The Armor of God, Part 5: Salvation

Posted on 07/05/2009 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Announcement: My (Mariposa's) computer has finally been fixed, so we can start having our women's Bible study on Tuesdays at 9:00am Second Life time, and the prayer meeting on Wednesdays at 7:00am. So we hope to see you there!


Public Prayer Requests:


Sweetkitty - Grandchildren, daughter and son-in-law, peace for her, protection for grandchilren, daughter and son-in-law surrendering to Jesus, forgiveness, reconciliation.


For Ishtar.  She is 43 and has stage 4 lung cancer in both lungs that has come out of remission.  Doctors want to try another round of Chemo, which nearly killed her the 1st time.  She needs prayer for healing, wisodom and comfort.


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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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JESUS SET ME FREE

I'm so glad Jesus set me free (x3)

Singing Glory, Hallelujah
     Jesus set me free!

I'm so glad...
Satan had me bound...
Religion had me bound...
I'm so glad...


SET FREE TO WORSHIP

I'm Set free to worship
I'm set free to praise him
I'm set free to rejoice
     around God's throne
I'll laugh, I'll dance,
     I'll shout, I'll sing
Hallelujah, praise the Lord,
     let the heavens ring
Set free to worship
     I'm set free


FREEDOM

Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom

There is peace, there is love
There is joy (there is joy)

It is for freedom He's set us free
It is for freedom He's set us free

I'm free! (I'm free! I'm free!)
I'm free! (I'm free! I'm free!)
I'm free! (I'm free! I'm free!)
I'm free

We will walk in Your freedom, walk in Your liberty
We will walk, Lord
We will walk in Your freedom, walk in Your liberty

We will dance in Your freedom, dance in Your liberty
We will dance, Lord
We will dance in Your freedom, dance in Your liberty

We will jump in Your freedom, jump in Your liberty
We will jump, Lord
We will jump in Your freedom, jump in Your liberty

Where the Spirit of the Lord is
    THERE IS FREEDOM!!
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
    THERE IS FREEDOM!


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***

Aren't you thankful for freedom today? Even if we're behind bars or in physical chains, the Bible tells us that "Whom the Son has set free is free indeed." Has Jesus set you free? If not, you can be free before you leave here today.

You know, the Spirit of the Living God is here in our midst right now, and as 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

Yesterday, in the United States of America, we celebrated Independence Day, America's birthday on July 4th of 1776, the day we declared our independence from the Great Britain and the Kings of England under whose unjust rule we had been subjected.

When is YOUR independence day? When is the day you were born again by the Spirit of the Living God? When is the day YOU declared independence from Egypt and from the principalities and powers who rule all those who live under the power of sin?

For the past few weeks, we've been talking about the Armor of God, and about how vital it is that every day, we make certain we are wearing the whole armor of God so we will be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil.

And today's part of the armor just happens to fall one day after both a celebration and a day of mourning which can be held up as a parallel of Salvation, freedom from sin, and yes, even becoming a slave once again to those things from which Jesus has set us free.


First, I'd like for us to consider a few things about our paralell, considering the spiritual side of these events and how they relate to Salvation and the life of the redeemed.

While the colonies were under the rule of Great Britain, the number of laws and regulations kept growing, and Great Britain kept raising taxes, trying to tax everything and anything.

Today, there is a high gas tax, cigarette tax, taxes to keep things you already own and already paid sales taxes for, and we see promises of steep taxes on top of those, including taxes for using too much electricity at the wrong times of day, or driving too far.

So many of the things that outraged the colonists and led to the founding of America are being repeated today.

In terms of regulations, they too keep growing as the government continues to grow far past the constraints of the Constitution. Political leaders are working hard to grow those restrictions, including hate crimes laws similar to what is already in place in Canada.

When that happens, I may be one of the ones fined and perhaps imprisoned. That's what has happened in Canada to those who dare to say God can deliver you from sins such as homosexuality, or who dare to boldly proclaim the more "offensive" parts of Scripture such as John 3:36 which says, "The one who believes on the Son has everlasting life, but he who does not believe the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."


These freedoms aren't being stripped from us as no consequence of our own. No, we can take full responsibility for these things. We let our freedom slip through our fingers, and we're getting very close to the edge of an ice-covered slope on which there is no way to turn around.

How did we let this happen? And how did we cause this to happen?

Let's think about this as we ponder the parallel.

When you come to Jesus and renounce sin and the ways of the world, you are born again by the Spirit of God, just as America was born when the colonists renounced the tyrany of Great Brittain and committed to a path of justice and freedom.

But we have not, as a nation, taken up the full armor of God, and as a result, we have fallen to the deceitful tricks of the enemy.

