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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
May 17, 2009
Spiritual Warfare, Pt. 15: Living in Faith
Ephesians 6:16 & Selected
This morning we come again in our study of Spiritual Warfare from Ephesians 6, and I want to take some additional time in examining the fourth piece of equipment given to us by God to prepare us for battle. Paul makes special emphasis on the importance of the shield of faith in preparing us for spiritual warfare, so I think it would be wise for us to do the same. (See: The Shield of Faith)
Turn again to Ephesians 6:16. Here we find Paul says, “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. ” In addition to having girded yourself with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness and having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, make sure that you pick up the shield of faith.
I pointed out previously that the particular word used for the shield here referred to the very large shields used by the Roman Infantry to protect their front line against the archers and spear throwers of the enemy. These shields would typically by about four high and two and half feet wide. They were made out of tough leather or even metal stretched over a wooden frame. As the army did its maneuvers, these shields would be held next to one another and become like a moving wall of protection.
Why is the shield of faith so important? Because faith is central to the Christian life and it is central to the other pieces of armor already mentioned.
What good is truth if you will not trust it and live by it? We walk in the truth by faith. (See: The Belt of Truth: God’s Existence)
How can you be made righteous before God and live in a righteous manner except by faith? You cannot be justified before God by your own works no matter how good you think they may be (Isaiah 64:6; 2 Timothy 1:9; Galatians 3:11). Man can only be justified before God through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:28; 4:5; Galatians 2:16). In addition, the righteous live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17). (See: The Breastplate of Righteousness)
How can you have peace with God except to accept the good news of Jesus Christ and by faith receive the forgiveness offered through Him and be reconciled with God? You cannot. As Paul puts in Romans 5:1, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. “ In addition, our faith in God enables us to experience His peace which passes all understanding even in the turmoil we face in this life (Philippians 4:6,7). Isaiah 26:3 states, “The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in Thee. ” (See: Feet Shod with the Gospel of Peace)
Finally notice that our text says that it is “with ” or more literally, “by, ” the shield of faith that you extinguish the flaming missiles of the evil one. Faith is critical to each piece of armor and it is critical to living daily life as a Christian. Our adversary’s attacks are not reserved just for special occasions. They are part of daily life. That is why we are commanded to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might and put on the full armor of God that we may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-11). The shield of faith is an important part of that armor.
Remember as well that faith, belief and trust are interrelated because they each have the same root in the Greek noun, pistiV / pistis, or the verb form, pisteuw / pisteuo. Too many people have separated belief from faith, and faith from trust, and trust from belief and ended up with an erroneous understanding of faith. You cannot separate out the ideas of belief and trust from faith to be independent of each other. To have faith in something is to believe it is true, place your trust in it and act upon that belief and trust. That is faith.
Biblical faith in Jesus Christ means that you believe certain things about Him. You believe that He is God in human flesh; that He lived a sinless life; that He died as a substitute for our sins; that He was raised from the dead on the third day; that He is now seated on the right hand of God the Father and that He will return one day for those that belong to Him.
In addition, the Bible also requires the belief in these facts not be separated from trust in Him. You cannot remain intellectually honest and claim to believe something without a corresponding trust in that object of belief. To say that you believe something and then refuse to act upon that belief by putting your trust in it is to demonstrate you are either deceived, a liar or both.
I previously gave the illustration of the tightrope walker, Blondin, as an example of faith, but your chair works just as well. If you tell me that you believe your chair will support your weight, but you refuse to sit down in it because you are afraid that it will collapse under you, then your claim of belief is proven false. In effect, you are a self deceived liar.
To believe what the Bible says about Jesus and then not trust Him and follow Him proves your claim of belief is false. If Jesus is God, then should there be any question about who is wiser and whether you should obey Him or not? If Jesus’ offer of forgiveness based on God’s grace is true, then any effort to earn your own salvation by whatever means only proves a false faith. If Jesus is going to return to Earth as the judge of all mankind to take all who believe in Him to heaven and to judge and cast into Hell all those that do not believe, then is there any question about how we should live and the importance of telling others the gospel?
