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- THE GREAT SHEPHERD (20)
Thursday, May 30 2019
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week, we learnt that the Sword of the Spirit is God’s Word and it is the only offensive weapon listed. We also learnt that it is a defensive weapon and that we needed to be skilful in handling it and therefore require training. By considering the Sword of the Spirit last week, we looked at the last of the believer’s armour –but not the last of the weapons! Today we shall be considering the last weapon - Prayer and the place it holds in the life of a believer.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Always and at all times on every occasion and in every season. There are different categories of people when it comes to prayers. There are those who do not pray at all, there those who used to pray bit not anymore, there are those who pray only in distress and there are those who pray always. This verse of scripture admonishes that a man should pray as often as he has an opportunity
This prayer includes all types of prayers (with specific requests), mental and vocal, public and private; and every branch of it, against all kinds of evil, petitions for good things, and thanksgiving for mercies.
In the Spirit (notice the capital S in Spirit) this implies that such prayers should be under the influence, and by the assistance of the Spirit of God. Romans 8:26 (NIV)
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
It also implies that we pray with fervency (with our hearts, souls, and spirits engaged in it); it implies praying with a true heart, and a right spirit, and without hypocrisy!
James 5: 16b says:
“. . . The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
We should keep watch
This shows the great humility of the apostle, and the sense he had of the greatness of the work of the ministry; and that it is the duty of people to pray for their ministers; and that no man is perfect in this life; and that even leaders (especially leaders) need the prayers of their members. Paul made this request in humility and modesty; and from a sincere heart, because all leaders need a fresh supply of gifts and grace for the work and service of Christ:
He was specific of the prayers he needed! Not like what we hear people “religiously” say: “Please pray for me” – “For what?” or "we are praying for you" – “About what?”
Here Paul specifically asked that utterance be given to him.
Now the apostle desired he might have something to say, to object to, and to reprove and convince the unbelieving Jews; that he might do this with boldness, with all faithfulness with Courage, and with freedom of speech; or "openly" and "publicly".
The apostle's work was to make known the mysteries of the Gospel, to prove the truth of them from the word of God, and to defend them against the opposers of them; and that he might be able to do this he entreats the prayers of the saints.
Apostle Paul has not left anyone unsure of what to pray for him about. Being an Ambassador of the Gospel, he needed to be able to represent the Kingdom and the Gospel boldly so he asks the saints to pray that he might speak of it boldly and freely.
When we engage prayers in spiritual warfare as we should; with a true heart, and a right spirit, and without hypocrisy we put the enemy to flight! We are so privileged that even when we do not know how to pray, the Spirit of the Lord helps us to pray! When we are humble, sincere, and precise in prayers, we achieve a lot. When we are alert and sensitive in the place of prayer, the results are even better!
Saturday, May 25 2019
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Introduction: So far, we have discussed, in details, the first five elements of the Christian armor. Interestingly, these are all defensive in design and purpose. Last week, we considered the Helmet of Salvation. Amongst other items discussed, we looked at the three aspects of Salvation – Justification (We have been saved), Sanctification (We are being saved) and Glorification (We will be saved). We also looked at the importance of hope in the future promise of salvation (Glorification). This week, we will be doing an in-depth study on the sixth elements of the Christian armour – The Sword of the Spirit – an offensive weapon.
The Only Offensive Weapon Listed
Joshua – An example
Joshua was on offense when he led the children to possess the Promised Land. Yes, God’s enemies had stolen that land, but when they returned to possess it, Joshua did not wait to be attacked by his enemies. He received blueprint plans from the Lord for every battle and led the army of Israel in victorious offensive strikes to take their rightful Kingdom inheritance. Listen to this powerful challenge Joshua issued to the children of Israel to call them into order to advance: “How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (Josh. 18:3 AMP). To stand is an offensive position to engage and possess.
The Roman Sword
The sword used by Roman soldiers was known as a gladius; and in the hands of a skilled man, it was a fearsome weapon. In fact, it became known as “the sword that conquered the world.” It was sharpened on both sides, making it lethal against an unarmored foe. The point was also sharpened, enabling it to pierce armor. An infantryman in the Roman legions would also go into battle with a dagger, a few spears and possibly a few darts. But the gladius was the only offensive weapon listed by Paul, and it was the main weapon in the soldier’s arsenal.
