Summary: Peace prepares you for battle! 4 Progressions of Peace that will help us better understand what it means to be prepared by peace.
Prepared by Peace
Ephesians 6:13-15 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Intro: How many of you love shoes? How many of you enjoy shopping for shoes? How many of you just enjoy shopping? Well, Roman soldiers did not have to shop for their shoes. From what I’ve read, footwear was specially made for each soldier. Far from being a humble sandal, the shoe of a Roman soldier was one of the most high-tech and adaptable pieces of equipment he owned. The soles where made from layers of metal and leather. The sole also could have spikes of varying lengths attached to allow the soldier to grip. Some even came with toe-spikes and spurs to allow the shoe to have offensive capability. They had detachable greaves to protect the shin and knee. Another metal covering protected the top of the foot. The invincibility of the Roman Republic Army depended on their ability to engage in battle as well as to travel quickly.
-These shoes or boots were called caligae. Those shoes that were worn by the ordinary soldiers were so essential that those soldiers came to be known as the caligati.
-Germanicus, was the adopted son of emperor Tiberius and one of Rome’s most beloved generals. When he was among the soldiers he began to put the caligae on his young son, who was appropriately nicknamed “little boots”. So when that boy later became emperor, he was known not by his formal name, but by his nickname, Caligula.
-So Paul uses this image of soldier shoes to talk about standing against the enemy. When fighting, a soldier needed good footing. If he slipped and fell, his enemy could finish him off. So we are talking about having traction for action today. A soldier is not ready for battle or prepared for action if his footwear gives him no traction or protection. -Paul says that this foot-readiness, this traction and protection that helps you stay on your feet, comes from the good news of peace. The main thought is simple today: How does the good news of peace protect you and keep you from slipping and falling in battle or losing ground to the enemy? And what exactly is this “good news of peace?” Let’s take a look at Peace prepares you for battle! 4 Progressions of Peace that will help us better understand what it means to be prepared by peace.
I. Peace with God
-Today there is a cry for peace from many. You don’t have to look very far to see bumper stickers and signs that say, “War is not working. Peace is the answer.” And maybe you’ve heard or asked the question, “Why can’t we all just get along?”
-Well, that sounds good, but ignores the fact that human beings are not basically good. Without the change of heart that comes from being at peace with God, we are basically selfish people who will go to great lengths to get what we want, regardless of who we hurt along the way.
-The Hebrew word for peace is shalom- completeness, wholeness, to be at rest. The Greek word used by Paul is eirene: “to join together that which has been separated.”
-Paul has already spoken about his readers having been separated from God in the past. In Ephesians 2: 12 Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ … without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace… 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
-The word for “preached” here is a special word that is used for proclaiming the gospel. The Greek is euaggelizo which means to bring or announce good news. Jesus came and announced the good news of peace to those who were at odds with God. The good news was that through Jesus God was not going to hold their sins against them. If they rejected that good news, they rejected its work in their lives- forgiveness and cleansing which brought them into God’s favor.
-Paul says it well in Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
-Churches use several different words to describe what happens when a person finds peace with God. Some call it salvation, getting saved, conversion, getting right with God, being born again, finding Christ, etc. Whatever you call it, every person in this world needs it – if they want to find the reason they were put on this planet – knowing God in a close and personal way. We need to have peace with God if we want to have life that goes on and on even after our time on this earth.