[NOTE: This is a transcript of a similar sermon to the recording above, but preached on a different occasion]
Let's come to the Lord just now, before we come to the scriptures - it's Ephesians 6, if you want to turn to it, we've been there thus far and we're looking at it again this morning. Let's just still ourselves before the Lord and wait upon Him now, and ask for Him to come very close to us. I hope you have sensed His presence already, and we want to go deeper, we want to experience more of the Lord now - so please do open your heart before Him, and seek His face for your own personal needs, but corporately for this moment and for this meeting, that the Lord may come to us. Let's come and seek His face now:
Lord, we do unite together in the note of praise that has already been expressed, and we want to join with all of creation and all of redeemed creation to extol the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We exalt Him whose name is above all. Lord, we long for that day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth - when not just men and angels, but devils and demons will declare that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. We thank You, Lord, that by grace we are found in that redeemed company now. We thank You for the communion of the saints, and how at this very moment we are united with all the redeemed world in heaven and on earth, we're united with the spirits of just men and women made perfect gathered around the glassy sea at this moment, singing praise unto the Lamb that was slain and has loosed us from our sins in His own blood. We declare glory and honour, blessing and power, be unto Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. We bless the name of the Lord Jesus this morning, we bless the Lamb that was slain. We thank You for the precious blood, Father. We thank You, Lord Jesus, that You came and You shed Your blood for us. We thank You, Holy Spirit, that You have applied the shed blood to our hearts, and You have delivered our consciences from dead works to serve the Living God. Oh, we can come boldly now, Lord, because of that shed blood. We come and we take the Kingdom by force this morning, Lord, and we want there to be a releasing of Your power, that what we are experiencing in the Spirit as we worship You now would be realised on earth. We pray again that Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. May Your kingdom break out among us in this little gathering just now. We thank You for the day that is coming when the kingdom will be consummated on this earth, and Jesus shall reign wherever the sun does its successive journeys run. But Lord, we believe that the Kingdom is within us now in spirit, and we want You to come to our now, we want You to come to our dominion, our domain, and bring Your kingdom, Your rule and Your reign. So come now, we take authority over every other force, or power, or spirit of influence in this gathering, and we bind it in the name of the Lord Jesus. We ask for a releasing of Your power by the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Ephesians chapter 6, and we will read the whole passage again - I've been hoping that it would get into your head as we read it together, and into your heart. Verse 10: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints".
Now if you haven't been with us so far - well, you've missed most of the armour for a start, it would be good for you to catch up on that. I'm not going to recap even to the extent that I have done on previous occasions. I want to enter right in this morning, because we have an awful lot to share regarding the helmet of salvation. Verse 17 - 'Take the helmet of salvation'. Now we have said that the apostle Paul probably had in mind a Roman soldier, a warrior adorned in Roman armour. We have covered other parts of the armour: the belt of truth; the breastplate of righteousness; feet shod with the preparation, the sandals of the Gospel of peace; and the shield of faith - but now we're looking at this helmet of salvation. I'm sure most of you have seen in history books, or on television or in films, the idea of this Roman soldier's helmet. It was made of bronze, and it had leather attachments and straps to fasten it on. It had a band to protect the forehead area, then it had two plates that came down the cheeks - a bit like sideburns - to protect the cheek areas. There was also a piece of metal that came down over the back of the neck to protect the neck area. When that helmet was strapped in place it was very secure, and all that really was exposed were the eyes, the nose, and the mouth area.
Now it is obvious, but we would do well just to repeat the obvious, that the head is a very delicate area, and it is imperative in warfare that the head is protected - because the deadliest wounds can be suffered in the head. We saw the importance of the breastplate of righteousness covering the vital areas of the chest area, the trunk where all the organs are entailed - but the head is equally as important, the brain and the sensory perception. If an injury was inflicted upon them, that would be the end, probably, of the soldier. If the soldier lost a limb, even if he lost an arm - probably not a leg - but if he lost an arm he could continue to fight with his other arm, he could resist the enemy. But if he loses his head, it's all over! Agreed? So this is why the helmet of salvation speaks to us of something vital in this spiritual battle that we are engaged in - it's called the helmet of salvation.
