Gospel Shoes Ephesians 6:15

The gospel is the Good News that Jesus has died for our sins and has risen from the dead to offer the free gift of eternal life to everybody who puts their trust in Him. But it is a spiritual battle to help people to believe this good news. The gospel is spiritual warfare. Talking to the Apostle Paul, God explained the task of proclaiming the gospel in these words.
Acts 26 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
For somebody to believe in Jesus, God has to open their eyes so that they can turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan, the devil. So it follows that proclaiming the gospel is spiritual warfare – it is always going to be a real spiritual battle.
2 Corinthians 4 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The reason people don’t believe in Jesus is that the devil, the god of this age, has blinded their eyes so they cannot recognise Jesus for who He is, the Son of God and the Image of God. Talking about Jesus is a spiritual battle.
This gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s way of bringing His peace to human beings who are lost without Him. It is the gospel of peace.
Romans 5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
In the Bible peace means much more than the absence of conflict. It means being reconciled to God, reunited with God. It is all the blessings of wholeness, shalom. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way that lost human beings can find true peace and wholeness.
We have thought about the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness and some of the lies the devil uses to lead people away from God. How the devil wants people to think that there are all kinds of ways to God and any religion is as good as any other. At the same time the devil wants people to think that they are alright without God, that they don’t need saving and indeed that God doesn’t even exist.
With all these lies of the evil one we need to be bold sharing the good news of Jesus with our friends and neighbours. We need to be a church who believe what we preach and who preach what we believe. Believing what we preach – that Jesus is not an optional extra in life but that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the way the truth and the life and the only way to God the Father. That following Jesus is not just one way to live your life but following Jesus is the only way to life in all its fulness. And without Jesus, people are lost and without hope. This is the gospel we believe and it is the gospel we need to preach and announce and proclaim in any and every way that we can. For that we need the third element of the armour of God which Paul talks about.
Ephesians 6 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
The Good News Bible talks about putting on as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace.
The Jerusalem Bible talks about eagerness to spread the gospel.
But in this case the New Revised Standard Version says it best 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
If you’re climbing mountains you need a good pair of climbing boots. If you are running a race you need a good pair of running shoes. To be ready to share the good news of Jesus, you need to put on whatever helps you be ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
The church exists to preach the gospel. Emil Brunner said, “The church exists by mission as fire exists by burning.” Being ready to preach the gospel is not an optional extra for super-keen Christians. God calls every one of us to be prepared to talk about Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
God has made every Christian an Ambassador for Jesus. We represent God and we have been given his message to deliver – the life saving message about Jesus, the gospel which brings us peace. I have quoted before these challenging words of Karl Barth.
“The life of the one holy Universal Church is determined by the fact that it is the fulfilment of the service as ambassador enjoined upon it.
Where the life of the Church is exhausted in self-serving, it smacks of death; the decisive thing has been forgotten, that this whole life is lived only in the exercise of what we called the Church’s service as ambassador, in proclamation. A Church that recognizes its commission will neither desire nor be able to petrify in any of its functions, to be the Church for its own sake.
There is the “Christ-believing group”; but this group is sent out: “Go and preach the gospel!” It does not say, “Go and celebrate services!” “Go and edify yourselves with the sermon!” “Go and celebrate the Sacraments!” “Go and present yourselves in a liturgy, which perhaps repeats the heavenly liturgy!” “Go and devise a theology!”
Of course, there is nothing to forbid all this; there may exist very good cause to do it all; but nothing, nothing at all for its own sake! In it all the one thing must prevail: “Proclaim the gospel to every creature!” The Church runs like a herald to deliver the message. It is not a snail that carries its little house on its back and is so well off in it that only now and then it sticks out its feelers and then thinks that the “claim of publicity” has been satisfied. No, the Church lives by its commission as herald. Where the Church is living, it must ask itself whether it is serving this commission or whether it is a purpose in itself. If the church becomes a purpose in itself, then as a rule it begins to smack of the “sacred,” to affect piety, to play the priest and to mumble.”
