The Shield of Faith

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The Shield of Faith
Text: Ephesians 6:10–17
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with Truth,
and having on the breastplate of Righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with The preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking The shield of faith,
wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take
The helmet of salvation,
The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication
in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. (6:16)
* Roman soldiers used several kinds of shields, but two were the most common.
* The first was a rather small round shield, perhaps two feet in diameter, that was secured to the arm by two leather straps. It was relatively lightweight and was used to block the sword blows of an attacking soldier in hand–to–hand fighting.
* The second kind of shield the Roman soldier used was about two and half feet wide and four and a half feet high. This shield was designed to protect the entire body of the soldier.
* This shield was made of a solid piece of wood and was covered with metal or heavily oiled leather.
* This second larger shield is what the apostle Paul is referring to in our text this morning.
* The soldiers who carried these shields were in the front lines of battle, and normally stood side by side with their shields together, forming a huge wall of shields extending as long as a mile or more.
* The archers stood behind this protective wall of shields and shot their arrows as they advanced against the enemy.
* Anyone who stood or crouched behind this wall of shields was protected from the barrage of enemy arrows and spears.
* In our text, this morning, the apostle Paul compares faith to this solid wall of protection provided by the shield.
* Now the faith to which Paul refers here is not referring to what we believe, for example a person might say he or she belongs to the Christian faith , or the Mormon faith, of the Buddhist faith.
* This faith the apostle Paul is talking about is nothing more than a basic trust in God.
* This faith is the trust that we place in Christ when we come to Him believing that He has the power to save us from the wrath and judgment of God.
* Not only does this basic trust in God save us from the wrath of God because of sin, but it also brings blessing and strength from God as we trust God Him for daily provisions and help.
* The substance of Christianity is believing that God exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (Heb. 11:6)
* Putting total trust in God’s Son as the crucified, buried, risen, and ascended Savior that He alone is able save our souls from Hell is what we call “saving” faith.
* Obeying the Bible because we trust in the Bible as God’s infallible and authoritative Word is ; and looking forward to the Lord’s coming again is called “Living by Faith.
* Habakkuk’s great declaration that “the righteous will live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4) is quoted and reaffirmed twice by the apostle Paul in Rom. 1:17 and Gal. 3:11, and once by the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 10:38:
Galatians 3:11–13 (KJV 1900)
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for,
The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law…
Hebrews 10:36–38 (KJV 1900)
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
* In Romans 1:16-17 we see both kinds of faith, “saving faith,” trusting on Jesus alone to saves us, and “living faith,” which is totally trusting in God for the strength to live day by day:
Romans 1:16–17 (KJV 1900)
1). Saving faith:
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
2). Living by faith:
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
* Every person lives by some form of faith.
- We cross a bridge with the faith that it will support us
- We eat food trusting that it is not poisoned
- We put our lives in the security of airplanes, trains, ships, buses, and automobiles, confident that they are safe.
* Faith, or trust in such things makes us a well-rounded person and makes life and society as we know it possible.
* Reflecting on this fact in a more philosophical manner, Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “It is faith in something that makes life worth living.”
* But faith in God is immeasurably more reliable and more important than the practical, everyday faith by which we live.
* Faith in God is far more than being simply “faith in something.”
* Faith is only as reliable and helpful as the trustworthiness of its object; and Christian faith is powerful and effective because the object of our faith, Jesus Christ.
* Our savior Jesus Christ is infinitely powerful and absolutely dependable. Our Christian faith will never fail us, because the One in whom that faith is placed never fails.
* When John Paton was translating the Bible for a South Seas island tribe, he discovered that they had no word for trust or faith.
* One day a native who had been running hard came into the missionary’s house, flopped himself in a large chair and said, “It’s good to rest my whole weight on this chair.”
* “That’s it,” said Paton. “I’ll translate faith as ‘resting one’s whole weight on God.’ ”
* And friends, that is the best way I can describe faith to you this morning- “living by faith” is the everyday process of resting your whole weight on God’s faithfulness.
I. Our faith is a shield to us, because like the shield of the Roman soldier, the object of our trust is rock-solid.
* Every marriage vow that is not kept, every promise that is not fulfilled, Every debt that is not paid, Every promised prayer that is not prayed …
* All the unfaithfulness we have experienced at the hand of mere mortal men, are constant reminders to us that we desperately need the faithfulness of God this morning!
