3167. The Christian’s Helmet

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No. 3167-55:505. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, In The Year 1866, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, October 21, 1909.

And for a helmet the hope of salvation. {1Th 5:8}

1. I. The very mention of a helmet may well seem to REMIND EVERY CHRISTIAN HERE THAT HE IS A SOLDIER.

2. If you were not soldiers, you would not need armour; but being soldiers, you need to be clad from head to foot in armour of proof. I suppose every Christian here knows, as a matter of theory, that he is a Christian soldier, and that he has been enlisted under the banner of the cross, to fight against the powers of darkness until he wins the victory. But we all need to have our memories refreshed on this matter, for soldiering, in time of war at any rate, is not a very pleasant occupation, and the flesh constantly attempts to give it up. That “we have no enduring city here,” is a truth which we all know, and yet most us try to make the earth as comfortable for ourselves as if it were to be our permanent residence. We are all soldiers—we know that; but still, too many Christians act as if they could be the friends of the world and the friends of God at the same time. Now, Christian, remember once and for all that you are a soldier. Did you dream, young man, that as soon as you were baptized, and added to the church, the conflict was all over? Ah, it was then only just beginning. Like Caesar, you then crossed the Rubicon, {a} and declared war against your deadly enemy. You drew your sword then; you did not sheath it. Your proper note on joining the church is not one of congratulation, as though the victory were won, but one of preparation; for now the trumpet sounds, and the fight begins. You are a soldier at all times, Christian. You ought to sit even at your table as a soldier sits, and you should go out especially into the world as a soldier goes out. Never take off your armour, for if you do, in some unguarded moment you may experience serious wounds. But keep your armour always on you, and be watchful, for you are always in the midst of enemies wherever you may be; and even when the people who surround you are your friends, there are still evil spirits unseen by men who watch for your halting; and you must not sheath your sword, for you are to wrestle against principalities, and powers and spiritual wickednesses in high places, against whom you must always be on the watch. You are a soldier, man; remember that.

3. Nor are you a soldier in barracks, or at home, but you are a soldier in an enemy’s country. Your place is either in the trenches or else in the thick of the battle. You who are sick are like soldiers in the trenches. You are patiently hoping and quietly waiting, as it were, on the ramparts, looking for the time to come. But others of you, out in business, and engaged in the concerns of life, are like soldiers marching in long file to the conflict, like the horsemen dashing on to the front of the battle. More or less, according to your circumstances, you are all exposed to the foe, and that at every period of life.

4. Where are you, let me ask, but in the country of an enemy who never gives any quarter? If you fall, it is death. The world never forgives the Christian; it hates him with a perfect hatred, and it longs to do him no good. Only let the world see you commit half a trip, and they will soon report and magnify it. What might be done by other men without observation, if it were done by a Christian, would be noticed, reported, and misrepresented. The world understands that you are its natural antagonist. Satan perceives in you a representative of his old enemy the Lord Jesus, and you may rest assured that he will never give you quarter if once he gets an opportunity to destroy you. Beware of the enemy, beware of the enemy, for he is one of a malicious spirit.

5. You have to fight with one, too, who never yet made a truce. You may come to terms and parley, but the powers of evil never do. You may hang out the white flag if you like. The foe may seem for a time as though he gave you credit, but never give your foe any credit. He hates you when he seems to love you best. “Dread the Greeks, even when they bring you gifts,” said the tradition of old; and let the Christian dread the world most when it puts on its softest speeches. Stand, then, on your guard, you warriors of the cross, when you fear the least, the cringing foe will come behind you, and stab you, under the pretence of friendship. Your Master was betrayed with a kiss, and so will you be, unless you prayerfully watch.

