costs that are associated, eating out, take-out, dry cleaning, car, second phone, cell phone, things of that nature, plus the increased tax breaks and costs and burdens… The truth is very rarely does a wife go out and get a job and contribute anything to the bottom line of the family. The taxes alone eat a huge portion of it. MSNBC did a big study on this years ago and they brought the data to the mothers who dropped their kids off at the day care. “You’re providing nothing to the income of the family,” and the women are bawling, having a nervous breakdown on television, saying, “Well, then why am I even going to work?” Good question, because that guy doesn’t even know how to run numbers on taxes. He’s not smart enough to find somebody to figure it out for him. He just says, “Put the kids in day care, get a job, shoulder half of my curse. Oh and by the way, I forgot to run the numbers, come to find it’s not really helping.” Honor her financially.
Honor her practically. Some guys, the house is a wreck. It’s never finished. The furniture’s broken. The car hardly starts. They live far away from community. They don’t have a schedule. They don’t have a budget. They don’t have a plan. She doesn’t know what’s going on. The practical stuff of life, the guy’s just a zoo, just an absolute, disorganized, unplanned, throw-it-together-at-the-last-minute, hope-that-it-works nightmare. Honor her practically. Do you have a budget? Do you have a schedule? Do you have an integrated plan? Do you have a life?
Honor her parentally. Gentlemen, your wife wants you to love the kids. She wants you to help raise them. She wants you to love them, to pursue them. She wants you to get guy time with the boys. She wants you to get daddy dates with the girls. She wants you to do Ephesians 6 and be their pastor. She wants you to read the Bible with ‘em. She wants you to pray with ‘em. And you know what? You should too.
So many guys who are even Christians think “I pay for Christian school, I send the wife and kids to the Christian church. I’ve done my Christian duty.” No, you’ve abdicated your responsibility to others. It’s your job to love your kids. It’s your job to pray with your kids. It’s your job to teach the Bible to your kids. It’s your job to encourage your kids. It’s your job to discipline your kids.
A wife will be so forgiving of so many things if she actually knows that her husband desperately loves their children, that he serves them, that he cares for them, that he’s tender with them, that he’s Pastor Dad for them. So few children actually have a father. So few of those actually have a Christian father and how few of those actually have a dad who’s doing his job.
And I’ll tell you what, guys, this is not something you have to do, it’s something you get to do. This is wonderful. I mean every night, Alexie, blond hair, blue eyes, looks like Tinkerbell, “Poppa daddy, I need a piggyback ride and a Bible story.” You know what? I do too. I need that as much as Alexie. I weep thinking of the day that I’m not gonna be giving her piggyback rides, so I give her as many piggyback rides as I can ‘cause it’s a great season and a wonderful opportunity.
What this means, gentlemen, is your priorities will be Christian, husband, father, employee. Those are your first four duties, it’ll take most of your life. You’re not gonna have a lot of time. Probably gonna need to put down your tools, your hobbies, your car, your projects, your golf clubs, your Xbox and probably going to need to put down the remote control and your laptop and your iPod to honor your wife parentally. You’re not gonna have a lot of time for a lot of other things. And gentlemen, your goal is not to stand before God and tell him what level you got to on “World of Warcraft.”
And all of this comes down to number eight, honoring her spiritually. There are between 11 and 13 million more Christian women than men. Many women go to church on their own. They have to drag their husband to church, they drag their children to church. It is your job, men, to lead spiritually. You pray with the family. You read the Bible with the family. You pick a good church, become a member of it, submit to it. You pick the community group or midweek class you will be in. You are the one to lead the family spiritually.
Some guys say, “Well, I don’t know what to do.” Just start by praying with your wife. There are women who will hear this sermon and deep down in their heart, this is what they want the most, “If my husband would just pray with me.” There are some of you guys, you pray with all kinds of people, you don’t pray with your wife. Do you pray with your wife? Do you pray with your kids? Do you read the Bible with your wife? Do you talk about Jesus with your wife? Do you talk about Jesus with your kids? Leading spiritually is the foundation of everything else.
Some of you guys are such losers. You’re a joke. Some of you guys are in your mid-twenties, still haven’t become a member of the church, can’t find your Bible, aren’t in a community group, don’t have any guys to speak into your life. You’re trying to find a woman. You don’t even know what you’re doing. You’re a joke. You think you’re cute, you’re not. You’re a joke. You’re a freakin’ joke, and deep down you know it. And you could use all your energy to fight and argue with me or repent. If you think you’re tough, you think you’re strong, prove it by repenting and stop being a joke. Don’t use your energy to argue with the guys who are picking up your mess. Use your energy to start carrying your own load.
