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

         heaven.”

         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

              salvation.”

          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

           society’s activities. 

     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

Muncy Presbyterian Church