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Helmet Of Salvation

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Scripture:  Ephesians 6:17

1.     The Function Of The Helmet

It is purely protective.  As the breastplate of righteousness protects the heart, so the helmet of salvation protects the mind and it is undeniably true that our minds need to be protected.

When I refer to the mind what am I talking about?

Jesus refers to the fact that we are to love with our minds as well as our hearts.  In the greatest commandment he talks about love as being something that springs from our hearts, souls, minds, strength.  Perhaps he may be telling us that we are to love emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically.

Today as a matter of the mind, I refer to the volitional center of a person.  The place where rule ourselves from.  It is command central.  It is the place of mental toughness, of strategy, creativity.  It is that part of you which answers the most basic of faith questions, “Will I trust God?”

Believe it or not salvation is presented for the Christian as a helmet or a protection for the mind.  Obviously the adversary is the devil.  He is insidious and relentless in his attack on the human mind.  He does not need to defeat us, merely to distract us, either way, He wins.

Spiritual Irritations

There is another problem that we need to be aware of.  Some Christians find it very tempting to be so very certain about what is right that they start laying down the law.  Often it is difficult to be both firm and loving.

A.W. Tozer put it this way:

"It requires great care and a true knowledge of ourselves to distinguish a spiritual burden from a religious irritation.  Often acts done in a spirit of religious irritation have consequences far beyond what we could have guessed.  It is more important that we maintain a right spirit toward the others than that we bring them to our way of thinking even if our way is right.  Satan cares very little whether we go astray after false doctrine or merely turn sour.  Either way he wins."

Do you know what Tozer means by "sour Christians"?  Often they have a good grasp of doctrine and a clear analysis of the situation, but seem to lack gentleness and peace.  Any follower of religion can have a religious irritation: . . . It is very easy to right in the wrong way.

We can never possibly anticipate the subtleties of his attacks.  Awareness of the fact however that unless we remain “on duty”, it is likely that the unprotected mind is vulnerable to the enemy.

Salvation is not meant to be an adornment.  If there is no functional, fruitful result that springs from a person’s faith then that person’s faith is dead.

2 Timothy 3:1      But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

[1]

If we cannot learn to express our faith in ways other than the things that we hang about our necks, or the bumper stickers that we put on our cars, then we are merely adorned or decorated but potentially ineffective.

Form can bring unfounded confidence.  When people place too much emphasis on form, it can become a very deceptive thing.  It can let us down in time of need.

Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’



37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’



40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’



44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’



45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’



46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

[2]

2.   The Fragility Of The Flesh

Unprotected we do not have a long life expectancy.  To live a life that is pleasing to God we must approach it vastly different than we might otherwise.  I think this morning of the parable of the sower and the life expectancy of the seed that lands in the wrong place.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

[3]

Funny how a $10.00 bill looks so big when you take it to worship but so small when you take it to the supermarket.

Funny how reading the church bulletin is a chore, but reading a 30 page newspaper every day is a habit you have grown to enjoy.

Funny how long an hour is spent in worship, but how short it is when golfing, fishing, or attending a ball game.

Funny how we applaud when the ball game goes overtime, but we complain if the worship hour is over the regular time.

Funny how laborious it is to read a chapter in the Bible, but how easy it is to read a 300-page novel.

Funny how much difficulty some have learning the simple Gospel well enough to tell others.  But how simple it is for the same people to understand and explain more difficult subjects.

Funny how people scramble to get a front set at the ball game, but scramble to get a back seat at services.

Funny how we cannot fit a Gospel meeting into our schedule with a year to plan for it, but we can adjust the schedule for other events at a moment's notice.

Funny that parents are so concerned about school lessons but are completely unconcerned about Bible lessons.

Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided he/she doesn't have to believe, or to think, or to say, or to do anything.

All of this would be funny if it were not so tragically true!

