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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
May 24, 2009
Spiritual Warfare, Pt. 17 – The Helmet of Salvation
This morning we come to the fifth piece of spiritual armor, the Helmet of Salvation. We have already covered the belt of truth (See: The Belt of Truth: God’s Existence), the breastplate of righteousness (See: The Breastplate of Righteousness), the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace (See: Feet Shod with the Gospel of Peace) and the shield of faith (See: The Shield of Faith). Each and every piece is important in our warfare against the spiritual forces of wickedness that surround us. While the battle is all around us and is at times very severe, we have nothing to fear as long as we use the provisions God has made for us. Make sure your armor is on!
The importance of the helmet is obvious to anyone who has ever seen film of soldiers in battle. It was important in the days when men fought with swords and spears, and it is still important today when men fight with rifles and bombs. The helmet protects your head. It keeps you from being knocked senseless when you the enemy gets by your other defenses and lands a blow.
In the ancient world of the Romans, the helmet was generally made of leather to which plates of metal were attached. A helmet protects your head and more specifically your brain from injury. It was extremely important as defense against the arrows, spears, swords and clubs used by the enemy. When someone is out to crush your skull or take your head off, you definitely want something that will at least cause the blow to deflect and leave you alive to continue fighting. And don’t think for a moment that Satan’s efforts against you are any less than that. He and his cohorts hate those who love and follow God and would like to destroy you. Is your armor on?
The Helmet of Salvation
What is the helmet of salvation and what does it protect?
The helmet of salvation is focused on the protection of the mind and therefore is related to what you believe to be true and therefore trust. What we think controls everything we do and salvation radically changes the way we think.
We use the term salvation a lot in evangelical Christianity, but we do not always define it and so it becomes more of a slang term. Salvation can be used to refer to many things, such as being saved from the hand of enemies that hate you (Luke 1:71), but salvation in the Bible and as is commonly used in Christianity usually refers to salvation that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16). It is salvation from sin and its consequence of condemnation in Hell to righteousness and the blessing of eternal life in Heaven (Romans 6:15-23; 8:1). We are delivered from Satan’s domain of darkness to the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13). No human deserves this salvation and no human can earn it by anything they could possibly do for even our works of righteousness are filthy before our Holy God (Isaiah 64:6). The only means of this salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ and His work of atonement on the Cross of Calvary (Acts 4:9). We are saved by God’s grace through faith as a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8,9).
This salvation brings about a radical change in our minds and how we think. The minds of the unbelieving are described as fleshy (Romans 8:5; Colossians 2:18), set on the things of earth (Colossians 3:2), worldly (Jude 1:19), blinded (2 Corinthians 4:4), futile, darkened (Ephesians 4:17), hostile to the things of God (Colossians 1:21) and in danger of becoming hardened (2 Corinthians 3:14) and descending into depravity (Romans 1:28).
On the other hand, the believing are given the mind of Christ by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:16). This enables them to be of sober (1 Corinthians 15:34) and sound mind (2 Corinthians 5:13) and start being transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2). With humility of mind (Philippians 2:3) the Christian is to focus on the things above (Colossians 3:2) with their minds dwelling on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
Without this salvation from sin and self to righteousness and the Savior you will not have a helmet to put on so that it can be renewed. However, this initial aspect of salvation is not what Paul is talking about in this passage. Paul is addressing Christians in the book of Ephesians and the armor of God cannot be used by those who do not belong to Him. Paul is speaking in reference to something that someone who is already saved puts on. Paul is not referring here to receiving the helmet at salvation, but rather in using the helmet after salvation. Paul gives a greater clarification of this in 1 Thessalonians 5:8.
