The Helmet of Salvation
James is a very popular wolf. He has lots of friends who love to listen to his stories. This one is the most requested. James and Grover were soldiers in a troop whose sergeant was very lax. James preferred to travel light. He never wore his helmet. Grover would always nage him to wear it, but he wouldn't. He said it just slowed him down. Then one day, a shell decimated a building very close to where he was. Grover survived without injury. James rushed to put his helmet on, but was not fast enough. But it wasn't all bad, because now, his sinuses are always clear, he was eating things from a tube before go-gurt became popular, and if anyone doubts he has half a brain, he need only tilt his head up to show them. He hasn't enjoyed a 3-D movie in a while, but then, he has a very singular perspective. And if he's lucky, he may get a day where the hallucinations stemming from his brain damage are actually pleasant.
Today, we begin a study of the armor of God. How many people here are familiar with "The Guyver"? No, not McGyver. The Guyver was an ordinary man who had an encounter with an extraordinary piece of technology. It is a symbiotic organism which lives in the back of his neck. When the host is threatened, the symbiote transforms into a suit of armor that gives him incredible powers. The armor lives inside him and transforms him. It cannot be removed, and as long as it exists, the Guyver cannot die. Not permanently. God's armor is a lot like that. Under normal circumstances, it may not be visible. It is inside of us, but it transforms us, making us stronger. No one can remove it, and as long as it exists, the saint wearing it cannot die. Not really.
When the guyver first received his powers, a silver ball was rammed into his forehead. This is what implanted the armor into his body. It is the keystone of the armor and the control unit. It was upon receiving this key piece that he became the guyver.
When you accept Christ as your Lord and savior, you receive a number of things. The most important thing you receive is the helmet of salvation. It is the first piece of armor you receive. Every other piece of armor in the suit, much like the Guyver's armor, is grown from it. It is the control center of the armor. It is upon the receipt of salvation that you become a Christian. Every other piece is important, but that helmet is what makes you what you are.
Now let's talk for a bit about helmets.
First of all, a soldier does not earn his helmet. The army is not like a video game where you start off with easy battles and earn or buy armor and weapons as you go. A warrior is never sent into battle without his helmet. He is GIVEN one before he has earned a cent. There is nothing a soldier can do to earn a helmet before he gets one, and it would be foolhardy to try. So it is with the helmet of salvation. You don't earn it. There is nothing you can do to buy it. Our emperor gives them to us free of charge. Now He does expect us to USE them. You don't put an infantryman into body armor and then stick him in an officer’s lounge in Toledo. That helmet is meant to see battle.
The helmet protects the most important organ in the body- the brain. If you lose a lung, you can survive. A liver can be replaced. Even a heart can be repaired if the doctors get to it quickly enough. But damage to the brain is nearly impossible to undo, and if the brain goes, it can't be replaced. Death is instantaneous. The brain is the part of the body where all that a person is can be found. It must be protected at all costs.
The helmet of salvation likewise protects that which is US. It protects the soul. But it does more than simply protect us from death, it protects us from the spiritual equivalent of brain damage. It protects out intellect, our emotional health, our will and even our freedom of thought.
The helmet is not optional. Motorcycle riders are required by law, at least everywhere I know of, to wear helmets. Construction workers cannot be on a construction lot without a hard hat. Astronauts better have their helmets with them when they get on a spacecraft. Interestingly enough, it's legal in some states to ride around on a motorbike buck naked if you want. If nobody is offended, it's not illegal. But you'd better be wearing a helmet.
Likewise, the helmet of salvation is not optional. There are enough helmets to go around, but if you don't accept one, you have no part in the kingdom of Heaven. It doesn't matter how great your faith is, it doesn't matter how well you can quote the gospel. It doesn't matter how many shares you earned in AWANA. If you don't accept that helmet, you are no friend of the emperor for whom we fight.
That's another thing about helmets. They serve to identify who you fight for. A New York Fire Department helmet has NYFD on it. A Roman soldier's helmet identified him as a Roman soldier. A Captain's helmet identified him as a Roman captain. Helmets are invariably noticable. Even if it's just a biker's helmet, it's not going to go unnoticed. And the more special the helmet, the more noticable it is. If Judge Dread or the Rocketeer walk into a room, they are not going to blend in. So it is with our helmets. If we're wearing them properly, they will be noticable. They may be completely invisible, but the world is going to recognize them. Optimally, people are going to look at you and say "There's something different about you." Oh, what wonderful words those are! When your helmet has transformed you to the point where the world sees you and wants what you have, that's when it all comes together. That's when we fulfill our purpose for remaining on this earth.
And here's the best part. Ask any air force pilot about the day he got fitted for his helmet. The pilot gets his head shaven and then cast. No two air force helmets are alike. Every one is completely unique and made exclusively for that single individual. They fit perfectly. Your helmet, too, is made exclusively for you. We don't receive carbon-copy helmets either. Our god offers salvation to us as individuals, and it is because He loves us as individuals. If you were the only one who needed or wanted salvation, Jesus still would have died for you. You are not merely meant to be part of some corporate entity, going to Heaven only so that God's giant train set will have little people in it. You are more than just a number. God loves you for who you are, and the individual salvation which He offers you is for you and you alone. In the words of Bob the Tomato: "God make you special, and he loves you very much."
My challenge to the unsaved is the same as it ever is. Get yourself this all-important piece of armor. To the rest of you, make sure that you've got your helmets on straight. The insignia should be facing forward so that when the world sees you coming down the street, they see Christ.
Today's reading: Ephesians 6:10-17
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: