The preaching of God’s Word is a high priority at Stonebridge. We make available our sermons for those unable to attend on Sundays. We hope we are all helped as we listen to the Word of God preached.

Recent Sermons

Living Like Christ in an Unbelieving World (1 Peter 4:1-6) – Sonnenberg

We can expect to be “persecuted” when we live our faith, no different than the 1st century Christians were. The Apostle Peter gave some good advice 2000 years ago that holds true today. Listen online if you missed Pastor Dan’s sermon. To listen, go to the link at the bottom of this post, or read the sermon below. Introduction: Last week we looked at the end of chapter 3 which told us that we can face persecution fearlessly and intentionally by viewing it through Christ’s resurrection, proclamation and exaltation. This week, Peter returns to the argument from verse 18 of chapter 3 which says, 1 Peter 3:18 (NIV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. And draws out other implications of the sufferings of Christ in our lives in chapter 4:1-6, 1 Peter 4:1-6 (NIV) Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2  As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3  For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4  They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5  But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6  For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. When we consider the sufferings of Jesus, it should motivate us to live a different kind of life than the worldly culture around us, it should help us understand the negative reaction of unbelievers to our faith in Christ, and it should assure us that justice will finally be served against those who persecute us for our faith. Let’s look first at how Christ’s suffering should motivate us to  1.     Choose a life of obedience that may include suffering instead of a life of sin (1-2)  Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2  As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.  First, let’s talk about what verse 1 does not mean when it says “whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.” It does not mean that Christians do not sin. Romans 7 and 1 John 2 remind us that we struggle with sin in this life because the old nature and new nature are at war within us, but that, 1) if we confess our sins, God will forgive and cleanse us from them; and, 2) our struggle with sin will come to an end when we die or when Christ comes again. Next, let’s talk about what this does mean. There are a number of interpretations of this passage. The one that makes the most sense in the context is that it means that Since Christ suffered during his incarnation to cancel the penalty and power of sin, we should live our lives not only freed from the judicial penalty of sin, but also freed – as much as possible – from the power of sin in our lives. Think of it this way. A sinner is like a thief who got caught for stealing. The thief has two problems. 1) He is in jail for stealing; 2) He still wants to steal. He is under the penalty and power of stealing. He has to pay the penalty for his stealing, and he has to overcome the desire to steal. In order for him to be restored to society, he must pay the penalty for his crimes, and he must be rehabilitated so that he no longer steals. Once he has paid the penalty for stealing and is released from prison, will he still have the desire to steal? Probably. Will he be tempted by his old friends to steal? Probably. The only way he can overcome the power of stealing is to change his attitude which will then change his behavior. He must become willing to work for a living, he must be willing to leave his old friends behind, he must be willing to avoid certain locations and situations that tempt him to steal. He must want a new kind of life. That is what is being said here I believe about sin in our lives. Peter is saying to us – since Jesus has paid the penalty and broken the power of sin in your life, you should be willing, enabled by the Spirit of God, to live a different kind of life than you once lived. You should live your life, as Jesus did, not for himself, to gratify his own desires but for God and whatever his will is for your life. As Jesus said in the garden, “not my will by Thy will be done.” You must adopt a new attitude, the attitude of Christ toward sin. He suffered every temptation we suffer, yet without sin. We know that in this life we cannot avoid sinning altogether because the sin nature will not be totally removed from us until Christ returns. However, In 1 John 2:6, John writes, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” Peter writes in verse 1, that we should arm ourselves with the same attitude as Christ during his incarnation. Paul wrote to the Philippians (2:5) “Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus, who humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross.” The writer of Hebrews 12:1-4 (NIV) …let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame…3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4  In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Because we have new life in Christ – the resurrected life of Christ – we can adopt a new attitude that will lead to new behaviors like those Christ exhibited. We are not like the thief who is left alone to change his behavior. The Spirit of God within us wars against the temptations of our sinful nature, the devil and the worldly culture around us, so that we can spend our remaining days doing God’s will rather than our own will. It will not be easy. We are strangers in a strange land. We surrounded by unbelievers who think what we are strange and as a result, they heap abuse on us. Let’s look secondly at 2.     Understanding unbelievers’ anger and abuse (3-4)  3  For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4  They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. This list is similar to lists we find in Ephesians 5, Galatians 5 and Romans 13. In short, it describes a self-centered life in contrast to a life that is God-centered. It describes a person that does his own will as opposed to a person that does the will of God. It describes the pagan culture from which many of Peter’s readers came and which continued to surround them. This is the culture which surrounds us as well today. Those who have spent any time in college dorms, or in the halls of high school campuses or junior high campuses or on public playgrounds, or in certain night sports, or on the internet or tuned in to some TV and radio stations, know that this is the culture that surrounds us. Many of us only see the tip of the iceberg and don’t want to see any more than that. But some of us lived in and among that culture for some time before becoming believers. What I heard on the construction job site… What our kids reported they heard on the playground the first day in FL…. What I saw in the subway in NY… girls heading to the nightclub. The sex-trafficing trade in Toledo recently in the news. What some of you see and