In 1 Thessalonians 5 Paul talks about the coming of the day of the Lord and what it would be like (vs. 1-3). In verses 4-11 Paul seeks to assure the Thessalonians that they do not need to be afraid of the day of the Lord because it would not be coming against those who are sons of light, but rather against those who were of darkness, those who were evil. Yet, in verse 8 he also warns them that they too need to be prepared. Paul says, “But since we are of [the] day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
Now notice in verse 8 that he calls the helmet here “the hope of salvation.” This is speaking of what is yet to come in terms of our salvation. Let me quickly remind you that Biblical hope is not a wish but rather a confident assurance of what the future holds. We have a confident assurance that our positional salvation in Christ will also be an actual reality in practice and placement in the future. In other words, we know that we currently stand justified before God because Jesus Christ has paid the penalty of our sin in our place, and we also know that there will be a day when we will no longer struggle against a sin nature for we will be fully transformed when we are with God in heaven for eternity. That hope is not only a great motivator, but also a rock on which we can stand firm in the midst of a very unstable world.
It is this hope for the future, this assurance of what I can expect will come that keeps me from losing my bearing. This helmet of salvation protects my mind from losing a grasp on reality when Satan’s sword breaks through my other defenses and hits me upside the head. I can keep my mind set on things above so that the truth of God can control me even when my circumstances are bad and my experience is confusing. Let me give you an illustration of this from the Scriptures.
One of Satan’s great weapons against us is discouragement. If he can make us discouraged and despondent then we will do nothing for the Lord. We will live in self pity and despair. We will become worthless to the cause of Christ’s kingdom. There are lots things that can discourage us, and Satan knows how to use them all. He did so in the life of Job.
The Example of Job
Consider for a few moments Job and his life. The book opens and we find that Job is extremely rich. He has a very large family. He is greatly respected by everyone, and he is very spiritual because he is making great efforts to keep his relationship with God right. Now if any of us were attacked in any of these areas, we could and probably would struggle with discouragement if not depression. Job was struck in all these areas and his health. How would we respond if something like that happened to us? How would we handle our own emotions as well as the comments others would make about us?
The first thing destroyed was Job’s wealth, and the reports about it came to him in just a few moments of time. In Job 1:13-17 we find that Sabeans attack and steal all 500 of Job’s yoke of oxen along with his 500 donkeys and kill all the servants watching them except the one that escaped to tell Job the bad news. So much for Job’s farming enterprise. If you cannot plow, you are not going to farm. Before this story is finished being told along comes another lone servant who has escaped a great tragedy when all 7,000 of Job’s sheep and their shepherds are all killed by fire that falls from heaven. Job’s wool and mutton business has been completely destroyed in a moment. While that servant is still telling the tale, here comes another servant, the lone bearer of bad tidings. Job’s trade and transportation organization is taken away when all 3,000 of his camels are stolen by the Chaldeans. In the course of just a few minutes, all of Job’s wealth is either destroyed or stolen with no way for him to get any of it back.
How would you react in such a situation? What would you do? What would you say if you just lost your job much lest found out at the same time your bank collapsed and your investment broker has embezzled all your savings and retirement funds and moved to South America. I think most of us would have a hard time with that. We would be crying out to God, “Why?” or “God, what are you doing?” That would be a strong challenge to our faith. A blow like that might get through the shield of faith put up by many people, but there are some that might still stand firm.
What about the next challenge to Job? Before the third servant is through talking a fourth servant rushes up and says, (vs. 18,19) “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died; and I alone have escaped to tell you.” How would you react? You get home from work and find your house destroyed by fire and family has perished inside. Or your husband takes your kids for ice cream as a special treat. A half hour later you answer the door to find a police officer standing there. There was an accident. They all died. How would you react? Would your shield of faith hold? Would your breastplate of righteousness stay on? Were your shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace holding firm to the ground?
Job’s reaction is recorded in 1:20-22, “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” 22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. Now all these things are frightening enough by themselves, but it was not over for Job yet. In Job 2 we find that his health is stricken too. He is found by his friends covered with boils sitting in ashes scrapping himself with a potsherd. They could not even recognize him (Job 2:12). Now you say to me, “Wait a minute Pastor, your scaring me.” Maybe, put this is the point. As Job says in Job 3:25, these were the very things he feared that had come upon him. Is your armor on well enough to withstand the onslaught Satan will throw against you?
