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Putting on the Breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14b)

As we continue to look at the spiritual armor God has given us for our spiritual battle, we look at the breastplate. Specifically in Ephesians 6:14, Paul calls it the breastplate of righteousness. And just as with the belt of truth, we will look at this second piece of the armor in three ways. First, how it was used on the soldier, second, how it is to be used for us as Christians in spiritual battle, and then finally, how we can put it on for battle. Let us begin with what the breastplate did for the soldier. The Breastplate for the Soldier As the name implies, the breastplate of the Roman soldier was worn on the chest or torso of the soldier. Although at times, they were made out of leather, the breastplates worn by soldiers in Paul’s day were typically made from iron. But the breastplat...

Good Questions About the Death of Jesus that Make no Sense

A reader sent an email today with these questions: If Jesus died in the place of others, why does everyone else also die? If the penalty for sin is hell forever, and if Jesus paid the penalty for all the sins of the world, why is Jesus not the only one in hell forever? Did God punish Jesus by making him die and go to hell, or did God reward Jesus by raising him up from death and lifting him up to heaven? If Jesus died on a Friday afternoon and rose from the dead by the next Sunday morning, was the penalty for all the sins of the world less than two days dead? If God punished Jesus for all the sins of others by making him die on a cross, why are Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, and Caiaphas not all heroes and saints for fulfilling the will of God? If people should rejoice at the suffering an...

Putting on the Belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14a)

It has been said that truth is stranger than fiction. This is definitively the case with the following true facts: Most animals don’t eat moss because it’s hard to digest and has little nutritional value. But reindeer fill up with lots of moss because it contains a special chemical which helps keep reindeer warm in the icy arctic temperatures. Moss, for the reindeer, acts like antifreeze in a car. A lightning bolt generates a temperature five times hotter than the sun. One cup of neutron star weighs about 480 million tons. If you lived in Virginia 300 years ago, you could have paid your taxes with tobacco. If you are scared of spiders, you will be happy to learn that you are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by a spider. One thousand years ago, the Grand Vizier of Persia ha...

Who is Our Enemy in Spiritual Warfare? (Ephesians 6:12)

When Paul embarked on his third missionary journey, Ephesus was the first city he visited. He had briefly visited Ephesus during his second missionary journey and had started a church there (Acts 18:19-20), but he now wanted to return and spend plenty of time teaching and training the Christians in Ephesus what it meant to follow Jesus and be the church in their community. Acts 19:10 records that he spent about two years teaching them about Jesus. During this time, many miracles were performed, many people were healed, and many people were delivered from evil spirits (Acts 19:12). Near the end of Paul’s time in Ephesus, some itinerant Jewish teachers came to town and heard what Paul was doing, and so decided to start their own little deliverance ministry by casting out demons in the name o...

The Battle Plan (Ephesians 6:11,13)

Paul turns from the battle cry in Ephesians 6:10 to the battle plan in Ephesians 6:11, 13. We must not only prepare ourselves for battle by becoming strong, we must also protect ourselves in battle by having a plan. The battle plan has three parts. We must put on the armor of God, stand our ground, and watch out for traps laid by the devil. Let us consider each part of the plan. Put on Your Armor (Ephesians 6:11a, 13a) The first part of the battle plan is to put on the whole armor of God. Paul states this instruction twice in Ephesians 6:11, 13 when he writes, “Put on the whole armor of God” and “take up the whole armor of God.” When Paul wrote these words, he was in prison in Rome and was likely chained to a Roman soldier twenty-four hours a day. Being chained to an armed guard was one of...

The Battle Cry (Ephesians 6:10)

Living the Christian life is one of the hardest things you will ever attempt to do. Of course, this is only true if you really attempt to live as a Christian. Far too many Christians think that it is enough to slap a fish bumper sticker on their car, wear Christian t-shirts, and attend a weekly worship service at the church building on the corner. Truly living the Christian life does not consist of such things, and those who live the Christian life in such insignificant ways will face little resistance or trouble. But the Christian who truly steps out to follow Jesus into the dark and hellish places of earth will experience great difficulties, trials, and roadblocks in life. Such Christians will be called to love those they would rather hate, to forgive those who deserve nothing but death,...