6. You have to deal with an enemy who never can make any peace with you, nor can you ever make any peace with him. If you become at peace with sin, sin has conquered you; and it is impossible, unless you give up the fight, and yield your neck to the everlasting thraldom, that there should ever be peace for so much as a moment. Oh, Christian, see how guarded you ought to be. How necessary to be clothed with your armour! How necessary to have it of the right kind, to keep it bright, and to wear it constantly! You are a soldier, a soldier in battle, a soldier in the foe’s country, a soldier with a cruel and malicious enemy, who knows neither truce nor parley, and who gives no quarter, but will fight with you until you die. Heaven is the land where your sword should be sheathed; there you shall hang the banner high, but here we wrestle with the foe, and must do so until we cross the torrent of death. Right up to the river’s edge must the conflict be waged. Foot by foot, and inch by inch, must all the land to Canaan’s happy shore be won. Not a step can be taken without conflict and strife; but once there, you may lay aside your helmet, and put on your crown, put away your sword, and take your palm branch; your fingers shall no longer need to learn to war, but your hearts shall learn the music of the happy singers in the skies. This, then, is the first thought—that you are a soldier.

7. II. But the second thought is—BEING A SOLDIER, LOOK AFTER YOUR HEAD.

8. Soldiers, look after your heads. A wound in the head is a serious matter. The head being a vital part, we need to be well protected there. The heart needs to be guarded with the breast-plate, but the head needs to be protected quite as much; for even if a man should be true-hearted, yet if a shot should go through his brain, he would not be worth much as a soldier; his body would strew the plain. The head must be taken care of. There are a great many Christian people who never have any trouble with their heads at all. There are certain religionists who get their hearts warmed, and then they think that that is enough. Now, give me above everything else a good warm heart; but, oh, to have that warm heart coupled with a head that is well taken care of. Do you know that a hot head and a hot heart together do a great deal of mischief, but with a hot heart and a cool brain you may do a world of service to the Master. Have right doctrine in the head, and then set the soul on fire, and you will soon win the world. There is no standing in that man’s way whose head and heart are both right, but to neglect the head has been a serious mischief with many Christians. They have been almost powerless for usefulness because they have not taken care of their brains. They have gotten to heaven, but they have not gotten many victories on the road, because their brains have been out of order. They have never been able to clearly understand the doctrines; they have not been able to give a reason for the hope that is in them. They have not, in fact, looked after the helmet very well which was to cover their heads.

9. The text refers us to our head because it speaks of a helmet, and a helmet is of no use to any part except the head. Among other reasons why we should preserve the head in the day of battle, let us give these. The head is particularly liable to the temptations of Satan, of self, and of fame. It is not easy, you know, to stand on a high pinnacle without the brain beginning to reel; and if God takes a man, and puts him on a high pinnacle of usefulness, he needs to have his head taken care of. If a brother is very wealthy, there is a great danger in that wealth, unless there is a wealth of grace as well as a wealth of gold. If a man is well reported of, his sphere may not be very large, but if everyone praises him, he also will need to have his head well protected, for the little praise, even though it should come from fools, would be too much for a fool. The refining pot for silver, and praise for the man. If a man can stand commendation, he can stand anything. The severest trial which a Christian has to bear is, probably, the trial which comes from his kind but inconsiderate friends, who would puff him up if they could by telling him what a fine fellow he is. If your friends will not do this, you will probably have a friend within who will do it for you; and if you should forget it, the devil will not. “What a capital sermon you gave us this morning, Mr. Bunyan,” said a friend, where John had been preaching. “You are too late,” said Bunyan, “the devil told me that before I came out of the pulpit.” Yes, and he will be sure to do it; and hence the need of having a helmet to put on the head; so that when you are successful, when you are getting on in life, when friends are speaking well of you, you may not get intoxicated with it. Oh, to have a good, cool helmet to put on your brain when it begins to get a little hot with praise, so that you may still stand firm, and not be borne down by vanity. Oh Vanity, Vanity, Vanity, how many have you slain! How many who then seemed on the very brink of greatness have stumbled over this stumbling-stone! Men who seemed as though they would enter heaven, but a little bit of honour, some glittering bribe, a golden blessing, has turned them aside, and they fell. Take care of your heads, brethren.

