Welcome to Thurs night Bible study and I want to thank you all for being here tonight! Let us go to the Lord in prayer: Oh Father God, how we praise you! We thank you for your love, your mercy, your grace, the many blessings you pour out on each one of us. We thank you for your forgiveness and we thank you for your son, Jesus Christ who died to pay for our sins. Father God, we thank you that you are working in our lives to help us become like Jesus! Lord God, we thank you for the weapons we are given to fight our enemy and we ask you to help us use those weapons each and every day. We love you, Lord God and we praise you! In the precious holy name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!
We've been studying about the Whole Armor of God and tonight we are going to conclude our study with the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:10-18 says "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor 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 armor 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."
As the sword was the soldier’s only weapon, so God’s Word is the only needed weapon, infinitely more powerful than any of Satan’s. The sword was used both defensively to fend off Satan’s attacks, and offensively to help destroy the enemy’s strategies. No Christian has to live like a spiritual beggar when God offers riches beyond all imagination. Believers must first listen to and meditate on what God’s Word says about their true standing, and then access it and begin living it by faith. Having something does not ensure that we will experience the benefits that only using it can yield. This distinction is critical to keep in mind as Paul introduces the next piece of spiritual armor.
The Helmet of Salvation is likely taken directly from the description of the Divine Warrior in Isaiah 59:17 "For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head". The salvation experience is often reduced to something that only affects a person's eternal destiny: heaven or hell. The fact that it does affect the outcome of eternity gives us incredible hope. In fact, part of what it means to wear the helmet of salvation is to live every day in light of eternity and the promised future that we have. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 calls the helmet the hope of salvation. "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."
Our salvation in Christ gives us hope and confidence even while living through the trials and difficulties on earth. Christian hope is a confident expectation that God will accomplish His will. In that sense, the helmet of salvation speaks of a trusting, expecting confidence that God will ultimately save His children through the completed work of Jesus on the cross. As believers in Jesus Christ who have been saved by His grace, we have a hope that nonbelievers don't have. We have been made alive in Christ, and we have a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven.
1 Peter 1:3-5 tells us "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time". To wear the helmet of salvation is to believe that God guides us today and will ultimately take us to heaven. When we understand our identity in Christ and trust Him to complete His eternal plan in our lives, we have a hope that changes the way we live.
We fight spiritual battles with faith when we have the confident assurance that God will ultimately win the war. Satan tempts us with sin, but we confidently trust that God will provide a way out. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." The enemy entices us to worry about our health or finances, yet we believe that God will heal us and supply all of our needs. Genuine hope keeps us moving forward, never giving up and running the race with faith.
According to the dictionary, salvation is the rescue from a state of danger and the restoration to wholeness and prosperity. In the Bible, when the word saved is used, even in referencing one nation being saved from foreign enemies, it doesn't just involve them escaping death but also entering into a state of health, wholeness, victory, and safety. Our God's salvation involves the well-being of the whole person, not just rescuing them but even reversing negative circumstances. Salvation is rescuing power and restoring power. God in His astounding graciousness has designed salvation to offer so much more.
Our salvation was meant to come with more than future benefits. It was also supposed to have a clear impact on our present, daily life, but this impact will only be experienced to the extent that we apply the benefits of salvation to our everyday lives. Receiving salvation is not the same as applying salvation. The first redeems us; the second restores, protects, and shields us daily from the attacks of the enemy. Romans 5:9-10 tells us "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
Our salvation is a defensive, protective device that covers us, shields us, and protects us against the schemes of the devil. It enables us to lead whole, healthy lives not fractured by the enemy's deceptive strategies. If we don't apply salvation to our life, we'll still be vulnerable to his attacks every day for the rest of our life, even if we've gotten saved. Philippians 2:12-13 tells us "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
A Roman soldier's helmet was basically a skullcap made of iron, typically covered with bronze. Its primary function was to protect the soldier's skull and brain from the swing of the three to four foot long sword with a massive handle that needed to be cradled by two hands to hit its target. One strategically aimed blow could completely crush the soldier's skull, incapacitating him in a split second. When the helmet was strapped in place, it exposed little besides the eyes, nose, and mouth. Choosing not to wear it means leaving our mind exposed and unprotected.
Let's look at some verses that tell us the importance of the mind is to the believer's ability to function in health and victory. Isaiah 26:3-4 tells us "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength." Hebrews 8:10 says "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
1 Peter 1:13-16 says "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Considering the physical brain can help explain the importance and function of the mind. The significant role your brain plays is profound. Every single function of your body is attached to the signals and impulses your brain sends. If your brain is impaired, your body will also be impaired, no matter how healthy the individual parts of your body may be.
What the brain is to the body, your mind is to your soul. If your mind doesn't send out healthy impulses, your soul will not respond in healthy ways. This is why the enemy works so diligently to cripple you through negative thoughts and unhealthy patterns of imagination. Poisonous thinking will also cripple our ability to clearly detect the leading of God's Spirit. As an heir, we're meant to know and discern His will, to hear His guiding voice behind us, but when our mind isn't thinking like someone who wears salvation, our conscience fails to turn in the direction of the Spirit's conviction. The enemy's lies, when believed, short-circuit and distort our ability to hear God's voice clearly and respond accordingly.