As Ephesians 6:11 says, "Put on the whole armor of God, so you may be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil." (KMV)

We collectively have moved away from righteousness, from right standing with God, and from the Holy Scriptures as the foundation of our lives. And as a result, we have been deceived by smooth-talking tyrants whose true aim has been to grow the government, causing it to resemble more and more that from which we fought so hard and shed so much blood to be free.

Don't you know that those who sin are slaves to sin? When Jesus saved you, he placed within you a new man, a new nature, and gave you the power to overcome sin. And he gave you his Spirit and his Word so you could grow in that freedom from sin, from faith to faith, from glory to glory.

Some of us were still-born -- in reality, not born at all -- because we never renounced sin. We never really repented. We thought we could say a sinner's prayer or just "accept" Jesus, or ask him to "come in," without rejecting that which nailed him to the cross.

You see, Jesus took our sins upon himself on the cross. He became sin for us, he who knew no sin. And he made an exchange with us: our sin for his righteousness. If you don't repent, if you don't turn from sin, if you think, "Well, I'll just hold on to this one, because God doesn't really care, it's forgiven, it's under the blood," then how can you expect that sin to be replaced with righteousness? How can you appear holy and acceptible in God's eyes if you choose sin?

Hebrews chapter 10, verses 26 and 27 says this:

26 For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins,  
27 But a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and the furious, fiery punishment which will consume the enemies.

Of course we don't hear that very often. It's too frightening. And it should be. It's the fear of the Lord that causes us to depart from sin. Otherwise, we're not free. We're in bondage, just like the world, except more wretched than they, because we have been set free and put on the path of life, only to turn back again to those things for which Jesus died.

As Proverbs 26:11 says, "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool returns to his folly."

I don't know about you, but I've done that very thing. The thing to remember is that, if the Holy Spirit is convicting you of sin, then it's not too late. And the important thing is that you repent; turn from that thing, and turn to Jesus, asking for more power to walk on the path of life and freedom.


"Well, it's not that easy, you just don't understand!" It might not be just a matter of your own will. If we open the door even just a crack to the enemy, he'll stick his foot in, and forces of darkness can hold in bondange that which you have surrendered to their will, even if you later change your mind.

Ephesians 6:12 says this:

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.

This is true both for things which have a stronghold in your life, and in that which rules over us in a nation.

Take for example the amazing changes being made in America today. We're rushing toward hate crimes which would outlaw the preaching of the whole Word of God and the true Gospel. We're spending more money than we'll be able to pay in several generations, while taking a sledge hammer to the capitolistic system which would enable us to rise out of our recession and pay toward our existing debt. Our government leaders, while having pledged to uphold and defend the Constitution, are grabbing powers which it does not allow, or which are in direct opposition to it.

But as our new president sits on his seat of power, and as words come out of his mouth which compromise our security, degrade the Holy Scriptures, and praise the demon-inspired Qur'an, as he pushes hard for radical actions which weaken our economy and shackel us with increasingly heavy chains of debt and regulation, and as he is not questioned by the media, but only praised from every government-approved side, we must remember that these things ultimately do not originate with him.

When someone rules in righteousness, it is not them, but the Spirit, the Word, and the nature of God ruling through them.

And when someone does what we see happening today, we must remember that ultimately it is spiritual forces of darkness pronouncing the doom of America. The powers and principalities of hell have been working long and hard to destroy this nation, because they hate its foundations, and they despise the good those foundations have allowed us to do in the world.

You see, we are every one of us controlled by someone. Either God and his Spirit and his Word, or satan and his demons and the spirit of the world and the spirit of this age.

We could visualize the White House as a center of spiritual warfare. From the way things appear, satan has been allowed to take over more and more of it, until he is very obviously sitting in that seat of power, speaking through the mouth and signing through the hands of anyone whose foundation is not the Solid Rock of Christ Jesus.

Our freedom is not being taken away by a man, or by his administration, or by anyone else in power, but by principalities and powers, and rulers of darkness in high places.

And you and I are not above such control. At least, not unless we have turned from sin and the ways of the world, we're abiding in the Vine, and we are wearing the whole armor of God.


The title of today's message is "The Armor of God, Part 5: Salvation."

Last week we took a closer look at the pattern of the Ephesians passage concerning the armor of God: Jesus the first, last, and therefore the center, as Truth and the Word of God, and Righteousness and Faith overlapping The Gospel and Salvation as two pairs that work intimately together.

Two weeks ago we talked about today's companion, The Gospel, and saw that it is our feet that are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, walking it out in our lives and taking it everywhere we go.

And because someone else's feet were shod with the preparation of The Gospel, we were able to come to a knowledge of the truth, and receive Salvation.

Romans 1:16 says this:

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

So today's part of the armor, Salvation, cannot come except by the power of the Gospel, and as we saw two weeks ago, if you have believed a false gospel, it is important for you to learn the truth; for without the true Gospel, there can be no Salvation, for the Gospel is the power for Salvation.

