Wrestling With Another World – Part 6
Sept 1, 2013 PM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
I. Introduction (Ephesians 6:10-18)
A. How can any selfish, self-condemned sinner ever expect to resist the devil, except by a superior power - a superior force?
B. With the Whole Armour of God!
1. This armour enables the Christian to STAND (6:10-13), and not fall when under attack from any enemy - spiritual, or physical! Most “Christians” fall like rain under pressure and attack. We need so desperately to learn to stand!
2. To fight Satan we must put on "the whole armour of God". Not just a few bits and pieces, but the whole package, every day! Why? Because Satan looks for the weak spots in our life to hit at.
a. Every soldier is issued weapons and defensive gear
1) They are tools to get the war won
2) Every fisherman has tools to catch fish, every carpenter has tools to build homes, and every Christian has tools to defeat the devil!
b. But all the training in the world wont do any good in battle if the soldier doesn’t PUT ON THE ARMOUR - doesn’t carry his weapons into the fight
1) God is calling every Christian here to faithfully prepare for each day, and each battle by choosing to “put on” every piece of God’s armour!
2) Don’t be like the idiot soldier that went to the loo, and was taken prisoner simply because he forgot to carry his weapon!
3) Satan traps more Christians simply because:
a) They never learn their weapon - how it works, how to use it
b) They let someone else destroy their faith in their weapons
c) They forget to use their weapons, and try fighting against tanks with sticks, rocks, and mud! You wont survive!
c. Preparation is found in personal discipline - reading and studying your Bible, being in church, praying, exercising your faith - growing stronger!
d. A Christian who is not ready, and prepared to live for God each day, is destined to wind up spiritually shot-up, and wounded and hurt! And probably even dead. There is NO glory in that!
C. There are six pieces of armour the Christian needs to be wearing every day so to stand:
1. The under-garment of God’s truth - wraps around us like a wide belt
2. The breastplate of God’s righteousness
3. The boots of the Gospel
4. The shield and buckler of faith
5. The helmet of personal salvation (forgiveness)
6. The Bible (sword) of the spirit - the word of God
D. We looked at the first three last week!
1. The Weapon of Truth (Eph 6:14a). All our armour rests upon this
2. The Breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14b)
3. Gospel Shoes! (Ephesians 6:15)
II. Message – The Spiritual Weapons of a Christian…
A. The Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16)
1. Next, our challenge is to take up, and carry a shield - One that will deflect any missile (fiery dart) directed at you!
2. Note the words, “above all” – as if, most importantly!
a. What did Paul think was the most important piece of equipment for the Christian warrior?
b. Right… the shield! He tells us above all right at the start.
3. How a Shield Works
a. The shield is held in front of a soldier and gives us a place of safety in the midst of a battle.
b. It is like carrying a DOOR around
c. The Roman shield was as large as a door. It was made of wood, the surface of which was charred with a torch and then covered with thick leather. A soldier could hide his whole body behind this shield. The flying missile would hit and the liquid spread out, but the charred wood of the shield would not catch fire so the soldier was safe beneath his shield.
d. It was a great piece of armour!
e. It deflected arrows, darts, stones, and even hot oil that would constantly be raining down upon the soldiers!
f. When these large shields were joined together, they formed a wall behind which a body of troops could hide themselves from the rain of the enemy's missiles.
g. For the Christian, Faith is what gives us refuge against Satan's "fiery darts"
h. For the Romans the shield was not just a defensive weapon, it was also an offensive weapon. The metal bulge in the centre, was designed to hit the enemy at impact, put him off balance, and it allowed the soldier to follow up with his sword, to kill the opponent.
4. Faith is just like a shield
a. It allows us to put an immediate end to ALL of Satan’s dart attacks. I’ll explain this more in a few minutes!
b. Our faith has two uses:
1) To deflect Satan’s advances
2) And to hit back at the devil hard when he is attacking us
c. According to the Bible, faith alone is the only way to resist the attacks of our enemy, the devil (1 Pet 5:8,9)!
1) Not by will-power, or through self-help meetings – not in self confidence or pumping ourselves up
2) But by absolute and confident faith in an almighty God who gives us the victory based upon our child-like reliance upon HIM (1 John 5:4,5)!
3) Most people have a mis-placed type of faith: in the government, in their religion, in themselves, in angels, in fairy-god-mothers
4) But the only faith that works is the one once delivered to us (Jude 3) found in the Bible! Not in some catechism, or some temple somewhere
5. What is Faith?
a. Faith is often defined as a religious term; religious people are called “people of faith”.
b. There are all kinds of ‘faiths’ (Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Evolutionist, Humanist, Atheist)!
c. But true faith is:
1) Believing God (Acts 27:25; Rom 4:20,21; 2Tim 1:12)
2) Believing God instead of myself and others!
