The Shield of Faith
Scripture: Ephesians 6:14–6:15
War: The Shield of Faith
Last week, we explored living in the readiness of the Gospel. We talked about what happened when we let the enemy try to disconnect us from the Gospel and convince us that God's love is conditional. This week, we plunge more into becoming part of the army of God. The Gospel calls us not only as sons and daughters, but soldiers ready to fight the good fight. We do so by squaring off against our true enemies: the secular influence of society around us, ourselves at times, and all the powers and principalities who oppose God. We were reminded that one of the most effective schemes of the enemy is to undermine the foundation of the Gospel in our lives by distracting us from the truths in front of us. However, with God, we have peace and are one with Him through the death of his Son. He is committed to fight for us and He is committed to us. This plays out in seeing how secure we are in our salvation. By the power of God, saints who are ordained before time are kept all the way into Glory.
- According to Romans 10:14-15, what is the greatest way to show our confidence in God’s commitment to us?
- How does 1 Peter 1:3-5 describe the hope that is given through the resurrection of Jesus?
- Have you lost hope in the resurrection of Jesus? If so, why?
Taking up the shield of faith helps us to eliminate the danger of enemy attacks, and live in bold confidence pursuing opportunities to help others connect to God. We engage in war by proclaiming the Gospel of God. The starting point for this process is by first using our words. Paul uses his surroundings in prison to write about analogies of the Gospel and our access to the tools that God provides to be effective for life in Jesus. God helps us understand that in the image of armor, the shield of faith helps covers all other parts of the armor. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Paul is saying that we need to cover ourselves in faith. He's not talking to unbelievers. He's talking to believers who he wants to work out the confidence of faith in our everyday lives.
- Does Blaze Christian Fellowship challenge you to have the kind of doctrinal stability discussed in Ephesians 4:11-14? If so, how?
- Does your community group challenge you in the same way? If so, how?
Every one of us has faith in something. Faith is only as reliable as what you put your faith in. Christian faith never fails because the one in which we put our faith into never fails. Ineffective faith attempts to anticipate God's plan and then help God out. The story of Sarai and Abram in Gen. 16:1-16 talks about this. ?The hardest thing sometimes is to simply wait on the Lord. Return to the confidence that God is going to do what he said he was going to do. Effective faith depends on God and waits on God. Ineffective faith is a product of a lack of trust in God.
- Do you trust God with the everyday reality of your life?
Genesis 16:1-16 ESV
 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar.  And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.  So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.  And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.  And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!”  But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.
 The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.  And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.”  The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”  The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”  And the angel of the LORD said to her,
“Behold, you are pregnant
and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
because the LORD has listened to your affliction.
 He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
his hand against everyone
and everyone's hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”  Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.  Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
Romans 10:14-15 ESV:
 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV:
 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Ephesians 6:16 ESV:
 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV:
 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Hebrews 11:1 ESV:
 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
James 2:14-18 ESV:
 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV:
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
 See Romans 10:14-15
 The New Living Translation says “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”