Pastor Greg shares a four-part message series unpacking Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:10-20. This is week 2 of 4 — “Spiritual Warfare!” Greg unpacks Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:14 and describes what Paul has in mind when he refers to “The Belt of Truth” and “The Breastplate of Righteousness.”
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” – Ephesians 6:10-20
Paul was under house arrest as he wrote these words. No doubt he was observing one of his guards, in their armor, and he became inspired to make this analogy about spiritual armor and spiritual warfare. Today we’re going to discuss the first two pieces of armor that Paul mentions in verse 14.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,” – Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)
Armor Piece #1: BELT OF TRUTH!
Let’s talk about the belt of truth first. The Roman soldier’s belt was very important and this is why Paul starts his analogy with the belt. All of a Roman soldier’s armor somehow hooked to that belt. Much like modern police officers attach their gun, pepper spray, baton, handcuffs, etc. The belt is vital to the protection of an officer, a soldier, and to you and me. Also, in the winter, the Roman soldiers would wear a long cloak to keep them warm. When they had to get ready for battle, they would “gird up their loins” – they would lift the cloak and tuck it into their belt so they could move about freely and not get tangled or tripped.
Candor, sincerity, truthfulness.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ — “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” – Genesis 3:1-13
Satan still works the same way today. He convinces us to ignore God’s principles for living and talks us into choosing our own way, convincing us WE are the gods of our lives. We think WE get to decide right and wrong, good and evil. That’s not our call. That’s God’s call.
“THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,” – Hebrews 12:1 (Amplified)
The King James Version refers to this as “the sin which doth so easily beset us.” I call them our besetting sins. Beset is a word that means to persistently attack from all sides, to continually harrass. What are the specific sins that most commonly beset you. What are the sins that tend to cling to you and EASILY entangle you? What sins beset you, what trips you up, what sets you back? What are your most besetting sins? What do you need help with the most? Where do you need some accountability to help you overcome temptations?
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – PSALM 34:18
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – PSALM 139:23-24
2) Armor Piece #2: BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS!
The Roman breastplate covered you from just below your neck down to your thighs and was held in place by that belt we just talked about. The Roman soldiers called the breastplate their “heart protector.” They of course, were protecting their vital physical organs heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, but it is a good analogy for us as well, protecting our spiritual and emotional heart.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
“What is a better breastplate than a heart untainted?” ~ Shakespeare
Righteousness.. It means integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting!
Righteousness basically means the regular and consistent practice of making right choices. KNOWING what is right and then DOING what is right consistently.
The real strength of the breastplate of righteousness is found in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Its strength is based on His perfection, not our perfection. We are justified in Him. It is now, “Just As If I’d,”… never sinned. So you have right-standing before God ONLY because of your relationship with Jesus. You have submitted to the Lordship of Christ and He has credited His own righteousness to you.
Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and he loves to punch holes in our hearts. If you don’t have the breastplate of righteousness, the righteousness of Jesus, covering your heart, you are an easy target.
Conviction is a good thing. In fact, it is a God-thing. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict us when we sin. Why does He convict us? He does this to protect us, to get us back on the right path before we get hurt worse. Think of conviction as a guard rail that your car smacks into but it keeps you from going over a cliff. When the Holy Spirit convicts us about some sin in our life, we feel something healthy called guilt. Guilt is that impact with the guardrail. Guilt says “Uh-oh! I am outside of God’s will. I am doing the wrong thing. This is bad for me. This is dangerous and harmful for me. I need to return to God’s boundaries. I need to stay between the guardrails. I don’t want to drive over a cliff. ”
Of course, the devil loves to counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit, he counterfeits conviction and guilt and he produces something called shame. Unlike guilt, shame is not healthy. Shame is guilt on turbocharge! Shame is hyperactive, unending, perpetual guilt. The way guilt is supposed to work, when we feel guilty, the Holy Spirit points out our sin, we confess it, God forgives us, we move on, sin gone, and guilt gone! But shame reminds us again and again of what God has already forgiven. Shame keeps that sense of guilt alive long after God has forgiven and forgotten it. Shame drives us toward false comforts to make us feel better while we continue to live outside God’s will.
If your breastplate of Christ’s righteousness is in place and you are in the process of becoming more like the character of Christ, condemnation attacks will still come from our enemy, but they will bounce off that breastplate, our heart and other vitall organs will be protected, and we will stand our ground.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” – Romans 8:1-2
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33
Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; ~ Psalm 15:1-2