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The Believer's Armor, Part 2: The Breastplate of Righteousness

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
October 13, 2021 4:00 am

The Believer's Armor, Part 2: The Breastplate of Righteousness

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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October 13, 2021 4:00 am

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Was when you were saved you are given the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that righteousness will cover you for all eternity.

But in order for you to live the kind of life that wins the battle over Satan. You must apply righteous principles available to you in his righteousness to the matter of your daily time recently gossip with a coworker or get angry with your spouse or child was or something you could have done to keep from sinning is or something you can do to defeat every temptation.

Bottom-line, you have a real choice not to sin when you're tempted find out today on grace to you as John MacArthur shows you how to fight the temptations that come your way by putting on the believers armor.

That's the title of John study from Ephesians chapter 6 and specifically today. John will show you the protection provided by the breastplate of righteousness, and with that, here's John MacArthur with the lesson. Now we just talk about this concept of the breastplate of righteousness for a minute. What is the righteousness of which Paul speaks what is he really talking about. There are only three possible things to consider one would be self-righteousness to would be imputed righteousness and three would be practical righteousness either is talking about our own.

The self-righteousness is timely about the righteousness of Christ given to us, or is talking about living out the righteousness of Christ given to us. Self-righteousness is not the breastplate of righteousness you will be a victim of the forces of hell, for sure.

If you're trying to cover yourself in your own righteous.

I think maybe the best illustration of this is to have you turn Philippians chapter 3 verse four and I want you to see how Paul deals with this Paul starts out looking at the view of self-righteousness. He says in verse four though I might also have confidence in the flesh now.

In other words, if self-righteousness were possible if I could get into God's kingdom by being good enough.

If I could do it then I of all people would have a right to give it a good shot. I could have confidence in the flesh I could say I've been a pretty good guy. If any other man. He says thinks he has reason for which he might trust in the flesh, I have more in other words, if you go to look at it in terms of human righteousness. I can probably outstrip most other people. I'm probably better than the good ones. Why verse five.

I was circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel.

In other words, I was a real Israelite and boy even from circumcision on everything happened right, starting with it on the right day the I am of the tribe of Benjamin, and by the way, there was no more Jewish tribe than the tribe of Benjamin you study Benjamin in the Old Testament you will see how they figure all through the plan of God in dealing with that nation as a very special tribe, Benjamin, for example, according to Genesis 35 was not only a son of Israel, but the son of Israel's most beloved wife Rachel of the two favored sons Benjamin and Joseph. It was Benjamin alone with Judah formed the reconstituted Israel and first Kings chapter 12 it was Benjamin who restored Israel after captivity Ezra 41. It was Benjamin that was God's chief agent and the deliverance of Israel in the time of Esther from the wickedness of payment. Benjamin is a very special try very special. Try, so I said I have a real pedigree. I am a Hebrew of the Hebrews.

If you've ever seen a Jew on one on one.

He says this as touching a lot. I'm a Pharisee.

Not only am I a Hebrew and a really ruin one of the tribe of Benjamin Bible under the strictest most religious legalistic sect in the in the whole system on a Pharisee concerning zeal you never met a more zealous Jew. I persecuted the church touching the righteousness which is in the law, blame less, that is amazing. He says if you have an account on self-righteousness. Look at the guys got more going for them than anybody else. If self-righteousness was the way in. I would really lay claim to verse seven begins with a keyword Philippians 37 what is but but what things were gain to me humanly on my own. I counted loss for Christ yea doubtless, and I count all things lost all that stuff means nothing. It's useless in the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I've suffer the loss of all things and do count them but manure that I may win Christ, here's the key. In verse nine and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. In other words, Paul says my own righteousness is used less.

I must have the righteousness of God which is by faith in Christ. When you become a believer when you become a Christian you reach out your hand of faith take hold of the hand of God through Jesus Christ. At that moment the righteousness of Christ is imputed to you God clothes you in the righteousness of Christ. God puts over you, as it were a canopy of the absolute holiness of Jesus Christ and from that moment to the eons of eternity when God looks at you.

He sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

God puts a veil over you and every time he sees you he sees you as righteous in Christ that's imputed righteousness.

The theologians called your own is useless because as I count all but manure.

Augustine's top lady wrote a debtor to mercy alone of covenant, mercy, icing, nor fear with thy righteousness on my person and offering to bring the terrors of law and of God with me can have nothing to do.

My Savior's obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view. God doesn't see them as we stand, closed in the righteousness of Christ. But there's even another step.

You know something you can't be covered and protected by the righteousness of your own life and want to hear this. Even the righteousness of God granted to you in salvation is only the basis of your breastplate, you must take it a step further were in Philippians 3. Look at verse 10, Paul recognizes that he has imputed righteousness, that the righteousness of God in Christ is his but it doesn't end there.

He then says that I may know him.

It's a purpose clause in order that I may know him the power of his resurrection. The fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death verse 12 not as though I already attained, either were already perfect. Five. Follow after verse 13, I count not myself to have apprehended. I pressed verse 14 toward the mark and what I'm saying. In summary, is this he says I have the imputed righteousness of Christ. But I still press. I still learn. I still move that I still hunger after something and what he is really saying is this imputed righteousness is only that which makes practical righteousness possible. Not necessarily a reality now or get into it. Folks hope you're hanging less when you were saved you are given the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that righteousness will cover you for all eternity. But in order for you to live the kind of life that wins the battle over Satan.

You must apply righteous principles available to you in his righteousness to the matter of your daily living. While there are Christian general who think that because they have the imputed righteousness of Christ. The matter what they do under forget hearing it.

My father tell a story about a man was in the ministry.

You was wearing one time and he swore string of curse words and he said to him in shock. What whatever possessed you to say that so it doesn't matter uncovered by the righteousness of Christ. That's just my will make we are doing all majoring another occasion a man said that he decided he liked to visit the new bar to which someone is company reply when you mean you want to do that. Was it doesn't really matter. You see I'm covered by the righteousness of Christ.

That's his mild nature. You can't dichotomized that you can't separate that out because we are covered in the righteousness of Jesus Christ doesn't guarantee that we live every moment as we got to it only guarantees that we can write we can different stream position of practice. Your position is secure forever, but your practice doesn't always match up. That's the real issue and so Paul says sure if I've been given the righteousness of God, but that doesn't mean I've attained that doesn't mean I've apprehended doesn't mean I've arrived.

I now must as he says a chapter to work out that salvation so that I can accomplish what God wills to do in my life now folks, that's when you get the breastplate, the breastplate is on when we are living a righteous and holy life. Sure the foundation is from Christ. Absolutely count Zinzendorf wrote that great him. Translated by John Wesley. I love to sing it you send it to. It goes like this, Jesus, thy blood and righteousness my beauty are my glorious dress missed flaming worlds in these arrayed with joy. Shall I lift up my head bowl. Shall I stand in that great day for who ought to my charges shall lay fully through the resolved.

I am from sin and fear from guilt and shame old.

Let the dead. Now hear thy voice now big guy banished ones rejoice their beauty exists there glorious dress. Jesus, thy blood and righteousness is right, the standard is his righteousness, that which covers us is his righteousness the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. Romans three goes on about none righteous, none righteous, none righteous in verse 22, it says, but the righteousness of Christ is given to us. The perfection of Christ becomes ours and are standing before God is perfect, we can never attain God's standard of righteousness on our own and so it comes as a gift from Jesus Christ or what a fantastic thought.

It is, but it's not imputed righteousness of Paul is majoring on here that's not the major thought here is what the old Puritans used to call imparted righteousness got put to use.

You can live a righteous life is a matter of daily, moment by moment choices. Practical righteousness puts the armor on. Paul is saying all how much I want that. Philippians 310.

All I want to see that I want to reach the prize and the prizes Christ likeness.

I want my watch this one practical righteousness to match my positional righteousness. Holy living is the breastplate of what I believe.

I believe it somewhere along the line. This is a forgotten commodity in the church.

This is the bottom line problem if you live a holy life, you lose. So what you lose number one you going to lose your joy will promise you that if you do not live a righteous life God withholds from you is blessing first. John says these things are written that you are joy may be full, but the idea is there written so that in obeying them. Your joy will be full, no obedience, no joy. I'll tell you the reason Christians are sad so often in the reason they have sorrow in our lives is not because they need psychological counseling because they've got some kind of relational problem. It's just a lack of personal holiness. I really think is the bottom line in the church today is pretty will ignore this we substituted programs, seminars, counsel must you got problems in your life the first place to look is at your own holiness. If you got problems in your marriage. That's a first placement cannot guarantee right now for not living a holy life. You have problems because God withholds his blessing. David knew it when David was in sin and he said to the Lord restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. I got my salvation. I just lost the joy I just lost the joy and it is a matter of righteous life Isaiah seated Christianity were running around tying on paper armor, you know, when you go to the restaurant and you got your little kids and they come in they put that thing around her neck.

I see that is the typical modern Christian breastplate absolutely useless. It's made up of a system or method or program all you know my life is having problems.

Our family is having problems will you need are about 10 or 12 sessions with the counselor and so they put on the paper breast. That's not what you need what you need is about 10 or 12 hours in the presence of God unto you sort out the unholy characteristics in your life and get right with him.

