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Spiritual Warfare (SW-10)

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Eph. 6:13-18

Have you ever had the experience where you learn something and that little something you learn immediately makes sense of the rest - it all falls into place when that one thing gets straightened out. There is a sense in which this morning’s message is like that - if this falls into place many other things will.

We are studying our way through a series we have entitled simply yet definitively Spiritual Warfare. We are busy at the moment talking about The Armor of God - the Bible version of dress for success - we are having a ‘spiritual make over’ if you want. Paul was guarded by and sometimes chained to Praetorian guards, soldiers who had started off as Hastati, then became Principes, then became Triarii - and then hand picked by the Emperor to be his attache and personal body guards known as Praetorian - are assigned to guard this very important prisoner. As Paul admires the richness of their armor and the power of their track record and the integrity of the character - he says ‘Yes - that is God’s plan for everyone - to be what the praetorian were, to have what the praetorian had and to do what the praetorian did. Do you remember what they did? They, as Triarii, were the last wave of military might that would roll in and simply dominate the battle field. Step forward - take the ground - stand firm. Step forward - take the ground - stand firm. Step forward - take the ground - stand firm. They would never give up - they would rather die fighting than surrender the ground they had taken. That is why the Roman Republic’s Army was the most effective army of it’s day - it established the entire Roman Empire. Paul says, ‘I want to show you how to do that - how to Step forward - take the ground - stand firm - step forward - take the ground - stand firm. That is God’s plan for you. God has no plan for your defeat - no plan in which you give up the ground you have gained.’

He says this is how you can stand firm - as a matter of fact he uses that term stand firm four times in this passage. How do you stand firm?

Are you ready church? Please open you Bibles with me to the book of Ephesians, Ephesians 6:13-18. Let’s read that passage out aloud together.

Ephesians 6:13-18 - Read - Pray.

What the Breastplate looked like!

Linked chain - bone or hoof - undercoat of leather.

What the breastplate did.

Protection in a time of danger

Courage in a time of fear

Strength in a time of weakness

Encouragement in a time of failure

Now watch this precious believer - that is exactly what your breastplate of righteousness does for you.

Protection in a time of danger

Courage in a time of fear

Strength in a time of weakness

Encouragement in a time of failure

What is this breastplate of righteousness the Bible is talking about here?

There are two types of righteousness that the Bible speaks about with reference to the believers.

Imputed

Imparted

Who I am

Given

What I wear

Leads to salvation

Perfect

What I do

Gained

How I walk

Flows from salvation

Process

Why is that a problem - the only way to get to heaven without Jesus is if you are perfectly righteous because perfect righteousness is the only acceptable entrance gear for heaven. God is too holy to look upon sin.

There are only two ways to get to heaven - either through your own perfect righteousness - or through Jesus perfect righteousness.

Man was made righteous because man was made for heaven - and righteousness is a pre-requisite for entering heaven!

For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Is 64:6

Rom. 3:10 "There is none that is righteous, no not one."

He put on righteousness like a breastplate . . . Is 59:17

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; Ro 3:21-22

You either have it or you don’t. It is never a combination of you righteousness and Jesus - it is either all of Him or all of you.

Every single other religion seeks to offer a combination of the two - they cannot produce a heaven version - it has got to beeeee perfect!

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