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Boots for Battle or Shoes of Peace

"and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so glad you're here.
In our culture today, shoes are a big business. Many athletes have teamed up with shoe manufacturers, coming up with their shoes, drawing top dollar. Just look at Michael Jordan for example. There are also many Hollywood actresses, who have come up with their own line of shoes. 
In fact, in the 1939 classic film, the Wizard of Oz, a house fell upon the wicked witch of the east, killing her and Dorothy sees her feet sticking out, wearing the ruby shoes. Glenda, the good witch of the north, transfers the shoes to Dorothy's feet and instructs her to never take them off. It's was wicked witch of the west's pursuit of Dorothy's ruby shoes that were the focus of the movie, and after accidentally splashing a bucket of water on the wicked witch of the west, she melted away. And so at the end of the movie, Dorothy was able to click her ruby shoes together three times, and reciting the phrase, "There's no place like home," returning her back home to Kansas.
Therefore, it is not the least surprising, that the apostle Paul, as he continues in his description of the believers armor, now turns his focus on the shoes.
The Romans soldiers, in Paul's day, wore heavy leather shoes called caligae. These shoes were bound by thongs over the instep and around the ankles and the soles were thickly studded with hobnails, which served to reinforce the shoes, provide better traction and which could also be used as a weapon by kicking the enemy. 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.

This is perhaps the most difficult of all the pieces of the armor to understand. This is the only piece of the armor where Paul doesn’t actually identify it directly.

As a result, many theologians, commentaries and sermons on this passage tend to be divided. Paul’s description of the armor may very well have been influenced by his familiarity with the Roman soldiers, however, I believe, that it was even more influenced by his knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures which described the armor of the Messiah, Jesus.

Let us bow our heads in prayer,
Heavenly Father,
Father, we thank you, for the clarity with which your Word speaks to our hearts. We are so grateful for our brothers and sisters gathered here with us today, even around the world. Let us be strengthened by the instruction through Your Holy Spirit, let us be encouraged by Your Word. We are so blessed to receive these great truths, thank You Father. Help us that we might be more faithful, more obedient. May we live and breathe Your Word for our own good, and Your glory.
In Jesus' name we pray
Today's Message: Boots for Battle or Shoes of Peace
In Isaiah 52:7, it says "How delightful on the mountains, Are the feet of one who brings good news,
Who announces peace, And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!"
Most believers, are familiar with that passage because Paul quotes it in another of his letters. And in Romans chapter 10, there is absolutely no doubt that he uses that verse from Isaiah in that context to support the importance of preaching the good news. Then there is Colossians 4, I Peter 3 among others. So the idea of being ready to proclaim the gospel, is not new and is certainly consistent with other passages throughout Scripture.  
So there should be absolutely no doubt, in the mind of any believer, that the Bible teaches that we are to be ready to share the gospel with those who ask us about the hope that we have in Jesus.

The shoes are a picture of a firm foundation. Understand this, that if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Satan does not dwell within you. So, that's not really the issue. What we are talking about is the battle that a Spirit-indwelt child of God faces, while living in Satan’s world. And it isn’t what Satan does in us, it is what they do outside of us that caters to the sinfulness that is still with in us. While it's true that we have been redeemed, we are living in the unredeemed flesh, so we still possess the natural proclivities of lust and pride. We have become regenerate. We are new creations with different motivations, affections and attachments than we used to, sin still lives inside of us.

In Romans chapter 7, verses 13-25, Paul says "Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? Far from it! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by bringing about my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold into bondage to sin. For I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate. However, if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, that the Law is good. But now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully agree with the law of God in the inner person, but I see a different law in the parts of my body waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin, the law which is in my body’s parts. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin."

