Summary: 6 of 11. Paul closes his direction to the Ephesian church by encouraging them to find their strength in the Lord. But where or how can God's people find the strength to stand victorious? God’s people acquire strength to stand victorious thru a distinct...
STRENGTH To STAND-VI—Ephesians 6:10-20
Courage—to stand firm for & in Christ—against the lost world’s direction.
Confidence—knowing that we cannot compromise with the opponent.
Perseverance—knowing that the Lord’s armor holds & protects thru every battle.
Paul urged the Ephesian church to find their strength in the Lord by effectively arming themselves.
The church must acquire God’s strength to stand victorious.
Where & How can the church find strength to stand victorious?
12 distinctions of the Christian soldier’s strength for victory.
We have found that—
...God’s people acquire strength to stand victorious..or..acquire victory thru a distinct...
6—God’s people acquire strength to stand victorious thru a distinct...
:14—“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”
“having put on the breastplate of righteousness”:
The Christian’s “standing” before God against active wickedness, is also secured when he/she has in place, “the breastplate” which is composed “of righteousness.”
The “breastplate” was usually made of bronze but for those soldiers of higher rank it could be of chain mail. The bronze was cast or hammered to represent the perfection of a physically fit soldier’s underlying torso, intensifying the perception before the enemy, that a man of imposing heavy muscular constitution was advancing.(MNTC/EBC)
For the vast majority of soldiers—those of lower rank—the Roman soldier’s breastplate was commonly made up of small overlapping metal plates(secured to leather or heavy cloth) which were fastened together. It had an opening for the head, & was open at the sides so it could be easily placed over the shoulders like a mantle. Once in place both front & back were bound up tightly together down the sides of the torso under the arms. It was also secured at the waist.
This protected the entire torso of the soldier.
The “breastplate” was known among the Romans as that which protected the heart(EBC), as well as other vital organs & soft tissue otherwise vulnerable to attack.(MNTC)
The bottom of the “breastplate” was fastened to the belt(MNTC/JL @ SC), so that truth is the basis of righteousness & holds it all together.
The “Righteousness” which function is compared to a military “breastplate, is NOT SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS nor doing what I may think is right(Judges 17:6; 21:25; Prov. 14:12; 3:5-8; 16:9).
Judges 17:6—“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Judges 21:25—“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Prov. 29:18—“Where there is no revelation[vision], the people [perish]cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.”
Prov. 14:12—“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
Prov. 16:9—“A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”
Prov. 10:23-24—“To do evil is like sport to a fool, But a man of understanding has wisdom. The fear of the wicked will come upon him, And the desire of the righteous will be granted.”
Prov. 3:5-8—“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD & depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.”
Rather, “righteousness” is doing what is right in God’s eyes...Doing that which pleases God & which HE DIRECTS.
It is NOT doing what may be considered ‘good’ by your country/society/culture/family!
God’s righteousness is NOT having the world at large be the rule by which you measure ‘righteousness.’
Example: someone shared with others & myself that—‘normal’ for many families, involves a ‘bong’ on the coffee table &/or surrounded by Bud Lite cans.
Therefore, at it’s heart, “righteousness” is more than mere appearance of right or good deeds. Thus seemingly ‘good deeds’ driven by society, self-interest, & self-righteousness are not ‘good deeds’ in God’s eyes.
“Righteousness” maintained as a “breastplate” involves general uprightness(driven by pure motives built on godly morality)— & integrity of character that originates with God— & finds it’s power in surrender to His will thru Christ(:10).
*Unfortunately, true godly “righteousness” can be mimicked behaviorally while being absolutely empty of any substance!
2Tim. 3:1-5—“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
Putting on the breastplate of righteousness pictures incorporation of “...the practical righteousness of a life lived in obedience to God’s word.”.....“Imputed righteousness makes practical righteousness possible, but only obedience to the Lord makes practical righteousness a reality.”—MNTC