SPIRITUAL WARFARE | PART 5 YOUR SHIELD OF FAITH

Spiritual Warfare Part 5 - Shield of Faith, May 19, 2024
Intro: Space Shuttle

Ephesians 6:16 (NIV2011)
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

We are to take up the shield of faith
By acting on what God says is true
Taking up the shield of faith:
  • Is more than believing

James 1:22 (NIV2011)
22  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 2:17 (NIV2011) 

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 

Example: Going to the doctor
Example: Fall to temptation to sin

James 1:14-15 (NIV2011)
14  but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Taking up the shield of faith:
  • Is more than a feeling
Example: Movie on TV
Application: “Follow your heart”
 
Taking up the shield of faith:
  • Is more than sight

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV2011)
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV2011)
7 For we live by faith, not by sight.
Application: Misnomer about faith and knowledge
Example: Electromagnetics

“I’m not remotely embarrassed to be a Christian and a scientist. In fact, it’s the other way around, because Christianity gave me my subject.” Dr. John Lennox

Closing: House on fire
EphesianS chapter six, the Bible, the New Testament, clearly teaches us that there is a battle raging. Now, this battle is raging regardless of whether or not you believe it, regardless of whether or not you're aware of it, there is a battle raging. And in this battle, God and everything good and abundant and life giving is on one side. On the other side of this battle is Satan and everything evil and destructive. And Jesus taught that every single person is on one side of this battle or the other.
He says, you are either for me or you're against me. Now, what that means for those of us who are for Jesus, who have trusted him as our savior, that means that whether you realize it or not, whether you're aware of it or not, when you are in Christ, you have an enemy we face, a powerful enemy that wants our destruction. Satan is an informed invader. And in Ephesians chapter six, the apostle Paul tells us how we can be informed defenders. There's not a military on the face of the planet that would run out onto a battlefield without having a battle plan first.
Knowing what their enemy might do, knowing what their enemy strengths and weaknesses are, Paul tells us, look, you can know as a participant in this battle, you can know what your enemy is going to throw at you so that you can defend yourself against him and his attacks. Now he does this as we've taught the last several weeks. Paul does this by using the picture of roman armor, a roman soldier's armor, and he uses it to explain how we can prepare for this battle. Now today we come to a piece of armor in this battle that Paul describes as a shield. What we're going to talk about today is our shield.
Unless we properly use the shield that Paul's about to describe to us, we will not be able to withstand Satan's onslaught. You know, every time I read about this piece of the armor that Paul gives us, I think back to my teen years. The day after my 12th birthday, the first space shuttle took off. First space shuttle. Now the space shuttle of course, was an aircraft that could be used over and over and over again.
That's why it was so different. So what that means was throughout my teen years, space shuttles were going up all the time. So I didn't take me long to want to be an astronaut. When I grew up, I was fascinated by how this space shuttle could take off. I loved watching these things launch.
Just think about this. When the space shuttle took off, the astronauts on board experienced 40 million as those, as those engines accelerated, that spacecraft to 3000 was fascinated by that however, as I learned more about the space shuttle, I learned that takeoff really was not the most extraordinary, most challenging part of that mission. The most challenging part of the mission was not takeoff. It was landing. More specifically, reentry, because when the space shuttle started to come back down to Earth, when it hit the earth's atmosphere, it wasn't traveling 3000 miles an hour.
It was traveling 17,000 miles an hour. When the space shuttle hit the earth's atmosphere, it was moving so fast that there was enough friction created from the Earth's atmosphere that the surface of the space shuttle, now get this, reached 3000 degrees celsius. The great challenge of the space shuttle was how on earth do we keep astronauts from roasting upon reentry? The answer is, is they put on the space shuttle a shield, a heat shield. On the bottom of the space shuttle, there was a heat resistance shield that allowed the space shuttle to withstand reentry conditions, to protect the astronauts from a harsh environment.
If something happened to that shield, the astronauts were done for. Okay? Today, Paul describes to us a shield, Christian, that can help us withstand the spiritually harsh conditions in our world as we navigate through it. And here's what he says about this shield. Ephesians, chapter six, verse 16.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. The shield that we bear, Paul calls the shield of faith. Now back to the picture of the roman soldier's armor. A roman soldier's shield was not this small little thing. No, they were typically 4ft high.
