The Helmet and the Sword

The Helmet and the Sword

We do not have the audio recording of this sermon but below, you will find the sermon almost word-for-word.

We have been studying the armor of God for a month now. I don’t know about you but I personally have been enjoying this sermon series. If you missed any of them, click here to listen/read.

But also, I have been sensing that Satan is angered. From recent conversations I’ve had, it seems as though he’s trying to distract us, discourage us, and knock us down. Some of us have been having some difficult weeks this month. We can’t credit Satan with all of it, but many times, he will take life’s circumstances and use it to try to knock us down.

That’s why it’s so important to put on the full armor of God.

Let’s read what we’ve gone through so far.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 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 firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

Ephesians 6:10-16

We learned that our enemy is not against other human beings. As much as we might feel that the problem stems from other people, they are not the enemy. As our series title suggests, our true enemy is stranger things. Our enemy is Satan and his demons. Their goal is to kill, steal, and destroy us.

So Paul tells us how to fight in this battlefield so we can withstand in the evil day. We must put on the whole armor of God. There are 6 pieces and we’ve gone through 4 so far.

1) The Belt of Truth

We must put the Truth around our waist and keep it with us at all times because Satan is a liar.

2) The Breastplate of Righteousness

While every other religion says that you must work hard to be saved, reach nirvana, be reincarnated as something else, God’s Word says, none of us are good enough. So we need to trade with Jesus. We give Him our sin and He will give us His righteousness, His perfection.

3) The Shoes of Readiness

These shoes give us the readiness we need and this readiness comes from the gospel of peace. So even while everything around us may be falling apart and not going our way, we can have peace.

4) The Shield of Faith

Satan has a bunch of different arrows that he throws at us. Arrows of accusation, temptation, trials, doubt, and even arrows from within the church. The only thing that can really stop us from being pierced by these arrows is our faith in God.

So now we get to the 5th piece of armor.

 and take the helmet of salvation

Ephesians 6:17a

So now we must put on…

5. The Helmet of Salvation

When Paul talks about the helmet of salvation, he had in mind the helmet of a Roman soldier. The Roman soldier’s helmet had a band to protect the forehead, had plates to protect the cheeks, and it came down in the back to protect the neck. It protected the soldier’s brain from anything flying in the air such as spears, arrows, swords, and axes.

While the brain is not as vital as the heart, it’s also very important. The brain determines how the body functions. If the brain is not functioning, you might still be alive, but your body won’t function.

In the same way, the Helmet of Salvation protects your mind. In the same way that your brain determines how your body functions, the mind determines how your soul functions.

We experience this when we watch a show or a movie. Even when we know the story is fiction and even when we know the characters are made up, it still gives us REAL feelings! We can’t deny the feelings. We can’t deny the tears. Our minds can really affect our soul. So guess where Satan attacks? Our mind. If he can affect our mind, he can affect our soul.

A few months ago, Melinda and I bought a new car from Ray Price Honda in Stroudsburg.

We love our SUV. It’s truly a blessing from God! So on the day we bought it, instead of going straight home, we decided, “Hey, let’s celebrate and go out to eat! We’ll leave our old car here for now and pick it up after we eat.”

So we drove to Red Robin’s and had amazing burgers. It was a “Treat yo’ self!” kinda day. After we ate, we had to go back to Ray Price to pick up our old car and return home in separate cars. Then I said, “Hey, our new car COMES with a GPS system. Uhhh…let’s try this thing!”

So we did and it worked beautifully!

“Turn right”… “In 3 miles, turn left.”

But then we started noticing that the area was unfamiliar. But we kept going. The GPS knows! Then the GPS said proudly, “You have reached your destination.”

I pulled into a dark parking lot super confused. We looked around and couldn’t find Ray Price anywhere. When we looked around, we realized what had happened. The GPS didn’t lead us to Ray Price. It led us to “Ra Rice”. Or at least that’s what it read.

Here’s what happened: The GPS led us to Ray Price’s OLD location. Their new location was somewhere very different. We later discovered that we have to pay to update the GPS to include new locations. So the GPS was telling us the truth, but it didn’t tell us the WHOLE truth.

Here’s the thing with Satan. He won’t give you the whole Truth. He’s content on leading you to Ra Rice, instead of Ray Price. When we follow Satan’s voice he will lead us to our old location…our old life. He will lead us to destruction, to an empty building, to a dark parking lot, to a place where there is no life. This is why we need the helmet of salvation. This helmet is always updated. It’s always correct. Satan might be saying one thing, but it doesn’t affect our mind because we know what God is saying through the helmet. Like a football coach communicating with the quarterback.

