AGCC Sun. a.m. Aug. 1, 1999



TEXT:     Eph. 6:17a; Rom. 6:14-18,23; 8:23-25; I Jn. 3:1-3


We've all heard the expression "a mind is a terrible thing to waste". Why? Because the mind represents the real "ME". A person can lose a leg, an arm, other parts of the body, but you cannot lose your mind and still be a human being! This makes Paul's statement on the armor of God very significant when he addresses the need of the soldier to wear a helmet to protect the most vital organ of the body, the brain. This helmet he likens to SALVATION. Following logic here it is clear that Paul states that SALVATION is the only protection for the existence of being a human being. No doubt Paul is also thinking of the role of the mind, it is in the mind that we experience fear, hope, love, hate, etc., thus the only protection is the helmet of SALVATION! Yet, we must choose to put it on! ILLUS: God votes for us; Satan votes against us--we cast the deciding vote. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990). PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that the helmet of SALVATION gives us hope in a hopeless world, faith in the face of fear, guarantee of eternal life rather than the guilt of eternal damnation. In SALVATION we are free from the PENALTY of sin, the POWER of sin, and one day the PRESENCE of sin!

I. SALVATION FROM THE PENALTY OF SIN! Eph. 6:17a, Rom. 6:23, I Jn. 3:1-2

A. Death Dies! Rom. 6:23 1. The person that has never accepted Jesus Christ as their savior is facing eternal damnation! a. The Bible does not teach that everyone will experience joyful bliss in eternity, only those who have experienced salvation. b. Salvation is MORE than just "believing" that Jesus is God, even Satan believes this! It is accepting Christ's salvation by confessing our sins and turning our lives over to Christ to live the way He calls us to live. 2. Only Christ can transform us from death to life! ILLUS: Nature forms us; sin deforms us; school informs us; but only Christ can transform us. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990). 3. The penalty of sin is death, not just physical death however, it is also spiritual death! a. In salvation our spirit is again brought back to life, and this has impact on the physical as well! b. Christ died to defeat death in the Christian those who have received Christ are alive, eternal life with Christ is their reward. B. Different Disposition I Jn. 3:1-2 1. In Christ there is a radical transformation of what we are, from sinner to saint, but the impact of Christ on our thinking becomes dramatic also! a. Salvation should transform our mind, our thinking, our outlook. b. We no longer view the world or life as we once did, now we view all things from a different point of view, an eternal viewpoint. c. Our values, our ideas, our concepts of truth are all transformed in Christ, there is a renewal of our mind as Paul states in Rom. 12:2. 2. One cannot accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and continue to live out the values of this world unchanged by the SALVATION that Christ has made possible! 3. God's power in salvation completely alters the course of our lives! ILLUS: Let me put it to you with the story of a simple, illiterate man who was converted through the work of the Salvation Army. He went regularly to the Salvation Army citadel. One day he came home rather disconsolate. His wife said, "What's the matter?" He said, "I've just noticed that all the people in the Salvation Army wear red sweaters, and I don't have a red sweater." She said, "I'll knit one." So she knitted him a red sweater. The next Sunday after he went to the citadel, he still wasn't happy. His wife said, "What's wrong this time?" He said, "I just noticed all their red sweaters have yellow writing." They were both illiterate, but she said, "Don't worry about it. I'll embroider some writing on for you." She had no idea what the yellow writing on the red sweater of a Salvation Army man said--Any of you know what it is? They have a yellow circle, and in it, BLOOD AND FIRE. That is their motto. (Unbutton the jacket of a Salvation Army man when he's ringing his little bells sometime; tell him you're just checking.) The man's wife had no idea what the letters said, and she couldn't read anyway. So copying a sign from a store window opposite their home, she embroidered the words of that store sign onto his red sweater. When he came back the next Sunday, she said, "Did they like your sweater?" "They loved my sweater. Some of them said they liked my sweater better than their sweater." What neither of them knew was that the sign on the store window she had copied read, THIS BUSINESS UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT. That's what it means to get saved. That's what it means to get converted. That's what it means for the Holy Ghost to come upon you: this business under new management. -- Stuart Briscoe, "Christmas 365 Days a Year," Preaching Today, Tape 135. 4. Has the helmet of salvation changed your way of thinking? - IT SHOULD! a. The helmet protects the mind, the seat of who we are. b. The unprotected mind is an open target for the enemy. 5. Salvation protects us from the PENALTY of sin which is death, in Christ's salvation we now have a new life! II. SALVATION FROM THE POWER OF SIN! Rom. 6:14-18 A. Dominating, Not Dominated! 6:14 1. Christ's salvation not only protects us from the PENALTY of sin, it also protects us from the POWER of sin! a. The old life of death is gone - our past is dealt with in salvation. b. The old hold of sin on us is broken with the death of the old man! 2. God's POWER in us helps us overcome sin, this is our present experience in salvation. a. There is a wonderful sense of hope and peace in salvation, we are now freed from the power of sin over us. b. We can live for God in Christ, something we could not do before we were saved. c. No one has the power to overcome sin unless they are saved! 