Article based on a sermon
17 November 2007

Breastplate Of Righteousness

by Jon Bowles


The other day I was looking for something on the internet, and I put in a Google search, and I came up with a link across to YouTube, and I saw this particular skit from ''Monty Python'' that I seemed to remember from way back. But let me just put a caveat here; I don't support "Monty Python" and some of their productions - "The Life of Bryan" for example - is absolute blasphemy, and even this particular one I'm going to mention today, I've had to sanitize to some degree.

I was thinking of quoting in the sermon today a series of statistics about the world, and the universe, and the things that are out there. I thought rather that do this, I thought I would read this skit, at least read the sanitized version of this skit. Because the zany humour that is in this particular piece shows a world today that is absolutely insane, when you really think about it.

Wherever we are, we look out at the world around us. Here in Wales it's winter time, and the buds haven't yet come out, the trees have lost their leaves. Yet our minds so often are on trivia, and when we really start to think about things, then really the world itself appears insane.

In this particular skit there is a lady in her kitchen, in her hair rollers. She was rather worried about things, and John Cleese was there. He said, "Well perhaps this will help," and he opened the fridge door. Inside was a little man curled up inside dressed in one of these shiny, glittery suits, like a variety performer. He stepped out of the fridge, and he started to recite a short rhyme. Then all of a sudden, the side of her kitchen just suddenly exploded, and right outside was the Universe. He then took her by the hand and walked out across the stars, singing a certain tune. I won't sing, but I will go ahead and recite this particular piece, because technically it's correct as far as the actual statistics are concerned.

He starts off by saying:

"Whenever life gets you down Mrs. Brown, and things seem hard or tough.
When people are stupid, obnoxious, or daft, and you feel you've had quite enough."

Then he goes into his little song:

"Just remember that you are standing on a planet that is revolving,
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour.
It's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned.
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day,
In an outer spiral arm at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
With thirty thousand light years from galactic central point,
We go round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions, of billions in this amazing and expanding Universe.

The Universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding, in all the directions it can whiz,
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light you know.
Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you are feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth.
And pray that there is intelligent life somewhere up there in space,
Cause there's nowt down here on the earth!"

I thought this was quite a humourous way of giving the facts of what we are actually in. When you think of it, we get so bogged down with all the details of life, and yet here we are, and as this little rhyme says; just remember you're standing on a planet that is revolving at nine hundred miles an hour, orbiting the sun at nineteen miles a second, and it's moving a million miles a day in an outer spiral arm that goes round once every two hundred million years. They are all flying out about the speed of light. And where are we? Where are we?

What I want to do today is continue the series on the 'Armour of God', mentioned in Ephesians 6. I want to deal with the breastplate of righteousness, and show that when we really understand, it's not just religion. It's not religion at all! When we really start to understand about the meaning of life, we understand the meaning and reason for everything.

This particular Monty Python skit - with a slight sanitization - gets the facts across and at the same time, because of the zany humour, makes the point that we are completely and totally mad. We never really stop and think; "Hang on, we're on this earth, in this incredible universe!" and we never really think about life. We are just going through all the motions.

The points I want to go through today are:

Place Righteousness In Its True Perspective (PLAY FROM 06:38)

Turn to a scripture in Isaiah 51, one that we have up on our website and which we refer to quite often. It certainly has a great deal to say to us. But I want you to notice certain other of the verses here about this subject of the breastplate of righteousness.

"Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness [you see by the context that it is very much an end-time pronouncement, so it is talking to us right now], ye that seek the [Eternal]: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you..." (Isaiah 51:1-2)

And in Isaiah 51:5 it says:

"My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens [this is why I recited that particular little ditty, because it rather graphically puts the scale of the heavens in a form that really shows the insanity of our views upon the earth], and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished." (Isaiah 51:5-6)

Righteousness He puts even beyond the heavens. When we are looking at the heavens and the earth today, the earth is here for a certain length of time. Eventually it will be purged by fire. All the work that we do in the Millennium, the whole lot will go, but the righteousness that we have will remain.

I was sent a link to what seems to be a trekker's website - someone who walks around all different places and they walked in the former Ambassador College Campus, in Pasadena. They were amazed. They had a running commentary about this astounding place, and yet, what happened? God allowed it to go - because what is important is the character. What is important is that righteousness which will never be abolished. The righteousness comes above even the campus, even the house that was dedicated into the name of God. Look at the temple of old. We have lived through these times.

"Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law..." (Isaiah 51:7) That's what is important; the Law of God, which is a Law of Love in the very heart itself, which gives rise to that righteousness.

And now Isaiah 51:13:

"And forgettest the [Eternal] thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually..." (Isaiah 51:13)

So it is showing that this particular Being is the Creator. He did all this. He stretched the heavens. He made the part of the heavens that is sixteen thousand light years from side to side. He caused it to come into being. And in Isaiah 51:15 it says:

"But I am the [Eternal] thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The [Eternal] of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand..." (Isaiah 51:15-16)

We have that on the website, but what does He mean, He "...covered you with the shadow of mine hand..." (Isaiah 51:16)? Where has that happened before? Because the entire context is saying; "Listen to me that know righteousness. My righteousness is near but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law..." (Isaiah 51:1-7 paraphrased)

He is talking about righteousness. What is this segment here that says, I have covered you with the shadow of mine hand? Turn back to Exodus 33. Here we find the One who became Jesus Christ, covered someone with the shadow of His hand. What is the context of it? Exodus 33:18 says:

"And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the [Eternal] before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the [Eternal] said [this was the One that became Jesus Christ, the Logos of old], Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by [the shadow of Christ's hand covered Moses, yet he still came down from the Mount with his face glowing]: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen." (Exodus 33:18-23)

Then in the next chapter, Exodus 34:5:

"And the [Eternal] descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name [the authority, what the Eternal is all about] of the [Eternal], And the [Eternal] passed by before him, and proclaimed, The [Eternal], The [Eternal] God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped." (Exodus 34:5-8)

But if you go back to Isaiah 51:16, here we are now, this is an end time prophecy:

"And I have put my words in thy mouth [these people who know righteousness in whose heart is the very Law of God], and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand [so you will be able to see something that most people cannot see, most people cannot understand], that I may plant the heavens..." (Isaiah 51:16)

Don't get bogged down by any religious argument, any kind of religious platitude regarding Ephesians 6. We are talking about the Creator. We are talking about the very Universe itself. We are talking about the stars and the galaxies and everything that has been made, because it says: "that I may plant the heavens," as we will go on and read. Plant the new heavens and a new earth with righteousness. That is why it's talking about righteousness here. Isaiah 51:16:

"...and lay the foundations of the earth [that's in the Millennium], and say unto Zion [that's right now], Thou art my people." (Isaiah 51:16)

The people of this Being. We have got to make sure we understand it. We are not like the zany group, as far as the 'Monty Python'-like world today. That lives in a world that has no concept about reality, about this Being, and the intelligence that is there throughout the entire Universe. That does not worship the true Creator.

These people in whom righteousness dwells, they have got to be different. If there is a breastplate of righteousness that then protects us against Satan in a different way, while living in this insane world - then we need to know something about it and understand it. We need to make sure that we place that righteousness in its true perspective. It's not like the world. It is not the world's kind of righteousness at all. It's a different type of righteousness altogether. Turn over to II Peter 3:11:

"Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved [eventually the entire earth is going to be cleared by fire], what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy [conduct] and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (II Peter 3:11-13)

That is going to be the defining difference from the world that we find today. Not just society, but even the way the world operates, including the natural world. The whole thing is going to be changed. It is going to be changed over to a world, a new earth in which dwells righteousness.

It Protects Vital Spiritual Organs (PLAY FROM 16:08)

That is why this is just so vitally important. This subject, this breastplate of righteousness in it's true perspective, covers everything. It covers all that we are standing for and there is a good deal more to it than that. Why is it therefore determined, as it says in Ephesians 6, as being a breastplate? What is the special significance about it being a breastplate?

You just consider what a breastplate does; it actually covers the chest, in which are the vital organs. We will go have a look at that. But first of all, let's notice how Christ uses this same principle when confronting Satan, and how we should learn from the way in which He uses righteousness in actually dealing with the attacks of Satan. Here in Matthew 4:3 notice how the vital organs, spiritually are protected in this exchange:

"And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God [notice what he said, 'if' you are the Son of God, then you react in this way], command that these stones be made bread [He was the Son of God, and He knew He was the Son of God]. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:3-4)

It wasn't just the case that He quoted scripture back to Satan. He also applied it to Himself as well and He put Himself under it. He was actually applying that Word. That application of the Word is righteousness. He was acting in the right way. He approached him in the right manner. It is the application of that Word which is righteousness.

