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June 24, 2021 4:00 am
One of the critical pieces of spiritual arm.
God provides us is the breastplate of righteousness. Every warrior needs to know that his heart is shielded from the attacks of the enemy, but the protection we so desperately need is something that can't be earned today on Truth for Life Alastair Bragg urges us to consider three lifesaving questions while we begun to look at this section here in Ephesians 6 where Paul is encouraging the readers to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might to put on the whole armor of God that were well aware of the fight of the poor.
The apostle Paul uses pictures he uses metaphors in order to teach and does so with great effectiveness.
He uses athletics with frequency architecture, agriculture, and also as here, warfare, warfare, and as we noted last time the full armor of God, has a picture by which the reader may attach identification in the Roman soldier. But in actual fact the underlying pictures probably died of the volume warrior that is described for us in the Psalms and in the prophets know it is important to recognize that Paul in writing in this way is writing to those who are in Christ to those who have, as he puts it in verse 13 of chapter 1 Herod the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.
As he puts it, and they have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and as a result of that to stick with the metaphor they have been enlisted soldiers in Christ's army and having been enlisted. They are then provided with all the resources that are required for spiritual warfare. As I reached that point in my thinking. I paused and I paused purposefully and I want to do so with you. Also, let me let me say this, I want throughout the course of the day for us to try and answer three questions. The question number one on my soldier of the cross. Question number two. Am I wearing the breastplate of righteousness.
Question number three I guarding my heart from the schemes of the devil and I will spend virtually the greater part of this morning on this first question am I a soldier of the cross. I think that actually from the opening line of a him by Isaac Watts.
Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb and the reason I stop here is because some of us if we are honest have to acknowledge the fact that for us to consider what it might mean to where this armor is actually premature and for this reason because some abides by our own testimony are not actually members of the Army. The real question is, have we believe have we believe you see when the Bible uses believe it doesn't use it simply in terms of an intellectual assent to various propositions or ideas or doctrines to believe or to have faith means to transfer trust for himself, to Christ. Every so often, perhaps in the realm of moving from one place to another, you may have had occasion to take what was yours in a bank in one state and make sure that it was placed securely in a bank in another state. It was once there. And now it is been moved to their and that lies in the very heart of what it means to be a Christian soldier I want I want it without embarrassment to ask you to ask yourself this question.
Am I a soldier of the cross. Now a soldier of the cross, someone is enlisted in Christ Army will not be saying things like this and this is routinely said by many because I have lived a pretty good life up until now. I'm sure that God will be gracious to me and make up any deficit that there happens to be, and hopefully I'll be fine.
The kind of approach that says in relationship to consideration of religion and of the Bible and of the Christian gospel. While I believe in a God who helps those who help themselves or an approach which comes to the gospel and says, as best I understand it, if I do these certain things or don't do these certain things, then God will do his part.
In other words, it is a sense of self-reliance or even a reliance on religion or even a reliance on a conviction about certain ideas of the Bible is full of illustrations of those who were not soldiers of the cross and who never consider themselves to be remotely near to it and that maybe you and your saying be the last person ever to become a follower of Jesus, you mean like Saul of Tarsus, who was very very convinced of his position as a religious man is an Orthodox man is a clever man and if he relied on all of that and he tells us in his writings that I was his whole perspective on life.
I want change. While he met Jesus.
He actually came face-to-face with Jesus and then he says my entire perspective on the world and on life and on heaven and on hell and on Jesus was radically changed when he writes to the church in Rome he puts it with great clarity. Listen to what he says no one can justify themselves before God by a perfect performance of the laws, demands.
Indeed, it is the straight edge of the law that shows us how crooked we are see people come to church any they come with this notions that I think if I go there and I feel better about everything and then they don't actually feel better about very much at all and I'm very opposed to the idea that they would ever feel worse about anything in order that he might feel better about everything. When I justify the story of the gospel makes us feel worse before we feel better and you will never feel better until first you feel worse. That's why the law of God in all of its demands confronts us with our own crookedness because it is so straight because it says you will have no other gods before me and we realized that I've got all kinds of little substitute God's that you shouldn't covet other things, but I'm often jealous that you should be truthful with your neighbor.
