The Shield of Faith
A Sermon on Ephesians 6:16
16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Christians must realize that they are engaged in perpetual spiritual warfare. In this sermon on Ephesians 6:16 titled “The Shield of Faith,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds that Paul exhorts believers to take up the “shield of faith.” He referred to other pieces of the armor of God as things to “have,” but Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that this action changes to “take.” The shift is because the first three pieces of armor are fixed firmly to the body, but the shield must be taken up. People do not fight some general evil, but a particular spiritual person and others he commands. What are the “fiery darts”? Commonly, they are doubting thoughts, blasphemous words, and phrases that fill the mind and come to mentally discourage, depress, and defeat. Other darts inflame desires and passions, destroying peace, and contentment. Some are fiery trials of persecution, antagonistic people, or adverse circumstances. The “shield of faith” is the ability to quickly apply belief in answer to everything the devil does or attempts to do. Faith is not merely an intellectual belief or theory, but is always practical to apply truth. Faith never points to itself but to its object. The object of genuine faith is God, His character, and His promises. When attacks come, faith is actively dependent upon God and His grace in Christ.
- The apostle Paul reminds the Ephesians that spiritual warfare requires putting on the whole armor of God.
- The armor of God consists of two main groups: the first three pieces (belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, sandals of peace) are fixed to the body; the latter three pieces (shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit) are taken up and used actively.
- The transition from the first group to the second is marked by the phrase "above all." This does not mean the shield of faith is the most important piece but rather introduces the remaining pieces of armor.
- The shield Paul refers to is the large Roman shield that covers most of the body. It has a fireproof metal lining used to quench fiery darts.
- The fiery darts refer to satanic attacks and temptations, which can be thoughts, imaginations, desires, passions, lusts, persecutions, etc. They are not generated from within us but come from the outside.
- The only way to quench the fiery darts is by taking up the shield of faith. Faith means applying what we believe as an answer to the devil's attacks.
- Faith does not point to itself but to its object, which is God. Faith leads us to rely on God's character, promises, and power.
- Holding up the shield of faith means reminding ourselves of God's character and promises, relying on God's grace in Christ, and clinging to God in our weakness.
- We can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one by holding up the shield of faith.
The Book of Ephesians
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.