The Helmet of Salvation

The Helmet of Salvation: Pat Nemmers; February 12, 2023

Ephesians 6

Well, good morning, Saylorville. If you brought a of copy of scripture with you this morning, you can find Ephesians chapter 6 as we continue in our series, “The Church at War.”

And how coincidental that on this Super Bowl Sunday, we would be addressing the Helmet of Salvation! [Laughter as Pastor holds up a Chief’s helmet.] There we go. Take that you Eagles fans! On the other hand, the odds makers only give the Chiefs less than 50% chance of winning this game. We’re going to need a better helmet than that If you’re walking with Jesus!

But before we get into that, I’d like to pray and I’d like to pray because most of you are aware that over 25,000 people have died in this earthquake in Syria and Turkey. If you’re not, you should be aware of that. There are agencies, Christian ministries and missions from all around the country and the world that are descending on that place and helping them. One of our own mission agencies are there we’re supporting. So we need to have a heart for that situation that most of us are not directly connected to. Then I have some burdens on my own heart for some people in our own church that are suffering. So before we get into the Helmet of Salvation, let’s pray together, shall we?

Our Father in heaven, we’re grateful today that we can come before you. You are the sovereign God over all things… good, bad and otherwise. Lord, because the earth groans, literally groans, because of sin, Your word tells us we see great natural disasters occur from time to time, and there is one now in Turkey and Syria. Lord, we know you’re there. We pray that you would be there in a very special way with all the rescue workers. Give them safety, and help all the missionaries that are there to love on people, give the comfort of Christ and then just open up doors for the gospel to be whispered and then even proclaimed in certain places there, we pray. God we ask you to bless our own church. There are people in this church that are hurting. Some in this room that are hurting very deeply physically and I can’t pray for them all. I don’t know all those situations. I know of Lori. We pray for her in the hospital dealing with cancer. We pray for Julie, another gal in the hospital dealing with cancer. We pray for our own Mark who’s dealing with cancer. This disease has invaded bodies and is threatening life itself. And then, God, I pray for everyone here in their minds, because we’re going to be dealing with the mind, particularly today. It’s a sin cancer that is so corrupting. And it’s already deep into the minds of many that are in this room and those watching online. And I pray, Lord, you’d extract this cancer from these minds and that your people would learn to put on the impenetrable Helmet of Salvation, from You. And we ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Ephesians, chapter six.

In the late 1980s, some of you will remember a goofy author, but very imaginative guy, by the  name of Frank Peretti. He wrote a book, “This Present Darkness.” Some of you will remember that. It was not meant to be a theology of angels and demons, but it was a really eerie and sometimes creepy book. I read it! He pictures the devil and his emissaries stirring the minds of unprotected humans, capturing the imagination of millions. Before Peretti, there were greater known figures like C.S. Lewis and John Bunyan. Lewis wrote the Screwtape letters. John Bunyan wrote the Pilgrim’s Progress and, also, a lesser known book, The Holy War, where he gets very graphic in his own imagination in an allegory of Satan and his demons and what they try to do in penetrating our minds. Love them or hate them, those writers powerfully reminded us and do remind us that demons and their influencing, corrupting and controlling abilities are getting into our heads… are getting into our minds. I think every generation needs a thunderbolt, so to speak, reminder that our enemy does not take a sabbatical. Not then… not now. And we can’t either. I can almost envision Satan’s fingers stirring the minds in our woke culture that we live in. And they’re not even trying to hide it anymore.

Some of you watched the Grammys just last week and Sam Smith’s Satanic Ritual right in front of everyone.  It’s to an adoring audience, mind you. This is the culture your kids are growing up in. But we shouldn’t be surprised.

By the way, I’m going be very honest with you. I have had conversations with Christians and some of you, whose ideas actually leave me wondering who’s stirring YOUR mind. But none of these things should surprise us because God fore warned us when He said [in 2 Timothy 3:13] “…evil men and imposters will wax worse and worse.” Have you ever read that? We saw a few weeks ago in Isaiah 59:14 that “…truth has stumbled in the public places.” How true is that?