See:  Prov 18:1; Phil 3:19; 2 Tim 4:3

3.   The Foes Of Our Faith

[  Corruption –

:3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. [4] (1 Timothy 6)

Sow a thought and you reap an act;

Sow an act and you reap a habit;

Sow a habit and you reap a character;

Sow a character and you reap a destiny.

     

Samuel Smiles (1812-1904)

One of the concerns that I have for professing Christian people in this day and age is their inability to recognize error – fatal error that is.  There are differences of opinion that we will always have with people.  Many times we hold different views of scripture.  Theologians for centuries have disagreed over the same portions of scripture.  This will never change.  But on issues that make the difference between spiritual life and death we need to have an understanding that is reliable.

The scripture that we have read from 2 Timothy illustrates this point.  Godliness as a means to financial gain.  I have heard people preach the merits of tithing saying that God will give you back dollar for dollar and perhaps more.  Tithing is not an investment that you track.  If it is truly a gift to God then it is given, hands off, over and done.  We leave it with God and entrust it to the local church and the people that we prayerfully elect to manage the financial affairs of the church.

I think that we give to God because it is the right thing to do – no other reason.

Beware of people who carve out systems of belief that are based on something other than the Word of God. 

2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.[5] (2 Timothy 4)

The minute that we step off that foundation we are on shaky and perilous ground.  (Ill. Southern Head – you can get too close to the edge and the ground can be eroded from beneath your feet.  You never know until it gives way and then it’s too late.

The way that we make ourselves error proof is to:

21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. [6] (James 1:21)

[  Confusion -

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. [7]

33  For God is not the author of confusion  e  , but of peace . . ..[8]

The philosophies can be religious or secular in nature.

I believe that the helmet of salvation provides clarity in a person’s life.  You personal life that is.  God does not save you so that you can become the source of clarity for others, but he speaks to you through His word to erase ambiguity and to guide you.  There are things that we each will hold more strongly than others based upon our own personal history with life and with God.  When he comes to us He meets us differently.  He called some to leave their livelihood as fishermen and to follow him closely.  He healed others in the first encounter.  He knocked one man off his horse and blinded him.  He overthrew the tables of respectable men who believed that the temple was a place of commerce – that was their first encounter with the Christ.  He met two more in the agony nailed between them on a wooden cross.  And some of you were drunkards when you met him.  Others at different points of need and so on and so on.

But a true encounter with Christ causes a person to see things differently.  I was talking with my son-in-law who has recently experienced a call to vocational ministry.  He said that he couldn’t believe how differently he looked at things because there was a fair amount of confusion that was gone from his life.  He had a “Jonah-call”.  He tried to run away from God and found out that the world was not big enough to lose himself.  He tried to drown out the voice of God and discovered that the world was not noisy enough.  Finally he surrendered to it and all of a sudden the noise and the confusion and the restlessness was gone.

We don’t suffer with God from lack of direction or clarity.  We stray from the light by times.  The scripture tells us that in the light we have fellowship with God and man.

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, his Son, purifies us from all  a sin.[9] (1 John 1)

We have adequate direction for life in our relationship with God.  Do we dare to follow His word and His will with abandon?  That’s really the question isn’t it?  Am I willing to do what God wants me to do?  Regardless of what it may cost me personally.  I do believe that God honors obedience not self-sufficiency.  He won’t bless your efforts to find your own way through life independent of His counsel.  He’ll just let you discover and experience the frustration of chasing down dead end roads and wasting your life away in the process.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. [10] (James 1)

God knows when you ask Him for direction whether you are looking for His way or another option for your consideration.  He won’t give you optional direction, he’ll just let you bump and grind along through life.  If you ask then you must act on what you receive, believing it to be God’s revealed direction for your life.

BEATING THE SYSTEM

Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted (Luke 14:11).

A small percentage of people defend against rejection by buying into the dog-eat-dog system of the world and learning to compete and scheme to get ahead of the pack. These are the movers and shakers, people who earn acceptance and strive for significance through their performance. They feel driven to get on top of

every situation because winning is their passport to acceptance.  They are characterized by perfectionism and emotional insulation and they struggle with anxiety and stress.