Romans 8:16-17 says "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." We are an heir and we don't need to live from such a limited perspective of scarcity and lack. Our inheritance, so full and rich and plentiful, was bestowed upon us by Someone who died on our behalf nearly 2,000 years ago. Our lifestyle should reflect our true inheritance which will enable us to live a spiritual life of lavish abundance and grace. It is a helmet of protection for our head and for our mind, so put it on and you'll begin to see a higher standard of living right away.
Roman soldiers in Paul's day needed to buy their own equipment. Only those who were wealthy enough to buy their own helmet were able to secure themselves in the comprehensive protection provided by this critical piece of armor, so the poor went into battle unprotected. Their helmet, unlike ours, wasn't free of charge. Having a helmet provides the security of protection in the midst of heated battle. The good news for us is that we never have a reason to be without it. The price for our helmet has been paid in full by our Savior. What a shame if we ever go into battle again without taking full advantage of it and of the full benefits package that comes with it.
When the apostle Paul opened his letter to the Ephesians, he spent the majority of this first portion on the benefits of salvation, but the depths of God's love in choosing us, adopting us, bestowing grace upon us, and redeeming us are only the beginning of what our relationship with Christ offers. We've also received a vast, boundless, lavish inheritance, one that we did not earn and do not deserve. Paul wanted to make sure we never forget it, because if we do, we'll likely live a lifestyle well below our actual means. We'll live within the restraints of our earthly resources instead of the wealth of our Father. Ephesians 1 is basically a description of our spiritual identity and tells us that our identity in Christ is our inheritance and that walking in our inheritance is the helmet of salvation, then wearing it actually means putting on our identity in Christ, renewing our mind according to it and then adapting our behavior to align with it.
Let's read Ephesians 1:3-14 where Paul outlines the benefits of our salvation and remember these verses for truths that combat each of the lies of the enemy. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory."
Let's look at Ephesians 2:4-10 "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
The fullness of our inheritance speaks to every single area of our mind that the enemy targets with his lies and deceptions. Rehearsing it will renew our mind and cultivate the health we need for making wise choices and living in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. Living in light of this salvation inheritance enables us to not only stop living below our spiritual station in life, but it also protects our mind against the enemy's attempts to cripple our thinking, to convince us that we are worth less than we really are. The ripple effect of this protection will be a change in our mind-set, lifestyle, and the choices we make. All of that is based on our wealthy spiritual status and a new way of looking at things will change the outcome of the battles we face against the enemy and all his attempts at stopping us from reaching our destiny.
The enemy knows the power of our thoughts will affect the quality of our entire life. Thoughts are active and they grow and change. Every time we have a thought, it is actively changing our brain and our body for better or for worse. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."
Romans 12:2 tells us "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." These two power-packed passages are the battle plan for our defense against the enemy's attempts to infiltrate our mind. They tell us how to transform our thinking and put on the helmet of salvation. It can be boiled down to three key mission objectives.
1. IDENTIFY the toxic thought patterns you've been nursing and recognize them for what they truly are: strongholds that, along with the enemy, you've assisted in constructing within your mind. In this first step, we hear the battle context involved in the fight for our minds. A stronghold in biblical times was a military fortress. Nearly every ancient city had one and it stood at the highest point in their geographical area, erected for all to see. It was designed to block and keep out incoming invaders. What negative thought processes have been elevated to the highest point in your mind over God and His truth in your life?
2. CONFESS guilty thought processes to God and agree with Him about your responsibility in helping to construct these strongholds in your life. Our strongholds are not all the enemy's fault. The enemy cannot make us do anything. He can only lead us to do things. Every time we've nursed and rehearsed illegitimate thinking, we've added another concrete brick to the construction of a stronghold. Whether those thoughts were in relation to doubt, fear, insecurity or something else entirely, rehearsing the enemy's lies made us in essence a partner with the enemy in building up a fortress that has held us captive.
3. DISMANTLE the stronghold by taking your thoughts captive, then renewing your perspective and understanding through the deliberate applying of God's truth. This requires forethought and proactivity. The same kind of passion and strategy you might put into a new workout plan or reaching a financial goal must define your hands-on approach if you want to destroy a stronghold. Destroying it requires force and power, the kind that can only come from consistently applying divinely empowered weapons, namely the Word of God.
When Paul instructed us to "take every thought captive", he expresses continuous, ongoing action. We must understand that being successful at this will be a lifestyle, not a one-time event. Taking thoughts captive means controlling them instead of allowing them to control us and it means actively replacing the enemy's thinking with God's thinking at every opportunity. When the enemy's lies enter, immediately compare them in light of the freely given benefits package of your salvation inheritance. Resist the urge to agree with or rehearse the negative thought, but instead replace it with the Truth of God's Word. No matter how long or how difficult this journey may be, our vigilance in this area of our life will pay off, because God Himself will see to it.
