THE HELMET OF SALVATION
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand… 17 Take the helmet of salvation
Paul to the Ephesians in chapter 6 verses 12-13 and verse 17
Yes, our lives are lived in battle against our enemy, the devil. But, with Jesus as our commander-in-chief, and equipped with the full armour of God we are not “victims” but we are “victors”. In fact Paul in Romans 8:37 declares that we are “more than conquerors”. When we look at infamous conquerors of history we think of Napoleon who conquered ¾ million square miles of territory, Hitler who conquered 1.3 million, Attila the Hun with is 1.4 million, Alexander the Great with over 2 million and, greatest conqueror of them all, Genghis Khan who took almost 5 million square miles of land! Yet, we are declared to be MORE than these! We are “super conquerors”!
Let us think on this as we think on the armour that we need to “wear”, and in particular that which we need to guard our minds, our thinking, so that we really know the truth that we are more than conquerors – the helmet of salvation.
THE TRANSFERENCE OF THE CROSS
Transference is an amazing truth of the Cross. In that moment when Jesus took our place and died for us on the Cross we transferred our sins to Him and He transferred His salvation to us. And the truth is that so long as we remain in Him then that salvation for us is totally secure. It is a fundamental truth of eternity.
Our enemy, the devil, will seek to penetrate our shield of faith with his flaming arrow telling us that we are not saved, that we are not going to heaven that we are not going to spend eternity in Paradise. He is a liar and the father of all these lies that are fired at us. The helmet of salvation is that which protects our minds – our thoughts – with the Truth that we ARE saved. We are NOT perfect but we ARE saved. It is not backward looking – for we are already disciples and our sins are already forgiven. It is looking forward – we WILL see our salvation become an eternal reality – it is a reality we shall enter into.
Romans 13: 11 tells us:
our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed
And 1 Thessalonians 5: 8 further tells us to put on:
the hope of salvation as a helmet
We need this helmet of salvation to protect our minds from being overwhelmed, and deceived, by what we see going on in the world and what a world without God wants us to believe.
WHAT IS THE HELMET OF SALVATION?
The breastplate is to protect our “heart” – our emotions.
The shoes are to protect our “will” – our peace of heart
The helmet is to protect our mind – our intelligence, our thoughts, our ability to think and reason. It enables us to think clearly in a morally and spiritually confused and noisy world.
Morally, politically and spiritually our culture is in chaos – in the midst of this we need to keep our thinking straight and pure. In this we know with certainty that Jesus IS coming back, that He WILL make all things new and that we ARE going to spend eternity with Him in Glory. So, when we see on the TV or in the media of the self-destructive nature of the world around us, the helmet of salvation shall protect our minds from despair. Mankind has always thought that through advancement in society, education and science, he can create a brave new world, a utopia. As H G Wells and George Bernard Shaw, prophets of secularism, both admitted in the aftermath of the Second World War, these “castles in the sky” had fallen. Our minds, however, are protected from hopelessness but are full of hope in the salvation of Jesus!
We are not panicked when we hear of wars and rumours of wars – for we know from where all this chaos and evil comes – but our minds and our thoughts and our hopes remain protected by the helmet that assures us that salvation is coming!
We know that the world is doomed but that Jesus has come to save the World. World events point to the world being doomed but we are called to put our hope in the certainty that Jesus IS coming again – to keep our eyes fixed on this and to look forward to it in hope. And the Bible suggests that what we see in the world now is nothing compared to how bad things are going to get. So, let us stand strong with the hope of salvation – the helmet of salvation – that tells us “all is going to be OK – just believe and trust and obey”.
We have no hope in humanity but we have every hope in God; and with this hope of salvation as a helmet on our heads we will go forward to make a difference in the world and to push back the forces of our enemy, the devil.
PUTTING SOME “FLESH ON THE BONES”: SKUNKS AND ELIJAH!
What does this look like for us?