When someone does not put on the helmet of salvation, they can be led astray. This has been Satan’s strategy since the very beginning. It’s exactly what Satan did with Eve in the Garden of Eden. He started by twisting the Word of God until Eve started to doubt God’s Word and eventually gave into sin.

Satan continues to do that today. He uses the same strategy over and over again. He implants doubt into our minds and it causes us to get the Truth wrong. He attacks the mind because then it affects how our soul functions. If Satan can affect how we feel, his hope is that we won’t care what the Bible says. Because when what we feel doesn’t match up with what God says, we begin to question what God says. That’s exactly what Satan does to lead people astray.

This is what’s happening in our society now. We are witnessing leaders in the Christian community turn away from Christ. They are following Satan’s GPS and it’s leading them down a path without God. Why is this happening? Because many Christians are not wearing the helmet of salvation. When we put it on, the Truth protects our minds from Satan’s lies. When we hear something that contradicts God’s Word, we pick it up right away. When we hear lies from the world, it doesn’t affect our soul because our soul is already being affected by God’s Word.

You see how that works?

So now we get to our last piece of armor!

and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

Ephesians 6:17

The last piece of armor is:

6. The Sword of the Spirit

Out of the 6 pieces of armor, this is the only one that is primarily offensive. When Paul says “sword”, he’s not referring to a long sword. He’s referring to the machaira, which was a short double-edged sword. This sword was ideal for fighting hand-to-hand. This was for close-quarters combat. The Sword of the Spirit, however, is not a physical sword. It is the Word of God.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

Before Jesus started His ministry, Satan tempted Jesus to try to knock Him down. What weapon did Jesus use against Satan? The Word of God. Satan tried three times. Each time, Jesus started His response with “It is written… (stab)…it is written (stab)…it is written (stab).” Then it says the devil departed. Jesus resisted the devil. He stood firm. He had his whole armor on. And He used the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God to fight the battle.

Church, Satan doesn’t want you to use the Sword. Satan knows the Bible more than all of us put together. He knows the entire Bible from memory. He even used God’s Word to try and tempt Jesus. So if Jesus, the Son of God, used the Bible to overcome temptation, how much more should we? Satan loves it when our Bibles are closed and unread.

Check out what Satan does in this passage.

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

2 Corinthians 4:3-5 NLT

Satan wants to blind unbelievers but also keep believers from reading the Bible! Why do you think the Bible is attacked by our society so much? Why doesn’t anyone attack other religious books? Those books also contain things that contradict the way society is going. So why attack the Bible?

Because God’s Word is a double-edged sword. It’s powerful! It might be offensive but it brings forth healing and life. It’s unstoppable.

I found a quote from Pastor Willard Johnson, who was a great defender of the faith. He wrote this referring to God’s Word:

Generations follow generations—yet it lives.

Nations rise and fall—yet it lives.

Kings, dictators, presidents come and go—yet it lives.

Torn, condemned, burned—yet it lives.

Doubted, suspected, criticized—yet it lives.

[. . .]

Exaggerated by fanatics—yet it lives.

Misconstrued and misstated—yet it lives.

Its inspiration denied—yet it lives.

Yet it lives—a lamp to our feet, a light to our paths, a standard for childhood, a guide for youth, a comfort for the aged, food for the hungry, water for the thirsty, rest for the weary, light for the heathen, salvation for the sinner, grace for the Christian.

To know it is to love it; To love it is to accept it; To accept it means life eternal.

Pastor Willard Johnson

Maybe at this point, you’re sensing a pattern. All of these pieces of armor have one thing in common: the Truth of God’s Word.

  • The Truth is what holds everything in place (the belt)
  • The Truth is what guides us on how to live (the breastplate)
  • The Truth is what helps us stand firm and have peace (the shoes)
  • The Truth is what stops the attacks of the enemy (the shield)
  • The Truth is what protects our minds (the helmet)
  • And now we just saw how the Truth is what we use to attack the enemy (the sword)

When we have put on all of these pieces, we still need one more thing. Without this last ingredient, the armor is meaningless. It has no strength of its own. So as we put this armor on, what do we need to do?

18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:18-20

We can literally spend an entire sermon series on this passage alone! So I’ll give you the cliff notes. We need to put on the whole armor of God. But this isn’t OUR armor. It’s God’s armor. He provides us with this armor. We just put it on.

But the armor of God doesn’t work without prayer!

Pastor Tony Evans used a really interesting illustration and I want to adapt it to help explain this point. Let’s say you want to buy a brand new TV.

Obviously, you would go to Costco. You look around for the one you want and you buy it. You take it home, take it out of the box, mount it on the wall, and press the button to turn it on. But it doesn’t turn on. You tried the remote and you tried the button on the TV…nothing. So you call the electric company.

