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Put on the Gospel Shoes

By Matthew Black, Pastor

Text: Ephesians 6:15

Date: Sunday, August 30, 2009, 11am

Series: Ephesians

Tabernacle Baptist Church

7020 Barrington Road

Hanover Park, Illinois 60133


Introduction: Open your Bible to the book of Ephesians 6:10-17.  This morning we are studying again about spiritual warfare.

Let’s stand and read Ephesians 6:10-17, “Finally, 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”. 

[Prayer for Guidance]

Background:  You cannot play football very well in dress shoes. The bottoms are too slick.  You’d be sliding all over.  What you need is cleats.  A soldier does not go out to war in tennis shoes, but in combat boots!  And so we as Christians must always be prepared, alert, awakened, and ready for battle.

I.          The Story of the Gospel Shoes is found in two passages in Isaiah.  Paul didn’t just come up with this.  Paul borrows the language of Ephesians 6:15 from a beautiful picture that Isaiah gives in chapters 40 and 52.

  • Isaiah 40:9-11, “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! 10  Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 11  He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young”.

  • Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”  (cf. Romans 10:15).

Paul tells us to be like this lone messenger.  The Gospel shoes teach us that we are on a rescue mission!  We are to be bringing the good tidings of rescue through Christ to a world in captivity to the slavery of their own pleasures, to Satan’s destructive world system, and to the condemnation and guilt of their own sin.

1.      Look at characteristics of the messenger of peace. Isaiah paints the picture of “a lone messenger whose beautiful feet are drumming across the mountaintops”.[1]  There is urgency.  There is joy.  There is swiftness.

2.      Look at the characteristics of the message.  It’s described as “good tidings”.  It’s the best message on earth.  What is it?  God’s “Salvation” and sovereignty!  “Thy God reigneth!”  God is in control, and He will save you. 

God’s plan to save you is eternal.  He says to you, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). He’s “the same yesterday, today, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).  His love for you never changes.  You must be ready to share that message of salvation.  God is able to save you. Turn to Him!   He says in Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else”.

II.       The Significance of the Gospel Shoes. Put on the Gospel shoes. He’s referring to a sandal boot. 

QUESTION: So what does it mean to have “your feet shod [FITTED] with the preparation [READINESS] of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15)?

ANSWER: The Roman soldier wore sandals solid rows of blunt nails in the soles to give him better footing for the battle. If we are going to “stand” and “withstand,” then we need the shoes of the Gospel.[2] In other words, good shoes gave the soldier two important things: stability and mobility.

In other words, the Gospel shoes point to Living the Gospel and a constant readiness to preach the Gospel. 

III.     The Stability of the Gospel Shoes. The Gospel shoes carry us from place to place.  “The feet carry the body from place to place”.[3] This speaks of how the Gospel has over taken our life.  We are crucified with Christ!  Christ lives within us!  Christ carries us where we are to go. He is our Lord and Master and Guide.  He is the Way for us.  We walk where He leads us.  He lives within us! 

There is a sure-footedness in the life of a Christian.  Your life is firm in the Gospel.  You know you’ve been born again.  You know God is your Father and Christ is your Advocate. 

The Roman sandal was furnished with a thick sole of nails that gripped the ground firmly, even when it was sloping or slippery.  In the same way, the good news of peace with God keeps us upright and firm.[4] Is your life founded upon Christ?  Does the risen Christ control your life?  Have you put on the Gospel shoes? 

·         Stability comes because shoes bring a great deal of control.  Does He control your life? Can you say “for me to live is Christ”?  It is not your job, family, or finances that ought to characterize your burdens.  It is not your possessions, popularity, or pleasure that ought to occupy your mind.  If you stand on those foundations they will shift and change.  Christ alone ought to be at the very center of who you are and what you are doing. 

