The Shield of Faith, Part 1

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12, NIV)
 
In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16, HCSB)
 
The shield of a Roman soldier on which the Shield of Faith is based is not the small round shield we often imagine. It was about 4 feet tall and either rectangular or an oval.
 
It was basically a mobile wall. While formed in ranks, Roman soldiers would join their shields together to create a protective barrier. The row in front would hold the shields in front of them, while the rest of the ranks would hold them overhead. This would create a protective covering from the incoming arrows of the enemy.
 
Often these shields would be coated with leather which would be soaked with water. This would extinguish any enemy arrows which might be dipped in pitch and lit on fire. These shields were specifically designed to be connected and joined to the shields of other fellow soldiers. Likewise, our faith is designed to be connected to the faith of other disciples.

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Please, Prove Me Wrong…

Culturally inappropriate…
 
In the culture and context in which I live, it is not uncommon for people to say that they would do whatever Jesus asks of them.In fact, I recently heard a pastor who defined what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in similar terms.
 
And while that definition is lacking in certain aspects of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus; it is a good place to start.
 
Because, as simplistic as that definition is, it highlights a huge problem with discipleship within our immediate culture and context.
 
While the area is full of churches, and those churches might even be full of people (although not nearly as full as they used to be), you would be hard pressed to find enough people to fill up even one of those churches, who would actually do whatever Jesus asked of them.

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False Discipleship Advertising…

Disciple, Discipleship, Disciple-Making, and Making Disciples have become buzzwords in the Evangelical, American church.
 
It is quite common now for churches to include in their mission statement something about being or making disciples of Jesus.
 
My concern is that too many churches may have adopted disciple-making as part of their mission statement simply because it is something that they know that they should be doing; not because it is something that they are doing.
 
Moreover, not only are they possibly not making disciples of Jesus; they may not even know how to make disciples of Jesus; because too often, they don’t really even understand what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus.

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