“Hi yes. We just bought a new TV and it won’t turn on. Any ideas?” you say.

 “Did you plug in the TV?” asks the representative.

“Nope. The TV is not plugged in.”

“You need to plug it in.”

“But isn’t that your job? I mean, you’re the electric company right?”

Here’s the thing about electricity.

Your house contains all the electricity it needs for the devices in your house to function. You don’t call the electric company and ask for more juice because your TV isn’t turning on. You don’t call the electric company and ask them to flip the switch or plug in the TV. You need to do that yourself!

God has provided us with all the resources we need to fight in this spiritual battle. He has given us ACCESS to His armor. But in order to access His armor we need to make a connection. We need to plug it in. We do this through PRAYER. When we don’t pray, Satan is already winning.

So how should we pray? Paul explains how to pray, in 6 different ways. I’ll go through these briefly.

1) Pray always.

How can we pray always? Well, it’s kind of like this. When you’re at work, or on vacation, or playing with your kids, you can still think right? You can still worry about the bills. You can still complain about someone in your mind. We can also have good thoughts while we’re doing other things.

In the same way, we can live our everyday life, and stay connected to God. We can be God-aware. Pray to God for patience so you don’t lash out. Ask God for a parking spot! Thank God for your job as you clock in. When you’re doing something difficult, ask God for help. When you’re tired, ask Him for help to wake you up and then drink some coffee.

2) Pray with various types of prayer.

Instead of just praying when we need something, we need to thank God for the things we already have. Or we need to pray by worshiping God. Mix it around. Prayer can be just crying before the Lord or it can be writing out your prayer in a journal. It can be with your eyes closed or open. Kneeling down or standing up. There are so many ways to do it. It’s a good idea to use various types of prayer.

3) Pray in the Spirit.

Maybe you pray using a prayer journal. My prayer journal is on my phone. I must do this to remember everything. But sometimes, the Holy Spirit has His own list. Sometimes God will tug at your heart to pray for someone. He will wake you up so you can pray. That’s praying in the Spirit. It’s allowing yourself to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

4) Pray with your eyes open.

Pray but keep watch because the enemy will try to discourage you and distract you when you pray. Satan doesn’t care that you go to church. But when you’re praying, then He’ll start shooting those arrows and start putting lies in your mind.

5) Pray with perseverance.

Keep praying and don’t quit. So keep on praying until God accomplishes what He said He will accomplish. Don’t stop! Don’t quit! Persevere in prayer.

6) Pray for all the saints.

This is one of the most important ones! Pray for other Christians. Do you pray for the people in our church? You can simply approach them and say, “How can I pray for you?” Write it down, and pray for them!

It’s like the story of when Israel was being attacked.

Moses told Joshua, “Hey, you go fight with your sword and I’ll pray at the top of this hill.”

So Joshua went and fought using his sword while Moses was standing and praying on top of the hill. Every time he held up his hands, God’s people started winning the battle. Every time his hands would drop, they would start to lose. So two other men stood beside Moses, holding up his hands because he started getting tired. As they held up Moses’ hands, the Israelites started winning until Joshua defeated the enemy!

Sometimes, you’re Moses. You’re praying, you’re doing well, you are strong! But other times, you’re weak, tired, and exhausted! Do you know what you need? You need people around you, holding up your hands, giving you the strength you don’t have. You need to call someone up, text someone, ask someone to meet with you, so you can let them know that you don’t have the strength to keep holding up your hands.

In this very moment, you may not have enough faith to keep going. But as a family, we have enough faith to hold up each other in this battle. That’s what the church is about. We’re all fighting the same battle. When you get hurt, it’s as if I got hurt. When I’m in pain, it’s as if you’re in pain!

What would our church be like if we all prayed for each other more? I think we would be a much stronger church. Emotionally and spiritually. I think we would be stronger to overcome temptation. We would all have more peace. When we walk through valleys, we would find that we’re not walking through them alone.

We just spent a month studying the armor of God. What are we going to do about it? Will this just be another sermon series that we go through and don’t take action?

Let’s put on the whole armor of God and let’s commit to prayer. Start with 5 minutes a day and keep adding to that. I promise you, it will make a huge difference in your life and in the people around you. My desire is that you seek God with all of your life. That instead of turning to the world, we turn to God for help. That we pray for His peace.

Let me just say this last thing. Whatever you’re going through right now, however big it is, know that God is bigger. However difficult it is, know that nothing is too difficult for God. However painful it is, know that this pain can’t compare with the joy you will experience when Jesus returns.

Put on the whole armor of God.


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