Open with me your Bibles to Ephesians chapter 6, as we continue through our journey of the marvelous epistle from the apostle Paul, today we'll be looking at verses 15 and 16. I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read this to you, to get it set our minds. Ephesians 6:15-16.
"and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."
As we have previously discussed, Christians are engaged in a war. The war for us, is to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh, against the forces of the world system, that assaults us with false religion and blatant sin. And the problem is, the world in which we live today has capabilities and capacities to assault us in ways that didn't previously exist. And although it may feel as though we are fighting a losing battle, we do not have to lose.
It's important to mention, that many people, including some Christians, believe that Satan has this kind of invincible power. I would like to remind you, this is another one of Satan's deceptive lies, that's what he would like you to be believe. I would like you to bear in mind, that God reveals truth and Satan conceals truth.
Hebrews 2:14 says "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil."
And in I John 3, at the end of verse eight it says "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil." Jesus Christ has defeated Satan. Satan may bring along his worldly temptations, in effort to destroy us, but Christ has set us free. John 8:36 teaches us what? "So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free." We have been set free. Christ sets us free, Satan imprisons us.
So, as I have tried to make clear from the very beginning of our study on spiritual warfare, our responsibility is not to war to gain new ground, but to stand firm and hold the ground Jesus has already won. I believe this is confirmed by the fact that the instruction to put on the armor begins in verse 14 with the command to "stand," which is consistent with the 3 other uses of the verb "stand" in verses 11 and 13.
The Greek word, "stēte," to stand, literally to support oneself on the feet in an erect position. It means to take up or maintain a specified position or posture. In context, it conveys the idea of digging in, the readers in Paul's day would have clearly understood, as the Roman soldiers shoes had spikes on them.
In essence, Paul is speaking as a military general would to his soldiers who are engaged in a battle. He is giving the command, with a sense of urgency, to stand firm, meaning to hold a watch post or to stand and hold a critical position on a battlefield while under attack. In other words, Paul is saying "Don't delay!" "Do it now!"
The idea of readiness or preparation is used both in classical Greek and in the Greek version of the Old Testament to give a picture of a firm foundation. That would certainly be consistent with the main purpose of the shoes of the Roman soldier, which was to provide him with a sure-footed foundation as he engaged in battle so that he could stand his ground. 
And for the follower of Christ, that firm foundation is described here by Paul as the gospel of peace. If your initial reaction is like most, you're likely wondering, how can one be at peace when one is at war? 
The idea of peace seems to be out of place when we’re talking about war here. So, we need to have a proper understanding of what Paul means by the "gospel of peace."
When most of us think of peace, we tend to view it in terms that are similar to this dictionary definition, which says the absence of war or other hostilities. We have a hard time understanding how peace can be an essential piece of armor in the spiritual battle we’re engaged in. But the Biblical concept of peace does not in any way contradict its use as spiritual armor. In fact, the concept of peace in both the Old and New Testaments is not merely the absence of external trials and tribulations.
In Hebrew, "Shalom" means completeness, soundness, wholeness, to be at rest.

The Greek word also incorporates those same concepts, but adds an additional meaning.

In the Greek, "eirene," means to join together that which has been separated.

As I'm sure many of you already know, the word gospel in the Greek, means "good news." It is the same Greek word from which we get our English word "evangelism," which is the sharing of good news. The Greeks, as well as the Romans, used that word to describe the proclamation of important events like news about the victory over their enemies or the announcement of the accession of a new Caesar or the emperor’s birthday. 

The New Testament writers appropriated that secular word and applied it to the best news that any man could hear, that Jesus Christ had come to bring peace. That’s why Paul encourages his readers to be ready for battle by making sure that they have the firm foundation of the gospel of peace. That gospel of peace is to operate in three areas of our lives. The concept of peace requires the joining together of that which has been separated. Paul, at the beginning of Ephesians chapter 2, describes how all of us were separated from God at one time. We were His enemies and deserving of His wrath. We had no peace with God, Jesus came to change all of that.

Ephesians 2:12-14, "remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the people of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who previously were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall."

Not only were we separated from God, but also from Israel and God’s covenants with His chosen people. However, Jesus is the peace who brought us back together with God. Again, we find that putting on the armor is actually a matter of clothing ourselves with Jesus. In order to put on peace, we put on the One who is peace, Jesus Christ. When we place our faith in Him, He restores our relationship with God and gives us peace with God.

In Romans 5:1, Paul describes it this, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

The only way that it is possible to have peace with God is through the One who is peace Himself – Jesus Christ. Any effort we make, any other method that we try to follow will always fall short of that peace.

In Colossians 1:19-20, Paul describes this peace a little differently. "For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Here, Paul is describing how Jesus made peace by reconciling all things to Himself. Reconcile is not a word we commonly use today, unless one is in the field of accounting, when reconciling bank statements to ones checkbook balance. In other words, you're bringing together what has been separated, which is the Biblical definition of peace.

By His shed blood on the cross, Jesus accounted for the sins that separated us from God and reconciled us back together with God. And if we’re going to stand firm against the evil one, we must begin with our peace with God to provide us with the right foundation.

However, as we’ve seen with the other pieces of the armor, there must be something more to the gospel of peace since the verb Paul uses indicates that it is something we must put on ourselves. And our peace with God, while it is certainly an integral part of the gospel of peace, is clearly something that God does for us completely apart from our own effort or merit.

