Ephesians 6:13-17; Rather than stop the missiles, God gave us His shield.
Sunday May 8, 2022
Title: Ephesians 6:13-17; Rather than stop the missiles, God gave us His shield.
“We are made in the image of God. We have an inbuilt capacity – indeed, an inbuilt need – to relate to God. Nothing that is transitory can ever fill this need. To fail to relate to God is to fail to be completely human. To be fulfilled is to be filled by God. Nothing that is not God can ever hope to take the place of God.” [Alister McGrath]
Choosing to put on God’s armor, His full armor, is the same as choosing to give all of yourself to Him. For a part of you to be covered, you have to give that part to Him, and as Paul shows us, it is head to toe – all of you. What does all of you mean? How should we understand it? Well it must certainly be you – mind and body; immaterial and material you in the service of Him.
The question is for each of us, “Will we put it all on?”
Each of us has to discover our own divine plan. Before God alone are we responsible as the clay is to the potter.
"Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker —
An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth!
Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?'
Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands'?
To cover ourselves we have to give ourselves to Him. This truth has been perverted in two major ways – lasciviousness and legalism. The whole of us must be given to God to be completely covered by Him. Our mind, soul, spirit, and heart must be given as well as our bodies and our materials. To give ourselves is to submit to the Father’s will. As the Lord said, we have to deny ourselves daily, and pick up our crosses. The cross is death to self, the old self, and resurrection of the new self who has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
For some, chemicals (drugs and alcohol) are detrimental to their spiritual life. For others, they are not. For some certain environments are detrimental and for others, not so. Be aware of you and your relationship with God. Be aware also of the opportunities around you, whether they be on the internet, or in a literal place. Are those things death or life? Are those things light or darkness? Are those things righteousness or wickedness? Be aware, for the devil prowls, seeking someone to devour. That sounds to me like he’s looking for weakness.
I know how hard it is. We are all weak. God is not asking us to be consistently sinless. He is asking us to consistently be wise, righteous, happy, and … careful. This we can do, and over time, if we do it consistently (striving) we will gain new strength and mount up like eagles.
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
And marked off the heavens by the span,
And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure,
And weighed the mountains in a balance
And the hills in a pair of scales?
Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has informed Him? 40:14
With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?
And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge
And informed Him of the way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales;
Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
God has made us to fit His armor. We are not to say otherwise. “Put on the full armor of God.”
“God can use anyone, but all other things being equal, he will often choose to use the better equipped and more adequately trained human instrument to accomplish His purpose. What complicates matters is that “all other things” are many times not equal. A person with a sharp mind may not have a pure heart, or a person obviously gifted in teaching may not display the Spirit’s fruit of self-control or love. Someone possessing a profound grasp of biblical Greek may be living in blatant rebellion, while God may be working powerfully through a person who doesn’t know the first letter of the Greek alphabet. But are we limited to an either-or choice here? As we prepare for life or ministry, must we settle for either developing a keen mind or cultivating a clean heart? Should we be forced to choose between the head and the heart, between understanding and passion? Jesus’ greatest commandment clearly calls for both-and kind of love for God (Mat 22:37-38 – love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself). We need a loyalty that resists compartmentalization and a deep devotion to God that involves every aspect of our being.” [Guthrie and Duvall, Biblical Greek Exegesis]
Taking up the shield of faith – our faith in the Lord’s truth, way, and life, and His faithfulness to do all that He promises.
Unlike the peace that Christ brings, the devil’s M.O. is shooting flaming missiles designed to inflict wounds on our spiritual lives. I think we can safely assume that he never tires of trying to find a weak spot that he can hit, and that he rejoices in our failings. He proves here that as a creature, a wonderful creation of God, that he has lost all substance. If a person’s goal in life, their seeming fulfillment, is the destruction of another person then they have no self-purpose and possess nothing of any value.
The shield of faith repels the flaming missiles; therefore, we need not fear them.
The believer must not be moved from love, joy, and peace by life’s problems (any of them), for the Lord defeated death.
Our Lord Jesus has defeated death and the one who had power over it, the devil. Life is pretty strange and confusing at times, but the Lord’s victory and His love for us are steady and dependable and easily understood by faith.
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
The church is obviously in a dangerous place – the world. In every generation the church has been persecuted, and so the church needs protection and God provides it. However, we are not to just sit back and watch the world go by, waiting for God to do something miraculous. We are to always wait for God, but while we wait, we are to do.
God has not chosen to remove the flaming missiles, instead He gave us a shield of faith.