Saving faith is to believe the truth about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and trust your future destiny completely to his hands. God reckons that faith as righteousness. But the daily Christian life also requires faith, and this is what Paul is referring to here as the shield that extinguishes the fiery missiles of our enemy. This is what I want to spend the remainder of our time this morning discussing. How do you pick up this shield so that it will be useful? In previous sermons we have already dealt with some of this in how the devil tries to get you to doubt God by slandering Him. Ultimately all of Satan’s lies are against God, but He also attacks us as followers of Jesus Christ.
There are three major targets that the devil aims for with his flaming arrows. He knows that if he hits them, the fire will quickly spread to other areas. It is the shield of faith that can protect us.
In Ephesians 1:4 we are told we were chosen by God before the foundation of the world so that we “should be holy and blameless before Him. “ In other words, we were saved for the purpose of living in holiness. Satan attacks holy living
In Ephesians 2:10 we are told that we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. “ In other words, we were saved for the purpose of serving God and doing what He has set before us. Satan seeks to hinder us from serving God.
In Ephesians 4:1-16 we are told that there is a unity among believers because God has gifted and placed every believer into the church, the body of Christ. We are to work together for God’s kingdom and helping one another mature. In other words, we were saved to be part of something greater than ourselves. Satan seeks to disrupt the unity of the church so that we remain vulnerable.
Satan shoots his fiery arrows at all three of these areas – holy living, serving the Lord and unity within the body. The shield of faith can protect us in each case, let us examine how.
Flaming arrows aimed at Holy Living
It is important to stress once again that God has not saved us so that we can escape hell. That is simply a wonderful side benefit of being saved from sin and its consequences. As Paul points out in Romans 6, we are to no longer be slaves of sin, but rather slaves of righteousness. A changed life is the natural fruit of true salvation because it is the very purpose of it. Satan will aim at this area because if he gets a hit, then he will nullify our purpose of existence.
What are some of the ways Satan can attack us here? He has two broad tactics. 1) Discourage you so that you give up or don’t think it is worth the effort. 2) Feed your pride so that you think you have already arrived. Our defense against both is living by faith.
Discouragement. When Satan tries to discourage us from pursuing after holiness, we must remember that it is God’s work in us that changes us as we step forward trusting in what He says and doing what He commands. If it were all up to us alone then there would certainly be every reason to give up, but when we see that it is done by the power of the Holy Spirit given to those who strive to walk with God, then we can always be optimistic and hopeful. You are not what you want to be and neither are you what you are going to be, but, praise God, you are not what you were either!
Paul understood this well. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 he gives us great assurance for change when he tells us that everyone who is in Jesus Christ is a new creature with old things passing away and new things coming. Why is he so confident about this? As Ephesians 2 explains, we were once dead in our trespasses and sin and controlled by Satan without choice or hope, but God made us alive together with Jesus Christ. In the context of 2 Corinthians, Paul explains that the change in his own life was because he was now controlled by his love for Christ and no longer living for himself but for Christ who died for Him (vs. 14,15).
Does this mean that Paul never struggled? Of course not. We get a taste of his struggle and a good description of our own in Romans 7:14-25. He explains there that he still felt like he was “sold into bondage to sin. ” He did not understand what he was doing because he would do the very thing he hated (vs. 15). He would wish to do good, but his practice would be the very evil he did not want to do (18,19). He viewed this as a war going on within himself (23) and that he was a “wretched man ” because of it and was crying out to “be set free from this body of death ” (24). Yet in all this, Paul was not without hope and he was not discouraged by it either. He understood that he was still fighting his flesh and the desires that were still within him for sin (17,18,20). He knew that the struggle itself is evidence of God working in Him for his desires had changed. He was also confident that Jesus Christ would set him free (25).
Have you ever felt that way? Tired, frustrated and wanting to give up? It is by faith we continue the struggle onward to our high calling in Christ Jesus. I never worry about people who struggle, for that indicates the Holy Spirit’s working. My concern is for those that do not struggle. We continue to step out trusting God to empower our feeble efforts to become holy as He is holy.
