Summary: The body armor of God's righteousness is both a offensive and defensive weapon. This sermon points out the benefits of both.
In 2003, a class action lawsuit was filed against Second Chance Body Armor. Second Chance manufactures bulletproof vests for police officers and security personnel. Hundreds of police departments throughout the country use their products.
Apparently, several police officers had been killed recently even though they were wearing the vest. Following some independent field tests on several of their vests it was discovered that there was a flaw with some of their products and it wouldn't actually stop a bullet that was fired at it.
A concerned police officer’s group decided to sue the manufacturer for misrepresenting the quality of its product. The lawsuit alleged that the company withheld information about known defects in its bulletproof vests and sold them anyway. Trying to maintain its image as being a caring and compassionate business the company responded by participating in a voluntary replacement program for anyone who had purchased one of the potentially lethal vests at no cost to the user. (So if you had a vest and you hadn’t been shot and killed yet, they were willing to give you another one.)
Along with its replacement program the company had on its website an apology for any inconvenience that their faulty vests may have caused anyone. (Sorry if you were shot and killed)
The attorney General spearheaded the class action lawsuit - which Second Chance lost. Upon receiving the terms of the settlement, it promptly filed for bankruptcy to avoid having to actually pay out any claims. However, in 2013 they lost their bankruptcy appeal and were forced to pay $750 per claim. Not much help to those who had died.
Today we are going to discover the next piece of our spiritual armor. Let’s read Ephesians 6:14. “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.”
Reviewing from last week, we discovered that to stand your ground meant to hold your head up and your shoulders back. We must never let the enemy catch us with our head hung in defeat. We also discovered that the belt of truth was the written word of God. Although the belt was the only part of the armor not made of metal, and although it seemed to be the least significant, the belt actually played an important role. It was a place to rest the heavy shield and the spear. It was a secure location to place the sword. It held the body armor in place. Without the belt, the armor would fall apart. Without the truth of God’s Word, our lives would fall apart. The rest of the armor is rendered useless without the belt of truth, God’s Word. The belt o truth is the only part of the armor we can actually hold because it is the written word of God.
Now we will look at the body armor of righteousness. As Paul is considering the Roman soldier at his side, his eyes fall to the shiny body armor. As I said last week, these were two huge metal pieces joined together by solid brass rings at the top of the shoulders. This armor weighed in excess of 40 pounds. It covered the soldier from his shoulders down to his knees.
Their armor was very elaborate in design. Mostly made of brass, it could be shined to reflect the rays of the sun in a dazzling fashion. Not only is this armor a defensive weapon but also an offensive weapon. We can only imagine the sight of an entire legion of soldiers marching across the land, reflecting the sun’s rays back into the eyes of their enemy.
Remember, our enemy has many names. One of them is the devil. His name in Greek meant one who strikes repeatedly until finally penetrating the mind. He doesn’t come at us from all sides but rather by a direct path into our thought process. We must build a roadblock across that road and we do so by thinking on thoughts that are pleasing to God. It is on this road to your mind that Satan will attack your righteousness and bring doubt and accusations into your life. So let’s first understand what righteousness is and where it comes from.
Righteousness. It is the act of doing what is in agreement with God’s standards, which leads to the state of being in the proper relationship with God. It is on this statement that Satan attacks.
I assure you that not every action I take on any given day is in complete agreement with God’s standards. And neither are your actions. We all sin. We all fall short of his standards. Because of this, Satan will attack your armor of righteousness and begin throwing accusations. “You can’t do that and be in a proper relationship with God. What you said was not pleasing to God so you have to be the worst Christian ever. I can’t believe you thought that. That proves you’re not a Christian.” Have you entertained those thoughts or am I the only one?