They were so large that the roman soldier could actually stand behind the shield and be protected. Those shields, those roman shields were made out of wood, usually made out of wood, but they were wrapped. They were coated in leather or some other animal skin. And here's what the soldier would do. The soldier would take that shield and dip it in water, drenching the leather.
And the reason he would do that was because many times the enemy would dip their arrow in pitch, light it on fire, and fire it at the enemy. So when those fiery arrows made contact with the water drenched shield, that shield extinguished the fire on contact. That's the picture that Paul said, we have a shield like that that can extinguish Satan's fiery arrows as he fires them at us. So in our battle against Satan, we are, Paul says we are to take up the shield of faith.
Christian, without faith, neither you nor I will be able to withstand the attacks launched by our enemy. Now Paul says we must take up this shield of faith. What does he mean by that? Let me just boil it down for you. We take up the shield of faith by acting on what God says is true.
That's a really good synopsis of this piece of our armor. We take up the shield of faith by acting on what God says is true. Now, I want to spend just a few minutes just clarifying some things about this, taking up this shield of faith, because there's a lot of confusion about this. What does it mean as christian soldiers in this battle? What does it mean to take up the shield of faith?
Okay, clarification number one. Taking up the shield of faith is more than believing.
Just because you believe something, that is not the same as taking up the shield of faith. Let me say this another way. It is quite possible and common to know and believe what God says is true and not take up the shield of faith. Action, you see, is a key part of this defense mechanism. We must take action on what we know and understand.
James in the New Testament says this way, do not merely listen to the word. He's talking about God's word. Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. And a few verses later, he says this in the same way.
Faith by itself, if it's not accompanied by action, is dead. Okay, let me give you a picture of this.
Let's say I'm not feeling well. So I decide to make a doctor's appointment, which is very unusual for me, but let's just say I break down and I make a doctor's appointment. Now, why do I make a doctor's appointment? Because I believe in that. I believe the doctor can diagnose what's wrong with me and give me a solution to my problem.
I believe in him. So I go into that doctor's office. I know how this works. I've done this. I know how it works.
You go in, I sit down. The doctor says, okay, tell me your symptoms. How are you not feeling well? So I explain my symptoms, and then the doctor proceeds to examine me. Now, if I'm honest with you, when he examines me, I have no idea what he's doing.
I have no idea what he's looking for. I don't know why he says, say, ah, and not some other sound. I don't know why he says, you can breathe now, when I've been breathing ever since I was, I don't understand all the examination. But you know what? I go along with what the doctor says because I believe in him.
I trust his credentials. The way this works is at the end of the examination, he usually says something like this, okay, let me. Here's what your problem is. You have so and so, and I'm going to write a prescription that will fix that problem. And he hands me a piece of paper, and almost always I look at this piece of paper.
There are words on there I don't even recognize. I have no idea what they mean. But you know what? I believe in that doctor. Now, if it ended there, if I thank the doctor for giving me that prescription, if I didn't fill the prescription and take that prescription as prescribed, you know what?
My belief in that doctor, my belief in that prescription would do me no good. No. For that to have effect in my life, I have to believe, I have to trust. But then I have to do something. I have to follow the instructions the doctor and the pharmacist have given me for me to get well.
You see, faith, taking up the shield of faith is far more than just believing. Because let me tell you something. God's word, the Bible, is full of medicine that many people never take. They believe it. They believe God knows what he's talking about.
They believe what he says is true. But somehow they stop short of taking action on what they believe to be true. Let me let you in on a little secret. Satan, our enemy, has absolutely no problem with you believing in God and believing what he says is true. Because you know what?
Satan believes in God. Satan knows that what God says is true. Satan has no problem with you believing in God, but he has a big problem with you acting on it. Because when we act on what God says is true, we take up the shield of faith that effectively extinguishes the fiery arrows he tries to fire into our lives. Taking up the shield of faith is more than just believing.