3) Complete reliance upon the God of the Bible, as expressed in the Bible!
4) Your personal confidence in God and the promises of His Word.
5) Knowing that God knows what He is doing, and being willing to let Him do the leading, and you do the following!
6) Faith is trusting GOD enough to obey Him no matter the odds, knowing He will always give the victory (1st John 5:4; 4:4)!
d. There is no reason for a Christian to think that they have blind faith; God has provided us with reasoned faith… faith based upon reason, facts and logic.
1) The Prophecies.
a) The Bible is filled with prophetic evidence regarding the Bible, and Jesus Christ, for example Isaiah 52:13-53:12, describes Jesus and his ministry 700-years before his birth.
b) The Bible foretells the exact time of Jesus death 539-years before His birth in the 70 Weeks of Daniel, Daniel 9:24-27. Why did God provide prophetic evidence for the person of Jesus? Why did Jesus do the miracles? To provide evidence of his identity, that we might have faith in Him.
2) The Histories
3) The Universal affect – makes better people, when obeyed!
6. How Does Faith Work as a Shield?
a. It Rests behind God as our Shield (Gen 15:1; Ps 5:12; 119:114; Prov 30:5) – if you will trust Him
1) Faith actually has no power, but the allowing for the power of God to act!
2) When we use our faith, it shields us against doubts and discouragement, and against EVERYTHING the devil throws against you!
3) Why? Because when you are believing God, you are NOT trusting your feelings anymore, nor even your experiences, but rather, you are fully trusting simply whatever God promises.
b. Makes HIM our place of safety – our defence! When He is our Defence (Psalm 62:6) we will never have to move backwards!
1) Believing God permits us to manoeuvre on the battlefield instead of hiding in the fortress. Satan wants to make a bunch of “chickens” out of Christians so that they don’t do any damage to the devil’s work on the battlefield: ie, few strong Christians taking a stand in the workplace; in govt; in education!
c. It shields us even when it doesn’t seem to be there
1) David fought Goliath, and won by FAITH (1Sam 17:45) without a visible shield to protect him like Goliath had
7. How it Quenches ALL the fiery darts hurled at us!
a. What are Fiery darts?
1) Burning arrows, missiles, fast, pointed projectiles that usually killed its victim by burning them!
2) The Roman "fiery darts" were made from a hollow reed (something like bamboo). One end was stoppered, then the reed was filled with a flammable liquid like alcohol. A loosely fitting stopper holding a wick was slipped into the other end of the tube and lit. It was then shot like an arrow, not at a bundle of straw or at a fortress, but at the soldier himself. Since the missile had it's own fuel source and the wick was protected by the tube, the missile kept burning until it hit something. When it hit a soldier, the wick popped out, the liquid spilled over the soldier's armour and ignited, cooking him in his own armour.
3) These missiles were nothing special – nothing high tech. They were fired during daylight hours, so you could hardly see them coming, but when they struck, the effects were devastating.
b. Satan’s Fiery darts
1) Burning temptations
2) Painful words by people
3) Even demonic thoughts - evil thoughts, demonic ideas.
a) The devil knows very well that our most important stronghold is the mind. Once he can attack the mind, and short-circuit the mind, he's got us. Because then we are at the mercy of our emotions. It's our mind that keeps control of our emotions. So we have to guard our mind; the fiery darts.
b) He sends something our way - a thought, a doubt, an unholy idea, an event, a sound, a casual comment by a friend - which seems very innocent at first, but when it strikes, it spreads its destruction throughout our spiritual man engulfing us in flames.
4) Most of our battle is in the thought life. Most of our conflict is not in our ordinary outward life; but in our thought life. That's where the devil attacks us, with all kinds of evil suggestions, doubts, blasphemous thoughts.
a) Lust (James 1:13-15) These darts (sinful desires) are meant not just to hurt you, but to destroy you - they have delayed action timers!
b) Love of Money (1 Tim 6:10) - possessions, success, the world
c) The condemnation of the Law - proving that you are not good enough – condemnation, personal guilt, etc…
d) Lies - people get into the habit of wanting to believe lies instead of the truth (about themselves; about God; about sin) - misunderstandings
e) Loss – discouragement – seems to be a regular dart
f) Confusion - doubt
g) Depression – is frustration and anger that is worn out
h) So many different kinds of these darts can come at you, and so many can all come at you at once! You need an effective shield that works!
5) Christians who struggle with depression can only think thoughts which see negative images of the present or the future. Some of these thought patterns are from family influences, life experiences and other psychological factors. However, researchers admit that many of these thoughts seem to have no obvious origin.
