Peninsula Community Church
Ephesians – The Helmet of Salvation
June 14, 2015
Ephesians 6:17 …and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
In the text today Paul is calling us to take the helmet of salvation with us. It is interesting to note that Paul does not say put on the helmet, but he says to take the helmet of salvation. Paul also refers to the helmet of salvation in 1 Thessalonians 5:8. It is he that he describes the helmet as the helmet of salvation of hope. Paul states 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.
Because of Paul’s emphasis on the helmet of salvation as hope, my desire today is to focus on this one aspect of salvation. And that is the hope we have in Christ. If we look around our world today it will not take us long to see that hope is fading for so many. A few years ago, we were offered hope and change. We have seen a lot of change but have experienced a lot less hope. Please note that this is not intended to be a political statement but it serves as an overview of the landscape of the society in which we live. There is so much to feel hopeless about. There is so much in our world to cause us to lose hope and to cause us to want to give up.
We live in a world where morality and right and wrong have been turned upside down. We live in a day where one who has had a sex change is elevated as being heroic and awe inspiring while those who fight for our freedom have been deemed cowards. We live in a day where the Ten Commandments can’t be posted in the public forum because it supports one religion op era another but teachers in some public school are free to teach the Islamic faith without hindrance. We live in a day where those who work hard are punished for their hard work while those who do not work and are able to, expect to get everything for free and are allowed to do so. We are living in a day when a man on the street can be killed by a cop who is carrying out his job and there are protests while a cop can be murdered and there are those who attempt to justify it because their desire is to make political points. There is so much that is present today that serves to discourage us but it doesn’t have to be that way.
To understand hope we must begin with the fact that real, genuine salvation brings hope! Here is the deal! When we receive salvation, we receive hope. To fully understand this, we must understand that Biblical hope is more than a desire to see something fulfilled or to wish for a particular outcome. Therefore, it is more than wishful thinking! Biblical hope is a certainty that is manifested in the heart of the believer who fully trusts and commits their life to God. G.K. Chesterton stated Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all…As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.
What does G.K. Chesterton mean by this? He means that real hope is not measured by how much hope we have when everything is going great. Nor is it measured by how good or bad our circumstances are in any given moment. The fact is that we can lose hope when our hope is based solely on our circumstances or on our experiences. For most people, their hope is based on how good or bad their particular circumstances are. This has been called circumstantial hope which is in reality a desire that our circumstances will fit within a specific context or within a specific set of desires. Let me illustrate this. We can hope that our favorite team will win. We have no assurance they will win, however, we simply base our hope in their potential for victory which is based on one’s past experience with the team and also the team they are playing. But the reality is there is no guarantee associated with this kind of hope. It is nothing more than wishful thinking. The problem with circumstantial hope is that it is fragile and and it is easily changed. It is so fragile that when the events of life don’t work out as we hoped they would, we are affected negatively. We are easily shaken, we are easily depressed, and we lose hope.
Our hope, however, must be anchored in God who is unchangeable and is forever faithful. This is the hope that keeps us steady. He is the anchor that solidifies our thinking about life because understand who God is and He never fails us. It is this anchor that keep us hopeful when the storms of life are blowing hard against us. A great illustration of this is the story of Joseph. He had a promise from God but there was no way he could know the outcome of the promise. He certainly did not expect the road God would take him on to fulfill the promise. There was no way for him to know how God would use him to set his people free or give them life.
For those who do not know the story, let me refresh your memory. Joseph had a God given dream that his brothers would bow to him and serve him. This enraged his brothers, so they sold him into slavery. Once in Egypt, he found favor and was soon promoted to Pharaoh’s assistant. This was short lived when Pharaoh’s wife made a pass at him and Joseph, being a man of integrity, rejected the advance. She falsely accused him. He was imprisoned for doing the right thing. What would that do to your hope? If you were falsely accused could you continue to trust that God had called you and that He would keep you? Or, would you lose hope.
We know now that even while Joseph trusted God, the downward spiral continued. While in prison, he was forgotten even though the chief cupbearer for Pharaoh promised he would put in a good word for him. With this turn of events, he could have lost hope but his trust was in God and not in his circumstances. He kept his faith and trust in God! In the story we see this paid off as God did not forget him and at the right time he was released and restored as Pharaoh’s right hand man. Through this action he was positioned to save not only Egypt but his entire family. You see God was at work even when Joseph did not sense it. The real testimony here is that Joseph did not let his circumstances dictate where his hope would lie.
The second idea presented by hope is that we must refuse to adjust our belief system to the circumstances we experience. Life is filled with events that will destroy our hope and cause us to change who we are as believers. While God will use the circumstances of our life to grow us and change us, we must never let the circumstances of life dictate our belief system. This should be determined by who God is and what he has done for us. Remember, we must adjust our lives to the gospel and not adjust the gospel to our lives. The three Hebrew children understood this principle. Their hope was strongly anchored in God’s faithfulness. This position of strength helped them to stand against the king who ordered anyone not bowing to Nebuchadnezzar’s god to be sentenced to death. Their hope was so strong in God that they could proclaim that no matter what was to come, they would still worship God. That is real hope!
Listen to the exchange between the king and the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3:15-18. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
Did you see it in the exchange. They refused to adjust their belief system in order to meet the requirements of the times. They were more faithful to the integrity of their beliefs and their hope in God than they were to personal pleasure that would only last for a moment. They stood steadfast in the hope that God was on their side. They had a confidence that He would deliver them. As a result, they were able to focus beyond the furnace and the possibility they might die, to the hope of God’s protection. The Hebrew children’s story is reminisce of the words spoken by Job when he faced very difficult circumstances. Job stated, Though he slay me, I will hope in him (Job 13:15). He is confirming the fact that our belief system must not be adjusted based on our circumstances.
Finally, note that this is a helmet of salvation. The helmet was intended to protect the head from damage that could potentially end one’s life. To live in hope we must take every thought captive to the glory of God. The enemy knows he does not have to get us to give up, all he has to do is simply cause us to begin to doubt God’s word, His will, and His ways. He knows that if we begin to doubt what God has said, we will begin to lose hope and we will begin to put our hope in those things that do not bring life or a future in the long run.
Because of the ability of our thoughts to dictate how we think and who we are, we must know the word of God. This means that we must know the promises of God and must follow the ways of God in all we do. When Jesus was tempted, He did not use positive thinking or cute pithy sayings. He used the word of God to combat the enemy’s temptations. Today, that is what we need. We need to combat a lack of hope with the word of God. We must combat the tactics of the enemy with the intellectual exercise of reading the word, meditating on the word, and then making application of the word into our life.
By saturating our hearts and minds with the word of God, we are filled with hope and we are assured that we have a future. This does not have to be a debatable issue when our hearts and minds are on God. So do you feel hopeless today? Do you feel your hope waning? If so my prayer is this. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13). May you be filled with the hope that is yours in Christ.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom