Summary: This is the 2nd sermon in "The Armor Of God" series.
Series: The Armor Of God [#2]
THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Over the last several weeks, the subject of Spiritual Warfare has been a focus. We know that we are not supposed to take the fight to the Devil. We know that we are to put on the full armor of God and stand firm. My question to you is, “Are you putting on the full armor of God and standing firm”?
Ephesians 6:10-14a (NIV)
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.
We are told that after we have put on the full armor of God that we are to stand firm. Then, the armor is explained 1 piece at a time. Last week, we looked at the belt of truth. Tonight, we are going to look at the breastplate of righteousness.
1. The breastplate of righteousness.
The breastplate was a central part of the Roman soldier's armor. It protects the torso, which contains vital organs like the heart, lungs, etc… It was fitted with loops or buckles that attached it to a thick belt. If the belt was loosened, the breastplate slipped right off. It is truth that makes up the belt and righteousness that makes up the breastplate. To be righteous is to do what is right in God's eyes. God's commandments are righteous. In contrast, lawlessness is sin, and sin is the opposite of righteousness.
2. The purpose of the breastplate of righteousness.
What is the purpose of wearing the breastplate? The breastplate deflects the enemy’s weapons. Without a breastplate, a soldier would be asking for death, as any attack could instantly become fatal. With a sturdy breastplate, the very same attacks become ineffective and useless, as blows glance off the armor. Spiritually speaking, you must guard your heart from evil.
3. The proper use of the breastplate of righteousness.
We are instructed to “put on” this armor, which implies that we do not automatically wear it all the time. Putting on the armor of God requires a decision on our part. To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must 1st have the belt of truth firmly in place. Without truth, our righteousness will be based upon our own attempts to impress God. This leads to legalism or self-condemnation. We choose instead to acknowledge that, apart from Him, we can do nothing. We see ourselves as “in Christ” and that, regardless of our failures, His righteousness has been credited to our account.
We “put it on” by seeking God and His righteousness above everything else. When God reveals an area of change to us, we obey and allow Him to work in us. As we wear Christ’s breastplate of righteousness, we begin to develop a purity of heart that translates into actions. When armor is abused or worn incorrectly, it can malfunction. Likewise, there are several factors that can interfere with the effectiveness of our spiritual breastplate. Carelessness, unbelief, abusing grace, or disobedience can hinder our ability to stand firm and defeat the enemy in our lives. When we tolerate sin, refuse to forgive, rely on personal righteousness, or allow earthly concerns to crowd out time for an intimate relationship with God, we, in effect, take off the breastplate of righteousness, minimizing its power to protect us.