TWO KINDS OF ARMOR,
DEFENSIVE & OFFENSIVE
There are two types of armor. . These things are provided for us by the Lord because He knows that the devil is on the attack. We need to have a good defense. The Lord also wants us to battle and defeat the attacking devils, so the Lord provides us offensive armor also.
TWO KINDS OF ARMOR
1. DEFENSIVE ARMOR
2. OFFENSIVE ARMOR
HELMET OF SALVATION
HELMET OF SALVATION
The word for "helmet" is from the Greek "perikephalaia". It comes from two Greek words:
peri = around
kephale = head
It was an armored headpiece to protect the head from attack. In I Thessalonians 5:8, it says:
"PUT ON...FOR A HELMET, THE HOPE OF SALVATION..."
The "hope" of our salvation is the return of our Savior. So this helmet refers to the hope of the Lord's return, when we will receive our eternal reward. It is this hope of His coming that gives us the mental fortitude to battle evil. Knowing that we are saved, and that God has a heavenly home for us, will help us in the fight. The fact that we are saved also reminds of the hedge of protection that God puts around us.
The hope of our salvation makes us to be better examples.
I Thessalonians 1:1-10
2. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.
3. Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.
4. Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
5. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
6. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.
7. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
8. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.
9. For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.
10. And to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, Who delivered us from the wrath to come."
We live in a dangerous, perilous, treacherous world. The sins abound in many areas. There is sexual perversion, there are crimes abundant. The church itself is being polluted with heresies accepting the false gods of Islam into their worship, the "brother of the devil" whom the Mormons worship is being accepted by many Christians as the same Jesus we worship. The politicians are attacking one another, lies abound against some, the truths about others is almost as bad. We can watch out television news, read our computer sites, and have a nervous breakdown of worry. It is not the way the Lord wants His church in these final days of grace.
We have a ‘hope’ of Him coming. Our hope is in the coming of Jesus, His salvation to remove us from this sinful world, and later return us to watch Him purify this world of sin.
The hope of the rapture of the church should be paramount in our minds. We are told that ‘when we see’ the signs we are seeing, we are to ‘look up, our redemption draweth nigh.’
Luke 21:25-28 (ASV)
25 And there shall be signs in sun and moon and stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the billows;
26 men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world: for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draweth nigh.
That ‘looking up’, lifting up of our heads,’ is in the redemption, i.e. salvation, that is ‘drawing nigh’, and that is our ‘helmet of salvation.’
Some hotly opposed Paul, and he often had to flee the persecution of the world (Acts 17:10). Some of that day, and many even now in our time, die from the persecution. But the Christians keep preaching, causing the gospel to spread very fast. Some today as in New Testament times, keep preaching and teaching, and the rejecters keep hating and spuing vomits of arguments. But, souls keep hearing the truth, and the gospel gets spread, and accepted by some, as the message continues to go forth. If people, then or now, hear a truth that helps them, answers their questions, enlightens them, there will be a harvest.
Part of our armor to wear on this ‘red carpet’
is a helmet of the hope of salvation.
Paul shows in I Thessalonians, and in the following letter, II Thessalonians, that the whole of life should be influenced by the hope of His coming. We must not let the trials and frightening and horrific events of the last days discourage us, distress us.
It was the ‘return’ of Jesus, that hope of a coming deliverance from the persecution that inspired them.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 (KJV)
9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
They had a genuine conversion, had turned from idols, had left their sinful ways. The repentance did not just mean they were sorry their sins were caught, they were totally anxious to change their lives, and serve Jesus. Therefore, His return excited them. They patiently tried to wait for the return. The expectancy of such return was great, for they truly believed in the coming of Jesus. At the end of every chapter of I Thessalonians, we find Paul looking for the return of Jesus. They caught this expectancy from Paul. The second coming has always been abused as a subject, and yet, we should not become apathetic due to such assault.
Jesus is returning soon, and His return will ‘save us from the wrath to come’.
THAT IS OUR HELMET OF THE HOPE OF SALVATION.
The tribulation will come between the first part of His coming, and the second. The rapture of believers will remove us before the wrath of God comes.
So, when some wonder why we get all excited about the rapture, and say ‘why study it?’, or ‘why live like it will be soon?’, we have an answer, just as did the Thessalonians. Some want to say prophecy is too speculative or confusing, but to ignore, or be apathetic to the subject, results in ignorance.
God promised judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, and gave warning. Warning also was given for the flood of Noah. There were scoffers then. The great tribulation will result in more deaths than any other time has ever seen. The wars, famine, pestilence, and other judgments will devastate this earth. God is giving warnings, and signs to motivate us to be ready, and avoid the wrath of God by being raptured.
We are expecting a soon coming Lord. We are to be anxious, and looking for His coming. The troubles of the world, the debates of politicians, the sins of the rebels of this world, will not keep Jesus from coming soon. We must be looking up, watching for our Lord in the clouds. Our minds must have a ‘hope’ of His coming that overrides the fear and distress the ‘perilous times’ of today could engender.