What happens to a guy who doesn’t do what Peter says? What does he say? Read it for yourself: “so that your prayers may not be hindered.” If a guy doesn’t obey God on these issues, God does not listen to him! You men are dating, marrying God’s daughters! Do you really think you can hit her, neglect her, abuse her, impregnate her outside of marriage, put your hands all over her, lie to her, manipulate her, abuse her, neglect her? And then cry out to God, “Help me.” God’s saying, “No way. You don’t love my daughter, I don’t serve you. You don’t honor my daughter, I don’t honor you. You are on your own!”
And many of you men, the reason you have a hard time walking with God is because you walked away and he has turned his back on you. You are damaging his daughter. God is her father! You cannot think that in abusing God’s daughter that you can cry out for God’s help and you’re abusing of his daughter! I’ll tell you, as a daddy, you hurt one of my girls and ask for help to do it some more, your prayer will not be answered.
Some of you guys say, “But you know, I’ve done some things like this. I’ve got my hands all over my girlfriend. I like single moms ‘cause they’re an easy target, real needy. Doesn’t seem to bother me.” Well, that just proves my point. You may not even be saved. You may not even have the Holy Spirit. You may be a religious fool, and God may have already ignored you and you may have already been on your own for a really long time.
It gets so old seeing the worst men damage women, damage children. It is so infuriating. It is so exhausting. It is so disgusting. I’ll take some questions and try and cool down. What’s the first one?
“What do I do if my dad is a Sturdy Oak Owen? I’m a twenty-one-year-old dude.”
If you’re one of those guys that your dad was physically present but not emotionally or spiritually present, he wasn’t loving or supportive, the good news is the Bible says that God is a Father to the fatherless. And if you’re a twenty-one-year-old guy, you’re probably still single, and for a lot of guys there’s a deep ache in their heart. They wished their dad loved ‘em, hugged ‘em, kissed ‘em, told ‘em he was proud of ‘em. And I’m sorry if you’ve not gotten that, but this is where community comes in. This is where you take responsibility as a man, not as a passive guy.
See, a guy who takes responsibility, he’s not passive, he’s active. He’s not standing back saying, “Where’s my mentor? Where’s my friend? Where’s my Paul so I can be Timothy?” You whiny little boy. What he says is, “I’m gonna go find some guys who love their wives, love their kids, love Jesus, and I’m gonna hang out with them. I’m gonna observe them. I’m gonna ask questions of them. I’m not gonna become What About Bob with them and just annoy them, but I want to get to know them and I want to learn.”
As a brand-new Christian, there were three men that I pursued that changed my life: a philosophy professor, a pastor, and a father of what is now like twelve children. I didn’t want to hang out with a bunch of twenty-one-year-old guys. They didn’t know anything either. Twenty-one-year-old guys know nothing about women. How do I know? They don’t have one. If they get one, they’re like a dog chasing a fire engine. They don’t know what to do with it. You want to get men who actually know what they’re doing.
This is where community groups come in. For the twenty-one-year-old single guy whose dad didn’t do a good job, find a guy who’s a good husband, good father in a community group, go to that community group. Get to know those families, get to observe those kids, get to know that wife. Observe that man.
See, this is where the church comes along as a second family. You have family of birth. You have family of new birth. If your family of birth is good and your family of new birth is good, that’s great. You’re doubly blessed. If your family of birth isn’t great, you have a family of new birth, you still get the support you need. Relationship, community, pursuit.
And see what happens is, the worst impish, irresponsible little boys, the women are always trying to drag them to church and community group. If you’re a man, you just go on your own. You just go on your own.
Next one. “Are there any circumstances in which it is okay for a wife to be the breadwinner and the husband to take care of the children?”
See, everybody wants to be the exception to the rule. Yeah, there are exceptions, and you don’t have one. You’re just a loser. Yeah, there are exceptions. I know a buddy of mine, he was working hard, woke up, was basically suffering paralysis in his hands, had this debilitating condition that came on him suddenly. He was a guy who’s a tradesman and all of a sudden, literally his joints were paralyzed so his wife had to go get a job, sure. Are there exceptions? Yeah. Guy gets diagnosed with cancer. He’s in the hospital, gets hit by a car, yeah. Do most people have them? No. Are we legalists and say everybody needs to play by these rules? No. Do we see exceptions to the rule? Of course. Most guys don’t have them, they don’t. They want to find a loophole so that they can exploit. You guys do this on everything. You’re dating, “Oh, we’re married in our heart.” No, you’re not. “We’re married in God’s eyes.” No, you’re not. “Well, it’s okay because we love each other.” No, you don’t. “Well, I download porn, at least I’m faithful to my wife.” No, you’re not. Are there exceptions? On many things, no, on some things, yes. For you, probably not.