10. And is not the head liable to attacks from scepticism? People who have no brains are not often troubled with doubts, but people who have brains have probably felt that, whether they resolved to use them or not, the brains would use themselves. It is very good of our good fathers to tell us not to read dangerous books, very good of them indeed; but we do read them, for all that; and though we tell the young folks sometimes not to read this and that heretical treatise, and we wish they would take our advice, yet somehow or other they do get hold of such things, and will ponder them. Brethren, I do believe that, in such times as these, when everything is so free, and when discussion is so common, we must expect that our young fellows will look at a great many things which they had better leave alone, and their heads will be endangered by it, for the bullets of scepticism threaten to go right through their brains. Well, what then? Since we cannot take Christians out of the way of the bullets, we should give them a helmet to preserve them from them. He who has a hope of salvation—a good hope that he himself is saved, a hope that he shall see the face of Christ with joy at last—is not afraid of all the quibbles of scepticism. He may hear them all, and for a moment be staggered by them, just as a soldier might be who had a sudden shock or even a wound, but after a while he recovers himself, and feels sound enough to enter into the conflict again. And the Christian can say—

   Let all the forms that men devise

      Assail my faith with treacherous art;

   I’d call them vanity and lies,

      And bind the gospel to my heart.

It has been very well observed that a man is not often a very thorough democrat after he gets a little money in the savings bank. Well, I think it is very likely that when a man gets a little stake in his country, he begins to be, just to the merest extent, conservative. As soon as a man ever gets a stake in Christianity, and feels that he has salvation in Jesus Christ, he gets to be very, very conservative for the old-fashioned truth. He cannot give up the Bible then, because it is a broad land of wealth to him. He cannot give up Christ, for he is his Saviour, his salvation. He cannot give up a single promise, because that promise is so dear to his own soul. The helmet of salvation, then, will preserve the head in times of scepticism.

11. The head, again, is very greatly in danger from the attacks of personal unbelief. Who among us has not doubted his own interest in Christ? Happy are you who are free from such trouble. But there are times with some of us when we examine our title-deeds, and we are sometimes afraid lest they should not be genuine. There are times when, if we could, we would give a world to know that we are Christ’s, for at times we cannot

      Read our title clear

   To mansions in the skies.

Well, beloved, this is very dangerous for our heads, but the man who has the helmet of a right, sound, God-given hope of salvation, who has received from God the Holy Spirit a helmet which I am going to describe eventually, when these doubts and fears come, they may distress him for a little while, but he knows the smell of gunpowder, and he is not afraid. In the midst of all Satan’s accusations, or the uprising of his old corruptions, or the threatenings of the flesh and of the world, he stands calm and unmoved, because he wears as a helmet the hope of salvation.

12. Nor are these all the dangers to which the head is exposed. Some people are attacked by threatenings from the world. The world brings down its double-handled sword with a tremendous blow on the heads of many Christians. “You will suffer the loss of all things for Christ if you are such a fanatic as to do as you do. You will be poor, your children will lack bread, your wife will be worse than a widow, if you are such a fool.” “Ah,” says the Christian, “but I have a hope of salvation,” and the blow, when it comes, does not go through his head, but just falls on the helmet, and the world’s sword gets blunted. “I can afford to be poor,” said Dr. Gill, when one of his subscribers threatened to give up his seat, and would not attend, if the doctor preached such and such a doctrine. So says the Christian, “I can afford to be poor; I can afford to be despised; I have in heaven better and more enduring possessions.” So, by the use of this blessed helmet he is not destroyed by the threatenings of the world.

13. We want our young people to wear this helmet, too, because of the errors of the times. The errors of the times are many. We have to deal, not merely with scepticism, but with superstition. They are tempted on the one side; they are tempted on the other. This and that you will have extolled. “Lo here,” and “Lo there”; and there will be many misled who are not the people of God. “If it were possible, they would deceive the very elect”; but the elect are not deceived, because their heads are not vulnerable to these errors, for they wear the hope of salvation, and they are not afraid of all the “ites” or the “isms” in the world. The man knows he is saved. Once get to know Christ personally for yourselves, and that he loved you, and gave himself for you, and then rejoice that you are forgiven and justified through him, the world will think you are stupid and obstinate; but you will stand firm, and be able to resist all its sarcasm and its ridicule. He who has made a refuge in Jesus Christ may stand safe, whatever errors may invade the land.