So it was the breastplate of righteousness that protected Him from this initial attack. Be aware that the attacks that are given here - these three - are only three that are mentioned. It doesn't say that this is all there were. There could well have been a good many more, but these are the three that have been recorded and preserved down through the millennia specifically for us to learn lessons from.

"Then the devil [the slanderer] taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God [notice the attack, 'if' you are the Son of God], cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." (Matthew 4:5-7)

You don't tempt and test God. That is not the approach to use. Again, was it just the quoting of that verse? No it wasn't. It was the application of that verse that was His righteousness. And the application of that verse, being that righteousness, fended off the attack from Satan. There's your breastplate.

"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me [you can get it now, you don't have to wait two thousand years. I'll give it to you, here it is, all there on a plate, get it now, don't wait]. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan [the enemy]: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil [the slanderer] leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." (Matthew 4:8-11)

But here was Emmanuel, "God with us". This is God in human flesh countering the attack, the spiritual attack. The kind of spiritual attacks that we have. If you are a son of God, you can go ahead and do this, you can go ahead and do that. If you are a son of God, why wait, why not get it now? Again, these things are examples to us of the way in which the Christ, the Anointed One, Emmanuel, God with us, actually handled this.

Let us remind ourselves what it is talking about in Ephesians 6:

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might [this is not our might, this is God's might, and all these items of armour, are not ours, but the armour of God that is given to us to be used]. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Ephesians 6:10-11)

We have just seen some wiles there as far as Satan is concerned, with Christ, for saying; "If you are the Son of God, then do this." No, the Son of God had righteousness which was a breastplate which protected Him. It was the application of that Word - making it a Living Word.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against [wicked spirits] in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; [which is certainly part of the armour,]...... Above all, taking the shield of faith..." (Ephesians 6:12-14,16)

If you think about the breastplate over the front - what is it protecting? Predominately the heart and the lungs. What are the heart and the lungs, spiritually speaking? Where is the Law of God? You know, "you people who know righteousness, in whose heart is my Law." You are looking at the heart containing the very Law of God.

What are the lungs for? They breathe. Spiritually, what are they breathing? Well, the word spirit and air are synonymous in both Hebrew and Greek. So here, the lungs are breathing the very spirit of God. From that breath comes what? The very words out of our mouth. The way in which we speak.

So you see the analogies that are there are huge. You see that this breastplate is protecting the vital organs, principally the heart and the lungs. The heart is to do with the law of God. And the lungs have to do with the very spirit of God, and the words that are in our mouths, that come in essence from the heart, in which resides the law of God. An incredibly vital area that needs protecting. And by what? By righteousness. By application of the word of God - the same way Christ used righteousness.

Turn back to Romans 10. Remember Paul, in talking here about the Jews at this particular time, was a Pharisee, and the son of a Pharisee. And as we will read a bit later on about how, as far as the Pharisaical keeping of the law, he was perfect. That is what he said. He kept it. He had the Talmud there, which was like a hedge around the Law. The physical details of the law, he kept it perfectly. But here in verse one;

"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness [this Pharisaical righteousness that he was once part of himself at one time], have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God [that is spiritual righteousness: where God's Law is active in the heart and God's Spirit is active in the lungs, so it governs everything that we say and do]. For Christ is the end [the focus point] of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." (Romans 10:1-4)

You will find throughout scripture in the New Testament, phrases such as being 'in Christ,' or being 'in Jesus', or being 'in Jesus Christ.' These phrases are continually used. Why? Because we walk day by day in a body that is like the body that Christ had. What was Christ? He was Emmanuel, God with us. We are walking as what? The sons and the daughters of God, looking forward to the resurrection and the birth into that very family. We are walking in that same kind of flesh. We are walking as a God being.

That is why when you look back in places like Isaiah 51, you find righteousness tied in. It is being tied in to the very meaning of life, and the universe, and everything. It is not some kind of 'Monty Python' skit. It is the real thing. It is not some religious kind of argument! Romans 10:4:

"For Christ is the [focal point] of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess ['homologeo' Strongs 3670, Literal Greek: "homo" the same "Logos" word - i.e. what comes out of our mouth is the "same Word"], with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead [you do that by the life you live. It goes on and explains], thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness [ there's the law that is in the heart, the spiritual heart protected by the breastplate of righteousness, it's that law that you believe to righteousness]; and with the mouth [which is coming from where? The lungs, and the lungs then power the mouth from the very Spirit of God] confession [homologeo - having the same Word] is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:4-10)

The word "salvation" literally means to be rescued - rescued ready for our future role - able therefore to be used as the righteous Sons of God. Being used to implement righteousness, not only on this earth, not only right now, but even down into the future as far as the heavens are concerned. The heavens are also then to be planted by that same righteousness.

