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Sermon #83 — Ephesians Sermons
Title: The Shoes of Gospel Peace
Text: Ephesians 6:15
Subject: The Gospel of Peace Our Foundation
Date: Tuesday Evening — November 7, 2017
Readings: Bobbie Estes and David Burge
Open your Bibles to the 6th chapter of the Gospel of Ephesians. 500 years ago last week, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, beginning the Protestant Reformation. Of all the reformers of that era, I probably have less in common with Luther theologically than any of the other men. But there are none of the reformers that I esteem more highly. Luther was bold, dogmatic, unrelenting, a manly, laboring pastor who didnŐt know the meaning of the words Ňback-upÓ or Ňback-off.Ó There was fire in his soul. He burned with passion. And he did nothing by halves.
On one occasion, when in great spiritual conflict in his soul with Satan, the conflict was so very real that it almost took on a physical manifestation. Suddenly, the fiery, passionate Martin Luther, in his great anger with Satan and his hellish assault against him, grabbed the inkwell on his desk and threw it at the devil, spattering ink all over the wall of his study. That wall stood with the ink stains on it for many years, reminding those who saw it of how vivid the believerŐs spiritual conflict was in LutherŐs life.
It is that conflict Paul writes about in this 6th chapter of Ephesians.
(Ephesians 6:10-17) ŇFinally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ó
Every true believer is a soldier at war, enlisted in the army of Christ, beneath the banner of the cross. In this portion of Holy Scripture, the Apostle Paul is describing the believerŐs armor allegorically by alluding to the combat dress of the ancient Roman soldier. Each weapon of the Roman soldier is used to describe the spiritual weapons of our warfare. I take verse 15 as my text for this message. The title of my message is — The Shoes of Gospel Peace.
(Ephesians 6:15) ŇAnd your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.Ó
We are, all the days of our lives in this world, engaged in a life and death conflict, in hand to hand combat, with the world, the flesh, and the devil. If you go to war, you must be prepared and equipped the armor, the whole armor of God.
á The Girdle of Truth
á The Breastplate of Righteousness
á And the Shoes of Gospel Peace
Shoes are important. We wear different shoes for different purposes.
á Dress Shoes
á Work Boots
á Steel Toed Shoes
á Football Shoes
á Military Boots
PaulŐs direction here — ŇStand therefore, havingÉyour feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,Ó is an allusion to the boots worn by ancient warriors in battle. This was a very important part of the soldierŐs armor. Usually, the boots were made of brass and leather, with short nails extending from the soles. They covered the soldierŐs feet, ankles, and calves. These boots preserved the soldierŐs feet from the dangerous snares of the enemy. They secured his feet in marching and in standing his ground. They gave him a firm stand in battle.
What Paul teaches here is that we must have the Gospel of peace, to protect us, to aid us in our marches, and to enable us to stand firm in the day of conflict with our enemies. We are not to furnish ourselves, in any manner, with carnal weapons. But, having the preparation (foundation) of the Gospel under our feet, wearing shoes of Gospel peace, we are sustained and prepared to go on in our march through the world.
GodŐs church is an army in motion (Matthew 28:18-20). The believer is a soldier on the march. Therefore, shoes are provided for his feet.
á He has the helmet of salvation for his head, because he is to be thoughtful.
á His heart is covered with the breastplate of righteousness, because he is a man of feeling.
á His whole nature is protected by the shield of faith, because he is called to perseverance.
á He has the Sword of the Spirit for his hand, with which to assail the foes.
á And he has the shoes of Gospel Peace for his feet, that he may march against the gates of hell and stand firm in the heat of battle.
We must never be passive, inanimate, and motionless. God works in us to will and do of his good pleasure. His grace is the great power which secures our salvation. But his grace is also the motivation of life. Grace imparts a healthy life; and life rejoices in activity. The Lord God never intended for his people to be cold, dead statues. He means for us to have life, to have it more abundantly, life full of life and energy. He has given us feet; and he intends for us to use them.
Satan cannot bear a man who serves God earnestly. He does damage to the kingdom of darkness. Therefore, he is constantly assailed by Apollyon, the dragon of hell. The devil will not leave him alone. The fiend of hell constant seeks to destroy such a man. The prince of darkness will try, if he can, to injure the manŐs character, to interrupt his communion with God, to spoil the simplicity of his faith, to make him proud of what he is doing, or to make him despair of success. Satan will do anything to bruise the heels of those who march against him in the name of Christ. He tries in every way possible to trip us up. Because of all these dangers, infinite mercy has provided Gospel shoes for the believerŐs feet, shoes of the best kind. These are shoes that can be worn only by those warriors who serve the Lord of Hosts.