14. They tell us that the Church of God is in great danger, and that Popery will overrun the land altogether. I believe it will, but that it will overrun the Church of God—no; I know far better than that. The Church of God never can be in danger. Every man in whom the life of God is, would be as ready to die tomorrow for the truth as our forefathers were in the Marian days. {b} Rest assured there would be found men to stand at the burning stake still if the times required them, and our prisons would not long be without heavenly-minded tenants if the truth needed to be defended by suffering, even to death. There is danger, great danger; there never was such danger in modern times of Popery overrunning the land as there is now. But there is no danger for the man who has his helmet on. No, let the arrows fly thick as hail, and let the foes have all political power, and all the prestige of antiquity that they may; a little phalanx of true-hearted Christians will still stand out at the thick of the onslaught, and cut their way to glory and to victory through whole hosts, because their heads are guarded with the heavenly helmet of the hope of salvation. Soldiers, then, take care of your heads. I will say no more on that point.

15. III. God has provided a covering for your heads, let us therefore now CONSIDER THE HELMET WITH WHICH HE WOULD HAVE YOUR HEADS PROTECTED.

16. “The hope of salvation”! This is not the hope I spoke about this morning, for that was the hope that salvation was possible. This helmet is made up of an actual hope that, being already saved in Christ Jesus, you should endure to eternal life. It is a personal hope, founded on personal conviction, and is created in us by the Holy Spirit.

17. To begin, then, describing this helmet, Who is its giver? You ask our friend the soldier where he gets his regimentals from, and he answers that he gets them from the government arsenal. He gets his regimentals from Her Majesty, and that is the place where we must get our helmets from. If any of you construct helmets of hope for yourselves, they will be of no use to you in the day of battle. The true helmet of hope must come from the heavenly arsenal. You must go to the divine storehouse, for to God belongs salvation, and the hope of salvation must be given to you by his free grace. A hope of salvation is not purchasable. Our great King does not sell his armour, but gives it freely to all who enlist. They take the shilling, and accept faith. They trust Christ, and they are enlisted, and then the armour is given to them gratis. From head to foot they are arrayed by grace.

18. Do you ask, who is the maker of his helmet? Weapons are valued often according to the maker. A known maker gets his own price for his articles. Armourers of old took much trouble with the ancient helmets, because a man’s life might depend on that very useful means of defence. So we have here the name of God the Holy Spirit on this helmet. A hope of salvation is the work of God the Holy Spirit in our soul. It is the Spirit, who brings us to Jesus, shows us our need of him, and gives us faith in him; and it is that same Spirit who enables us to hope that we shall endure to the end, and enter into eternal life. Do not be satisfied with a hope which is natural, but have a hope that is supernatural. Do not rest satisfied with what is made in the workshop of nature; do not go to those who buy and sell for themselves, but go to the blessed Spirit, who gives freely, and does not upbraid.

19. Or would you enquire, further, of what metal this helmet is made? That it is made of hope, we are told; but it is of the utmost importance that it is a good hope. Beware of getting a base hope, a helmet made of paltry metal. There were some helmets they used to wear in the olden times which looked very well, but they were of no more use than brown-paper hats; and when a soldier got into the fight with one of these on, the sword went through his skull. Get a good helmet, one made of the right metal. This is what a Christian’s hope is made of—he believes that Christ came into the world to save sinners; he trusts Christ to save him; and he hopes that when Christ comes he shall reign with him—that when the trumpet sounds he shall rise with Christ—and that in heaven he shall have a secure dwelling-place at the right hand of the Father. This hope is made up of proper and fitting deductions from certain truthful statements. That Christ died for sinners is true; that he died to save all who trust in him is true; that I trust him is true; therefore, that I am saved is true; and, being saved, that I shall inherit all his promises is a matter of course. Some people have a hope, but they do not know where they get it from, nor do they know a reason for it. When some people die, you hear it said, “I hope, I hope he is gone to heaven.” Well, I wish he may have gone; but I dare not say of some that I hope so, because hope must have a reason. An anchor is of no use without its fluke. It must be able to hold firm. It must have—at any rate, the modern anchor—some weight to it with which it can hold to the bottom. Hope must have its fluke, too; it must have its reason, it must have its weight. If I say I hope such and such, I am foolish for hoping it, if I do not have a reason for hoping. If you were to say you hoped the person sitting next to you would give you a thousand pounds, it would be a most absurd hope. You may wish it if you like, but what reason do you have for the hope? But if someone owes you a thousand pounds, and you have his acknowledgement of the debt, you may then very well say that you hope it will be paid, for you have a legitimate right to expect it. Such is the Christian’s hope. God has promised to save those who believe. Lord, I believe you; you have promised to save me, and I hope you will, I know you will. The Christian’s hope is not a fantasy, not a silly desire. It did not spring up in the night, like Jonah’s gourd, and it will not wither in a night. The Christian’s hope is something that will withstand a crack from a club, or a cut from a sharp sword. It is made of good metal. John Bunyan said of a certain sword that it was “a true Jerusalem blade,” and I may call this a true Jerusalem helmet, and he who wears it need not fear.

