THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 8-5-07
LESSON TITLE: "PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD: TAKING THE SHIELD OF FAITH"
Thank you for joining us this morning for the Living Word Program. It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God. We welcome you to this service for our Creator.
Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. This morning we will glorify our Lord through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's begin our praise to God in prayer.
God has promised us so many things in this life and the life to come. But the greatest blessing and promise He ever made is discussed in our first song of the day. So, wont you join in with the brethren at this time as we lift up our voices to God and sing, "The Old Rugged Cross!"
(SONG # 1)
The Psalmist David always had a wonderful way of reminding us of just how great our God is. In fact, in Psalm 94 we see that he helps us to remember that it is only through God that we are able to bear the things of this life.
In verses 17 through 19 we read, "Unless the LORD had been my help, My soul would soon have settled in silence. If I say, 'My foot slips,' Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." Think of all the wonderful things David reminds us of here.
He said without God's help his soul would have already been silenced. How true this is. If we don't have God, our soul is empty, because it is the soul of man that houses the very essence of God. God fills us as his children and guides us through the soul.
He also reminds us that we can count on God to help us when we fall. He said if his foot slipped, God was always there to catch him. You see, we have the same privilege in Jesus Christ. He is always with us to help us and care for us when we have needs.
The final thing David mentions is in relationship to anxieties. He says that God is always with us as a comfort when anxieties come our way. Let me remind you that anxieties are fears which we have due to uncertainties or things we are unsure of, in this life.
Oh, how truly comforting our God is. Yes, our God is truly a great God. He is always with us to guide, guard and direct us in every walk of life. He is the only place we can find the true peace and solace that we desire in this life.
Now, the question is, do you have Christ in you? If not, why not? Choose today to accept His will, by confessing His name, repenting of your sins, and being buried with Him through baptism. Then, and only then, can you have the help from God that we are talking about today.
This morning we will again consider a lesson from our series entitled, "Put On The Whole Armor Of God." Our specific topic today is, "Taking The Shield of Faith." So please stay with us through our next song and after that I will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "The Way Of The Cross."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
We're excited to continue today at looking at the armor that a Christian must wear if he or she is to be prepared to do those things that God wants him or her to do, but also that he might be able to withstand those things the devil puts in our way, the road blocks, the things that are stumbling blocks, if you will. If we look there again in our text, we might find several of the things we've discussed are of the utmost importance. You might notice there in verse 14, "Having girded your waist with truth." There again, that belt that is the underlying piece that holds the armor in place and holds it together, the truth, the truth of God.
Then spiritually, "Putting on the breastplate of righteousness," as we discussed, the breastplate which covers all the vital organs and therefore if a sword is to get by the shield or your offensive sword, then certainly it is blocked by the breastplate and it protects the heart and other organs that might be damaged. So in a spiritual sense, built of the truth is this righteousness.
Then we read in verse 15 what we discussed last week. "And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace." What is it that is carrying the truth? What is it that is carrying the righteousness on the way and about amongst the battle, amongst the people that we are fighting in this world? Again, a spiritual battle. Well it is our feet and the feet that we are using and the covering on the feet are represented in that gospel again that is based on what? The truth it is carrying around. The righteousness. So all tied together well and exemplifying what the soldier is all about as he or she goes out again into battle for the sake of their God.
Now in verse 16, if you'll look with me after we've seen the waist and the truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and now the feet being covered with the gospel of peace, then we'll notice here in verse 16 something else that is added. It says, "Above all..." Now how interesting. Now that he has mentioned the certainly very important characteristics of the truth, righteousness, and gospel, now he says, "Above all..." Above all things do what? "Take the shield of faith." Now how interesting that although we've mentioned to this point truth and righteousness and the gospel, then now faith is brought up. How fitting if you think about it because above all, as we have all the armor that is against the body and connected to the body and how we have all that which is on the feet now, in the arm, in the hand, the hand that holds the shield which certainly would not be the hand that you generally use because if you have your right hand, you would have the sword there or if you were left-handed, you would have your sword in that hand, but the other hand bears the shield that is for defense, that is to protect if the darts of the arrows are coming your way or if a sword is swung at you to deflect the sword. So now what is that faith? So now as we are moved by and with the gospel of peace, we have the truth and we have righteousness. We see it is the shield that really we are using that is a demonstration of those things that we are holding out there that are protecting us and that are being seen first as we enter into battle. Our faith. Certainly faith is an important thing.