Sometimes I tell what I call white lies before we know where we are.
We realize that we are so far in the wrong that there is no way that we could ever live long enough or do anything well enough to get our credit balance bank where we thought it ought to be and what makes it even worse is that the wages of sin is death. Sin pays wages Adam and Eve sin and death enters into the world in the day that you disobey me, you will surely die a physical death, spiritual death enters into the world. We are by nature spiritually dead. We all will one day die physically if we die physically while still dead spiritually.
We will be lost from God for all of eternity. That is what the Bible says you see the Bible does not simply state the wages of sin is death.
It goes on to say the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ his son and that's what Paul does in that same passages in Romans. He says here's the deal. Now a righteousness from God.
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. To all who transfer trust for himself, to Christ, you see faith means believing that certain things are true, but the simple believing of the truthfulness of things is not the same as saving faith is not just believing assertive abstract idea, or even believing that there was a Jesus or that presumably did what he said he was doing does not know the no transformation of life and that it involves believing certain things that are true, it involves trusting in those things.
It involves entering into the benefit of these things can I ask you, are you a soldier of the cross is it is the very beginning of our survey in the Christian army when we recognize that we come with nothing in our hands except the five that our hands are dirty and needs to be cleansed. This is what it actually means to where the breastplate of righteousness, because to where the breastplate of righteousness simply means to keep trusting the gospel to keep trusting that it is Jesus righteousness which qualifies me for heaven, and which saves me from condemnation. Perhaps you are the kind of person was saying you know I'm I'm actually a pretty good person. I'm not sure I need. This is good for some other people in my office and was the gospel. The law of God pierced your pride that bubble.
Perhaps you find yourself coming in sitting near the back and saying I'm in such a mess that I know that there's any hope for me this the same gospel that lifts you up and says it's about the Lord Jesus, so that one day is the hymn writer puts it, when he will come with trumpet sound, or may I then in him be found clothed in his righteousness alone and focus to stand before the throne. That's our first question. I spent time on it.
I felt that I should am I a soldier may, I urge you to seek Christ and to cease trusting in anything other than Christ. In short order to believe how my soldier of the cross. Secondly, am I wearing the breastplate of righteousness, others breastplate was an important a crucial piece of the armor it cover both the front and the back and sometimes it was made of very hard substances, and other times it was made differently, but essentially it protected from the neck to the thigh's both front and back in Pilgrim's progress in the confrontation with Apollyon. Bunion makes the point that there was no protection for the back and out which of course is a wonderful picture you know where going on were going straight ahead at the evil one. You know, we don't we don't ever turn our back on him. Yes, we do as we do.
Sometimes were running for our lives and it's good to know the protection goes or goes all the way around.
It protects the vital organs of our lives. Our hearts are lungs the crucial bits and pieces again.
It is a method for what is it, then the protects us from the assaults of the evil one. What is in the protects us from these things. The answer is the breastplate of righteousness. Note as last time we have to consider this. Do we need to determine that this is either an objective righteousness which is ours in Christ or a subjective righteousness which is then hours by way of Christian character and growth in godliness. My answer to this is the same as my answer to the belt of truth, namely that it needn't be either or. It is probably it is both an because the righteousness that is required of eyes is not one that we can produce. But when we rest in the righteousness that is ours in Jesus, the work of the Spirit of God then conforms us to the image of Jesus, thereby making us more righteous in and of ourselves.
So for example that's why in verse 24 of chapter 4 Paul is said to put on the new creature created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and in holiness, and similarly instead in verse nine of chapter 5 for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true. The point to make, and to understand is that one does not exist without the other. In other words, we cannot be the beneficiaries of the objective righteousness of Christ without the evidence is present in our own righteous living. You might find it helpful to realize that the Puritans used to speak in terms of a righteousness that was imputed and then a righteousness that was imparted what they were seeking to do was make the distinction between the objective on the subject. In other words, as we have just said there is nothing that we would be able to bring in and of ourselves to make is acceptable to God, since God's standard is absolute perfection. None of buzz is able to go before God.