Another source of discouragement comes when our eyes get focused on those around us. Have you ever looked at envy at those who are not Christians? I have to admit that there are times I have and I then resent the prosperity of the wicked. I want the world to work according to the plan that the good are rewarded and the evil are punished in the present time. Asaph felt the same way and expressed it in Psalm 73. He was striving to live in righteousness and life was hard. He says in vs. 14 that he was stricken and chastened, but what did he see when he looked around? The wicked were prosperous. Their bodies were fat (4). They did not have the trouble of other men (5). They were violent and arrogant (6,3), yet they lived at ease and their wealth increased (12). Asaph began to feel envious and that he was wasting his time striving to be good (13). Have you ever felt like that?
The devil can use envy and jealousy to move us right back into his camp wearing the slave clothes of sin. It is the shield of faith that protects us, and it is what protected Asaph. He declares that his feet had almost slipped into these sins (vs. 2), but then he remembered the truth and promises of God. The wicked may well prosper now, but they will not in the end. Their end is destruction (vs. 17-19, 27). He might suffer now, but that would not be his end. He would be in the presence of God in heaven in the future (vs. 25-28). Even when Asaph’s flesh and heart would fail him, God would be his portion forever. It is by faith that we live for eternity instead of the present. It is the shield of faith – trust in God for my present and eternal future – that keeps me from being struck down with the devil’s flaming arrows of envy, jealousy and discouragement.
Pride. Another means by which the devil attacks our efforts to live in holiness is to feed our pride. In my own observations of professing Christians, I have seen this danger more often than the discouragement of not being as holy as the individual would desire. We tend to think we are good enough.
One extreme of this are those that think they no longer sin or very rarely sin anymore. A friend of mine that attended a seminary in Canada had a chapel speaker come one day who said that he had not sinned in five years. Daryl went up to him after and said that the man had broken his record that morning. He was proud and arrogant and had violated 1 John 1:8 which says directly, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. “ But praise the Lord that verse 9 goes on to say, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “
I am sure all you have noticed that it is hard to tell the true color of something when it is dark. When I was in high school I used to get dressed in the dark so that I would not wake up my brother who did not go to school until an hour after me. I often was surprised by what I was wearing when I finally got to school. The white shirt turned out to be yellow. The yellow shirt turned out to be tan. The black socks were blue, the blue socks were brown and the brown socks were black. The clean clothes turned out to be spotted. You cannot tell the true color or condition of something until it is brought into the light. If you ever think you are doing well and not sinning anymore, then you have walked away from the Lord, because the closer you walk with Him the greater the light of His holiness exposes the sin in your life. Even your passing thoughts are important to Him.
Extremely few people might be so arrogant to say that they do not or very rarely sin, but many professing Christians will say that personal holiness should not be such a big deal. Their lives are in much better shape than all the wicked people out there, and after all, we don’t want to be fanatics about this, do we? These flaming arrows of pride and self sufficiency have caused many casualties in the camp of Christianity by creating a complacency toward holiness.
It is by faith that we understand what is truly important and what is not. We cannot know what God values by looking at how other people live. We cannot determine which sins are serious and which are inconsequential based on the judgments of others or even our own musings. Men are very good at setting up standards of holiness based on their own weakness, by what they themselves do or don’t do. Murder, stealing, adultery, homosexuality, divorce, drinking, debauchery, idolatry and such are all considered to be horrible sins by most Christians, but what about hatred, pilfering, pride, envy, gluttony, lying, not loving your wife or respecting your husband? What about seeing the indecency and sensuality portrayed and promoted in film, on television, through the internet and in the magazine racks at the super market? What about unwholesome words, crude language and when your hobby keeps you from gathering with the saints?
We cannot judge how well we are meeting God’s standards by comparing ourselves to other people. There is only one true standard of comparison and that is Jesus Christ. It is by faith we recognize who Jesus is, the validity of His commandments and then by faith step out in obedience. Since I believe Jesus is who He claims, then I entrust myself to Him and follow Him. He knows best and He will work out what my future will be.