20. Having shown the metal of which the helmet is made, let me now describe the strength of the helmet. It is so strong, that under all kinds of assaults he who wears it is invulnerable. He may stagger under a blow, but he cannot be hurt by it. Remember what David said. All the troubles in the world pounced on David at once, and began to beat him, and they gave him many terrible blows. They thought they had certainly ruined him; and David was bleeding, and was full of wounds. He himself half thought he would die, and he tells us himself that he would have fainted, only he had a bottle of cordial with him called faith. He says, “I would have fainted if I had not believed.” But just at the time when they thought he would faint and die, suddenly the old hero who killed Goliath made all his enemies flee before him as he cried, “Why are you cast down, oh my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God.” And he slaughtered his enemies right and left all around him, as he should. “I shall yet praise him who is the health of my countenance and my God.” “Hope in God,” Christian. Oh that blessed word HOPE! You know what the New Zealanders call hope; they call it in their language “the swimming thought,” because it always swims. You cannot drown it, it always keeps its head above the wave. When you think you have drowned the Christian’s hope, up it comes all dripping from the brine, and cries again, “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him!” Hope is the nightingale that sings in the night; faith is the lark that mounts up towards heaven, but hope is the nightingale that cheers the valley in the darkness. Oh, Christian, be thankful that you have so strong a helmet as this, which can withstand all assaults, and can keep you unwounded in the midst of the fray!

21. This hope of salvation is a helmet which will not come off. It is of main importance, you know, to have a helmet that will not be knocked off the first thing in the fight. That is why our policemen are dressed differently from what they used to be, because their hats used to get knocked off the very first thing. So it will be with some people’s helmets, if they have a commonplace hope; but the Christian wears a helmet that he cannot get off in any way. There was once a good soldier of Jesus Christ; this soldier happened to be a woman, however, and some women are the best soldiers Christ ever had: they are his true Amazons. {c} This good woman had been much attacked by a sceptical person; and when she was very much confounded with some of his knotty questions, she turned around and said to him, “I cannot answer you, sir, but neither can you answer me, for I have something within me that you cannot understand, which makes me feel that I could not give up what I know of Christ for all the world.” You see, he could not get her helmet off, and the devil himself cannot drag the Christian’s helmet off when he has once gotten it properly buckled on. The world can neither give nor take away the hope of a Christian. It comes from God, and he will never withdraw it, for his gifts and calling can never be withdrawn. Once let this helmet be put on, and he will never remove it, but we shall hope on and hope always, until we shall see his face at the last.

22. I should like to go around among this regiment, as the commanding officers sometimes do, to have a look at you. This helmet is an old-fashioned kind of armour; and in olden days, the lieutenants and other officials, when they went around the regiment, used to look, not only to see that the men had their helmets, but to see that they had oiled them; for in those times they used to oil their helmets to make them shine, and to keep the various joints, and buckles, and so on, in good order. No rust was ever allowed on the helmets, and it is said that when the soldiers marched out, with their bronze helmets and their white plumes, they shone most brilliantly in the sun. David speaks, you know, of “anointing the shield.” He was speaking of a bronze shield which had to be anointed with oil. Now, when God anoints his people’s hope, when he gives them the oil of joy, their hope begins to shine bright in the light of the Saviour’s countenance, and what a fine array of soldiers they are then! Satan trembles at the gleaming of their swords; he cannot endure to look at their helmets. But some of you do not keep your hope clear; you do not keep it bright; it gets rusty out of use, and then before long it gets to sit uncomfortably on you, and you get weary with the battle. Oh Holy Spirit, anoint our heads with fresh oil, and let your saints go out tonight terrible as an army with banners.