hear in your work in the schools and other places. We are surrounded by this culture, but it also seeks to disrupt the culture of faith in which most of you live. He says that those who participate in the worldly culture are surprisedwhen you no longer want to run with their crowd after you became a Christian, and they get mean about it. They don’t bid you a fond farewell. They become insulted and incensed by your new behavior and therefore “heap abuse on you.” Why? It’s because your faith implicitly condemns their behavior by refusing to participate in their godless lifestyle. Hebrews 11:7 …Noah…[b]y his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. New Christians, especially, are often surprised by the negative reaction of their old friends when suddenly the Christian no longer wants to run with the old crowd or do the things the old crowd used to do. The crowd tries to get the new Christian to go back to their old ways, to re-join the crowd, and live it up like they used to. If the Xian doesn’t go along, they’re called a kill-joy or a Puritan or a virgin or some other term they consider unflattering in order to shame the Christian into coming back. It’s a form of peer pressure. Charles Colson gained notoriety in the Watergate scandal in the 1970’s as a close associate of President Richard Nixon. When he was converted in the midst of the Watergate court proceedings, the press greeted his “born-again” witness with jeers of derision. Cartoonists had a field day picturing a cover-up by what they characatured as an instant saint. In more recent years, Tim Tebow, the son of missionaries to the Phillipines and the current quarterback for the Denver Broncos has received similar reviews from unbelievers in response to his public profession of faith in Christ. Raven Clabough wrote in an article for the “New American” on December 20, 2011,  “Weeks ago, The New American reported on Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow’s passionate faith and the flak he has taken for it. Unfortunately, Tebow remains a target and was most recently the subject of an offensive comedic skit on Saturday Night Live. After the Denver Broncos emerged from another significant win against the Chicago Bears last week, a number of media outlets began to ponder whether Tebow’s faith and constant prayer played a role in his success as a starting quarterback for the Broncos. On Saturday, December 17, Saturday Night Live made fun of the notion that Tebow’s spirituality has anything to do with his victories. Last month, the Christian Post reported on the taunting of Tim Tebow by fans of the opposing teams which has not just targeted his quarterback abilities, but his faith. The Post wrote, “Oakland Raiders’ fans held signs that read ‘Welcome to Hell,’ directed at Tebow during the pre-game warm-ups before Sunday’s NFL match-up in Oakland. Sunday’s game marks the second week that the evangelical quarterback was targeted by fans for his Christian beliefs.” The week before the Oakland Raiders game, when the Broncos played the Detroit Lions, Lions’ linebacker Stephen Tullock openly mocked Tebow’s prayer pose, dubbed “Tebowing,” after he sacked Tebow in the second quarter. Later in the game, other Lions’ players followed suit. In a similar article (by Jennifer Marshall in The Foundry, a publication of the Heritage Foundation (December 7, 2011), Jennifer Floyd Engel at Fox Sports is quoted, “Tebow is just a guy with the good sense to say thanks. Instead of taking his cue, we mock his faith. And that says more about us, none of it good.” Unbelievers will mock your faith because, like Noah’s faith, it implicitly condemns them. It re-notifies them of what they already know – that there is a God and he expects their obedience and worship – but they live in defiance or denial of it, and they take it out on you. However, like Christ, we can receiver their taunting and jeers without seeking revenge, because, third we are learning to  3.     Trust God’s judgment and justice (5-6) 5  But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6  For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. Those who live for their own pleasure, it says, one day, WILL BE held accountable for their actions and those Christians who have been judged harshly and abused during their days on earth will be vindicated or justified by God. There will be a judgment of the living and the dead. Those who lived for themselves will come under condemnation, but those who lived for God by trusting in Christ, will be justified and avenged. Some in the early church were concerned that because some among them had died, that this proved that the Gospel was of no effect. They thought that because they had become Christians, that all the effects of the fall of Adam would be reversed. That’s why Paul reassured the Thessalonians that the dead in Christ would rise first and that the living and the dead would meet the Lord in the air when he comes. Here, Peter reassures his readers that though some have died, they will neither get away with their self-absorbed lifestyles, nor will they be lost because they were judged harshly by unbelievers in this life. Verse 5 says “they will give an account” to God for their abuse of Christians. They will not get away with it. Verse 6 says of abused Christians who are now dead, that though they were abused in this life, the Gospel was preached to them during that time so that they might come to faith and thus live eternally for God. Just as Jesus was abused in his incarnation, but in his death entered into resurrection life, so believers by faith in Christ enter into resurrection life in the spirit that is obedient to God and thus averts condemnation. With the passing years, Colson’s genuineness in caring for prisoners made its mark. The cynical laughter died down, and Colson’s conversion began to command respect. Something had really happened in his life. Clabough finished his article about Tim Tebow by saying, “Tebow has taken the mockery in stride, never once rebuking anyone for their bad behavior. Most could argue that his healthy response to the abuse exemplifies the power of his faith.”  Jennifer Marshall added a quote by Tebow at the end of her article that illustrates his attitude. He said, “If people want to bash me for that, that’s OK. It really won’t bother me. At least they know what I believe.” Colson and Tebow are recent examples, yet Christ is our greatest and highest example. He accepted the jeers, insults and taunts of unbelievers and finally the ultimate suffering of death on a cross in his stride without sin to enable us to live a new kind of life – not for ourselves, but in obedience to God, empowered by his Spirit, for the glory of Christ. So arm yourselves with the attitude of Christ so that you will 1.     Continue to choose to participate in the sufferings of Christ instead of sin 2.     Be prepared for the anger abuse of unbelievers 3.     Continue to trust God to avenge any abuse you might receive in this life and usher you safely into eternal life with Christ.

