Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 6. Experiencing the power of the cross . No 11:- Dead to Satan (Part 7) Helmet of Salvation

. No 11:- Dead to Satan (Part 7) Helmet of Salvation

 

EXPERIENCING THE POWER OF THE CROSS


DEAD TO SATAN (PART 7)

 

We get back to Ephesians 6 to the armour of God, so let’s jump straight in from where we left off last week. Now you will notice something interesting which I mentioned by the way last week.  Notice how the first three parts of the armour are introduced. Look at verse 14 & 15 again: Ephesians 6:14-15 (ESV) 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” So you see the verbs here. It presupposes that they are permanent things. These are things that remain even when you are not engaging in the battle. You do not take them off, because at all times your life must be marked by readiness. But now look at the change in verbs in the next verses. Ephesians 6:16-17 (ESV) “16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and (take) the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,”

So these three parts of the armour are in addition. So based on the verbs we as Christians live then all the time committed to victory, pulling in the loose ends of our character as indicated by the belt of truth, or truthfulness. We live in righteousness, purity, sanctification, godliness and holiness with our breastplate on at all times. We live continually with our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace which is to say that we’re confident God is on our side and that God is no longer our enemy, but that we are at peace with God. So we live in that constant preparedness as we face the enemy on a daily basis. But then when the real battle comes, you take up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

So let’s turn now to verse 17 and look at the helmet of salvation.

Armour part 5. The helmet of Salvation.

The Roman helmet was to the head what the breastplate was to the chest. When you are in one on one combat a blow to the head will be fatal. Some helmets in ancient times were leather with metal pieces fastened on to the leather, others were solid cast metal, but it had one purpose and that was to protect the head from sword blows.

Next week we will get to the Sword of the Spirit which is based on one sword the Romans used. They had different swords. In the days of the ancient Romans they fought with dagger like swords which are called ‘machairas’ which were about 30 cm long.  But then they had the ‘rhomphaia’, a massive double edged sword about a meter in length. The handle would be gripped in both hands, and the last thing you wanted was to have that coming down on your head in battle without a helmet on. You will have an instant split personality with half your head on one side and the other half on the other side of the sword, unless you had a helmet on.

Now in our spiritual army, Pauls calls it the helmet of salvation. In general, I have heard the teaching on this approached from two angles. One view would simply be that you cannot go into the battle unless you are saved, and the other view is that the helmet protects the brain, which is knowledge, so therefore you need to go into the battle as a saved person who knows a lot. However, the fact that our feet are shod with the gospel of peace already implies salvation. You wouldn’t even be in battle if you were not saved.

I believe based on the word of God that this is not talking about our past salvation and I do not believe that it is talking about our present salvation either. Paul has a theological issue he was always concerned about, something that believers should know, something that will keep them secure in their faith, and secure in their spiritual battles and I believe this is coming out again here with the helmet of salvation. A verse that will help us to understand this mind-set of Paul is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (ESV) “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. So he is talking to saved people and he talks about a hope of salvation. What is that?

I believe that based on this text and Paul’s theology in general, Paul wants to give you confidence in your salvation in its future aspect. Just to remind you. There are three aspects of salvation, namely past, present and future. At the time you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, you were saved from the penalty of sin. That’s what happened. That is called the doctrine of justification. You are now in the second phase of your salvation and you are being saved continually from the power of sin, in the sense that sin longer has dominion over you, which is called sanctification. Now remember I have often reminded us that we are saved from the power of sin but not the presence of sin.

So the first phase is justification, the second phase is sanctification or to put it in another way, we have been saved from the penalty of sin and from the power is sin but there is a third phase. That is when we are saved from the presence of sin, and that is what I believe Paul is talking about here, namely your glorification. The term “salvation” in general includes all three of those phases. From the moment you receive Christ to the time you enter into heaven, your salvation is secure. Salvation has happened to you, it is happening to you, and it will happen to you.