By faith I refrain from lying and believe that keeping God’s command is more important and better for my future than trying to manipulate things myself. By faith I have eyes for my wife only believing that God’s design for marriage is the means to the greatest interpersonal relationship between humans. By faith I ignore what the world claims to be so fun and entertaining and trust that personal holiness is the most fulfilling way to live. By faith I seek first Christ’s kingdom and righteousness trusting Him to provide for my needs for daily life rather than stealing, lying, cheating, and manipulating to gain for myself. The shield of faith protects me from Satan’s arrows shot to keep me from being holy and blameless before God which is the very reason He chose me for Himself before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
Flaming arrows aimed at Serving the Lord
Satan also aims his arrows at our serving the Lord. Again two major avenues of attack. 1) Discourage you so that you give up or don’t think it is worth the effort. 2) Feed your pride so that you think you can do it on your own. Your defense against both is living by faith.
Discouragement. First, Satan can discourage you by trying to make you feel that you are not good enough to serve the Lord. You have too many problems and hang-ups from your childhood. You stumble into sin too often. You are not trained enough yet. You don’t know what to say or do. Other people can do it better, so let them do it. You are too insignificant to matter anyway.
It is by faith that I understand that serving the Lord is not about my being good enough, but rather that He is good enough to use me and change me. Jesus Christ has washed me clean and clothed me with His righteousness and I am being conformed into His image. It is by faith I step forward despite my fears, problems and hang-ups believing that if He created me in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10), then I need to go about doing them. It is by faith I continue to confess my sins and am cleansed by Him to continue on in serving from a position of increasing holiness. I remember that Jesus used crude, untrained fishermen to turn the world upside down, so by faith I get involved in the Holy Spirit’s on the job training. He directs the opportunities of service given to me, and when I am at a loss myself of what to say or do, He gives me the words and prods me to the right actions just as He did the first disciples. By faith I rejoice that other people can do things better, but knowing that each gift, each ministry and the power of those gifts and ministries are directed by God (1 Corinthians 12), then I also know I must simply use what He has given and let Him take care of the result. I also know that every gift in the body is important, and though it may seem little to me, it works as part of the whole body to accomplish great things (Ephesians 4), and so by faith I step forward to do my little part.
Pride. Satan can also attack in this area by feeding your pride. There is a condition among Christians known as the Messiah complex. It is a common malady found in pastors in which they feel like everything is up to them, but others are also susceptible. The success of the church or their ministry rides upon their shoulders. They are personally responsible to solve every problem, dream up every ministry, implement every program and save every sinner. Anyone with such thoughts actually accomplishes very little for Christ, because all of it is done in the flesh.
I must remember that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5). God is best glorified through my weaknesses, not my strengths (2 Corinthians 12). It is by faith that I launch out striving to simply be faithful and let the Lord take care of the success (1 Corinthians 4:2). By faith I will reject the wisdom of men in favor of the wisdom of God. It does not matter how great corporations do things; football teams achieve victory; political parties persuade voters; marketers sell products or armies win battles. By faith I do things God’s way and trust Him to accomplish His will. The preaching of the gospel is foolishness to men, but it is the wisdom and power of God to save sinners (1 Corinthians 1:23,24). We are to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, not market it. The world esteems powerful, controlling individuals as leaders. The leaders of a church are to be meek, humble servants leading by example. Armies stockpile hoards of supplies for logistical support and then seek to crush the enemy. Jesus simply told His disciples to go, for He would supply their needs, and they were to love and pray for their enemies.
By faith I serve Jesus Christ. My efforts may seem feeble and unimportant, but I trust Him to use them for His own glory. By faith in Him you must do the same.
Flaming arrows aimed at the Unity of the body
The third and last target of Satan’s arrows I want to mention this morning is his attacks against the unity of the body. These two are aimed at two primary targets. 1) Division over petty things. 2) False unity which ignores significant doctrines.
