10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
As we have seen in many caught on camera incidents since the rise of technology and social media even if you are not armed and dangerous, you may be considered armed and dangerous and your life could end just because of the color of your skin. Andre Hill, Casey Goodson, Freddie Gray, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Trevon Martin, Breonna Taylor, and the list goes on and on and on. And especially now with all that’s going on in our nation. When law and order tactics only apply to one group of people. When domestic terrorist can storm the capital building without any fear of any consequences to their actions.
When the world all around us appears to be going to hell in a hand basket. I read an article about the black capital police officers that were at the capital last Wednesday, and how the people that stormed the capital building called them the “N” word as they chased them down. But its not about race, and President Trump did not encourage this type of behavior. I stand here today to tell you that we have to continue to arm ourselves. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and of a sound mind. That’s why it is more important than ever to make sure that you are wearing the full armor of God. We have to get armed to be dangerous. We cannot be dangerous unless we are armed.
We can’t be caught off guard.
We can’t be caught unprotected.
We can’t be caught slipping.
We can’t be caught lollygagging.
We can’t be caught slacking.
We can’t be caught procrastinating.
We have to get armed so that we can be dangerous.
The last couple of weeks we talked about the first three pieces of the full armor of God.
The belt of truth.
The truth sets us free.
The truth sets others free.
And the truth frustrates the devil because we are free.
The breastplate of righteousness.
Righteousness fixes us.
Righteousness fortifies us.
And righteousness fine tunes us.
And last week we discussed the gospel of peace.
Peace focuses us.
Peace fulfills us.
And peace fascinates us.
And today we are going to talk about the shield of faith.
According to Jack Zavada, no defensive armor was as important as a shield. It fended off arrows, spears, and swords. Our fourth piece of armor is the Shield of Faith, which guards us against one of Satan’s deadliest weapons, doubt. Satan shoots doubt at us when God does not act immediately or visibly. Do you know what Satan does the minute you are down?
He kicks you.
He starts to whisper in your ear.
Your God hasn’t come through for you yet.
God doesn’t love you anyway.
Look at all the stuff you have done.
Look at all the stuff you’re doing right now.
How could God possibly use you?
Why don’t you just give up on God?
That is why I am always encouraged by the story of Job when he states, though he slay me, yet will I trust him.
And if you’re not careful you might actually buy into the enemy’s lies. Zavada states, But our faith in God’s trustworthiness comes from the unassailable truth of the Bible. We know our Father can be counted on. Our Shield of Faith sends Satan’s flaming arrows of doubt glancing harmlessly to the side. We keep our shield held high, confident in the knowledge that God always takes care of us, God always looks out for us, and God is faithful to his children. Our shield holds because of the One our faith is in, Jesus Christ. And the great thing about faith is that even when our faith is weak God is still faithful. God has never and will never let us down. I have never seen the righteous forsaken of his seed begging for bread.
Is anyone in the room grateful for God’s faithfulness?
Think of all the times he has made the impossible possible for you.
Think of all the times that he has had your back.
Think of all the times that you should have died.
Think of all the times that he has forgiven you, and welcomed you back with open arms.
Think of all the times that he has made ways out of no ways. God has been faithful.
So just think of what you could do if you raised the level of your faith. And you hold your shield of faith with the confidence of knowing that your God is able to do anything but fail.
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father.
As thou hast been thou forever wilt be.
And great is thy faithfulness.
Great is thy faithfulness.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness.
Lord unto me.
Here are three things that faith does.
Faith protects. When I look back over my life and see all the Lord has brought me through my soul cries out hallelujah! Because I know what God has protected me from.
Dangers seen and unseen.
Life or death situations.
Come on y’all, how many times has God protected us from ourselves?
The car accidents we walked away from.
The diseases we were healed from.
The heartache we avoided.
The disaster we side-stepped.
The mess we somehow managed to overcome.
The test we tiptoed through.
Our faith in God has protected us.
Can I get a witness?
Faith provides. For some reason I’ve always enjoyed talking about the provision of God. Maybe because of where I’ve been and where I am now. I have not forgotten where I come from. I see all the Lord has done for little old me in 44 years. And God has been good to you too, and I am sure that many of you have the same testimony. Just like Joseph. No matter what situation he was in God always provided for him.
When his brothers were about to kill him, God provided him with a pit.
When the slave traders sold him, God provided him with a Potiphar.
When they threw him in prison for crime he did commit God provided him with a prison guard that favored him.
When Pharaoh needed someone to interpret his dream God provided Joseph with the proper interpretation.
God is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide.
Has God provided for anybody in the room or online today?
Has he made ways out of no ways?
Has he put clothes on your back?
Has he put food in your belly?
Has he put a roof over your head?
Has he given you a job to go to?
Has he given you a car to drive?
Has he given you a bus pass to use?
Has he given you a family to love?
Has he given you friends to count on?
Turn to a neighbor and say faith provides!
Faith protects. Faith provides. Faith produces. In Bible Study this week we talked about how James stated several times that faith without works is dead. Not that your works save you. We know that we are saved through faith. What James was saying that if you have faith, that faith should produce works. In other words, if you say you have faith in God, that faith should prompt you to do works. That faith should produce something.
And what you produce should be good!
So what does faith produce? I’m so glad you asked.
In a teacher it will produce a good lesson.
In a parent it will produce good children.
In a child it will produce good old fashion obedience.
In a person it will produce good character.
In a deacon it will produce good service.
In a trustee it will produce a good stewardship.
In a preacher it will produce a servant after God’s heart.
In a leader it will produce good leadership.
In a church it will produce praise and worship.
Oh you just missed your cue to praise and worship the God in which you claim to have faith in. Faith provides, faith protects, and faith produces. And right now your faith should be producing a praise.
Put your ten stringed instruments together and give God praise for the shield of faith!
Produce a praise for the God of your salvation.
Produce a praise for the God of your healing.
Produce a praise for the God of your life.
Produce a praise for the king of kings.
Produce a praise for the Lord of lords.
Produce a praise for the great I am that I am.
Produce a praise for Jesus Christos.
Produce a praise for the lamb that was slain.
Produce a praise for the Prince of Peace.
Produce a praise for the God who walks with you, and talks with you, and tell you that your are his own. And the joy you share as you tarry there. No other has ever known.
Let me close with this story…
Whose Side is God On?
During the US civil war Abraham Lincoln met with a group of ministers for a prayer breakfast. Lincoln was not a church-goer but was a man of deep, if at times unorthodox, faith. At one point one of the ministers said, “Mr President, let us pray that God is on our side”. Lincoln’s response showed far greater insight, “No, gentlemen, let us pray that we are on God’s side.”
Lincoln reminded those ministers that religion is not a tool by which we get God to do what we want but an invitation to open ourselves to being and doing what God wants. If that is not faith I don’t know what is. That is the problem with our nations right now. Everyone thinks that God is on their side, when the truth other matter is the only side that God is on is HIS side, and the only side that we should be on is God’s side. So with that being said I have one question for you. Who’s side are you on? If your answer is God’s side than pick up your shield of faith and hold high. If you’re on God’s side…
Let the world know that for God I live and for God I die.
Let the world know as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.
Let the world know that great is he that is in me than he that is in the world.
Let the world know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Let the world know that God so loved the world…
Let the world know all things are possible.
Let the world know the devil is a liar.
Let the world know that God is a healer.
Let the world know that God is a protector.
Let the world know that God is a provider.
Let the world know that God is a producer.
If we are on God’s side we let the world know all this by our faith!
Take up your shield of faith.