In Philippians 4:4-9, Paul clearly describes that peace. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. As for the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

I believe that the wonderful thing about this passage, is it not only describes the peace of God, but Paul also gives us some practical instruction on how to put on the peace of God.

Rejoice in the Lord, delight ourselves in the Lord, that we put on the peace of God. 

Satan is a master at trying to use our circumstances in order to try to get us to quit delighting in God. We certainly see him attempt to use that tactic with Job. But we are able to stand firm during those times by delighting in God, rejoicing in the Lord, regardless of circumstances. So Paul commands us to rejoice in the Lord always. In fact, that’s so important, he repeats the command a second time. Keep in mind, Paul is not asking his readers to do something that he hasn't done himself. Paul is rejoicing in the Lord, even as he’s writing those words from a prison cell after all.

In verse 5, when Paul writes "Let your gentle spirit be known to all people." He is writing to believers about our relationships with our Christian brothers and sisters who may not be as mature as we are. It has been said, that "Christians are the only army who shoot their own wounded in cold blood," and unfortunately, I am embarrassed to say, there is a degree of truth to that statement. I have found this to be particularly true, of those who are experiencing emotional problems, such as depression or bipolar. Many Christians are outwardly intolerant of those with emotional issues, as this indicates some sin in their life.

I believe, for there to be any truth in that statement, is absolutely appalling! I believe that the church is to be a sanctuary of healing. Not the front lines of a firing squad! Scripture is extremely clear, that we are to endure the weaknesses of others.

Romans 15:1 says "Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not just please ourselves."

Satan loves to distracts us from the battle, causing us to lay down our armor, so that we become vulnerable to attack. I am thoroughly convinced that's why he often uses worry. It distracts us, taking our focus off of the Lord and more on our worries. So, how to we avoid worry and appropriate the peace of God? That's right! We rejoice! When do we rejoice? Always! We pray! What do we pray about? Everything! How often do we pray? Without ceasing!

I Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."

To paraphrase, I believe it means if something is significant enough to worry about, then it’s significant enough to pray about. 

In the same way that the individual pieces of the armor worked together to protect the Roman soldiers, so does each piece of our spiritual armor work together. Righteousness depends on truth. And the peace of God requires both truth and righteousness. Paul reminds us to think about those things that are true and then to put into practice those things that are in accordance with the truth.

As a footnote, I’ve often heard very well-meaning Christians justify their decisions, attitudes and actions by claiming that they have "a peace about it," or "Their hearts tells them," but "inner feelings" of peace are not necessarily of God. 

In fact, Jeremiah 17:9 teaches us that "The heart is more deceitful than all else, And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?"

The peace of God is always, always rooted in the character of God which is revealed through the Word of God – in other words in righteousness and truth. 

As a word of caution, let me boldly say that Satan primarily attacks our minds, our feelings and our emotions. And he is really, really good at it. So if we don’t put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, our thoughts and feelings can easily separate us from God rather than bring peace.

The gospel of peace, is also peace with others. Jesus, on the cross, not only tore down the barriers that separated us from God, He also destroyed the walls that separate us from other believers as well. The gospel of peace has established an army of individual believers who are united under one head, Jesus. 

Just as it is not possible for one soldier to win a war on his own, it is not possible for individual followers of Jesus to be successful in spiritual warfare either. That’s why, as we’ve already emphasized several times, that the armor God provides for us is only effective when it is used in a corporate setting and not as an individual effort, on our own.

In verse 15, Paul says "and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace." We could interpret it to say "all of you having shod your feet with the gospel of peace."

One of Satan’s most effective tools is to try to create barriers within the body of Christ and to bring separation among the members of that body. Unfortunately, I am saddened to say, many of us within the body of Christ, have experienced that first hand, sometimes in its most severe form, a church split. And when that occurs, Satan not only succeeds in damaging the witness of those believers, he also gains a foothold in the lives of those individuals.

In fact, much of Ephesians chapter 2, is devoted to the concept of peace within the body of Christ. In that chapter, Paul describes how the Gentiles were once the enemies of the Jews. They were excluded from citizenship in Israel and had no hope of receiving the blessings of the covenant that God had made with His chosen people.

But Jesus, Who is our peace, changed all of that. His finished work on the cross broke down the dividing barriers which separated the Jews and the Gentiles, so that all who are followers of Christ can become one. The distinction between Jew and Gentile no longer exists in the church. But wait, Jesus did more than just break down barriers between Jews and Gentiles. He destroyed every possible barrier that could disrupt the unity of the body. He, therefore, expects us to maintain the unity and peace that He has created. 

