Being Sure-footed Will Bring Peace
Ephesians 6: 14-15
Shoes tell a lot about a person – for example:
- What do you think when you see someone wearing Cowboy boots? Is this guy a macho sort of person
- Wingtip shoes or a person with loafers with tassels – I have a couple of cousins that have had big business occupations – executive at US Steel and the airline business. Accountant, Engineer
- High Heals – professional women wear high heels dressed very formally of course I don’t know how they walk in them – Audrey Vance
- Tennis Shoes / Basketball shoes, the athlete – Pastor Jack Cole
- Sandals – California
- No shoes – the beach people – my mother-in-law always kicked her shoes off when she was at home.
- Safety shoes – steel tip work shoes.
When I was in seminary in Atlanta, GA I worked as a security cop for a while. Definitely wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was not my life calling. But it helped pay the rent and put food on the table, it was a good paying job for a seminary student, until I could find a position in a church. I was quite a sight with a nightstick, mace, a gun – all supplied by the Security Company and then they asked us to buy our own shoes. I wanted to wear an old pair of shoes that I had but they were insistent that you wear a safety shoe. I didn’t want to spend the money at the time for that type of shoe until one of the instructors showed us his foot after he had it smashed in a fight. It was a lot more assuring to know that if a guy tried to smash your tows that you had steel tip shoes on. I was glad when a youth pastor position opened up and I could turn in my gun, nightstick and mace.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Shoes make a big difference: Over the years I have discovered that shoes make a difference when walking or standing. What you have on your feet make a world of difference.
Paul includes shoes in the armor for a reason – it so we can stand firm. We have already buckled up the belt of truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness. We have our shoes on ready to go into battle. They are laced up and ready to go. But what does he mean by the gospel of peace? Do shoes make a difference? What type of shoes are we to wear?
- Let us get a handle on the shoes that Paul was talking about.
- The protection of the feet and ankles consisted of 2 parts:
- The sandals, or shoes were probably made to cover the foot and were fitted with nails / studs so they could stand firm. Similar to football or baseball spikes – like a studded tire.
- Then it was designed to have a protected shield called greaves that were fitted to the legs normally made of bronze or other thin metal. It was to protect the lower leg from attacks by arrows or swords
- 1 Samuel 17:6 (NIV) Goliath is described as having bronze greaves… they were made of bronze or brass.
- These greaves, or boots were made of brass or bronze and were in almost universal use among the Greeks and Romans.
- This shoe or boot was important not only in protecting the foot and ankle area.
- It was also designed a lot like a football or baseball cleats – they gave the soldier / us the ability to move and maneuver so we can defend ourselves in all kinds of terrain.
- Many assume that Paul is talking about us being ready to preach the Gospel when he directs us to be ready by having put on our feet the gospel of peace. No doubt that is important and Paul addresses that responsibility in Romans 10:15, but I believe that Paul is talking about our defense.
- This verse does not speak of the spreading of the gospel, but as standing, not advancing. This verse refers to a believer’s stability or sure-footedness from the gospel which gives him peace so he can stand in the battle.
- More than once in this letter Paul has stressed how the Gospel brings peace, reconciling us to God and making us one.
- In Ephesians, peace is the bond that holds the unity created by the Spirit. When unity is maintained, Christ's church is enabled to move in full responsiveness to the Head Jesus Christ.
- I believe that he is speaking about us embracing the Gospel. We put on these shoes as a symbol of our salvation:
- Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1)
- Knowing that we are justified in God’s sight through Jesus Christ destroys worry and brings comfort to us about our relationship with God.
- We won’t slip, slide or fall when we are under attack by the devil.
- The opposite of peace is war or conflict. We at one time were art war with God.
- We don’t think of ourselves as being an enemy of God, but before we accept God’s grace found in Christ Jesus we are just that – we are at war with God because of our sinful nature.
- God and humanity start off on two different sides. If we are not on God’s side then we are considered an enemy. Look at - Matthew 12:30 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.
- If we are out of relationship with God then we are going to feel His wrath.
- God provided a way for us to not be in conflict with Him and that was through the gift of His Son and our Lord. This peace that He offers is both subjective and objective.
- This peace is first objective / intentional – something we can know exists and subjective / personal in that we can experience or feel the peace.
- We know that Christ came to provide the way, the truth and the life. We know that He died and rose from the dead for us so that we might forgiven and have a relationship Him – the important word here is KNOW. It I the truth.
- It is objective / intentional on God’s part to give His grace and love so we might have salvation.
- It is subjective in that we can experience a relationship with God. We can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ that affects our whole being – it brings us peace.
- It means if we accept His terms of having a spiritual birth we are not in opposition to God. Peace will be ours. Doing it God’s way brings peace. Let me give you a simple illustration. When I was a kid and I didn’t follow the rules at home I was always a little anxious – wondering when I would get caught and then when I did there was no peace.
- We can know His peace by accepting His grace – if we accept His grace then we can be assured of salvation. It is Christ’s death on the cross that provides us with forgiveness and salvation.
- …because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14) What an assurance, a peace to know that we are under His grace forever if we choose to be.
- Satan the deceiver wants us to be in conflict and to have uneasiness in our spirit. If we have that uneasiness then we won’t be at peace. My guess is that we have forgotten to put on our army boots
- We tend to be our worst enemies creating the lack of peace by:
- Doing things our own way because we think we know best
- Fretting over whether we are forgiven or not forgiven are we saved or not saved – a matter of unbelief.
- Believing that we can do things better than God – no need to trust in Him we got this handled.
- God freed us from guilt through Christ – quit listen to Satan and his lies and put on God’s peace.
- But, in reality we have created the lack of peace in our minds and hearts by not allowing ourselves to be forgiven.
- Allow the grace of God to do what is necessary to create the inner peace and that is to forgive us and provide us salvation. With the Gospel we will have peace.
One of my favorite Old Testament stories is the story of Gideon and his obedience that brought peace back to Israel. His obedience to God’s will is what brought peace out of a very precarious position. Gideon had been chosen by God to lead an army against overwhelming odd. Look at Judges 7 for the story. Israel had gathered 32,000 men to go into battle and they still were overwhelmingly out-numbered. But God whittled the number down to 300 Israelites,(Gideon decided to take the 300 because lapped up water like a dog) that is all that God needed to return Israel to peace. How? Gideon gave each man a trumpet and a pitcher that covered a candle. At the appointed time after the 300 men had surrounded the enemy’s camp they blew their horns and pulled the pitchers off the candles. Because they followed the instructions of God the Midianites in confusion killed each other.
Whatever Satan may cast against us we know that we have a Lord that is able to defeat him and bring assurance, confidence and peace in our lives through the Gospel.
Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.