The Shield Of Faith
January 5, 1995 | Speaker: Bro Jurem Ramos
We now come to the 4th
piece of the FULL ARMOR OF GOD which Paul tells the Ephesians is essential to a successful warfare against the devil and against the rulers, authorities, power, and evil forces.
- Take note how it is INTRODUCED: “In Addition to all this…” Bible teachers say that this phrase is a kind of transition or break that distinguishes 2 main groups of the armor.
- In addition to what? Belt, breastplate and shoes, the first group. Add what? shield, helmet and sword, the second group.
- Take note that the verse “take up” and “take” were not used for the first group.
- This is as if to say:
- The first 3 – belt, breastplate and shoes-are for preparation. A soldier puts them on, and keeps them on. They were never taken off. You have them on always.
- The second 3 – shield, helmet and sword –were to be used in actual fighting. They are things you take up and use when the need arises.
Illustration: Lloyd Jones
The soldier may be sitting down in his room in the barracks and taking a period of rest, but he still keeps on his girdle or truth, his breastplate sandals. Then suddenly an alarm is given that the enemy is already attacking, and he immediately takes hold of his shield and his sword and put on his helmet and rushes out. There is now the actual fight. You do not have the shield in your hand when you are resting; you Put it down, and likewise your sword. But the moment the enemy becomes active again, and there is an engagement, you have to take up these things in order that you may be ready for the conflict.
- DESCRIPTION OF SHIELD AND ARROWS
The kind of shield that Roman soldiers used that Paul was using for his illustration, was a LARGE SHIELD. Often we imagine the shield of the Romans to be a small round shield, about 2 feet in diameter secured to the arm by leather straps.
But the kind of shield Paul referred to here was a large shield about 2 ½ feet wide and 4 ½ feet high. It was designed to protect the entire body of the soldier. The original idea was of a DOOR which you held in front of you, and behind which you could hide. Functioned as a GENERAL PROTECTION.
The shield was made of a solid piece of wood and was covered with metal or heavy oiled leather. The metal or the heavy oiled leather was a kind of a fire proof lining that extinguished the flaming arrows of the evil one.
In New Testament times, the tips of arrows would often be wrapped in pieces of cloth that had been soaked with inflammable substance. Just before the arrow was shot, the tip would be lighted and the flaming arrow would be shot at the enemy troops. If one of those arrows should happen to penetrate, it would burst into flames, burn the enemy soldiers and destroy their clothing and gear.
Soldiers usually shot flaming arrows as the preliminary line of attack in great profusion from all conceivable direction so as to cause confusion. And after having prepared the way in that manner, the troops would advance.
This would be like modern warfare. Before the infantry attacked, a preliminary bombardment of air to land missiles would be shot at a certain location. When fire and confusion is caused, the foot soldiers attack.
And so the flaming arrows were the preliminary line of attack before the enemy comes in person, sword in hand and attacks you still more directly.
III. SPIRITUAL APPLICATION
What Paul is telling us is that we must be prepared to defend ourselves from this form of attack from Satan. Here are some important lessons we learn from this fourth piece of armor.
- Source is a Personal Being.
One important lesson we learn here is that the flaming arrows that are fired at us come from the EVIL ONE. This refers to the devil. Paul is here emphasizing that our struggle is against PERSONAL FORCES OF EVIL – not simply against something abstract or impersonal. Not just wrong ideas, or abstract evil influences, but a personal evil one and his army of personal demons. ( He already said that in 6:11,12).
Lloyd Jones thoughts:
We are not just fighting the evil “flesh and blood.” We are not just fighting the evil cravings of our sinful nature. We are not just fighting the evil attraction of this world. The teaching of the bible is that evil is manipulated and propagated by these demonic beings. (Eph 2:2; Js 4:7; 3:15; Mt 6:13; 1Jn 5:19; Jn 17:15) 2 Ti 2:26; 1Ti 3:7.
We will not understand the problem of life in this world unless we understand this teaching. We do not understand our own personal experience, still less do we understand the whole state and condition of the world apart from this.
- This Attack is Different, Requiring Different Defense.
The second important lesson I see that we learn here is that the particular attack the devil uses here is not particularly a “body to body” contact as it were but a different kind of tactic. Attack from a distance. The use of an arrow. I think this is important because with such a tactic from the enemy, the way to defend ourselves is not by a sword, but by a shield. I believe an understanding of this difference may help us in determining what line of defense we will use or counter attack.
Let me put it this way. Wrong and Right defense. I think there are many Christians today whose only line of defense is to say, “Satan, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus… Or in the blood of Jesus I go against you Satan or with any kind of direct attack on Satan… or quote passage against Satan… or worse is to fight other Christians…
It looks like that with this kind of attack by Satan, the use of “flaming arrows”… the way to defense yourself is not by rebuking him but by looking and trusting in Jesus which is what is meant by the SHIELD OF FAITH.
Examples of FLAMING ARROWS:
- Sudden thoughts leading to disappointment, despair or depression.
- Unexpectedly, suddenly, while you were doing some activity or even while praying, a thought came to your mind that caused you to doubt the validity of prayer… or of the existence of God… suddenly you thought that prayer was useless and you were just praying to the wind.
And then when you were about to rebuke Satan who you suspected planted these thoughts, another thought came to your mind. ‘What if Satan did not exist? What if there were really no devil and demons. What if I’m just making all this up.
- to others the flaming arrows come in the form of blasphemous thoughts about God or Jesus Christ. Maybe suddenly words of phrases came up to your mind that were bad words against the blessed Trinity. And you wonder where they came from. Then another thought came to you that because you were having these thoughts, maybe you are not yet a Christian or a child of God.
- Or perhaps a thought came to you that because of such thoughts, you have committed the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and that sin cannot be forgiven, because of that you led to despair.
(Illus. Mel’s bro)
(Illus. Sis Teng)
Out of herself, goblings, ghosts, etc.
Feelings that God has abandoned her.
- Or perhaps suddenly in your imagination, there came up scenes, events, that were so vivid as though real, that was like a DÉJÀ VU. Then you thought that perhaps, Reincarnation is real…
- Or suddenly a thought was planted to your mind that brought a picture of a picture of what you saw from a porno magazine before you became a Christian…
- Or suddenly a thought that your enemy has been promoted and stirred up past envy towards him.
- Or could be a sudden thought of a past bondage while you were reading the bible. A cold glass of bear… a 20 carat diamond ring…etc…
Satan’s Objective: You will tail. Put to shame. Sudden fear.
Satan then comes with another flaming arrow… Making you think that was you. Planning to discourage you. To make you feel that was your own thoughts. That that was proof that you are not a Christian. That God has not saved you. That you have only deceived your self… or that now Satan can defeat you. Satan is going to possess you. You are hopeless. God has left you alone. Fear is now beginning to grip your heart. Doubts, question. Now what do you do…
How To Use the Shield of Faith.
Now we come to the 3rd
lesson. How to use the shield of faith? I think that the bible here is teaching us how to handle it. It would not just be by rebuking the enemy… or using the name of Jesus or the blood of Jesus. It is not just by quoting verses we have memorized from the bible.
Eph 6:16 says, “In addition to all this”. Take up the shield of faith”.
- First I think it means, make sure that the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of the gospel of peace are already put on.
- we have prepared ourselves with God’s truth about our situation. This is an attack from Satan. This is one of his tactics. This is his flaming arrow. This is the truth. God is alive. God loves me. Nothing can separate me. etc…
- It means that we know that we have put on the righteousness of God. We have trusted in Christ’s death for our acceptance before God and not our own good works.
Peace of God-
It means that we have peace with God. We have really experienced conviction of sin, and repented of them and been reconciled to God. God loves us.
- In addition to knowing and having experienced those realities, we put our trust in God. We put our trust in God’s character. He does not lie. His word is true. We put our trust in God’s promises. We look to Him.
- We strengthen our hold on God as we remember that those thoughts came suddenly. We did not think on them purposely. They came crowding in and we kept on fighting against them. We may have rebuked them but they just kept on coming back. We hate ourselves for having those thoughts but they come persistently. Then they are flaming arrows from Satan. Look to God. Trust in God.
- Flaming Missicle: Criticism regarding the Ministry. Discouragement from others.
- Truth –Is that your gift. Did God call you. Have you checked it with others.
- Have you been walking in righteousness and obedient, sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
- Fellowship with God. If yes! FAITH (Heb 11:6; Gal 6:9)
Satan comes to you with a flaming arrow touching the realm of your love life.
You cannot enjoy life without a girlfriend. Life will be boring. Look at the others. They already had 3 you don’t even have one. You will only burn with passion without one. And so you are tempted to distrust in God’s word. Even with his word do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers is put aside.
Or if ever you do not choose an unbeliever, you go ahead of God and not willing to wait. (Ps 37:4) Trust in this promise
- Temptations to Doubt and Distrust God Leading to a Justification of Sin
Satan can attack in your ability to bear children. (Ro 4:19,20). Thus the person cannot wait. The best thing in her life has been to have a child and not to do the will of God.
To another, Satan’s flaming arrow can be thoughts of having nothing to eat. Security for the future.
And so when Satan presents a way of escape that is forbidden like a bribe, a person gets it because of lack of trust in God. (Heb 13:5,6) To trust in God is the way to put on the take shield of faith.
(Rev 12:10; Dan 3:18). Not to trust in God is to be defeated by the enemy. It is also to court God’s discipline. (Ex: Ps 106:15; 1Chro 21:1; 2Chro 16:1-14).