THE very mention of a helmet may well seem to REMIND EVERY CHRISTIAN HERE THAT HE IS A SOLDIER. If you were not soldiers, you would not need armour. But being soldiers, you need to be clad from head to foot in armour. 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 armor, for if you do, in some unguarded moment you may meet with serious wounds. But keep your armour ever about you and be watchful, for you are always in the midst of enemies wherever you may be.
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. Where are you, let me ask. 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 of destroying you. Mind the enemy, mind the enemy, for he is one of a malicious spirit. 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. “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, upon your guard, you warriors of the cross, when lest you fear, the cringing foe will come behind you and stab you, under the pretense of friendship. Your Master was betrayed with a kiss, and so will you be, unless you watch unto prayer. Oh, Christian, see how guarded you ought to be. How needful to be clothed with your armour! How needful 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 foeman’s country, a soldier with a cruel and malicious enemy.
BEING A SOLDIER, LOOK TO YOUR HEAD. A wound in the head is a serious matter. The head is peculiarly 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 had need to have his head taken care of. If a brother is possessed of a considerable amount of wealth, there is a great danger in that wealth unless there is a wealth of Divine Grace as well.
If a man is well spoken of, his sphere may not be very large, but if everybody 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. If a man can stand commendation, he can stand anything. 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 fast and not be borne down by vanity. O Vanity, Vanity, Vanity, how many you have slain! Take care of your heads, brethren.
And is not the head liable to attacks from skepticism? 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 thereby, for the bullets of skepticism threaten to go right through their brains. Well, what then? As we cannot take Christians out of the way of the bullets, we should give them a helmet to preserve them therefrom. He who has a hope of salvation—a good hope that he is saved, a hope that he shall see the face of Christ with joy at last—is not afraid of all the quibbles of skepticism.
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 you who are free from such trouble. But there are seasons with some of us when we turn our title deeds over, and we are sometimes afraid lest they should not be genuine. Well, beloved, this is very dangerous to our heads, but the man who has got 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 by and by—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 of Satan’s accusations, or the rising up 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.
To begin, then, describing this helmet. Who is its giver?
Our great King does not sell His armour, but gives it freely to all who enlist. They trust Christ and they are enlisted—and then the armour is given them gratis. From head to foot they are arrayed by grace. Do you ask, who is the maker of this helmet? Armorers of old took much trouble with the ancient helmets, because a man’s life might depend upon that very useful means of defense. So we have here the Name of God the Holy Ghost upon this helmet.
Let me now describe the strength of the helmet. It is so strong, that under all sorts of assaults he who wears it is invulnerable. He may stagger under a blow, but he cannot be hurt by it. 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. Once let this helmet be put on and He will never remove it, but we shall hope on and hope ever, until we shall see His face at the last.
Excerpted from the sermon titled “The Christian’s Helmet” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:8) by CH Spurgeon delivered in 1866. You are encouraged to read the full text of the sermon from https://www.spurgeongems.org/sermon/chs3167.pdf