The Breastplate of Righteousness // Relentless

Series - Relentless
Presenter - Pastor Matt Surber
Date - September 11, 2022

Pastor Matt Surber continues in the series, Relentless, a study of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6.


Sermon Notes

No Roman soldier would go into battle without his breastplate. A tough sleeveless piece of armor that covered the full torso. The purpose of this piece is obvious—protect the heart, lungs, and intestines (vital organs). It covered the front and back from the neck to the thighs. Protection goes all the way around. The heart and lungs are the crucial organs of our body, the vital pieces of our life.

Ephesians 6:10-14

Isaiah 59:17

Relentlessly pursuing this for our lives.  Can never let our guard down!

  • What is Righteousness?

Righteousness (secular definition):  “The quality of being morally true or justifiable – conformity of behavior with regulations or laws.”

Example:  If I conform to the laws of Texas or the United States – I am considered a righteous citizen.  Righteousness is based on the standard that is set by the governing body.  (Other people’s opinions don’t matter!)

Ex: Open Carry (you disagree – you don’t set the standard!)

Self-Righteousness: I establish my own morals and standards and hold other people to those standards.

Examples:  Legalism, comparison (I’m more spiritual than you!)

Problem:  Righteousness is an attribute that belongs to God only and is established by Him only.  He set the standard:  PERFECTION

What does this mean for you and me? 
We all fall short.  We all are guilty.

Isaiah 64:6

…all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. (Filthy rags)

Court Scene:  God is the Righteous Judge.  Our list of sins was shared before him by our accuser (Satan).  Because we fall all short of God’s standard, we are guilty!  

Go back to self-righteousness – we think we are innocent because of our morality or comparison to people worse than us.  ALL GUILTY BEFORE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE.(Romans 3:10) 

Romans 6:23 – punishment for sin is death!

Law in OT – is given to show us the unreachable standard
(sacrifices -temporary covering, temporary righteousness).

So God is righteous, and we are not. The standard is perfection. We fall short…
Where does this leave us?

2 Corinthians 5:21

  • Righteousness is God’s Gift To Us Through Jesus Christ!

The righteousness of God manifested or became flesh in Jesus Christ.  So for us, the righteousness of God can come to us through faith in Jesus Christ.

Let’s go back to our trial.  God is the Righteous Judge.  His standard is perfection.  We all sin, (Romans 10:10 “None righteous”) we all fall short.  God is about to render His judgment (guilty), when Jesus steps in an says that He has paid the penalty for our sin by His death on the cross.  That we are now “one of His”.  God sees us now, not as the sinners that we are, but through the filter of Jesus righteousness.  We are made righteous in Him. We “put on” the righteousness of Christ!

We are now innocent through the blood of Jesus Christ and have a new standing before God, RIGHTEOUS!

And here is what is amazing, this is not a temporary righteousness, like in the OT that only covers for a while.  Jesus Christ made the once and for all sacrifice.  He is righteousness.  When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we take on His righteousness forever!

  • Our Response to This Gift?  Us Living Righteously

We desire to live righteously, not to earn God’s favor or love, but because of God’s favor and love. 
It is our response.

Romans 6:18

Romans 13:14

Ephesians 4:24

V14 …Stand… put on the breastplate of righteousness,

The breastplate of self-righteousness or unrighteousness (armor that we forge) – doesn’t protect us from the wrath of God or the schemes of the devil.  Armor is no good!

So we put on Christ, the breastplate of righteousness – It protects us, and we can take out stand against the schemes of the devil.  But it gets more complicated than this…

Connect the Garden to our Righteousness:

Genesis, as soon as Adam and Eve bit the apple…their presentability and righteousness before God had vanished. Righteousness is your presentability and good standing. God saw his creation was good….because he created it. Not because Adam and Eve did something to earn that view in God’s eyes. What did they do when they lost their righteousness…they ran after fig leaves to make themselves to be ok with themselves. This means every person on the planet is on a search for approval and presentability. This isn’t just an abstract idea. This is earth, and it affects everything you do when you wake up tomorrow. The search to be approved by someone or something. Blaise Pascal, a philosopher… called it the disinherited prince principle. Every person, deep down in their heart, was at one time a prince or princess. But they lost it. Before sin, they were righteous before God…but with sin, the fall…they lost that prince-like relationship. Now they spend the rest of their life trying to gain what they lost in the garden. You walked in here this morning…you’re looking to someone or something to make you ok with you. We all have a breastplate that we hold up in the mirror that says, “this makes me ok. This justifies why I can keep living.” Every one of us has a breastplate! Some of us came in this morning, and your breastplate is your job. Find your identity in your work. Your worth is in your work. Look at his money. Look at his success. They make this breastplate out of what they do. Take the fanatic fitness guy. 3-hour workouts every day. What allows him to stand in front of a mirror and say I’m ok? My bench press is freaking amazing. You should see the shape of this guy vs. those bums. The 25-year-old girl who bounces from one boyfriend to the next. Wearing the breastplate of approval, she keeps seeking in each guy. Is your breastplate your parenting? If your kids turn out ok…then you’re ok. We base our meaning and significance on, “my kids are doing ok. I’m a better parent than they are.” Religion your breastplate? Cuss once last month. Tithe. Thank God we’re not like those people. We seek approval in what we do!

In the movie Chariots of Fire (early 80’s) – the story of Eric Little English sprinter. Harold Abraham’s counterpart wins the Gold medal in the 100m dash. End of the movie, he’s wearing a breastplate and says: “I’m forever in pursuit, and I don’t even know what I’m chasing. And now, in an hour’s time, I’ll be out there again on the track, raise my eyes, look down that corridor (those 100m), and have only 10 seconds to justify my existence.” See his breastplate? What do you justify your existence on? What do you use to make yourself presentable to people? HERE’S THE GOSPEL. God gives us righteousness…a battle-tested breastplate forged in the crucible of conflict. An impenetrable plate that protects you. God in the garden goes and kills an animal and makes shorts for Adam and a skirt for Eve. This is a foreshadowing of what God will do for mankind later on. Kills the spotless lamb (his son) and forges for us a covering that will never fade away. 2 Corinthians 5—God made him who knew no sin. Jesus becomes sin. All this sin and guilt aimed at us was heaped onto Jesus. All this condemnation and shame that we rightfully have, Jesus took on himself. He becomes our substitute. So that we might become the Xness of God! Two sides of the Gospel. Like a penny, you’ve got heads and tails. Not just pardoned from sin, you’re perfected in Christ. When God looks at us, He sees the favored Jesus, the invincible and righteous Jesus! Christ’s righteousness readies you for war! It prepares you to be RELENTLESS. On the day of evil, the air raid sirens go off, and bombs are dropped. Satan starts to accuse the people of God. Romans 6 first half….forgotten the refrain. Satan—“You are worthless…look at your life, you’re ridiculous. You’re pathetic. When God looks at you, he sees a failure. God won’t hear you now, don’t touch that Bible; you’re damaged goods.” These are the accusations that flow on the day of evil. Here’s what is true of Christians who pursue God…they have these days! There will be vivid days, and when they come…you need something more than fig leaves to hold up for your protection. Our manmade fig leaves don’t start the fiery darts of the enemy. Satan will always find a weak spot in the armor when it’s your righteousness being held up. So rip those cheap excuses off and put on the perfect armor of Christ. So how do we put this plate on? It’s really hard work. It’s the daily discipline of Preaching the Gospel to yourself. Watch what we are and what we have in the Gospel. Status created in the past that affects our present and future condition.

1. I am adopted as his child

2. I am a son of God

3. Heir of God

4. I am his friend

5. Member of his body

6. Member of his household

7. I belong to him

8. I am included

9. I am a citizen of God

10. Part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood

11. I am no longer condemned

12. I am a new creation

13. I am Alive in him

14. I am blameless

15. I have been lavished by his grace

16. I am forgiven

17. I am his workmanship

18. I am a dwelling place for the holy spirit

19. I am secure and protected

20. I have access to the father, somebody to his throne to find help in times of need

21. Jesus is my advocate

22. I am not alone. I have hope

23. There’s a purpose for my suffering

24. I can be content in any situation because of what Christ has done

25. I am righteous and holy

26. I am more than a conqueror

27. I am promised eternal life

28. I am victorious over sin, death, and the law

29. I am qualified to share in his inheritance

30. I am confident he will complete the work he began in me

How do I know if it’s from God or Satan?

Accusations—from satan to keep you running from God

Conviction—from Holy Spirit to draw you to God

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