Allow me say it in a different way, it is the responsibility of every believer, every true follower of Jesus Christ, to maintain the unity and peace within the body of Christ, that He created. It's not someone else's responsibility, it's all of ours!

In Ephesians 4:3, Paul writes "being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

And in Romans 12:18, he says "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people."

II Corinthians 13:11 says it this way, "Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice, mend your ways, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you."

And in Hebrews 12:14, the writer says "Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."

In Matthew 5:9, Jesus in His Sermon On The Mount taught "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."

The Old Testament says in Proverbs 16:7, "When a person’s ways are pleasing to the Lord,
He causes even his enemies to make peace with him.

In Isaiah 32:17, the prophet teaches "And the work of righteousness will be peace,
And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever."

Beloved, the message I believe is clear, when we are firm in the great truth of God, when we are at peace with God and at peace with others; It pleases God, He is on our side. In contrast, I would imagine then, when we are not at peace with God and others, quite the opposite is true, wouldn't you?

Then in verse 16, "in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."

Paul is certainly influenced here by the picture of the shield of the Roman soldier, but I’m convinced that Paul's primary influence pictured God as a shield Who protects His people. So, just as we’ve seen with the other pieces of armor, putting on the armor of God requires us to put on God Himself.

Now, understanding a bit more about the shield of the Roams soldier will help us to be more effective in taking up the shield of faith in our lives. The Roman soldiers actually used two different types of shields. They had a small, circular shield that was primarily used for ceremonial proceedings, but could also be used in close in fighting to ward of the blows of the enemy. But the shield that Paul describes here is a much larger shield. In fact, the Greek word for this shield, "thureon," came from the root word, "thura," which meant door.

The shield consisted of a 3 layer wood frame with linen sandwiched in between the layers. Then there was an outer skin of several more layers of leather. And the whole thing was then held together by a bronze strip around the edge. A typical shield measured about 2-1/2 feet wide and 4 feet tall. Since the average soldier was only about 5’-5” tall, you can see how the shield would protect almost the entire body.

As a footnote, this is the only piece of the armor for which Paul describes exactly how it operates. He exhorts us to put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness and to shod our feet with the gospel of peace and to take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. But he never explains exactly what their specific purpose is or exactly how they work. However, with the shield of faith, he makes it very clear exactly why we need the shield and how it operates in our life. 

The shield of faith allows extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Paul refers to Satan as "the evil one," he is making it clear once again that our adversary is not just some principle, or some force, or some philosophy. He is a real being who’s goal is to do everything he can to separate us from God. He is a real foe, so we need real armor to be able to stand firm against him.

It seems pretty clear to me from the context, as well as what we know about how Satan operates, that these flaming arrows are the seducing temptations that Satan fires into our lives. He fires shafts of selfishness, doubt, fear, lust, greed, and pride into our lives, at times literally bombarding the follower of Jesus with them.

The flaming arrows were designed so that when they hit the enemy’s shields the fire would bounce off the shield and spread. So before a battle in which flaming arrows might be shot at them, the soldiers would soak the leather covering of their shields in water.

Then they could actually use the shield to catch the arrows and extinguish them so that the fire would not spread. Paul writes that the shield of faith not only protects the believer against these flaming arrows of temptation, but it intercepts and extinguishes every single one. The shield is effective against all of Satan's arrows. In other words, even when we face the insurmountable temptations of the enemy, God has promised that his shield of faith is adequate to extinguish every single one.

In Closing...

I'd like to offer you, what I believe, are four essential keys to being at peace with others:

1: Humility, despite what some may think, is not a weak man’s surrender, but a strong man’s rejection of selfishness.
2: Gentleness, simply put, it means that rather than fighting for my rights, I’m more concerned about protecting the rights of others.
3: Patience, In the body, that means that we’re willing to be patient with those who hurt or frustrate us without attempting to get even.
4: Bearing with one another, the idea here is that we’re willing to bear with those who are different than us. It means putting up with the weaknesses of those who may be less mature that we are.

Beloved, every one of those four attitudes is a reflection of the attitude that God has toward us and He expects us to treat others in the very same way in order to maintain peace with them.

If we want to be able to stand firm against the evil one, then we need to make sure that we are fitted with the firm foundation of the gospel of peace – peace with God, the peace of God, and peace with others. 
Then, and only then, will we have the solid footing that we need to stand firm in our spiritual battle.
May it be so...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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