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May 13, 2016

Wearing the right kind of shoes was critical for the Roman soldier, and the Gospel of Peace shoes are important for us, as well. It's our third kind of spiritual armor from Ephesians 6.

In Today's episode:

What are the Gospel of Peace shoes?
How can we wear them?
2 Tricks of the enemy, and how these shoes can help us to stand strong against these tricks
How wearing these shoes can be a help to us in putting on the rest of the armor
Hear missionaries from Niger, West Africa

In Ephesians 6, the next piece of spiritual armor Paul wants Christians to wear is a pair of the right kind of shoes.

Verse 15 “…And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”

What is the Gospel of Peace?

4 chapters before Paul talks about having our feet prepared with the Gospel of Peace, there is a passage where Paul mentions “Peace” four times in Ephesians 2:13-19. In this section, the Author of peach is mentioned, as well as 2 groups that were once fighting and now have peace.

The 2 groups:

Those who were “far off” in verse 13, (the Gentiles), and those who were “near” in verse 17 (the Jews).

Why was one group considered far off from God and the other considered near?

Gentiles were anyone who was not a Jew. God’s laws didn’t come to them, and they didn’t perform the Old Testament sacrifices. The Jews, however, were near to God. They were His people, and they had received God’s laws and did the sacrifices. There was huge hostility between these 2 groups, and many Jews had great pride in being God’s “chosen people”.

Christ is our peace in that Christians have been brought near to God through his death, and also in that He establishes unity among people by His death. So keeping the law is no longer a requirement for having peace with God. Jesus is our peace.

4 important questions about the unity that Jesus creates.

1. Why would Jesus do all this?

So that He may present a unified body of believers to the Father.

2. Why would He want to present the unified body to the Father?

(John 17:11 “…that they may be one, even as we are one.” Here, Jesus expresses to the Father that he wants those who believe in Him to be one. Also verses 11, 21-23.)

The unified believers would serve as evidence to others that Jesus was truly from God.

3. How is this evidence that Jesus is from God?

This is evidence, because nobody else could bring together people who have such bad feelings toward each other…and help them consider one another as family! Only one sent from God could do this.

4. How did this unity happen?

It came about through the cross of Christ! Ephesians 2:16.

And this last important fact is what Satan does not want people to know: that true and lasting peace only comes through Jesus, and what he did for us on the cross.

Jesus wanted to take groups that were fighting, break down the barriers, and bring them as one body into a relationship with God. (Ephesians 2)

A reason that Jesus wanted his followers to be unified is so the world would believe that He was sent from God. (John 17)

This would be amazing evidence! And it would only happen by the cross.

Through his act of sacrificing himself, he has brought the message of peace. And it is a message that the enemy wants to hide, and even use Christians to hide it.

Which brings us to the two schemes of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

The first trick that Satan uses to hide the message (that peace comes through Christ and His cross) is that he wants us to think that what unifies Christians the most -our greatest bond- is something other than the cross.

We all come to God the same way, by the blood of Jesus, and so there is no room for pride. No one is less deserving of God’s judgment for sin than the other.

Of course, we all have various views on different things…

-traditions in the church

-interpretation of passages in Scripture

-Bible translations

-Denominations

-Politics

And Satan would want us to think that these kinds of things are what unite us the most! The result?

Each one of our “groups” are united, but the body of Christ is not.

And the message of peace becomes hidden to those who are not in the family of God because they do not see this unity. They see division.

As Christians, if we have made other things a test for unity, one of the best things we can do is go to our brother/sister in Christ and ask them to forgive us. Because when you and I hold to views that treat our family in Christ as though they are not, we are in fact being used by the enemy to hide the important message of peace through the cross alone.

The second scheme of the Devil has to do with what we say. Our enemy would want us to think that if we tell someone they can only have peace with God through the cross, then that conversation itself will always lead to something other than peace. It’s a conversation that will just bring conflict!

But this is not true.

There is a way to have a conversation about the Gospel without people getting upset and seeing a relationship ruined.

Speak with humility, explaining how you’ve rebelled against God and deserve His judgment.

In Acts 26:9-11, Paul communicates to his audience that if anyone was an enemy of God, it was definitely himself! If anyone deserved God's judgment, it was Paul! The apostle showed humility.

In verses 30-32 of that same chapter, Paul has talked about his encounter with Christ, and at the end the king was inclined to let him go free. Paul has not made a new enemy here.

The kind of thinking that believes sharing our message of peace cannot be done without hurting a friendship or making enemies - is a trick from the devil.

2 important things about wearing the Gospel of peace shoes-

-How we can wear them

-Why I believe that wearing these shoes are critical for us in standing strong against our spiritual enemy.

#1 How to wear them ~ Accept the mission that Jesus has given us. (Acts 1:8)

We are witnesses of Christ and His message of peace. Think of this like a shoe for the left foot and the right.

Left foot: keep unity in the body of Christ, not create division; and determine that our strongest bond is Jesus and His cross.

Right foot: share with others how we deserved God’s judgment, but we found peace with God through Christ’s sacrifice.

#2 Why is it so critical that we accept this mission of promoting His peace? So we will be able to make a difference for the glory of God.

The Roman soldier’s sandals had spikes, or nails that gave him a firm footing, and no slipping. If he fell, of course, he would not be able to fight well! The right kind of shoes were critical to him having the victory in battle.

How can wearing our Gospel of peace shoes help us effectively use other pieces of armor?

Because when we accept this mission of promoting peace, it gives us purpose and focus in life. And that motivates us to want to stand strong in our faith.

We will find ourselves wanting to say “NO” to sin in our life, because that sin interferes with the mission of our life.

If you have found yourself struggling with saying no to sin, one of the things that will help you, is saying “Yes!” to the life mission of sharing the Gospel of peace.

This is our purpose and mission in life. When you and I embrace this as our mission, we will want to stand strong. We will want to walk in victory, because we have already said 'yes' to being His witnesses of the message of peace. And when the schemes of Satan interfere with us staying on mission, we will want to stand up and say “No!” to the enemy.