So righteousness and the breastplate of righteousness protects the vital organs.

The Link To Faith (PLAY FROM 28:20)

Now there is, however a very important link to faith. If we turn over to James 2:19:

"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the [demons] also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:19-20)

There are people that try to say there is no need to keep the law, and there is no need to do anything, that we just have to believe. Martin Luther had this real problem with James and called it an 'epistle of straw'. But they've got to do something with these verses. But here it says: James 2:20:

"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar [he did it in his mind]? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" (James 2:20-22)

The two were working together. His was walking according to his faith. That's what was happening; he was doing the things according to his faith.

"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed [accounted] unto him for righteousness..." (James 2:23)

The actual word isn't imputed. The English word 'impute' means to have something almost under false pretences. That is not the way this word is actually constructed at all. It is 'accounted'. It is almost like an accountancy word. It's a word where things are totted up. James 2:23:

"...Abraham believed God, and it was [accounted] unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James 2:23-24)

Not by faith only! Not by faith alone! You see many people in the world who say it is by faith alone. But you don't find that. No, it specifically says, not by faith alone.

In Philippians 2 it says: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:" (Philippians 2:5)

This is the type of mind that we need. This is the righteousness. We saw how Christ used the Word of God and applied the Word of God to Himself, and used it as a breastplate to protect Him from what Satan was actually throwing at Him.

"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the [stake]." (Philippians 2:6-8)

When you really think about this, and contemplate this aspect. Here was this Being who had eternal life, who was Eternal. Now it was not a trinity. You cannot have what actually took place with regard to Jesus Christ within a trinity. This is what we find, happened in Worldwide. That you have this trinity, a triune being, and Christ was upstairs somewhere, and this theophany [definition: "a temporary visible manifestation of the presence and glory of God"] was walking around down here. He didn't disappear up in heaven, but this theophany was walking around down here. That is a Simon Magus heresy. That is precisely what Simon Magus said.

He said that you cannot have this perfect Logos contaminated by the 'sarx' (Strongs 4561- "flesh"), so He must have just been a theophany. This was a doctrine that originated and this creep that you see hanging on the Tau symbol - which is the cross that you see - that was undoubtedly a picture of Simon Magus. Because what did he do? He said that Simon of Cyrene - who was from the Tripoli area in North Africa - that really was him. He was the one that actually took the place of Christ. He was resurrected. This is the Simon Magus heresy.

But it says in Philippians that no, that's not the way it happened. This individual was breathing the very Spirit of God. As it says in Isaiah; "...your appointed feasts my [nephesh] hateth..." (Isaiah 1:14) He was the breathing Creature. He was the breathing Being who was the God of the Old Testament. He left all of that. He became a breathing Being that breathed air for His life. He became flesh. He was Emmanuel. You cannot get that with a trinitarian doctrine. It doesn't work.

I want you to just contemplate for a minute. Here is this Being - once eternal - now that sleeps. Every night He goes to bed, He lies down, and He 'disappears' just like you and me. He is, to all intents and purposes - gone. Then He wakes up in the morning. There is no other indication. He doesn't disappear somewhere else. He is unconscious, He is no longer there. Then He awakens and comes back again each morning, just the same as you and me. He's still breathing, but He's asleep.

What happens in death? He's switched off. He's asleep for three days and three nights. Gone. What's the faith of Christ? What kind of faith did that Being have? It was the faith that He had in the Father that He would be with Him throughout the entirety of that life that He had as a physical human being, and He then came to the end of that life, and had the uttermost faith that the Father would resurrect Him. That the Father was still there. He had total confidence in that Being.

That's the faith of Christ. Remember, you're looking at the shield of faith, and you're looking at the breastplate of righteousness. The shield of faith is in front of the breastplate. It is there to defend the breastplate. The righteousness and the faith work together. They go hand in glove. They are tied together within scripture. When you think about this Being, this faith of Christ, you are looking at a Being who gave up everything. It says here: Philippians 2:8:

"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." (Philippian 2:8-16)

Paul is saying that we also have got to be the same way, and have the faith of Christ, the same kind of faith that Christ had - faith in the Father, knowing that God is there working with us.