That's what you need, but simply we don't anymore programs we don't need anymore methods what we do need is holiness in our lives. That's the bottom are and we are a society drowning in a sea of immorality, materialism and humanism that is engulfing us to the point where we are so much victimized by it that we easily bypass the area of personal holiness and even the name of Jesus Christ, under the banner of ministries we substitute paper armor program, techniques, methods, iconic Christian stuff just stuff that has no ultimate effect on the real issue. Look at your own life your problems and your family.

Check your own holiness. Are you faithful in reading the word of God is your prayer life what it ought to be a loving your family the way you should are you speaking for Jesus Christ and the shame in your society and your culture where we are.

Are you giving to the Lord what you want to give sacrificially and taking care the stewardship of all the rest of it that you keep are you living a righteous life and categories of your life as you've outlined them as God has in his word because if you're not why would you expect your life to go well if it did then God would defeat his own purposes right.

That's what we need to go.

But you know if you find an answer at the extreme and rather where a paper breastplate the deal with the real issues. If there's disobedience in your life. If there sin in your life and use unconfessed unrepented oven.

You just keep doing. If you have wrong attitudes you harbor resentments and their problems, and you never get them straightened out. If you have wrong thoughts and you cultivate if what you say is what ought to be.

If your deeds are what they ought to be.

Just keep living like this I promise you guilt edge. Guaranteed you're going to have trouble you can lose your joy.

Another is going to happen is you want to lose your fruitfulness. You're going to become nonproductive shriveled, as it were, as a branch on the vine and I give you third finger lose your reward to John says let yourselves that you lose not the things that you brought that you receive a full reward some of your gonna diminish the capacity for service to God throughout eternity in heaven and allowed one other thing will bring reproach on God's glory what it why would you want to live like that. Are you so ungrateful to God that you would number one live a sinful life and unrighteous life and forfeit the joy that he wants to get would you say no to his gifts.

Are you so ungrateful to God's potential in you that you would live in unrighteous life and say no to the thing he wants to produce through your life would you say no to God in terms of what he wants for you to enjoy throughout all eternity in his heavenly kingdom. By restricting yourself would you say no to God's seeks glory in the midst of man by living in unrighteous life that brings down his name shall foolish it is and it's all in affront to him. God, as it were, stands in the end of heaven the edge of heaven. His hands are filled with blessing. Those blessings include joy, fruitfulness, ultimate rewards and glory for himself and would you turn your back and chase your own sinfulness.

If you got problems there are problems directly related to that area of your life. I'll tell you if things are right in your life and your righteous before God, you probably won't even have to many trials because is not a whole lot to refine. So God has laid out for us. Simplicity in his word. It's amazing to me how Christians always want to ignore the bottom line simplicity and substitute a superficial answer for what is a very clear biblical solution. Well what I'm trying to say is get your armor on focus is war and I'll never be contented, boggle down breathing. My last breath say Lord I want to win this last battle. I believe that God wants to accomplish. All we can with the potential is given us. I think that involves every one of us making this commitment was, I want to just have you think would be for another minute or two in first Peter chapter 2 verse 11, Peter says, dearly beloved, I beseech you now is on his knees begging as sojourners and pilgrims abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul of Peter saying this is what you are and unless you get yourself committed to righteousness, and by that I don't mean you never sin. I mean there is a decreasing frequency of it and when you do you confess that you repent you turn from it. You deal with it before God you are honest enough to evaluate your life.

He is saying, I beseech you abstain from fleshly lust for they are hiring against her. So when you fall to them, you lose.

And there goes joy and there goes fruitfulness and there goes reward and there goes ultimately God's honor the face of the world. That's the negative abstain from fleshly lust. The positivism verse 12 of your behavior honest among the Gentiles be committed with a righteous life with a life above reproach.

Listen Hebrews 1113 it says they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Hey, we are were strangers and pilgrims on the earth would understand that enough you know we have got ourselves all rocked into this earth, we are locked in concrete. Here we get into the whims of the earth and the world's things and we get all involved in loving the world and the things of the world.

As John said, instead, the people in the book of Hebrews.

It says that they look for a city whose builder and maker was God. Paul says to the Philippians that our citizenship is in heaven. Jesus is the world is it where we belong. The world hates us, were not of the world. We have no part in the world and yet we get entrenched and we lose our perspective we don't see ourselves living in the heavenly's fighting a spiritual warfare. Pursuing a righteous life with all of our energy dependent upon his resources was absolute end of stupidity for a Christian is to become engulfed in the world system in second Timothy chapter 2 and verse three Paul says as a good soldier endure hardness ticket when it's tough, verse four, then six. Listen to this no man that warrants entanglement himself with the affairs of this life. What is saying is that you can't be in the Army and be a civilian you can't be both. And if you've come to fight for the commander and to serve the Lord, then get the system so we should present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable under God holy we should is false as a Colossus reset our affections on things above and not on things on the earth.

