Protecting Our Minds
(Helmet of Salvation)
1 Thessalonians 5:8-9
1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 (NIV)
8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I was only in the ministry a few months when I was making a visit in the hospital and on the way out of the hospital on the elevator a mother and a daughter were on the elevator in distress – crying almost uncontrollably. I asked if there was something I could do to help. And the daughter in the midst of tears said that they had been told that her dad was going to die within the next few hours and they had to call the family. I asked if there was a pastor that I could call to be with them. She looked at me rather surprisingly and said something to the effect that she hadn’t thought about calling her mom and dad’s pastor, so I found out the name of the pastor and called him. And I remained with the family till he got there. In the mean time I asked the wife if her husband had made a commitment to Christ. She said he had been active in the church for a long time. I pressed on and remarked if he was a Christian – by her definition he was – then “isn’t it reassuring that he would be in paradise with his Lord.” Her comment has bothered me ever since, “I sure hope that he will be in heaven.”
I sure hope that he will be in heaven! Yes we have hope but our hope is in the promise of grace. Salvation should not be just a hope but we need to be assured that we are going to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Where will you spend eternity? I know it will be heaven because of Christ work in me.
- Paul is telling us to have confidence that nothing absolutely nothing can separate us from the Love of God. So if God is for us, it does not matter who is against us. (Rom. 8:31-39) We need to understand that salvation speaks to our past, present and future.
Romans 8:31-39 (NIV)
31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Salvation first addresses our past. When we accept for ourselves Christ as Lord we enter into salvation through justification.
- The past aspect of salvation is justification. We are freed from guilt of past sins. At the moment we accept Christ as Lord and Savior we have freedom from the penalty of sin. Once we accept His grace we become co-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17).
- Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. When we decide to follow Christ we are crucified with Christ and so are our sins.
- Many times we wallow in our past and that plays on our minds.
- I have discovered that many people who suffer from doubt and depression have sins that they have never turned and allowed God to forgive them.
- We need to allow the Lord to free us from sin and know that we have been forgiven.
In the present aspect of salvation means freedom from the overwhelming power of sin. Sin no longer has power over us, the believer. Look with me at Rom. 6:11-14.
Romans 6:11-14 (NIV)
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
- Even though we have been justified sin is still present and tries to damage the relationship we have with Christ. Sin has no right to rule in our lives but it terrorizes us – it tempts us to sin.
- Even though we continue to struggle with sin in our lives it will no longer rule our lives. We know that if we confess our sins that God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.
- Although we continue to struggle with sin we are no longer under its control and we now are under God’s grace and holiness.
- The future aspect of salvation speaks of freedom from the presence of sin. There will be a day that sin will not exist; it is called glory. Paul writes in Romans 8:18 - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. It is called the kingdom of heaven.
- We are promised that a day will occur that we will have complete freedom form sin because it does not exist.
- The helmet speaks to the past, present, and future. It is reminding us that we have freedom in Christ and that our salvation is not based on our actions but on Christ of the cross. We are to know that He saves us.
- The helmet once in place helps us endure trials; not escape them but endures them. In battle the Roman soldier wore the helmet to help protect him from the sword. In spiritual warfare the helmet helps protect us from Satan’s two-sided sword of discouragement and doubt.
- Discouragement is one of his ploys or schemes to pull us away from being a disciple. We call it burn out or brown out today but Satan reminds us of disappointments in life.
- I t goes something like this: “You’re giving a lot and not getting much back.”
- “You’re really trying to live according to the Word and where is it getting you? You lost your job! Some blessing!”
- “You’ve been reading your Bible every day, but your marriage is till going down the tubes.”
- You’ve been going to church for years and your kids still don’t respect you.”
- Sometimes we get discouraged because we get weary. I can’t do another thing in church I am over committed now.
- Elijah is a wonderful example of this type of weariness. He and God just won a big battle against evil and then runs away because a woman (Jezebel) threatens him. He and the Lord had defeated hundreds of evil priest and prophets. He forgot where his power came from so he hid out in a cave.
- We too need to remember that our hope, our salvation, our life comes from Christ.
- Satan has another edge and that is doubt. Satan likes to question our beliefs. It is okay to search for answers but Satan wants us to doubt in simple faith statements. He wants to create doubt in our lives.
- If I were to ask you – “if you were to die today, where would you spend eternity? What is your answer?
- I hope to be in heaven?
- Not sure?
- In heaven!
- Satan would say – you are not going to be with God because you still mess things up (that is another way of saying that you have sinned).
- It is not by our efforts it is because of God’s grace we can be sure of place of residency.
- It is not bold on our part to know where we will spend eternity it is a matter of counting on God’s promise to those who believe in Christ.
Remember that it is the helmet of salvation that provides us the assurance and the hope to carry on. We can be sure of that hope. In your bulletin is a guide for you to stick in your Bible to remind you of God’s truth that protects you against discouragement and doubt:
We will have eternal life if we confess that Christ is Lord and believe:
- "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
- That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
We will be like Christ:
- Dear friends now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
We will enjoy endless companionship with Christ:
- And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:3)
We will enjoy complete health:
- So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 1 Cor. 15:42-43
We will enjoy unending happiness:
- God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."(Rev. 21:4)
“The 1989 Armenian earthquake needed only four minutes to flatten the nation and kill thirty thousand people. Moments after that deadly tremor ceased, a father raced to an elementary school to save his son. When he arrived, he saw that the building had been leveled. Looking at the mass of stones and rubble, he remembered a promise he had made to his child: “No matter what happens, I’ll always be there for you.” Driven by his own promise, he found the area closest to his son’s room and began to pull back the rocks. Other parents arrived and began sobbing for their children. “It’s too late,” they told the man. “You know they are dead. You can’t help.” Even a police officer encouraged him to give up.
But the father refused. For eight hours, then sixteen, then thirty-two, thirty-six hours he dug. His hands were raw and his energy gone, but he refused to quit. Finally, after thirty-eight wrenching hours, he pulled back a boulder and heard his son’s voice. He called his boy’s name, “Arman! Arman!” And a voice answered him, “Dad, it’s me!” Then the boy added these priceless words, “I told the other kids not to worry. I told them if you were alive, you’d save me, and when you saved me, they’d be saved, too. Because you promised, ‘No matter what, I’ll always be there for you.” Christ will always be there for us – He promised.
Salvation is free, ... but discipleship will cost you your life.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.