Are you saved today? Have you repented of your sins and received forgiveness for them, letting go of them as they are nailed to the cross, and receiving in exchange the righteousness of Jesus?

If not, if you only said a prayer but nothing changed, if you only "accepted" Jesus as your savior but not as the Lord over your life, if you thought that taking communion, getting baptised, confessing your sins to a man, and doing pennance for your sins could purchase your salvation, if any of these things have been your understanding of the Gospel, then I invite you to open your heart and mind to the true Gospel, accept it today, turn from your life of sin and seek forgiveness from Jesus, the Lord of your life, and today can be your Independence Day -- set free from the power of sin, and made a child of God, truly and totally free!


Salvation. It is part of the armor. Which part? Let's find out.

Ephesians 6:10-17a (KMV) says this:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  
11 Put on the whole armor of God, so you may be able to stand against the deceitful trickery 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 For this reason, put on the whole armor of God, so you 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 you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation...

So Salvation is our helmet. The helmet protects the head. The kind knights of old wore protected the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth as well.

Without the helmet, the enemy has easy access to your mind. He can blind your eyes. He can filter what you hear. He can cause you to not smell danger, but to think it is something good instead, or to perceive the Gospel as the smell of death. He can control your words, as you say things that you may later deeply regret.

If you're not really saved, or you're not walking in that salvation every single day, your head is exposed to the enemy, and you won't be able to stand against his tricks and his deceit.

We in the Church today sometimes think we can wear some of the helmet, or most of it. But a helmet with a sliver down the middle isn't much better than no helmet at all. It's like an egg with only a little bit of shell missing.

"Us men" might console ourselves with the lie that no healthy male can keep from a little bit of lust, and that God understands that it's only natural.

But Jesus said that if we look at someone with lust, we have committed adultery in our hearts.

Have you accepted that lie about lust, or about some other sin? Then your helmet has something missing, and you have opened up a door for demons to take control of parts of your life.

You might not be in the White House destroying the freedom countless men and women have fought and died to purchase, but you have given control of your mind to the enemy, and even great Christian leaders have become involved in horrible scandals, all because of just a little bit of compromise.

Giving control is giving control, no matter how small and harmless you might think it is.

But if you surrender that sin, whatever it is, to Jesus, and agree to walk with him -- not only if you're able to stand, but even when you fall -- then he will walk with you, from faith to faith, from glory to glory, until you are walking in the freedom he has bought for you in this area too.


Philippians 2:12-13 says this:

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  
13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do that in which He delights.

Yes, part of Salvation is living a life of repentance, turning from sin the moment it is revealed to you by the Holy Spirit and through the Scriptures. Yes, we must work out, or do the works of, our salvation with fear and trembling. But it is not us, it is not our own power, and we cannot take any credit for walking in righteousness, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do that in which He delights.

"I just can't stop getting angry and yelling at my wife and kids." You're right, you can't. But if you're walking in the Spirit instead of in the flesh, God will work in you to not only desire to be Christ-like to your family, but he will also give you the power to say and do that which pleases him and reflects his nature to others.

"I just can't control my wandering eye." You're right, you can't. But if you are abiding in the Vine, Christ Jesus, and you have truly turned away from that sin to follow after Christ and to obey his Word, then he will work in you, strengthening you as you feed the spirit and starve the flesh; and some day you will look back on your time of fleshly weakness, and use it as a testimony to give hope to others that they can do all things through Christ who gives them the strength.

"I just can't stop telling lies." You're right, you can't, not if you're living in the flesh and in your own strength. But have you truly repented? Have you gotten before God and cried out to him, renouncing lies and deception, and embracing only truth? And are you filling your mind with the things of God's Word instead of the things of the world? Then God will work in you to will and to do that in which he delights, and only truth will begin to come from your lips, for you have surrendered your spirit of deceit to the Author of Truth.


So, part of the Helmet of Salvation is mirrored in the Shoes of the Gospel, walking in a way that is worthy of such an incredible and priceless gift, turning from all ungodliness and walking by faith and in the Spirit of God.

Another way we in the Church sometimes compromise our helmet is in being ashamed of it. Sure, we might willingly admit we're a Christian, but do we hide the part of Salvation which is exclusive, and therefore might offend?

"Well, I personally follow Jesus, but who am I to say that if you are a sincere Budhist, you are going to hell? After all, God looks at your heart, and sees you are sincere. He won't send you to hell for following what you believe."

Watch out, you've just taken your helmet completely off. Your head is exposed. In fact, you have cut off the belt of truth, and dropped the sword of the Word of God. For if you deny, by your political correctness, that Jesus' words are true when he said, "No one comes to the Father except through me," and if you deny, by your claim that there are other paths, the Word of God which says those who do not believe upon Jesus will not see God, but God's wrath abides on them, then you are denying a vital part of the Gospel, and you are not wearing the helmet of Salvation.

