Peninsula Community Church
Ephesians – Putting on the Gospel of Peace
May 31, 2015
Ephesians 6:14-15 – Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
So far we have looked at the armor of God and have reviewed the following pieces of the armor. First, we looked at the belt of truth to understand that we must walk in truth and not in the lies that are being continually perpetrated by the evil one. Last week, we looked at the breastplate of righteousness. In this we saw that God has forgiven us and has made us righteous through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Today, we will move to the next piece of God’s armor required for spiritual battle. Today, we will look at putting on the shoes of the gospel of peace.
Once again, we see in this passage a practical illustration of a common aspect of life in Paul’s day. The church at Ephesus understood the necessity of wearing shoes in their day and they understood visually what it meant for the warrior to wear shoes in battle. In battle, there were many issues that the soldier might face that made it necessary to wear protection on their feet. It might be the heat of the sand. It might be the jagged rocks and other sharp debris found in the soil. It might be something as simple as a twig or some other shard that would penetrate the foot and cause pain. Without proper protection there was also the possibility of a strain or sprain that could sideline the strongest of warriors, distract the warrior, or cause him to be ineffective in battle. For the warrior to be effective, it was critical for the soldier to wear protective shoes on his feet. This was critical as the soldier’s shoes allowed the warrior to step freely without fear in the face of battle.
It is interesting that doctors have reported that the most neglected parts of the body are the feet. Rather consciously or not, too often, we neglect to care for our feet until there is a problem. One of the best methods to care for the feet is to wear the right type of shoe. For the warrior his sandals were made of layers of leather up to 3/4 inch in thickness and were studded with hollow-headed hobnails. In other words, they were like cleats. The shoe of the warrior covered not only the feet but also covered the leg to about half-way up the calf and at times up to the knee. The shoes worn by the soldier were secured by leather straps or leather laces. The purpose of his shoes was to protect his feet and allow him to grip the turf underneath his feet. The result was he had greater ability to stand his ground in battle.
In our society, we have a different view of shoes. For us shoes are more of a fashion statement than they are a mode of protection. In fact, it is noteworthy that a Consumer Reports National Research study found that women in America own an average of nineteen pairs of shoes while 15% of women surveyed stated that they have thirty pairs of shoes or more. Additionally, according to Glamour Magazine, the average woman will purchase 469 pairs of shoes in her lifetime. This will total more than $25,000 being spent on shoes in one’s lifetime.
In looking at our text, we find that the shoes discussed here are more than physical shoes, they are spiritual in nature. When dissecting this verse we find that the actual Greek translation of this passage would be, “Let the shoes of your feet be the Gospel of peace, to give you a firm footing.” Stability comes by being fitted with the Gospel of peace.
Another interesting concept of this passage is that there is a call to readiness. This insinuates that the soldier does not wait for the battle to put on his shoes. He puts on the shoes long before the the battle begins. Spiritually, the idea that is communicated is that we must be ready for battle by having our feet shod with the gospel. That is we are ready for battle because we have the gospel in us.
These words have a faint echo of words spoken by Paul and by Isaiah. Listen to Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:17. Paul stated And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. Isaiah complimented this thought when he stated How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns (Isaiah 52:7).
To understand the Gospel we must understand that the Gospel is the good news. It is the good news that brings peace. For some who read Paul’s letter it seems strange because the question is posed “how can we have peace in the midst of the battle and warfare?” Why is this? The greatest reason for this peace is that the enmity between God and man was overcome. As believers, we have chosen to fight on the side of God and therefore God is no longer our enemy. Conversely, if we fail to accept God’s gift of salvation, we are in essence fighting against God. Think about it. If choose not to accept Christ, you are in essence fighting against the God who created the heavens and the earth, the God who called fire down from heaven, and the God who sent a storm to redirect Jonah’s life. This is the same God who opened the earth and swallowed the rebellious children of Israel. I am not sure about you but I do not want to be on the opposite side of God.
When I was in Junior High School in Bridge City, Texas, I was regularly picked on by some of the older students. I wasn’t the only one as these bullies chose to pick on anyone smaller than them. One day, I was pressed up against a locker in the hallway of the school by one of the bullies when I heard this deep voice from behind the crowd. I looked up and it was my cousin’s boyfriend. He was the starting all American linebacker for the varsity football team. She had shared with him how these kids were bullying the younger kids and he came to our rescue. He grabbed one of the kids and held him by the collar with his feet dangling off the floor and said a few choice words to him. It was something like “You mess with my friend, you miss with me.” You see in life we have been bullied by the evil one, but on the cross Christ took the enemy by the throat and said “you mess with my friend, my child you mess with me.” Through the cross we have been repositioned from a state of enmity to a state of friendship and partnership.
Listen to what Paul proclaimed in Romans 5:1-5. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
The good news is that through Christ we are on the right side of the battle. It is for that reason that Paul calls this the Gospel of peace. When you think about it, peace is an interesting emotion in that we can have peace about some things and yet be anxious and fearful about others. Very few of us experience a general peace about life and still fewer have a peace that reaches the inward man. And yet that is the purpose of Christ’s peace.
I love what Dallas Willard had to say in this regard. He said “Even in the case, through no fault of my own, there must be a struggle between me and others, there does not have to be a struggle within me.” He continues “I may have to resist others, for some good reason, but even so I do not have to make things come out right. I am not the one in control of outcomes. I do not have to hate those whose course of action I resist, or even get mad at them, and so I can always be at peace within myself as well as towards others.” He continues by saying that the greatness of God and the love of God forms my peace, and at the same time my love and my joy. Job of old had many worrisome questions in the midst of his troubles but when he beheld God they simply did not matter. That is why Isaiah could honestly proclaim You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you (Isaiah 26:3). Look at the parameters established here. You will be in perfect peace when your mind is on Christ because you trust Him with everything in life.
Nothing in this world can destroy my peace or rob me of peace even though in our world today there is so much that can steal our joy and peace. The economy is still fragile. There are wars and rumors of wars. There are shootings and murders taking place daily. The drug epidemic has escalated and is getting worse by the day. The moral fiber of America is being shredded on a daily basis. But with all of this, I am reminded of what Jesus spoke to His disciples. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you. ’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I’ (John 14:27-28).
To understand this we must understand that the Gospel of Peace cannot and must not be separated from the author of peace who is also the author of Gospel. To have real peace, we must come to know the real giver of peace. His name is Jesus. He came so that I could live a real life. Not some legalistic or false spirituality kind of life but one filled with God’s love and His peace. I do not know about you but I yearn for that kind of peace and that kind of life. It is available to us as we put on the shoes of peace.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom