An airline pilot who’s concerned about his wife’s safety decides to buy her a dog. At the pet store he tells the owner what he wants, and the owner brings out a little Pekinese pooch. The pilot is skeptical. The store owner says, “You don’t understand: this dog knows Karate.” He points to an empty box and says "Karate Box". The little dog attacks the box, shreds into little pieces. The owner says "Karate Chair" The dog turns an oak chair into tooth picks. The pilot’s so impressed he buys the dog. He gets home and shows the little dog to his wife and tells her this is her protection. She replies, “This little rat couldn’t protect a flea!” The husband protests, “But you don’t understand! He knows karate!” She says “Ha, karate my foot!"
Tonight we’re going to talk about what that lady should have been wearing: combat boots.
How many of you have ever seen a pair of combat boots? They’re not exactly the latest fashion. You can shine them up, but you can’t make them pretty. They aren’t made to look good; they’re made to help you win battles. They’re made to keep standing when your enemy tries to trip you up. They’re made to keep you moving when the road gets rough. They’re made to help you do whatever your commanding officer orders you to do.
You may not believe it, but God provides us with combat boots to fight the war we cannot see, with Satan. What’s ironic is these battle boots are described as shoes of peace. Let’s read Ephesians 6:10-15 and talk about how these shoes prepare us to stand against Satan.
A Roman soldier’s shoes were not really boots—they were more like souped up sandals. They’re made out of very thick leather soles with hobnails or bits of rock attached to the bottom for traction, almost a primitive version of cleats. Several very thick leather straps tie the shoes onto the soldier’s feet. They became more comfortable the longer the soldier wears them. They’re lightweight and solid enough to help keep his footing as he fights or marches.
Paul says the armor of God includes having our feet shod …with the preparation of the gospel of peace…=the Gospel of Jesus Christ which gives us peace. Through the Gospel we have peace with God.
Ephesians 2:13–14 13…you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace…
Through the Gospel we have peace within our own hearts.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
This peace is ours through God’s grace, and our faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. We may not always live in it, but it’s always available to us because of the Gospel.
Satan assaults our peace, tripping us up, crippling us. If the devil can rob you of your peace, he has defeated you. But if we keep our combat boots on, if we cling to the Gospel of peace, we’ll stand against him. The Gospel of peace will first prepare you to
1. Keep standing.
Falling is always funnier when somebody else does it.
As I pulled into Wal-Mart the other day, I saw this cool guy wearing shades, crossing the
street with his wife/girlfriend. Apparently the glasses are a little too dark, and he stumbles. For only about a quarter of a second, he trips, gets his footing back, looks around, and assumes his cool demeanor once more. Almost as if to say did anybody see that? OK then it never happened. It was so funny, but it wouldn’t be funny if it had been me.
It wouldn’t be funny to a Roman soldier to stumble. Keeping your footing is absolutely essential to winning a battle. Not many can fall and keep fighting. If your enemy trips you up, you’re pretty much at their mercy. You’ve got to keep standing if you want to win the fight.
The Gospel of peace helps us keep standing by instilling confidence in us.
We’re confident we are accepted by God because of Christ. We stand in His righteousness alone, assured of His acceptance and love, assured that we are His beloved children.
Romans 5:1–2 1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Satan tries to trip us up by undermining our confidence in the Gospel of peace. He tries to make us doubt God’s grace, to think that we’re too good to need grace or too bad to receive grace. He either feeds our pride or feeds our guilt. He wants us to focus on us, our feelings, instead of God’s character, God’s Word, and God’s promises.
How could anybody in their right mind do something they know is so wrong?
1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
1 Corinthians 15:10 …by the grace of God I am what I am…
I am kept by the grace of God, not my own power.
You don’t really expect God to forgive you again do you? As a matter of fact, I do.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
That’s not an excuse to be presumptuous. It’s a trust in God’s gracious promise to pick me up when I fall.