In fact, how important is it? Well, the same verse there as it says, "Above all take (action again) the shield of faith," he says, "with which you are able to quench all of the fiery darts of the wicked one or the evil one." How interesting again. As we read here, we see that we are able to withstand the temptations, the trials, the problems that come our way with this faith that is being carried about with the gospel of peace, that is based on the truth that is around us and the breastplate of righteousness that is covering our main body and now this faith is being seen and is that main avenue by which we now are able to quench, it speaks of here, the fiery darts, those things that are shot our way, the arrows that might pierce us and kill us are deflected by faith. The things the devil might do have no ability to harm us for we have faith based on the truth, the righteousness of God and the gospel that we carry to this world. How interesting as well that is because in the context, we have already seen that we take the whole armor to stand. We take the whole armor in verse 11 that "we might be able to stand against the whiles of the devil," and that we might be able as well in verse 13 "to withstand in the day the evil one having done all to stand." As we look at the idea here, this faith ties directly into that stance, that ability to deflect that which would keep us from standing or from doing the work of a soldier and so faith is of the utmost importance.
As we look a little bit deeper at faith, we find a lot of interesting facts probably one of the best places we might go is Hebrews chapter 11 for in the New Testament there is no greater passage that tells us not only what faith is but how important it is and then gives us examples of what faith is all about. If you'll notice there in verse 1, it tells us, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." The realization, the substance. It is a reality of things hoped for. We know there is a God. He has told us things and guess what. They are true and we see them in our lives. So He says, "Faith is the substance of those things hoped for." Then there is things God has told us that are promises that we really have not yet seen that we are hoping for, we are longing for, but we know they are in the future. Well, that is faith again. Not only believing and knowing and seeing to the witnesses and things in our life that God is true and faithful and has done what He has said, but knowing that those things out there that He also has promised will be done. They will come to fruition. Faith is the substance of those things hoped for and the evidence of those things that even have yet not been seen.
How important is it? Verse 6 says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." You see, God, the one who he goes on to say, "is a rewarder of those who believe in Him, who seek after Him." You see, the soldier here is one who now in the arm, in the hand has the shield of faith, the shield that can be seen not only by God, but by the enemies and by even those who stand by him or her as we go into battle. Our faith is worn on our sleeve so to speak and the world knows either we are a child of God by faith or that we are not a child of God.
A lot of times in the religious world today, people are confused about faith. They indicate the fact that maybe faith is simply belief or faith is just acknowledging a God. That's not what Hebrews 11 says at all. That's not what the soldier who is taking faith and running in the battle and accomplishing the task of God, that's not what that soldier was doing. And now we find here in Hebrews 11 because notice what verse 4 says, "By faith, Abel offered a sacrifice." An action. You see, he was willing to do something for God and in the name of God.
Notice also in verse 5, "By faith, Enoch was taken." Why? He was a man there who was walking pleasing to God. He was a faithful man. Why? His actions demonstrated faith.
What are we beginning to see? Those who showed forth faith, those whose faith could be seen in the shield as a soldier are those who were acting on their belief.
You know, James tells us in James chapter 2 that, "Even the devils believe and tremble." They know there is a God. They acknowledge God and they don't want any part of God for they know God has the power to even see that they no longer exist. But they believe and tremble, so what is belief without faith? You see, faith is of the utmost importance because it is by faith they were seen as being believers in action.
Verse 8 goes on in Hebrews 11 to say, "By faith, Abraham obeyed God." How did God know his faith? How did those of Abraham's day know his faith? He was obedient to God.
We read on there that Sarah by faith had a child in verse 11.
We read about Abraham there in verse 17 when he was told to offer up Isaac and he did it.
And by faith we read that Isaac blessed Jacob and Jacob Esau.