Division over Pettiness. Most of us have heard of churches splitting over things such as the color of the carpet or paint for the walls, the architecture of the building or the location of a memorial gift. Those are very petty and we may even chuckle at them, but the underlying issues are real and the work of Satan. I have mentioned before that growing up I went through a lot of church splits. Only in one of them was I aware that the major issue was doctrinal. Almost invariably the reason for church divisions are because of pride. There are personality conflicts, differences in preferences and variations in strategy which easily become dividing points when those involved do not have enough humility to believe that God can use something or someone else other than what they thought. These kinds of divisions can be avoided if those involved would use their shields of faith.
Does not the Bible clearly state that everyone in the body is needed because everyone has different gifts (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4)? Does not the Holy Spirit dwell in every true believer (Romans 8:9)? Does not the Bible clearly state that we are to follow Jesus Christ and His example and that includes His humility which is the basis of unity in the church (Philippians 2)? Is there not given to the church a structure of authority and responsibility (Ephesians 4; 1 Timothy 3; Titus 1)? If I believe the Bible to be true, then I must also believe these truths and so must acknowledge that God is going to use other people doing things differently than I would do them. I must be humble enough to admit that the fullness of knowledge does not dwell in me and I must then trust that God can and will use other people too. In addition, He will do so even before they are fully mature. Does not God use you in the present? Yet, you still have a ways to go before you are fully conformed into the image of Christ. Mature Christians learn to work through interpersonal conflict instead of getting in a huff and leaving.
By faith I work alongside people, even immature ones, who will do things in a different way than I would and I trust that God will use that too. Division caused by pettiness is a travesty that brings shame on the name of Christ. It should also be an embarrassment to those who allow themselves to get so upset over trivial issues, but usually their pride pushes them to justify themselves instead of confessing and asking for forgiveness. I also have found that those who are quick to complain about the faults of others rarely examine their own faults. Be humble and help one another mature in Christ.
Now in saying this, I must also say there are legitimate reasons for division in the church. When Paul and Barnabas split up in Acts 15, God used that to increase the number of missionary teams in operation even though they did so for the wrong reasons. If humility exists and the shield of faith is up, then such divisions can be made with quiet resolution instead of anger. An example of this is Abraham who walked by faith so that when he and Lot separated from one another in Genesis 13 there was no animosity. Our long term goal here is to have an amiable separation in the future when we can hive off a group to plant another church in a surrounding community. Such a division as that can be done with joy.
Division is also correct when there is apostasy in the midst. One of the purposes of church discipline is to divide out those who are false in either profession of faith or doctrine. Those who continue in sin and will not turn, and those who continue in heresy and will not turn, have no place in the communion of the saints. But what should happen when heretics have the place of authority in the organization? Then those that hold to the truth must separate. That is the point of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. There is no partnership between righteousness and unrighteousness; no fellowship between light and darkness; no harmony between Christ and Bililal; nothing in common between a believer and an unbeliever. If such a situation exists then you must come out from them and separate. This is a major reason for the formation of many denominations & church associations in the last century. Our own association, the IFCA International, was formed because the organizations that pastors and churches had been in before departed from orthodoxy and began denying the fundamental doctrines of Biblical Christianity.
False Unity. The opposite position from being a separatist is being ecumenical, and that is where another one of Satan’s arrows is aimed to bring a false unity based on feelings and facade instead of truth. Unless two people are agreed, they cannot walk together (Amos 3:3), and there can be no true unity without truth. The supposed unity of the ecumenical movement is a facade because no one is allowed to talk about anything controversial. The cry is heard that we should be united with all those who “name the name of Jesus Christ, ” but unless there is a clear definition of what that means you have to include not just the various traditions of true Christianity in which salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but also all the cults and those that try to earn their salvation including Mormons, Moonies, Jehovah Witnesses, Roman Catholicism, etc. You would even have to include a lot of Hindus who esteem Jesus as they do their many other gods and Moslems because they hold Jesus as a prophet. There are many groups that name the name of Jesus, but their Jesus is not the same one as described in the Bible.