3. What the law could never do, God's grace can do! a. The law only pointed out man's sinfulness b. Christ's salvation provides the power to live an overcoming life. 4. In Christ we are transformed from wickedness to righteousness. ILLUS: Our son Jonathan asked Jesus to come into his heart when he was four. A few months later as I was getting him ready for bed, he asked in all seriousness, "Mom, what did I used to do when I was wicked?" -- Janell Adams, Sumas, Washington. Christian Reader, "Kids of the Kingdom." 5. No matter how powerful a soldier was, without a proper helmet he had no sense of peace in the midst of a battle, he would be easily overpowered by the enemy. a. This is what we see in the world today, without Christ's salvation the enemy has a clear shot at the mind and souls of people. b. There is no real victory in life without Christ's salvation! B. Deliverance Decreed! 6:15-18 1. Christ saves us to overcome sin, He frees us from it's penalty and it's power. 2. We are thus free to live godly, not free to do as we please. a. A soldier wore a helmet to fight in battle, not to go out and play! b. Christ overcame the power of sin so He could give us His Spirit to enable us to overcome sin also . This comes in salvation. 3. When Satan would seek to destroy us we must remember this great truth, we are free from both the penalty and power of sin in Christ! ILLUS: John Newton is remembered for his hymn "Amazing Grace." In his later years, he often lost his memory in the pulpit and had to be reminded of the subject about which he had been preaching. He said, "My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Jesus is a great Savior." -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997). 4. The helmet offers us shielding from the attacks of Satan and sin against our minds. III. SALVATION FROM THE PRESENCE OF SIN! Rom. 8:23-25; I Jn. 3:2-3 A. Day Of Days! Rom. 8:23-25 1. Salvation covers the PENALTY of sin (Justification - past experience) 2. Salvation covers the POWER of sin (Sanctification - present experience) 3. Salvation will also cover the PRESENCE of sin! (Resurrection - future experience) a. This is the future hope we have, salvation offers the believer a hope the world does not possess, our hope of eternal life freed from even the presence of sin! b. Our struggle against sin will one day have a conclusion! 4. For Christians death does not hold the same horror and loss as those in the world without Christ! ILLUS: Norman Vincent Peale tells a story of the early days of his ministry. He was in Brooklyn, New York. One Christmas Eve he was out visiting some families, and he walked by a doorway. He noticed that on the door was the red ribbon of Christmas and a black wreath of mourning. While the people who lived there were not parishioners of his, he decided he would call on the family. So he knocked on the door, and the father of the family came to the door. Dr. Peale introduced himself and was invited in. He sought to give condolences to the family, and he saw in the sitting room a small casket where a 6-year-old girl was lying in state. He expressed his sympathy to the father, and this father said, "Dr. Peale, its' going to be all right, for she is with God, you know." While they were talking, Dr. Peale could hear the mother of the family reading the Bible to two little boys of the family, and he heard her reading these words: "Because I live, you shall live also." Christ's love is for keeps, whatever comes. -- W. Frank Harrington, "The Love That Brought Him," Preaching Today, Tape No. 51. 5. The helmet of salvation offers us protection for even the future, for all those who are saved by Christ's atoning blood will one day find a life freed from sin's influence! a. The resurrection offers us a hope of not struggling against sin anymore. b. The reward of the saved is a new body, a new life, wherein dwelleth righteousness and no sin! 6. The ultimate victory over sin is eternal life with Christ - this is called the "blessed hope" of the redeemed! B. Daily Dynamic I Jn. 3:3 1. What are the practical aspects of our future hope? - It stirs us to live holy NOW waiting for the THEN! a. This is John's point when he states, "Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." b. Christians are not "escapists" - people who are just floating through life waiting for a 'pie in the sky' existence with God, we are people so stirred by the salvation Christ has granted to us that the very hope of eternity has very real influence over our lives in the present - holy living! 2. The great truth of salvation changes everything, PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE! ILLUS: I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior. John Newton (1725-1807) - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entries 9795-9797. 3. Do you know who you are? Where you're going? Is your helmet of salvation safely on your head? a. One cannot afford to be on the battlefield without a proper helmet. b. Head wounds are most often fatal, we need protection from Satan's attacks. 4. If your mind has not come under the protection of Christ's salvation you are a sitting duck, why not find peace in the midst of battle - WATCH YOUR HEAD, keep yourself covered with God's offer of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord! CONCLUSION:   In Christ we have been saved (past experience - Justification), we are being saved (present experience - Sanctification), and we will be saved (future experience - Resurrection)! Salvation is our helmet - protects our minds from despair, fear, guilt, hopelessness, etc. In salvation we are free to think of God's gifts and not guilt! A clear head is required in battle and only a soldier with a proper helmet had any security. Is the helmet of salvation covering your head?