Notes on Christian Warfare (21)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

The way, the truth and the life!

The Spiritual Force Field  (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

The complete, the whole armour of God is likened to a force field. An energy shield deflecting the assaults of the enemy (v16). It keeps him from penetrating the citadel of our minds. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith (v16). The definite article I think is needed because the reference is first of all to the objective faith of the believer. The objective is what the subjective embraces. The objective truth of the gospel is what protects us from the blazing, fiery missiles of the devil, his temptations. And that is what they are, “flaming darts” (v16). Just as Eve was tempted to doubt God’s word. She ought to have answered no, I believe God’s word. But she and the rest, as we say, is history. We ourselves ought to answer likewise, I believe the objective truth of God’s word. It is written, therefore I believe. To hold up the shield is to hold up the word of God, the doctrine of the gospel. The apostle Paul probably has the picture of a Roman soldier’s shield as he pens this (v16). It was thought to be about four feet in height. Something like what our riot police use, it covers their entire bodies. If you formed a row of Roman soldiers with their shields up you would virtually have an impenetrable wall. With this shield, you can withstand the schemes of the devil (v11). For he is actively, and viciously hostile to God. But he cannot touch God so he goes for his woman, his bride (Revelation 12:13-17). He furiously pursues her. He fires his flaming darts tipped with the poison of his lies. The power of Satan is in the lie, he is the great deceiver, he is the father of lies (John 8:44; Revelation 20:3). He seeks to set our minds ablaze with his lies, about God, about Christ and the gospel. Think of the fire that he started in Eve’s mind, it still burns today. The devil is a fire raiser. You get no warning, he comes at you in different ways, different times. Seldomly the same way twice. His schemes are many (v11). So we need to be prepared, clothed upon with the whole armour God at all times. In all kinds of circumstances, it may be, temptations, surges of feeling, something that takes you by surprise, that stings you to react. Whether it be personal or corporately, the church, he seeks to set a whole host of fires in our midst, until the whole church is ablaze.

Or he may seek to panic us, he can sow and grow the seeds of great fear in us. Set thought patterns in motion, suspicions, criticisms, accusations, or disagreements. We need the shield of faith in all circumstances (v16). Sometimes we get caught by friendly fire, this also happens in a war zone. It might be a close friend who is feeling ignored for some reason, it may be genuine it may not be. The devil seeks all such occasions. All his schemes are calculated to bring confusion, distraction, distress, and division amongst God’s people. Be assured these are not of God, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). But he has studied us well, he knows where we are vulnerable, how to get the reaction he wants. We need that shield of faith (v16). He is a fear raiser too. He will take things of your past, bring them to mind, and accuse you. “What if people knew about this,” he whispers in your ear. Answer? God knows, it has been dealt with in the gospel. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). He can cause irrational panic, “then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul” (1 Samuel 27:1). Whatever, we need to grow in Christian discernment, we need to learn to recognise these flaming darts of the wicked one. We need to learn to use our God-given shields of faith (v16). And do remember it is only in a spiritually dry heart and life that Satan’s fires can take hold.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
Sermon Audio

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