The Shield; Helmet and Sword
A Sermon on Ephesians 6:16-17
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. 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
What does it mean to put on the whole armor of God? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:16–17 titled “The Shield, Helmet, and Sword,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues his exploration of what the apostle Paul calls the armor of God. Scripture tells the Christian to be strong in the Lord, and Dr. Lloyd-Jones maintains that the strength the Lord provides for His people is in putting on the armor of God, piece by piece with prayer. Christians need every piece of armor God provides, beginning with the integument and continuing with further protection. Christians add faith to their defense so as to quench the enflaming thoughts and ideas of the enemy—the shield. This is the capacity to take particular truths from God’s word and apply them appropriately. Then they think on their final salvation and deliverance from sin—the helmet. This is the Christian’s blessed hope and certainty in complete victory. Finally, they take up the ultimate defensive protection in the Spirit—the sword. God provides His word to defend against spiritual warfare in hand-to-hand combat. If it comes to such a point, they lean upon the phrase, “the Bible tells me so.” This completes the full armor of God.
- The apostle Paul warns Christians about spiritual conflicts and the importance of spiritual armor.
- The first pieces of armor are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shoes of the gospel of peace. These represent knowing God's word, being justified by faith in Christ, and being at peace with God.
- The shield of faith and the helmet of salvation provide further protection. The shield of faith means applying God's word through faith and seeing beyond worldly troubles. The helmet of salvation refers to the certainty of our ultimate redemption.
- The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, allows us to defend ourselves in close combat with the devil by quoting Scripture.
- Truth refers to general revelation, the shield of faith refers to applying doctrine, and the sword of the Spirit refers to quoting specific Bible verses.
- We must use all pieces of the armor, especially the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, to overcome spiritual attacks. Failure to do so leads to spiritual depression.
- The Christian life is a constant battle against evil spiritual forces. We must rely on God's power and armor, not our own strength.
- Non-Christians remain outside the church because Christians fail to manifest the power of the Christian life.
- To revive the church, we must discover the causes of spiritual depression and powerlessness. Failure to understand our spiritual battles is one cause.
- We must know God's word, stand on Christ's righteousness, and have peace with God to overcome the devil's attacks.
- The shield of faith means applying God's word to specific situations and seeing beyond worldly troubles to spiritual realities. We must believe in God's promises and see the eternal glory awaiting us.
- The helmet of salvation refers to the certainty of our ultimate victory and redemption in Christ. Though facing difficulties now, we will persevere to the end.
- The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, allows us to defend ourselves in close combat with the devil by quoting Scripture. We can defeat the devil using God's word.
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.