You think of a child, what is it before it's born? Fertilised it's termed a zygote, the two gametes being the ovum and the sperm. They sit there and they have a limited life, and they die, both of them. They can't divide. It's not until the two actually get together and they actually form the total compliment of DNA, that the division process can actually begin. The two gametes themselves have that compliment, but by themselves they are completely worthless. They can't do anything. They do nothing whatsoever.

Yet, here was Christ. He had this eternal life but He came to earth and He forwent all that and He became the same kind of thing that you and I are, and then eventually died, the same way you and I will die. He trusted the Father in everything. As far as we are concerned, we trust the Father to take care of us also.

We look at the two gametes. You look at the sperm and the ovum joined together. It starts growing and it becomes a child. Forty divisions over the forty weeks and you have a child. It is an astounding thing that takes place! Absolutely astounding!

You're looking at a universe. You look at the way the universe is constructed. As I read in that silly little rhyme, that is astounding also, but look at a child. Look at the way a child grows. Well this same Being, this same God who goes ahead and made these things, the same Word of God, the same Christ that actually gave the words on the Father's behest to make that process, also is creating right now.

Therefore, we, just as Christ through His life trusted the Father implicitly all the way through, and then came to the end of His life and trusted Him even right into death itself, so we live our life trusting Him implicitly to create us righteous, to make us righteous. To put us through the experiences that we need, to be with us through those experiences, and to allow us to experience whatever it is that we particularly need, until He has His perfect spiritual character in us. That's the righteousness. Remember; the shield is the faith, but that breastplate of righteousness is linked to it as well. The faith is in that process and it takes us right through death itself. The two are inexorably linked. Turn over to Philippians 3:3:

"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh [we're not going around keeping bits of figs in our pockets, dropping them every so often on the Sabbath, because the Talmud says you can't be more than a certain distance from your "property", - in this case the figs - otherwise you start working]. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 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 [this is the apostle Paul]: Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." (Philippians 3:3-6)

He had the Talmud there and he kept the Talmud as best as he could, and that Talmud protected the physical keeping of the law. He was blameless. This never allowed him to get anywhere remotely near the law. That's what he felt as far as this Pharisaical religion is concerned. Philippians 3:7:

"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 [the One that is over me, determining the way I need to walk]: 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 [what was that faith? It was faith in the Father, to the point of living His entire life all the way through in a human form, and right into death as well, that He will be resurrected, giving up His Godhead, and trusting Him with absolutely everything], the righteousness which is of God by faith:" (Philippians 3:7-9)

That He will perform the same kind of process that He performs physically when He takes two gametes, gets them together and forty divisions later it comes out as a child. That kind of faith. Astounding! That is what we are looking at. That is the analogy we have been given. Philippians 3:10:

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead [the same way He did, having the faith of Christ that trusted the Father right into death itself]. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:10-12)

Christ struck him down, revealed His truth to him, and now he is going after this same Being trying to live the same kind of life that He lived, with the same kind of faith that He had. Philippians 3:13:

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus [we walk in the same kind of flesh]. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you." (Philippians 3:13-15)

It is God's revealed knowledge that has been given; this doesn't come from a human mind. It has to be revealed, and that is what he was talking about.

I want to point you in the direction of a sermon I gave just before Passover this year called 'Robes of Righteousness'. You can go back and listen to that sermon by all means. It covers much of the same ground. I've given sermons very similar to this, but that was the 17th of February 2007. In that particular sermon I go through Romans in much greater detail than I have time to go through here today. Turn to Romans 1:17:

"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith [from the faith that was the faith of Christ to the faith which is now our faith, which is the same kind of faith]: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)

We live day in and day out, having faith in the Father that He will convert us, that He will change us from physical to being God. That is what we are looking at, being a Son of God with the same character that Christ had - Emmanuel - the One that was God with us. The same mind, the same righteousness that is there.