We got have the breastplate on people we gotta do it.

Pulses in prescriptions 1534 E. is awake to righteousness and stop sending awake to righteousness, and stop sending you not just the littlest thing can do it you know it when a commander starts to fight a battle with another Army.

The first thing he does is send out an advance group and establish a beachhead and then from that beach had the infiltration explains what Satan wants to find your life is just a little crack in the dam. That's all he needs to burst the whole day.

The little foxes, that spoil the vines. Be aware and remember this to that in the end you're going to win in the end you will be victorious. No sense in forfeiting all of the great things God has for you now or I pray that you would be full of joy. I pray this church to be filled with joy.

I pray that this church would be filled with fruitfulness. I pray that this church to be filled productive ministry and rewarded in glory. I pray that God would be lifted up, and I know it'll all happen when were committed to real righteous because the resource is there in the righteousness of Jesus Christ but spring father we have that ultimate confidence that we will triumph. We know that even that ultimate confidence cannot protect us now if we are on holy so we ask that you would gird us that you would cover us with the breastplate of righteousness that comes from obedient hearts all God make us obedient to your word to see that we can live holy just blamelessly in the midst of a crooked and perverse will thank you for the privilege of Christ.

This is grace to you with John MacArthur.

Thanks for being with us. John is currently taking you through one of his most popular studies. It's titled the believers armor John.

I'm sure this series is clearing up some common misunderstandings about spiritual warfare. Some people think of Satan you know is if he's a kind of invincible enemy and it's true that he's powerful, but believers don't have to fear Satan. That's what understanding the spiritual armor of the Christian is all about.

That reminds me of quite a few years ago was a large charismatic church in our area and we had a mass influx of people from that church and I remember meeting with them in a room, I hear about 30 people come out of the church. Some of them were the children of leaders in the church and I said what brought you here and they said we can no longer live under the sovereignty of Satan and this was distressing to them that they were taught they had to go into their house and pray out Satan, they had to go into the bedroom of their children and pray against Satan killing their babies in that come to the conclusion that they could not endure life under the sovereignty of Satan. What triggered all that was.

I preached a message on the sovereignty of God and how there's full protection in Christ for the people of God. And this was a massive liberation for them. So you need to understand that you are not under the sovereignty of Satan as a believer under the sovereignty of God, who was of all things.

Your Savior and your protector and he's given you the means by which to defeat Satan and his world systems in the armor of the Christian and this is what we've been going through in this wonderful series, but I want to mention something to you that is brand-new and that is a new study guide on the believers armor. This is the second study guide that we've launched in the real launch of this study guides that were very popular, helpful, generations ago to grace to listeners in the book on the believers armor looks at the nature spiritual warfare. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel shield of faith, the helmet of salvation the sword of the Spirit in its ideal for use in your home Bible study your personal devotions, or in any kind of a class at your church and a lot of people use them in small groups over the years and many people use them as sort of the basis for teaching outline and even preaching outlines. Now this particular study guide the believers armor is about 200 pages affordably priced and you can order as many copies as you would like a quick note in August we offered a free copy of the study guide to everyone who receives my monthly letter if you're not on the mailing list. You ought to be, because whenever new books of mine are published grace to offers them by mail free of charge in our monthly letter mailings. You can simply call or send us an email and say you'd like to start receiving my monthly newsletter or if you order a copy of the believers armor study guide that will also put you on the mailing list. Either way, get in touch with us today. Yes, do, and friend. If you are struggling with discouragement, doubt or many other troubling sin. You'll find encouragement from this new study guide discover the amazing protection God gives you to withstand spiritual attack, pick up the believers armor study guide when you contact us today our toll-free number here 855 grace in our website Jide the believers armor study guide costs $11 and shipping is free again to get a copy of the believers armor study guide for yourself or get a few to give away. Call 885 grace or go to Jide and to learn even more about spiritual warfare, God's design for the church or any other biblical topic. Let me encourage you to download our app called this study Bible is a free app that gives you the full text of Scripture in the English standard King James or new American Standard version along with access to thousands of free online resource and for small price.

You can add the notes from the MacArthur study Bible. That's an additional 25,000 notes that will enrich your study of Scripture. The study Bible app is free to download. Just go to Jide now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson reminding you to watch grace to you television this Sunday. Check your local listings and then join us tomorrow when John looks at four truths you need to understand about spiritual warfare. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth will set a time on grace

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