The sword of the Word
Paul defines the sword of the Spirit as the “word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). This isn’t the only place where God’s Word (the Bible) is described as a sword. The author of Hebrews also makes reference to it
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
The Word of God is even sharper than the gladius! It is capable of piercing to the deepest levels of one’s heart and attitude, and it is also a tool of discernment in the hands of the skilled user. This gives rise to two questions:
(a) Is the sword of the Spirit only for use as an offensive weapon? (b) Who or what is the foe against which the sword is to be used?
The Sword Is Also for Defense
While the gladius was the primary offensive weapon available to a legionnaire, it was also invaluable for defense, being used to parry and deflect attacks by an opponent. So also is the Word of God valuable in defending against spiritual attack.
Jesus Christ Himself demonstrated how valuable it is to be grounded in the words of the Bible when He was attacked by Satan during a time of extreme physical weakness due to His fasting. Notice the example in Matthew 4:1-3*
Satan knew full well that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but he prefaces each of his attacks by saying, “If You are the Son of God” (emphasis added throughout). He wanted to pull Christ away from His dependence upon the Father and the realization that He was there to do the Father’s will. Each time Jesus used the Scriptures to defend against and refute Satan’s ploys (vs 4)
Satan continued the attack (verses 5-9) and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ skillfully used a thorough knowledge of the Scripture to parry and deflect the attacks. What a masterful example of how to use the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God!
Who is the Enemy?
We have seen, from the example of Jesus Christ, that the enemy of the Christian is Satan the devil, as he tries to separate us from our God (see also 1 Peter 5:8-9).
A more refined question might be: What do we attack with the sword? How is it used as an offensive weapon?
The apostle Paul used a military analogy when he talked about the Christian fight. He described thoughts and attitudes that we must defeat, just as a soldier would use his weapons to defeat the enemy.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
We are to use the Word of God to discern those thoughts and attitudes that are contrary to God’s way and use that sword to bring those attitudes and thoughts into captivity. That is the Christian battle, and that is how we use the offensive weapon in our armor.
Training is Needed
Roman soldiers could not be sent into battle without having extensive training in the use of the gladius. They were first trained using shields made of wicker and swords made of wood. These items were typically about twice the weight of the normal swords and shields. The thought was that if the trainee could use these heavier items skillfully, he would be at an advantage when using the real weapons, which were much lighter by comparison.
After training extensively with the wooden weapons, the soldiers were then paired against each other for further training in combat techniques and moves. The importance of the training was reflected in the food rations given by the Romans. Instructors often received double rations. Trainees who didn’t achieve desired levels of skill were given inferior rations until their training evaluations improved.
As Christians, we also must train and be skillful in the use of the sword. The author of Hebrews tells us that we must become gradually more knowledgeable and skilled in the Word of God, until we are able to use it to discern good from evil.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).
This level of skill—this proficiency with the Word of God—comes by “reason of use.” We have to be familiar with the Bible, and we must have our spiritual senses sharpened by it in order to make full use of this piece of armament God has given us!
Conclusion - The Sword and You
The desire to become knowledgeable in God’s Word—skilled in the use of the sword—has to come from within. Do you see how valuable it is, and do you desire to have a high level of skill? Notice the attitude shown by the psalmist when it came to God’s Word:
“I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore, I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:101-104).
This is the attitude and approach to God’s Word that can make a skilled spiritual warrior. The training and skill levels are up to you!
Some parts of this study was culled from https://lifehopeandtruth.com;
Friday, May 17 2019
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week we considered the fourth item of the Believer’s Armour – The Shield of Faith. We learnt how important the Believer’s faith is and why Paul said we should take it “above all”. We also learnt how Satan uses doubt and unbelief to make a believer unstable in his/her ways.
As Christians, we are at war —not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of wickedness and darkness. To win this war, to fight the good fight, we must be adequately equipped. Today we shall be looking at the fifth item of the Believer’s Armour – The Helmet of Salvation. Ephesians 6:17 says: “And take the helmet of salvation”
THE SOLDIER’S HELMET
A helmet protects a soldier against damaging and deadly blows to the head. Spiritually speaking, the helmet of salvation provides hope and protects the mind against anything that would disorient or destroy the Christian, such as discouragement or deceit. One of the places that Satan is continually attacking in this spiritual warfare is our minds.
Isaiah 59:17 describes the Redeemer of Zion as having a helmet of salvation on His head.
“For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak”.
WHAT DOES A HELMET HAVE TO DO WITH SALVATION?