Part of the Gospel message is that we are separated from God by sin, and we are completely without hope and headed for eternal punishment in hell, and that only Jesus' sacrifice for our sins on the cross can make us right with God again.

If we deny that, even just by omitting it and accepting people's chosen paths as valid roads to God, then we are denying the whole reason for Jesus' blood, and are presenting a false gospel.

Get a backbone. Take off your silly hat full of feathers, twirly propellers, and lettering which says "God bless the whole world, no exceptions" or "Coexist", and instead learn the true Gospel of Christ, accept it, turn from your sins and from the world and all its false religions and ways of life, totally rejecting every single one, and turn to Jesus, repent of your sins, and put on the helmet of true Salvation, so you can stand against all those dirty, deceitful tricks of the devil.

It's your only hope.


So the Helmet of Salvation includes repentance, and a knowledge of the full Gospel of Christ which we embrace and walk in daily.

Another thing I'd like for us to consider about the helmet before we close is this: The helmet is not something we can forge in the fires of our own efforts, but it is formed and fashioned by God.

We can read this in Ephesians chapter 2, verses 4-10:

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  
5 Even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ (you are saved by grace),  
6 And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus;  
7 That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  
8 For you are saved by grace through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  
9 Not of works, lest anyone should boast.  
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

Yes, we are created in Christ for good works, and God has ordained before hand that we should walk in them. Yes, we cannot accept Salvation while holding on to our sin, refusing the purpose of Salvation, which is to free us from the power of sin and to set us on the path of righteousness.

But don't think for a moment that you have earned Salvation by being a good person, or living a good life and abstaining from sin. If you're depending on your own works to save you, you're wearing a helment made out of newspaper clippings full of headlines bearing your name, and articles boasting about your good deeds.

And your paper helmet isn't a pretty sight, for our own righteousness is as filthy rags in God's eyes.

Yes, pursue righteousness and good deeds with everything that is in you, but realize that these aren't some badge of honor, but are only what is required of and fitting for someone saved by grace.

In Luke 17:7-10 (KMV), we read this:

7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say to him later, when he has come in from the field, "Go and sit down to eat?"  
8 And will not rather say to him, "Prepare something for me to eat, and gird yourself, and serve me while I eat and drink; and then you may eat and drink?"  
9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things he was commanded to do? I think not.  
10 In the same way, when you have done all those things which you are commanded to do, say, "We are unprofitable servants; we have only performed our duty."


Now, I realize that this passage might raise some eyebrows. Even if we are working for someone, we expect a "Thank you," and a pat on the back. And certainly these are good things to give. But many of us expect perks, bonuses, and to be allowed to do as little work as possible.

But let's ask the Holy Spirit to wipe our self-seeking mindset out of the way, instead shaping within us the mind of Christ, the heart of a servant, with the humility of a lowly slave.

It is pride that makes us feel all super spiritual when we overcome sin and do things that please God. But humility will say, "I am unworthy, for I have only performed my duty. I have only done that which is expected of someone who is saved by grace."


And if you walk in these things, if you embrace and hold high the true Gospel, repenting of your sins, accepting Jesus as the Lord of your life and the only hope for anyone to be forgiven and escape eternal punishment in hell, living a life that is fitting someone saved by grace, and not depending on your own good deeds but in the goodness, mercy, and grace of God, then your helmet will be in place and strong, covering and protecting your mind, your eyes, your ears, your nose, and your mouth, so you will be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil.

Are you wearing the Belt of Truth?
Are you wearing the Breastplate of Righteousness?
Are you wearing the Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace?
Are you holding the Shield of Faith?
And are you wearing the Helmet of Salvation?

The ministry team can come to the front now.

And as they come, I'd like to give you an invitation. If the Lord is revealing to you that you might not be in as good a spiritual condition as you thought, or as you should be, then you're invited to get out of your seat and come to the front.

And as you come, realize that your action is not for me to see, or anyone else here today, but it is for the eyes of God, and you are saying by your coming forward that you turn away from sin, and you choose to answer the call to take up the whole armor of God daily, and to walk in his ways.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, you can instant message someone on the ministry team. For those listening outside of Second Life, you can go to almcyberchurch.org and click either the Prayer Room on the right or the Pastors' Offices on the left and get in touch with us there.

If you need to go, you're free to do so, and we hope you have a blessed week and come back to worship God with us again next Sunday.

If you can stay until after this time at the altar, you're invited to gather in the room to your left for a time of fellowship.

This altar is open, and you're all invited to come gather at the front for a time of prayer and worship, as we seek the One who shed his blood to purchase our Salvation.