This entire passage is a call to readiness as soldiers of Christ. In this case, [it’s] the readiness of our minds.

So back to the context:

Ephesians 6:10-17

10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the power, or strength of his might, 11Put on the whole armor of God, (and remember that because we’re going to come back to that later,) that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, 12 for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, (not just the helmet of salvation,) that you may be able to withstand in the evil day. And having done all to stand, 14 stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.15  And as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness (keyword) given by the gospel of peace, 16 In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, (Pastor Kurt preached on last week,) with which we can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one 17 and take the helmet of salvation.”

So the whole armor of God… we have learned thus far, means that belt of truth, (that life of integrity, making everything else about our physical, armament fit properly),  the breastplate of righteousness, our feet, shod with the preparation of the gospel, (be studded and ready to run into battle with the gospel that wins people’s hearts to Jesus), that extinguishes those fiery darts of the evil one, and today, take the Helmet of Salvation.

Now, the helmet… It doesn’t take Captain Obvious to know what a helmet does, right? It protects our head, and, as such, it protects our minds.

The ancient world was, as one writer put it, an ancient world of fighting. Ancient fighting in the first century was singularly horrifying! Yes, they had catapults and they had arrows and they had spears to draw the analogy of rifles and grenades and missiles in our day for distant fighting. But fighting that took up the ground against their enemy, that won the battles was bloody, hand-to-hand combat. The Roman helmet was absolutely indispensable in the battle. There were different versions of helmets that would be envolved. The one that Paul was referring to was a cast, metal helmet, probably bronze, brass, possibly an alloy with even iron. It would protect virtually every part…the facial areas of the soldier and even the back sides would be protected by this helmet. And when you think of all it protected, the helmet was… listen to this… the helmet was the confidence. There’s your word today. The helmet was the confidence of the soldier, the very cause of him running into battle fearlessly. And we are talking about the helmet of salvation. Now where’s Paul going with this? This might help.

When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he alluded to it where he gives us a little more descriptive terminology. Look what he says,

1 Thessalonians 5:8

“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.”

Whenever [Paul in] the Bible talks about hope, he doesn’t use it in the way in which we use it [as in] ‘I hope it all works out.’ That’s not the idea in the word “hope” here. The word “hope” in Scripture means expectation. It means assurance. It means confidence. That’s what he’s referring to here. So the helmet of salvation is the fearless confidence we possess in our fight. And we are fighting… Amen? We’re talking about the battle of the mind now. It’s the helmet that gives us the confidence to charge in there.

I was just with my younger brother Bobby the other day. We were the runts of the litter in our family… number 8 and number 9. Our brothers and sisters are endlessly telling us how easy we had it. But [admittedly] there were perks with being younger. Part of the perk was having your oldest brother being an NFL referee. And he always brought the coolest gifts for Christmas! We liked our Mom’s and Dad’s presents. But man… We couldn’t wait for Larry to get home! One particular Christmas–

[Reminiscing] My brother [Bobby] and I were talking about our sand lot football games we had in the neighborhood. We were serious football players in the neighborhood! We put plastic pads and plastic helmets on, and we’d go at each other. So on this particular Christmas, you can imagine our delight when we opened up boxes and saw genuine Cleveland Brown helmets! Let me tell you something, we put those helmets on that game and we just went after them! They all kind of got out of the way, ’cause we were wearing the real thing!

(12:27 / 34:03)

Believer in Jesus Christ, put on the Helmet of Salvation. That’s the command here. It is your assurance. It is your expectation. It is your confidence that you have in the gospel and in your ability to ward off those axes, those picks, those swords that are coming at you from the devil himself.

Paul said to the Philippians in [Philippians 1:6],

“Being confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

That is a confident Christian. It is the Helmet of Salvation. We’re talking about salvation.