A Moving Experience

The first phase of our recent move from the apartment in Custar, OH to our new home in Toledo began on Monday, January 9. That morning, Two Men and a Truck packed up and delivered the majority of our belongings which had remained stored near Bowling Green since late August. During the next two weeks, on my days off, we drove out to the apartment and gradually removed our remaining belongings and cleaned up. (God bless the Stonebridge family who allowed us stay in their apartment for over four months!) Now we have all our belongings at the house in Toledo and are busy arranging furniture and unpacking boxes – lots of them.Read More

Home in Ohio after the Holidays

We’re home! After a long day of travelling from NC, unloading the contents of the van in Toledo and dropping off the dog in Bowling Green, we arrived safely at our home in Custar, OH late Wednesday night. We were glad we delayed our return trip an extra day due to severe weather in the WV mountains. The roads were all clear of snow and ice and there were no traffic tie-ups.Read More

A New Year; The Same Promise- 1 Peter 1:3-8 (Smith)

Visiting Teaching Elder Blair Smith encouraged us to day from Peter’s first epistle.  We should have assurance  in our hope for the future because God has promised not only to protect the inheritance that we will receive one day, but He also protects His people to insure that they will receive the inheritance.

The Message of Christmas

Shepherds, an unlikely target of the first Christmas message.  Common folk, like many [or most?] of us.  St. Luke, in chapter 2 of his Gospel relates the story of the messengers and their message; as well as the recipients and their response to this message.