One of the most glorious verses I believe in the Word of God with regards to this reality is found in Hebrews 6:19 (ESV) We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,…”

Peter gives you this same security in 1 Peter 1:3-4 (ESV) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,”

Christian, you have been saved, you are being saved and you will be saved. We’ve all been given these great and precious promises about future glory.  In fact Paul says in Romans 8:23 (ESV) says, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

In Romans 13:11-12 (ESV) Paul says, “11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.”

So how can salvation be nearer that when we first believed, or how can salvation be nearer than when we were first saved, Paul again is talking about phase 3 which is without a doubt glorification.

So when we talk about the helmet of salvation we’re talking about the confidence we have in a full final, total salvation when we will be glorified. Now, how is this part of our armour? Some Christians believe that you can lose your salvation. I’m convinced that if you believe you can lose your salvation, or you are worried that you can lose your salvation, you are ill equipped to engage in the battle. Christian, if you’re not sure you can win, you very likely will be tempted to turn in to some kind of a monk who flees from any threat at all. Or you will be tempted to become a legalist, a Pharisee, a hypocrite who puts your hope in your own endeavours, your own works, your own righteousness and your own ability.

Knowing that you will be glorified makes a huge difference in your ability to fight because you know you can’t lose. That is the promise of Scripture.

I love the way Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV) “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” If you’re under some erroneous theology that tells you one slip and you’ve lost your salvation, one slip and we kick you out of Logos, then you are not equipped to engage in the spiritual struggle and then you are not equipped to get close to the enemy because your life will be motivated by fear, and you won’t have the heart of a victor. You cannot fight the battle while motivated by doubt, because then every tiny problem you face as a Christian is going to become an obstacle to you. But if you have the helmet of salvation you stand firm because of what we saw in Romans 8 last week that nothing in all of creation will separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I know many Christians who have taken years to become victorious in the battle simply because they do not have confidence in the helmet of salvation. They hit the slightest trial, be it relational, sin, financial, insecurities or the death of a loved one and they let go of the battle because they do not stand secure in their final glorification.

I remember saying to you last week that as a Christian you are invincible. My biggest privilege is to stand at the death bed of a person who has the helmet of Salvation on, as they are ready to die, because they are sure of their glorification. But then I stand at the death bed of some Christians who did not believe in eternal security, and they are so confused at death door as they no clue whether they will be saved or not. I often got called out to somebody dying who wants to have another conversion just in case the first one did not work. I am also stunned at the number of atheists at that time who think they can fool God by wanting to suddenly convert. Now, we all know that the Lord can save a person at death door, right, we are not oblivious to the thief at the cross, but nobody will fool God as God knows our hearts and He knows who are His. So rather wear the helmet of Salvation now, while it is day, because night is coming.

Wearing this helmet or not also effects how you labour, how you work. Discouraged people, people who think the devil might be more powerful than God, people who think the devil can mess up everything and people who fear that they might lose their salvation, just don’t bring the right confidence and the right passion to the battle. They always lack commitment. We’re to stay at it, living in the constant hope of glory, never fainting, never giving up, never growing weary, knowing that the victory in the end will be ours.

Church family, we are at war, we are soldiers 24/7, we are on the winning side, and we are secure in the knowledge that in the end we will receive our glorification, if we wear this helmet of eternal security that ensures our final salvation.

Let me for the last part of this sermon share some verses with you that will encourage you to take up the helmet of Salvation.

Look for example at the 7 churches of Asia as we encounter them in the book of Revelation. They were attacked from outside, and some of them were besieged by their own sin and by the enemy. The church of Ephesus for example departed from their first love. Now how can you wear the helmet of salvation with regards to your glorification when you are battling with your sanctification which is building on your justification? But there is one message to all of them and that is ‘listen what the Spirit says to the churches’, and what does the Spirit say to the churches, and here is a central message to all of them, overcome, overcome, endure, conquer  and endure to the end. To Ephesus: Revelation 2:7 (ESV) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’” To Smyrna: Revelation 2:11 (ESV) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’” To Pergamum: Revelation 2:17 (ESV) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’” To Thyatira: Revelation 2:25-28 (ESV) 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star.” To Sardis: Revelation 3:5 (ESV)The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” To Philadelphia: Revelation 3:11-12 (ESV) 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.” To Laodicea: Revelation 3:21 (ESV) The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

In the same way you and I are challenged hang in there, your redemption, your salvation is drawing near. I believe when you understand the greatness of your salvation, when you understand the permanence of your salvation, when you understand the eternality of your salvation, it anchors you in the middle of the battle. You don’t get discouraged. You are not defeated because we know we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. But if that’s in question, you’ve got some serious problems. You’ll be so busy battling your own emotions that you can rarely engage the real struggle.

