Faithlife Sermons

Spiritual Warfare Part 6

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Shield of Faith

Some people believe spiritual warfare to be something that comes and goes but it is a constant fact for the follower of Christ. We can never let our guard down.
“Above All” — This really means “in addition to all.” The shield is to be taken up by the believer in Christ at every turn and upon all occasions. We are to live the whole of our life in every situation, every moment in and by our faith in Christ.
The enemy is relentless in their attack. They never give up and never quit. A Virginia Forest Ranger has been hit by lightning 7 times, which naturally put him in the Guinness World Records book, where he is described as the man who attracts lightning. There they describe the injuries Roy Sullivan suffered. In there, they explain that his interaction with lightning began in 1942 (he lost a big toenail) and again in 1969 resulting in lost eyebrows. In July 1970 his left shoulder was seared and on April 16, 1972 his hair was set on fire. A year later on August 7, 1973 his hair was set on fire again and his legs were seared, on June 5, 1976 he injured his ankle, and on June 25, 1977 he received chest and stomach burns. The day Roy got struck by lightning for the 7th time coincided with the 22nd time he fought off a bear with a stick.
Some of us have a lax attitude and see the attacks as strikes of lightening but in reality they are a normal part of the everyday Christian life…so above all…at every turn and in all occasions take up the shield of faith!
Shield of faith — Paul was not referring to a small round shield but rather to the shield of the Roman infantryman. This shield was rectangular, almost 4 feet high, 16 inches across and weighed almost 15 pounds. This shield would protect the individual soldier from the attacks of the enemy, especially the fiery darts.
But an additional strength the shield offered was the defense it could bring when an army of soldiers locked shields together in a defensive posture. This would create a wall of defense far surpassing anything a single shield in the hands of a single soldier could offer.
“There is great strength in numbers. The more shields up, the better protected the group is from attack. When fighting as a group, a regiment of soldiers could strategically position their shields to form a testudo (“tortoise”) around themselves that created a safe enclosure for the men. It was like a blanket of protection.
When we hang out with friends and associates that carry a Shield of Truth, the combined faithfulness helps to encircle the group with protection from Satan. Think of it like building a solid wall that is almost impossible to penetrate. This is why choosing good friends who desire to keep the commandments is so important. It is an umbrella of protection from temptation.”
Faith — Utter dependence upon God. Whatever Satan can throw at us can be successfully deflected by our complete trust in God.
A little boy was once asked by his father why he thought the lions could not touch Daniel, and he made answer "Because the Lion of the Tribe of Judah was with him."
Utter dependence upon God isn’t something we see as necessary in our world of plenty and general security. But whether we see it or not we truly are completely dependent upon Christ. Our recognition of such is the difference of victory or defeat in the spiritual battles of our life.
“Whether the onslaught comes in a heavy barrage of temptation or as an isolated dart of discouragement, depression, or despair, faith is our victory.” Boles, K. L. (1993). Galatians & Ephesians (Eph 6:16). Joplin, MO: College Press.
1 John 5:4
1 John 5:4 NLT
For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
Faith is the victory! Not the faith itself but the one in whom we place our faith. In our God and because of our utter dependence upon Him we have the victory!
Complete belief in and trust of God is the victory regardless what Satan or any demonic force might throw our way.
“We vanquish all the power of the enemy by the unshaken trust in the testimony of Jesus, our crucified and risen head and the God-given promises of the new covenant.”
Satan wants us to deny our faith, throw down our shield in fear and run for the hills. His strategy is to get us on the run.
Have you noticed there is no armor for the backside of the Christian? When we refuse to stand our ground and run we make ourselves an easy target for his fiery darts.
Fiery darts — These were some of the most feared things on the battlefield. They were arrows dipped in tar, set ablaze and fired at enemy combatants. The shields of the Romans were designed in such a way that they could absorb the dart and extinguish the flame as it sank into the shield.
These fiery darts come at us by way of temptation, lies, doubts and fears. He will use anything he can to weaken our faith in God and wound our heart. The enemy knows that unbelief exposes us to his attacks.
Faith brings us into relationship with God and places Him between ourselves and our enemy. God, because of our dependence upon Him, will extinguish ALL THE FIERY DARTS of the wicked one.
This means the only time the darts of the enemy make it through to us are those times when we lack faith in God to defend us.
Our faith, utter and complete dependence upon God blocks the fiery darts of doubt, fear, temptation and lies.
And…When we come together to stand as an army of God’s people our united faith creates a wall of defense through which his darts have no chance.
I believe we struggle to understand the power in our collective faith in Christ. The church has often failed to enjoy the precious privilege at her disposal.
To encourage one another in our faith. To have faith for one another. To build up each other in our mutual faith in Christ is to defend the heart of one another completely and perfectly.
The enemy cannot penetrate the defenses of the people of God united in their faith…their utter dependence upon God.

Helmet of our Salvation

Helmet — This is the consciousness we have of our salvation and the protection that consciousness brings to us. A consciousness of salvation is our hope in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:8
1 Thessalonians 5:8 CSB
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled and put on the armor of faith and love, and a helmet of the hope of salvation.
This is a hope which touches upon our past, present and future. We are saved. Our past sins have been forgiven and our present life is secure in God’s salvation. Our future is in His hands and our eternity is taken care of in the sacrifice of Christ for our salvation.
If you have a book which you do not wish to lose you write your name in it. The shepherd brands his name upon his sheep, and every one knows they are his. "From henceforth let no man trouble me," wrote Paul, "for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." And we read in Revelation 22:4 of those who serve the Lord, "My name shall be in their foreheads." The Good Shepherd knows His own sheep by name, and no one can pluck them out of His hand.
Salvation is a completed action on our behalf and nothing can take it from us. It has eternal benefits and all of our expectations…concerning our past, present and future…are always good because of Christ.
This protects us from worry, anxiety, fear and doubt. We are preserved in Christ and set free from all of these things.
If the enemy can get at our mind through any of these avenues then he will paralyze our life. We will never move onward to the good works and plans God has for our life because we will forever be concerned with the state of relationship between ourselves and God.
Unless you are convinced that you are God’s masterpiece in Christ Jesus, you can never be a part of the good works He has prepared for you to be a part of with Him.
“Take” — We are to take the helmet of salvation. The word here is different from the one used in reference to the shield of faith…It means to receive, accept or welcome. IN the present usage here it probably means to “grasp.”
God wants us to grasp our salvation by grace through faith.. Take it up! Put it on. Believe and receive! And then…rest

Conclusion

Have faith, utterly depend upon God and win
The enemy’s attack is relentless and sometimes we feel as though we have endured more than our fair share.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi -- Was in Hiroshima on business for his employer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries when the city was bombed at 8:15 AM, on August 6, 1945. He returned to Nagasaki, his hometown, the following day and, despite his wounds, returned to work on August 9, the day of the second atomic bombing. That morning, while he was being berated by his supervisor as "crazy" after describing how one bomb had destroyed the city, the Nagasaki bomb detonated.
Have faith…utterly depend upon God and no matter what the enemy throws at you or how often it comes you can deflect his attack and be a victor.
Believe you are saved and let your mind and heart be at rest — The work of salvation has been completed by Christ. He saved us, keeps us saved and will always keep us saved.
Take up the helmet of salvation, stop the doubts and be at rest…embark upon the good works God has prepared for you as one of His.
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