Next question. Bellevue. “Is everything bad that happens in, on, and around my family my fault as a husband and father?”
It’s not your fault, but it’s your responsibility. Does this mean it’s not your wife and children’s responsibility? No. You see what happens in Genesis 3, Eve sins, God deals with her sin. Satan sins, God deals with his sin. Adam sins, God deals with his sin. But whom does God hold primarily responsible? The man. Romans 5:12–21, because of one man’s sin, the whole race fell. If you’re a Christian guy, what you can’t say is “My wife created a big problem. I hope she fixes it. My kids are making bad decisions and their life is really going astray, I hope they figure it out.” Like Christ, you come and get involved. You incarnate. You put yourself in it. Not in an overbearing, ogreish way. But “Honey, I love you. This is a mess. We gotta figure this out. Kids, I’m your daddy. I love you. You’re making bad decisions. You’re getting yourself into terrible circumstances. I love you. I want to help you. I want to serve you. I want to work with you. Let’s fix this.” When you’re needed most, you pursue most vigorously.
See, we live in a day when the truth is people don’t take responsibility for even that which is their fault, and as Christian men, to be the head of the home is a greater burden to take responsibility for the well-being of one’s wife and one’s children. It may not be your fault—oftentimes it is, to some degree, the husband’s fault. Nonetheless, it’s still his responsibility. If you don’t love your wife enough to pursue her, if you don’t love your wife enough to serve her, if you don’t love your wife enough to help her, can you really say, “I love her like Christ loved the church?” Jesus didn’t stand back in heaven and tell his bride the church, “What a mess, good luck.” He came and died for her. He gave himself up for her. That’s a Christian husband who’s not a heretic. A heretic is one who proclaims one thing and lives another way. Any man who doesn’t sacrificially, loving lead his wife and children, he’s a heretic. His life preaches a false gospel. He denies Christ with his actions. It’s a very serious matter. It’s not just an alternative marital arrangement. It’s a heresy.
We got time for one more. “I’m trying best to be the man you preach about, but I’m at the end of my rope with a wife that’s not the type of wife you preach about. What do I do?”
The truth is this can be very hard. If you’re a man who wants to lovingly lead the family and you’ve got a wife who’s like Hosea and Gomer or you’ve got a wife who just fights and kicks and battles and opposes, you’re in a very hard circumstance.
Now, for those of you who are single, pay careful attention. Don’t get blinded by lust. Don’t get sexually connected prematurely. Maintain your objectivity, get to know a person over time. See how they are walking with God and how they do respond to trial. Have other couples who know Jesus get to know them. Go through premarital counseling with them. Do your homework.
For those of you who are married and are in these circumstances, whether it is a wife who is in sin or a husband who is in sin, I find that Titus 2 works well for the women. Let the older women train the younger woman. That’s what I would encourage here. In the same way, I would say if you’re a wife whose husband is an imbecile, it’s better for men to deal with him because he’s not going to con us and he doesn’t have anything over us. He’s not feeding us. We don’t sleep in the same bed as him. There’s really not much he can do that intimidates, scares, frightens us. We can deal with him as men. In fact, the tone we’ll use is severely stronger than even what you’re hearing in this sermon. This is the “we’re gonna put it on the Internet, so I need to keep it clean” version. We deal with men as men, and women deal with women as women.
And what I find, when it comes to the women, sometimes it’s an older, godlier, seasoned woman who sits a wife down and says, “What in the world are you doing? You are in sin. You are disrespectful. You are unloving. You are cruel. You are controlling. You are manipulative. You are a drama queen freaking out. You love attention and you’re constantly causing trouble.” Those kinds of things. These are the kinds of women in Proverbs. You’re the flirt. You’re not honoring your husband, these kinds of issues. Women are best suited to talk to women on these issues. If a man talks to his wife about these things, that’s okay. If he doesn’t get anywhere, it’s again, community. It’s community groups. It’s couples that are godly. It’s appealing to others. “Honey, I need you to go talk to her. She’s wise, loves Jesus. She’s a good wife, good mom, good Christian. She needs to talk to you about this. You’re just fighting me on this and this is what the Bible says. And I love you and I’m not gonna give up and I’m not gonna give in, but we need to get through this ‘cause we’re stuck.”