The only way that we would be able to go before God. If we were then closed in a righteousness that is not our own. If we were only accepted in Jesus included in Jesus enclosed in Jesus by grace through faith using in Jesus. It is wrong for people to think that somehow or another the message of the gospel is that God, because Jesus died on the cross, God is just is not really bothered about sin anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is intensely concerned about said to the extent that the burden of my sin is borne by his own sinless son on the cross so that this is the doctrine of imputation that all of my wretchedness.
All of my sinfulness. All of my rebellion, my transgression, my iniquity would show all all of that ugly stuff has been imputed to Christ and all of Christ's righteousness is standing before the father has been imputed to the believing St. St. in terms of follower of Jesus.
There is nothing like this. You see, in contemporary religion.
Religious people often make fun of this, suggesting somehow or another that this is far too easy a thing that somehow or another by believing I might be see again Luther Luther was doing all the stuff you're supposed to do. He did it two times over if necessary, until he realized I just need to believe Lord I believe that I have precious blood. We just sign the project and what is it mean to believe means that I no longer believe in myself. It means that I no longer rest and myself means that I no longer have to boast about myself means that I no longer have to be dishonest about myself or suggest to people that I'm better than I because I'm not so let him who boasts boast in the lower a wonderful savior is Jesus my Lord, how wonderful savior to me he hide my soul in the cleft of a rock where rivers of mercy. I see you see it's Jesus and his righteousness, which is the protection against all of the onslaughts. One of the great onslaughts of the evil one is to get us to look at ourselves rather than to look at Christ, William Gooch, who lived in the fifth in the 16th and the 17th century.
He was a minister in a in a church in London and black Frierson ends of black fryers for 45 years, and he wrote a book amongst a number of books that he wrote on the armor of God, and he makes this point. When I look upon myself. I see nothing but emptiness and weakness, but when I look upon Christ.
I see nothing but fullness and sufficiency see the gospel always turns us bank to Jesus. Maybe this quote from another American theologian will help us as I draw this to a close and anticipate that the third question Rach Warfield. There is nothing in us, or done by as at any stage of our earthly development. Because of which we are acceptable to God, we must always be accepted for Christ's sake. Or, we cannot be accepted tall. This is not true of is only when we believe it is just as true after we believe it will continue to be true as long as we live our need of Christ does not cease without believing nor does the nature of our relation to him or to God through him ever alter no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be, it is always on his blood and righteousness, along that we can rest. That declaration is the declaration of a long time to of a soldier who by God's amazing grace had ceased to trust in self and it come to trust in Christ and is he gets towards the end of his Christian pilgrimage, he realizes from the very beginning to the very air all of my standing before God is in a righteousness that is not my own but is imputed to those who, in turning to God in Christ of said I am the center. You are the Savior I want to close with the benefits of all that becomes mine by trusting Jesus everything else is shaky material upon which to live life and certainly to face death. I appeal to you. If you remain standing is aware on the Esplanade watching the soldiers go by step up, take your place trust Christ compelling charge from Alastair big to continue to stand firm in the midst of the spiritual battle listing to Truth for Life will today we want to invite you to take advantage of a very special offer from Truth for Life. This is a collection of three books that comprise the classic work on the topic of spiritual warfare called the Christian in complete armor. This three book collection is an abridged version with updated language which makes for easier reading. You can purchase all three volumes today for $10 and the shipping is free. You'll find it online it Truth for Life.org/store. This offer comes to you because of the generosity of your fellow listers who we refer to as true partners. These are listers who provide monthly giving that offsets the cost of the outstanding Bible teaching you here on Truth for Life and materials like this one. So if you are one of our true partners. Thank you. And if you're not one of our true partners will you join with this important team. If you listen to Truth for Life regularly. If you benefit from the free online teaching at the cost books we make available to ask you to pay it forward coming truth. During the month of June. It's quick and easy to sign up just a few minutes.
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Call us at 888-588-7884 Bob Lapine thanks for listening tomorrow, although it doesn't seem like a top priority will find out how the shoes we where in the battle will help determine our effectiveness.
The Bible teaching of Alastair Brady is furnished by Truth for Life learning is