THINK ABOUT IT (The Helmet of Salvation)
Selected Verses from Ephesians
LUKE 8: 16-18
November 15, 2020
Paul writes, “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, will you a spirit of wisdom …”
Let’s stop right there because I am starting to believe that wisdom in the faith walk of Christians is something that has been magically erased from the vast majority of folks who consider themselves to be Christians. When the obvious is there …. how many of us go ‘duh, I know what God wants’ and then we do it? Or when we think to ourselves, ‘my goodness, that clearly goes against every single part of the Bible’ and then we actively oppose it? Are we quick to put aside the faith expectation … the God directives … the Holy Spirit nudging even when we do know what reaction a Christian should have? Do we value our Salvation or do we seek to fit in with some limited segment of the world?
This morning, ARE YOU ALLOWING the SPIRIT of WISDOM from the God of our Lord Jesus Christ to guide you … to mold you … to lead you in your words and actions? Is YOUR PERSONAL SALVATION through JESUS CHRIST the driving force in your life … the protection for and of your thoughts, words and deeds? Are you experiencing the joy in your salvation and have you pushed aside the fears that those in the world have been trying to intensify because you are embraced by the perfect love of God? Or do you seek a human on YouTube or SnapChat whose views you like to hear over and over again?
I am sure you could go online and ask at random any one of your friends this question and you’d already know their answer. The question, ‘If you were to turn a light on but then put a box over the lamp covering it completely would the lamp’s light have any impact on the room? Of course not … DUH … Think about it …
THINK ABOUT WHY Jesus used that lesson as a lesson for His disciples. “No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead,” Jesus taught. “Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand so that those who enter can see the light.”
When we consider our faith walk; … and obviously we have connected ourselves with the holy to some degree because otherwise we would not be here today .. when we consider our faith walk, it is important, actually it is required by God, that anyone who is a follower of Jesus MUST start thinking as a Christian and reject the world. Jesus frequently uses that word MUST not maybe nor occasionally nor when you are all alone … but there are MUST REQUIREMENTS for our active moments in life if … Jesus is your Savior and if … you believe that Jesus is God’s Son, the Messiah. Our actions, Scripture teaches, are to be the actions of the faithful based on Gospel teaching. Pick up your Bible and you can find the ‘DUH’ message about the argument people have when they say they believe in Jesus but don’t feel they have to follow him. Because even the devil and his legion of evil believe in Jesus and God’s existence.
If we have allowed the world to control our thinking, our words, our actions … if we are judging others based on world standards or creating personal alignments of good people versus bad people, of course based solely on our opinion or on the opinion of leaders we have elevated to positions where their words take away our thinking … when we choose which people we will work with and which people we will always attempt to bring down … well, then we are not thinking nor acting as Christians. If we are not willing to heal brokenness and broken relationships … if we are not forgiving others their trespasses as we expect God to forgive our sins and transgressions against the holy then I would argue neither your thought process nor your hearts are aligned with God nor with Jesus Christ. The real question you need to consider is … do you really value your Salvation through Jesus Christ? THINK ABOUT IT.
But, the good news is that we can turn things around and lift the basket that has been covering the light of our faith. God’s love is expansive and ready to welcome back those who have gone astray. That narrow gate has room for more to pass through and will never be shut but you need to choose to go in that direction rather than the world’s.
In First Corinthians, Paul writes “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. BUT it is the POWER of GOD for those of us who are being saved.” Right there is a contradiction that those of us who believe should see each day … if we are reading the Gospels and being exposed to the clear directives of Jesus Christ … it is clear that God’s expectations for living our lives directly contradicts the popular notion of the world wrapped up in selfishness, immediacy, reward seeking, personal power, dismissal of the poor and needy, and condemnation of others. The message of Jesus, my friends, on this Sunday morning I hope and I pray for all of you is THE POWER of GOD that resonates in your words and in your actions and in your thoughts. If you are eagerly consuming messages from those whose very actions, words and lifestyles defy the basic essential messages of Jesus each day for your entertainment or even worse for your education then the question that must be asked is where is your salvation? Where is your faith?
THINK ABOUT IT … Paul continues, “Where are today’s debaters? Hasn’t God made the wisdom of the world foolish? The weakness of God is stronger than human strength. No human can brag in God’s presence. It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus. HE BECAME wisdom from God for us.”
