TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: Ephesians 6:13-18; Matthew 15:19-20; Romans 3:21-26;
BOTTOM LINE: We are responsible to guard our heart! If Satan can get to our heart, he takes us out!
QUESTION: What system and/or strategy do we have in place to protect our heart of righteousness?
ILLUSTRATION: Max Lucado Millions facing the chill of empty pockets or the fears of sudden change turn to Christ. Why? Because he’s been there! He’s been to Nazareth where he made deadlines and paid bills … and he’s been to Jerusalem where he stared down critics and stood up against cynics.
We have our Nazareth’s as well. Jesus wasn’t the last to build a team, and his accusers didn’t disappear with Jerusalem’s temple. Why seek Jesus’ help with your challenges? Because he’s been there.
But most of all he’s been to the grave. Not as a visitor, but as a corpse. Body wrapped and grave sealed. Buried. You and I haven’t yet, but we will be. And since we will…don’t we need someone who knows the way out? God has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! A way to have life that cannot be destroyed!
We’re in a Spiritual Battle and Spiritual War, and there is an enemy. He wants NOTHING to do w/ God, and the truth is, the devil was one of the most powerful angels God created. Because he became so prideful, he ultimately went against God. And since Followers of Jesus are children of God, the enemy is going to attack us.
We see it in Scripture … God is for us and the devil is against us!
ILLUSTRATION: Rags to Riches
Now … isn’t it amazing how some people have this incredible ability to succeed? And many of them come from nothing so to speak … or as we like to call them … Rags to Riches kinds of stories …
- Thomas Edison
- Henry Ford
- Loretta Lynn
- Ross Peroe … 1930, grew up in Texas, very poor during the depression, and he studied hard and earned an appointment to the Naval Academy. Finished there and did a tour of duty, before working w/ IBM. After becoming a manager w/ IBM, he started his own company EDS … which was a computer software company that turned into a meg-corporation … and ultimately sold to GM for $2billion …
Rags to Riches … and the Breastplate of Righteousness is how you and I go from Rags to Riches in the eyes of God.
A Breastplate is a piece of metal running from the neck to the waist, usually made out of brass to protect the Vital Organs of the upper body. Specifically, the most important organ in the Torso, The Heart. If the heart is injured, every other part of the Body will suffer!
Proverbs 4:23 … “23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Our Heart is the wellspring of life. In other words, it’s the center of all the operations of Human Life. God says, guard your heart. And we do that by putting on The Breastplate of Righteousness.
And so … what is The Breastplate of Righteousness in The Armor of God? It’s a Clean Heart provided by the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
And without The Breastplate of Righteousness, our heart is exposed. Given a choice, Satan would like nothing more than to target our heart w/ his snipers. If he can take out our heart, he takes out our main source of blow throughout our body.
We Must Protect Our Hearts!
If The Breastplate of Righteousness is a clean heart, provided by the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus … then we put on the Breastplate by maintaining a Clean Heart.
And so we put on The Breastplate of Righteousness by checking our hearts. If Jesus is not sitting on the throne of our hearts … then ultimately there’s sin that’s separating us from God.
… and so in that heart check … when we discover sin … what do we do?
We claim this verse …
John 1:9 … “9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
We are called by God, and deployed into this world to be Agents of Gospel Transformation. Knowing the dangers that are out there, not to mention Satan waiting w/ his army of sharp shooters and snipers in the wings … we’ve got to put on The Full Armor of God.
First … The Belt of Truth … and buckle Jesus around us and let Him hold everything in our lives. I just see this picture of Jesus embracing me and holding me completely in His arms.
Second … put on The Breastplate of Righteousness … we confess our sins and claim the forgiveness of sins though the Cross of Jesus. We allow Jesus to sit on the throne of our heart, and we take the next step of Faith with a God-Confidence.