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Sermon Notes

Please note that these are only notes, not transcripts, and as such are not identical to the recorded sermons. They also contain frequent abbreviations.


    1. The Greek word helmet literally means “an encirclement of the head” & expresses exactly the function of helmet worn by a Roman soldier in Paul’s day.

      1. The Roman helmet had to offer excellent protection while at the same time give support and comfort to the head, neck and face.

        1. The helmet was fashioned from strong metal which entirely encircled the head, except of course for the face.

        2. It consisted of the main part which fitted over the head and extended to the neck, as well as hinged side parts which protected the cheeks and jaws and a chin strap to hold it in place.

        3. Inside the helmet was lined with leather or fur to provide comfort as well as a snug fit, and a blacksmith was usually at hand to make any necessary adjustments.

      2. The helmet, then, was not simply a cap placed on the head but all round protection for the head.

        1. Wearing a helmet, the soldier was safe from arrows, blows from swords or from spears to the head, face or neck, and from falling debris.

        2. The skull was protected; the sides of the head; the sides of the cheek; the back of the neck.

        3. Without a helmet the soldier was very vulnerable: he could expect either a fractured skull or to lose his head completely by being decapitated!

    2. The presence of the helmet in his armor gave the Roman soldier confidence and courage in battle.

      1. The helmet was also very distinctive because it was a beautiful piece of armor.

        1. A metal bucket or a saucepan on the head would have been functional as a helmet, but the Roman helmet was not hastily crafted; the blacksmith spent a long time making the helmet.

        2. The result was an ornately decorated, beautifully crafted headpiece which was often topped by elaborate plumes, often feathers in bright colors.

      2. The helmet, then, meant that the soldier did not skulk in the darkness. He could hold his head up high, with the knowledge that he is protected.

        1. In fact, Roman soldiers went into battle confident of victory because they knew that they were excellently protected and heavily armed.

        2. Roman soldiers did not fight with stealth or in camouflage. They did not hide; they did not need to. They wore their helmets proudly for their helmets like much of their armor (think, for ex, of the shield) intimidated the enemy.

        3. Paul tells the Christians in Ephesus – in addition to the belt, the BP, the shoes and the shield, take your helmet, the helmet which will give you courage, the helmet of salvation.



I. The Meaning of the Helmet

II. The Taking of the Helmet



    1. The Roman helmet is a figure of the Christian soldier’s helmet, the helmet of salvation (the helmet which is salvation)

      1. The word salvation in Scripture refers to the entire work of God by which He delivers His people from sin and death, into everlasting life and glory.

        1. Of course, you cannot wear any of the armor of God unless you possess salvation. Taking the helmet of salvation does not mean “getting saved.” The one taking the helmet is already saved. It must mean a certain aspect of salvation.

          1. Salvation consists of a number of steps but fundamentally salvation is the work of God. Romans 8:30 teaches us the steps of salvation (God predestinates, God calls, God justifies, God sanctifies and God glorifies). To that you could add, God regenerates, God converts (or turns the sinner) and God preserves.

          2. Salvation, then, has two parts: negatively, it is deliverance from something, the greatest of all miseries (sin, death and hell) and it is the receiving of something, the greatest possible good, everlasting life enjoyed in covenant fellowship with God in Jesus Christ.

          3. In addition, we sometimes speak of the different tenses of salvation: We have been saved (redemption thru the cross), we are being saved (the ongoing sanctifying work of the Spirit) and we shall be saved (the final glorification of God’s people body and soul in the new heavens and the new earth).

        2. So, what aspect of salvation acts as a helmet for our souls? What aspect of salvation protects us from discouragement? What aspect of salvation gives us confidence in battle? And what aspect of salvation enables us to hold our heads high?

          1. Of course, all of the pieces of armor are interrelated and depend upon one another. It is the whole armor of God, and we cannot prosper unless we have all. But they must be distinguished as well. The helmet is not exactly the same as the belt, or the BP or the shoes, etc.

          2. The helmet of salvation is not the truth, although it depends on truth. Truth is the belt which holds everything together and prevents us being blown about in confusion by false doctrine.

          3. The helmet of salvation is not justification, although there can be no salvation without it. Justification is our BP, the R of X imputed to us, which protects our conscience against the accusations of the devil.