That is the gospel that he is talking about earlier on. That is very much part of the gospel. That is the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the Family of God. The Family of God has the Way of God, which is the character of God within them. The righteousness of God. Go to Romans 3:19:

"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:19-20)

It tells you what is wrong, but it doesn't do it for you. It doesn't make you righteous. There is only one way as far as making righteous is concerned, it is to have those sins that we commit forgiven. That is the sins that are past. He goes on and explains. Romans 3:21:

"But now the righteousness of God [apart from] the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference [this faith of Christ is the same kind of faith that Christ had in the Father, but it goes on beyond that]: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [or mercy seat] through faith in his blood [this is not the faith of Christ, it is the faith in the blood of Christ that covers past sins], to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" (Romans 3:21-25)

So there's sins going backwards from any point that you happen to be. We stand sinless before God because of the blood that covers those past sins. Romans 3:26:

"To declare, I say, at this time [whatever time it happens to be] his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (Romans 3:26)

Now that is the belief in Christ. That is the belief in His blood. It is not the belief of Christ. It is the belief in Christ. If you've got a modern translation, they do not go ahead and get this right at all. They don't understand it, that's why. That's why it's worth going to the King James. Romans 3:31:

"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (Romans 3:31)

Because having gone ahead and blotted out the sins of our past, these past sins being justified, you then begin to walk in faith. Notice in Romans 4:12 it says:

"And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk [notice...] in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised." (Romans 4:12)

In other words, it wasn't like a Jewish Pharisaical faith, where it is faith in the Talmud protecting the law round about. It was the same kind of faith which was a trust. Abraham trusted God. That same trust is the same kind of trust that Christ had, also, who trusted God. It is the same kind of faith that we have got to have that also trusts God to work with us, to make us righteous in the future.

The faith in the sacrifice of Christ is for sins of the past. But the faith from this point forward is in the creative power of God. The righteousness is then built in the way of Christ's righteousness. For when He confronted Satan He had this breastplate of righteousness that was used to confront Satan. That faithfully applied the Law of God, applied the Words of God and used those words to combat what Satan was throwing at Him. Romans 4:18:

"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken [notice, according to that which was spoken, it had been told to him what was actually going to happen], so shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead..." (Romans 4:18-19)

He knew that this Being was the One that laid out the universe. Remember you're standing on a planet that is revolving at nine hundred miles an hour. It's orbiting at nineteen miles a second so it's reckoned. The sun that's the source of all our power, and it goes on. That kind of God. A God that created and laid out the very heavens themselves. That made the processes that actually cause a child to be produced in forty divisions from a sperm and an egg. Impossible, but He can do it. Romans 4:19:

"And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed [counted] to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed [or counted] to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be [counted], if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4:19-25)

Romans 5:1:

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ [the justification is for sins that are past, and also we are being made righteous, by the faith in this God, who is the great Creator God]: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in [trials] also: knowing that [trials] worketh patience [we realize that God has His hand in the process, He is actually using those things to create righteousness in us]; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God [that's His character, that's His righteousness] is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit] which is given unto us." (Romans 5:1-5)

And in Romans 5:8:

"But God commendeth his love [this same love, the love of God shed abroad in our hearts] toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us [He gave us that priceless gift that covers the sins of the past]. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him [looking forward from this point that we stand]. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (Romans 5:8-10)

It is that life that is there, that we need to make sure of. As I say, I expound on this in the sermon I gave on 'Robes of Righteousness.'

One Of Satan's Main Weapons (PLAY FROM 53:18)

I'll quote you the various scriptures, and just very briefly try and explain one of Satan's main weapons. I Corinthians 15:12 says:

"Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" (I Corinthians 15:12)

There were people who were actually fighting against their faith, against what they had been taught. Notice I Corinthians 15:22:

"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive [the same 'all' as Mr Armstrong brings out]. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power." (I Corinthians 15:22-24)

So here we see the context of this particular passage is a resurrection. It's talking about the major issues of life, and it is what Paul had taught them. I Corinthians 15:32:

"If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus [he presumably had to fight in gladiatorial combat against beasts], what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil [company, corrupts good habits - a better translation]" (I Corinthians 15:32-33)

He is talking about other people. You better be careful! The greatest threat or weapon that Satan has against this breastplate of righteousness that has got to be there, is other people that come along with different ideas to what we have been taught by God and Jesus Christ, and overthrows our faith. I Corinthians 15:34:

"Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God [don't be deceived by those who don't have the knowledge of God as they have been taught]: I speak this to your shame." (I Corinthians 15:34)

The Corinthians were listening to people! Turn back to Romans 16. As we all well know the Church of God today has been shattered, and has been scattered to the four winds. And we have a responsibility to bring out original intent of these verses! Here in Romans 16:17 it says:

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them [make a note of them, and the intent almost seems to indicate a mental note; be aware, be very careful] which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." (Romans 16:17)

Now that is applied correctly by the Church when it is people spreading heresy within the Church. The Church publicly marks them, and says "Look, you need to be very careful of these people". We have had this in the past. Romans 16:18:

