Ephesians 6:16  "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

We are told in 2 Cor 5:7 "(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)"  To walk indicates that we are to live our life and have our life's behavior based on a trust in God and in following his word.   

Faith is described as a shield.  As part of the soldier's armor a shield is used to protect the vital organs.  It especially protects against arrows and swords.  Back in the time of the writing of the scriptures, the burning arrow (fiery dart) was a cause of many soldiers meeting their death.  A shield of wood would not protect against the fire.  The shield had to be made of stronger material in order to both deflect the arrow and to protect against the fire.

The tempter and enticer is Satan and he uses the fleshly lusts to attempt to get the child of God to sin: James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

The lust of man is divided into three categories as set forth in 1 John 2:16 "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

The Lord showed us how to use faith as a shield against the fiery darts of Satan when he was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan.  The first temptation and the Lord's response is set forth in Matt. 4:1-4: 4:1 "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."  Satan appealed to the lust of the flesh.  The Lord replied with "it is written."  Rather than using fleshly reason or rationale, which will always fail us, we should respond to the temptations of the flesh with the word of God. 

In the second temptation of the Lord, the devil appealed to the pride of the flesh.  This is set forth in Matt. 4:5-7: "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."  Just as he had done in the first temptation, the Lord responded with "it is written."  Likewise, we should respond to the appeals of the devil to our fleshly pride with an "it is written."

In the third temptation of the Lord, the devil appealed to the lust of the eye.  This is set forth in Matt. 4:8-10: "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."  We see the pattern the Lord gives us with "it is written."  Additionally, when the devil is trying to entice us through the lust of the eyes, we need to be prepared to respond with "it is written." 

How can we respond with "it is written" if we do not know what is written?  This implies that we need to know the scriptures well enough that we can respond to the temptations of life with "it is written."

The Holy Spirit also informed us that we, by taking the shield of faith, can quench all the fiery dates of the wicked.  Again, we see the word of God is a thorough furnisher.

In addition, we point out that Paul wrote "above all" we should take the shield of faith.  While, the whole armor is important, the most important piece for us in this armor is the shield of faith. 

Ephesians 6:17  "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"

The fifth and sixth pieces of armor listed for us are the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

The helmet of the soldier is designed to protect the head of the soldier.  The head houses the brain, the eyes, the ears, the mouth, and the nose of the body.  Certainly, this is a vital area to be protected.  The brain is the engine, governor, or control center of the body.  A malfunctioning brain places the soldier at a great disadvantage. 

The helmet of salvation protects the mind of the spiritual soldier.  Many people are confused on the subject of salvation.  If we do not rightly divide the subject of salvation in our mind, then we will end up very confused as to how that we are saved from sin and how we have possession of the new or spiritual man.  It is important that we understand that the bible teaches that eternal salvation is all by the grace of God and that the bible also teaches a temporal or time salvation for the children of God as they walk in obedience to his word. 

Many of God's people are confused on the subject of salvation today and many end of trying to do things for the wrong reason, and deeply worry that they haven't done enough to procure their eternal salvation, not knowing that eternal salvation is by the grace of God and has been obtained for them by Jesus Christ.  Further, in their confusion they end up fighting against the truth and yielding themselves into bondage to the works systems of this religious world.  They become enemies of the truth.  In addition, they began to think the end justifies the means.  This leads to adding to God's word and leaving off portions of God's word.  This confusion often renders them to be poorly equipped to fight the good fight of faith.

The sword of the Spirit is the first offensive weapon listed in the whole armor of God.  With the word of God, the disciples were accused of turning the world upside down.  Many people have been converted to the truth with this sword of the Spirit.  Through the preaching and teaching of God's word, many of God's children have been brought to repentance from many sinful practices and false belief systems and subsequently experienced a closer walk and fellowship with God and with his obedient children. 

The influence of God's obedient children brought about by this sword of the Spirit has also been a great influence in the world about them.  With the greatly declining influence of knowledge about and obedience to the word of God, iniquity is fastly increasing in this nation.  It will ultimately lead to much destruction to the Lord's people in this nation and possible destruction of the nation itself.

Ephesians 6:18-20  "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."

The seventh and final piece of armor listed for us is prayer.  Prayer is both an offensive and defensive weapon in our arsenal.  For instance, the Lord prayed for Peter, when Satan desired to sift him as wheat: Luke 22:31 "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."  First, the Lord prayed for Peter for protection against the ravages of Satan.  This is a defensive stand.  Second, the Lord prayed that when Peter was converted, that he would strengthen his brethren.  This is an offensive stand.

Prayer consists of several things.  It consists of worship, of making supplication for others and for ourselves, of watching for the well-being and protection of others, of making request for the furtherance of the kingdom of God and the gospel ministry, of giving thanks for the things that God has blessed us with, and of honoring and glorifying God.

We are to pray in the Spirit.  We are to pray unto the Father.  We are to pray in the name or the authority of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

We are to "pray always."  This does not mean that we are to pray 60 seconds of every minute, 60 minutes of every hour, 24 hours of every day, and seven days of every week.  We cannot do this.  However, we are to pray consistently and regularly and we are to persevere in prayer.  That is we are not to stop praying for a period of time. 

Prayers are to be made for ourselves, for the saints, and for the gospel ministry.  We are to make supplications (requests) for the saints, and to request their good in prayer.  Further, we are to pray for the gospel ministry that they may have the liberty to preach the word of God and that God will give them utterance (that which he would have them say) and that God will open doors of utterance (to whom he would have them speak). 

In addition, we are to pray that God will give his ministry boldness to speak the word in power and demonstration of Spirit and to speak it clearly with understanding that the ones to whom they preach may know what is being preached. 

"For which I am an ambassador in bonds."  An ambassador is one who represents the good things of his country to others.  The gospel ministry are ambassadors of God to God's scattered people.  They are telling them the good things and good news of God and his kingdom.  For this, we ought to pray that God will enable them to speak boldly and to make known the mysteries of the gospel. 

Ephesians 6:21-24   "But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: 22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen."

Nothing was to be done in secret.  Paul did not hide his affairs from the knowledge of the brethren.  He sent Tychicus to the Ephesians, that they might know his affairs, and make known all things unto them.  In doing so, he would also comfort the hearts of the hearers through the preaching of the gospel. 

Paul closed with mention of the great subjects of peace, love, and faith.  He acknowledged that these things came through God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Additionally, he closed with the mention of God's grace.  Paul opened and closed his epistles with the mention of God's grace.  He surrounded his writings with the mention of God's grace.  Grace is the grand subject of what he wrote.