The apostle John warned the Ephesians about false prophets that denied Jesus’ humanity claiming He did not come in the flesh (1 John 4:1-3). He had to warn about those that denied Jesus’ deity and His being the Messiah (1 John 2:22-23; 4:14-15). We also have to be careful about those who make a claim to believe in the correct Jesus, but their manner of living is a denial of the claim which is a reason for church discipline as I have spoken about before. There cannot be unity in such cases.
There are also those that make a false claim to being spiritually superior because of the particular gifts they boast of having, but Paul had to rebuke some of these in 1 Corinthians 12-14 because of their lack of love, improper use of their gifts, and some that were ignorantly cursing Christ instead of blessing Him (1 Corinthians 12:1-3). There can only be unity with such people when there is humility to submit to the Scriptures and walk in love instead of arrogance.
What is the basis of true unity in the church. Paul explains that in Ephesians 4:1-16. It begins by walking in a manner worthy of your calling by God (vs. 1) which is demonstrated by the characteristics of godliness including humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance and love which is diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (vs. 2-3). The foundation for unity is in holding to the same fundamental doctrine which is expressed in verses 4-10 as there being one body, one Spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all in all. There cannot be unity with those that do not agree on the fundamental teachings of the Scriptures. The ecumenical movement falls victim to Satan’s flaming arrow because it does not share the same faith as Biblical Christianity.
There can be basic unity with those who agree on the fundamental doctrines such as the identity and nature of God, Jesus, and the Spirit and the means and manner of salvation. Obviously there will be greater harmony among those that also agree on non-fundamental issues such as future events, church structure, mode of baptism, working of the Spirit in the present age, manner of worship, etc., but there can still be a unity of cooperation for the kingdom of Christ by all those that hold fast to the fundamental doctrines of the faith. There cannot be unity with those that do not and cooperation with any effort to produce such unity is falling for a scheme of the devil to cause a compromise of faith which then makes you even more vulnerable to his evil schemes.
You must walk by faith in order to find true unity and avoid both the petty things that destroy it and the falsehoods that seek a false unity. It is by faith I hold to the great fundamental truths of Scripture without compromise and contend earnestly for them (Jude 1:3). It is by faith I walk with humility and enjoy the precious and wonderful fellowship of those who also believe and trust the great truths of the Bible. We help each other mature and become like Christ.
Let me quickly add that the unity of faith among true Christians is important so that each of us can stand firm against the devil as we support each other. Just as the shields of the Roman infantry could be held together to form a wall of protection against the arrows of their enemies, so the shield of faith of each Christian can be held close to those of other believers so that there is a wall of protection provided to all that is much greater than could exist if each one was standing apart. That truth is expressed by Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16 in which he explains that Pastors are to equip the saints for the work of ministry so that the whole body can “attain the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. ” By standing together with our shields of faith, we all are better protected and able to stand firm.
We are in a spiritual battle and Satan’s flaming arrows are aimed at you. Do you have your shield up? Are the things you believe according to God’s wisdom or the worldly wisdom of men and the devil? Are you walking by faith or by sight? Are you trusting in the promises of God or your own abilities to do for yourself? Are you standing side by side with others who share your faith or are you all alone? I pray it is the former in each case and not the latter or you are surely an open target for the enemy.
