Summary: have your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
“Peace Like A River”
“Stand firm – with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15)
OPEN: There has never been a time when it’s been easy for the church to take a message of peace into the world. The moment that we attempt to plant the seed, Satan attempts to snatch it away. Satan does and will continue to do all that he can to hinder us from realizing the purposes of God, consequently there's war in the life of a believer. That’s the history of the church. You go back to the point in time in which you see Jesus enter the world, and Satan does everything he can to have Jesus Christ murdered by Herod. He does everything he can during the very life of Christ to have Him killed, pushed off a cliff, crucified, Jesus conquers those efforts. You find that in the Book of Acts as the church begins to carry the message of Jesus Christ the devil resists them all along the way. Paul begins his missionary journeys to extend the Gospel to the world and he runs into magicians and sorcerers and demon possessed people trying to thwart the effort. Peter, on the day of Pentecost runs into hostility and from there on persecution breaks out of that church, the Sanhedrin are called to question these people and tell them to be silent. And all the way through the New Testament the Gospel is withstood as it were by Satan. the first three centuries are filled with persecutions of the church, the death of Christians, the martyrdom of those who love the Lord, and then we enter into the terror of the dark ages in which the whole testimony of the Gospel becomes almost blotted out except for a few flickers of faithful groups who believed the truth all through that time
The armor of God at the end of Ephesians 6 is given to us so that believers of all ages would know and understand the resources we have available to us as we fight the battles we are called to face. There’s going to be resistance and we need to know how we can stand in spite of the resistance. How do we attain the level of spiritual victory our God calls us to? How do we defeat Satan, how do we get the victory? - we’ve got to understand and use the armor God has provided.
Paul looks at the Christian and his war with Satan he sees in his mind a Roman soldier ready for battle, and all that the Roman soldier does to prepare himself suggests to the mind of Paul imagery that can be translated into the Christian's battle with Satan. And so he begins then to make the comparison, and as a Roman soldier wears a belt with which he pulls together his loose fitting robe - he says “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” For a believer there must be commitment to the truth, there must be a commitment to fight the fight, to live a life of truth. Secondly, we saw the next piece of armor in verse 14 also, “with the breastplate of righteousness in place” a Roman soldier would put on a breastplate to cover his vital areas, he didn't want to get hit here because it was fatal. And there were two areas he was protecting the heart area and the rest - known as the bowels in Hebrew terminology, and the Hebrews saw the heart as indicative of the mind primarily, and the bowels indicative of the feelings. So the believer protects his mind and feelings because those are the areas where Satan tempts, he tempts your thinking and your feelings, he wants to illicit sin out of you, induce sin out of you by wrong thinking and wrong feelings. so we must protect those areas and the Scripture says that we protect those areas with the breastplate of righteousness, as we live a holy life, as we live a consecrated, separated, set apart, righteous kind of life then we protect our vital areas from the terrible fearful attack of Satan.
That brings us to where we are this morning – the third piece of armor
– you are to have your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
So now he comes to the soldiers shoes. Shoes have become a major part of our culture; originally shoes were used to protect feet, now they've become a fashion item. We have shoes for every conceivable kind of purpose today. What kind of shoes do you have on? Are they built for comfort or for function or for looks? I have several kinds of shoes at home. I’ve got every thing from Sunday shoes like I have on this morning to my grungy old work boots that I’ll have on tomorrow. Each type of shoes that I have serves some sort of purpose. Every type of activity calls for a different kind of shoe. In fact it is impossible to perform most tasks unless you are wearing a shoe that that is specifically designed for that purpose. If you are wearing a shoe that wasn’t designed for the purpose in which you are engaged you will won’t be able to do it. – Ill. Imagine if you showed up to the construction site wearing your fuzzy bunny slippers. (I don’t know how many guys here have fuzzy bunny slippers, but if you did, I can pretty well guarantee you won’t be doing a roofing project while you’ve got them on) Likewise a ballerina isn’t going to show up wearing army boots. And a nurse wouldn’t show up for her shift wearing high heels. A basketball player isn’t going to wear rubber boots. And a cowboy isn’t going to ride a horse wearing sandals. Each kind of shoe provides a certain kind of benefit that is suited to a particular purpose. Your shoes equip you to do the job. And that is especially true in battle. A Roman soldier wouldn't get out in a battle with just a normal leather shoe with a slick bottom – he would be slipping and sliding all over every place. He’d be trying to climb a rock to fight a guy and held be slipping down the rock. And so they had to have a special shoe, and it, it was very important because in battle this would save your life very possibly. Also they had to have the kind of a shoe that would last for long marches because they would cover tremendous amounts of terrain.