Now that little word 'salvation', we use it so often in Christian experience that we can actually lose its meaning. We tend to think of salvation as meaning going to heaven when we die, or being saved from hell. I have to say to you that whilst that's part of what it is to be saved, being saved in Scripture has got an awful lot more to do with being saved from sin and being saved from this world. It does have a long-term aspect, but another word could be used for 'salvation' or 'saved', it's the word 'rescue' or 'deliver'. So you could call this helmet the helmet of deliverance, or the helmet of rescue. In Isaiah 59 verse 17 - we'll not look at it this morning, but it would be good for you to read Isaiah 59, because there it shows a picture of the Living God adorned in armour. You can correspond the pieces of the armour of God that He gives us to the actual armour that He wears Himself - so that tells us it's His armour, it's His very being that He gives to us. In verse 17 it's described as 'the helmet of God's salvation', this is God's deliverance of us and it is vital for Christian experience.
I just finished in my own devotions reading the epistle of 1 John, and I've taken it very slowly as I've read it. More than ever - and I've read it many times, and I've preached on it - but more than I ever have before, I noticed, maybe it was the translation I was reading, I noticed this word 'know' constantly repeated over and over again. 'This is how we know', 'This is how we can know', 'We can know' - and the key verse really is at the end of chapter 5: 'I have written these things to you that you may know that you have eternal life'. You see, there is something about knowledge in Christianity that is vital to our experience. Now please don't misconstrue and confound knowledge with experience, they are not one and the same thing. You can have a lot of knowledge, but lack a great deal of experience - but I think it's true to say that you can't really have experience without the knowledge first, to a certain degree. That's why, for instance, in the book of Ephesians the first three chapters are really talking to us about who we are in Christ, seated in heavenly places - I've shown you this before in our introduction - and all the things that come to us, accrue to us in our Lord Jesus, what He has done when He died and rose again and ascended into heaven, and we sitting with Him. Do you remember I spoke to you about: 'sit, walk, stand', and how we've got to understand how we are seated with Christ first, chapters 1 and 2; how we have to walk with Christ, chapters 3 and 4 and 5; and then we will be able to stand against the enemy. But that knowledge is priceless, it is so valuable in the spiritual battle that we are all engaged in to know whom we have believed, and to be persuaded - and that's more than an intellectual assent. When we talk about knowledge we're not talking about how much of the Bible we know, or how well we would perform in a scriptural intelligence quiz - I used to hate those quizzes! But that's not what we're talking about - you could know the Bible back to front and it would do you no good at all, if it doesn't go deep down into your heart, into your spirit, and into your soul. You can say: 'I know and am persuaded', this is a knowledge that makes a difference to my life, to my everyday experience. The helmet of salvation does that, where you - effectively - when you meet the enemy in the battle, you can remind yourself of truth, but truth that actually makes a difference to your heart.
So the knowledge of truth is vital. Sometimes I think if you sat down most believers and quizzed them over their knowledge of who they are in Christ, what Jesus has done for them, and what comes to them in experience through the work of Christ - there is very little that is actually expressed, there is very little true knowledge. You might get something like: 'Oh, I have repented and I have believed', or 'I've asked Jesus into my heart' - whatever that means. I'm not saying you can't do that, or it doesn't have an effect if you do it if you have true faith - but a lot of folk have these little cliches, and really there is no knowledge behind them as to what it actually means. Maybe it's just the whole idea of conversion, and you've turned from sin and you've turned to Jesus, but you don't really understand who you are now in the eyes of the Holy God. Maybe that's why the devil is pummelling you, maybe that's why he is getting one over on you in regards to his accusation of you, and why you are condemned under your sin - because you don't understand your position in the Lord Jesus Christ, who you are, and what He has accomplished for you, and what He says about you, and what He promises to come your way.
Now I don't want to spend too much time on this this morning, because it's a huge subject in and of itself, and I want to encourage you to go away and look into it yourself. I want to recommend a book to you, a couple of books by Dr Neil Anderson in particular. One of them is called 'Victory Over Darkness', and another is called 'The Bondage Breaker' - and in them you will confront a lot of truth revolving around the whole issue of spiritual battle, and how we can stand in the strength of the Lord before the enemy. But what he does do within those books is, he emphasises who we are in Christ, our identity in Christ, how we are accepted when we are in Christ, how we are secure when we are in Christ, how we are significant when we are in Christ, and how these truths cancel out the lies of the enemy and those arrows that he fires against us. Remember we saw that Satan has a reciprocal armour that he comes against us with, which is the opposite of the armour of God. So if the belt of truth and faith is what we need to confound him, he will be sending lies our way, deceit our way, he will be accusing us in condemning us, telling us things about ourselves that aren't true.