The mind is a battleground where forces of darkness are waging war to take over control by any and every means necessary. This battle is not just for the Christian alone but also for everyone! The devil works upon the mind because he knows once he has control of the mind of a person; he has control of that person. The only way we can win the battle is if we channelled our thoughts appropriately
Satan and his cohorts targets the minds of believers with doubt and discouragement; challenging the believer’s security and assurance in Christ. To discourage us he points to our failures, our sins, our unresolved problems, our poor health, or to whatever else seems negative in our lives in order to make us lose confidence in the love and care of our heavenly Father.
A very important point to note is that since Paul was addressing believers, putting on the helmet of salvation cannot refer to receiving Christ as Saviour. The only ones who can take up any piece of God’s armour, and the only ones who are involved in this supernatural wrestle against Satan and his demonic forces, are those already saved. To understand this, we have to realize that there are three aspects of Salvation. The Bible tells us that:
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)”
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Salvation can also describe the ongoing conversion process. We see these first two aspects of salvation expressed in Romans 5:10, which says:
“For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son (1), much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (2)”
Christ’s death saved us once and for all from sin’s penalty, and His life within us now is saving us day to day from sin’s power and mastery.
“And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved”.
1 Peter 1:4-5 also says:
“to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Our ultimate salvation depends on whether or not we choose to endure to the end. It is this third aspect of salvation that Paul was referring to in 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 when he said:
“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This final aspect of salvation is the real strength of the believer’s helmet. If we lose hope in the future promise of salvation, there can be no security in the present.
In 1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV) Paul said:
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
The helmet of salvation is that great hope of final salvation that gives us confidence and assurance that our present struggle with Satan will not last forever and we will be victorious in the end. We need to keep this hope of the glorious future with our Lord in view because if we lose sight of the eternal, Satan can do all kinds of things with our minds.
Looking forward to that glorious time, John says in 1 John 3:2:
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is”
A soldier going into battle without a helmet would have instantly exposed himself to the deadliest of blows. Leaving off any piece of the armour would have been dangerous, but to go without the helmet would have been unthinkable. We can no more afford to be without the helmet of salvation today. This hope of salvation by Christ is a defence of the head (the mind) against false doctrines; it keeps the warring Believer in the right mental state helping him/her to cast down every imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5
Friday, May 17 2019
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
We have been looking at the parts of the Believer’s Armour – The Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness and Sandal of Readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. The Sandal of the Roman soldiers protect their feet against sharp objects. The Sandals were re-enforced with heavy soles with spikes for maximum protection and stability when they are on the move.
The word readiness implies constant vigilance. It implies that one is prepared for battle advancing with the preaching of the gospel of peace. When we are ready/prepared with the gospel of peace, we live with the understanding that we are continually under attack from Satan and therefore never let our guards down. 2 Timothy 4:2 says to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.”
The gospel is the gospel of peace. We cannot live a chaotic life and be able to offer peace to others. So, it is important that we have Peace with God (Romans 5:1), Peace within (Psalm 4:8) and Peace with others (Romans 12:18).
Today, we are looking at the fourth part of the Armour; The Shield of faith.
Ephesians 6:16 (NKJ)
“above all, taking the shield of faith with which, you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
We need to take note of the phrase “above all”. The shield of faith is most essential in our Armoury above all.
1. The Reality of Spiritual Battle
We may forget at times, but one thing is true, this world is a battlefield. Day by day, hour by hour, we face a spiritual war and an enemy who’s real. He wants nothing more than to bring defeat, for his main aim is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). The forces of darkness don't wait for us to be ready for their attack. They're ruthless, determined, and cunning.
God has given us His Armoury to be able to stop all the schemes of the devil. The enemy we face, no matter how cruel and vicious his schemes, can never be able to overcome us if we take on the full Armour of God.
2. The Roman Shield
The Roman soldier's shield measured approximately two by four feet and was made of wood covered with leather. In those days, soldiers dipped arrows in oil, then lit them and shot them at the enemy. These shields were vital to protect the soldier from getting pierced and burned. No defensive armor is as important as the shield. It fended off arrows, spears, and swords of the enemies.
3. Take the shield of faith; Heb. 11:6
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Faith is simply believing in God and His promises or words. The way the Roman Army shields are carefully built so also must we build with necessary materials, so also must we carefully build our faith with the words of God. Rom. 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Faith is a shield that stops the fiery darts that Satan fires at us. Faith is a shield that is placed between us and the devil, doubts, fears, temptation and sin. Faith, and trust in God protects us from being wounded by these arrows from the enemy.