·         Stability comes because the shoes give you a great deal of comfort.  With the Gospel shoes we can travel the rough and difficult paths of life.  We can climb the mountains of difficulty, and we can hold out to the end.[5]

You must be standing firm on the Gospel yourself.  Your mind is to be steadied on Christ, kept from fear and anxiety, by means of the good news of your peace with God.[6] We say with Paul: “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).  Are you right with God?  Are you stable in that truth?  Does the Gospel fill you with love, joy and peace?

Warning: Anxiety brings defeat!  What is it that you fear?  Over and over again, God tells us not to fear.  Never fear!  God is with you in this battle!!  Because we have the peace with God (Romans 5:1), we should never fear the attack of Satan or men.[7]  God is going to fight for you!  He will carry you through.

IV.     The Safety of the Gospel Shoes. Paul says to have “your feet shod [FITTED] with the preparation [READINESS TO ANNOUNCE] of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).  The Roman soldier’s feet were protected because they were bound by leather straps and metal guards over their feet all the way up to the ankle, and as I said, they had the soles of the shoes thickly studded with nails.[8]  

Application: The world is like fighting in a garbage dump, with broken glass and filth and dirt.  You wouldn’t go barefoot in a garbage dump would you?  That’s why you need to be careful where your mind and your feet take you!  Are you going to places that hurt your spiritual life?  One of the reformers said this:

“As soldiers covered their legs and feet to protect them against cold [and the filth that would cause them injury], so we must be shod with the gospel, if we would pass unhurt through the world” (Calvin).[9]

Is your mind and heart going to places you shouldn’t?  You must not go to the battle barefoot!  The Gospel shoes keep us clean and safe from harm.  We are to walk in Christ.  We are to walk in the Power of the Gospel.  We are to be crucified to this world.  We ought not to be fascinated by the world’s fashions and media and philosophies.  Put on your Gospel shoes.  Don’t be soiled by this world!

Keep your life clean.  Everything you do ought to have a godly purpose. “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

V.        The Swiftness of the Gospel Shoes.  Paul says to have “your feet shod [FITTED] with the preparation [READINESS] of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).  The Gospel shoes give us mobility.  We are not only to live the Gospel, we are to share the Gospel. 

As I have said, the bottom of the Roman soldier’s shoes were lined with blunted nails.  They were like cleats.  Nothing penetrated them.  Their feet were protected.  They were able to go where they needed to go. 

A.   The Gospel needs to be proclaimed Urgently!  There is an urgency to bring this message of God’s peace to sinners. Hebrews 9:27, “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”. 

Remember the picture back in Isaiah 52:7.  We see the lone messenger running through the country side of Israel, to all the cities and towns.  Isaiah says of this site: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

Application: Do you have beautiful feet?  Sinners are going over the precipice into hell. Christ tells us to “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). Are you urgently giving the Gospel to the cashier at Taco Bell, or where ever you eat?  Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 to “…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”.

Look over at Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Paul goes on to say in verse 17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

B.   The Bible needs to be proclaimed Clearly.  What message are we as Christians to give?  It is “the Gospel of peace”.  Paul says to have “your feet shod [FITTED] with the preparation [READINESS] of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).

The Gospel is not about how God can make your life here and now better.  No, it may get worse.  You may get persecuted for your faith.  The Gospel is how we can have peace with God.  Paul says to have “your feet shod [FITTED] with the preparation [READINESS] of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).

1.      We have the Gospel of peace from the Prince of peace!  He was “made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

2.      What kind of peace does the Gospel offer?

·         It is not merely peace of mind.  It is that, but it is much more than that! 

·         It is PEACE WITH GOD!

·         Most of our friends and loved ones have deceived themselves - thinking that somehow they are already right with God. In other words, we all need this peace because by nature and by choice man is God at war with God. Most unbelievers cannot imagine that they are at war with God, yet Romans 8:7 says plainly, “the carnal mind is enmity [HOSTILE] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

·         Look over at Colossians 1:21, we read, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.”