What greater way to counteract his lies than to meditate upon who you are in Christ? To put on the helmet of salvation, to remind yourself of what Jesus says about you - things that Neil Anderson says, there's a little bookmark you can download off the Internet: 'I am accepted. I am God's child. I am Christ's friend. I have been justified. I'm united with the Lord, one spirit. I am bought with a price. I belong to God. I am a member of Christ's body. I am a saint. I have been adopted as God's child. I have access to God through the Holy Spirit. I have been redeemed and forgiven. I am complete in Christ' - and he gives the scriptures to each of those. I am accepted, who I am in Christ. Then he talks about being secure: 'I am free forever from condemnation. I am assured all works together for good because I love God. I am free from the charge against me. I cannot be separated from the Lord of love. I am established, anointed, sealed by God. I am hidden with Christ in God. I am confident that the good work God has begun in me, He will perfect. I am a citizen of heaven. I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and of a sound mind. I can find grace and mercy in time of need. I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me' - that's how I am secure. I am significant - do you feel significant today? Be honest: do you feel significant? 'I am salt and light of the earth. I am a branch of the True Vine, a channel of His life. I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. I am a personal witness of Christ. I am God's temple. I am a minister of reconciliation for God. I am God's co-worker. I am sealed with Christ in the heavenly realm. I am God's workmanship. I may approach God with freedom and confidence. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me'. He writes at the bottom of this: 'The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behaviour will begin to reflect your true identity' - and that is such a truth. That is why Ephesians 1-3 tell us who we are, before telling us how we need to live and how we need to fight.
Here's a thing that Neil Anderson taught me years ago through his writings, and I never cease to be amazed at. We often live on a performance level in our Christian life, we're trying to be someone as a Christian, we're trying to get to a certain standard or a level of experience - but he well says: 'What we do does not determine who we are, who we are determines what we do'. We've got to put on this helmet of salvation and realise who we are, how secure we are, how significant we are in Jesus Christ - and boy, that will change us when we realise that we are sons and daughters of the King, and we have been delivered from darkness into light. Is that not wonderful? But do you know that? Is that what you're meditating on day by day? Remember this is the helmet of salvation, it's on the head, so it infers that these are truths that you are ruminating over day by day, and - just like the digestive system in the body, whatever you put in becomes part of you - quite disconcerting when we think of some of the stuff we put in! When you eat stuff it becomes part of you, and as you digest these truths of who you are in Jesus and what He has done for you in this so great salvation, it becomes part of you and it strengthens you - it vitalises you and it becomes life, it becomes life!
Are you wearing the helmet of salvation today, or are you listening to what the enemy says about you? 'Ah, you're rubbish, you're no good, you're a failure, look at you! What have you ever done worthwhile for the Lord?'. Are you listening to him? Are you listening to yourself? Are you agreeing with him? Are you agreeing with him? Are you saying those things about yourself? Are you listening to what others have said about you, and how the enemy has spoken through others about you, and you have taken that upon yourself? I want you today - God wants you - to put on the helmet of deliverance, and be delivered by the truth of the knowledge of salvation. It's mighty!
It takes faith, it's faith that will actually make this happen. It's choosing to believe what God says about you, rather than what the devil says or what you would be tempted to think about yourself. It's faith that will engage that, it's just a choice. I think I have said to you before - and this is the struggle in the mental area of truth and lies - every single day of your life Satan will turn up at your front door like a postman with a parcel, and God will turn up, God the Holy Spirit will be there as well with another parcel. His parcel is filled with truth, Satan's is filled with lies - and it's all down to which you receive, which you decide to receive, which you open, which you start to dissect and enjoy. Now obviously you'll not enjoy the lies, but sometimes there's that bit of love-hate relationship, where we do derive a certain amount of sordid self-security through worry, through fear, through self-analysis, through introspection and perfectionism. It's a perverted thing, but we can feel that we are securing ourselves by worrying, by fearing, and listening to the lies of the enemy - rather than the rest of faith, whereby we let ourselves go in God, and we just secure ourselves and lean back in Him and the truths that He says about us.
