Preparing for Sun, Oct 9th (The Shield of Faith)
Weekly Devotional Email
For Sunday, October 9, 2016
Ephesians 6:13 (NKJV)
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Dear Church Family,
This week’s devotional focuses on the Shield of Faith. The Apostle Paul is very intentional about making sure that we understand the gravity of the nature of the spiritual warfare we are in. As we look closer at the Shield of Faith we’ll begin to understand just how significant the battle we find ourselves is.
As you know, a few weeks ago we began our new Sunday morning series entitled ‘STAND’ taken from Ephesians 6 on the Armor of God. In this weekly email you’ll find a review of last Sunday’s message, a preview of this coming Sunday’s message, Bible verses for you to read to prepare your hearts for Sunday and questions for your own personal growth and discovery. If there’s anyone that you’d like to share this information, feel free to do so! Just forward this email to them and they can subscribe via email going forward, if they’d like.
REVIEW FROM LAST SUNDAY’S MESSAGE, ‘THE SHOES OF PEACE’
Peace is a daily weapon.
I think sometimes we view ‘peace’ as destination. It’s something we hope to have someday. We’ll find ourselves saying, ‘one day I’ll have peace.’ The reality is, as we saw last Sunday, peace is a daily weapon. We walk in peace because of the Shoes of Peace God has provided for us in the Armor of God. And because it’s a daily weapon, it’s up to us to utilize the Shoes of Peace as God intended. In Ephesians 6 he gives us seven pieces of armor, the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Belt of Truth, the Shield of Faith, the Sword of the Spirit, the Shoes of Peace and the Lance (Power of Prayer).
A peace that fits loosely is a peace that will give way easily.
Remember the picture a young boy trying to put on his daddy’s shoes? It’s a great picture, right? It’s cute. It’s adorable. The only problem is…it’s not very practical. The shoes fit way too loosely for the young boy to try to make any progress walking, let alone running. Peace operates similarly in our own spiritual lives. If our peace fits loosely, it will give way easily. If our peace fits loosely, our peace gives way with the first sign of rough terrain. It could be a bad cup of coffee, an insensitive post on social media, a text that isn’t returned as quick as you think it should be…the slightest thing can disrupt your inner peace if your inner peace fits loosely. The solution? Making sure our peace has a firm fitting in our lives.
God describes our relationship with Him as ‘walk’.
I’m so glad He does, too, by the way. Because running is tiring. He describes our relationship with Him as a walk, not a run, nor a stand. It’s a walk:
In Romans 6:4 we are to walk in the newness of life.
In Romans 13:13 we are to walk honestly.
In Corinthians 5:7 we are to walk by faith.
In Galatians 5:16 we are to walk in the Spirit.
In Ephesians 2 we are to walk in good works
In Ephesians 5:2 we are to walk in love.
In Ephesians 5:8 we are to walk as children of light.
In Colossians 1:10 we are to walk worth of the Lord.
In Colossians 4:5 we are to walk in wisdom.
In 2 John 6 we are to walk after his commandments.
So if we are to walk with Him, the question is…how’s your walk?
SUNDAY’S MESSAGE: The Shield of Faith
Every relationship you value is under attack.
This is so vital for us to understand. EVERY relationship YOU VALUE is under attack. Your relationship with your husband/wife? It’s under attack. Your relationship with your children? It’s under attack. Your relationship with your parents? It’s under attack. Your relationship with your church family? It’s under attack. EVERY relationship you value is under attack. Understanding this gives weight to the Shield of Faith. You see, the Shield of Faith is designed to protect us and it only can protect us if the Shield itself is in good condition.
The Shield requires daily care.
Because the Roman soldier’s shield was made of leather, it was important for the soldier to take good care of it. Although it was made of six layers of animal hide and that made the shield extremely strong and durable on its own…thick leather could become stiff and breakable over a period of time if it wasn’t properly taken care of. Therefore, it was necessary for Roman soldiers to know how to care for their shields.
A solider was given a daily schedule for maintaining his shield in excellent condition.
The Application of Oil
Each morning when he woke up, he would reach for his shield and for a small vial of oil. After saturating a piece of cloth with this heavy ointment, he would thoroughly rub the oil into the leather of the shield to keep it soft, supple and pliable. For a soldier to ignore this daily application of oil and to let hiss shield go without this kind of required care was essentially to the equivalent of his inviting certain death.
Because this protective shield was made of leather, it would have become hard, stiff and brittle without the proper case. If not correctly maintained, over time the lather would have hardened until, when put under pressure, it cracked and fell to pieces. This is why the end result of a soldier’s failure to care for his shield was death on the battlefield.
If the Roman soldier wanted to live a long life, it was imperative for him to pick up that vial and apply the oil to his shield every single day of his military life.
The Saturation of Water
There was another reason the Roman soldier’s shield was made out of animal hide. Before a soldier went out to war, he placed his shield in a tub of water, then he left it there soaking in the water until his shield was completely saturated. Why did Roman soldiers saturate their shields with water? Because their enemies used arrows that carried fire! So when those dangerous flaming arrows hit their target, the wet surface of the shields would extinguish them on impact! These water saturated shields gave the soldier the upper hand in battle by putting out the enemy’s fire.
We’ll talk more about the significance of the oil and water on Sunday morning.
If you’re not holding the Shield of Faith, what are you holding on to?
It’s a good question, isn’t it? If I’m not holding the Shield of Faith daily in my life, what am I holding on to?
Bitterness? Regret? Grudge? Disappointment? Doubt? Fear Anxiety?
If I hold on to any of those in my life, I’m incapable of holding on to the shield of faith to protect myself from further attacks.
As we study the Shield of Faith we will look at a number of different passages from both the Old and New Testaments…
Ephesians 6:10-16 (NKJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
2 Corinthians 1:21 (NIV) Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,
Psalms 20:6 (NIV) Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.
1 John 2:27 (ESV) But the anointing that you received from him abides in you,
Ephesians 5:25b-27 (NIV)
25b Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Romans 1:28-32 (NIV)
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,
30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;
31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.
32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Proverbs 13:11 (NIV)
Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Ephesians 5:18b (NIV)
…be filled with the Spirit.
QUESTIONS FOR PERSONAL GROWTH & DISCOVERY
- The Roman soldier took care of their shield by applying oil and saturating it with water. What does oil and water symbolize in your spiritual lives?
- Why do some believers lay aside their shield of faith?
- What happens to their spiritual walk when they do?
- If you don’t take care of your shield, what happens to it?
- What does the Shield of Faith protect you from?
- How often should you arm yourself with the Shield of Faith?
Have any questions about this study?
Email them to email@example.com or text them to (541) 530-4912.
I’m really looking forward to getting together with you and the rest of our church family this Sunday as we continue our study!
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