Notes on Christian Warfare (24)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

The way, the truth and the life!

The Devil’s Designs  (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

The helmet of salvation (v17). The salvation is a present one, it saves, and it keeps us safe, protecting us from a fatal blow to the head which would be the end of us. The parts of Gods armour you will notice are all defensive bar one. They are designed to protect us, not from suffering, but from sin, that which would be the end of us. It becomes clear that a large part of this warfare is to do with our minds, there is a lot of hard and clear thinking to be done. We have to keep our heads in other words. God’s salvation is our sure hope, the same that keeps our minds, “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation” (1Thessalonians 5:8). And we are persuaded that we are, in this salvation, eternally secure, that, “neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his (Jesus’) own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). This is our irreversible, guaranteed hope. In our dawning the helmet of salvation (v17) we are attuning to a biblical mindset. Our faith, belief is that salvation has dealt with our past, present and future sins. Therefore we are able to rejoice in the midst of trials and tribulations (James 1:2; Romans 5:1-5). We are able to think clearly, calmly, rationally and expectantly in regard to the whole of life and its experiences. We engage in right thinking in other words. This is a repeated emphasis in the New Testament teaching, to use our minds to think biblically and not in terms of the world’s mindset (Romans 12:1f; Colossians 3:1f; Philippians 4:7f; 1Peter 1:13). Think of all the Bibles references to the mind and to thought-life? Isn’t this how the devil attacks us? In times of mental tiredness, seeking to lead us into confused thinking and thus discourage and even depress us.

The enemies objective is to take our minds off of God, or to lead to wrong thoughts about God. He seeks to deceive and lead us astray by any means at his disposal. Thus either hindering us or restricting our service to God. One of his schemes is to lead us into an obsession about some aspect of our faith. It is right and proper that we have a concern for people, for the church but when it becomes excessive it is obsessive (2Corinthians 2:12f; 7:5). Or maybe some aspect of the truth, about church government, or eschatology or any other Christian doctrine, we can very easily be obsessive about such to the point of it being destructive to ourselves and others. The late Dr Martyn Loydd-Jones used to say frequently that the Christian life was always a matter of balance, healthy balance. Is there some aspect of the Christian life that is an obsession with you, is leading you into conflict with others, spoiling your joy and your witness? Nobody, not even the spiritually strong and mature are immune to the subtle, disturbing assaults on the mind, initiated by the devil, the enemy of our souls. The helmet of salvation is a necessity (v17). He can make the most innocents comments register as clear criticism, accusation or rejection of yourself that was never intended. That such thoughts come to us in a total and sweeping way and begin to cause destruction, dissension and division ought to tell you something of the origin.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
Sermon Audio

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