6) Well, I can tell you that origin, and it's a very hot place! Our enemy himself will try to plant thoughts in our minds that will cause us pain, and if possible, lead us to forsake God.
7) What is our defence? The scripture tells us that it is the shield of faith.
c. How does this work in a practice?
a) For example lets take Mary Christian and her co-worker. Mary is at work, and her co-worker says, “Mary do you really believe the Bible?” “How can you believe such a thing?” The co-worker really might be asking a sincere in her question, or she could be shooting a fiery dart at Mary. If Mary Christian has never learned how to use her shield of faith, the dart might hit Mary, who might ask herself, yeah, “why do I believe the Bible?”, “how do I know the Bible is true”?
b) Now God allows us to experience warfare, because through it our faith can grow.
c) The co-worker may be very sincere in her question, creating a door for Mary to advance the gospel. As Mary learns why the Bible is true, and why she believes Jesus is the Son of God, she can walk over to her co-worker, open the Bible (the sword of the Spirit) and show her. Now the fiery dart shot at Mary, becomes the cause of the Gospel is advanced, as Mary explains to her co-worker who Jesus is, and why he is the Son of God.
d) Another example, would be Joe Christian walking past a pub and the thought pops in his head… “Man could I use a drink!” “No one would know.” “I only need ONE drink” If Joe did not have a shield against such darts, he will give in every time! He HAS to believe that he is living a better way, and that His Lord would want him to stay clear of drink and get home!
2) Satan has literally hundreds of fiery darts he can fire at us, in each case; we should learn how to take his attacks and train to respond. Ask yourself, what fiery darts give you the most problems?
d. To “quench” is to “put out the fire” - the sting – the hurt – the desired effect
1) Satan intends for his darts to penetrate deep into your heart, mind, life, and to explode, doing major damage!
2) Most hearts in this room are scarred with spiritual holes that are burned-out! That is only because we neglected to use our armour! Shame on us!
e. The shield of faith actually “absorbs” the attacking dart, and prevents the dart from doing what Satan intended it to do.
1) Like seeing porno material in front of you - faith (the belief that God is right and good and better than the pleasures of sin for a season) resists the attack, and engages the enemy in prayer! You can’t pray if your eyes are open, and exploring the temptation! You have to deflect the attack, and get strength to push forward!
2) Like hearing something said against you - faith resists the attack, and engages the real enemy in prayer, resting in Christ, and pressing forward - Satan senses you are headed at a vital target and seeks to divert your focus!
3) Like trying to operate your business right, and the attacks start coming at your efforts (bad health, financial loss, depression) - faith rests in the course taken as being right, and engages the enemy head-on in prayer, and obedience to God’s word!
f. When you hold up that shield, there is no missile of Satan that can harm your soul.
g. Be careful not to leave your faith, your fresh confidence in your Saviour and Lord, back at home, or at church - it must be with you at all times!
1) Most Christians neglect faith, and leave life up to FATE! That is what the world does!
2) Fate accepts whatever happens, and struggles just to survive - "my lot," or "bad luck."
3) Faith presses through current attacks and seeks to conquer higher ground by trusting in God's leadership
8. How to Get Faith to work! So, How Do You Put on the Shield of Faith and Carry it Throughout the Day?
a. Have fresh faith – get some fresh faith every morning from reading and believing what you read in the Bible (Rom 10:17)
1) A weak shield is because of weak faith. The only way to have strong faith is by studying, and learning the word of God
2) Have faith in God (Mark 11:2)
3) Know what you believe – not what your heart tells you, or what man tells you, but what this Bible says – clear and firm!
4) It is something that we believe in spite of what we see
b. Use Your Faith (2Cor 5:7) – against everything that would strike against you, and attempt to turn you back!
1) It only is powerful when used! All of these weapons have to be used – especially FAITH!
2) At every chance, use your FAITH! Instead of just reacting to attacks by the same old ways, like:
3) Look at every situation with the eye of faith – don’t get caught up in the here and now. See beyond the battle, to the finish line!
4) Have faith in God – trust him implicitly!
a) Nothing wavering - no haphazard attempts to live for Jesus
b) No turning back - the Lord knows your heart
c) Lots of practice - doesn’t just come “naturally” - must get the hang of it
d) Hey! It will strengthen your faith when you use it and use it!
c. Enjoy your faith – carry what you believe with you and HOLD IT HIGH!
1) Enjoy its LONG-TERM benefits!
2) They are eternal (Hebrews 11:32-40)
d. Don’t forget to Link your faith – with others! At Church, prayer meeting, discipleship… let other people know that you are praying with them about things in their life, and let them know what they can pray about for YOU!