          4. Nor is the helmet of salvation the peace which comes to us from the gospel, a fruit of the gospel which prepares our feet to stand and not slide.

          5. The helmet of salvation must be something which protects our head and gives us confidence: it is that future aspect of salvation called hope. With hope we have confidence in battle.

        3. The helmet of salvation is mentioned in two others places in Scripture, Isa. 59:17 and I Thess. 5:8.

          1. We looked at Is. 59:17 earlier in this series when we considered the BP of R: Jehovah God wears R as a BP but He also wears an helmet of salvation. These are figurative expressions to reveal to us that God is entirely equipped to bring salvation to His people: His R is impregnable and His salvation is invincible.

          2. I Thess. 5 speaks of the BP of faith and love, but we rejected that as a possible parallel with the BP of R in Eph 6 because it does not fit the context. Faith and love are not a suitable BP against the great deceiver and accuser, Satan. Only the R of X will do.

          3. But I Thess. 5:8 also speaks of a helmet of salvation, specifically “for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” The question is: Can the hope of salvation act as a helmet in the fierce spiritual battle in Eph. 6? Nothing rules it out and there is much to commend it.

          4. Hope is necessary in the fight against the devil and hope of salvation is necessary in connection with our calling to watch and to be sober in anticipation of the Lord’s return. That helmet fits the context of both Eph. 6 and I Thess. 5.

      2. The helmet of salvation, then, especially concerns the hope of salvation, that is, the hope that we shall be saved.

        1. The Bible very really speaks of our salvation as something future, something hoped for. Yes, it is true that we are already saved, but we have not yet final and complete salvation. We hope for that.

          1. Romans 13:11, “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”

          2. I Thess. 5:9, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”

          3. Romans 5:9, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

        2. Hope by its very nature concerns future. We define hope thus, “The earnest expectation of future certain promised good.” Hope really has three aspects.

          1. First, it is something future which we do not yet possess, “For we are saved by hope …” (Rom. 8:24-25). There are certain aspects of salvation which are not the object of hope because we already possess them: for example, we do not hope that Christ will atone for our sins. He already has. We do not hope that God will regenerate us. He already has.

          2. Second, it is something good. If it were something bad we would not hope for it. We would dread it; we would fear it. Acc. to Hebrews 10:27 the wicked have a “certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.” That is not hope.

          3. Third, it is something promised, and therefore certain. Hope does not doubt, or wonder, will it really happen? Of course it will! God has promised and God cannot lie. But if it has not been promised, it is not hope, but presumption for us to expect it.

    2. The hope of salvation which is here likened to an helmet is objective hope. That should not be a surprise after what we learned about the shield of faith which we said was objective faith – that which we believe.

      1. Remember the difference between objective and subjective. Objective hope is that for which we hope, the completed salvation at the return of Christ; subjective hope is our activity of hoping, our earnest looking for and eager expectation of that salvation.

        1. The hope which we wear as a helmet is not our activity of hoping but the objective hope of that future certain promised good. We define obj. hope as “a future certain promised good.”

          1. Again, we repeat what we have said concerning other pieces of armor. We need to bear in mind that this is the armor of God, armor fashioned by and supplied by Him. God is the other of our hope as much as He is the author of our faith.

          2. The helmet of salvation cannot be our subjective hope because our activity of hoping is simply not strong enough to protect us against Satan. Too often we lose hope. Objectively our hope still exists, but we lose sight of it.

          3. In fact, without the work of God in Jesus Christ we would have nothing to hope for, and everything to fear. Without the objective hope of the Gospel we would be miserable, of all men the most miserable, and life itself would not be worth living, and certainly there would be no point in fighting Satan and the powers of darkness.

        2. Beloved, we, we who believe in Christ, with our children, have hope and it protects us from Satanic attacks as surely as a helmet protects a Roman soldier. In fact, it is better protection.

          1. It is a hope which the unbelieving world does not have. Paul writes that unbelievers are without X, “having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).

          2. It is not an uncertain hope, so that we hope that we might receive it, but we are not really sure, but a certain hope, a hope prepared for us by God Himself. And we will not be ashamed or disappointed by this hope.