When we control our thought life and we take our thoughts captive, we are quite literally renewing and restoring our minds from a state of unhealthiness to a state of wholeness and strength in God. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8-9 "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you."
The enemy wants us to suffer from a case of mistaken identity. It makes his job a whole lot easier and makes our defenses a lot weaker. He's working overtime to mask our identity in Christ, to keep the truth from coming out, that we are indeed alive and free and empowered by God's own Spirit to fight victoriously against him. He'd rather conspire to keep us in a constant state of mourning, grieving over who we wish we were, instead of relishing who we really are. He prefers us insecure and crippled by self-doubt, but his reign of terror is over in our lives, because now we know the truth. We will put our helmets on and stand firm against the attacks of the enemy, knowing we are God's beloved children.
Our identity in Christ is our weaponry. Putting on the helmet of our salvation is knowing who we are in Christ, fortifying our thinking with it, and living in a way that is in agreement with it. When we do this, we break the enemy's stronghold and also tap into the power to deflect future attacks. Renewing our minds and deflecting the enemy's advances to control them requires vigilance, aggressive and proactive attention. Colossians 3:2-3 tells us to "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."
David, under the leading of God's Spirit, crafted some beautiful words that unveil the truth of who we really are. Psalm 139:1-6, 13-17 says "O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!"
Genesis 1:27 tells us "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Consider the time and careful attention to detail that God displayed when crafting you inside and out and that He has searched you fully, knows your deepest thoughts, and still considers you precious and valuable. These are the kinds of truths your enemy wants to trick you into disbelieving, so he'll use every opportunity to make you believe you are a mistake, horribly flawed, not worthy of love, not capable, not acceptable, or truly forgiven.
When we are in a war, we don't relax from active warfare. We do whatever we need to do to keep that helmet on and in position throughout our day, every day. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
From the Old to the New Testament, Scripture tells of the value and worth placed on you as a human being. The enemy's attacks will always challenge this line of thinking, stirring up insecurities that breed destructive behaviors which are out of alignment with God's will. We need to let our prayers echo the promises of God over our life and the enemy won't stand a chance against our prayers. The battle is spiritual and must be fought in God’s strength, depending on the Word of God and on God through prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
We are to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, so that we can combat the enemy’s lies with the truth and promises of Scripture. Hebrews 4:12 says "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Knowing precisely what we will face each day, the Lord has graciously provided the perfect equipment needed for all our challenges. We must never forget that we are in a spiritual war with an enemy who is looking for weaknesses. Regardless of how well things may seem to be going for us, we must always keep our hearts and minds focused on Christ—obedient to His commands and faithful to His purposes.
We stand tallest and strongest on our knees. Prayer is the most powerful tool a believer has and nothing compares to it! In prayer we learn to worship Him and grow spiritually in His loving presence. Tears are just as effective as words at times, and God is sensitive to every tear you cry. Just as He understands the hurt you feel, so He knows how to deal with and guide you through any anger that has penetrated your life. God is bigger than any problem you face. He knows the way before you, and only He can guide you through the difficulty. When a trial hits, always respond first by going to Him in prayer. As you pray, hope invades your life and fills you with the reassurance of His presence.
Making the commitment to pray tells God that your heart is open to His heart and that you want to learn more about Him and the life He has planned for you. As we spend time with Him, God lovingly teaches us how to pray and how to listen for His still, small voice as He replies to our humble requests. Prayer is the doorway to blessing and freedom from bondage. As we pray, God teaches us more about Himself and the spiritual warfare needed to combat the enemy. Every day God calls us to put on the armor of God and to stand firm in our faith. The only way to do this is through prayer and complete reliance on Jesus Christ, who is Lord over all!
We cannot win our battles against Satan without our invincible weapons of salvation through Christ and the Word of God. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior the devil’s ability to destroy our souls is removed. So he goes to work in other ways, seeking to hinder our effectiveness for the kingdom of God. This is why we must obey what the Lord teaches us through His Word. The principles in His Word are anchors that keep us steady in times of storms. Remember always “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” 1 John 4:4. Trust the work of your Savior and “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
We are in a spiritual battle against the powers of the evil world and each day we should mentally “put on” each piece of armor and think about how each piece will help you in your battle. We put on the armor of God by daily knowing Scripture truth, living in obedience, sharing the gospel and trusting Christ. The spiritual armor will protect us from spiritual attack. Only when we overcome temptation in the spiritual realm can we play out that victory in the physical world. All spiritual warfare waged today is victorious only on the basis of appropriating the provision of the Cross and Jesus Christ’s blood. Can we praise God and say Hallelujah!
I want to thank you so much for coming and I wanted to let you know that I am taking some time away for some quality time with God and my family, but I will be back in Sept, if Eye will allow me to. God bless each one of you and your families and may He keep you safe, at peace and victorious! I've got a beautiful video for us to watch:
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- CR Coach SP
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"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
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