23. Do not let it be overlooked that the helmet was generally considered to be a place of honour. The man put his plume in his helmet, he wore his crest frequently there, and in the thick of the fight the captain’s plume was seen in the midst of the smoke and dust of battle, and the men pressed to the place where they saw it. Now, the Christian’s hope is his honour and his glory. I must not be ashamed of my hope; I must wear it for beauty and for dignity, and he who has a very good hope will be a leader to others. Others will see it, and will fight with renewed courage; and where he hews down a lane of the foes, they will follow him, even as he follows his Lord and Master, who has overcome, and sits down on his Father’s throne. I hope there are many Christians here who keep their helmets bright, and that there are many more who desire to have such helmets to protect themselves and to grace their profession.

24. IV. Yet THERE ARE SOME HERE WHO HAVE NO HELMETS. The reason is obvious. They are not Christ’s soldiers.

25. Of course the Lord Jesus does not provide anyone with armour but those in his own service. But Satan knows how to give you a helmet, too. His helmets are very potent ones. Though the sword of the Spirit can go right through them, nothing else can. He can give, and has given some of you, a headpiece that covers your entire skull—a thick headpiece of indifference; so that no matter what is preached, you do not care. “What do I care?” you say, and that is your helmet.

26. Then he puts a piece in the front of the helmet called a brazen forehead and a brow of brass. “What do I care?” That is your cry. Then he takes care to fit the helmet right over your eyes, so that you cannot see; yes, though hell itself is before you, you do not see it. “What do I care?” Then he also knows how to fit the helmet, so that it acts as a gag for your mouth, so that you never pray. You can swear through it, but you cannot pray. Still you keep to your old cry, “What do I care?”

27. Ah, it is not very likely that any sword of mine will get at your head! Arguments will not move you, for that is a question that cannot very well be argued—“What do I care?” It is all very well for you to say that, but oh, I pray God the Holy Spirit to get at your head, notwithstanding that horrible helmet; for if not, God has a way of dealing with such as you are. When you come to die, you will sing another song! When you come to lie there on that bed of sickness, and the grim day of eternity is in view, you will not be able to say quite so gaily as you do now, “What do I care?” And when the trumpet rings through earth and heaven, and your body rises up from your grave, and you see the great Judge on his throne, you will not be able to say then, “What do I care?” Your head will then be bare to the pitiless tempest of divine wrath. Bare-headed, you must be exposed to the everlasting storm that shall descend on you. And when the great angel binds you up with your fellows in bundles to burn, you will feel then that you are not able to say, “What do I care?” for cares will come on you like a wild deluge when you are banished from his presence, and all hope is gone!

28. Oh, I wish you would take off that helmet! May God grant you grace to unbuckle it tonight, never to put it on again! Do care. You are not a fool, my friend, are you? It is only a fool who says, “What do I care?” Surely you care about your soul; surely hell is worth escaping from; surely heaven is worth winning; surely that cross on which our Saviour died is worth thinking of; surely that poor soul of yours is worth caring about! Please think, and not go hastily on. Oh, may Jesus Christ, who died for such as you are, bring you to trust him; and then, unbuckling all that evil armour of “What do I care?” you will bow before his cross, and kiss his hands, and he will put on you the golden helmet of a hope of salvation, and you will rise, one of the king’s own soldiers, to fight his battles, and win an immortal wreath of everlasting victory. May it be so with every one of us!

