Summary: (PowerPoint Slides and Cell Study Notes freely available by emailing Emile@Wolfaardt.com)
Spiritual Warfare (SW-11)
Shoes of Victory
The Roman armor, weaponry and training was incredibly advanced for their time - they are what gave the Roman militia the victorious edge battle after battle after battle. Each part was deliberately designed and meticulously measured and confidently carried. For the Christian each of those three elements are just as critical. The armor, weaponry and training we talk about are specifically designed to give you the victory battle after battle after battle. As a matter of fact, I would dare say that there is not one single piece that you or I can afford to leave off.
So far we have looked at two pieces of that incredible armor - the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness. This morning I want to speak with you about a piece or armor that is incorrectly quoted and inaccurately preached almost every time I have heard it preached. Now while I can understand the motivation to preach it the way we have normally heard it, the tragedy is that unless you actually hear what the passage is saying, you are robbed of a truth that could be critical to your victory. Let me also say that what I have normally heard preached from this passage is not wrong theology - it is good teaching that really comes from other parts of Scripture - and the result of that preaching has been good. As a matter of fact, there is a very similar passage in another part of the Bible that does deal with the gospel using similar figures of speak and terminology. You know - any time you talk about the gospel and the need to be out there sharing your faith it is good.
But folks - that is not what this passage is about - even though you have probably heard numerous sermons telling you it is. Rather, it is about something that is an essential piece of your armor that is critical to your being triarri, to your being praetorian, to your ‘standing firm.’ As a matter of fact, it may be the very thing you have been needing to accomplish the victory you have been looking for. How many of you have been convicted about an area in you life, tried to take a stand and fallen again? How many have made a decision to address an area of sin and then back-slidden again? How many of you have committed to some good habit - you have taken the ground and then lost it again? If you will take what you are going to hear this morning it will significantly change your victory ratio. It will help you stand, and at the end of the battle, to be found standing. It will help you histeimi again and again and again till you start looking like, acting like, feeling like praetorian.
That is why the passage starts with the mandate to ‘take up the full armor of God.’ Some of it is not good enough. Most of it is not good enough. Almost all of it is not good enough. And if we misunderstand a part of it we cannot don the whole of it. It is to be put on completely. It is to be put on precisely. It is to be put on identically. Unlike the gifts that differ from person to person to person - the armor is identical. It is a ‘one outfit fits all’ deal. It has nothing to do with preference, perspective or personality. There are many areas of the Christian life for individuality and self expression - but the armor isn’t one of them.
Everybody, please open your Bibles with me to the book of Ephesians, Ephesians chapter 6 and we will ready from verse 13-18.
Read - Pray
Let me tell you about the Roman shoes.
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. The also had detachable greaves to protect the shin and knee and another metal covering to protect the foot from above. The invincibility of the Roman Republic Army depended on their ability to engage in battle as well as to move swiftly over some distance.
Many of these legionnaire’s shoes or caligae have been discovered in archeological digs dating back to the first century - here is a photo of an actual caligae
No go back with me to our passage if you will. Let’s look at verse 15 again.