The next sermon in this series is: Spiritual Warfare Part 17: The Helmet of Salvation
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Count how many times the words “faith ” is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about how their faith helps them walk in holiness, serve the Lord and walk in unity.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Why is faith so central to the Christian life? What is the relationship of the shield of faith to the other pieces of spiritual armor? What is the relationship of faith, belief and trust? What is involved in “saving faith “? What is the danger of a “flaming arrow ” as compared to a regular arrow? Why is holiness so important in the Christian life? How do you get discouraged from pursuing holiness in your own life? How have you seen other Christians get discouraged in pursuing holiness?. How does become a Christian change a person? How does the Christian overcome the struggle against sin? Have you ever been envious of non-Christians? If so, what was the cause of the envy? How did Asaph over envy in Psalm 73. Have you ever met someone that thought they no longer or only rarely sinned any more? What is the truth about them? Who do you compare yourself to in assessing your holiness? To whom should you compare yourself? How does faith keep you from falling into sin and pursuing holiness? Why is serving the Lord so important in the Christian Life? What discourages you from serving the Lord? Does serving the Lord depend on us or on Him? Explain. How can pride hinder someone from serving the Lord? Why is humility so important in serving the Lord? What is your level of humility / pride? How does faith enable you overcome Satan’s arrows and serve the Lord? Why is unity so important in the Christian life? Have you had someone become upset with you over something you thought was of little importance? Have you ever become upset over something you later realized was petty? How have you seen pettiness cause disharmony in the church? What are some legitimate reasons for division to occur within the church? How is the ecumenical movement a tool of the devil? Why is “naming the name of Christ ” an insufficient reason for unity? What warnings do the Scriptures give us concerning false prophets and what they teach about Jesus? What is the basis for true unity in the church? How does faith help you block Satan’s arrows in order to walk in unity? What is the importance of believers taking up their shields of faith alongside each other? Do you walk in God’s wisdom or your own?
Sermon Notes – 5/17/2009
Spiritual Warfare, Pt. 15: Living in Faith
Paul makes special emphasis on the importance of the shield of _____in preparing us for spiritual warfare
The shield described was the large one used by the infantry to form a wall of _________________.
_______ is central to both the Christian life and the other pieces of armor
The shield of faith that you ____________ the flaming missiles of the evil one
Faith, belief and ________ are inter-related. You cannot have one without the other two
Biblical _________ in Jesus Christ means both believing the facts about Him and trusting His promises
A profession of faith without corresponding _________ proves false the claim to belief.
The shield of faith refers to the faith required for ________ Christian life in walking with God.
Introduction – Three major targets for the devil’s flaming arrows.
Ephesians 1:4 – _______ Ephesians 2:10 – ________ Ephesians 4:1-6 – __________
Flaming arrows aimed at Holy Living
Discouragement – The effort to get you to give up ___________ for holiness
God has ____________ changed us – 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1-10
It is a __________ part of the Christian life to struggle against sin – Romans 7:14-25
The continuing struggle against sin demonstrates the Holy Spirit is ___________________ in your life.
It is discouraging to look at the prosperity of the __________ and contrast that to your own struggles.
Psalm 73 – envy of the wicked is corrected by remembering the _________ of God’s word and their end
Pride – The effort to get you to think you have ______________ achieved what is needed.
One extreme – the person who thinks they no longer or very rarely _______. (1 John 1:8, 10)
More common is the ________________that arises from comparing themselves to others in greater sin.
It is by faith that we understand what is truly _______________ and what is not
Jesus Christ is the only true ____________ for comparison
By faith I refrain from sin’s temptations and pursue _____________
Flaming arrows aimed at Serving the Lord
Discouragement – You are not _____________________ to serve the Lord
By faith I understand that serving the Lord is ______________ what He asks, not what I think I can do
Pride – ______________ all depends upon you
By faith I strive to be steadfast and follow God’s wisdom leaving ______________ in His hands
By faith I serve the Lord as He asks & trust Him to use it to _____________ Himself
Flaming arrows aimed at the Unity of the body
Division over Pettiness – __________ leads to division over issues of little significance
Everyone in the ________ is needed, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and is to be __________
I must trust _________ can and will use other people even when they do it differently than I would.
Division in order to multiply ____________ is good.
Separation from _____________ is required (Matthew 18:15-17; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
False Unity – is based on _____________ and facade instead of truth & is flaming arrow of the devil
There are many groups that name Jesus, but their Jesus is ______the same one as described in the Bible
True unity in the church can only be based in common _____________ – Ephesians 4:1-16
Cooperation can be given to all who _____to the fundamental doctrines, but none with those who do not
When each believer takes up his shield of faith, a wall of ____________is given to all – Ephesians 4:11-16
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