Job did not understand why all this had happened. He did no have the benefit of having the scenes in heaven revealed to him at this point. From his perspective, all of this had come directly from the hand of God. He even states it that way in Job 2:10 when he responded to his wife’s suggestion that he “curse God and die.” “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Even this was not the end of it. He was reduced to poverty. He lost his family. His health was destroyed and he was in great pain. His wife was of no comfort. Job’s lament in chapter 3 reveals the torment he was under. The agony and misery are great, and now his three friends start in on him. They begin to accuse him. Each did so in a different way, but all did so with the same basic point. Their belief was that somehow all of these tragedies that came upon Job were his own fault. These men are not trying to be cruel. They genuinely want to help Job out of his situation and solve his problem. They are also very scared that if this could happen to righteous Job, then it could happen to them. They must find something wrong about Job to blame or they are also in great danger.
But with friends like that, who needs enemies? Job’s misery continues to increase. His belt of truth is slipping. He is still after the truth, but he no longer quite sure what is true. His breastplate of righteousness is now battered. He longs to know himself what he may have done or failed to do. He falters in pride and wants to contend with God. His feet are bare and he has no peace. He feels that God is against him. His shield of faith is also banged up and he is now struggling to lift it up. Satan’s broadsword has struck hard, but there is one piece of armor Satan has not been able to penetrate, and that is the helmet of Salvation.
In Job’s greatest despair his helmet is still on and it controls his thinking. What God was doing was a complete mystery to him. He does not understand, nor can he explain it. Yet, Job holds fast to a hope for the future. He still has a confident assurance about what will occur. In Job 19:25 he proclaims, “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. 26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; 27 Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes shall see and not another. My heart faints within me.” Job had already proclaimed, “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15). Job’s mind was set above with a hope of heaven.
The helmet of salvation is our confident assurance of our eternal future with God. It is what protects us when Satan has smashed through our other lines of defense. We can stand firm against our adversary even when the circumstances of our lives seem to be crumbling around us.
The Source of Confidence
Turn to Romans 5 and let us see why we can have such a confident assurance in God and His promises. At this point in the book Paul has explained that everyone is a sinner and is deserving of eternal punishment. He has also explained how a person can be justified by faith in Jesus Christ. In Romans 5 Paul explains the ramifications of this saying in verse 1, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. We can take great joy in the hope given to us by what God has done for us.
But as Paul continues in verse 3 we find that we can also be excited about what we would normally be considered very negative. “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations.” Stop there a minute. You immediately think Paul has lost his mind. How can we be excited and happy about our tribulations? That seems crazy, yet, we can be when we have the helmet of salvation on. Paul continues to explain.
3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath [of God] through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
I will come back to this point about the practical benefits of tribulation in our lives, but I want to first stress the reason we have this hope, this confident assurance for the future. It is because of the love of God! But wait, are there not times you do not feel like God loves you, like maybe He has forsaken and forgotten about you, that you have been abandoned to the troubles of this world and maybe even the persecution of those who are evil? Are there not times when you feel like the Asaph, who I mentioned last week in Psalm 73 expressed his confusion over his suffering for righteousness sake while the wicked prospered? If you have not felt that way, then great. Just keep your eyes focused on the Lord so that you never do. For the rest of us, there have been times we have felt that way and perhaps are some here today that feel that way now.
How do you get back on track? How do you regain that sense of assurance of God’s love and care for you? You have to go back to the cross because it is the absolute proof of God’s love for us. Jesus died in our place when we were sinners. He did this when we were His enemies who cursed Him and fought against Him. God’s love is different from that of men, though we are to learn to love in this manner. Even when everything is going wrong, I come back to the cross and remember that God loves me. He has demonstrated it for all time and eternity and needs do nothing else to prove it.
Because of God’s love, I have been saved. He has justified me through the blood of Jesus Christ shed in my place on that cross. I am reconciled to and now know that I will be saved from the wrath of God that will eventually come upon evil mankind.
When I feel despondent, that things are not going the way I want, that life is cruel and unfair, then I come back to the cross and am reminded that God still loves me. Hope is born anew within me. God loved me at my worst, and He still loves me now.
