Preaching About the Shield of Faith

Preaching About the Shield of Faith

We are considering how important it is to preach about spiritual warfare.  Here’s the first in this series of posts.  In this post we focus on what to keep in mind when you are preaching about the shield of faith in your church.   Here’s the specific verse in Ephesians 6:

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Preaching About the Right Kind of Shield

Regular shield

Cavalry shield

There were two kinds of shields in the armor of the Romans.  One was a small shield that was used primarily by the cavalry of that day.  That is not the kind of shield that Paul was referring to.  The other kind of shield covered the entire body of the soldier.  The only open part would be the eyes looking over the top.

Notice something important about this shield.  Prior to this Paul has listed many of the parts of the Roman soldier’s shield.  But there is no action word associated with the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, or the boots that are associated with the gospel of peace.  But now, there is a change.  We are to “take up” the shield of faith.  We need to take action.   When preaching about the shield of faith remind your readers that they will have to take action.

Flaming Arrows Hit The Shield of Faith

We are told to take up the shield of faith, because it will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the enemy.  The shield was usually made of wood, but had a covering of leather that would absorb the arrows.

Flaming arrows in that time were a terrifying means of attack for several reasons.  First, they could be shot from a distance, so you might not see them coming.  All of a sudden, hundreds of such arrows would come streaming in, starting fires everywhere.

I remember watching a movie about the attack on the Alamo in Texas back in 1836.  The attack of the Mexican army begin with a shower of flaming arrows.  As fires broke out all over the Alamo, defenders were distracted from engaging the enemy.  Instead, they were running from fire to fire.  No sooner was one first put out, but another took attention.

A Shield of Faith

The shield is created by our faith.  Do you get the analogy that Paul is making here?  He is saying that when we trust in God (our faith), the enemy may try to create fear and chaos in our lives, but when those arrows hit our shield, they will be extinguished.

I think of a friend of mine when I read this passage.  A doctor’s visit confirmed that he had a melanoma growth.  This was dangerous.  But he went through the treatment, and after five years hosted a party for his friends, celebrating that he was healed.

Unfortunately, a couple of years later, it was back.  Gradually it became obvious that he was not going to live through this.  Talk about flaming arrows!  But his faith shown through him.  As he declined, he began sharing his faith with his neighbors.  At his funeral, two of his neighbors came to me and said that they are Christians because of how my friend died.  Yes, that’s the shield of faith.

One More Thing

I’ve showed you the picture that is here before.  It shows the Testudo

formation for close in fighting.  The soldiers would gather closely together and hold their shields so that the entire formation was protected.  When preaching about the shield of faith remind your hearers that we need to gather together when the enemy is sending out his arrows.