The Breastplate of Righteousness (Pt. 1)
What are dads known for? Bad jokes.
BAD DAD JOKES:
I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. It's impossible to put down!
Did you know the first French fries weren't actually cooked in France? They were cooked in Greece.
Why did the Clydesdale give the pony a glass of water? Because he was a little horse!
Why do chicken coops only have two doors? Because if they had four, they would be chicken sedans!
What do you call a cow with two legs? Lean beef. If the cow has no legs, then it’s ground beef.
Dads want to protect their kids, right? You teach your kids…prepare them, train them, teach them. You want to have them ready for the “real world.” The same for God…
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)
He has given us…that’s the whole point of this series we’re going through.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
This morning, we want to focus in on the breastplate of righteousness.
What is a breastplate? It is a protective chest piece - like a bullet proof vest. Its purpose is to protect the vital organs - specifically the heart (we’re going to come back to that).
What is righteousness?
• Right standing with God (positional)
• Right living/walking before God (practical)
Romans 1:17 ESV
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
By faith - that’s the key phrase. You can’t earn it…you don’t deserve it.
So, Paul says that the breastplate is made of righteousness. What do they have to do with each other and with our fight?
Satan - the enemy - wants you to quit…get discouraged/defeated.
Those of you who may have played sports…your goal is to take away the opponents will to win, right?
The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
So, I want us to see WHY Paul tells us, here, that in our struggle against the schemes of the devil, we MUST rely upon the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS:
SATAN ATTACKS AT THE POINT OF MY STANDING WITH GOD
I want you to keep your place there in Ephesians 6 and turn all the way back to the OT book of Zechariah.
Now, you may know that the name, Satan, means “accuser.”
Zechariah 3:1–5 ESV
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments.
And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
Here is Joshua, standing before God…HE’S THE HIGH PRIEST! You would expect that because of his “status” he’s good with God, right? He works in the temple, he’s a “good” Jew/religious guy!
But, before the holiest being in the universe - the one seated upon the throne - just like Isaiah, he is in filthy rags. The guy who we’d think would be accepted based on his status is in filthy rags. Why?
Isaiah 64:6 ESV
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
And, there is Satan the accuser…pointing out to God - the HOLY Judge - all of Joshua’s sins, his faults, his failures, his habits, his excuses, his neglect, the things he’s hiding that no one knows about, his secret sins are now exposed and brought to light.
But then, something beautiful happens....look back, again.
Angel of the Lord - the Son of God.
This is a picture of what happens to us. We need righteousness if we are going to stand before a holy God. But we can’t produce righteousness.
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Something beautiful happens...
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
So, we receive Christ’s righteousness IN OUR PLACE. He exchanges our filthiness - our sin, our shame - for Jesus’s righteousness…His right standing with God becomes ours!
And we receive this by faith…we can’t earn it…Again, “the righteous live (are made alive) by faith!
Romans 3:23–26 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
John MacArthur says, “The breastplate of righteousness is God’s own righteousness freely given to those who truly believe in Jesus Christ…It is received and put on through faith as God gives us His righteousness. He clothes us through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Your "heart" is the seat of your emotions - the deepest part of who you are.
Satan is the master manipulator…he will play on your feelings…your emotions…your heart.
ACCUSER - “there’s no way God still loves you/accepts you…You and I both know what you’re hiding.”
Now, let me be careful to say, here that God the Holy Spirit WILL convict you and me of sin that we’ve let go unconfessed and unrepented of. Here’s the difference - the Holy Spirit seeks to RESTORE OUR FELLOWSHIP…SATAN’S OUT TO KILL YOUR RELATIONSHIP.
The Holy Spirit CONVICTS - Satan CONDEMNS.
As a child of God, you can look Satan in the eye and say, “Accuser…you’re right, I am a sinner and you’re right, on my own, I am unrighteous…BUT YOU’RE A LIAR and in Jesus name, I believe I am accepted and loved by God…not because of what I’ve done but because of what Paul wrote to Titus:
Titus 3:4–5 ESV
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
REPEAT - We need a breastplate of righteousness because Satan will attack us at the point of our STANDING with God.
You know, I can remember the very last spanking my dad ever gave me. I may have been 11 or 12. In the moment, I thought it was unfair and unnecessary – don’t we all – but now, 20something years later, it makes sense. See, I had a job to do once a week. My job in our family was mowing the lawn and weed-eating. We didn’t have the fancy gas powered weed-eater. We had an electric one – I STILL use electric. Anyway, my dad was real particular about how I wrapped the extension cord when I was finished. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times he showed me, demonstrated for me, how he wanted it done. There was a standard of perfection and he wanted that standard met! I can remember that summer day when I got finished with the yard and began wrapping up the cord…well, in my typical 12 year old self, a neighborhood pickup game of basketball was beckoning and I just wadded up the rest of the cord and threw it in the utility closet. BAD DECISION. My dad found the cord all tangled up and before I knew it, I was getting a spanking with what we called “the big black belt.”
Why? There was a standard. That’s what my dad was teaching me.
God’s standard of righteousness is himself…he IS sinless perfection…we can and will never measure up…Jesus has done that for us and in our place.