The Effects of Confidence
Because of this hope in God’s love, I will continue on and develop a proven character by persevering through the current tribulations. That is the blessing that tribulations can bring about and why Paul can exult in them. Tribulations bring about perseverance which produces proven character which is based in hope and founded in God’s love demonstrated in Jesus Christ. Or to reverse this, because God has proven His love in Jesus’ Christ even while I was a sinner, I have hope which controls my character so that I can persevere in tribulation with joy. My helmet, my hope of salvation, has protected me though battered about by life. Is your helmet on?
But I cannot stop here, the helmet of salvation also emboldens me to get into the battle because it brings me back to the purpose of my existence. If I did not have it and was always worried about losing my salvation, then I would quickly retreat into a hole so that the world could have no influence on me, but then I could have no influence on the world. Without the helmet of salvation, I would always be in the defensive mode looking for a place to hide, a place to escape. I would not be standing firm and holding my ground. I would be retreating for the rear lines wanting someone else to do battle with the enemy.
It is a tragedy that there are branches of Christianity that deny this great truth of being fully assured of salvation. They deny it for a variety of reasons, one of which is an effort to keep people from false professions by which they claim to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are trusting Him for salvation, yet refusing to live for Him. Certainly there are many who have such false professions, but the solution to the problem is not to change the nature of salvation and try to remove the assurance of God’s promises.
That a person can be fully assured of the hope of salvation is easily proven. 1 John 5:10-13 is the classic passage. “The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son. 11 And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.” You either have the Son or do not. If you have the Son, then you have the life and He will change you, which is the point of 1 John. If you do not have the Son, you will remain in bondage and will be controlled by your sin nature.
Another reason some Christian traditions deny the security of the believer is because they teach that your salvation is dependent on something you have done. If salvation is somehow dependent upon me and I am changeable, then it is only reasonable that I could change and lose what was depending upon me. However, the Bible is clear that my salvation and future hope of being with God for all eternity it is not and never has been dependent on me. It is all the result of God’s grace by which He made me, who was dead in trespasses and sin, alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2). He made me a new creature and transferred me from Satan’s realm where I was a slave to sin to the Kingdom of Christ where I am to be a slave of righteousness (Romans 6, 2 Corinthians 5).
I do not have to worry about losing my salvation. I need not retreat in fear. I need to stand firm regardless of what my enemies throw against me. God is sovereign and He loves me. He proved it at Calvary.
The helmet of salvation also brings me back to the fundamental truth that I am not here for my needs and my glory. I am here to serve God and bring Him glory. My goal in life is to persevere through tribulations so that my character can be proven, so that I can, as James 1 says, be mature and complete, lacking nothing. It is the helmet of salvation that forces me forward in living for Christ because as Paul says in Romans 12 it is only reasonable in light of the mercies of God extended to me that I present my body as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to Him. I am to resist being conformed to this world but instead be transformed – utterly and completely changed – by the renewing of my mind that I might prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Why are you here? Why do you exist? What is the point of your life? Without the helmet of salvation you not only run the risk of being cast about by every wind of doctrine, but also of having your faith being made a shipwreck. You will end up with Ecclesiastes’ conclusion that everything is vanity – an empty chasing after the wind. You will be in the camp of the modern existentialists who have concluded that nothing really matters. That would please Satan very much.
Is your helmet on? Is its chin strap fastened so it will not be shaken lose? Is your mind controlled by these fundamental truths? Are you living according to the purpose of both your existence and salvation?
If we have the helmet of salvation on, then I think the last two verse of Martin Luther’s great hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” is a fitting conclusion:
And tho this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us: The Prince of Darkness grim, We tremble not for him: His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure; One little world shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, No thanks to them abideth; The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth; Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also; The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still; His Kingdom is forever.