Think you know what humility is? Think again. (An Interview with Dan Kent, author of Confident Humility)

I had the privilege of interviewing Dan Kent this week about his book, Confident Humility. I’ll be honest. When I first heard that he had written a book about humility, I thought “Booooring … we all know everything there is to know about humility.” But then I read the book. Mind. Blown. It turns out I have been thinking and teaching about humility entirely wrong. Dan Kent’s book opened my eyes to what truly humility is, how humility works, and how to attain humility in my life. If you want to understand what the Bible teaches about humility and how to become humble and live humbly in your life, listen to my interview with Dan Kent, and then go buy a copy of his book on Amazon. Let your view of humility get turned upside down! Podcast Links: Watch the Interview with Dan Kent here: [embedded...

Do the warning passages of Hebrews 6:7-8 and Hebrews 10:27 refer to Christians going to hell?

My book, What is Hell? is now available on Amazon. I am doing a series of podcast studies that focus on some of the content from the book. The studies look at the eight key terms that are often equated with hell, and about a dozen key passages that are thought to teach about hell. If you want to learn the truth about hell and what the Bible actually teaches about hell, make sure you get a copy of my book, What is Hell? Also, if you are part of my discipleship group, there will be an online course about hell as well. In this study, we will consider two of the warning passages in Hebrews to see if they are warning Christians about the possibility of going to hell. We will look at Hebrews 6:7-8 and Hebrews 10:27. Does Hebrews 6:7-8 warn about hell? For the earth which drinks in the rain that ...

Does 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 teach about hell?

My book, What is Hell? is now available on Amazon. I am doing a series of podcast studies that focus on some of the content from the book. The studies look at the eight key terms that are often equated with hell, and about a dozen key passages that are thought to teach about hell. If you want to learn the truth about hell and what the Bible actually teaches about hell, make sure you get a copy of my book, What is Hell? Also, if you are part of my discipleship group, there will be an online course about hell as well. In this study, we will be looking at 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, which refers to flaming fire of vengeance and everlasting destruction coming upon those who do not obey the gospel. This certainly sounds like a punishment of everlasting torture, doesn’t it? So what is Paul referring ...

Is the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) a warning about hell?

My book, What is Hell? is now available on Amazon. I am doing a series of podcast studies that focus on some of the content from the book. The studies look at the eight key terms that are often equated with hell, and about a dozen key passages that are thought to teach about hell. If you want to learn the truth about hell and what the Bible actually teaches about hell, make sure you get a copy of my book, What is Hell? Also, if you are part of my discipleship group, there will be an online course about hell as well. In this article, we are considering the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. This is probably the premier passage in the Bible that convinces people about the reality of hell as a place of eternal suffering and torment. But is this really what Jesus is teaching i...

Does Mark 9:42-50 teach about hell when it refers to worms and fire?

My book, What is Hell? is now available on Amazon. I am doing a series of podcast studies that focus on some of the content from the book. The studies look at the eight key terms that are often equated with hell, and about a dozen key passages that are thought to teach about hell. If you want to learn the truth about hell and what the Bible actually teaches about hell, make sure you get a copy of my book, What is Hell? The following study looks at Mark 9:42-50 to see whether are not this text teaches that hell is an everlasting place of suffering and torment for the unbelieving dead. Does Mark 9:42-50 teach about hell? Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched… (Mark 9:48). Mark 9:42-50 is very similar to Matthew 18:6-9, and can be understood in a nearly identical way. So it mi...

Is the everlasting fire of Matthew 25:41 a warning about hell?

I have a book on hell coming out in June, titled What is Hell? You can pre-order the Kindle version on Amazon. Between now and then, I will be focusing my podcasts studies on some of the content from the book. We will look at the eight key terms that are often equated with hell, and about a dozen key passages that are thought to teach about hell. If you want to learn the truth about hell, and what the Bible actually teaches about hell, make sure you get a copy of my book, What is Hell? In this study, we will consider the phrase “everlasting fire” as it is used in Matthew 25:41. What is the Everlasting Fire of Matthew 25:41? Let us begin by looking at the text. Then he will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and ...