The hope of His coming, should purify us,
make us totally unlike this sinful, immoral, hateful world.
I John 3:3
"And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as He is pure."
I Thesssalonians 4:
9. But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
10. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;
God has shown the world, what true and real love is. If we follow His example, and teaching, we will know the difference between love and lust. Lust is selfish, destructive. Love is selfless and constructive. When we do not love a Christian brother, God takes it personally.
I John 4:7-8
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love."
Love either grows or lessens. So, although the Thessalonians loved, there was more, and they could increase in the love they had. Do you love the Lord more than ever before? Do you love your wife and children more than ever? If we are in the perfect will of God, as Paul is instructing here, we are to be growing in love, and ‘increasing more and more’ in love.
I Thessalonians 4:
11. And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
12. That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
Paul then advises that they are to have a quiet, industrious life. Practical righteousness is needed... and this practical righteousness is not a list of do’s and ‘don’t’s, with ‘clothes line’ mentality of the ‘holiness nit-pickers’... but it is a fervent love for God and others that Paul wants to see exercised. Fervent love is shown in actions, but the actions are a natural by-product of this love.
Christians are a living epistle, ‘known and read of all men’ (II Corinthians 3:2). Our conduct as Christians can others to bless or curse the Lord. We can inspire others to want to know the One we serve, or we can ‘blaspheme’ God via our behavior.
"For the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles through you."
I Timothy 6:1
"Let as many as be servants that be under the yoke count their masters worthy of all honor that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed."
"teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed."
Paul saw a need here, for these people to get busy, settle down, do their work, and love one another... in other words ‘get busy’.
God demands obedience... and we were created to share His nature. ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy." God’s laws are not insensitive nor illogical. They are decrees designed to bring us into His love, and to help us share His nature. We are to be a ‘holy temple.’
I Corinthians 3:16-17
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? For the temple of God is holy, which temple are ye."
How much sin can we get away with? How sad to hear Christians voice such thoughts... and complain because we cannot do something sinful. We are ‘bought with a price’ (I Cor. 6:19-20). We are to have a nature like unto God’s own, and we are to be seeking that ‘impossible’ goal, not seeking to see how ‘sinful’ can we be.
Our hope of the salvation from this sinful world, that will culminate in Jesus’ rapture of the church, is our helmet that protects our brain, our thinking. We need that HOPE to saturate our minds, to keep us purifying in this sinful world, rather than being defiled by it.
God wants us blameless at His coming.
I Thessalonians 5:22-23
"Abstain from all appearance of evil, and the God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
With all our thoughts, our motives, our intents, our attitudes, etc. exposed to Jesus, will we be ashamed? When He appears in the clouds, calls us to rise up to Him, will we have things that are unrepented, un-acknowledged, for which we shall be ashamed. Therefore, the hope of His coming, gives us reason to purify ourselves.
I John 3:3
"And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as He is pure."
One part of purification, that is often neglected by Christians, is forgiveness. Paul emphasized forgiveness and love, as being a major part of this purification process. Can Christians forgive? Can we call it love, if forgiveness is not part of it? Too many Christians try to claim ‘love’ without the element of ‘forgiveness’ being present.
"Forgiveness" is from the Hebrew word ‘shalach’, meaning ‘to have a weight lifted.’ Forgiveness lifts the burdens of hurts from the past. You are not burdening yourself, when you forgive, but you are giving up a burden. The burden of unforgiveness torments many, causes sickness, and grief beyond measure.
Remember, how freely Jesus forgave us. If Jesus forgave us so much, how can we deny forgiveness to those who did to us, so much less?
Matthew 18:32-35 tells us a servant forgiven a great, enormous debt. Then he finds someone who owed him a pittance, and has him thrown in jail for it. The one owed the first debt, then cancelled the forgiveness, and demanded payment or jail. The story concludes with: "So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also to you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother, his trespasses."
Joseph is an example, for he could have sought revenge against Potiphar’s wife, or against the butler, or against his own brothers. Yet, according to the history book called ‘Jasher’, Joseph married the daughter of Potiphar. The butler was forgiven, and the brothers were forgiven.
The Lord’s prayer says ‘forgive us as we forgive’ (Matthew 6:12). This is prayer that is meant to be a model for all our prayers. God desires greatly for us to be forgiving. We cannot claim to be pure before God, if we are not forgiving.
"And when ye stand praying, forgive if ye have ought against any, that your Father also Who is in heaven may forgive you, your trespasses."
Anger, wrath, grudges, resentment and unforgiveness are destroyers of one’s soul. If we do not purify ourselves from such, they will damn our souls.
I John 1:7
"If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."
"Put off all these, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another... put on the new man that is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him."
"...overcome evil with good..."
"...vengeance is Mine..."
Knowing that we are to be called to the judgment seat of Christ, very soon, we should seek to purify ourselves to the purity expected of Jesus. Since we expect Him to arrive for us soon, this purification is urgent.