The church runs like a herald to deliver the message. The Good News translation puts it this way.
2 Corinthians 5 20 Here we are, then, speaking for Christ, as though God himself were making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: let God change you from enemies into his friends! 21Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.
God has made us Ambassadors for Christ. We are God’s heralds. So we need to put on our gospel shoes. Whatever will help us be ready to share the gospel of peace with a needy world. We heard lots of sermons two years ago about being prepared to give an answer to the questions our not-yet-Christian friends might have about Jesus and the Christian faith.
What is salvation?
What is the point of life?
How can we have a relationship with God?
How should we respond to the Good News?
Didn’t He used to be dead?
What makes you believe that God exists?
Just how did God create the world?
Can we trust the New Testament?
Is Jesus the only way to God?
How can we believe in God in a world so full of suffering?
What happens when we die?
How can we have a relationship with God?
We talked through answers we might give to questions like those. And we thought about how we can prepare ourselves to talk about Jesus.
Why we don’t and why we should talk about Jesus
Preaching the gospel necessarily includes using words
Praying about talking about Jesus
We thought about Sharing my story
And we talked then about what it means to be Ambassadors for Christ
Everything we said then is in my book Prepared to Give an Answer. If you didn’t receive a copy last year, please do take one this morning. Read it and use it to help you to be ready to talk about Jesus when God gives you the opportunity.
15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
Put on your Gospel Shoes!
At school and university I used to play a rather dangerous sport called lacrosse. It involved running up and down a field throwing and catching a ball in a stick. Lacrosse is the national sport of Canada and it is rightly called the fastest sport on two feet. Good players can throw the ball at more than a hundred miles an hour. It is said that the only rule of the game is that you aren’t allowed to hit your opponent if he hasn’t got the ball. Like any field sports, we played in all weathers, rain hail and snow. And by the end of the winter season the pitch was always more mud than grass especially around the goal area. So like soccer players and rugby players next to a good lacrosse stick and a good helmet, the most important piece of kit were good boots. To stop us falling over in the mud our boots had studs to keep us on our feet – the very best footwear for the job!
But studs on football boots are not a new invention. For Roman soldiers, the most important thing about their battle shoes was that they wouldn’t slip when the enemy charged. So they also had nails in the soles of their boots to keep them on their feet in the heat of battle. And that is the picture here. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
Just as sportsmen need good boots, in the same way Christians need our Gospel Shoes to stop us from slipping and falling over in the middle of sharing the gospel. The best equipment to help us talk about Jesus is to know what the Good News is, inside out, and to have experienced the life-changing gospel of peace in your own life. Knowing the gospel and living the gospel will keep your feet steady. When we are confident that we won’t slip or trip ourselves up when we are talking about Jesus then we will be more wise and bold and effective in sharing the gospel with other people.
Proclaiming the gospel will be a spiritual battle. We need to prepare ourselves. The devil will do everything he can to distract us from doing the job God has given us to do. He will try to convince us that we aren’t good enough to be God’s Ambassadors, or that we will make a mess of talking about Jesus. We may feel unworthy or inadequate to do the job of telling North Springfield about Jesus. Indeed we are. But we are the people God has put here and that is the job God has given us to do! So we shouldn’t try to duck out of the task God has entrusted to us.
There is a lovely story about Hudson Taylor, the missionary who took the gospel to mainland China in the nineteenth century. One day Hudson Taylor was approached by a man with only one leg who said to him. “I want to go as a missionary to China.” “But, how do you think you can be a missionary?” Hudson Taylor replied. “When you’ve only got one leg.” “I have to,” said the man, “Because I don’t see any men with two legs going.”15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
We must get ourselves ready to share the gospel! Put on your Gospel Shoes! A story is told of a competition in hell for ways to keep human beings away from God. 3rd prize went to the suggestion, “Tell them there’s no heaven.” 2nd prize went to, “Tell them there’s no hell.” But the 1st prize was won by the simple suggestion, “Tell them there’s no hurry.”
15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. Put on your Gospel Shoes!

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