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Shield of Faith

Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16

“Lift up”reminds us that it is a choice to pick up the armor. We must daily choose to believe the God is who He says He is, has done what He said and will do what He promised to do.

Where does this faith come from? Are we responsible to summoning it up? The Bible teaches that faith comes by hearing and hearing from the Word of God. It is the systematic, verse-by-verse study of the Bible that builds and increases faith.

Within the verse we are given information about our enemy, namely that he wants to turn up the heat. He will be attacking us with flaming arrow intended to catch fire and burn us.

Before a battle, the Roman soldiers would soak their shields in water to reduce the risk of fire when the enemy soldiers shot at them with flaming arrows soaked with pitch or other flammable material. Not unlike those solider, our enemy wants to consume our faith with the fire of destruction and leave us without protection. But we can soak our shields in the water of the Word of God and make it much less likely that we will catch fire when the enemy shoots us with his arrows.

Faith in God is like a shield. It protects our vital organs, keeping us alive that we might stand until the end of the battle.

1. Copy Isaiah 53:7 here. Meditate on that. What are your impressions?

2. Read Matthew 26:59-63. Summarize what is going on in your own words.

3. Read Matthew 27:11-14. Summarize what is going on in your own words.

4. How do Matthew 26:59-63 and 27:11-14 related to Isaiah 53:7?

5. Read Acts 8:26-35. Describe in your own words what is occurring in this passage. How does it relate to Isaiah 53:7?

6. Read Isaiah 53:8. For whose transgressions is Messiah stricken?

7. Read Daniel 9:25-26. What additional information is given?

8. Read 1 Peter 2:20-25. What is said of Christ’s suffering in this passage? What do we learn of how we should endure suffering from this passage?

9. Read Matthew 27:57-60. What do you learn about Jesus’ burial?

10. What do these verses confirm about Jesus?
□ 2 Corinthians 5:21
□ 1 Peter 2:22
□ Hebrews 4:15

11. Read Isaiah 53:10. Try to put the truths of this verse into your own words. What does this verse mean to you?

12. Read Isaiah 53:11. What does this verse mean to your life?

13. Read Isaiah 53:12. What does this tell you Messiah did for you?

14. Read Mark 15:28. What does this add to your understanding?

15. Read Luke 22:37. What does this add to your understanding?

16. Re-read Isaiah 53 and record all of your thoughts. How has studying this chapter changed your understanding of Jesus? His work on the cross? God the Father?

Spiked Shoes for Battle

having [c]strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news] Ephesians 6:15

The premise of Ephesians 6:15 is very similar to that of Psalm 119:11 which says, “Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”

It is our daily, consistent, verse-by-verse study of the Word of God which is analogous to strapping the “gospel of peace” on our feet in preparation to meet the enemy with firm-footed stability and readiness.

We strap the gospel on our shoes not unlike the golfer attaches the spikes to his golf shoes–to improve traction. With each scripture a believer studies, meditates on, discusses with others and thereby stores in his heart, he improves traction and is better able to stand in the battle. Our time in the Word of God daily, gives us confidence and amounts to us strapping on the gospel of peace to our shoes. God’s commands, statutes and promises give us that firm-footed stability Paul had in mind. It makes us more likely to be standing at the end of the battle.

Read Isaiah Chapter 53; Read Psalm 22
Try to read these two chapters in different versions than what you usually use to study. If you only have one version, read them multiple times. Meditate on the imagery. Record your observations.

1. Read Isaiah 6:8-9 and record how it relates to the statement in Isaiah 53:1.

2. Why do you think that the words of the prophets were so hard for men to believe? What is it about the voice of the prophet that the heart of man wants to reject?

3. What do you learn from the following verses?
□ John 12:37-38?

□ Romans 10:14-16?

□ 1 Corinthians 1:18-29

4. What do these verses teach about the tender plant mentioned in Isaiah 53:2?
□ Isaiah 4:2
□ Isaiah 11:10
□ Jeremiah 23:5
□ Zechariah 3:8
□ Zechariah 6:12
□ Revelation 5:5

5. What do the following tell us about this man described in Isaiah 53:3?
□ Psalm 22:6
□ Isaiah 49:7
□ John 1:10-11

6. Read John 6:26-69. This is just one example of Jesus interacting with people. What evidence is there in John 6 that Jesus was this man being described in Isaiah 53:3?
Going deeper.