So, I have been trying to bring each of us on this journey to get prepared not for a return to the past nor to what some come call normalcy but I am attempting to get all of us focused on our tomorrow’s so that we can be ready and dressed for success for our walk with God. Praying that all of us can “be strengthened by the Lord and his powerful strength.” Friends, we need to “PUT ON GOD’s ARMOR so that together we can make a stand against the tricks of the devil.”
I have talked about honestly examining our faith; our relationship with God by turning to the mirror of faith that reflects back to us whether or not the world we live in sees Christ in our words and actions. I have encouraged all of us to change our diets for Christ … opening up the Gospels each day even if we only read a few sentences so that we begin to hear Jesus call … louder than we hear the talking heads’ rhetoric on MSNBC and FOX each night. I have reminded all of us that as Christians we not only need to wear love on our sleeves where others see it but we have to live loving God and loving for all others.
We have moved through Paul’s directions about God’s armor where the belt of truth matters and justice is meant to be our breastplate. Our journeys in life are to be on those shoes embraced in peace giving us the the means of sharing the good news. And, last week I again reminded all of us that we need the Holy Spirit to be our shield of faith .. our guide … our muse … our source of information for living each day.
And, that brings us to the HELMET of SALVATION. I suppose that the protective gear for our brains is appropriate for the consideration of our salvation because even though salvation resonates from God’s love it comes down to a logical decision from our minds. God gave us our minds to think out experiences and to debate options … God didn’t force us to become robots but God has given us every opportunity to witness proof of God’s existence and God’s love. God has put Jesus on display but we have to make the decision to choose to believe. We have to ask Jesus into our hearts and then we have to be changed … actions not mere words. Yes, our minds can make up words and our minds can make up lies but when we look into that faith mirror we know our truths … and God already knows our truths so the protective gear for our Salvation is our helmets because Paul in his use of this suit of armor knew that our thoughts in faith must be protected from the world’s evil … we need to insure that harm didn’t come to our Salvation because that is our guarantee for the future.
So … THINK ABOUT IT. Where is your salvation this morning? How real and alive is Jesus Christ in you? Have you been doing all you can to put a basket over the light of Christ since your first moments of joy when you knew Jesus was real … that God had delivered a Savior not a baby in a Christmas scene manger? Are your waking moments encapsulated in prayers of thanksgiving and praise to God for Christ … Are you willing to fall down on your knees right now and praise God and thank God … or is that passé … gone with the wind?
Linda Dillon in her book THE BLESSING BOOK writes, “God wants us to cling to Him … as if our life depends on it. The Hebrew word in Psalm 63, dabaq, literally translates ‘to stick like glue.’ David’s God was a personal God. He called Him ‘my God’ and ‘my help.’”
Is that who God is for you? If your salvation is real and alive then you can relate to David’s Psalm … you understand why people of faith literally stick to God like glue because friends the truth is … the other option is allowing the world to cover us like a fog blinding us from the light of Christ. Perhaps we have even helped by putting our basket or bowl over that light.
Dillon reflects more on David’s faith “David possessed two qualities that caused him to cling to God: 1. Desperate for God and 2. Dependent on God.”
Hear again what Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “We are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. Since you really listened to him and you r were taught how the truth is in Jesus, CHANGE the former way of your life. RENEW the thinking in your mind by the SPIRIT. Clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness.”
Today is the day when your change can begin … today is your DUH moment opportunity if you think about it and realize that you have allowed the world to creep in. Paul writes, “we were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, so life your light as children of light!”
I know some of you are hearing this message today and thinking Pastor Dave that just isn’t me. I have never left my salvation behind … the helmet is safely on me. Well, I pray that is all of us but if you are secure in your salvation then I am thankful that you are sharing your light into the world!
Invite the children you know to Sunday School today at 11. Tell your friends to come to church virtually with you each week. Ask friends from this church whether they have abandoned worship for the sake of Sunday morning sleep in’s or the news?
We all need to be “strengthened by the Lord and his powerful strength!” “Listen carefully” to Jesus each day to discover the paths of our journey. Put on the full armor of God so that the forces of evil don’t overtake you!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus … THINK ABOUT IT.
 THE BLESSING BOOK by Linda Dillon published by NavPress