There are actually three helmets of salvation. There is,

1 – the helmet that helps us to win over sins penalty,

2 – the helmet that helps us * to win over sins power. (I put an asterisk there because that’s the one we’re dealing with today,)

3 – and the helmet that will eventually take us away from sin’s presence.

It’s all encompassed in salvation. When you trusted Jesus as Savior, those of you who have, and I don’t ever assume everyone here has. But when you trust Jesus, that takes away the penalty of sin. Now some of you think that’s good enough and that’s all you’re wearing is the helmet. Remember that and we’ll get back to that in a little bit. We do look forward to the day when we don’t have to battle sin anymore… Amen? That’s the presence that we’re talking about. But in the here and now, the Helmet of Salvation gives you and me victory, and even guarantees it, over the power of sin that threatens to take us down. God’s helmet securely fastened inspires us to run into the battle. It assures us that the penalty of sin has been paid.

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

…Amen? It empowers us as soldiers of Christ to be

Romans 8:37

“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

It reminds us every day that our destiny, no matter what happens in these battles, is guaranteed.

Philippians 1:21

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

For the balance of our time, I want to talk about the protection of your mind, the battle in the here and now. The helmet that protects our head protects our mind. And let’s be honest… your greatest battles are between the ears. Can I get an Amen? Your fears, your anxieties, your doubts, your struggles… all those what-ifs… they’re buried, and they get in, and they mess us up. If you are not walking with Jesus Christ with the Helmet of Salvation securely on, you’re susceptible to believing all kinds of ludicrous stuff. Our greatest battles occur in our minds. The Bible reveals three kinds of minds, and everyone here falls into one of these categories.

So the three minds of Scripture:

1 – The corrupt mind. That’s those of you here or watching online. You don’t know Jesus. You have no helmet. You have no assurance. You have no protection. You’re wide open to every sword, every arrow, every spear, every missile that Satan has to hurl at you. And he’s getting into your head. I know this, I’m not making it up. This is exactly what God told us in

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 about Satan. Here’s what it says:

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. (Those are lost people… Those of you who do not know Jesus. You are presently perishing as we speak.) In their case the god (little “g”) of this world has blinded (the what?) the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

This is those of you who do not know Jesus. Paul is constantly talking about those who are lost, those who are outside of Jesus as your minds are being affected.

Go back to Ephesians 2:1-3…

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, (watch this) carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath…”

And Ephesians 4:17

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

So Paul has the mind in mind here throughout.

To the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul said this [in 1 Corinthians 2:14],

“The natural man,” (that’s the word “sukakos.” We get our word “psychology” from this word. The soul-less, the dead man, the man without the Spirit) cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness. (That’s the word we get the word “moron” from.) They’re moronic to him. Neither can he know them because spiritual things are spiritually discerned.”

Have you ever read that? Christian, you should be appalled at what lost, unsaved people say and do. But you should never be surprised. I’ll say that again. If you’re a Christian, you should be appalled at what lost men and women say and do, but you should never ever be surprised.

Some of you are lost right now. You need the word of God to release you from the clutches of Satan! You have no helmet, no protection.

I had a preaching professor. His name was Robert Delnay. He was a really unusual cat. But he had a tremendous mind and was a tremendous teacher. He had a club foot. He’d walk around like this [pastor demonstrated how he walked]. He came into class one day and he said, “Gentlemen! I was in a museum in Europe one day. I came upon this Roman soldier’s breastplate mounted right there. And it was just magnificent! Right in the middle of the breastplate was this perfect indentation, a perfectly molded shape of where a cannonball had hit it!” We were all just sitting there listening [deeply engrossed] as he tells a story. He walks back to the pulpit and he goes [Pastor turns, points and glares at the congregation], “That’s how your service should be!”

That’s my prayer for you with the corrupted mind that this sermon, this “word” would be a cannonball to your chest, to your heart and to change you. And what are you supposed to do if it has?