·         But those who know Christ are called His friends!  John 15:15, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”

C.   We must proclaim the Gospel Joyfully.  Paul says as a Christian you should have “your feet shod [FITTED] with the preparation [READINESS] of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).

This is a joyful message!  Peter tells us that “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). 

The Scripture tells us that Christ came to the earth “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). It’s not so much that we need to find God.  God is not lost.  We are lost.  He came down from His throne to seek after us.

Paul explains in Romans 3, that we must take this Gospel of God’s peace to sinners, because they will never come to God on their own.  None of us sought God (Romans 3:11).  God is the Seeker.  Praise His Name!  He is the Shepherd calling for us. 

There is an appointment coming with the most beautiful holy being in the universe.  Without Christ we are not ready.  We will very soon stand before Him.  We cannot get out of it.

Listen to this joyful message!  God in His infinite mercy has made a way for you to be saved. Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, born of a virgin, came in the likeness of sinful humanity, yet without sin.  He came as the just and perfect God, but was made a man.  O the compassion He has!  Have you violated all His ways!?  Have you even hated Him?  Have you neglected His voice? 

Though you don’t deserve it, there is mercy for you.  John 3:15-16, “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

Why do you wait?  Why will you not come this moment?  Is God’s mercy not great enough?  Titus 3:4-7, “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  God’s mercy could not be greater.  He gave His own Son.  You may have violated God’s way a million times yesterday and the day before and all your life.  God’s grace is abundantly greater—infinitely greater! 

Come to Christ today!  Look to Him for the grace to come.  Hear His voice!  His very voice will raise you from the dead.  Why will you not come?  You say, I do not have the desire to come.  No, but the Gospel has gone out today.  God has allowed you to hear it.  He says, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15).  If Christ was able to raise Lazarus from the dead, He can also raise you from the spiritually dead.

Conclusion: Someone once said that every Christian is a sermon in shoes.  I might add, every Christian is the Gospel message in shoes!  It was Francis of Assisi who said “Preach the gospel. And if necessary, use words”. Live the Gospel, Christ in you the hope of glory!  Share the Gospel! 

  • Are you taking part of the Story of the Gospel Shoes?  Are you one who has beautiful feet, proclaiming the Gospel with urgency? 
  • Are you experiencing the Stability of the Gospel Shoes?  Is your life founded on Christ?  Do you go where He wants you to go?
  • Are you experiencing the Safety of the Gospel Shoes?  Are you living the Gospel? Are you walking where Christ would have you to walk, in holiness??
  • Are you experiencing the Swiftness of the Gospel Shoes?  Are you sharing the Gospel with every creature? 

God in His plan has chosen to use human vessels to bring His harvest in.  We are to proclaim the Gospel of peace.  We have the ministry of reconciliation!  We are to wear the Gospel shoes.  We are commanded: “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). 

Everywhere we go we should be ready to bring the Gospel of peace.  Are you ready and prepared to preach the Gospel of peace?  If so, God says you have beautiful feet. 


[1] Peter T. O’Brien; Donald A. Carson, ed.  The Letter to the Ephesians:  Pillar NT Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 475.

[2]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series"--Jkt. (Eph 6:13). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[3]Arthur W. Pink. Practical Christianity.  Part II - The Progress in the Christian Life, Chapter 6: THE CHRISTIAN’S ARMOUR.

[4]Wiersbe, Bible Exposition Commentary, Ibid.

[5] Paraphrase of John Wesley’s notes on Ephesians 6:15.

[6]The Pulpit Commentary: Ephesians. 2004 (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.) (259). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7]Wiersbe, Bible Exposition Commentary, Ibid.

[8]Vincent, M. R. (2002). Word studies in the New Testament (3:409). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[9] John Calvin. Commentary on Galatians and Ephesians.  Translated from the original Latin by the Rev. William Pringle. Comment on Ephesians 6:15.

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