Podcast: Play in new window | Download
It’s hard to deny the importance of a helmet.
- The Lansing State Journal ran an article on June 23, 2009, about a 36-year-old involved in a skateboarding accident: “It was a death that could have been avoided, officials said. “Paul Maxim, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered a skull fracture and other head injuries in an accident June 18 at Ranney Skate Park near Frandor. He died Saturday. “‘A simple helmet would have saved his life,’ said Lansing fire public information officer Steve Mazurek.”
- This story stands in stark contrast with an article that appeared in the Manchester Evening News on July 4, 2008: “Savannah Haworth, 11, was knocked unconscious after falling into the path of the car. “The wheels went over her arm and top of her helmet but she escaped with a swollen elbow and bruising to her face. “Her parents say she would have been killed without the helmet and are now urging all cyclists to wear them.”
- It’s incredible to think that the absence or presence of a helmet can make so much of a difference. A skateboarding accident can prove fatal without one while being run over by a car can be survived with one. One of the pieces of our spiritual armor is the helmet of salvation. How important is this helmet?
Ephesians 6:16-17 – 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I. “…And take the helmet of salvation” (6:17) – The fifth piece of God’s armor is represented by the Roman soldier’s helmet, without which he would never enter battle. Some of the helmets were made of thick leather covered with metal plates, and others were of heavy molded or beaten metal. They usually had cheek pieces to protect the face. The purpose of the helmet, of course, was to protect the head from injury. This vital piece of armor is described by the apostle as the helmet “of salvation”.
A. What is Salvation? What does this word mean to you? Although our thoughts go directly to the problem of sin and the cross of Jesus, the concept of salvation began early in the Biblical record. After the sin of Adam and Eve, man was removed from the blessings of the garden, and life was marked by strife, difficulty and violence. Man needed to be saved from the consequences of his own choices.
1. As the world grew hopelessly immoral (Gen 6:5 – every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually) God destroyed the world with the Flood, and at the same time performed the first act of salvation by saving Noah and his family. Later the salvation of Noah and his family was viewed by the apostle Peter as a pattern of that full salvation which we receive in Christ (1 Peter 3:18-22).
2. But the central Old Testament experience of salvation is the Exodus. God’s people needed to be saved from the slavery and tyranny of Egypt. As the Egyptian soldiers were bearing down on them at the edge of the Red Sea, Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Ex. 14:13-14) The Exodus became a pattern of salvation by which God’s future deeds of redemption would be understood.
- Israel’s God was known as the God of salvation who brought them out of the land of Egypt. (Judges 6:8-10 – the prophet who spoke to Israel in the days of Gideon.)
- The prophets spoke often of the God’s future provision of salvation that would come for all people through the Messiah. The salvation that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6 is our deliverance from sin accomplished through the work of Christ on the cross.
- The apostles spoke of salvation as both a present reality [Mark 16:16 – He who believes and is baptized will be saved… Acts 2:47– And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved] and a future hope. [Heb 9:28 – so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. 1 Peter 1:5 – who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.]
We are going to explore more about salvation during this month.
B. Our salvation through Christ protects us in the battle against Satan. How does this helmet protect us from a fatal spiritual injury? There are two ways the Christian is protected through his salvation.
II. Protected from the condemnation of sin: God has adequately protected me from the condemnation of sin through the secure means of my salvation. God’s efforts to save me are not suspect or weak. I can be sure that if God saves me from sin, I am truly saved. (The security I have in the power of God to save me, does not forbid my disbelief or apostasy. I can reject God’s provision of salvation and be lost.)
A. I am saved by the blood of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead. Satan has no power against the saving blood of Jesus and was rendered powerless through His resurrection from the dead. Heb 2:14-15 – 14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
1. One of the most confident passages for the Christian in all of the N.T. is Romans 8. Rom 8:1-2 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Move ahead to Paul’s concluding remarks: Rom 8:31-39 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2. The Hebrew writer proclaimed the confidence of the Christian in the person and work of Christ as our perfect High Priest. Satan cannot condemn us because Jesus did His work perfectly and completely. Heb 7:22-25 – 22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. 23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Earlier the writer said that this hope anchors our soul, because it is sure and steadfast.
3. John also tells us that the Christian has no reason to fear the condemnation of sin if he is willing to confess his transgressions and repent. He is protected by the power of his own salvation. 1 John 1:7-9 – 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
III. Protected from the practice of sin: The most contextual interpretation of the helmet of salvation, though, focuses on the Christian’s perception of his hope. Paul does not say we have a helmet, but rather for us to take up the helmet. The Roman helmet was designed to be worn in the battle as a last defense against the hand to hand blows of the enemy. If it failed, the soldier was probably going to die in the battle. In this sense the salvation of the Christian protects him in the moment of battle, or when Satan attempts to seduce him. He is protected from harm because he refuses to sin.
A. “hope of salvation” – It may be helpful to consider Paul’s description in 1 Thess. 5:8-9 – 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,. Paul says here that what protects the Christian is his hope of being saved in the end. The Christian has something that others do not – He has a hope. The word here is defined as “favorable and confident expectation”. The Christian has a confident expectation that he will go to heaven when he dies or if the Lord returns. That hope is “built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness”.
1. If your hope is real, Satan will have a more difficult time convincing you to forfeit that hope for a moment of pleasure or a temporary satisfaction. Heb 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Heb 11:24-26 – 24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
- In Romans 8 Paul calls Christians “sons” who are also “heirs” of a heavenly inheritance. In vs. 18 he confidently says … “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” What a marvelous hope Paul had. Notice his statement in Rom. 8:24-25 – 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Thos who have a hope of their salvation persevere.
IV. The Protective Power of a Real Hope: Does the hope of heaven help you resist the temptation to sin? The positive motivation that God has placed before us is powerful and real. But we must put on this helmet by keeping out hope alive through the word of God.
A. Turn to 1 Peter 1.
- 1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Peter tells us that we have been born to have a living hope of a very real and secure inheritance. He also says that we are kept by the power of God. But this keeping is not unconditional. Peter goes onto say
- 1 Peter 1:13-16 – Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
- In 1 John 3, the apostle says that when the Christian sees Christ he will be like Him, and then in vs. 3 says… “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3). Albert Barnes says the hopeful person …“Makes himself holy. That is, under the influence of this hope of being like the Saviour, he puts forth those efforts in struggling against sin, and in overcoming his evil propensities, which are necessary to make him pure… The particular thought here is, that the hope of being like Christ, and of being permitted to dwell with him, will lead a man to earnest efforts to become holy, and will be actually followed by such a result. (from Barnes’ Notes)
Are you wearing your helmet? Are you saved? Do you know how to tell others about your hope?
- 1 Peter 3:15 – 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;