Ephesians 6:13-17; The shield of faith gives peace in a confusing world.
Tuesday May 10, 2022
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.
for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition. 3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts.
God has not chosen to remove the flaming missiles, instead He gave us a shield of faith.
We are to use our intellect as free people to act in faith. We are to decide to say and do what is righteous and based on the truth. We’re not given a procedure from God or a to do list. He tells us to stand firm in His truth and righteousness, and at the proper times act according to what we think the will of God is in a particular situation.
There will always be mystery to life because Almighty God is. “Adore God … Never assume to comprehend…”
“Admire and adore the Author of the telescopic universe, love and esteem the work, do all in your power to lessen ill, and increase good, but never assume to comprehend.” [John Adams]
Mystery is essential because we live in a world that is filled with it. The pride of man imagines that he understands a great deal about his world because of his scientific achievements, which have indeed been impressive, but prideful man doesn’t want to know how much more impressive the universe is over and above his limited knowledge. That’s just the physical universe. The mass and energy of space confounds us. The workings of the invisible cell in our bodies mystify. The smallest change to any one of the many physical constants that we can measure would throw the whole of the universe into chaos. Who fine-tuned everything with such precision? Then we try to understand mankind and his behavior. We try to understand ourselves and our passions. We come up short every time and, I suspect, miss the mark by far more than we know.
John Adams wrote to his granddaughter Caroline, “You are not singular in your suspicions that you know but little,” he had told Caroline, in response to her quandary over the riddles of life. “The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know … Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough … So questions and so answers your affectionate grandfather.”
Adams had almost four-thousand books in his library, and read them all. He read the Bible frequently. He thought David’s psalms to be the best literature of them all. He read Greek and Latin easily. He admitted that he knew but little, but said that despite this, we should do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
The ready messenger of the gospel of peace must live by faith in a world antagonistic to his message.
The gospel is the one thing in the world that frees people from Satan’s world-prison and can free them from his influence.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are downtrodden,”
Satan knows every person who is carrying the gospel in their “lungs,” and especially those who are partakers of the gospel in the conduct of their lives and boldness in their speech.
We do, we walk, we speak by faith and not by sight. Christ has sent us into a world where the flaming missiles are flying around. This artillery of lies, deceit, and threats are constantly flying throughout the world, and they were long before we got here. Faith in the faithfulness of God, the power of the gospel to shine light into dark hearts, and the sovereignty of God over all things will keep us filled with power and endurance. Certainly there will be times when we are afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, but by faith in the power of God within, we will not be crushed, despairing, forsaken, or destroyed.
Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone; 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, 3 so that no man may be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. 4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know.
behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you;
you shall be My witnesses
I see the greatest danger to the church not being the threat of its extinction, but its failure to impact the world with truth and righteousness and the gospel.
Our faith in God faithfulness is a shield unto us. God obviously wants us to trust Him or He wouldn’t have put us in this situation. He obviously wants us to seek for Him or He would have given us all knowledge and faith at the start.
Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2 and that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5 And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.