Paul challenges the Corinthian church in their battle in 1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV) “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.” You can hang in there because you know you have a security in the Lord and you know that for you who are in the Lord there is an eternal reward, a crown of life, of rejoicing and of righteousness.

That’s what moved the Apostle Paul to be able to say in the middle of all the continuous suffering that he went through in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV) 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Let it come, he said. My vision is on that which is eternal. In fact, the message is this, that whatever you suffer in this life will be the cause of your reward in the next life. Admittedly the activities of Satan are relentless, they never stop. But we labour and toil and fight and war for the cause of the Kingdom and against sin because we know in the end we will triumph. And the helmet of salvation is that absolute confidence in the saving, keeping power of God’s sovereign grace.

Christian, your salvation is secure on all levels, past present and future. Let me remind you of the words of Christ again in John 6:37-39 (ESV) 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” That is such a great promise. The Father has given us to the Son. The Son receives us. The Son keeps us. The Son raises us. This, I think, is one of the greatest, most comforting doctrines in all Holy Scripture. We have a calling that cannot be revoked. We have an inheritance that cannot be defiled. We have a foundation that cannot be shaken. We have a seal that cannot be broken. We have a life that cannot perish.

Jesus also said in John 10:27-29 (ESV) “27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Now there is some security. There are a number of strands in this divine rope that binds us to God. We are Christ’s sheep and it is His duty as the divine Shepherd to care for us and to protect us. And to suggest that any of Christ’s sheep may be lost is to blaspheme the Great Shepherd. Furthermore, those who are Christ’s sheep, according to this passage, follow Christ. And they do not listen to strangers. They hear His voice. And furthermore, to the sheep who belong to Christ and who follow Christ is given eternal life. To speak of it as ending or not being eternal is a contradiction in terms. How could ‘eternal anything’ end? Furthermore, this eternal life is given to them. “I give eternal life to them,” verse 28. They didn’t invent it. They didn’t merit it. They didn’t earn it. Consequently they can’t do anything to forfeit it. Furthermore, they shall never perish. That’s the negative side of saying I give them eternal life. That’s obvious. They shall never perish. If one person who is Christ’s sheep goes to hell, Christ is a liar.

Philippians 1:6 (ESV) “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 1:12-14 (ESV) 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Isn’t this one of the greatest promises of Scripture? I received the gospel of my salvation, phase 1, 2 & 3 and I am guaranteed of my inheritance.

Then I love these verses, as they give sense to everything between them. Jude 1 (ESV) verses 1 & 24, the first and the last verse of Jude. Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:” Jude 24 (ESV) “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,…” We do not have time for it, but go and read the context between these two great verses and see that the world is full of dangerous persons inside and outside the church. They are placed there by the enemy, and we know that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. But Hallelujah, we know we are kept in verse 1 and we are presented in verse 24, which means that we will be victorious in verse 2 – 23.

Lastly, we read in Hebrews 6:11-12 (ESV) 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

And so, we can engage in this great struggle without fear as we are clothed with the belt which shows our character as those who are truthful and not hypocritical, we have the breastplate that says we desire to live pure, holy and right, our shoes on our feet says that we are at peace with God, we have that glorious shield of faith with which we reject the lies of Satan and we rather believe God and now we have on our heads this helmet of salvation that says I am saved, I am saved, I am saved, I am saved, past, present and future, and therefore I will live for Him and Him alone.

Come back next week as we take up the Sword of the Spirit as the last physical part of the armour.

Amen.

Logos Community Church: - 19 May 2013