Summary: This message looks at our identity in Christ and how Satan works to steal our identity. He uses our circumstances, other people and even our own thoughts to constantly accuse us. the solution is the breastplate of righteousness.
The Art of Spiritual Warfare
“How to Protect Your Identity ”
It was recently in the news that in November of 2013 one of our leading retailers in America, TARGET was a victim of a very large security breach. Roughly 40 million credit and debit cards were nvolved as well as 70 million records containing addresses and mobile phone records. All the while as Target is working with the FBI and the US Secret Service, all of this information is floating around on the black market and the separate identities of these millions of people are at risk of being stolen and their credit cards being used. And now Neiman Marcus has had a similar event occur.
These individuals now known as CyberCriminals have learned that if they can just steal the credentials of one vendor who had access to the system they are then able to move into a larger system and access millions of files. And that is exactly what they did.
We don’t shop at TARGET very often and this didn’t affect us. However we had an event take place about 5 years ago where someone was spending funds from our account and it took us about two months to get to the bottom of it. Identity theft is a terrible thing.
The OT tells of us 3 men who this happened to. Let me briefly describe them.
1. Solomon. He was known as the wisest man in the world. He had great power. Built the temple. He had wealth. God gave him understanding that was like sand on a seashore…it was endless. Could not be measured. His fame spread to all of the surrounding nations.
2. Samson. Known as the strongest man who ever lived. He took a jawbone from a donkey and killed 1000 men with it. Alone he pushed apart the pillars of the temple apart causing it to collapse killing about 3000 men.
3. David. Loved God. Wrote the book of Psalms. King of Israel. Called a man after God’s own heart. So what did these three men share in common? Great knowledge. Great wealth. Superior strength. They all loved God and they all fell. All of them down, spiritually.
So here we have the most godly man alive, the wisest man and the strongest man and in all 3 cases Satan went after their identity, stole it for a period of time and all 3 fell into deep spiritual trouble and sin and suffered tremendously.
Solomon lived a life of polygamy; get this… he had 700 wives and 300 other women in his life. He was a busy guy. He was full of wisdom but he fell into idol worship. Samson, with all of his strength could not resist the persistence of one woman named Delilah who discovered the secret to his strength. It was his hair and she cut it. Samson fell. David, one of the most prominent leaders in the OT, a King, a great military leader became consumed with his desire for power and he fell into sin with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed.
As Paul was writing this letter we know that it is one of 4 letters he wrote from jail. At least 4 different times he was thrown in prison…...we think he spent about 6 years of his life total in prison. Many other times under house arrest and all because of his faith in Christ. The book of Ephesians is one of these. As he is writing this he would have been chained to a Roman guard and the guard would likely have been wearing the very pieces of armor Paul is describing. He identifies 6 pieces of armor.
The first one we looked at two weeks ago was the belt of truth. It was an important part of the uniform. They put it on first. I told you there were several clips on the belt so that no matter how the soldier moved about…climbing, running…the belt was always in place and the weapons were always ready. If the belt was not on straight then everything would be out of place for the soldier and he of course would be defeated.
Then there is the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate was key because it protected vital organs ---the heart and lungs. A wound to the chest could be deadly. For the average Roman soldier the breastplate was either made of very thick leather or from bronze. 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. If it was leather it might have pieces of metal or bone attached for added protection. This was the heaviest piece of weaponry the soldier wore. Some weighed 40 pounds, others as much as 70 pounds. The one Goliath wore was 125 pounds. Each one was custom made to fit each individual soldier. They were not produces on an assembly line. Built for the soldier by a skilled craftsman.