          3. God elected us to receive this hope, Christ purchased this hope for us on the cross and the Spirit applies this hope to us in our lives, and God promises this hope and commands us to hope. The Reformed Confessions make much of this hope: “We expect that great day with a most ardent desire, to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Art. 37).

      2. Paul does not elaborate in exact detail what this hope of salvation is. By it he means the truth that we are not only saved in the present based on past acts of salvation by God in the past, but especially this, we shall be saved.

        1. Negatively, this hope in which we put our confidence, as much as a soldier entrusts his head to his helmet, is that there is for us no condemnation and we shall not be condemned in the future.

          1. There is coming a day of wrath, a day when God will judge the wicked and cast them into hell, and we know that we deserve the same faith, but we have this hope: we will not be condemned.

          2. We must know this. Imagine living without this hope. Imagine living with the expectation that as soon as that fragile thread which holds us to this life is broken we will fall into hell! That is the torment of conscience which a man has who has no assurance of salvation.

          3. But the child of God, looking to Christ, knows that Christ has already delivered him from the wrath to come, and that on the Last Day he will not be condemned. How? Christ died for us. Rom. 5:9.

        2. Positively, this hope in which we put our confidence, as much as a soldier entrusts his head to his helmet, is that there is stored up for us an eternal inheritance of blessedness.

          1. God holds that out before us as an incentive, to spur us on. Look, beloved, what you have to look forward to: eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

          2. Paul speaks of that hope in Col. 1:5, “the hope which is laid upon for you in heaven.” The writer to the Heb. calls hope “anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:17).

          3. That hope consists in final glorification, in our final, complete deliverance from all sin, in our seeing God in the face of Christ, in our acquittal at the Judgment Seat of Christ and in the gathering and perfecting of all the saints.

          4. That hope includes our own preservation through faith until the end and our receiving of “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Peter 1:5).


    1. Taking the helmet means to appropriate to ourselves the obj. hope of salvation set forth in the Gospel, to exercise hope subj., earnestly to expect that future certain promised good. Obj. the hope is there, but we need to believe, and take hold of that helmet, and to enter the battlefield emboldened and encouraged by that hope.

      1. We must take the helmet of salvation because without it we are vulnerable to the devil’s attacks upon our head. The whole armor of God is important but do not neglect the head! Imagine a soldier who protected his heart and chest and had comfortable footwear but had no protection for his head!

        1. Physically our head contains our brain, and a blow to the head is often fatal. God has designed our head with a hard skull and important cushioning fluids to protect that controlling center of our bodies, our brain.

        2. What is, spiritually, our brain? It is really our mind. Our mind and our heart are closely related. We reason from our hearts and minds, we think from our hearts and minds, we discern from our hearts and minds.

        3. The devil is really engaged in a warfare against our hearts and minds. He wants to corrupt our thoughts so that we are tempted to sin, and he is almost infinitely resourceful in his attempts to do that. Deceit, accusation, winds of doctrine, fiery darts, whatever it takes, he will throw them at us.

      2. The devil hates the helmet of salvation, and he hates to see a Xian wearing that. We can be sure that he will aim at the obj. of our hope. In two ways!

        1. [First, he seeks to deceive us so that our hope is misplaced, and we are fooled by a counterfeit helmet which will not withstand his attacks]. True, biblical hope does not make us ashamed and enables us to lift up our heads because our redemption draws nigh but false hope is like a false helmet.

          1. Take Harold Camping: he has predicted that Christ will return on 21 May, 2011; that is next Saturday (plan to be in church next Sunday!). Camping’s website says, “The Bible guarantees it.” People have believed him, have sold their property, given up their jobs and have given all their money to Family Radio. Their hope is the Second Coming on 21 May. They have thrown away the helmet of salvation and been tricked into wearing a different helmet. What will they do when Christ does not return? Many of them, it is feared, will give up the Bible all together.

          2. Take Premillennialism and Postmillennialism. If your helmet of salvation consists in a secret rapture while the Jews go through the Great Tribulation and the earthly millennium you are going to be disappointed. You are being softened up to fall when persecution comes! Or if your helmet of salvation consists in a period of earthly prosperity for the church, with the Christianization of the nations, you will be open to deception when the Antichrist gives just that: earthly peace and prosperity without Christ and in opposition to Christ.

