Text: Ephesians 6:17
Title: Helmet and Sword
I. As we open this text we find that Paul’s call to wear a helmet or carry a sword is
something that seems rather obvious to us if the apostle is using military language.
A. Obvious, but still important.
1. The helmet protects the head and the sword is the word of God. The two are
connected. Mind and Bible work together.
B. Salvation protects the head, the residence of the mind and thought. What has saved
us (the grace of God through Christ) and what we are saved from (God’s own
wrath) are the foundational pillars of our protection from attack. Temptation is a
battle of the mind. To be properly saved is the first requirement to enter the
hallway of world views, for all worldviews and philosophies are attempts to deal
with the world, to survive it.
1. Del Tackett: “Here is the big problem. Non-biblical worldviews don’t just stay
in a book somewhere waiting for people to examine them. They bombard us
constantly from television, film, music, newspapers, magazine, books and
academia. Because we live in a selfish, fallen world, these ideas seductively
appeal to our flesh, and we often end up incorporating them into our personal
worldview — often without even knowing it.”
a. Ron Daniels: “So when [Satan] aims at our heads, he is going for our thoughts,
our minds, our intellect and reasoning. He wants us to think incorrectly, to
begin to doubt and despair, to question, and ultimately to lose hope.
C. The helmet dare not be removed as Gurnal writes: “We are directed to take the
helmet of salvation—and this, not for some particular occasion and then hang it by
until another extraordinary strait calls us to take it down and use it again—but we
must take it so as never to lay it aside till God shall remove this helmet to put on a
crown of glory in the room of it. ‘Be sober and hope to the end,’ is the apostle
Peter’s counsel, I Peter 1:13. There are some engines of war that are of use/ but now
and then, as ladders for scaling of a wall; which done, [they] are laid aside
for a long time and not missed. But the helmet is of continual use. We shall need it
as long as our war with sin and Satan lasts. The Christian is not beneath hope so
long as above ground, nor above hope so long as beneath heaven. Indeed when once
he enters the gates of that glorious city, then ‘farewell hope and welcome love
forever.’ He may say, with the holy martyr, Armour becomes earth, but robes
1. Snodgrass: God’s salvation is the ultimate source of protection.
a. That is what the word ‘salvation’ is rooted in: saved from something. In this
case the wrath of God. If we don’t need to worry about the wrath of God since
we are saved, nothing the Enemy can throw at us can ultimately destroy us.
2. Barnes: “A Christian could not contend with foes, without the hope of final
3. By not taking off the helmet of salvation, we remain true to one of the
foundational doctrines of the Christian faith.
a. There is no other helmet. The helmets of Islam, Hinduism, or Humanistic
philosophies/ the Devil will shatter with little problem.
II. We now arrive at the sword. As I thought about the sword, it dawned on me that there
is a difference between spiritual warfare and evangelism, though at times they do mix.
A. When Jesus speaks of evangelism he uses at times agricultural terms like the
planting of seeds. We see that the evangelism and the nurture of souls can be
a long process.
B. Here Paul is talking not necessarily about evangelism strategy, but primarily
spiritual warfare. In warfare the emphasis is on speed.
III. The sword is the only offensive weapon mentioned in the text. Now the Christian is
armed to strike; but not to strike to harm people; rather to strike to take down false
ideas of redemption, hopeless worldviews, and temptations.
A. This is the Roman infantry’s “straight sword” and was a close combat weapon.
We see with close combat the stress on being involved in people’s lives and
B. Peter Pett: “It is not without significance that the Evil One uses a bow or javelin
where the Christian uses a sword. The former’s attacks are many and varied, thrown
at a venture, hoping to do harm, but the attacks of the latter are personal and sure,
hand-to-hand and personally directed. And we must learn to attack as well as
defend, by proclaiming and passing on the word of God.”
1. If the enemy is using weapons it can throw, then we see that the Enemy prefers
combat at a distance. It does not want us to get too close. It makes sure that it
. SERMON PAGE ONE