Here's a second point of clarification about this piece of our armor. Taking up the shield of faith is more than believing. Taking up the shield of faith is also more than a feeling. Somebody ought to write a song about that. It's more than a feeling.
Acting. Listen, acting on what God says is true has nothing to do with how you feel about it. Let me explain what I mean. You can have faith when you don't feel like you have faith, and you can lack faith when you feel like you have faith. Why is that?
Listen, faith is not tethered to feelings because feelings can change. Feelings can change based on what you had for dinner last night, feelings change. Faith is not tethered to feelings. Faith is tethered to truth. It's tethered to what God says is true.
And truth doesn't change. Feelings are not always the same or tethered to truth. I'll give you another story. Many years ago now, when my daughter was still living at home, she was a little girl. My wife and daughter were in the living room watching television.
One day, I was in the basement working. So I came up from the basement after finishing what I was working on, and I opened the door into the living room, and there sat my wife and daughter, and they were crying uncontrollably. It was both of them sobbing, sobbing, crying so hard, so obviously my heart sinks. I'm thinking the worst. So I asked them, well, what happened?
Tell me what's wrong? And Katherine, my wife, through her sobs, said, pointed to the television, said, we just finished this saddest movie.
So my first question was, and I was serious, if it upsets you so, why are you watching it? And then my wife said a sentence that to this day, I do not understand. Here's what she said. She said, because sometimes you just need a good cry.
There's not a man in here who has ever said that. Does it make sense? Sometimes you just need a good cry. All right, here's my point. My wife and my daughter felt sad because of something they knew was not true.
That story was made up. But see, feelings aren't necessarily tethered to truth. Deceitful things, made up stories, deception, those things can make you feel a certain way. Faith is more than just a feeling, because feelings aren't necessarily tethered to truth. Someone asked Martin Luther, do you feel like you've been forgiven?
And listened to Martin Luther's response. He answered, no, but I am as sure as there's a God in heaven. For feelings come and feelings go. Feelings are deceiving. My warrant.
Martin Luther said, my warrant is the word of God. Nothing else is worth believing. Now, let me just share with you how Satan attacks here. Here's what Satan will tell you. He will whisper into your ear.
In these situations, you just need to follow your heart. You need to follow your heart. You need to do what your heart is telling you is the right thing to do. Church. The big problem with that is this.
The Bible says the heart is deceitfully and wicked above all things. When we trust our heart, we are trusting things that the Bible calls deceitful. Remember this, truth and feelings are not always the same thing. So when the devil tries to convince you to follow your feelings in a matter, beware. Because faith taking up the shield of faith is more than a feeling.
Finally, taking up the shield of faith is more than sight. Let me explain what I mean by this faith. Your faith operates in the space beyond your understanding. Hebrews eleven one. Now, faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see, you see, in this world.
The apostle Paul says, we live by faith, not by sight. Your faith is going to take you beyond what your five senses can perceive.
If you're waiting to fully understand everything about something before you place your faith in it, you're never going to drive an automobile, you're never going to fly on an airplane, and you're never going to flip on a light switch. We all live by faith because no one knows it all. Now, I want to point out, I want to point out a very important misnomer here. The misnomer is this, since faith operates in the space beyond our understanding, the more we understand, the less faith we need. That's a misnomer, but it's a popular, it's a popular thing out there.
Some argue that since faith operates in the space beyond our understanding, the more I know, the more I understand, the less faith I need.
For example, the more we understand about the universe and humanity, the less we need faith in a creator who created it all. Christians need God. Christians have faith because they need God to fill in the gaps between what they know and what they don't, what seems to be true. And if they can know more, they need faith less. Okay?
The exact opposite is true. Listen, the more we know, the more faith we have. Let me give you an example. When I was in graduate school at Georgia Tech, I studied electromagnetics. That was my field.
