Summary: We’re learning how to stand – how to stand firm. Today we will take up the shield of faith.
“The Shield of Faith”
OPEN: Today we are going to be talking about the shield of faith – one more piece to the full armor that God has given to each of each to enable us to do what? – to stand. More than that – we are to stand firm. We’re learning how to stand – how to stand firm. Before you learn how to walk you first have to know how to stand. – That seems like a very simplistic concept, but my experience is that this is the very reason so many Christians end up walking away from the faith. They were not really taught how to stand when the trials of life come their way. When the real trial comes – they loose their footing and they fall over – or they run away. You have to know how to stand before you walk. Knowing how to stand involves knowing how to handle your armor. You have to pick each piece up and use it properly. It doesn’t do you any good if you have the belt of truth and you don’t know how to fasten it. You have to wear the breastplate of righteousness properly – which means we practice holy living on a day to day basis. It doesn’t do any good to have your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace if you don’t know how to lace them up properly. And it won’t do any good to have a shield of faith if you don’t know how to raise it up and use it when the arrows are flying in your direction. So this entire passage is geared towards teaching the believer how to stand.
- What the armor is really all about
– it’s about experiencing everyday victories in our life -
The Armor enables everyday victories.
When the Bible talks about our ability to stand firm – it’s referring to our everyday victories. Small everyday victories add up to a great life. Wars are won through a series of small wins. If you really want to experience change in your life you need to be able to begin with the small battles we face everyday. And that’s what the armor of God provides for us. The opposite of that is true as well – wars are generally lost not all at once –but through a continuous series of defeats. No follower of Jesus has to live that way. 2 Corinthians 1:24 says, “By faith you stand firm”
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Notice it says “in addition to all this” KVJ says “Above all” it does not mean it’s the most important, that is not the emphasis – he’s saying on top of everything else, in addition to everything else, you have your belt, your breastplate, your shoes now in addition to that take up the shield of faith. It does seem place the first three pieces of armor in one group and the next three pieces in another group. “Now that you understand your commitment to truth – now that you understand your commitment to holy living – now that you understand how to experience the peace of God – having those things in place now take up your shield of faith. (analambano from ana = up + lambano = take) means literally to take up. To lift up.
Let’s talk for a few moments what Paul is referring to here. There are several kinds of shields used by different parts of the army in Roman times depending upon the kind of thing you were doing and what you were involved in. But two stand out; the first is a rather small round shield sort of like a giant frisbee, shaped in that kind of fashion and curled at the edges. It was strapped with two straps normally to the forearm, the left arm of the soldier. It was to be very light so that it could be carried about when a soldier was a mobil foot soldier, and he would use it to parry the blows of hand to hand combat.
That, however is not the word that is used here. The other, called a scutum, or war shield, was about 4 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide. It was the size of a small door. The old saying was, “you either return from battle with your shield or on your shield.” The shield was made of several layers of wood, with linen cloth placed between the wood layers covered with hardened leather and lined around the edges with metal. Usually, there was an iron ornament decorating the front. They were so large a man could kneel down and put his entire body behind it. These shields also could be linked together to form a moving wall.