First, let us define salvation:
Deliverance from the power or penalty of sin; redemption
Paul's final word to the Ephesians church focuses on the conflict they will be facing as they seek to follow Jesus in this world. It is not going to be easy to walk with God; you will be opposed, you will be withstood, you will be sidetracked; the enemy of your soul, the Devil, and his cohorts want to take you out. They do not want you to do well, all because you have given your life to the Lord and you want to serve Him.
The battle for the believer is found in three areas:
1. the flesh vs. spiritual life that God has given you - that warfare within (Galatians 5)
2. the fight between the heavenly mindset vs. the world valuing system that Jesus talked about in John 15.
3. the life of the believer vs. the physical, spiritual, and very real devil that we read about here in Ephesians 6.
[Gal 5:1-26 NKJV] 1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who [attempt to] be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. 7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not [come] from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! 13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not [use] liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told [you] in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those [who are] Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
[Jhn 15:1-27 NKJV] 1 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every [branch] that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 "I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw [them] into the fire, and they are burned. 7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 9 "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and [that] your joy may be full. 12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 "These things I command you, that you love one another. 18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before [it hated] you. 19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 "But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 "He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 "If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 "But [this happened] that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.' 26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 "And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
[Eph 6:1-24 NKJV] 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: 3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. 5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether [he is] a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places]. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-- 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 21 But that you also may know my affairs [and] how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; 22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and [that] he may comfort your hearts. 23 Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace [be] with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Over the past few weeks we have looked at the enemy and the armor that God has given us to overthrow him. We looked at the enemy first. We spent three weeks looking at his creation, his fall, his capabilities, his limitations, his strategy of attack, and then we ended by looking at his ultimate future.
We then began to look at the armor that God has provided for us. God said we should stand and withstand, and having done all we should stand in this battle we've been called to. From verse 14-18 he gives us the armor, one piece at a time, that we might put on and use so that we can stand against the enemy's wiles.
Paul was chained to a Roman soldier while he was in prison. Paul took the pieces of armor the Roman soldier wore and gave them spiritual counterparts, and used them to teach us what we have in Christ to stand against the wiles of the enemy. We have seen the belt, the breastplate, the shoes, and the shield. The first three pieces of armor were worn all the time. The other three pieces of armor are kept nearby.
1. The fifth piece of armor
[Eph 6:17 NKJV] 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
The necessity of headgear to many different professions and activities suggest to us it is important. The Roman helmet was made of leather covered with metal patches, or sometimes it was formed in brass. It provided protection from fiery darts flying through the sky but was primarily designed to protect the soldier from a blow to the head by a broadsword.
Spiritually it is the helmet of salvation, a knowledge that will allow us to stand when the death blows of Satan seek to take us permanently out of our walks with God. Since it is written to the believers, we know Paul is not talking simply about getting saved, or our initial salvation. Let's look at what Paul is speaking of.
Salvation, in biblical terms, has three aspects: past, present, and future.
Past: When you received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, the Bible declares that you are saved from the penalty of sin. That truth is driven home throughout the Word; Psalm 51:9, Hebrews 8:12, Isaiah 53:5, Romans 4:7-8, Micah 7:19 to name a few. It is the past work of deliverance that is often spoken of when we read of salvation.
Present: Yet there is a further work of God in salvation to be found in our daily lives, in the present tense. He seeks to deliver us each day from the power of sin: helping us now to put off the old man and put on the new one created in Him. That work is an ongoing one that requires our submission. Romans 6:14, Romans 8:2, Matthew 1:21, John 8:36.
Future: The future holds an even more glorious hope: deliverance from the presence of sin. When we join with our Lord in glory forevermore. 1 John 2:17, Isaiah 35:10, 1 Corinthians 15:54, Revelation 21:4-5.
2. What does Revelation 21:4-5 tell us God will do? ________________________________
So salvation is past (justification), it is present (sanctification) and it is future (glorification). It is this future aspect that Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 15 and Jesus spoke of to Martha (sister of Lazarus who was raised from the dead) in John 11:25-26. It is also that future hope that Paul speaks of here in wearing the helmet of salvation.
