The Armour of God #3
(The Breastplate of Righteousness)
“God please grant me the ability to recognize devilish intentions, the Armour to defend all attacks and the ability to trust despite past wrongdoings”
Paul gives us six pieces of armour here in Ephesians 6.
Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
He’s saying; if you don’t put on the armour you’re not going to be able to stand, you’re not going to be able to resist.
We looked at the first part, the belt of truth. Why truth.
Because Satan is a liar, Jesus called him the father of lies.
John 8:44 (NIV) – You belong to your father, the devil and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
The bible is called the truth, and so when Satan comes with his lies we need to be able to weigh it against the truth, to discern whether it’s good or evil. Hebrews 5:13-14 (NIV) – 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Throughout life the enemy will lie to us and bring accusations against us;
Reminding us of everything we did wrong, how we failed
Reminding us of what we should have done, what we could have done.
What is he doing?
He’s shooting arrows of guilt and condemnation and inferiority.
If we make the mistake of listening to his lies, those arrows are going to wound us, and we’ll walk around wounded, discouraged defeated,
we don’t feel good enough, we have no joy, no hope, no confidence.
There are so many Christians today that are walking around feeling
that they’re not good enough,
that they’ve failed too many times,
that they’re not really serving God as they should be. Are you really a Christian?
They’re walking around with this guilt and condemnation and inferiority, all because they’re listening to the lies of the enemy!
Remember that the enemy is called the *accuser of the brethren. Rev 12:10
He goes around day and night accusing us accusing us.
*Accuser – the Bible records 18 different names for him; Tempter, Deceiver, Enemy, Murderer, Liar
Because he wants to try and put a wedge between us and God.
The fact is we’re all sinners, but we’ve been set free by the blood of Jesus and the bible says He loves us with an everlasting love.
When you know that……it’s like putting on the breastplate of righteousness and the enemy’s arrows can’t get to you anymore.
It tells us here in Ephesians 6:14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…
What is righteousness? Righteousness is right standing with God.
Some people think when they wake up in the morning you got to put on this imaginary belt and then the breastplate……..that’s weird!
When you wake up in the morning all you’ve got to do is remind yourself that God loves you and that you’re in right standing with God. Put nothing on you have the armour.
When I remind myself that God approves of me,
that He loves me so much that he sent His only son to die for me,
that His grace is sufficient for me,
that He will make up the years that the enemy has stolen,
that’s like putting on the breastplate of righteousness.
Job 36:7 – “He doesn’t take His eyes off the righteous…”
Isaiah 3:10 – Tell the righteous it will be well with them for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds
Psalm 55:22 – Cast your burdens on the Lord and He will sustain you, will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Maybe you have opened yourself up to the lies of the devil.
He’s been saying things like;
You’re not as spiritual as you should be,
God doesn’t really love you, He’s just putting up with you,
God is not going to bless you, you’ve messed up too many times.
Those are all lies! That’s the enemy shooting arrows of guilt and condemnation and inferiority, trying to rob you of your confidence.
It’s our responsibility not to listen to the enemy’s lies!
The enemy is going to do whatever he can to break you down and discourage you ……… he’ll keep shooting those arrows at your heart.
Even when we make mistakes, even when we blow it, there’s a time to repent and to ask for forgiveness, and then there’s a time to shake it off and to move forward.
1 John 1:9 (NIV) – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
What are you going to gain when you walk around saying;
I should never have been so selfish, I’m a failure
I should never have had that affair,
I should have treated my wife better…..on and on you go!
Those things may be true, and yes we can learn from it, but you need to shake it off and move forward.
Put on the breastplate of righteousness, start seeing yourself as God sees you – He loves you; you’re forgiven, He’s got good plans for your future.
It’s sad how some people keep asking God for forgiveness for the same thing over and over and over again!
That’s a clear sign that they haven’t received God’s forgiveness, they haven’t put on the breastplate of righteousness.
They don’t realize that God forgave them the very first time they asked!
The bible says in Isaiah 61 that we’ve been made righteous.
That means that we’re in right standing with God.
Isaiah 61:10 “He has covered me with the robe of righteousness”
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
i.o.w. when God looks at you, He doesn’t see your past, he doesn’t see all the sins and mistakes that you’ve made, but He sees you as if you’ve never done anything wrong!
He sees you as completely righteous…..in right standing with God.
Colossians 2:13-14 You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins, He cancelled the unfavourable record of our debts……
We need to get up every morning saying;
Thank you Father for your forgiveness.
Thank you that you’ve given me a new life.
Thank you for your great great love!
Every time you start filling your thoughts with His amazing love and His forgiveness and His acceptance, you’re putting on the breastplate of righteousness.
Romans 5 talks about the gift of righteousness.
God gives us righteousness, it’s a gift, and just like any gift that’s given to us, we have a choice to receive it or refuse it.
God says we’re completely forgiven, completely righteous, accepted in His sight …… now the choice is ours, do we receive that of refuse it?