It has been well-put to say that our enemy, the devil, wishes to assault our minds through “stinking thinking”! In the USA they have a major problem with skunks! If a skunk gets into the crawl space under your house, opening the windows and using air freshener won’t solve your problem! There are people who actually specialise in dealing with skunks. They’re called ‘skunk whisperers’, and it’s not cheap to have them come to your home. But it’s worth it to get rid of the problem. How does all this relate to your thinking? Simply this: your feelings are the odours and your thoughts are the skunk! And your “stinking thinking” thoughts come via our enemy, the devil. To change your feelings, you must go to the source and deal with the thing that produced them – how you think and our enemy who battles for our minds with the thoughts that he just drops in there. Thoughts produce feelings, not the other way around. Worried people tend to think anxious thoughts, and eventually those thoughts become so automatic that, like a lingering skunk odour, you stop noticing and learn to live with it. You get used to ‘stinking thinking’! Your thought patterns become as habitual as brushing your teeth. You get so accustomed to thinking bitter, anxious, selfish thoughts that you stop paying attention. If you want to change the quality of your life, you must change the way you think.
The mighty prophet, Elijah, had just such a problem. 1 Kings 19 tells us this tale:
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, ‘May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.’
3 Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’
10 He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’
11 The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’
14 He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’
15 The Lord said to him, ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.’
The high point in his career was when he called down fire from heaven and defeated the prophets of Baal. It was a World Cup-sized victory! Then word came from Queen Jezebel: ‘You killed my prophets. Well, guess what? Now I’m going to kill you’ (see 1 Kings 19). As a result Elijah plunged headlong into fear. He felt worthless: ‘I am no better than my ancestors’ (v. 4 NIV 2011 Edition). Hopeless: ‘[He] ran for his life’ (v. 3 NIV 2011 Edition). Isolated: ‘I am the only one left’ (v. 10 NIV 2011 Edition). Unable to cope: ‘I have had enough’ (v. 4 NIV 2011 Edition). He wanted to die: ‘Take my life’ (v. 4 NIV 2011 Edition).
So how did God respond to Elijah? In four simple ways:
- He helped him to start eating right and get proper rest.
- He spoke to him in ‘a still small voice’ (v. 12 NKJV), reassuring him and giving him courage. I just want to pause here just a second. Elijah’s thoughts were crowded with fears, anxieties and …well, just “stuff”! And he just had to be still – he had to go up on the mountain of the Lord – which speaks of “getting away from it all” – going into the Lord’s presence. And he had to quiet his mind so that he might hear this “still small voice”. More than ANYTHING I, at this time, believe we need to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46: 10). Martha just was SOOO busy (Luke 10: 38-42) and couldn’t hear Jesus through the “noise” of her busy-ness and had to learn to “be still”. We live in a crazy, noisy, world and have to “be still and know that I am God”. Our helmet of salvation is to protect our minds from the “noise” of the world – and we have to choose to block it out!
- He assured Elijah that he was not alone: ‘I have…seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal’ (v. 18 NKJV).
- He gave him another mission to fulfil.
CONCLUSIONS AND CHALLENGES
There will always be a ‘Jezebel’ threatening to undo your best efforts and bring you down.
The key is learning to control your thinking! The key is putting on the helmet of salvation and knowing that whatever is happening in the world, whatever we are assailed with, the Truth is that He IS coming back, that He WILL make all things new, and that we ARE going to eternity with Him.
And this is true WHATEVER is happening in the world – we know that all will work out for good. And this is true WHATEVER the world is trying to tell us is right – God’s will WILL be done!
CONSIDER THIS ON YOUR OWN OR IN YOUR HOUSEGROUPS:
Salvation certainly means that we don’t have to think worrying thoughts about our future anymore.
Salvation certainly means we can step back and shut out all the tempting thoughts and evil thoughts and fearful thoughts that assault us constantly. If the helmet of salvation protects our thoughts, then what should the helmet stop getting through to our mind? Maybe it is NOISE! The noise and distractions (yes! One of the “5 D’s”) of life.
We fill our heads with noise – and so are not hearing God.
How are you going to “be still and know that you are God”?
Let us find again “silence”: watch NOOMA