          3. The letters to the Thessalonians are illustrative of what happens when believers are confused and mistaken in their hope of salvation. In I Thess. 4 Paul had to correct the believers on their mistaken notion that those who died in Christ had missed the coming salvation. Paul explained that the dead in Christ will rise first and all believers will meet Christ at His Coming. In II Thess. Paul addressed an opposite problem: the believers misinterpreted the nearness of Christ’s coming to mean that He was coming immediately; they gave up working, became busybodies. Paul reminded them that great events (great apostasy; the coming of Antichrist) must occur b4 the end can come, and told them to get back to work!

        2. [Second, the devil attacks our hope directly]. He does not want us to hope, so he tries to convince us that our hope is not real. This is really a full frontal attack on the helmet itself, but fear not, the helmet is strong enough to withstand all his attacks.

          1. The hope of the Christian is and must be the Second Coming of Christ which means the resurrection of the body, the final judgment and the eternal blessedness of heaven. The devil attacks that. He will seek to mock our hope in future salvation as pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking.

          2. You believe Christ is coming back to rescue you and the church? Fool! Christ is not returning. He has not come back for 2,000 years. You’ve been duped. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Such scoffers have been around since the days of the Apostles and they will only increase as the end draws ever closer.

          3. The devil will make you believe – unless you wear the helmet of salvation, that the cause of Christ has been defeated, that the devil has won, and that the Christian should surrender while he still can. But the helmet of salvation says otherwise, “Christ is ruling as king now, and He will come again, and the devil knows his time is short.” That’s hope!

    2. Without the helmet of salvation our head will not protected from despair and discouragement, the effects of which are paralyzing to the Xian soldier. But with the helmet of salvation firmly in place, we have courage and fight confidently to win.

      1. The effect of Satanic attacks on a Christian soldier caught without his helmet is devastating

        1. One of the classic OT examples of a believer who lost hope was Elijah.

          1. He had seen the power of God on Mt. Carmel but the people as a whole had not repented, and he began to despair. Will God’s cause go down in defeat. Elijah thought so: “It is enough, now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers … The children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars and slain thy prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it …” (I Kings 19:4, 10).

          2. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever thought, the cause of Christ is hopeless, the church is only shrinking, the world is only getting worse, and there is no point in going on?

          3. If you find yourself thinking that, pick up the helmet of salvation which has fallen off your head, and put it back on, and hope.

        2. The symptoms of a Christian soldier who has dropped his helmet are discouragement, despair and battle weariness.

          1. Without the helmet of the hope of salvation we will become discouraged, and feel as if there is no point in fighting against sin and the devil. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9). The harvest is coming, perhaps it does not look that way, but it is.

          2. Without the helmet of the hope of salvation we will imagine that to suffer for the faith, to deny ourselves is too hard, and is not really worth it. Read Rom. 8:18, II Cor. 4:17.

          3. It really comes down to this: confidence in Christ (do we trust His stategy?) and assurance of personal salvation.

          4. Are you wearing the helmet of salvation, beloved? Are you weary, are you discouraged, are you even despairing? Hope yet in God and He shall sustain you. Lift up your heads for your redemption draws nigh!

      2. With the helmet of salvation firmly in place, protecting the head from despair, the Xian soldier can fight with confidence. Fight confident of these two things.

        1. Victory is certain both for the individual believer and for the entire church.

          1. The Captain of our salvation has already defeated the devil: what we are doing is really a mopping up campaign.

          2. God has promised us that because Christ has died and risen again we will inherit eternal life and reign with Him forever.

          3. And note even the lowliest of soldiers will miss out on the life to come. There will be no casualties. Yes, we will be battered and bruised, some of us might only limp into heaven, but there will be no fatalities. Christ assures us of that.

        2. The battle is worth it; this is the cure to all battle-weariness.

          1. If the Roman soldier emboldened by his helmet fought for earthly glory and the spoils of war, we have a much greater incentive: heaven, everlasting glory.

          2. Fight, then, beloved, fight courageously, fight confidently.

          3. A Christian wearing the helmet of salvation is beautiful and is a terror to the evil one. A church made up of members all wearing that helmet will put Satan to flight.

          4. And then we will exchange our helmet of salvation for the crown of righteousness. Then hope will become possession and we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful soldier. Enter into the reward of victory. Amen!”