Pastor’s family housing update and holiday plans

We are happy to announce that as of January 15, Beth and Stephen and I will change our place of residence to a neighborhood in south Toledo within fifteen minutes of my office and the church facility. We are thankful to member and elder Tom Lueck who has helped us work out many of the details for the house.Read More

A Call to Service for Advent

May you join your hearts and voices with Mary who would soon become the mother of Jesus, the humble young virgin who received God’s call with expectant faith and joyous hope. May you, like her, rejoice in God your Savior for the mercies he has shown you, and may you extend his mercy to others who are humble, hungry and helpless in the world.

The Difference Between Advent Carols and Christmas Carols

Some have noticed that we have been singing strictly Advent carols rather than Christmas carols these past few weeks and wonder why I have chosen to do so. I have done this not to diminish Christmas, but rather to heighten the anticipation for Christmas. The Advent carols in our hymnal – and other hymnals – focus more directly on the preparation for the coming of Christ into the world [read: He will come], whereas the Christmas carols focus more on the fact of his coming into the world [read: He has come].Read More

Instructions for Husbands (1 Peter 3:7) – Sonnenberg

1 Peter 3:7.  It’s hard to get more practical than Pastor Dan did preaching from this verse in 1 Peter.  Husbands, we have work to do! God help us do our duty with joy and love. To listen to the podcast scroll to the bottom of this page. 1 Peter 3:7 (NAU) You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. This passage tells Christian husbands three things:
  1. How they should live with their wives
  2. How they should honor their wives
  3. The purpose for doing so
Let’s look first at… 1.     How husbands should live with their wives  It says they should live with them in an understanding way as with a weaker vessel …live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman This passage says that wives – and all women – are what he calls “weaker vessels.” In (War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa  Joshua S. Goldstein  (Cambridge University Press, September 2001) the author writes, Women are constitutionally stronger than men – they live longer and are more resilient against fatigue, illness, famine, childbirth (!), and so forth. Yet, a 1982 study of men and women in the military demonstrated that men had a greater lifting capacity than women. The average lifting capacity for women soldiers was 66 pounds, versus 119 for men (80 percent higher). The difference in lifting capacity is especially critical at around 100–120 pounds. An Air Force test for lifting 110 pounds was passed by 68 percent of men and 1 percent of women. There is a difference between men and women in speed as well. Among over 30,000 participants in the 1997 NYC marathon, the median woman ran 11 percent slower than the median man. Peter writes that since wives are generally physically weaker, husbands should live with them –  in an understanding way; literally, it says “according to knowledge.” In other words, we should use our heads as we live with our wives. We should keep in mind that there are physical differences between us. This has many practical ramifications. For example, it’s tempting to expect “the wife” to drop everything when we get home and bring us our robe and slippers and pipe. However, if we’re wise, we’ll remember that she’s tired too and has probably had as hard a day as we have whether she worked in the home or outside the home. So it’s unwise to expect the royal treatment upon our arrival. Only kings get the royal treatment because they have a harem of many wives who take turns bringing him his robe and slippers. Another example – when it’s time to clean out the attic or garage or basement. Sometimes I impatiently wonder to myself, “Why doesn’t she pick up more boxes? Why do I seem to be doing all the heavy lifting?” Or worse, “Why doesn’t she do this herself when I’m at work? I have to remember that are physical differences between us. A negative example – physical abuse. Husbands are more capable of physical abusebecause of their greater strength. They can, in a rage, overpower “the wife” or threaten the wife or break things or slam doors or put their fist through a wall more readily than the wife. How many stories have you heard of women who refused to call the police because their husband threatened bodily harm or worse if they did so. Col. 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.” Husbands, if and when we are tempted to do any of these things, the phrase “live with them in an understanding way as with a weaker vessel” should pop into our minds and draw us up short. Instead, we should use our greater strength to bless them as often as we can. Ask yourself, “What can I do to ease my wife’s load since she is weaker than I am?” Can you bring in the groceries more often, move those heavy boxes or that piece of furniture she’s been asking about for awhile, or bring up those things up from the basement or down from the attic? This passage teaches husbands not only how to live in an understanding way, it also teaches us…  2.     