Whose parcel did you receive today? Some have you have already opened the box of the devil, and you've been rummaging through what he has given to you today. Dump it out! Dump it out now, and take God's box - and in it there is a helmet, and it's all the knowledge of what Jesus has done for you, and who you are and what you have in Jesus Christ - that's what you need to think about! That's what you need to think about! Philippians chapter 4 verse 8: 'Finally brothers, whatsoever is true, think on these things'. Remember I said that worry is meditating on lies? Well, you need to start putting on the helmet of salvation, and meditating on what Jesus has done for you, and who you are in Christ.
So it takes faith to put on the helmet of salvation. Now let me just - there's another point I want to leave with you, but we'll put it to the side just for a few moments - because what I want to focus on just now is the area over which this helmet is. We've emphasised the issue of salvation, and who we are in Christ and so on, but what I want to just spend a moment or two on - and we've touched on it several times - but it's how the chief battleground of the enemy in our lives is the mind. The devil, from the very beginning, Genesis chapter 3, has always attacked via the mind. When you look at the Garden of Eden incident, and you've got Adam and Eve, and the enemy comes, the serpent subtly comes in - and how does he attack? Now this is very interesting: there was a lie planted in Eve's head, before sin was conceived in her heart. Think about that.
There are a few lessons we can derive from that. One is that a bad thought coming into your mind is not necessarily sin, it's what we do with that bad thought. Now if you have conjured that thought up from your heart, that's a different thing, if it's evil that is coming out of your heart - but if it's a thought that the enemy has planted into your mind, that's not necessarily something that you need to be guilty about. That can release some of us, because if you're honest there are thoughts that can just pop into your mind out of nowhere - you know what I'm talking about. Not things that you in your own sinful flesh could conjure up, and would be drawn to - we all know about that, temptations, and passions, and lusts that we would naturally be drawn to - but there are things that can come like the dart that they are, just out of nowhere, into our minds; and we think, 'Where did that come from?'. One of the biggest dangers in spiritual warfare is to attribute that thought to yourself. Now I'm not letting you off the hook, I'm not saying that you're a wonderful person and you would never think anything bad - I'm not saying that. Jesus said: 'Out of the heart proceed all sorts of wicked things' - so we know what our hearts have the potential to do. But there are things that come into our mind, the Bible is clear, darts that the enemy sends our way, that don't originate in us. If we should attribute those to ourselves, we will be joining him in doing his job of accusing us and condemning us, when it's not even us that has done it.
Now this should be a liberating word to some of you here today - because I feel, if you're normal like me, I tend to think I'm normal, but in this regard I think this is normal: Satan puts stuff in your head - that is normal. Please tell me that is normal, because he does that to me! That's normal, it's not coming from inside, it's coming from outside in - and if I should start to think that it's coming from me, I'll be in diffs. Now you might say: 'I don't know if what you're saying is true here'. Well, come with me to Matthew chapter 16. We will take a wee bit of time to tease this out, Matthew 16. Here's Peter and the Lord Jesus at Caesarea Philippi, in verse 13: 'He asked His disciples, saying, 'Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?' So they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets'. He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?'. Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God''.
Now let's pause just for a moment: do you think that Simon one moment was just sort of laissez-faire kind of relaxed, listening to this interesting question that Jesus was asking, and then all of a sudden it was like an electric shock, and a bolt of lightning came out of heaven and all of a sudden he started speaking like a robot: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God'? Because that's the way a lot of people conceive of God speaking through people. A lot of people have this idea that there was this angelic dictaphone that sprung down from heaven to the apostle's who wrote the scriptures, and they just sort of verbatim wrote word for word everything that God would put in their ear. That's not the way the Bible was written - they were moved, holy men moved by inspiration of the Holy Spirit - but they wrote, and that's why you see their characteristics coming through in each of the epistles and the Gospels, their own personalities. God is able to move through human personalities, because He created the human personality, He is a personality Himself - and so He can use it. The wonderful thing is that because we're all different in personalities - those of us who are sure we've got a personality - because we are all different, you get the full-orbed worth of the great God of personality coming through, through the scriptures and through humanity in the expression of His kingdom. Wonderful, isn't it?