If you are lost and you don’t know Jesus, or you’re watching online? What are you supposed to do? I’ll give you one word… Repent! Repent and believe the gospel. The word “repent” is the Greek word metanoia. You know what it means? It means to change your mind. That’s where the problem starts. It’ll get to your heart. But whatever is in your head will come out of your life. Repent.

2 – The second mind is the “carnal mind” that scripture talks about as worldly. Sometimes it’s translated fleshly. The carnal mind is a Christian. You are a Christian. I’m thinking this is going  apply to a bunch of you. You have a helmet. You just don’t wear it very often. There are no scuff marks on it, no dents from battling that we are to be in as followers of Jesus. Your head’s unprotected, and a lot of garbage has gotten in.

This is how the Apostle Paul described it in Romans 8:6-8:

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law (And neither do you.) indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Those are strong words. Paul said to the Corinthians [in 1 Corinthians 3:1 ESV]

But I, brothers, (notice he calls them “brothers”) could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.”

If you’re a carnal Christian here this morning, your mind is a mess. Your thinking is earthbound. Your concerns, even the legitimate ones, have no eternal significance. Is that you?

Carnal Christians are the ones who are often given over to conspiracies. Don’t point at your fingers. You’re not lacking in knowledge. You’re lacking in true knowledge that gives us a right perspective in this world. And by the way, I have yet to meet a Christian conspiracy theorist who is deep and steeped in the word of God. I’ve yet to meet him. I haven’t met him yet. Carnal Christians are defeated. They’re confused. They’re aimless, and they’re fruitless. What’s more, they often doubt their salvation and rightly so for good reason, because the assurance of your salvation is the blessing of an obedient life.

(23:50 / 34:03)

John 14:21

Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest (display, show) Myself to him.”

That’s what the Bible says. And the reason that you struggle so much in your faith is because you have refused to do what Peter says [in 2 Peter 1:5],

“…supplement your faith.”

Have you ever read that? The old translation says, “… add to your faith.” How do you add to your faith? You can as Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:5b-7…

[“…with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”]

Somebody sent this to me the other day, and I got a kick out of it. Some of you are what this guy called a “spiritual streaker.” (He shows a video from YouTube) There are a lot of Christians out there that are spiritual streakers. You’re rocking the helmet of salvation, but you’ve got nothing else going [on]. No wonder you doubt. Peter says, ‘If you’re rocking the helmet and nothing else, you’re not adding to your faith,’ He names them;  virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love. If these things are in you and they’re increasing, you have assurance. You have effectiveness. You can go forward. The helmet is on.  But if it’s not, you have forgotten that your sins were forgiven! That’s what the Bible says. You’re like what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:

“You don’t hate God. You just forget about Him.”

I had somebody come up to me right after the first service, weeping. It was beautiful! He said, “I am a carnal Christian.” And he repented right there. How about you? Because repenting just as you must repent, If you have a corrupt mind, if you have a carnal mind of living a wasted life, you need to Repent.

Nine years ago, I went to lunch with a man that was in our community group. He was a friend, a good guy. I really liked him. But he was just basically nothing more than a spiritual “lump on a log.” He was doing nothing. His wife made an appeal to me, so I took him to lunch. During that lunch, I looked him in the eye and I asked him why he was wasting his life with all the potential that God had given him. We talked very frankly at an outside venue, a pizza place. I had no idea what God was doing in the moment, but he repented as a result of that. His life was changed. He became a leader in the church. He is a Christ-minded man today and making a difference. This can be you! Repent! Be useful! Get the helmet back on! The scuff marks will be worth it.

3 – And finally, the Christ mind. That’s where we want to go…Right? The Christ mind is a Christian. He’s a Christ-minded Christian who’s got a helmet, and he puts it on. She has a helmet and she puts it on every day. It would be unthinkable for a soldier to go to battle without his helmet. If he did, he certainly wouldn’t go in with any assurance. But the helmet worn makes the mind impenetrable. You won’t give in to pressure. You won’t give in to compromise. You’ll be like the martyrs in Revelation 12:11 who were able to withstand Satan by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they didn’t care if they died in so doing.