I studied electromagnetics. So I spent a couple of years studying how electromagnetic radiation works, how waves propagate through space, and I began to understand how math could precisely model how things naturally occur, things like Maxwell's equations could explain a wave's behavior. As I began to understand the intricate and precise design of the way things that naturally occur, I did not have less faith. I was more in awe of the creator, not less than see scientific. Listen to this, graduates.
Listen. Scientific discovery does not disprove God. Scientific discovery reveals him. The more we know about creation, the more we understand, the more we are in awe of the one who created it all. I love the way doctor John Lennox, the brilliant mathematician and scientist at Oxford University, he says it this way, quote, I am not remotely embarrassed to be a Christian and a scientist.
In fact, he says, it's the other way around because Christianity gave me my subject. End quote. See, God gave us science and understanding, not so that we could appreciate and need him less, but so that we could appreciate him more. Faith is more than what we understand. The more we understand, the more faith we have.
Faith, Paul says, is a vitally important shield against our enemy. Believing and acting on what God says is true, even if it doesn't feel right and even if it doesn't make sense. I'll close with this story. One night a house caught fire and there was a little boy trapped on the second floor. The rest of his family made it out safely, but the little boy was forced by the flames to the roof of the house.
It was dark. Flames were everywhere. Smoke was everywhere. And the little boy was standing on the edge of the roof looking down into the darkness when he heard a voice down below, the voice of his father saying, jump and I'll catch you. The father knew that the little boy had to jump to save his life.
Jump and I'll catch you. And the little boy was terrified and he shouted back through the darkness, but Daddy, I can't see you. And his father responded, that's okay, because I can see you and that's all that matters.
Christian, when you get to points in life and you can't see God, that's okay, because he never loses sight of you. We can place our faith in a God who is always there, who is always watching and always knows exactly where you are. That's the faith that we have in him. Faith acting on what God says is true. I want to finish up with this.
The very first act of faith in God that anyone can take. The first act of faith for any person is to act on what God says about you and your need for salvation, your need for forgiveness, your need to be cleansed from the sin that separates you from him. The first act of faith is to confess before God your trust that Jesus, his son's death and resurrection are sufficient and the only way for your sins to be cleansed. The Bible says, when we place our faith in what Jesus has accomplished for us, that reconciles us back to the sin, to the God our sin has offended. So here's the way we're going to end.
I want to ask everyone in the room and everybody watching online, wherever you are, let's bow our heads, close our eyes. This is a time of personal introspection.
If you have never confessed before your creator your trust in Jesus death and resurrection to reconcile you back to him, let me lead you in a prayer that you can pray from your heart right now, you might say, God, I recognize that my sin has separated me from you, and I need your forgiveness. And I believe that Jesus, your son, died on a cross and rose again to pay for my sins so that my sins could be washed away. And now, in this moment, I act. I confess before you. I'm placing all my trust in what Jesus did for me, to rescue me from my sin, and to make everything right between you and me.
And I pray all of this in Jesus name. Amen. Everyone looking back up here, thank you so much for your attentiveness. If you prayed along with me just now, I'd love to offer you some free literature that more fully explains what it means to place your faith in what Jesus accomplished for you. That free literature is available for you back at guest services.
Go by on your way out and pick up a copy. Either if you prayed with me or if you're interested in knowing more about Christianity. If you're watching online and you prayed along with me just now, I would love the chance to be able to mail to your home that same literature. We've set up a website I would encourage you to visit. It's called I made a decision.com.
I made a decision.com and at that website you'll find many helpful resources about that. Explain what it means to place your faith in Jesus. You'll also see a place there where you can provide us with your mailing address. If you do that, we'll put that same literature that we're giving away here this morning, we'll send that same literature to your home. Thank you for watching this video on First Redeemer's YouTube channel.
If you enjoyed it, click like below and leave us a comment. And if you'd like more content like this, click subscribe and turn on your notifications. Thanks again for watching.

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