Proposition: The Gospel does for the believer what the iron-spiked boots did for the Roman warrior. — The Gospel makes us ready to march, gives us a firm foothold, and defends us against the snares of the devil.
Divisions: Let me show you three things in this message.
1. First, The Shoes. — Every child of God, every soldier in ChristŐs army is prepared for battle with the Gospel of peace as shoes for his feet.
2. Second, The Preparation — We will consider the preparation of the Gospel of peace.
3. Third, The Value of the Shoes — I will demonstrate the value of these shoes.
1st — Every believer, every child of God, every soldier in ChristŐs army is prepared for battle with the Gospel of peace as shoes for his feet. — The Gospel is that good news of redemption by the blood of Christ. It is the message of hope, mercy, and grace from the God of heaven to poor sinners. The Gospel is full of blessings, any one of which would outweigh the world in value. The Gospel is as free as it is full. It is everlasting and immutable. We can never think too much of the Gospel. We can never exaggerate its worth.
Paul takes from this choice Gospel its most excellent essence — Peace. And from this peace he tells us that shoes are prepared for the soldier of the cross.
á Being Ňshod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace,Ó a man walks over the lion and the serpent unharmed.
á He walks over the burning coals of malice, slander, and persecution untouched.
What better shoes could our souls require? Gospel peace provides shoes suitable to the feet of every soldier and pilgrim who is marching to Zion.
The Gospel proclaims the accomplishment of peace. — When God created the first man Adam, there was a perfect love and peace between them. God was at peace with man. Man was at peace with God. They had sweet fellowship and communion with one another, walking together in the Garden. But when Adam sinned, peace was broken. Immediately, a quarrel began. Ever since Adam rebelled against God, there has been a quarrel between God and man.
This is a mutual and universal quarrel. All men by nature are at war with God. We were all Ňchildren of wrath even as othersÓ (Ephesians 2:3). — ŇThe carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can beÓ (Romans 8:7). The apostle tells us that we were alienated from God and enemies in our minds (Colossians 1:21). Every part of manŐs being is opposed to God (Romans 3:10-15).
á ManŐs understanding is opposed to GodŐs wisdom.
á ManŐs heart is opposed to GodŐs heart.
á ManŐs will is opposed to GodŐs will.
á ManŐs mind is opposed to GodŐs mind.
Because man is in arms against God, so God in justice is opposed to every man. — ŇGod is angry with the wicked every dayÉ.He hath bent his bow and made it ready; he hath also prepared for him the instruments of deathÓ (Psalm 7:11-13).
God has set up the royal standard of his law in defiance of all the sons of Adam. — ŇThe soul that sinneth, it shall die!Ó All men have rebelled against the crown of heaven. They are traitors to the dignity of GodŐs own majesty. And, as such, God has taken the field against them, with the fire and sword of divine vengeance.
At every place where sin sets its foot against God in the earth, there the wrath of God meets fallen man. As man is altogether sinful, so he is altogether cursed. Inside and outside, body and soul, man is the object of divine wrath by nature. God is so angry with man that it is written even Ňthe sacrifices of the wicked are an abomination to God.Ó
On GodŐs part this is a righteous quarrel. He has every reason to be angry with man.
á Sin is the breach of GodŐs will.
á Sin is the transgression of GodŐs law.
á Sin is an affront to GodŐs holiness.
á Sin is rebellion against GodŐs sovereignty.
á Sin is the assault of GodŐs character.
á Sin is the attempt of man to rob God of his glory.
á Sin is manŐs attempt to rape the Almighty, shove him off his throne, and assassinate the God of Glory!
Yes, God has every reason to be angry with man. But on manŐs part the quarrel is altogether unrighteous and unreasonable. God has done nothing to deserve our enmity.
Unless this quarrel is taken up by a suitable daysman, by a satisfactory mediator, it will be an everlasting quarrel. Death brings an end to other feuds, but not to this one. Death brings the sinner into an endless state of misery and torment, where he goes on hating, cursing, and blaspheming God; and God goes on hating, plaguing, and punishing man eternally.
