Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Non-series Sermons by Year 2022 Sermons . Full armour (Breastplate of righteousness)

. Full armour (Breastplate of righteousness)

THE FULL ARMOUR OF GOD (PART 2)

THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS


Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,..”

Point 1. The belt of truth.

Point 2. The breastplate of righteousness.


“14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,…”


Dedication and commitment to truthfulness is vital, but it must be backed up by righteousness. If you listen to our daily devotions, you would recall the statements I made about Daniel. Daniel lived the truths he believed, and believed the truths he lived. If we are going to be clothed with the ‘belt of truth’, we must realise that there is such a thing as absolute truth. You cannot philosophy it away, you cannot dream it away, you cannot wish it away, and you cannot believe it away. I believe gravity and it’s affect are absolutely true. If you do not, there are some easy experiments to test it. So, we need to believe right and do right.

 

Now, I think we can all remember the pictures of the Roman soldier in battle and what the breastplate is there for. It was to a Roman soldier what the bullet proof vest is to a policeman today. The breastplate covers the most vulnerable part of the soldier’s body. Sometimes a Roman soldier had a breastplate made of leather, or very heavy linen to which were attached overlapping pieces, sometimes of iron, and sometimes of shell, or horn. But more often it was made of metal, sometimes woven chain metal which would be very, very heavy. No Roman soldier would have thought of going into battle without his vital organs protected. You can take a shot in the thigh, you can take a shot in the arm, you can take a shot in the shoulder, but you get one in your vital organs and it is all over, especially in their day and age without the medical advances we have today.

 

And what is the breastplate? It is righteousness. That’s what protects us from the arrows and the spears and the swords and the crushing blows of the hammers that were wielded in battle. We’re protected by righteousness in our vital areas. Now what would righteousness be?

 

Before I define that, a lesson regarding the thinking of that time would be helpful. The ancient Jews believed that the heart was the place of your thinking, it was literally your mind – As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. The bowels were the seat of your emotions. Now these are the primary areas that Satan would attack you. Satan will pervert truth, fill our minds with worldliness, false doctrines and so we can go on. He will attack our emotions and pervert our affections, desires, morals, loyalties and goals. He will cause us to embrace the world’s agenda, the world’s wisdom and the world’s view and the world’s theology. He will cause us to love what God hates, and to hate what God loves. All he needs to do in these two areas is to stop right thinking and to stop right living, and replace it with wrong thinking and wrong living.

 

Now what we are not talking about is self-righteousness and also what we are not talking about is imputed righteousness that we have in Jesus Christ. Paul talks about both in Philippians 3:8-9 (ESV)8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—“

 

So Paul says that self-righteousness, trust in law, rituals and my own goodness will not save me. I have to stand in the righteousness of Christ. That is imputed righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” It is on the basis of imputed righteousness that I can stand before God one day, as He will see me in the completed work of His Son and in Christ I will escape eternal damnation. Self-righteousness by the way is not righteousness at all, but one of the worst forms of sin.

 

Imputed righteousness is however also not what is in mind here in Ephesians 6. Imputed righteousness will protect us from hell but it will not in itself protect us from the attacks of Satan. The imputed righteousness is not something we put on, but something we are clothed with. We already have that. God put that on you when you were saved. So we need a righteousness that we must put on. Our sins were put on Christ on the cross, and His righteousness was put on us because of believing the message of the cross.

 

There is another righteousness that you have in the Word of God and that is imparted righteousness or informed righteousness or to put it even simpler, practical righteousness. There is a life of righteous behaviour that must be worked out. Paul says in Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV) 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Imparted righteousness is the working out of imputed righteousness. So if you are a child of God then God has given you imputed righteousness at salvation but He has also gave you the Spirit of God, He has given you a new life in regeneration, and He has given you the Word of God, which now makes you both capable and responsible to work out the righteousness that has been given to you. So in a sense we can talk about imputed righteousness as our position, but now on an experiential level we must put on righteousness. Right living or Holy living is the breastplate of righteousness. You need to make sure that you are following this very clear and simple instruction. It is not hard to miss what Paul means in 2 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV) 1 Since we have these promises, (position) beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God (experiential).”

 

The question today is. Is there a weakness or chink in your armour, sins, acts of disobedience, wrong attitudes etc.? If there are signs that you are not dealing with, but rather are treasuring then you are vulnerable in the battle. If you’re courting sins in your life then you are walking in life without a breastplate of righteousness. When Satan sees sin, he moves into that crack in your armour and he attacks your right there. You become vulnerable as the world system appeals to that crack in your armour. And the smallest crack can be exploited in a very fatal way, as the arrow or spear will go through their.

 

So Christian put on the armour. It starts with commitment and it demands righteousness. I want to close by reading you Romans 13:11-14 (ESV) 11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

 

Paul is simply saying, hey, look, we’re closer to the end than we’ve ever been. It’s time to wake up, it’s time to put your belt on and go to battle, and it is time to put on the breastplate. The night is almost gone. The day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. The ‘armour of light’ is another way of saying ‘put on the breastplate of righteousness, as it is putting aside the deeds of darkness and doing what is right.

 

What all of this means so far us simply this – behave like a Christian. Your conduct must be that which is fitting your name. That is why Paul says further, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts, don’t duck and dive in the fight, put on Christlikeness and fight if you are really a Christian.

 

I do not know if the following story is true. True or not, there is a message for us. I heard the story told of Alexander the Great who was trying soldiers who failed in the battle. They brought before him this young 16 year old boy who was fleeing before the enemy and hiding while he should have been in the battle. Alexander the great softened towards the young man as he was so youthful and a handsome young lad. He seemed to show some sympathy to the young man and asked him his name to which the young man replied ‘Alexander’. Alexander the great exploded and shouted ‘what?’ The young man jumped to attention and shouted ‘Alexander Sir’. Alexander the great grabbed hold of his tunic and again shouted ‘what is your name?’ upon which the young man shouted ‘Alexander my Lord’. Alexander the great through him to the ground and said to him ‘young man – change your name, or change your conduct, for no man goes into the battle bearing my name and fleeing before the enemy.’

 

Are you clothed with Christ, do you claim to have put on Christ and today He is asking you ‘what is your name?’ Christian my Lord, Christian my Jesus, Christian my God … Will we have to hear from Him? ‘Christian, either change your name, or change your conduct’. I trust the Lord give us the grace this morning to put on the belt, to put on the breastplate and to fight in a way that is worthy of the name we have received.

 

Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church: - 09 July 2022