Summary: There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding about faith today. Not necessarily all original material. Some material contained in my sermons may be gleaned from other sermons. Parts of this message are from Billy Ricks
“Shield of Faith” Ephesians 6:16
The pastor, the youth minister and chairman of deacons were out in a boat fishing on the lake. They ran out of bait so the pastor “Stay here guys, we don’t want to lose our spot.” With that he got up got out of the boat walked on the water to shore and walked back to the boat. The chairman of deacons was astonished at the faith of his pastor.
Well later they were getting hungry but the fish were really biting and they didn’t want to lose their spot so the youth minister got out of the boat and walked on the water to the shore got lunch and walked back with lunch. Soon they ran out of bait again and the chairman of deacons thought to himself, “Wait a minute! I know that I have just as much faith as these guys!” The pastor said, “I’ll run get some more bait.” The chairman of deacons said “Oh no you won’t. I believe that I have just as much faith as you two, so I will go get the bait!” Not wishing to be shown up by his two fishing partners the chairman of deacons stepped out of the boat and sank like rock.
The pastor looked at the youth minister and said, “Do you think we should have told him where the stumps are?”
There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding about faith today.
Today I want us to understand what faith is and what it’s not.
For some see faith as nothing more than positive thinking. They believe they can change things through powerful positive thoughts.
Some see faith as a leap in the dark unknown. We call it taking the “Leap of faith.”
Others see faith as some mysterious and unseen force that can be used to make God do what we want.
What I have found faith to be is Jesus telling me where the stumps are!
Faith is not based on some blind belief it is based on a Personal relationship with Jesus.
Faith is not positive thinking it is a placing my trust in a person, Jesus Christ!!
Faith is tied directly to the truth and faithfulness of God.
In the first half of Paul’s letter he is speaking to us about a principled faith. If you daily feed your faith with God’s word and spend time with Him your faith will be able to resist the fiery darts of the devil.
In the second half of this letter Paul tells us about a practical faith. A faith that works.
Paul says we are to take up the shield of faith. This verb is in the active voice in the Greek which makes clear that it is our choice to do this. So what exactly are we taking up?
Faith is believing what God says is true. If you honestly read the Old and New Testament you will find that faith is always tied to your feet.
Proverbs 18:10 “The name of Yahweh is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected.”
Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”
Psalms 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
Ephesians 2:10 We are to walk in good works
Romans 13:13 “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.” ESV
Genesis 6:9 “These are the family records of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God.”
What we discover from these passages is that faith is acting like God is telling the truth!! The roman shield was approximately 3 to 4 foot tall and at least 2.5 to 3 foot wide. It was designed to fully cover a soldier if they were kneeling behind it. It could also be linked to other shields to protect an entire group of soldiers. It only worked if they acted on its ability to protect!
I. Faith is acting on God’s Word not what you see.
Have you ever discovered that fiery darts the devil shoots at us are designed to hide God’s gracious face from us? The tools of the devil are designed to get us to look away from the faithfulness and truthfulness of God. Do you remember what the Devil said about Job?!
Job 1:9-11 God if you will take his stuff away He will turn from you and curse you!
Job 2:4-5 attack his health and he will curse you!
Twice the devil said God if you make him face something hard and hurtful he will not trust you. Church our trust in God should not be dependent on what we face. The devil seeks to get you to think God doesn’t love you because times are hard and people are hurtful. Listen to me God is faithful even if all hell breaks loose around you. Whatever we face faith is acting like God is telling the truth.