The next sermon in this series is: Spiritual Warfare Part 18: The Sword of the Spirit
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Count how many times the words “salvation” is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about what it means to be saved from sin and to wear the helmet of salvation.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What was the importance of a helmet to a soldier in ancient time? In modern times? What does the helmet of salvation protect? What does salvation usually refer to in the Bible? How can a human be saved from their sin and its consequences? Explain. Is it possible to earn salvation? How does scripture describe the mind of an unbeliever? What happens to the mind when a person is saved? Ephesians is written to people who are already Christians, so what does the “helmet of salvation” refer to? See 1 Thess. 5:8. What is the meaning of “hope” as used in the Bible? What is the Christian’s hope in regard to salvation and the future? Describe Job’s situation in life and his character at the beginning of the book. What three events took away all his wealth? What happened to his children? What was Job’s response? What then happened to Job’s health? What was his response? How did his three friends treat him? What was Job’s hope for the future despite his present circumstances? Why is it easily understandable that we can exult in hope of the glory of God because we are justified by faith, what enables us to “exult in our tribulations”? What can tribulations produce in the life of a Christian? What is the basis of a Christian’s hope? How can we know without a doubt that God loves us? What does the Bible teach in regard to the security of our future salvation? What is that security based upon? Why do some branches of Christianity teach you can lose your salvation? Does their reasoning hold up to God’s promises in the Bible? Explain. How does the helmet of salvation help you to stand firm in the midst of spiritual warfare? What dangers are faced by those that do not put on the helmet of salvation? Is your armor on?
Sermon Notes – 5/24/2009
Spiritual Warfare, Pt. 17: The Helmet of Salvation – Ephesians 6:17
A helmet keeps you from being knocked _____________ when the enemy gets by your other defenses
A helmet protects your head, and more specifically, your _________ from injury
The Helmet of Salvation
It is focused on the protection of the _____and therefore is related to what you believe and therefore trust
Salvation in the Bible usually refers to salvation ____Satan, sin & Hell ___Jesus, righteousness & heaven
This salvation is _____________and comes only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus and His atonement
The minds of the unbelieving are ______, worldly, blinded, ____, darkened, hostile & becoming depraved
The believing are given the mind of _________ and are transformed by the renewing of the mind.
Salvation from Satan and sin to righteousness & the Savior ________ you the helmet to put on.
Paul is not speaking about receiving the helmet at salvation, but about _______the helmet after salvation.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 – the helmet of the ________ of salvation.
A confident assurance that our current positional salvation _______________full heavenly transformation
Hope keeps my mind from losing grasp of ultimate _________.
The Example of Job
Job is rich, has a large family, is greatly respected and is a ____________ & spiritual man
Over a short time in ________Job loses his farming, sheep & wool, and trade & transportation businesses
All his children are ___________ the same day when their house collapsed in a wind storm.
Job was severely distraught, but did not sin nor ________________
Job’s body was stricken with ___________ from head to foot. What he feared had come upon him.
Job’s friends make false ______________ against him increasing his agitation and suffering.
Job was confused about ___________, was provoked to pride, lacked peace and struggled with faith.
Job found hope in the future ___________ of salvation – Job 19:25
We can stand firm against our adversary even when the circumstances of our lives are ____________.
The Source of Confidence – Romans 5
Being justified by faith we have _________ with God and exult in the glory of God
We can also ___________ in our tribulations if we have our helmet of salvation on – Romans 5:3-10
We have hope – confident assurance – because of the ____of God has been demonstrated in Christ’s death
Jesus died in your place while you were still a _____________ and at enmity against Him
When I feel despondent, hope is born anew when I come back to God’s demonstration of love at the ____
The Effects of Confidence
God’s proven love gives ______ that controls character resulting in perseverance in tribulation with joy
The helmet of salvation emboldens the believer into spiritual _____and fulfilling the purpose of existence
Some branches of Christianity _________ the assurance of salvation for various reasons.
The believer can be fully ___________ of the hope of salvation – 1 John 5:10-13
If salvation was dependent on you, then it could be lost because you can ___________
Salvation is dependent on God’s _________ alone by which He made me alive in Christ – Ephesians 2
You can stand firm in spiritual warfare without fear of ___________ your salvation.
The helmet of salvation brings me back to the fundamental truth I am here for ________ glory, not mine
The helmet of salvation forces me forward in _________ for Christ.
Without the helmet of salvation you __________ tossed about by the winds of doctrine and chase vanity
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