Ephesians 6:16-17

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 1, 2006


This was written by Charles Spurgeon …

“When God puts a burden upon you He puts His own arm underneath.” There is a little plant, small and stunted, growing under the shade of a broad-spreading oak; and this little plant values the shade which covers it, and greatly does it esteem the quiet rest which its noble friend affords. But a blessing is designed for this little plant. Once upon a time there comes along the woodman, and with his sharp ax he fells the oak. The plant weeps and cries, “My shelter is departed; every rough wind will blow upon me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!” “No, no,” saith the angel of that flower, “now will the sun get at thee; now will the shower fall on thee in more copious abundance than before; now thy stunted form shall spring up into loveliness, and thy flower, which could never have expanded itself to perfection shall now laugh in the sunshine, and men shall say, “How greatly hath that plant increased! How glorious hath become its beauty, through the removal of that which was its shade and its delight!”

See you not, then, that God may take away your comforts and your privileges, to make you the better Christians? Why the Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. This is the way in which He makes them soldiers - not by dressing them up in fine uniforms, to swagger at the barrack gates, and to be fine gentlemen in the eyes of the loungers in the park. God knows that soldiers are only to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades, not in soft and peaceful times, Well, Christian, may not this account for it all? Is not thy Lord bringing out thy graces and making them grow? Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every appliance to come off conqueror?

We may not like it when we feel like our “protection” has been taken away.  But it’s reality beloved.  It’s war.  God wants us equipped as His soldiers, not just to look pretty in a parade, but to stand on the front lines, to rescue the captives held by Satan.

:16  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

above all – the Greek phrase used here could also be translated “upon all”, “on all”, or “before all”.  I don’t think Paul is talking about the shield of faith necessarily being the most important piece of armor, but that it’s the piece that covers all the other pieces.  The shield covers the entire soldier.

takinganalambano – to take up, raise; to take up (a thing in order to carry or use it)

The idea is, you’ve already got a shield, now raise it up and protect yourself with it.  In Star Trek, the captain yells out, “Raise the shields”.

shieldthureos – a shield, a large oblong, four cornered shield; from thura – a door

The Roman thureos was two feet wide by four feet long.  It was used to ward off blows of the enemy and to hide behind when enemy archers let go a volley of arrows. It contained layers of wood and hide and sometimes bronze.  When flaming darts would hit it, they would stick in it but then snuff themselves out in the hide.  The Romans could kneel down on the ground and erect a wall of shields around them to block out flaming missiles as they advanced (phalanx).

I like the idea of putting our “shields” together.  We are stronger when we’re together.  You may not feel like you have enough faith for the battle you’re in, but perhaps if we stick together we can protect ourselves better.

you will be abledunamai – to be able, have power; to be capable, strong and powerful

dartsbelos – a missile, dart, javelin, arrow; from ballo – to throw; it’s whatever Satan throws at you.

fierypuroo – to burn with fire, to set on fire, kindle; perfect tense – was burning and is still burning.

These darts were sometimes flaming in order to set fire to the enemies' clothing or camp or homes just as American Indians did.  They used tar or pitch on the end of the arrows or darts and they would not only burn, but if they hit a crack in the armor, the pitch would drip inside, burning the soldier badly.

to quenchsbennumi – to extinguish, quench; of fire or things on fire; to be quenched, to go out


The Shield

Our shield is our “faith”.
The word “faith” is one that I get concerned about.  I’m concerned because there are some folks who have the wrong idea of what this word means.  Some teachers will give you the impression that “faith” is some sort of magical power that some people have.  And they say that if you have “enough faith”, that you will be able to do amazing things and even be able to twist God’s arm so He has to do what you want Him to do.
There is nothing “magical” about the word “faith”.  It simply means to “trust”.  Do you trust God?
Another definition of faith is found in:
(Heb 11:1 NKJV)  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Another way of saying this might be to say that “faith is trusting in something or someone you don’t see”.  It’s trusting in God even when you don’t understand how it’s going to work out.  It’s counting on God even when you don’t know why things are happening.

