Our text begins at Ephesians Chapter 6 and verse 16. In verse 17, again we have this verb, 'take'. We have to
'take the shield of faith;'
we have to
'take the helmet of salvation,'
and we have to
'take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of GOD.'
To 'take' means, it is something you pick up, as you have need. The other things you have on at all times; you have already
'girded your waist with truth;'
you have already
'put on the breastplate of righteousness;'
your feet are already
'shod with the preparation with the Gospel of peace.'
And now, we
'take the shield of faith, quenching all the fiery darts of the wicked one;'
(that's in verse 16). Those
include fiery temptations; evil thoughts that come unbidden; temptation to despair; and, of course, all this evil climate of opinion, and this whole permissiveness that we see around us.
May I give you some heartfelt advice? We had, yesterday, published to the whole world, the misdemeanours of a very prominent man south of the border. My advice to you is: don't bother to find out the details. It's disgusting; it's degrading; it will only pollute your mind; it will haunt you; it will poison your outlook. Don't bother! It's enough to know that these things have happened. Don't bother to find the details. It is a shame, says the Bible, in this Book, even to speak of the things which are done of such people in secret. Avoid it like the plague! Because the devil will use it in the future to poison your life; to poison your outlook; to poison your mentality; to poison your relationships. This, he will use. He'll put it in his armoury; and one day, when you are least expecting it; he'll attack you. So best stay clear! Don't touch it with a barge pole. Give it a wide berth.
'The fiery darts of the wicked one,'they are legion in number.
But, now, in verse 17:
'the helmet of salvation.' A helmet is to protect the head, isn't it? Its to protect the head from the blow of the sword, or the arrow, or the spear. It means protection for the mind. It also means, so that your mind will be clear about GOD's way of salvation; and that we will not be confused about this. Some counterfeit salvation; false hopes; presumption; all these attack the mind. The war, really, is in the realm of the mind. The war of the Believer is in the mind. The devil attacks the mind most of all, because through that, he gained entry into man's life in the Garden of Eden. This is how he came to Eve. He attacked her through the mind. He made her believe something that was not true. He made her doubt that which was true.
'the helmet of salvation,'speaks about the hope of salvation. If we go to 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 5; the First Letter of the Thessalonians, Chapter 5; we have the
'armour of GOD'there described again. 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 5, verse 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.' Why is it called,
'the hope of salvation'? Well, because you and I may have salvation. I hope we do!
But then, the devil will come and tell us, 'You have no right to believe that you are a Believer; that you are a Christian.' He will try and rob us of our hope. He'll make us doubt whether we truly are saved. And that's why we need that
'helmet of salvation' in addition to the breastplate. The
'breastplate of righteousness'is the righteousness of our Messiah, that covers us; that protects us all the way around; front and back; from the chin, down to the hips! That's how the breastplate was in those days. It was called 'thyreon' in Greek, from which we get the word, 'thorax'.
Hope will sustain you in the conflict. In addition to be covered with the righteousness of the Messiah, we, also, are sustained by the
'hope of salvation.' In the time of our New Year, we read Psalm 27. Let's go back to that and see why this is read. It will be read on Rosh HaShanah, Erev Rosh HaShanah is a week Sunday. And Psalm 27 is one of the Psalms that we read on Rosh HaShanah. Psalm 27. This is what David says at the end of the Psalm, verses 13 and 14:
'I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the LORD.'
Do you see the note of hope there? It is hope with which we can go into the New Year. And in the Book of Proverbs, also, in Proverbs, Chapter 10 and verse 28. The Word of GOD says there:
'The hope of the righteous will be gladness; but the expectation of the wicked, will perish.' 'The hope of the righteous will be gladness.' That is the helmet that keeps the mind. Our hope is a living hope. And when we come to the B'rit Hadashah, we find we are saved by hope!
'But hope that is seen, is not hope. For what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that which we do not see; then, with patience, we wait for it. The hope of salvation.'