Armor of God Parts 4 & 5, Faith & Salvation

We apologize that the audio recording for these two dates failed. for various reasons. In the absence of audio files, Pastor David has provided his preaching text for you to study.

Faith (Shield) 1 John 5:1-5


1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

 

Faith is more than simple belief.  James tells us that even the demons believe and tremble before God.  The kind of belief that results in faith that overcomes; the kind that becomes a shield from enemy attack is of a different grade.  Our text this morning spells it out for us; what our belief is supposed to be in, what it does to us, and what it leads us to.  So, this morning, we look at three things concerning the shield of faith we are to take up as part of our daily armor.  1. What is the object of our faith? 2. What does this faith effect in the life of the carrier? 3. Where does this faith bring us? 

The first line states that Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.  It does not say “Everyone that believes that Jesus is God”.  It does not say, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the King of kings.”  It does not say, “Everyone who believe that Jesus can save you.”  No, but “everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ.”  You all know that Christ was not Jesus’ last name, right?  Christ was his title, His defining characteristic.  Christ is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew word, Messiah.  This word was packed with meaning, but its essence was simple.  The chosen one of God.  The implication that there were not two who could do what Jesus did.  There were not two ways to the Father.  There were not two who could rescue us from sin and death.  So, everyone who believes that Jesus is their only hope is born of God.  This is the most significant ingredient to faith that is missing from so many hearts even in the Church.  We believe that Jesus can save.  We believe that Jesus is God.  We believe that we love Jesus.  But until we believe that Jesus is the only one who can save, then we don’t truly believe that Jesus is the only God and He is not focus of our love.  The issue here is one of trust.  What are you putting your hope in?  Sadly, we have more trust in financial security, good health, and our standing in the community than we do in Jesus the Christ.  Until you have that singular trust in the Messiahship of Jesus; that He is your only hope; then you will not move on to that higher grade of faith that John is speaking of.  This is why we ask God to search our hearts and see if there be any waywardness in us.  We don’t rest is the fact that we said a special phrase when we were ten or that we got baptized.  We don’t rest in our works of righteousness or in the fact that we have all the right doctrines in order.  We don’t rest until we find our rest in Jesus alone.  He is our peace.  He is our hope.  He is our life.

And what does this kind of faith effect in the life of a true believer?  When the object of our faith is Jesus, the object of our affection changes.  We love what we stare at.  We love what we stare at.  Say that with me, “We love what we stare at.”  When you truly believe that Jesus is your only hope then you don’t take your eyes off of Him.  When you truly believe in Him, a love for Him blossoms in your heart and you cannot help but love Him more and more and more.  That love then overflows toward those that He also loves.  You fall in love with those who are born of God.  And when the one you love with all your heart commands you to do something, you obey.  You become a lover of others and obedient to the Lordship of Jesus the Messiah.

Finally, where does this faith take us?  The text tells us that it overcomes the World. We must be careful to understand that this does not mean that we go about subjecting the world to our authority.  When John speaks of the World, he does not mean the flowers and the trees or even the other people who live on this planet.  He is talking about the world system; a system of belief that we don’t need God; that we can have the knowledge of Good and Evil and be like God ourselves.  When we finally have no trust in any other One but Jesus, we overcome the world system in us.  Overcoming the World is first an internal fight, not external.  First and foremost, our faith and trust in the Messiahship of Jesus overcomes the World System in us.  He becomes Savior and Lord/Master over us and we are set free.

So, to recap, we don’t just believe in Jesus as a possible Savior, we put our hope and trust in Jesus alone.  Wen we hope in Jesus alone, we keep Him as the focus of our hearts and what we stare at, we love.  When we become so singularly attached to Jesus as Messiah, it breaks the hold that this world system has on us.  This is why Paul can say that the shield of faith overcomes the fiery darts of the wicked one.  It extinguishes the flames that would seek to devour us and separate us from our only hope.

BENEDICTION – There are so many choices in the world for you.  The spiritual billboards on the highway of life are relentless and they are constantly offering empty promises of salvation.  Your only hope is who? JESUS.  That’s right, hang on to Jesus alone.  Go in peace.

Salvation (Helmet) 1 Thess. 5:8

1 Thessalonians 5:8

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

Humans know things.  We know a lot of things.  Because we ate the fruit from the tree in the garden, we know the difference between good and evil.  This knowledge has not saved us and it cannot save us.  Knowing right from wrong is fine, but when one is powerless to do that which is right, we need to know something better. 

In Christ Jesus, we are imparted a knowledge that is all-together different.  The knowledge that Jesus Christ has become our salvation (and this is why Paul speaks of the helmet of salvation being placed on our heads) is a knowledge that carries so much more meaning than just accumulated understanding.  This knowledge effects great change in us.  Jesus said that we should “Know the truth and that the truth would set us free.”  The Scriptures declare “Be still and know that I am God.”  This knowledge, in Scripture, is not born of mental acuity and overcoming ignorance.  It’s not about gathering facts.  This knowledge is born of experiential relationship that transcends understanding.  You can be ignorant of many things and still know Jesus.  This is why you need to put this helmet of salvation on your head.  You can’t carry it around in your head like some math equation.  It is a knowledge from God.

The Hebrew word is yada.  Not intellectual information, but the receiving and experiencing of reality.  Not possession of information, but interacting with it.  Micah 6:5 implies that knowing God is not to have gathered facts about Him, but to enter into His saving acts.  It is not about struggling philosophically, but to recognize and accept His claims.  Not mystical contemplation, but dutiful obedience.  Jer.22:15-16, Josiah, is says, knew God by doing what was righteous.  So the opposite of knowledge is not ignorance, but rebellion.

In like manner, when the Scriptures speak of God knowing you, it is not simply that He is aware of you, HE is intimately experienced with every fiber of your being (Psalm 139:1-6)

The New Testament Greek words are oida and ginosko.  It’s used in John 1:8 to tell us that it is Jesus who makes God known.  Or it is Jesus who brings us into the experience of God.  Galatioans 4:8-9 tells us that it is not the work of man, but a divine initiative as Paul states, “You have come to know God, or rather, God has known you.”  He restates this in 1 Timothy 6:20 when he says that it is not a result of profane reasoning, or irreverent babble that claims to be knowledge, but the deposit of God is what Timothy is supposed to guard.

To wear the helmet of Salvation is to steep your mind, your whole being, in Christ’s fullness.  Not to “understand” Christ, for to understand something is to put it under your dominance to have it under the place where you stand.  Instead, we seek to standunder Christ.  Say that with me. It is not for us to understand Christ, but to standunder Him. 

It is in this sate of being that we will have that rue knowledge of salvation that does not rely on understanding, but is all our ways, acknowledges Him.  To put it plainly, to know the salvation of God is not about knowing all of these facts and figures about who Christ is, it is to humble yourself in obedience to Him.  Have the mind of Christ, not your own.

Amen.