How husbands should honor their  wives  It says husbands should honor them as fellow heirs of the grace of life  …and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life This phrase tells us that our wives are our spiritual equals. Husbands and wives are fellow heirs of the grace of life. Though husbands and wives serve different functions in the home and in the church, we are equal in value in the sight of God. Gal 3:28 says, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are fellow heirs, joint heirs, co-heirs, co-inheritors of the grace of life. Our wives at one level are like spiritual sisters to us and we are like spiritual brothers to them in the great family of God. We will each inherit the grace of life – which here is a synonym for salvation – when Christ comes again. All who are in Christ – husbands and wives, slaves and free, Jew and Gentile, children, teens, young adults and seniors, will share in the inheritance Christ’s work on the cross earned for us. My paternal grandfather, Theodore Sonnenberg of Holgate passed away in 1974. His wife, my grandmother, Amelia Sonnenberg died five years later in 1979. At that time their estate was inherited equally by their eight children, one of whom is my dad. Those eight children each had different circumstances, but were treated equally in the will. There were four sons and four daughters. Some were married, some were unmarried. Some had children and grandchildren and some had none. Some were more well-off, some were less well-off financially. However, the estate was divided equally among them. They were all co-heirs of the estate. An auction was held in which everything was sold to the highest bidder. If one of the heirs wanted a particular item, they had to bid with everyone else. But all the proceeds were divided up equally among them. Likewise, husbands and wives will be treated equally in the resurrection. They are fellow heirs of the grace of life. Why did Peter remind husbands of this? Because husbands are tempted to lord their authority over their wives. They are tempted to think that because they are appointed as the head of the home they are more valuable than she is. But Peter says that since wives are fellow heirs, husbands should show them honor accordingly. Instead of treating her as a second class citizen in the kingdom, husbands should honor them as their equals. We have to work at this because we’re selfish. We naturally think more about ourselves than we do of her. We need to keep in mind the example of Christ and Paul’s instructions in Ephesians 5, “…husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word…In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.  No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.” (vv 26-29) We should be willing to give up our lives for them as Christ gave up his for the church, and we should love them as we love ourselves. Following are some ideas to think about and put into action. This piece is called, “Eight ways to honor your wife,” written by Mark Driscol (on, 24th March 2009).
  1. Honor her maritally. Take a wife honorably. Establish right priorities, and be a one woman man–absolutely faithful to your wife.
  2. Honor her physically. Be strong for your wife, not against her. Be physically protective of her and present with her.
  3. Honor her emotionally. Be emotionally present and intimate. Take her on dates. Listen empathetically to her when she needs to talk. Don’t try to fix her, just listen.
  4. Honor her verbally. Speak honorably to her. Speak honorably of her, when she is present and absent.
  5. Honor her financially. Provide for the financial needs of your family, organize your budget, and be generous towards your wife.
  6. Honor her practically. Consider her needs and how you can serve her.
  7. Honor her parentally. Be “Pastor Dad” by shepherding your children (praying with them, teaching them about Jesus, reading the Bible with them, etc.).
  8. Honor her spiritually. You initiate and lead prayer, reading the Bible with her, having spiritual chats and church attendance.
You may be thinking, “Yeah pastor, but you don’t know my wife. She’s a difficult person to live with let alone honoring her.” You know that passage in Proverbs about the quarrelsome wife who’s like a constant dripping on a rainy day? That’s her.” We know several husbands of marriages of 50 plus years or more who have wives that could be considered “difficult,” “challenging,” “dripping,” or “over the top.”  One husband in particular, we’ll call him Ryan. We’ll call his wife Trixie. She has suffered from insecurity and depression much of her adult life, yet he treats her with the utmost respect. Sure, he gets upset and angry with her sometimes like the rest of us. But most of the time, he is her greatest fan. He speaks to her lovingly and respectfully, is never condescending, he builds her up, he comforts her when she’s down and defends her against all comers. As a result, she has thrived in spite of great odds against her. We should do the same for our wives if we’re not doing so already. So husbands should live with their wives in an understanding way as weaker vessels and should honor their wives as fellow heirs of the grace of life. Finally, this passage tells husbands… 3.     