1 Thessalonians 5:8
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
I. Its mention serves TO REMIND THE CHRISTIAN THAT HE IS A SOLDIER.
1. If you were not soldiers you would not need armour. This idea should govern the whole of life. Too many Christians try to be friends with God and with His enemies. Never take off your armour, or in some unguarded moment you may meet with serious wounds.
2. You are soldiers in the enemies' country. The sick are in the trenches, and the active are engaging the enemy. More or less all are exposed and always.
3. You are in the country of an enemy who never gives quarter. If you fall it is death. The world never forgives. What might be done without observation by any one else is noted and misrepresented in you.
4. You fight with an enemy who never made a truce. You may come to terms and parley; forces of evil never do. "Dread the Greeks, even when they bring you gifts"; and let the Christian dread the world most when it puts on its softest speeches.
5. You have to do with an enemy who cannot make peace with you nor you with him. If you become at peace with sin, it has conquered you.
II. Being a soldier LOOK TO YOUR HEAD.
1. A wound in the head is a serious matter. Being a vital part it needs to be well protected. A good many Christians never think of defending the head at all. If they get their hearts warmed by religion, they think that quite enough. But it is not: a hot head and a hot heart may do a good deal of mischief, but a hot heart and cool head will do a world of service for Christ. Have right doctrine in the head, and then set the soul on fire.
2. A helmet is of no use to any part but the head.
(1) The head is peculiarly liable to temptation. It is not easy to stand on a high pinnacle without the brain beginning to reel: and if God puts a man on a high elevation of usefulness he had need to have his head well taken care of. So with wealth, popularity, etc.
(2) The head is liable to attacks from scepticism. He who has a hope of salvation is not afraid of its quibbles. He may hear them all, and be for a moment staggered, as a soldier under a sudden shock, but he recovers himself. A man is not often a very thorough democrat after he gets a little money in the savings bank, and when a man gets a stake in Christianity he gets to be very conservative of old fashioned truth.
(3) The head is in danger from the attacks of personal unbelief. Who of us has not doubted his interest in Christ at times? but the man who has a good hope may be of good cheer. These doubts and fears will pass away.
(4) Some are attacked by threatenings from the world. The world brings down his double-handed sword with a tremendous blow, but it only blunts itself on the helmet.
III. Consider THE HELMET WITH WHICH GOD WOULD HAVE YOUR HEAD PROTECTED.
1. Its Giver. The soldier gets his regimentals from Her Majesty, and from the Monarch Himself we must get our helmets. Those of your own construction are of no use in the battle, and the hope of salvation is not purchasable.
2. Its Maker. Weapons are valued according to the maker; the name of the Holy Ghost is on our helmets. The hope of salvation is His work in the soul. Rest satisfied with none that are made in the workshop of nature.
3. The metal of which it is made. Beware of getting a base hope, a helmet of paltry metal, through which the sword will cleave to your skull.
4. Its strength. It renders its wearer invulnerable in all assaults. Recollect David, when pressed with troubles on every side. "Why art thou cast down?...Hope thou in God."
5. It will not come off. It is of main importance to have a headgear that cannot be knocked off in the first scrimmage. So ours must not be a commonplace hope that will fail us in extremity.
6. The old helmets were oiled to make them shine. When God anoints His peoples' hope, and gives them the oil of joy, it shines bright in the light of the Saviour's countenance.
7. The helmet was the place of honour. The plume was placed in it. The Christian's hope is his honour and glory: he must not be ashamed of it.
IV. THERE ARE SOME WHO HAVE NOT THIS HELMET. Christ only provides for His own soldiers, but Satan also provides for his. His helmets are also potent ones. Nothing but the sword of the Spirit can cleave them. He has given some a thick headpiece of indifference. "What do I care!" — that is your helmet.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.