* If there is anything that we humans are, it is unfaithful!
* There was a time in our country when business was done on the basis of a promise and a handshake, when “ ‘til death do us part” meant exactly that, and when promises made were promises kept.
* The condition we find ourselves in today is not a new one.
* Solomon asked centuries ago, “Who can find a faithful man?”
Proverbs 20:6 (KJV)
6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
* I am here to tell you this morning that there is still One this morning whose word is His bond.
- Who can be completely trusted in everything. - One who is faithful in all things.
- One who is not changed by time or circumstance.
* Part of God’s character is His faithfulness, and we worship Him for it!
* I preached to you before about the Holiness of God.
* I revealed to you that the word Holy means “Cut apart from” or “separate from”
* When the Bible speaks of the Holiness of God it speaks to the fact that God is not at all like a man- man is totally unfaithful!
* God is high and set apart from mankind, I am thankful this morning that God is totally and always faithful!
* To be faithful means to stand behind your word, to remain constant in spite of circumstances.
* I want you to realize a great truth this morning- God has no circumstances!
* God is above all circumstances in your life!
* God is in control of the circumstances of your life!
Numbers 23:19 (KJV)
19 God is not a man, that he should lie;
neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and
shall he not make it good?
* When I was a little boy God promised to me through His Bible that if I called upon him that he would save me- Shall He not make it good this morning? If God does not keep His primes to this little boy then:
- If God does not keep his promise- The stars would fall from the sky!
- The very laws of nature that obey a Holy God would be corrupt and the force of gravity would be released- and all mankind would be flung from the earth!
- If God does not keep his promise to this little boy, then Satan would have succeeded in conquering God. Mankind would be doomed to be used and destroyed by an evil god. All that is good and right would be lost for eternity!
II. Our faith shields us from the deception of sin and doubt.
* In New Testament times the tips of arrows would often be wrapped in pieces of cloth that had been soaked in pitch.
* Just before the arrow was shot, the tip would be lit with fire, and the flaming missile would be shot at the enemy troops.
* The pitch burned fiercely, and on impact it would spatter burning bits for several feet, igniting anything flammable it touched.
* In addition to piercing their bodies, it could inflict serious burns on enemy soldiers and destroy their clothing and gear.
* The most reliable protection against such flaming missiles was the large shield that covered the entire body of the Roman soldier.
* The shield, was covered in metal or leather soaked in water and would effectively deflect or extinguish the “fiery darts of the enemy archers.
* In our text that we have been using for the past several Sundays the apostle Paul made reference to fiery darts that the Devil and his demons continually launch at God’s people.
Ephesians 6:16 (KJV 1900)
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
* The spiritual flaming missiles against which believers need protection would seem primarily to be temptations.
* Satan continually bombards God’s children with temptations to immorality, hatred, envy, anger, covetousness, pride, doubt, fear, despair, distrust, and every other sin.
* Satan’s initial temptation to Adam and Eve was to entice them to doubt God and instead to put their trust in his lies.
* That was the first of his flaming missiles, from which all the others have lighted their flames.
* Every temptation, directly or indirectly, is the temptation to doubt and distrust God.
* The purpose of all of Satan’s missiles, is to cause believers to forsake their trust in God, to drive a wedge between the Savior and the saved.
* He even tempted God’s own Son to distrust Him in the wilderness—first to distrust His Father’s provision, then to distrust His protection and His plan (Matt. 4:3–9).
* Efforts to justify fornication or adultery in the name of God’s grace—arguing, as some do, that sex was created by God and that everything He created is good—pervert logic, contradict God’s Word, and attack God’s integrity.
* Trying to justify marriage to an unbeliever—arguing that the relationship is so beautiful that it must be of God—follows Satan’s will instead of God’s.
* Doubting God is to disbelieve God, which, as the apostle John tells us, makes a liar of Him who cannot lie (1 John 5:10; cf. Titus 1:2).
* Whenever and however we try to justify any sin, we degrade God’s character and elevate Satan’s character above that of God’s character.
* To sin is to believe Satan, and to follow righteousness is to believe God.
* All sin results from failure to act in faith in who God is and in what God is.
Romans 14:23 (KJV 1900) says: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
* Faith, then, is what shield us from sin and temptation.
* Sin forsakes and contradicts God’s promises that the person who listens to Him is blessed, but our faith shields us from the contradiction of sin (Prov. 8:34).