Such is manŐs condition by nature. He is under the sentence of wrath. But the Gospel is the message of peace, proclaiming that GodŐs own Son has accomplished peace for sinners! The guilty sinner is surrounded on every side with the flood of divine wrath. No help is to be seen, no hope is to be heard of, until the Gospel comes, like the dove bringing the olive branch of peace. In the Gospel we are told that the tide is turned, the flood of wrath as now been dried up by Christ our Substitute, who was Ňmade a curse for us.Ó
Blessed be God, the Lord Jesus Christ, GodŐs own dear Son, has intervened in our behalf! He took up the quarrel and made peace through the blood of his cross!
á God demanded righteousness. Christ gave it.
á God demanded blood. Christ gave it.
á God demanded death. Christ gave it.
Being the God-man, Christ our Mediator settled the quarrel. He satisfied divine justice and made our peace with God. — ŇGod was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.Ó — ŇWhen we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his SonÓ (Romans 5:10).
Having satisfied GodŐs anger against man, our Mediator takes away manŐs enmity against God by the Gospel alone.
á Through the Gospel, the Holy Spirit changes the rebel sinnerŐs heart.
á In the Gospel, Christ proclaims the terms of peace. The sinner must confess his guilt. He must throw down his weapons of warfare and surrender to mercy. He must sue for mercy at the Throne of Grace.
á Believing the Gospel, we receive peace in our souls. — ŇTherefore, being justified, by faith we have peace with GodÓ (Romans 5:1). Faith does not constitute or accomplish our justification and peace, but it does receive it.
The Gospel also gives us a perfect peace of conscience. There is nothing which will so well prepare the saints for doing the LordŐs bidding as a peace of heart. A sense of perfect peace with God is the grandest thing in all the world to sustain GodŐs soldiers.
Through the Gospel our hearts are assured that we have peace with God. By the Gospel we are assured that —
á Sin is gone.
á Guilt is gone.
á God is reconciled.
á Condemnation is gone.
Let a man know that his sins are forgiven for ChristŐs sake, that he is reconciled to God by the death of his Son, and that between him and God there is no wall of separation, and see what joy floods his soul. When we know that God looks upon us as being cleansed from every speck of sin by the blood of Christ, that we are accepted in the Beloved, and that we are forever reconciled to God, then we can march through life without fear. — ŇThere is no fear in love. Perfect love casteth out all fear.Ó The revelation and assurance of GodŐs perfect love for us in Christ casts out fear! When a man is at peace with God, he has no reason to fear. — ŇIf God be for us, who can be against us!Ó
We can march peacefully through the roughest places of our pilgrimage, when we have communion with God. Communion brings peace. The promises of the Gospel sustain us with great peace.
á He has promised never to leave us.
á Christ has promised to protect us.
á Christ has promised to keep us.
á Christ has promised to guide us.
á Christ has promised to provide for us.
á Christ has promised us a kingdom.
Oh, weary pilgrims, look over the Book of promises once again, and be at peace. For all the promises of God are in Christ Jesus yea and amen.
When the Gospel reconciles our hearts in all things to the heart of our Redeemer, then we have peace. We walk in peace only as we walk with God, having our feet shod with the Gospel of peace (Philippians 4:4-8).
á Let us walk in faith, trusting Christ for everything.
á Walk in joy, having all in him.
á Walk in peace, knowing his presence.
á Walk in thanksgiving, knowing his goodness.
á Walk in hope, relying upon his promise.
á ŇThe peace of God will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus the Lord.Ó
(Philippians 4:4) ŇRejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Ó
The Gospel is called the Gospel of Peace because it, also, gives us peace with one another.
á There is in Christ Jesus a union between us and all believers; and we should walk in peace toward our brethren.
á In Christ all natural distinctions of race, sex, and class are destroyed.
á There should be nothing to divide me in heart from any man in the kingdom of Christ.
á As much as is possible, we should be at peace with all men. — ŇIf it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.Ó — ŇBlessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.Ó
Having described these shoes, let me say this: — These were the shoes our Master wore, and these are the shoes he gives us to wear. — ŇPeace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.Ó
á Christ always lived in communion with his Father.
á He always sought the good of his brethren.
á He had for his enemies only prayers and tears.
á As peace kept him all the days of his life, so it will keep us. You never find him worried, disturbed, or frustrated, because his feet were shod with peace.
2nd — Let me say a little bit about the preparation of the Gospel of peace. The gospel of peace was prepared by God himself. In the counsel of peace, the Triune God resolved upon the most suitable way to accomplish peace for us, before the world began.
á He made Christ the Mediator of peace.
á He agreed upon the terms of peace.
á In the fulness of time he sent his Son to accomplish peace by his substitutionary work.
The wisdom of God could not have devised a method of salvation more advantageous to the exalting of his own glorious name and the happiness of his people than he has done by reconciling us to himself through Christ the Mediator.