7. Using what you know of the New Testament, answer the following questions:
What sorrows did Jesus suffer?

How was He acquainted with grief?

How do you know He was despised? Not esteemed?

4. Re-read Isaiah 53:4-5. Meditate on this. Consider it in other versions. Consider looking up some of the Hebrew words, e.g. “griefs,” “sorrows,” “transgression,” “chastisement,” to understand more clearly how the words are being used. Record what you learn and your reactions to this disturbing picture.
5. What do the following verses add?
□ Matthew 8:17
□ John 1:29
□ Romans 3:20-26
□ Hebrews 9:28
□ 1 Peter 2:24

Going deeper
6. What does the word “propitiation” mean? How does it apply to Isaiah 53? Jesus?

7. Why was this bearing of our griefs and sorrows necessary? Why was it necessary that Messiah be stricken, smitten, afflicted, and wounded? (Hint: Romans 3:10, 23; 6:23; Psalm 14:1-3)

8. According to Isaiah 53:6, whose punishment was Jesus taking?

9. Respond to these verses in your daily conversation with God. Tell Him what it means to you when you read these verses.

 

Breastplate of Righteousness

having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart) Ephesians 6:14b

Paul encourages us to “put on” righteousness–right standing with God. Right standing with God requires that we be without sin. This is not possible for us without Christ. Paul is not advocating a works-based righteousness. He is not saying to “do” right things. He is speaking of the imputed righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ. We must believe that Christ was the Son of God, that He was without sin. He died a sacrificial death for all who would believe, acknowledging their sin and their need for the atoning sacrifice of His blood.

[God] made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].2 Corinthians 5:21

Our righteousness comes from Christ–it is His righteousness that God sees when He looks at us. When we visualize the breastplate of righteousness as a piece of the spiritual armor, we are covering ourselves in the righteousness of Christ. We are standing with an upright heart–a heart that seeks to be in right-standing with God–a heart that knows it could never be “right” with God without the imputed righteousness of Christ covering him or her.

Read Isaiah 52:13-15 and Isaiah 53:1-12

1. What does Isaiah 52:13 say of Messiah?

2. Copy Philippians 2:9 here. What additional insight do you gain?

3. What does Isaiah 52:14 say will happen to his face? What does Isaiah 52:15 say will be the result of that?

4. What does Isaiah 53:1-2 tell you about Messiah?

5. What do the following verses add to your knowledge of Messiah?
□ Psalm 22:6
□ Mark 9:12
□ Romans 10:12-16
□ Philippians 2:7

The Belt of Truth

So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist. Ephesians 6:14a

We are to stand firm, hold our ground. We are to tighten the band (belt) of truth. The truth Paul is referring to here is absolute truth. Be honest with yourself. Be honest before God. Be honest before others. This type of truth is reflected in personal integrity and moral courage.

Personal integrity speaks of wholeness–soundness on the inside. Are you sound on the inside or are you merely a shell of righteousness on the outside with no real substance underneath? You are not fooling God with this facade you have built for yourself. He sees you. He sees the real you. He sees the empty shell of you.

Paul is reminding us to be sound. Fill yourself with the truth of God–His word, His statutes, His righteousness. Allow the Spirit of God to give you integrity, soundness that you might be a person whose words and actions are consistent, that you might be a person characterized by moral courage–bravery in your inner parts.

Moral courage is facing the truth about yourself and allowing God to come in and make the necessary changes. Moral courage makes the hard decisions of life and follows God. Moral courage is obedience in the tough spots, in the times when only God is watching and only God will know that you have lied or deceived or cut a corner or cheated.

Moral courage characterizes the man or woman of God. Moral courage says that I will not allow others to think more of me than God already knows of me. Truth. Not personal truth that shifts like the sands of the desert in the wind storm, but absolute truth–the truth of the One who created all things and knows all things and is in all things. Absolute Truth.