And then we read on about Joseph in verse 22 that, "Joseph by faith did what God said."
Then Moses is mentioned in verse 23. "By faith, Moses when he was born did the things God commanded."
So what is faith? It is the demonstration. It's the action. That's what the book here is telling us. It is that which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt to God and to the world that we are active believers for you can't hide faith. Faith is seen. Faith is known by those who are around us. And faith is always demonstrated.
I want you to turn with me if you will to the book of James. How interesting here that in the book of James the concept of faith is often dealt with and there in chapter 2 we notice that he does speak of the need of faith. If you'll notice there in verse 26 for instance, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead." You see, if we believe but there is no evidences of that belief in action or words, what good is it? Do we really have faith? The answer is certainly not.
We also see in verse 18 of the same text, "Someone will say you have faith and I have works." He says, "You show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by works." You know, when we think about faith we often are confused because we look at the concept and we say, "But the Bible says we can't earn heaven. God doesn't owe us." That's true. "The Bible says we are saved by grace." That's true. "There is nothing we can do to merit our salvation. I'll never be able to do enough or accomplish enough that God owes me anything for God has far outdone all of us, always has and always will."
So when we read verses there such as Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 8 when it says, "For by grace you are saved..." He adds this, "through faith." Grace is the reward, the undeserved favor from God for the actions seen in our life. So where do works fit in? Well, he goes on to say, "It's not of yourselves. It is a gift of God for you can't earn it." But then verse 9 says, "Not of works lest anyone should boast." Well a lot of folks like to stop there. Then they say, "Well, you see faith doesn't really show itself in works or grace is not really required or the outcome of works." Well, the point he is making is the fact that it is not the works that cause God to owe us that, not the works are not required for faith without works is dead.
Now look at the next verse because it is the tell-tale answer of these things. Verse 10, "For we are the workmanship of God created in Christ Jesus for (what?) good works." We are the workmanship of Christ and we are created for what? Good works that we should walk in the ways of God. That's faith! That we work not because we are going to work because God owes us or we earn it. It is a gift of God. We cannot do enough. But because when we work, our faith is seen by God in the world and then God's grace is applied to make sure although I am not good enough, I am not great enough, I am unable to earn it completely that God's grace and His blood covers me anyway and I am saved by the wondrous promises there of my God and my Christ.
If you will, also look with me in the book of Romans because there we learn that faith then the faith that is working, the faith that is demonstrated, the faith that can be seen in order that we what? Are pleasing to God is a faith that is daily. Notice there in Romans chapter 1 we often read verse 16 where it talks about the power which is the gospel, the power of God unto salvation. But verse 17 says, "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith for the just shall live by faith, shall live by that faith that demonstrates belief and action." That's how the just live. Notice also verse 17, "Who are righteous as God is righteous." What was the breastplate? Righteousness. The truth. The righteousness. The feet shod with the gospel. And now the faith, the righteousness that is enforced and protected with faith and belief in action, and now what do we have? What is the outcome in verse 16 again? That the gospel of Christ, those things on my feet can save me and can save you. You know it is interesting but in that short passage there, verses 16 and 17, three of the things that we discuss are all dealt with except for the truth and the truth is implied in the gospel for we know the gospel is the truth, the word of God (John 17:17)
So are you one who lives in faith? Are you one who demonstrates faith? Are you striving to do those things in your life that really show forth that faith is a requirement of God, that it is something that we do in order to please God? Well, in Jude chapter 1, only one chapter in that text, in verse 3 he says this, now we must contend for something. If we want to be right in the eyes of God, we must content for something. What is it? Faith! He says, "Contend earnestly for the faith that was once delivered to all the saints." You contend for the faith. You stand in it. Have you taken that shield of faith that you might be strong? And do you have your waist prepared with truth, the righteousness as well as all those things God requires that you might be the soldier that is victorious in the end?
(SONG # 3 - "There's A Great Day Coming!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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Do you have the faith in God which we have discussed this day? Furthermore, do you show forth your faith in all that you do and say, as well as in defending the teachings of God. Let's all strive more to have a greater faith in our Creator.