Put out the Fires with the Shield of Faith
INTRODUCTION: We have been focusing on the warfare of the Christian found in Ephesians 6:10-18. In verse 13 we read, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
When exactly is this day of evil? The day of evil is the worst day of your life – when everything you can imagine goes wrong. Have you had days like that? You sure have. I have had them.
Our Christin life is in conflict with the enemy of our souls – Satan. But there is no reason for us to fear him because the Victory is ours
In I Corinthians 15:57; we read, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In II Corinthians 2:14; we read “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to TRIUMPH in Christ…”
In I John 5:5; we read, “Who is he that OVERCOMETH the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Remember, we don’t have to fight for Victory, we stand in Victory!However to win the everyday battle, we have to appropriate the “Armor” that God has made available
Our Enemy has a well-stocked arsenal of weapons with which to wage war against us. His quiver is full of flaming arrows of adversity, and he constantly bombards our defenses with these fiery darts.
Frequently he fires a round of problems at us (sickness, financial loss, broken relationships), and then when our defenses are down, he hits us with his emotional darts of anger, fear, doubt, depression or self-pity. Without a strong line of defense, these arrows will hit their mark, and we will fall on the battlefield.
But the Lord has given us a shield in Ephesians 6:16; to ward off these flaming arrows: "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked [one]".
The shield that Paul was referring to here was the shield that a Roman soldier carried.
These shields were quite large (almost like a door) – usually about two feet by four feet. By crouching behind it, the soldier could hide himself completely. The shield was made of wood covered with cloth and leather. Sometimes the soldier would dip it in water sothat the fire-tipped arrows would be extinguished when they struck the shield.
Paul used the image of this kind of shield to represent the believer's faith. The kind of faith the apostle was referring to was not about saving faith, even though this kind of faith is vital.
Paul was speaking of a practical, everyday faith that says, "I will not rely on myself or base my decisions on my experience or my knowledge. Instead, I'm trusting God to give me the victory today." This kind of faith overcomes Satan and his forces which includes
FIRST: SATAN'S FIERY DARTS. Now notice in verse 16 “… to quench all the fiery darts…”The Devil throws these darts at us from without. He waits and watches closely. Then, when our lives are going well and we stop relying on the Lord's help, Satan strikes us when our shields are down.
Let’s face it. SATAN’S BOW is drawn and ready to shoot his fiery darts at us when we least expect it.
Let’s face it. SATAN’S FIERYDARTS are swift and silent.
We receive no advance warning of their arrival. Suddenly, the flaming arrows land, and we feel a slight tinge of pain. Then, before we know it, a raging fire breaks out, destroying everything in its path.
Whatever these fiery darts are we must be careful not to allow them to penetrate our souls. For once they do, they will catch fire and do great damage.
What are the fiery darts that Satan hurls our way? Here are FIVE darts to consider.
NUMBER 1.FEAR –One of Satan's deadly darts is the dart of fear. At times, we all struggle with Satan's deadly dart of fear. Often during anormal and uneventful day, we can suddenly become afraid. This can be triggered
By something someone says to us,
By a change in circumstances that doesn’t go well,
By a letter we read or by a telephone call
By a notice we hear on the radio or television.
Whatever the source, we are suddenly gripped by fear. If we allow this fear to linger, it soon spreads like wildfire and begins to destroy our faith. Faith and fear do not live in the same heart.
When we become afraid, we lose our faith in the Lord's ability to help us. When a fierce storm arose at sea, the disciples were terrified. They awakened Jesus who was asleep in the boat. In Mark 4:35-40; after calming the storm, Jesus asked them, "Why are you afraid? Where is your faith? Didn't you trust Me to take care of you?"
NUMBER 2.DOUBT –Satan's usesthe fiery dart of doubt that we can begin to have about God. When those doubts come,we ask ourselves:
Does God really know what He is doing?
Does He understand what my problems are?
Is His Word really true?
It is amazing how people can read the Bible all of their lives and then at a certain point say, "You know, I don't believe that." Satan works in us, planting these doubts, until we begin to question even the basic tenets of our faith.
Satan also tries to throw doubts about other people at us. We become skeptical of fellow believers in the church when we begin to question:
Does she really like me?
Is he really qualified to be serving the Lord?
What did he really mean by that statement in the sermon?
Satan fans these fires of doubt, and before long, they grow and multiply until they destroy our faith and our relationships with others. Satan loves to create doubts about our salvation and our Christian life.
We need to examine our hearts frequently, saying as we read in Psalm 139:23; "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts." We need this soul-searching at times to rid ourselves of sin that has crept in.Unfortunately, we often use this to fan the flames of doubt instead of trusting God to help us.
NUMBER 3.WORDS – You say, “How does Satan use words?”
Sometimes he uses our thoughts so that filthy or slanderous words come to mind. Words of criticism and hatred form there, often spilling out into our speech. Satan likes to throw these words at our mind, and we start to think things we really don't want to think.
Sometimes he throws these darts at our will, and we suddenly decide we are going to do something we know we should not do.
Sometimes he throws them at our heart, stirring up our emotions.
Sometimes he throws the darts at our conscience, and we start feeling dirty and sinful inside.
NUMBER 4.CONFUSION – When we find our thinking, emotions or lives becoming confused, we immediately know that Satan is the cause, because in I Corinthians 14:33; we read "for God is not the author of confusion." We need to resist the Devil's efforts to confuse us by relying on the peace and strength of the Lord.
NUMBER 5.TEMPTATION – Satan threw this dart at Eve, and at Christ three times.
Satan wants you to go ahead and have sexual relationships outside of marriage, it’s fun, and no one will know. God says no, Satan says yes.