So let me put it another way: obviously Peter wasn't taken over and controlled when he spoke this, and yet here we see Jesus in verse 17 says to Simon: 'Blessed are you, Simon BarJonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven' - what? 'Peter, this thought did not come from you', that's what Jesus is saying, this thought did not come from you. Now let me ask you: do you think Peter thought that this thought came from him? Do you think he thought it came from him? Yes, and he probably thought: 'Yes! I got it right!' - tick! You know the way Peter always liked to jump in. Let me ask you another question: do you think his cognitive faculties - that's his mind working - were engaged? So he wasn't cancelled out, he wasn't some kind of robot or medium, so his mind was engaged - was his mouth engaged? We know sometimes with Peter that his mouth was engaged before the mind was engaged, a bit like ourselves - but did he actually open his mouth and speak? Yes, he did. But what did Jesus say: 'Peter, that thought did not come from you'.
Now that is very instructive, because that shows us that sometimes - now please listen to what I'm saying - one of the biggest obstacles to the supernatural in the Christian's life and in the church is the desire for the spectacular. Let me repeat that: one of the greatest obstacles to the supernatural in the life of the Christian and in the church is the desire for the spectacular. We always expect when God is doing something supernatural, that it will be out of this world - but our conception of 'out of this world', well, it sometimes excludes the very natural, or what appears to be very natural. Now please, this is important: God can speak to you and speak through you, and you hardly even know it. You will come to learn it, you will come to learn it as you walk with God and get to know God - but you need to understand: don't be waiting for some neon blue sign flashing on your consciousness. We treat God like a proverbial satnav, where we're listening to Him to say, 'Go left at the next junction, and turn right at the next roundabout'. In a mechanical way, we seek God, when God is known relationally. Isn't it wonderful to think that God can speak through our thoughts, through our processes - but sometimes we don't even realise that He's doing it.
So, did this thought come from Peter? No. Where did it come from? God. Follow down with me, let's skip a few verses down to verse 21: 'From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, 'Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!'. But He turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men''. OK? Same fellow, Peter, same place, same scene, same scenario. Now, let me ask you again: where did this thought come from? Where did it come from? Satan. Did Peter engage his mind? Did he come under the powers of darkness, was he taken over? Do we hear another voice coming from his mouth? Now, let me tell you, that happens - but did it happen here? Is that the only way that Satan can speak through people? No, far from it. Yet his thought process was engaged, and I would say in this instance his heart was very much engaged, and it was with a love for Jesus - it was with welfare for Jesus not dying. So you can have a love for Jesus in your heart, and speak the devil's words with your mouth! It was a misplaced love - that's interesting.
But who does Jesus address? Does Jesus say: 'Peter, you really take me to the fair, you're always jumping in - Peter, use your head! Do you not remember anything that I've been telling you?' - is that what Jesus said? Who did Jesus address? Because we wrestle not with flesh and blood, we wrestle with the powers behind flesh and blood - and that's liberating as well for some of you, because some of you at the moment are struggling with Christians. Christians who are difficult, or who have been difficult for you - but the danger is that you're missing what is going on. You're seeing the person and not seeing the principality or the power that is behind them. Do you understand? Therefore, you can fall into sin, and you can start sinning against that person - even if it's only in your own heart - because you don't realise that they are being used.
But what I want you to see this morning is that the mind, the mind is the battleground from the enemy. In one moment the mind is receiving communications from heaven, and God is revealing something to Peter, and the next moment - the next moment! - Satan is revealing something to Peter, and speaking out of his mouth! It really bamboozles me that Christians don't believe that the devil can do anything to Christians, that he can't speak through them, and he can't be on them or even in them. Peter is a classic case, but equally so: if Peter had attributed that thought to himself, he would have been in trouble - but Jesus was pointing out where it came from. So I want you to understand: I'm not saying you're morally or spiritually neutral, that's not what I'm saying - but I want you to understand that the battle that is going on in your mind, the battle that's going on in your mind can be energised by the forces of darkness. Many of the thoughts that have gripped you, and the strongholds that have exalted themselves, the arguments against the knowledge of God in your mind, are not necessarily from you. You may have cooperated with them, you may have agreed with them, but you have got to understand where they come from - because that's half the battle: understanding where the source of the problem derives.