Romans 5:17 “Those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life.”
One of the first steps to reign as a Christian, to have success, is to receive that gift of righteousness, to put on the breastplate of righteousness.
Start seeing yourself as God sees you;
I am a new creature, I am forgiven, I am blessed, I am strong in the Lord,
I am dead to sin, I am more than a conqueror, I am complete in Him, I am crucified with Christ, I am alive in Christ, I am free from condemnation…..
Why is it that we often battle to put on that breastplate of righteousness?
Because we’re listening to the lies of the enemy, he says;
You messed up again!!
You committed that same sin again!!
God is not focused on what’s wrong with you, He’s focused on what’s right with you.
He’s not looking at all your faults and weaknesses and mistakes, because the bible says when we ask for forgiveness He’s removed that as far as the east if from the west and He remembers it no more
How do we know this?
We’ve been looking at Ephesians chapter 6, it’s the last chapter of the book.
When you look at the first couple of chapters of Ephesians you can clearly see that God is not focused on our mistakes and failures at all.
Scholars tell us the letter to the Ephesians is the highlight of what the apostle Paul wrote.
It’s only six chapters, remember it was a letter, but Paul starts off the first few chapters explaining our relationship to God.
Then he moves to our relationship with people, and then in chapter six he tells us how to deal with the devil.
So you could say the first few chapters deal with our worth, then the next few chapters with our walk, and then the final chapter our warfare.
Our worth, our walk, our warfare
Listen to the first few verses, he starts off saying things like;
1:3 We’ve been blessed with every spiritual blessing …..
1:4 Before the foundation of the world He chose us……
1:5 We’ve been adopted as sons and daughters ……..
1:6 He has poured out His glorious grace upon us…
1:7 He has purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgiven our sins….
1:8 He has showered His kindness on us, along with wisdom and understanding
The apostle Paul goes to great lengths to encourage us and to show us that God is not focused on what’s wrong with us.
Why does Paul go to so much trouble telling us all this?
Because he knows we have an enemy who’s constantly lying to us and trying to push us down and keep us guilty and condemned.
Paul starts off telling us – you’ve got to realize who you are; you’ve got to realize how God sees you, you’ve got to realize what He’s done for you.
Then right at the end of the book / letter he says, and you’ve got to put on the breastplate of righteousness.
If the enemy can’t get you with sin, if he can’t get you to compromise, he’s going to try with guilt and condemnation.
That’s why you’ve got to put on the breastplate of righteousness.
You’ve got to keep reminding yourself that God loves you and that you’re in right standing with God …… not because of anything that you’ve done, but because of everything that Jesus has done.
Maybe you feel a bit discouraged today, not because of what you’ve done, but because of what others have done to you;
Somebody mistreated you,
Somebody rejected you,
Somebody hurt you and spoke out negative things over your life,
It often happens with people who grew up under some kind of abuse.
The enemy will tell them, you brought this on yourself, it’s your fault,
there’s something wrong with you.
Remember the story of the prodigal son.
This young man made a lot of mistakes, he told his dad that he wanted his share of the inheritance and so he left home, moved to the city and started living a wild life, partying all the time.
But eventually those poor choices caught up to him, his money ran out.
He didn’t have anything to eat, anywhere to stay, and he ended up on a pig farm feeding the pigs.
Things got so bad for him that he ended up eating the pig food, just to stay alive. But one day sitting in that filth and shame, he said to himself;
“I will arise and go to my father…” Luke 15:18
That’s the best decision he ever made!!
When you make a mistake, when you get involved in some kind of sin, don’t sit around in self-pity feeling sorry of yourself.
The first step to victory is to get up and to go to your Heavenly Father.
As he started heading home, I’m sure he was thinking, man I was an idiot, I’ve messed up so badly this time.
I’ll be lucky if he takes me as one of his servants.
But the scripture says; “When he was a great way off, his father saw him and ran to him and kissed him” Luke 15:20
That tells me that the father must have been looking out for him.
And so when he saw his son, he was so excited, he took off running toward his son.
That story is in the bible for you and me, to illustrate how much God loves us and that He’s prepared to give us another chance,!
Yes you may have made mistakes, but God’s mercy is bigger than any mistake that you’ve made.
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace to receive mercy for our failures.”
You may have wasted years of your life, but God still has a way to get you to where He wants you to be…..
You may have battled with the same sin for a long time, but God’s power can break any addiction and set you free.
How do you put on the breastplate of righteousness?
Do you get up in the morning …..? I’m putting on my breastplate….no that’s weird!
You wake up saying and confessing who you are:
Thank you Lord that you love me.
Thank you that I’m forgiven.
Thank you that you’ve got good plans for my future.
You’re reminding yourself of His love and commitment to you.
You’re reminding yourself that if God gave Jesus for me won’t he freely give me all things.
That’s how you put on the breastplate of righteousness.