I am protected from the enemy’s destructive, flaming arrows by trusting, by counting on God.
For example, when you go through a rough time, the enemy will often fire a flaming arrow that sounds something like this … “God certainly must not love you, look at what just happened.  Maybe it’s because you did that horrible thing a couple of years ago …”

Will the arrow penetrate your armor?  Will the flaming tar seep into the cracks and burn you?

The real issue is, will you trust God?
David wrote,
(Psa 27:13 NKJV)  I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

David’s faith kept him from quitting.

Paul wrote,
(2 Cor 4:8-18 NKJV)  We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; {9} persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; {10} always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. {11} For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. {12} So then death is working in us, but life in you. {13} And since we have the same spirit of faith (or, “an attitude of trust”), according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak, {14} knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

Paul was trusting that if God could raise Jesus from the dead, that he too would be raised from the dead.  Even if Paul died, he was trusting that it wasn’t over.  He believed that God was going to take care of him.

{15} For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. {16} Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. {17} For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, {18} while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Paul was counting on the unseen things – that means that He was trusting God, he had faith.  His faith extinguished the flaming arrows the enemy fired.

Layers in the shield –
I think this picture speaks of the “layers” of faith we add to our shield as we grow in the Lord.  I hope that the longer you are a Christian, you have grown to trust the Lord more.  The more difficulties you go through, the more you learn that God actually can be counted on, and that you can trust Him.
(1 Pet 1:6-7 NKJV)  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, {7} that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

Each trial you go through has the potential of purifying your faith.  It’s like adding another “layer” to your shield.

Charles Spurgeon once told of a pastor who was sent to see an old lady and while he was there thought he would give her some precious promises from the Word of God.  Taking her Bible and turning to one, he saw written in the margin “P” and he asked, “What does this mean?” “That means precious, sir,” she replied. Further down he saw “T and P” and he asked what those letters meant. “That,” she said, “Means tried and proved, for I have tried and proved it.”

Put God to the test.  Trust Him.  Let Him show you that you can trust Him.

Add those “T’s” and “P’s” in your Bible.  Trust God’s Word.

:17 And take the helmet of salvation,

helmetperikephalaia (“around” + “the head”) – a helmet


The Helmet

Your head is the most important part of your body.  If an enemy soldier shoots you in the head, that’s it.
I believe this “helmet” is the thing that’s most important of anything, your eternal salvation.
For us, this means we need to be “saved”, and it means that we need to know for sure that we’re saved.


What does it mean to be “saved”?  What am I saved from?
There’s a problem.
The problem is that I am a sinner. (Rom. 3:23)
My sin has consequences.  The consequence of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).  The consequence of sin is separation from God, and that means hell.
There’s a solution.
God knows you are a sinner, and He has a plan to take care of your sins.
God’s plan was to send His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross as a sacrifice and pay for your sins.

Because Jesus was God in the flesh, He didn’t just lay down an ordinary, single human life as a sacrifice.  He laid down an eternal life, enough to pay for the sins of the world.

And now all that God asks of you is to turn to Him.  Turn from your sin and turn to Him.  Ask Jesus to forgive your sins.  Ask Jesus to help you.  Ask Him to live in your life.
And that’s putting on your helmet.

Assurance of salvation

One of the ways that Satan will attack the believer is to get him to question his salvation.
If Satan can get you to wonder whether or not you really are a Christian, then he has you right where he wants you.  Useless.
If you were to die tonight, do you know FOR SURE where you would spend eternity?
Is there any doubt?  Do you have any questions about this nagging in your mind?
God wants you to know for sure whether or not you have eternal life.
(1 John 5:11-13 NKJV)  And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. {12} He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. {13} These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Do you “have the Son”?  Did you put your trust in Jesus?

Remember beloved that your salvation is not dependant upon what you do, but what Jesus does.
It’s not whether you were good enough to go to heaven, it’s whether Jesus’ blood was enough to pay for your sins.

There will be times when you will sin.  There will be times when you blow it.  But that doesn’t change the fact that Jesus’ blood is enough to pay for your sins.