Spiritually, the beat-the-system individual refuses to come under God's authority and has little fellowship with God. This person is committed to controlling and manipulating people and circumstances for his own ends, so it is difficult for him to yield control in his life to God. In our churches this person jockeys to be chairman of the ruling board or the most influential member on a committee. His motivation is not to serve God in this position, however, but to control his world because his self-worth is dependent on it. Beat-the-system controllers are some of the most insecure people you will meet.

Sadly, the controlling individual's defensive strategy only delays inevitable rejection. Eventually his ability to control his family, his employees, and his church diminishes and he is replaced by a younger, stronger controller. Some survive this mid-life crisis, but many who make it to retirement don't enjoy

much of it. Studies show that high-powered executives live an average of nine months after they retire. They base their lives in the world system they seek to conquer, but inevitably the world claims its own. "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

[  Conceit or Pride

In his Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis contended that we can even be proud of our humility.  Pride is a telescope turned the wrong way. It magnifies self and makes the heavens small.  No wonder Jesus said, "To be congratulated are the poor in spirit." He illustrated their text with His parable of a Pharisee and publican in prayer.

Pride is the way that we delight in ourselves, humility has top do with our ability to delight in others. (In humility, consider others, better than yourself- Philippians 2)

Meaning of “puffed” up

5448 φυσιόω [ phusioo / foo·see· o ·o /] v . From 5449 in the primary sense of blowing; GK 5881 ; Seven occurrences; AV translates as “puff up” seven times. 1 to make natural, to cause a thing to pass into nature. 2 to inflate, blow up, to cause to swell up. 2a to puff up, make proud. 2b to be puffed up, to bear one’s self loftily, be proud.

[11]

(Ill. Scalpon)

Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge.  a Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God. [12] (1 Corinthians 8)

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. [13]  (Colossians 2)

It's my pride that makes me independent of God.  It's appealing to feel I am the master of my fate; I run my own life, I call my own shots; I go it alone.  But that feeling is my basic dishonesty.  I can't go it alone.  I have to get help from other people, and I can't ultimately rely on myself.  I am dependent on God for my very next breath.  It is dishonest of me to pretend that I am anything but a man, small, weak and limited.  So, living independent of God is self- delusion.  It's not just a matter or pride being an unfortunate little trait and humility being an attractive little virtue, it's my inner psychological integrity that's at stake.  When I am conceited, I am lying to myself about what I am.  I am pretending to be God, and not man. My pride is the idolatrous worship of myself, and that is the national religion of hell.



DON'T WE ALL

I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those "don't want to be bothered times."

"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I thought.

He didn't.

He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.

After a few minutes he spoke.

"That's a very pretty car," he said.

He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him.  His scraggly blond beard keep more than his face warm.

I said, "thanks," and continued wiping off my car.

He sat there quietly as I worked.  The expected plea for money never  came. As the silence between us widened something inside said, "ask him if he needs any help." I was sure that he would say "yes" but I held true to the inner voice.

"Do you need any help?"  I asked.

He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in great men and women.  We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments.  I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me.

"Don't we all?" he said.

I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun.

Don't we all?

I needed help.  Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can give help. Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that.

You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all. They are waiting on you to give them what they don't have. A different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.

Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Maybe he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves.

Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum, then said, "go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help."

Don't we all?

-- Author UnknownLast printed 7/6/2003 9:16 AM


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[1]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

[2]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

[3]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

[4]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

[5]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (2 Ti 4:2-4). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[6]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Jas 1:21). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[7]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

e confusion: Gr. tumult, or, unquietness

[8]The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (1 Co 14:33). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 a Or every

[9]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Jn 1:7). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[10]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Jas 1:5-8). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

v v : verb

GK Goodrick-Kohlenberger

AV Authorized Version

[11]Strong, J. 1996. The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the test of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.). Woodside Bible Fellowship.: Ontario

 a Or ``We all possess knowledge,” as you say

[12]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

[13]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) . Zondervan: Grand Rapids

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