"For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all...I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly..." (Romans 16:18-20)

It is to do with righteousness. If somebody start redefining righteousness in our minds, the breastplate of righteousness can be destroyed. So we have got to be very careful, and we have got to make sure that we do make a note of them. Today we have to personally apply this far more. Let me just say this though, there are people out there that Mr Armstrong specifically marked. They are still doing a work. They are on the internet, and yet I hear cases within the Church that people are listening to these individuals. They are going directly and diametrically opposed to what we were taught. These individuals haven't repented. I could mention names. I have names down in my notes here to remind me about this particular point. These people were marked by Mr Armstrong and they have not repented. They have made no change whatsoever. Their stuff is out there. We had better be careful that we obey what it says here. "...I beseech you, brethren, [you make a note]..." (Romans 16:17) you be very careful, about this. We don't just go ahead and say, "Oh, everybody is all the same." That is simply not true, and certainly not today in the shattered state of the Church. The righteousness that we need is God's righteousness, it is not our own as defined by ourselves. Notice II Corinthians 5:20:

"Now then we [that's Paul and those with him] are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." (II Corinthians 5:20) Get back on track, that is what he is saying to them. And in II Corinthians 6: "But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses..." (II Corinthians 6:4) We're the ministers, the servants of God that gave you these words originally.

"By the word of truth [What does it say in Ephesians 6? Our loins girt about with truth], by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left," (II Corinthians 6:7)

The breastplate of righteousness. This is what Paul was talking about in this context. He goes on then in II Corinthians 6:14:

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers..." (II Corinthians 6:14)

Does that mean just believing in God, and that if they believe God, then they are not an unbeliever? Demons believe in God and tremble (James 2:19). Look at the context! He is saying believe God as he and the ministers believe - ambassadors for Christ, beseeching them on Christ and God's behalf. (II Corinthians 5:20)

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? [that is righteoussness as defined by God] and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (II Corinthians 6:14-18)

So one of the greatest attacks that can be made - and we have got to be absolutely sure of this and understand this - that Satan can go ahead in there and redefine what righteousness is . If righteousness is being redefined - 'we don't have to keep the law', 'it doesn't matter about this or that', 'make-up is only a physical thing,' There is nothing about the spiritual mind, which was there as well, because that is the way we were taught. You go down that route, and start listening to that kind of thing, you will become off track.

I was talking to somebody the other day who I knew. He phoned me up and he was preaching in Worldwide as it is now. He happened to mention, yes, on the Sabbath (he didn't mention the term Sabbath, it wasn't used at all). On Saturday, he preaches in the Church. On Sunday he goes out and preaches in the local churches as well because they are short of ministers. What is he preaching? Is it the things we were taught by God, by Christ, is that what is being preached? How far does it go? How far does it have to go? Do you start making relationships with somebody like that? If he phones me up, fine, I'll be civil, but I'm not going to go out of my way. I'm not going to go out of my way to make relationships like that unless there is a glimmer of hope that he can turn from that evil way and turn back to what was actually there originally. In some ways I hope it wasn't there originally.

How 1 John 5 Ties The Subject Together (PLAY FROM 1:02:54)

This passage in I John is really quite amazing. The problem is that I John 5, if you have anybody go through I John, the chances are they will spend an incredible amount of time on verses 7 and 8 showing how this was just totally not there originally.

"For there are three that bear record [you should jump straight into verse 8 where it says] the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." (I John 5:7-8)

That is the original. The other was inserted, it is totally out of context. But because we do that, so often we don't stop and actually read what the actual chapter has to say to us, and it has remarkable things to tell us. It says in I John 5:1:

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is [begotten] of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him [it is talking about the Family of God, all being of one family]. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments." (I John 5:1-2)

What did Jesus Christ do? He kept the commandments. He walked in flesh that was commandment keeping. And that is the same kind of flesh that we need to walk in as well, because it says I John 5:3:

"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [we should be walking the same way that Christ walked]. For whatsoever is [begotten] of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (I John 5:3-4)

Again, faith and the breastplate of righteousness work together. The two of them; one is the shield, one is the breastplate. Both protecting the vital organs of the very Spirit of God and the heart in which the Law of God lies. I John 5:5:

"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (I John 5:5)

Remember what Satan said to Him. "If you are the Son of God, then do this." What did Emmanuel actually do? He applied the Word of God and He reacted in a certain way, and He reacted in a righteous way. I John 5:6:

"This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood..." (I John 5:6)

Now what we are looking at is it starting to shift from when Christ came originally, and it is going into how we are actually walking in the same kind of flesh. It is not there yet, but it's going down that route. Because Christ was baptized, literally with water, and He also died and shed His blood. I John 5:6:

"...And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth [so here is a third element there, these are the three elements]. For there are three that bear record..." (I John 5:6-7)

Now it's interesting, here in I John 5:6 where it said; "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness,..." (I John 5:6) This word 'witness' is this word 'martureo,'( Strong's 3140) and it is used then repeatedly in I John 5:6-11, in verse 6, verse 7 (it actually shouldn't be there in verse 8), but in verse 9 it is used four times! Then verse 10 and verse 11. Over and over and over and over again it is using this word to ram the point through to all of us. That it is the Spirit that bears witness, that testifies. It is like a witness in a court of law. That is what the word actually means. The witness in a court of law is getting up and telling you something. Because I John 5:6:

"...the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear [witness, same word 'martureo'] the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." (I John 5:6)

The three agree as one unit. They give the same witness, the same record, the same testimony that is actually being given. What we're looking at here the three things; Note Romans 6.

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. ... Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." (Romans 6:3-6,13)

It is talking about baptism. Water is the ordinance of baptism, and that baptism gives us a new body - one that that walks in newness of life. In baptism therefore, you are looking at that water, that one area giving us a new obedient body.

The blood; again you can look back at I John 1:6-7. It talks about how the blood cleans us from all sin. The blood covers all past sin.

The Spirit; note Roman 8:14. We are to be led by the Spirit of God. We are the sons of God. The Spirit, if you like, is within the lungs that breathe that Spirit. So you've got what? You've got a new body through baptism that has the actual blood of Christ cleaning us of all past sin. The lungs in there with the Spirit of God, and the breastplate of righteousness is covering the whole thing. Protecting the vital organs.

The witness then is coming, it says in I John 5:7: "For there are three that bear [witness], the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son [in that one verse, it is used four times, it is the evidence of what? Of His Son. Where? Where is His Son?]. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself [Emmanuel God with us, walking the same flesh that Christ walked in]: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record [the witness] that God gave of his Son. And this is the [witness], that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name [the power] of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (I John 5:8-13)

This Being is going to bring us right through into righteousness as it says in Isaiah 51, and right into the very time when He makes the entire world founded on righteousness. This is not religious speak. This is the problem. You've got all this religious speak, and all this sanctimonious nonsense. Just remember that you are standing on a planet that is revolving and revolving at nine hundred miles an hour. It is literally that we are in a creation that is awesome! Created for what? So that righteousness can be made, that the character of God can be made, witnessed by these three things, that then show that righteousness being there. I John 5:14:

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death [that is one that is not repented of]: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is [begotten] of God sinneth not [does not habitually sin, is better translated]; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not." (I John 5:14-18)

Why? Because he's got the breastplate of righteousness, and he's got the shield of faith, and the vital organs are protected. The wicked one doesn't touch him. He couldn't touch Christ. Why? Because He said, "It is written...". It wasn't just He said "It was written", He was obedient to what was written as well. It is the obedience to what was written that is the righteousness of God. I John 5:19:

"And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ [same kind of flesh, walking as God in the flesh as a son of God in its human form for this limited time]. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." (I John 5:19-21)

We have got to protect ourselves from anything that gives us some other definition of what righteousness is. Another definition that is away from what we understood, and what we have been taught by revelation. It is by revelation that these things are taught. It is interesting, that the very next book, the second epistle of John, it says in II John 1:6:

"And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it [this is righteousness]. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." (II John 1:6-7)

One who is working against the things Christ is working for...but he has a different definition of righteousness. II John 1:10:

"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." (II John 1:10-11)

We need to make sure that we make a mental note of people like that. We need to be careful. In this fragmented Church, many, many members of the Church, genuine members are out there. I am not saying that we don't go ahead and associate with them. But as we associate, be careful. Because if they redefine righteousness, where is your breastplate going to be? Where is the faith that you have? Where do we go? We go back to what we have been taught and what we understood, and that is why it is so absolutely vitally, vitally important. As it says in I John 5:20:

"And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding [we have this revealed knowledge given to us], that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true [in this Emmanuel, in the same kind of flesh, because we are all sons and daughters of God], even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and [it is also] eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." (I John 5:20-21)