4, The Purpose of the Shield of Faith; 1 Pet.5:8-9
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world
One of Satan's fiery darts is doubt. We get in the flesh and begin to question our salvation and the promises of God. We are tempted to doubt the love of God when we are in crises.
A shield has no purpose if there is not threat. The believer is always being threatened at every turn. Often when we least expect it. The devil tries to discourage us. But when the temptations come, and they will come, we raise the shield of faith, that means the shield of God's truth. Faith believes, so it renders temptation ineffective in weakening us.
Soldiers are not only trained in arms and physical combats, they are also trained in mental combat to be able to have the mental capacity in extreme situations to fight and defeat the enemies.
Engaging the shield of faith is a mental combat or defense from the arrows of doubts of the enemies.
Most of a soldier’s life is one of preparation and training. Few hours are spent in combat and actual fight. But without the training the battle will surely be lost. The Christian must constantly build their faith in preparation for any arrow from the enemies.
Jude 1:20 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
37 “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38 Now the[n] just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”
39 But we are not of those who draw back to [o]perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
Wednesday, May 01 2019
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In the past two studies we looked at two parts of the Believer’s Armour – The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. We learnt that it is the belt of truth that holds the other parts of the armour together. Unless we are motivated and directed by truth, we will be defeated by the enemy. If we permit any deception to enter our lives, we have weakened our position and cannot fight the battle victoriously. And that the breastplate of righteousness is vital in protecting our “hearts” from the deception of the enemy. Today we shall be looking at The Shoes of Readiness.
Ephesians 6:15 (NIV)
“and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
1. STRAP YOUR FEET
(a) The Physical
The Roman soldiers had a special sandal for battle which serves as a protection against sharpened sticks that had been buried upright in the ground with the points barely visible. If you would step on them bare-footed, you would be disabled. They were sort of the land mines of ancient warfare. Thus it was very important to have heavy soles on your feet when going into battle.
The sandal of the Roman soldier was mainly a sole with straps that went up around his ankles and calf holding the sandal tight to his foot. They typically were a half-boot with the toes uncovered and spikes coming out of the soles. They allowed the soldier to be ready to march, climb, fight, or do whatever else is necessary. The spikes specifically helped when hiking or on slippery surfaces.
(b) The Spiritual
Paul in asking us to strap our feet with the with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace was implying that we need to have a balanced life on solid footing. In the context of standing it is so important that we have solid footing. Many people are so wishy washy these days; talking out of both sides of their mouths in the name of political correctness that it is impossible to know where they stand on issues; willing to compromise the truth for the sake of “unity”. If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything. There are many today, who because they don’t have a sure footing are being carried about with every wind of doctrine, being deceived by the cunningness and wiles of the devil.
2. WITH READINESS / PREPARATION
It is important to note that we are NOT to fit our feet with the gospel. The gospel is the Word of God and the Word of God is our sword as we see in verse 17. What we are to fit (strap, shod) our feet with is the READINESS that comes with the gospel of peace. It implies that we should be ready to move with the Gospel!
The word readiness implies constant vigilance. Like the wise virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). It implies that one is prepared for battle. Like a soldier who has studied his enemy’s strategy, and confident in his own strategy, and have his feet firmly planted so that he could hold his ground when the attacks came. When we are ready/prepared with the gospel of peace, we live with the understanding that we are continually under attack from Satan and therefore never let our guards down.
2 Timothy 4:2 says to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.”
3. THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
Strange isn’t it? That peace is mentioned as a requirement for warfare! It is this Gospel of peace that prepares us and makes us ready. See Ephesians 6:15 (NIV) again
“and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
We cannot live a chaotic life and be able to offer peace to others. So it is important that we have
Peace with God (Romans 5:1).
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Peace within (Psalm 4:8). “In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Peace with others (Romans 12:18). "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men”
4. FACE THE ENEMY WITH FIRM-FOOTED STABILITY
Ephesians 6:15b AMP version says:
“. . . [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news].”
To be firm footed is to be confidently standing on the Solid Rock. Not on sinking sand (Matt, 7:26) or slippery places (Psalm 73:18). Not shifty and uncertain like the sons of Sceva in Acts 18:13-16
“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”
Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
Having our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace serves both as defensive and offensive weapons. In order to defend ourselves against the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16), we must have confidence of our position in Christ and stand our ground. We must stand firm in the truth of God’s Word, regardless of how terrifying the circumstances may be (1 John 5:14).