Revelation 12:11

“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”

That’s the kind of victors God wants to raise up… impenetrable. It’s also defensible. You can’t avoid all of the messaging that this world is throwing at you. I can’t. But you can capture it. God has not called us to be spiritual monks any more than He’s called us to be spiritual streakers. We’re not to go hiding like some of you do. (‘We’ve got a little compound, we’re not going to go anywhere. We don’t listen to anybody.’) What in the world is that all about? He wants us IN this world, penetrating this world! But if you have a Christ mind, it’ll be a defensible mind. You’ll be able to take captive every thought, because Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10

“…the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, they’re MIGHTY for God! They pull down strongholds and they take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

It’s defensible. It will defend you against every lustful, every evil, every vengeful, every proud, every covetous thought. You will capture it!  And when you capture something, it ain’t going anywhere… Amen?

4 – And finally, it’s discernible.

Remember, Paul said to the Corinthians [in 1 Corinthians 2:14] “The natural person, (the sukakos, the soul-less, the spirit-less man) does not understand the things of the Spirit of God. They’re foolish to him. Neither can he know them, because spiritual things are spiritually understood.”

“But we” [in 1 Corinthians 2:16b] he says, “have the mind of Christ” (This is awesome!) so that we can make judgments in this world. [1 Corinthians 2:15 – “The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.]

The mind of Christ. Do you have the mind of Christ?

The night before He died, Jesus, with all of His disciples around Him, predicted one would     betray Him and one would deny Him. Peter, the ever-boastful one, said, ‘Not me, Lord, I’ll go with you to the death.’ [Luke 22:33]

And Jesus said to Peter, ‘Peter…’(?) No. He didn’t say Peter. He said, “Simon.” It was always bad when He called him “Simon.” “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked for you. He wants to sift you like wheat.” [Luke 22:31] How eerie is that? If Satan has asked for you, would he be sifting you like wheat? I’m thinking the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ for many of you. What do you need? I’ll tell you what you need… Jesus…! Amen? Because in the next breath Jesus says [in Luke 22:32] “but I prayed for you.” I prayed for you! And when you’re restored, strengthen the brethren.

I’m praying for you right now. You, with the corrupted mind that needs Jesus, you with the carnal mind that NEEDS Jesus. And if you have a Christ like mind, be thankful for it. Go and be humble.

So honestly, what kind of mind do you have right now? If you’re listening to this, if you’re still a corrupted mind, you need to go back to Isaiah 59. We said this a couple weeks ago. He put on the breastplate of righteous and in the next breath he says, “And he put on the helmet of salvation.” He IS your salvation! And you need Him… Amen?

A lot of you are thinking about the game today. I get it, I am too. But if you’re going to do battle, real battle, meaningful battle, you’re going to need a better helmet than this [Pastor held up his helmet]… Right? [He set down the helmet] The helmet of salvation that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. May God Himself grant it to all of us. And if He has granted it to you… put it on!

Let’s pray. Our Father, that is our prayer, that you will cause us in this room to put on the Helmet of Salvation that we would go with great confidence, great assurance, great expectation, those of us who are Christ-minded, wearing that helmet, assured of victory. I pray for those here in this room, Lord, who have never put salvation on. They’re still corrupted, but you have convicted them. If that’s you, dear friend, right now, repent if your sin. Believe Jesus, believe He died and rose again… for you. And if you are that one, and I think there are many of you here that have a carnal mind, you’ve got the helmet. You just don’t put it on. And it’s being reflected in your life and in your mind. Would you repent and live a fruitful life rather than the fruitless one that you’re experiencing right now? And God, affirm the Christ-minded in our room, watching online, those who love you, who put the helmet on daily, not to go hide, but to penetrate this world, to battle your battles with the assurance that we have in Christ Jesus. We pray all these things in His name. Amen.


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