It’s simply a matter of whether or not you took that step of trusting in Him, believing in Him, turning your life over to Him.
Do you know for sure?
If you are in any way unsure, then let’s settle the issue once and for all.  Let’s pray and ask Jesus to pay for your sins.
Then write down in the front of your Bible that today, October 1, 2006, you KNOW that you asked Jesus into your heart and you asked Jesus to forgive your sins.
When Satan begins to throw stuff at your head, make sure your helmet is on – remind Satan that you are God’s child now, you know you are a Christian.

:17 and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

swordmachaira – a large knife, used for killing animals and cutting up flesh; a small sword, as distinguished from a large sword

God’s Word is our sword.

(Heb 4:12 NKJV)  For the word (Greek:  logos) of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

This is the sword that the Holy Spirit wants to use in our lives.

wordrhema – though this word can be used to describe the subject matter of a speech; it seems that the emphasis is on the actual words that are spoken, the speaking of words, the words uttered by the living voice.

It’s not just carrying your Bible around that’s important.  It’s understanding your Bible and using your Bible.  It’s learning the principles and learning to “speak” them, to use them in your life.


The Sword

There is no better example of proper “sword-play” than Jesus
(Mat 4:1-11 NKJV)  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. {2} And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. {3} Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." {4} But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
word - rhema
Jesus wasn’t carrying scrolls around with Him.  He had God’s Word inside His mind and heart.
And it wasn’t just any Scripture that Jesus quoted, it was an appropriate Scripture.

The passage is talking about the time when Israel was wandering in the wilderness, just as Jesus was in the wilderness.

(Deu 8:3 NKJV)  "So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.

The principle lesson of the verse was to remind Israel that more than actual food, they needed to learn to depend upon what God would give them.

Jesus had learned this principle and was willing to trust God to provide bread when He was ready to.

{5} Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, {6} and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'" {7} Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'"
Jesus is quoting Deut. 6:16, which is a reference to a situation in Exodus 17, again a time when Israel was wandering in the wilderness.  The people “tempted” or “tested” God’s patience.  Their situation had to do with water, not about flying, but Jesus saw a principle at work.

Jesus recognized this temptation by Satan as a “testing” of God’s patience.  Jesus applied the principle of God’s Word to His temptation.

{8} Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. {9} And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me." {10} Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'" {11} Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Jesus quotes again from Deuteronomy, 6:13; 10:20, which in turn are a reiteration of the very first of the Ten Commandments, found in Exodus 20.
Jesus again knew the principles and the actual verses, and applied them to His situation.
The idea is that Jesus clearly knew the Scriptures, the principles behind the Scriptures, and He used them, He spoke them, He swung His sword in the face of temptation.
“Well, that’s Jesus”, you might exclaim.  “That’s all good and well for Him, but how could I ever do such a thing?  How am I to ever know which Scripture applies to my situation?”
You and I have to read and study.

This is why we teach the Bible every week.  This is why I don’t just waste your time giving you trivia from the Bible, my goal is to help you dig up the principles, the treasures, the nuggets to live by.

This is also why I try to encourage you to read your Bible every day.  My desire is not just to feed you a fish dinner every Sunday morning, but to teach you how to fish, how to clean the fish, and how to cook it on your own.

The more of the Bible we can get into our hearts, the better off we are in this battle we face every day.
Satan doesn’t wait to attack you just once a week.  He attacks you every day.  And you and I need God’s Word every day.
I’ve been reading my Bible every day, for about twenty years.  I’ve read through the entire Bible at least twenty times.  And I think there are some things that are finally beginning to sink in.  I don’t feel like I’ve arrived, I feel like I’ve just gotten past first grade.  I’m not trying to brag about my Bible reading, I want to somehow convince you that I feel like I’ve just gotten a peek over the ridge and have found out I’ve got a long, long, long way to go.  And I only wish I’d started reading and studying sooner.
David wrote,

(Psa 119:11 NKJV)  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

This is not just something for really spiritually advanced pastors.  This is basic training.

Put on your armor.