The purpose for doing so –  It says the purpose is to not hinder your prayers, or, to prevent your prayers from being hindered. …so that your prayers will not be hindered. Initially, this sounds somewhat lame. You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal if my prayers are hindered?” But there’s more to it than you might think. The word translated hindered can also be translated “detained,” bored,” “tedious” or “weary.” Have you ever become bored or weary in your prayer life? Have you ever felt like your prayers were going nowhere? Could it have some relation to the way you and I are treating our wives? Here’s what one commentator said about this phrase: So concerned is God that Christian husbands live in an understanding and loving way with their wives, that he “interrupts” his relationship with them when they are not doing so. No Christian husband should presume to think that any spiritual good will be accomplished by his life without an effective ministry of prayer. And no husband may expect an effective prayer life unless he lives with his wife “in an understanding way, bestowing honor” on her. To take the time to develop and maintain a good marriage is God’s will; it is serving God; it is a spiritual activity pleasing in his sight. (Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter, p. 146.) John Piper, in a sermon on prayer notes that this concept is mentioned twice more in 1 Peter. The second time it comes up is in the next paragraph in vv 10–12, Peter quotes Ps 34, For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” The third time it comes up is in chapter 4, verse 7. It says, The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Piper says the common thread seems to be that all three teach us not that praying helps us live right, but that living right helps us pray. Peter’s point in all three texts is that God has appointed a way for us to live which will help us pray. There are ways to live that hinder prayers and there is a way to live that helps prayer. These passages teach that husbands, and all Christians, should to live in a way that does not hinder our prayers.
  • It implies that prayers can be hindered. Our prayer life can be clogged, blocked.
  • What blocks prayer is the way we live our lives—the way we relate to wives or husbands or kids or parents or colleagues or neighbors.
  • Keeping open the way of prayer to God involves a conscious effort. In each of these texts Peter is telling us to do something so that our prayers will not be hindered.
In other words a free, open, real, satisfying life of prayer is not automatic. It doesn’t just happen to you while you are passive. If it did, these three texts would be pointless. Why does it matter that your prayer life not be hindered? You don’t want your prayers to be hindered because when your prayers are hindered, it means you are not connecting with God, and that God himself starts to seem distant and unreal.
  • To wake up in the morning or to go to bed at night and to lie there and stare at the ceiling and think to yourself, “It’s not real. He’s not listening.”
  • To try to form a prayer and feel utterly phony because your mind is so full of worldly stuff and earthly feelings and fleshly desires that a sweet, peaceful, confident communion with God in prayer seems about as possible as flying to the moon.
These can be terrifying experiences for a Christian who has known peace with God, and unhindered communion with him. (end of Piper) I think we underestimate the importance of prayer in our lives. Think how important prayer was to Jesus. He knew that it was an essential source of spiritual life during his ministry. He prayed at his baptism. He spent whole nights alone in prayer, for example, the night before he chose the 12. He often awoke early to find a solitary place to pray. He prayed so often the disciples asked him to teach them to pray. He also he told them a parable to teach them that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He prayed before his Transfiguration. He prayed what we call the High Priestly prayer recorded in John 17 before the Last Supper. He prayed in the final hours before his trial. And he prayed on the cross before he took his last breath. How much more important should our prayer lives be to us? If we think our prayer life is not essential to fruitful life and ministry we are mistaken. And if we are not concerned about our prayers being hindered, we are deceiving ourselves. So we should live with our wives in such a way that are prayers are not hindered – because we need prayer, we need to stay connected to God to fulfill all that he has called us to do. Husbands should live their wives in an understanding way and should honor them as the fellow heirs of salvation that they are. Summary:
  1. How we should live with our wives – in an understanding way as with a weaker vessel
  2. How we should honor our wives – as fellow heirs of the grace of life
  3. The purpose for doing so – to prevent our prayers from being hindered
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