á By the death of Christ, God displayed sin it its most hideous character.
á At Calvary, God displayed the fulness of his justice.
á At the cross, God displayed his own infinite holiness.
á Through the sacrifice of his Son, God gave the fullest possible display of his infinite love and mercy.
á Through the substitutionary work of Christ for our salvation, God destroyed every ground for human pride.
á Having prepared peace for us, God proclaims peace to poor sinners by the Gospel.
But before any sinner will ever seek peace with God, God must prepare him for it. This is the difference between the true believer and the carnal professor. God prepares the hearts of his elect to receive peace.
á He destroys every false hope of peace.
á By the law, he makes the sinner to know his guilt.
á By the Gospel, he breaks the sinnerŐs heart and crushes his rebellion in the revelation of Christ.
á Then he sends forth his Spirit as the messenger of peace to poor sinners.
And the Lord God graciously prepares all his children for their pilgrimage to glory with the Gospel of peace. The word preparation here simply means to make ready and firmly establish, or to fix upon a firm foundation.
á God makes his servants, who must lead the way in Zion, ready to preach the Gospel. Those who preach the Gospel stand in the forefront of the battle; and they must be established with a firm and solid knowledge of the Gospel.
á And God makes his people ready to march through this world with peace, being firmly established in the Gospel.
The ShoesŐ Value
3rd — In the last place let me show you the value of these shoes of Gospel peace. — I rejoice to tell you that these Gospel shoes fit perfectly. Many would give you the shoes of the law. With them there is much straining, tugging, and pulling. When you get them on, they are too tight and give much pain. With the law, there is no peace. But for poor lame Mephibosheths, these Gospel shoes work miracles. They make us to leap and dance before God. This is an old shoe that is just suited for us. It helps our infirmities, heals all the wounds of our sins, and strengthens our weak knees. Let me show you how comfortable these shoes are.
The preparation of the Gospel of peace is a shoe that gives us a firm foothold. Habakkuk must have been singing of this shoe when he said, ŇThe Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hindsŐ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.Ó Nothing helps a man to stand fast in the Lord like the Gospel of peace.
á Doctrinal error shall not overthrow him.
á Temptation shall not take him in its snare.
á Assaults will not move him.
á Fear will not make him flee.
Our shoes are driven into the eternal truths of God; and they hold like anchors. Our creed is interwoven with personal experience, and we cannot deny it.
á We have nothing to do with an atonement that does not atone.
á Let others preach salvation by free-will if they please, we declare nothing but free-grace.
á Sovereignty, Substitution, and Satisfaction are cleats in our shoes, nails in the soles of our Gospel boots, that enable us to stand firm.
The shoes of which our text speaks are most suitable for marching. A sense of pardoned sin and reconciliation to God prepares us for anything and everything. When the burden of sin is gone, all other burdens are light.
These Gospel shoes effectually preserve us in the KingŐs highway. The way is sometimes rough and rugged. It is stained with the blood of pilgrims before us. It is a narrow way. But the peace of the Gospel keeps us in the way.
These Gospel shoes are good for climbing, too. Do you ever practice the holy art of spiritual climbing with the Spirit of God leading the way?
á By the Gospel we sometimes climb Mt. Tabor and behold Jesus only.
á Sometimes we go to the heights of Mt. Pisgah; and, by the Gospel, we get a vision of the Glory Land that is soon to be revealed.
á How blessed are those hours when we can by the Gospel ascend Hermon, and commune with God face to face. There God speaks to us as a man does with his familiar friend.
The heart that is prepared with the peace of the Gospel has shoes suitable for running as well as climbing. When our hearts are assured by the Gospel of peace with God, then do we run with patience the race that is set before us, and walk in peace through the dark valley.
These Gospel shoes are good for fighting as well. Being armed with the Gospel of peace, we stand fast in the evil day. We withstand every accusation. We march steadfastly against every foe: the world, the flesh, and the devil. And soon the promise shall come, — ŇThe God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.Ó
ŇStand therefore having...your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.Ó Then, my friends, we shall be able to say with Paul, ŇI am ready.Ó — He is the strongest, ablest man in the world who has peace, Ňthe peace of God which passeth all understandingÓ (Philippians 4:7).
á Ready to work.
á Ready to fight the good fight.
á Ready to suffer.
á Ready to preach.
á Ready to die.
á Oh, may God the Holy Ghost put on you the shoes of the Gospel of peace, for ChristŐs sake!