[Jhn 11:25-26 NKJV] 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
[1Co 15:1-58 NKJV] 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God [which was] with me. 11 Therefore, whether [it was] I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching [is] empty and your faith [is] also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if [the] dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith [is] futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, [and] has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man [came] death, by Man also [came] the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those [who are] Christ's at His coming. 24 Then [comes] the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy [that] will be destroyed [is] death. 27 For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under [Him]," [it is] evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. 29 Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? 30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage [is it] to me? If [the] dead do not rise, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" 33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak [this] to your shame. 35 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain--perhaps wheat or some other [grain]. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. 39 All flesh [is] not the same flesh, but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, [and] another of birds. 40 [There are] also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another. 41 [There is] one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for [one] star differs from [another] star in glory. 42 So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. [The body] is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam [became] a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man [was] of the earth, [made] of dust; the second Man [is] the Lord from heaven. 48 As [was] the [man] of dust, so also [are] those [who are made] of dust; and as [is] the heavenly [Man], so also [are] those [who are] heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the [man] of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [Man]. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "O Death, where [is] your sting? O Hades, where [is] your victory?" 56 The sting of death [is] sin, and the strength of sin [is] the law. 57 But thanks [be] to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
3. What did Jesus say to Martha in John 11:25-26?
We are saved by this hope of future salvation, for without it the grind of our daily walks would eventually overcome us (Romans 8:22-25).
[Rom 8:22-25 NKJV] 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only [that], but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for [it] with perseverance.
4. As we are able to press on through many difficulties in life for the reward that awaits, we can stand in the battle - for it will soon be over and glory awaits! In 1 Peter 1:3 what does Peter call this hope? _______
[1Pe 1:3 NKJV] 3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Paul speaks of this hope writing to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11. There needs to be a future hope that keeps us going. The world is a disappointing place. There are many good days; children will be born, people will get married, grandchildren will come, you may get a raise, many good days. However, there are many bad days, too: people get sick, we lose loved ones, you may get into arguments with people you care about. Wear the helmet! Lock it into place and fill your mind with the truth. The fact that one day we will be with Him should keep us pressing ahead in the battles each day. Eternity is waiting; one day the battle will be over.
[1Th 5:8-11 NKJV] 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and [as] a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
Satan would love to have you think there is no relief in sight, that there is no end to the struggle, there is no reward at the end of the line; it just isn't worth the effort. That is why we need to keep this helmet on and strapped down.
5. In Galatians 6:9 what is Paul's encouragement to the Galatians?
[Gal 6:9 NKJV] 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
The book of Hebrews is written to Christians living in Rome about their faith. The author explained to them how they could not leave Jesus because He is the fulfillment of a Jew for everything they have ever learned.
In Hebrews 6:11-12 the author is telling them this is not the time to give up or to wear out. Hang on with full assurance to the end. How quickly we go from full enthusiasm of the new believer to the despair of an old saint who has forgotten his hope.
[Heb 6:11-12 NKJV] 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
6. [Heb 10:22-25 NKJV] 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of [our] hope without wavering, for He who promised [is] faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as [is] the manner of some, but exhorting [one another], and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hope means we look forward. Our sins are forgiven, our lives are saved, and our name is in the book of Life. We are learning not to be overwhelmed by sin. God is giving us victory one day at a time. Put on the helmet.
7. Remedy for battle fatigue is keeping your eyes on the finish line and what awaits us there. [Rom 13:11 NKJV] 11 And [do] this, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation [is] nearer than when we [first] believed.
Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 10:22, "endure to the end and you will be saved". Endurance was a quality of life for the believer. He wrote similar words to the churches in Revelation 2-3. "to him that overcomes I will give life". We do not want to give up. When Paul wrote to Timothy, in his last letter from prison before he was killed, he reminded Timothy to fight the good fight as he had (2 Tim 1:6-10).
[2Ti 1:6-10 NKJV] 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called [us] with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, [who] has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
Isaiah 40:28-31 tells us God's work in us will produce a lasting and sustained hope. God's work in us and for us product a real sustaining hope. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 is Paul's assessment of the present in light of our future hope. Do not let Satan rob you of the anticipation of the future. Do not let him take the hope necessary to continue in your commitment to Jesus. When we stand face to face with Jesus it will be a glorious day and worth the battle!
[Isa 40:28-31 NKJV] 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, And to [those who have] no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew [their] strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
[2Co 6:14-18 NKJV] 14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among [them]. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." 17 Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty."
8. Are there times when Satan is attacking you in the areas of justification (past), sanctification (present) or glorification (future)? Explain.
9. Why is it so dangerous when Satan attacks us in these arenas?
10. Explain in your own words what the helmet of salvation means to you.