And you gotta see it, guys, this is where 1 Peter 3:1–6 for the wives, 1 Peter 3:7 for the men, they go together. That the wife has fears, but she needs to walk in faith and holiness and submissiveness and the man needs to alleviate those fears by loving and leading in a Christ-like, honoring, considerate way, respecting her, being considerate of her. If at any point, one doesn’t do their responsibilities, the marriage is very acrimonious, difficult and hard. If they both submit to the Scriptures and the Lord Jesus Christ, then ultimately they can work through these things and they can have a happy marriage. They can raise children in that context.
Some of you guys, it’s just— it’s so frustrating. Some of you guys have been coming here for years. You still got your hands all over your girlfriend. Some of you guys been coming here for years, still not praying with your wife. Some of you guys have been coming here for years, you’re still single and having sex. Some of you guys will even, even as I’m preaching this sermon, some of you will be sitting next to your girlfriend or your fiance or your wife, some of you guys have already given her that look, “Don’t cry, don’t let ‘em know they’re talking about me. Just hold it together.” You’ve already intimidating her right here. Some of you guys have already whispered in her ear, “I don’t want to hear it. We’re not talking about this in the car on the way home.” Some of you have already whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry. I’ll do better. Trust me. Let’s just move on real quickly.”
How dare you! Who in the hell do you think you are?! Abusing a woman, neglecting a woman, being a coward, a fool, being like your father, Adam! Who do you think you are?! You’re not God! You’re just a man! You’re not an impressive man! You’re not a responsible man! You’re not a noble man! You’re not a respectable man! You’re not a responsible man in any regard! I don’t care how successful you are! In this area, if you are a failure, it clouds all of your dignity! It robs all of your masculinity! There is no excuse for any man who claims the name of Christ to treat a woman in a dishonorable, disrespectful way!
Some of you right now, you guys will get all— “Oh, how dare he yell at me.” That’s the Holy Spirit telling you, it’s you. I didn’t name you, he did. You change now, little boy. You change right now. You shut up. You put your pants on. You get a job. You grow up and maybe one day, you can love a woman. It’s for men, not for boys. And those of you men who are here and your wives are suffering under your folly and failure, shame on you. And shame on you if you say you’re a Christian. And shame on you if you’ve been attending Mars Hill. And shame on you if you’ve been surrounded by good men and have pursued none of them. And shame on you if you’ve not become a member and submitted to spiritual authority. And shame on you if you’ve not joined a community group so you can walk in darkness. And shame on you if you show up to put communion in your hands representing the body and blood of your murdered Savior and then go put them on your girlfriend or download porn from the Internet or raise your hand in a threat to your wife. Shame on you. You guys are a joke. And there’s a handful of good men that are tired of picking up your mess so you step up, you shut up, you man up, and you use all that anger you have toward me right now to repent. You do business with God. I’m gonna let you sit in this for a while. You don’t go get your kids. You don’t get up and leave.
We’re gonna do something we’ve never done. We’re gonna pass the plate. You can give your tithes and offerings. Early on in the church, 1995 or 1996, we didn’t. I didn’t want anyone to think bad of me. I have not led well in this area. We have people who come to this church every week, they don’t worship, they take, they don’t participate. We’ll pass the plate. If you’re disconnected, please fill out the visitor card. Thousands of people fall through the cracks. Don’t lose this opportunity to get connected so we could help. When you’re ready, you take communion, but you men, you hear me this, you apologize to your wife before you take communion. Corinthians says if you don’t, you’ll drink judgment on yourself. God might even kill you right here to make an example of you. If you’re here with your girlfriend, you apologize. If you’re a little boy, you break up with her in love and you tell her that you’re not ready and that she deserves better because God’s daughters need to be loved like Christ loved the church. When you’re ready, when you’ve sat in it for a while, you take communion, you give of our tithes and offerings and then you sing in repentance to Jesus. I do love you. I am furious with some men, and I believe that fury is God’s. You are not cute and he is not pleased and time is short.
Father God, I pray for us as a church and a people. And God, I pray for the men. I thank you for the good men who love you. They are responsible and they are carrying their load, and they are sick of picking up the messes of little boys, chauvinists and cowards. I pray for those men, Lord God, who even during this sermon have given their wife that look, putting her in her place. I pray God for those boyfriends who were thinking in their mind the ways in which they could weasel out of this with their girlfriends. I pray, Lord God, that we would look like Jesus and not Adam, that we would love our wives as Christ loves the church. And I pray, Lord God, that the men would take whatever anger that they have and rather than using it to foolishly fight, that they would use it to humbly repent. I pray that we would be men marked by repentance and love. And God, I pray for those women and children who suffer under men who are cowards and chauvinists. May they speak up. May they have the courage to articulate their frustration and, Lord God, may it wreck our men. In Jesus’ name.