Summary: In the spiritual battle we need to be sure that our hearts are directed by God and not surrendered to Satan. The breastplate of righteousness keeps your heart right.
Covered by Righteousness
Ephesians 6:10-14 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
Intro: Once again we are planning to take a look at what it takes to win against the spiritual powers that fight against us. Last week we talked about truth. We talked about the fact that in spite of how unique God made each of us with different perspectives on reality, there are absolute truths that are always true. Truth will help us if we receive God’s word and know it. But truth is more than information. Real truth brings transformation, which enables us to live it. Truth must find expression in our lives. And it is God’s plan that we not keep the truth to ourselves. We are others the truth about God and His love for them. The best guard against deception is the truth! Know the truth! Live the truth! Tell the truth!
-Today I’d like to look at the 2nd piece of armor in Paul’s list of things we cannot do without – the breastplate of righteousness. Righteousness is the quality or state of being morally right, being in sync with what it right.
-As a literal piece of armor the breastplate is quite easy to imagine. It was made up of small metal plates which were tied together in a similar fashion to the way roof tiles are placed on a roof. The armor was then placed over the shoulders to protect both the front and back of the soldier. The bottom of the armor was tied to the belt. A Greek word sometimes used to describe this piece of equipment literally translates as “heart protector”. And that was the main purpose of the breastplate – to give protection to the heart and other vital organs.
-That is a description of the armor in a literal sense. But this is not literal armor, it is spiritual armor. In the midst of a very real spiritual struggle, you will need protection for your heart. If your heart is not right then the rest of your life will not be right either. If there are areas that we refuse to surrender to the Lord, then we have holes in our armor and are vulnerable to the enemy. In the spiritual battle we need to be sure that our hearts are directed by God and not surrendered to Satan. The breastplate of righteousness keeps your heart right. How does it do that?
I. It indicates Right Standing
-Justification by faith – God sees me with no sin. God sees me as righteous. I have been declared “not guilty” before the court of heaven, not because I’ve committed no offense, but because Jesus took my sin on Himself and declared me clean, righteous, holy before God!
-It is so important that we understand the nature of this righteousness. It is not formula-based, but is relationship-based. We are not declared righteous because we discovered the secret password or became privy to secret information. We are declared righteous when we begin a relationship with Jesus that includes trust and confidence in Him. That relationship brings us to a place where we recognize that Jesus truly is the Son of God and that He not only can forgive sins, but desires to and does so based on His own sinless life, which became a substitution for our lives when He died on a Roman cross.
-We can have a clean conscience because of the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate of righteousness provides protection for our heart, and other vital organs. When the devil assaults us with lies about who we are and reminds us how imperfect we are, the breastplate of righteousness gives us confidence to stand against his accusations. One of Satan’s tactics is to destroy your confidence before God so you won’t come close to God. So the enemy says, “You don’t deserve to be forgiven. You have failed so badly. God couldn’t love you. He is ashamed of you!” Well, we certainly don’t deserve forgiveness, but grace is not based on what we deserve. It is based on who God is and what Jesus has done to change our nature and our standing with God.