I. THE PURPOSE OF THE BREASTPLATE.
A. It covered from the neck to just below the waist, or the vital organs of the body.
1. The heart and the lungs, the kidneys and the liver.
2. The area of the abdomen and thorax.
B. Looking at the spiritual analogy we know of how the heart is looked upon as the seat of the deepest emotions.
1. We talk of loving with all of our heart.
2. We speak of sweethearts.
3. We think of the heart as the throne of the will.
4. The scriptures speak of loving the Lord with all of our heart.
5. They speak of believing in our heart.
a. In the days of Noah, God saw that the thoughts of man's heart was only evil continually.
b. God hardened Pharaoh's heart.
c. They were told to give to God from a willing heart.
d. Aaron as the high priest was to wear the breastplate over his heart when he went before the Lord for the people.
e. The people were told that when they sought the Lord with all their heart, they would find Him.
f. Moses commanded the people to lay up the word of God in their hearts.
g. David said that he hid the word in his heart that he might not sin against the Lord.
h. The vast majority of the 830 times that heart is mentioned in the Bible it is in a spiritual reference there are only about two of the times that it possibly referred to the physical organ that we call our heart.
C. Our hearts need protection from the attacks of Satan.
D. In the Bible days they felt that the seat of the emotions was not in the mind, but in the abdomen. That the deepest feelings were felt in the bowels.
1. The Bible speaks of Joseph's bowels yearning upon his brother when he saw Benjamin.
2. In Song of Solomon 5
the bride said, "My beloved put his hand by the hole of the door and my bowels were moved for him."
3. The prophet Jeremiah cried, "My bowels, my bowels, I am pained at my very heart.
4. In Jeremiah God spoke of His bowels being troubled for Ephraim.
5. Paul spoke of longing for the Philippians in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
6. John told the people to put on bowels of compassion.
E. Also in the kidneys which were called reins.
1. In Psalm 7:9
it declares that God tries the heart and the reins.
2. In Psalm 26
David asked the Lord to try his heart and his reins.
3. In Psalm 73
Asaph said that his heart was grieved and he was pricked in his reins.
4. In Jeremiah God said that He was the Lord that searched the heart and tried the reins.
F. They say that when your emotions are affected the deepest you feel it in the area of your kidneys.
G. Thus to put on the breastplate we are seeking to defend ourselves from the attacks of the enemy against our emotions and will.
II. THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
A. Righteousness here is not moral integrity. It is not something that comes from anything you have done.
B. This righteousness that protects us is the imputed and imparted righteousness of Jesus Christ that has been imputed to my by faith.
C. What does imputed righteousness mean?
1. It is not something I have done or can do.
2. It is something that is done for me.
3. God has imputed to my account the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
a. God has imputed my sins to Jesus. God made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him.
b. He put my sin on Jesus' account and He then bore the punishment for my sin.
c. He put on my account the righteousness of Jesus Christ and thus made possible for me entry into the eternal heavenly kingdom.
D. I am not looked upon by God as righteous by what I have or have not done. God sees me as righteous by what Jesus has done.
1. Paul wrote to Titus, "Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but by His mercy He has saved us."
2. To the Ephesians he wrote, "For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast, for we are His workmanship."
E. The Pharisee's were very good people. They prayed and fasted often. They paid tithes even of their spice gardens. Yet Jesus said, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisee's you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
1. Paul said if anyone wanted to trust in their flesh, he had more cause to do so than others.
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ,
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:
2. It is very important that we not put on a breastplate of righteousness predicated on our works. Satan would be able to penetrate it with ease.
a. John wrote to the believers and said, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
F. Satan often attacks us because of our sin and the weakness of our flesh. Every time you sin, he is there to condemn you and to accuse you.
1. He is called in the scriptures "The accuser of the brethren."
2. He torments people with the scripture, "For if we sin wilfully after we have come to the knowledge of the truth there remains no more sacrifice for sin."
a. Satan twists this verse by taking it out of its context.
b. The author here is talking about the sacrifices made for sin under the law that could never make anyone perfect.
c. That it was impossible that the blood of bulls or goats could ever take away our sins.
d. That we have been sanctified unto God once and for all by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
e. That the priests offered the same sacrifices daily that could never take away sins,
f. But Jesus having offered Himself as a sacrifice for sins forever sat down at the right hand of the God.
g. For by the one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.
f. God has promised not to remember our iniquities or sins anymore.
g. For through Jesus Christ our sins have been remitted, therefore there is no more offering for sin.
h. For if we sin after we have come to the knowledge of the truth there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.
i. The truth referred to here is the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.
j. The no more sacrifice is the offering of the priest, a sin offering. They all became null and void after the death of Jesus Christ.
k. The willful sin is described in verse 29.
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
G. Satan so often attacks us in the area of our emotions and feelings.
1. These are the areas covered by the breastplate of righteousness.
2. I am not saved by feelings.
a. I may feel horrible, that does not mean that I am not saved.
b. A person can feel happy and not be saved.
3. I am not saved by some emotional experience.
a. I can have strong emotional experiences and still not be saved.
b. I may feel no emotions and be saved.
4. I am saved by faith in the death of Jesus Christ as being sufficient to atone for my sin.
5. God accounts me righteous because of my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. That is my breastplate that guards the vital parts of my life from the attacks of the enemy.