OceanSide church of Christ
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THE ARMOR OF GOD
The Breastplate of Righteousness
Victor M. Eskew
A. Paul established the church in Ephesus on his second missionary journey (Acts 19).
B. In Ephesus, Paul witnessed many things:
1. Roman soldiers
2. Jews and Greeks who were overtaken in sorcery, curious arts, and the worship of false gods, especially the goddess Diana.
C. These two things influenced Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
1. He realized the spiritual battle was raging (Eph. 6:12).
2. He knew God’s people needed to be protected in this battle so he urged them to put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:13).
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
D. The battle still rages today. As Christians, we are exhorted to fight the good fight of faith (I Tim. 6:12). In the battle, we must wear the armor of God for protection. Thus, we have been engaged in a study of “The Armor of God” on Sunday nights.
1. Lesson #1: The Spiritual Battle Is Real
2. Lesson #2: Loins Girt about with Truth
E. Our lesson tonight focuses on the second piece of our armor. Paul calls it “The Breastplate of Righteousness” (Eph. 6:14).
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.
A. The breastplate of the Roman soldier was a single piece of metal that was molded to fit the soldier’s torso.
B. The torso houses several vital organs, the heart and lungs to name but two.
1. The name of the breastplate was “pectorale.” The meaning of the term is “heart guard.”
2. The metal was thick enough to protect the soldier’s heart from stabs of a sword or spear and the piercing of flying darts and arrows.
3. Without this piece of armor, the soldier was extremely vulnerable. Death would come quickly, especially in battles involving hand-to-hand combat.
II. WE HAVE A SPIRITUAL HEART
A. The Bible speaks of the heart of man in a spiritual sense.
1. It is not the heart that pumps blood throughout the physical body.
2. This heart is the part of man that thinks, reasons, wills, and expresses emotions.
a. Thinks (Prov. 23:7)
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…
b. Emotions (Lev. 19:17)
Thou shalt not hate they brother in thine heart…
c. Decides (Ps. 14:1)
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
d. Believes (Rom. 10:10)
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness…
B. The heart of man is important because from it all actions proceed.
1. Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
2. The one who controls the heart of man controls the whole man.
a. The Christian’s heart is supposed to be given wholly to God (Matt. 22:37).
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
b. Note: It is possible for Satan to influence man’s heart (John 13:2).
And supper being ended, the devil having now put in the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him.
c. If Satan gets into our hearts, it is possible for our minds to constantly be set upon evil (Gen. 6:5).
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of his heart was only evil continually.
III. THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
A. For our protection, God has provided a breastplate that stands between the heart and the weapons of the evil one.
1. In Ephesians 6:14, Paul refers to it as “the breastplate of righteousness.”
2. In I Thessalonians 5:8, he refers to it as “the breastplate of faith and love.”
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.
1. In the Bible, different kinds of righteousnesses are mentioned.
a. Each individual person’s righteousness.
1) Isaiah 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…
2) One rightly observed that filthy rags do not make for a very good breastplate.
b. Works of righteousness, that is, plans men devise in an attempt to be righteous before God (Tit. 3:5).
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
c. The righteousness found in the Law of Moses (Rom. 10:3; Phil. 3:6)
Concerning zeal persecuting the church; as touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
2. The righteousness that is the breastplate of righteousness is revealed to us in the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16-17).
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the right-eousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written the just shall live by faith.
3. Two views:
a. Some believe that this righteousness is the personal righteousness of Christ that is transferred to the believer upon his acceptance of Christ as his Savior.
1) Our righteousness is no good.
a) Filthy rags (Isa. 64:6)
b) “There is none righteous, no not one” (Rom. 3:10).
2) Christ alone lived a life of righteousness, a life that was completely free from sin.
3) His righteousness, therefore, must be given to man to make him righteous (I Cor. 1:30; II Cor. 5:21).
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
4) Problem: If Christ’s righteousness replaces ours, why are we going to be judged according to our works, whether they be good or bad? (I Cor. 5:10).
b. God’s righteousness involves the plan of God that centers upon the commands of God found in His Word that man is to obey.
1) Psalm 119:138, 172
Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.
2) When man obeys the commands of God, he is righteous in the sight of God (I John 3:7; Rom. 6:13).
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
3) Since God has given commands to be obeyed for man to be righteous, He can judge man based upon his obedience to those commands (John 12:48; Rev. 20:12-15).
A. Proverbs 11:4
Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
B. Acts 10:34-35
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him.
A. Our spiritual heart is a vital organ to the spiritual man.
B. To protect it, we must put on the breastplate of righteousness.
1. We do that by obeying the commands of God.
2. Remember in I Thessalonians 5:8, Paul referred to the breastplate as the breastplate of faith and love.
a. Faith works by love (Gal. 5:6) and faith is accounted for righteousness (Rom. 4:5, 13).
b. Faith is the motion within and love is expressed in obedience without and makes man righteous before God.