{a} Rubicon: The ancient name of a small stream on the east coast of northern Italy, forming part of the southern boundary of Cisalpine Gaul; the crossing of it by Caesar marked the beginning of the war with Pompey. To cross or pass the Rubicon, to take a decisive or final step, esp. at the outset of some undertaking or enterprise. OED.
{b} Marian days: The time of Queen Mary’s reign (1553-8). OED
{c} Amazons: A race of female warriors alleged by Herodotus, etc. to exist in Scythia. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {1Th 5:1-28}

1, 2. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write to you. For you know perfectly that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.

It will be a great surprise to the wicked. It will take them unawares. Just at that moment when they least expect it Christ will come; and just as the thief comes to destroy and to kill, so will the coming of Christ be the death of their carnal ease—the destruction of their earthly hopes.

3. For when they shall say, “Peace and safety”; then sudden destruction comes over them, as labour for a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

A terrible text that—“They shall not escape.” They shall not escape by their own power or force or wisdom. They shall not escape even by the annihilation which they might well desire, but which shall not come to them. They shall not escape.

4. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

You know that Christ will come. You expect the dissolution of this present state. To you therefore, it will come as one who calls at daytime. You cannot know the hour. You must not know it; but since you know that he will come, and come to your joy; and since you are in the light, you look with gladness for that coming.

5, 6. You are all the children of light and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do;

If we were children of the night, sleep is a proper occupation for the night; but since we are the children of the day, let us not sleep as others.

6. But let us watch and be sober.

Watchfulness and sobriety are appropriate duties for the day. To be always serving our Lord with constancy, and to keep ourselves from the fascinations of the world which make men’s minds drunk—may these two things be our daily care.

7. For those who sleep sleep in the night; and those who are drunk are drunk in the night.

There are a few who have reached to such a pitch of shameless idleness that they sleep in the day; and there are others who have come to such a state of debauchery that they are drunk in the day. But this is not the common way of things; nor even in the judgment of the most licentious of the world is this at all a proper state of things. “Those who sleep sleep in the night. Those who are drunk are drunk in the night.” Let us who are of the day be sober, and let us of course be awake, but let us be more than awake, since watchfulness is here joined to wakefulness; and watchfulness in a soldier requires that his armour is on. So Paul pushes the parallel a little further.

8. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breast-plate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.

Soldiers when they sleep take off their armour; but in the day when they are awake and on their guard they wear their armour, and are ready for the fray. See how much is involved in Christian wakefulness. May God help us to carry out every virtue to its legitimate conclusion,—not to be wakeful after a fashion, but wakeful after God’s fashion.

9. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

In making us children of light, he gave evidence that our appointment was for the light—that his eternal ordinances were that through the light of gospel grace we should enter into the light of eternal glory eventually. “God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”

10. Who died for us, that, whether we are awake or asleep, we should live together with him.

Those who have served their day and generation, when they sleep are not parted from their Lord. They do not become the children of the darkness by that fact, for he died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep we should live together with him. Whether we are living here or living there, we shall still live together with him.

11. Therefore comfort yourselves together, and edify each other, even as you also do.

The more of this the better. Christian people should constantly speak with each other for mutual edification.

12, 13. And we beseech you, brethren, to know those who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.

You see, in the church of old they edified each other, but for all that they did not cast off God’s ordinance of Christian ministry. There was rule in the church then as there should be now; and the apostle, when he speaks of this individual edification, this mutual instruction, does not forget to notice those who were the pastors of the flock. He says, “Know those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.”

13. And be at peace among yourselves.

How can a church prosper if it is not?

14-16. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient towards all men. See that no one renders evil for evil to any man; but always follow what is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice for evermore.

Here follows a string of Christian precepts—a golden chain. “Rejoice for evermore.”

17—19. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Do not quench the Spirit.

Do not despise his operations, either in yourselves or in your brethren. Do not quench him by neglect, much less by open opposition.

20-22. Do not despise prophesying. Prove all things; hold firmly to what is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Not from what other people choose to think evil, but from all real evil whatever it is—even from the very shadow that it casts and the form it assumes.

23-26. And may the very God of peace sanctify you entirely; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he who calls you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.

Give each other a hearty handshake. That is the western interpretation of the eastern form. Outward forms differ. The inward sense remains the same. Let brotherly love continue in a hearty friendliness among yourselves.

27, 28. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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