If you imagine a human being as a castle, John Bunyan wrote a book about this called 'The Holy War', incidentally. He talked about the forces of Diabolus, that's the devil, the forces of Diabolus coming against the city of Mansoul. If you imagine the castle of your life as a citadel, and your spirit and your soul, and even your body, and the devil wants you. Remember I told you last week that he just wants to destroy you, he's going about like a roaring lion seeking to devour you. You imagine the forces of the devil coming against this castle which is your life, the battleground that is at the fore of the castle, at the front of the castle, where the battle for Mansoul is fought - that battleground is the mind. If the devil can conquer the mind, he has conquered the soul. If he can get into your mind, he will take your head off! That's probably why - maybe this is too simplistic a statement - but it's probably why Christians grapple with problems of the mind more than most other problems, because the enemy wants to get in on the mind.
I want you to be liberated - first of all, before we talk about remedies, I want you to be liberated by knowing that a lot of these thoughts that have come against you are not coming from your heart. Some of them might be, and you know your own heart, but understand what the enemy is wanting to do in your mind. Don't come under condemnation - that's part of winning the battle, to know that you are the battleground on which it is being fought. Listen please to this principle: don't you start trying to fight, don't you start trying to fight in the flesh against the enemy. You say: 'You're confusing me!'. Come with me to Galatians 5, the thoughts aren't always coming from you, but you're the battleground - your mind is the battleground. Look at Galatians 5:17, verse 16 says: 'Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh'. This is now talking about the fleshly, fallen, sinful nature: 'For the flesh lusts', I think the NIV puts it 'desires what is contrary to the Spirit', that's the Holy Spirit, 'and the Holy Spirit', lusts, or desires what is contrary to 'the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish'.
Now I would not be fit to give an English lesson this morning, there are others who would - but very basic, and I'll not get the terminology right but forgive me - you look at this verse and you will see that there are a number of individuals. Let's personify them, OK? There is the flesh, imagine the flesh as a person. There is the Spirit, who is the Holy Spirit. Then at the end of the verse, these - the flesh and the Spirit - are contrary to one another, so that you - there's another person. Who is the other person? You - but often you think of yourself as that sinful, fallen nature, don't you? So many Christians have identified themselves so much with that sinful, fallen nature, that they can't get that sinful, fallen nature off their back - because they understand that to be who they are, they understand that to be the way their heart is. The Bible clearly says in the New Testament that that is not who you are any more, that old nature has been crucified with Christ, and that is not your heart - you have been given a new heart. Now listen - I'm not saying that we're not depraved, and we're not fallen - we are, through Adam; but in Christ we are made new. We are to put the old off, and put the new on; and we have been given new hearts in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you continually see yourself as having a bad heart, and a bad nature, and identifying yourself in your essence with that fallen, sinful nature, you'll never overcome sin - because you're saying, 'That's who I am'.
Look at this verse: you're not the sinful nature, you're the battleground - OK? You're the battleground, whether it's your mind or your actual being, whether it's sinful thoughts that the devil shoots like arrows into your head, or whether it's the old nature that he can set alight very easily - you are the battleground, who is fighting the battle? Sin, Satan, and the Holy Spirit. Do you know what you need to do? Don't you butt in! You let the Holy Spirit fight the battle for you. You die, you surrender to His influence, and you let Him win the war. You say: 'Well, that's sort of semantics - it's just terminology. It sounds clever, and you're splitting hairs and all, but what does that really mean?'. Well, I have never surfed - you would know that to look at me - but I'm told that the essence of surfing is when you see the big wave, get on the board if you can balance, but go with the wave - just go with the wave, become one with the wave. That's what you need to do: you're the battleground, but you need to go with the Holy Spirit. You need to go with the force of power that He promises will be behind you, and you need to trust Him, and you need to go with that, and He will win the war. He will win the war of the mind, and He will win the war of the heart.
But, you see, you might have attributed to yourself such wickedness that you can't get over sin. You're not embracing who you are in Christ, and who God has made you, and the breastplate of righteousness, and the helmet of salvation - that's not what is at the forefront of your mind. You're listening to the condemnation of the enemy, and you're not listening to what God says you are now in Christ, and what you have in Him. Do you see it?