God says,“Don’t read that dirty magazine, don’t watch that dirty film, and don’t cheat on your income tax.” Satan says, “Do it. You’ll have more thrills and get more money.” Who do you believe? When you sin you believe Satan; when you obey God, you believe God.
The shield is our protection. None of us want to be the target of Satan's fiery darts of fear, doubt, words, confusion and temptation. The first step to ridding ourselves of these darts is to identify the source of our feelings.
We can always tell the fiery darts of the Wicked One from the inward temptations of our own nature, because Satan'sdarts hit suddenly and without warning, spreading quickly.
When our minds are suddenly filled with these fears, doubts or words, we initially resist them, saying, "Where did that come from? I don't usually think like this." When this happens, we need to immediately ask God for the strength to dispel these thoughts from our minds by using the shield of faith. This brings us to god’s way of protecting us.
SECOND: FAITH’S FIRM SHIELD –Theshield of faith protects us in two ways. First, it stops the fiery darts so they don't injure us. Then it puts out the fire so the damage doesn't spread.
What kindoffaithwas Paul referring to when he described the shield of Faith? He was not talking about a faith in ourselves or in the doctrines we believe, but faith in God, who is our shield. This faith in God manifests itself in three ways.
1. We have faith in God’s person. We not only believe that He exists, but that He is actively involved in our lives.
After Abraham had returned from rescuing Lot, the Lord told him in a vision in Genesis 15:1, "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." God is our shield (protection) and our great reward (provision). He is all we need.
When he was experiencing trouble, David knew he could trust the Lord to shield him. He stated in Psalm 3:1-4, “LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. (2) Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. (3) But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. (4) I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.” God hears us when we cry out to Him and will shield us when we have faith in Him.
2.We have faith in God's promises.In Romans 10:17; we read, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." The Word of God contains God's promise and answer for every problem we face.
However, when Satan is aiming his fiery darts at us, we often begin to doubt God's promises. We must remember from I Kings 8:56; that the Lord has never once failed to keep one of His good promises.
3.We also have faith in God's providence. This is the kind of faith that we read about in Romans 8:28; "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God."
Does this mean we can deliberately sin and expect God to use it for good? No, it means that no matter what kind of battle we may be in, God is always in control and will protect His faithful soldiers.
4.God’s Shieldof Faith Protects the Armor. Besides protecting the soldier, the shield of faith also protects the rest of the armor.
You may be asking yourself. Why do I need to protect the armor? If I'm wearing the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the girdle of truth, the shoes of peace, and am carrying the sword of the Spirit, isn't that enough to protect me?
No! Ephesians 6:16; says, "Above all, [you take] the shield of faith." The words "above all" mean that faith is of paramount importance. The other parts of the armor won't function properly apart from faith.
When you put on the girdle of truth, you are placing your faith in the God of truth.
When you put on the breastplate of righteousness, it shows that you have faith that your God is holy, righteous and just.
When you put on the shoes of peace, you have faith in the Gospel.
As we shall see, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit and prayer all depend on faith. For in Hebrews 11:6; we read, "Without faith it is impossible to please him [God]."
Faith is vital in the Christian life. That's why Satan attacks your faith.
Satan will do everything he can to keep you from the Word of God.
Satan will try to make you worry about everything that happens, especially all the changes going on around you that you don't understand.
Satan wants to make you confused so that you lose your confidence in God.
The shield of faith is out in front to protect the rest of the armor. When it is properly in place, Ephesians 6:16; tell us "ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked [one]."
Notice the word "all."Satan has no tactic, no strategy, no fiery dart tothrow at you that God cannot equip you to defeat. You need to remember that you are on the winning side. That means the only way to quench the darts of Satan is to believe God.
In Romans 4:3; we read, “…Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”Whom do you believe?
In II Corinthians 1:24; we read, “… for by faith ye stand.” The Shield of Faith causes us to stand.
In Proverbs 30:5-6; we read, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. (6) Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” What God says is true.
In Psalm 18:30; we read, “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” As long as you believe God, your shield is up. If Satan lies and you believe it, the shield is down. Trust God in everything.
4.God’s Shield of Faith Unites the Soldiers.Not only does the shield of faith protect the soldier and the rest of the armor, but it also unites the soldiers in battle. You ask, "How could it do that?"
Well, the edges of these big shields were beveled in such a way that they could be locked together. A row of Roman soldiers could put their shields together to form a solid wall. Swords and arrows couldn't penetrate that wall as they marched forward.
This is a beautiful illustration of what faith should mean to you and me. Because of our common bond of faith in the Lord Jesus, you and I should love each other, walk together, stand together and fight together against our Enemy.
But the sad truth is that too often we spend all of our energy fighting with, or competing with, each other. We have no energy left to combat our true Enemy.
Churches today are too busy bragging about their shields and polishing their shields to actually use them!
Just think of what God could accomplish in this world if every believer would stand with his shield united with his brother and sisters in one great wall of faith! This is what the Apostle Paul envisioned when he wrote in Ephesians 4:13: "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God."
We are all trying to fight our own battle and to do it our own way. I appreciate what the Apostle Peter wrote in I Peter 5:8-9; “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”Peter was saying,
Don't think you are fighting that lion by yourself. Don't even try to defeat him yourself. Move close to the other soldiers, and lock your shields together. Don't let any division be found in the ranks, and then God will give you victory.
When we face Satan and his army on the battlefield, we'd better be certain that we have the shield of faith. It is our best protection against Satan's fiery darts. I close with this statement, “What a privileged people we are to be able to wear the whole armor of God – but especially, to have the SHIELD of FAITH.”
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon,"Put out the Fires with the Shield of Faith,”right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31,“…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13,“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to email@example.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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In His Amazing Grace,
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