Proverbs 8:31–36 (KJV 1900)
32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: For
blessed are they that keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction, and be wise, And refuse it not.
34 Blessed is the man that heareth me,
Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoso findeth me findeth life,
And shall obtain favour of the Lord.
36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: All they that hate me love death.
* Sin contradicts the promise of God that He will give good things to those who trust in the faithfulness of God, but our faith shields us from the contradiction of sin (Matt. 7:9)
Matthew 7:7–11 (KJV 1900)
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,
how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
* Sin contradicts the promise that God will open the windows of heaven and pour out immeasurable blessings on His faithful children, but our faith shields us from the contradiction of sin (Mal. 3:10)
Malachi 3:10–12 (KJV 1900)
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be meat in mine house, And prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, If
I will not open you the windows of heaven, And pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, And he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; Neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: For ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.
* Sin contradicts the promise that God has given “every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift” on those who trust in his faithfulness, but our faith shields us from the contradiction of sin (James 1:17)
James 1:13–17 (KJV 1900)
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
* Sin contradicts the promise that God will “supply all [our] needs according to His riches in glory,” but our faith shields us from the contradiction of sin (Phil. 4:19)
Philippians 4:19 (KJV 1900)
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
* Sin contradicts the promise that God has already “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” but our faith shields us from the contradiction of sin (Eph. 1:3)
* The Devil is continuously shooting the flaming arrows of doubt that the hearts of those who trust in God, but our faith will always shield us from those fiery doubts.
* The only way to extinguish Satan’s flaming missiles of temptation to doubt God is to believe God, taking up the shield of faith.
* In Proverbs the Bible says “Every word of God is tested!”
* Proverbs 30 and verses 5 and 6 tell us “God is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar”
* David reminds us that “the word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him” in Psalms 18:30
* I John 5:4 tells us “This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith!
* The phrase “the, wicked, or evil one”, (or “vile, wretched one), in our text refers to the devil, whose supernaturally evil schemes we are to stand firm against.
* We are instructed to and “to resist in the evil day” with the armor God supplies (vv. 11–13).
Ephesians 6:11–13 (KJV 1900)
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
* As I have already said many times before in this series about spiritual warfare, the battleground in which spiritual warfare is fought is in the arena of our mind and emotions.
* In our text Paul is warning us against real and personal attacks of the devil against our mind by the evil influences of our corrupt, fallen, society around us.
* Paul here again emphasizes that our struggle is against things that battle against the mind:
- bad philosophies
- wrong ideas about our worldview
- false teachers who pervert our minds by twisting the Bible
- liberal theologians who cause men to doubt by denying the Bible
- lying preachers who would have you trust in your experiences and emotions instead of what God says in the Bible
- and let’s not leave out the lying politicians of our day who twist our minds with deceptive policies and laws of political correctness.
* Those politicians who promote the progressive, and socialist, communist, ideas of income equality, personal entitlement and greed.
* Those deceiving politicians who make what God says is evil appear to be good!
* Those political Cretans who try to make Godly, righteous, people who stand with God and the Bible against the sins like abortion, and same sex marriage look like evil and unpatriotic bigots.
* All these things Satan uses to battle against the mind causing us to doubt the truth of God and the Bible.
* The prophet Isaiah dealt with these lying, deceiving politics in his day as well. The words of Isaiah sound like an indictment against the corrupt politicians of our day:
Isaiah 5:20–24 (KJV 1900)
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; That put darkness for light, and light for darkness; That put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
* My friend that is forcing same sex marriage and abortion down our throats!
21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!
* That is the spirit of “political correctness” that causes people to believe that it is fine to kill a baby in it’s mother’s womb, but sentence a person to jail time for killing a kitten!
22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, And men of strength to mingle strong drink: 23 Which justify the wicked for reward, And take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
* It sounds like the prophet Isaiah is describing the very same spirit of drunkenness corruption that we see in Washington DC!
* We are all very aware of the rapid loss of our religious freedoms in this country.
* The evil forces and influences in high places that the apostle Paul warns us about in our text are doing their level best to run God and the Bible out of this country on a rail!
* But I want you to know, that just as it was in the days of the prophet Isaiah, God is going to judge this country. America will either turn back to God, or God will devour this country like the fire devours the dry stubble when a field is set on fire!
* Listen to the words of Isaiah:
24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, And the flame consumeth the chaff, So their root shall be as rottenness, And their blossom shall go up as dust: Because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
* I want you to understand that when all the evil forces and influences of the devil in this world come against our minds, our faith in a faithful God will keep our hearts and minds save like a shield!