But let's finally come to this area. We said that you've got to engage by faith the helmet of salvation, what Christ has done for you - that's the evidence of things not seen: believing, knowing who you are. But there's one other thing that is vital to make this really experiential, to make a difference in your life - it's found in 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 8, I want you to turn with me there. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:8: 'Let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love' - and we noted how this breastplate of righteousness is known as faith and love - 'and as a helmet the hope of salvation', the hope of salvation. So this helmet of salvation, or helmet of deliverance, is a helmet of hope. Now listen: if faith is engaging by believing and accepting the truth of what God has said, what is hope? Christians talk about hope, and the half of them don't know what hope is. I mean, what is hope? Is it: 'I hope, that I hope, that I hope' - is that it? Wishful thinking? That's not Christian hope, Christian hope is described as a certainty, it's described as an anchor for the soul. What is it? Listen: it is anticipation, it is a secure and absolute assurance in anticipation.
What this means is that you are living today in the good of what you're hoping for and believing for tomorrow, but hope is the actual anticipation. It's the connection with something that hasn't happened yet in the future, but you're living in the good of it now. Now listen: this helmet of salvation or deliverance is a helmet of hope, and that means it counteracts the armour of Satan, who uses the weapon of hopelessness and despair. Who is wearing that hat today? Hopelessness, 'Oh, this is hopeless, this is never going to end, this is never going to change, the tide is never going to turn. This mountain will never move!' - that's hopelessness, despair, and you just want to give up, and you just want to throw the towel in.
This is a helmet of hope, and maybe you have a deliverance issue in your own life, or in the life of a loved one or a friend, and you're starting to get hopeless about it - put on the helmet of hope. Can I say something else to you, I'm almost finished: God has designed us, spirit, soul, and body - I've told you that before - and the spirit is the part of us that He wants to influence the rest of the human being through. By the animation of the Holy Spirit upon our spirits, He wants to influence our soul - made up of the mind, the emotion, and the will - and through that He wants to influence the body, so that our bodies become temples of the Holy Spirit. Now listen carefully: the way that the spirit, our spirit, animated by the Holy Spirit, affects our emotions - do you want to bring the Holy Spirit's influence on your emotions? Do you? Who would like that, the Holy Spirit's influence on your emotions? The means, the instrument whereby we can control our emotions, by our human spirit, is using hope - hope, the anticipation of what God is going to do.
The psalmist said, it's in Psalm 3 verse 3: 'Thou, O GOD are a shield for me, my glory and the Lifter up of my head'. Who needs their head lifted up this morning? God is the Lifter up of our head, He's the One who gives us hope. Don't despair! Put on this helmet, tell yourself who you are in Christ! You need to talk to yourself - that's not the first sign of insanity, far from it - Psalm 42, David said: 'Why are you downcast, O my soul? Hope in God!' - he was talking to himself. That was his spirit talking to his soul, that was his spirit talking to his soul: 'Why are you downcast, O my soul? Hope in God, for you shall yet praise Him, and He will be the help of your countenance!'.
You have to do that, you know. Are you just sitting passively, expecting God to come along and zap you - that isn't going to be the way it is always. Sometimes He does that, quite rarely, but He has given us the resources to speak to our soul. He has given us the hope in Christ as a helmet of deliverance. So put away forever now, put away forever hopelessness and despair! God forbid, there are even believers who are contemplating taking their own lives, because they don't feel there is any hope.
Let me leave you with a verse, one verse as a promise and as a benediction of our message - Romans 15 - and I want to leave this with you, and tonight God willing we will look at the sword of the Spirit, and the secret weapon, if we have time - you can think about that one! The secret weapon. I might give a prize tonight to anybody who guesses it! There's hope, an incentive! Romans 15 and verse 13: 'Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing', you see the connection here - your believing leads to a hopeful anticipation that comes from God. 'Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy', that's the fruit of the hope, joy, 'and peace', peace of mind, peace of heart, 'in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit'.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Ards Evangelical Church in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the fifth recording in his 'Spiritual Warfare' series, entitled "The Helmet Of Salvation" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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