In addition to standing our ground, shoes are also for moving. God expects us to go on the offensive and take the gospel of peace to others.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Let’s recall from verse 11b the main purpose of putting on the whole armour of God. “. . . that we may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Emphasis mine)
Sharing our faith is one of the best ways to maintain our own sure footing. When we are active in speaking the Gospel of peace to others, we not only charge into Satan’s territory (offensive), but we dig our shoes more deeply into truth and will be much harder to dislodge (defensive).
Wednesday, May 01 2019
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
Topic: The Breastplate of Righteousness Text: Ephesians 6:14b
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”
INTRODUCTION: Last week we considered Paul’s teaching on the first part of the armoury of a Christian; “The Belt of Truth” in Ephesians 6:14a. The rest of a soldier's armoury are connected to the belt. The way love holds the rest of the fruits of the spirit together (Gal.5:22-23), same way, truth holds the rest of the Christian armoury together. Truth is the accurate information regarding God, His kingdom and redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ. The more darkness by deception covering the earth, the more every believer must hold on to the truth that comes from the word of God. The people who are rooted and grounded in truth will be the only light bearers in this world.
There is no gospel without truth, because Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). We must deliberately know the truth and live by the truth (1John 5:20). “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” (3John 1:4)
In these last days, the greatest tricks of the devil are lies and deception, while the greatest need of man and the Church are truth and discernment.
Matt.24:24; “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
This week we are looking at the second armoury; the breastplate of righteousness.
In our previous studies in Eph. 6:11; “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” Paul instructed believers to put on the whole armour of God so that we can be able to stand against satanic tricks because there is a conflict between God and Satan for the souls of men and believers are in the middle of that conflict.
Eph.6:12; “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
The only people who will remain standing, or make it to the end, are the people who constantly have their armouries in place.
Those who would want to live the best life possible in Christ must live by faith, and part of that is putting on the whole Armor of God, which he prepares and made available to all believers.
The Christian Armour is always made to be worn; and there is no putting off our Armour till the battle is over. There are no part time soldiers in the Lord's Army. We must be constantly dressed for battles knowing that we are fighting not to win a war, but to enforce the victory Christ already warn for us.
Col.2:15; “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
We must be able to testify, at the end of our race, like Paul in 2 Tim.4:7; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”
There is an eternal blessing also awaiting overcomers in Rev.3:21; “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
This is why the breastplate of righteousness is a must for every believer intending to overcome the host of darkness in this world.
We should note that our armour is both for defensive and offensive battles. Every piece of Armor had its purpose. Note, there is nothing for the back; nothing to defend those who turn their back in the Christian warfare and run from battles.
1. The Breastplate
A breastplate or chestplate is an ancient military device worn over the torso to protect it from injury. It protects the vital organs during combat. It’s a defensive part of the armoury. The iron or bronze scaled breastplate was built in four sections to cover each shoulder and side of the chest. The plates were sewn to a stiff leather vest, which was put on like a jacket before the front plates were tied with leather straps.
2. Breastplate of Righteousness;
Why does Paul call it the breastplate of righteousness? If we are not protected with righteousness, we open ourselves up to attacks from the enemy and can fall into condemnation and sin. He attacks us by accusations and temptations to breakdown our righteousness.
Rev. 12:10; “heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.”
Righteousness is in two dimensions for a Christian. We must arm ourselves with this knowledge.
A. Righteousness by faith; Rom.3:21-23
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
The righteousness of Christ implanted in us at salvation, fortifies the heart against the attacks of Satan. The word "righteousness" simply means being right or right standing. The foundation of our Christian lives, especially to combat the devil's accusations, is knowing and applying God's truth found only in God's word that we were made righteous by faith in Christ.
B. Righteousness by lifestyle; Eph.4:21-24, Ps.106:4
“if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
“How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice righteousness at all times!” --- Ps.106:4
The second dimension of righteousness is by practice. It is living a godly life. To know and live by God's word. To be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be working and living faithfully for the Lord. To be fighting sin in our lives that weakens us and to constantly resist every temptation of the devil to compromise with the world.
Putting on the breastplate of righteousness is to protect our hearts from condemnation when the accuser comes against us to distort the truth of our right standing with God and trying to derail us from the path of holiness. The first dimension is by grace through faith, while the second is by faith through practice or works.