Our faith shields us from the deception of sin and doubt
Philippians 4:5–7 (KJV 1900)
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
III. Our faith protects us we don’t understand God.
* There are many times that the devil and his evil cohorts will come to us and attempt to cause us to doubt God because we don’t understand something.
* I was reading J. Vernon McGee’s commentary on Ephesians chapter 6 and the shield of faith this week in preparation for this sermon and I was reminded a great truth.
* J. Vernon McGhee relates how as a very young man in seminary, there was a certain liberal professor who was always asking him questions that attacked his faith in the Bible.
Here is what I read:
I came to the place where I went to the Lord in prayer and said, “Lord, if I can’t believe Your Word, I don’t want to go into the ministry.” Then the Lord in a very miraculous way sent me to hear a man who was the most brilliant man, I think, whom I have ever heard. He gave me the answer to my questions. Then I began to learn that when a fiery dart comes my way and I don’t have the answer, I am to put up the shield of faith. And this is what I have been doing ever since. I have found that the shield of faith has batted down the fiery darts of the wicked one.
I remember that I was upset about questions concerning the Genesis record of creation. I was ready to get out of the ministry because I couldn’t accept certain things. The problem was not with my pygmy intellect, although I thought it was at the time; I just didn’t know enough. So I put up the shield of faith.
Someone was walking with me in Israel as we were observing some excavations. He asked me, “Suppose they dig up something down there that looks like it disproves the Bible. What position would you take?” I answered, “I would put up the shield of faith, and that would bat down the fiery darts of the wicked one. I have learned that when a fiery dart is batted down, I will get the correct answer later on.” I remember a time when the authorship of John was being questioned—was the Gospel of John written by John? Today it is pretty well established that John was the writer, but at one time I had questions about it.
The fiery darts of the wicked one come fast and furiously, and they are going to continue to come. The only thing that will bat them down is this shield of faith.
* As a young man I grew up in Jefferson City Tennessee, the home of Carson Newman College, a Christian college.
* Time after time as I went out knocking on doors in Jefferson City with my father, we encountered young men who had been called to preach and sent by their churches to Carson Newman for their education.
* Over and over again I heard the story of young men who came to receive a Bible education, but by the time they sat through the lectures of the Liberal professors there, their faith in the Bible, and in God was destroyed.
* When the liberal theologian does not understand something with his intellect, the then surmises that it must not be true. Liberal theologians Denominations, and liberal preachers, tend to deny what they cannot explain.
* In liberal seminaries and churches reason is stressed and is treated as the final authority.
* Liberal theologians seek to reconcile Christianity with secular science and modern thinking. In doing so, they treat science as all-knowing and the Bible as fable-laden and false.
* Genesis’ early chapters are reduced to poetry or fantasy, having a message, but not to be taken literally.
* By all this doubt, the devil destroyed the faith of man believers.
* They, while claiming to be Christians, Liberals deny what the Bible teaches about things like:
-The virgin birth
-The crossing of the red sea
-The literal interpretation of the judgments of Revelation
-Fulfilled prophecies
-The bodily resurrection of Jesus
* To the Liberal the Bible is not “God-breathed” and has errors. Because of this belief, man (the liberal theologians) must determine which teachings are correct and which are not. Belief that the Bible is “inspired” (in that word’s original meaning) by God is only held by simpletons.
* To the Liberal Hell is not real. Man is not lost in sin and is not doomed to some future judgment without a relationship with Christ through faith.
* Man can help himself; no sacrificial death by Christ is necessary since a loving God would not send people to such a place as hell and since man is not born in sin.
* The devil and his demons are casting these kinds of doubts in our minds when we see something in the Bible we do not understand. These are the “wiles” of the devil, the “fiery darts of Satan, designed to destroy the lives of God’s people.
* The shield of faith in God will protect our hearts and minds when we don’t understand God.
* We don’t have to understand everything about the Bible, We don’t have to understand everything about the supposed conflicts with science, we don’t have to understand what God is doing in our life when everything is falling apart!
1 Peter 4:12 (KJV 1900)
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
Proverbs 3:5–8 (KJV 1900)
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding.
* When we make up our minds that the object of our faith is a rock-solid anchor, in which we can trust, then the shield of faith will protect us from what we don’t understand!
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