TEXT: Ephesians 6:10-18
There was a time in the life of Martin Luther when his conflict with Satan became so real that it took on an almost physical manifestation. In his anger against Satan, Martin Luther picked up his inkwell and threw it at the devil which he believed was in the room with him. The inkwell broke and splattered ink all over his wall, and the stain remained for many years, reminding people of how real the conflict with Satan was in Martin Luther’s life. Though we may not be at the spiritual level of a Martin Luther, we must understand that our conflict with Satan is just as real. The Christian and Satan are in a mortal, life-and-death, hand-to-hand combat. That is why it is essential that we put on the whole armor of God.
So far in this series, we have looked at two pieces of the armor which God supplies for the believer.
The first piece is the “belt of truth” which is our belief in the Word of God and our faith in the One who said He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” The second piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness which is essential if we are going to repel the attacks of the enemy. This piece of armor is provided not because of our own righteousness, but because of Christ’s righteousness which covers the life of every believer.
The Bible describes the armor that God supplies for all Christians in the book of Ephesians. The first piece of armor is the belt of truth. The Bible says, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.” The truth, of course, is the Word of God; and we arm ourselves with the truth when we believe in Jesus Christ and we believe the Word of God.
Today, we are going to look at the third part of the Christian’s armor — the shoes of the gospel of peace. After we have put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, we are to put on the shoes of the gospel of peace. The Bible states, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
You probably don’t think about the importance of the shoes you wear each day. In fact, the only time you probably think about the shoes you wear is when you are getting ready to go to a fancy event and you want to make sure that the shoes you are wearing are appropriate and selected to impress others. However, for a soldier, shoes are very important. A soldier who goes into war barefoot will be hindered by the rough terrain, pebbles, stones, and other debris on the battle field. The right kind of footwear enables a soldier to advance against the enemy without encumbrance.
Roman soldiers wore the caliga, a thick-soled, hob-nailed, half-boot which had leather straps that were tied around and fastened tightly to each foot. It was heavily studded with metal nails to give stability in all forms of terrain. It was not strictly a weapon but part of the soldier’s equipment, especially for long, fast-paced marches.
However, for the Christian soldier, his shoes are not just mere protection for his feet. His shoes are built with a purpose. The Christian goes forth not just to fight against the enemy, but to spread the gospel of peace to those bound by the enemy. A Christian who goes forth to make war against Satan is also one who continuously carries forth the message that God has sent Jesus Christ to make peace with man. Thus, to have our feet clothed with the gospel of peace means we must believe the gospel ourselves, and be serious about sharing the gospel with others.
John Piper has pointed out that it is strange that we find a focus on peace in the midst of this passage on war. However, he said, “The aim of our warfare is that people would accept the terms of peace that God holds out, namely, faith in Jesus. And the only reason there is any conflict at all is because the power of sin and the powers of Satan are dead set against [allowing people to] make peace with God.”
If you are not actively seeking out ways you can share the Gospel of peace, you are not fulfilling all of your duty as a Christian.
Quoting Isaiah in Romans 10:15, Paul says, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” The Greek word for “gospel”, which is where we get our word “evangelist” from, simply means to ‘proclaim good news.’ It was a word used when a messenger ran from the battlefield back to the city to proclaim that the army had been victorious in battle. Likewise, we are ambassadors from Heaven, living in this world, proclaiming the victory of Jesus Christ over sin, death, hell, and the devil.
In 490 B.C. King Darius of Persia invaded Greece and threatened the city of Athens. The Athenians sent their champion runner to Sparta to summon help. The runner, whose name was Pheidippides, ran for two days and two nights the 140 miles to Sparta only to find that the Spartans were unwilling to respond until the moon was full. He ran back to Athens with the disappointing news.
The Persians landed on the Greek coast and set up their camp on the plain of Marathon, about 25 miles away. The runner joined the famous Ten Thousand Athenian warriors who charged down upon the Persians and defeated them. He was then asked to carry the news of the victory back to Athens. He ran all the way there, staggered into the city and announced, “Rejoice, we conquer!” Then he collapsed and died.
Dear friend, I ask: are you willing to sacrifice it all in order to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and His victory of sin, death, and Hell, to the people who desperately need to hear it? The message of the Gospel of peace that we have is a message the world needs to hear, but the devil will do everything in his power to prevent us from delivering that message. That is why we need to put on the armor of God.