The Gospel of Peace gives us confidence, not in ourselves, but in God, Who, according to
Jude 24 …is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…
When the devil attacks you with doubt, guilt, condemnation, the Gospel of peace keeps you standing rock solid in Christ’s righteousness, loved and accepted and strengthened by almighty God! The Gospel of peace prepares you to keep standing. But it also prepares you to
2. Keep moving.
My family and I recently went shoe shopping and I suddenly realized how absurd the
marketing for shoes has become. I mean, used to, when you shopped for shoes, you shopped by gender, size, and width. I need a men’s shoe, size 14 wide. Show me what you’ve got.
But today, you get more options. Yes sir, these are men’s size 14 wide running shoes. There are women’s size 8 walking shoes.
So you sit down and try on the running shoes and as soon as you tie them up you go sprinting around the store. I can’t stop to talk to you. I’ve got to keep going because these are running shoes! The same with walking shoes. Follow me, and let’s keep going, because these are walking shoes.
I am so tempted to ask do you have any size 14 men’s standing around shoes?
They don’t sell those because shoes are made for movement. They’re made to walk or run or perform ballet, or march in the mud. They don’t make shoes for just standing still.
So also our spiritual combat boots are made to walk through this world of toils and snares. We need the Gospel of peace to prepare us to keep walking when the devil tries to cripple us.
How does this work? First of all, the Gospel of peace keeps you going when the road gets rough. The Gospel of peace not only assures you of where you stand with God, but assures us that God walks with you.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
This verse connects 3 things: covetousness (the desire for more of what you have enough of already) with contentment (a peace with what you have) with the presence of God. In other words, when God walks with you, you find He is all you need to possess peace.
That doesn’t mean you have no needs. It means you have the One Who supplies all your needs walking with you. It doesn’t mean you never want anything else—it means that as long as you have Him, you can be satisfied with more or with less. You have the peace of His presence, even when everything around you is not peaceful.
The Gospel of peace is the peace of sailing in a storm-tossed boat, without worrying about sinking because the Master of the Sea is in the boat with you. He can calm the seas, but He has already calmed your heart. It’s about being content with what you have, whether you have plenty or barely enough. Philippians 4:11–13 11Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever
state I am, to be content: 12I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
This kind of peace is possible only because of the presence of God, only because you know He walks with you.
Satan attacks this peace in many ways, beginning with your circumstances. It’s not too hard to be at peace when things are peaceful. It’s when things get chaotic and painful the devil tempts us to panic. He tries to paralyze us with fear and unbelief. He wants to make us quit following Jesus, to stop walking by faith, and end up dead in the water.
The Gospel of peace reminds us God is with us, our Shepherd leads us through dark valleys as well as through sunny hills. The Gospel of peace helps us walk through our own Gethsemanes, bear our own Cross, keep going over the rough roads because our Savior holds our hand, never leaving nor forsaking us.
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Sometimes faith is simply the decision to keep moving, one step at a time. The Gospel of peace keeps us walking with God, no matter how ragged or rugged the road gets.
During World War I, a British commander was leading his men back to battle. It was a cold, rainy, muddy day. Their shoulders sagged because they knew what lay: mud, blood, and death. Nobody talked, nobody sang. As they marched along, they came to a bombed-out church. Through the rubble, the commander spied the figure of Christ on the cross. He remembered the One who suffered, died, and rose again. As the troops marched past, he shouted, "Eyes right, march!" Every eye turned to the right, and as the soldiers marched by, they saw Christ on the cross. Suddenly they saw triumph after suffering. With shoulders straightened, they began to smile as they went.
You and I don’t depend on some image—the Gospel of peace prepares us to keep moving because we have Christ Himself with us every step of the way.
The Gospel of peace prepares us to keep standing, keep moving, and finally
3. Keep delivering the message.
Because the Roman soldier’s boots are so light, it makes it easier not only to march, but
to run. The commander will often chose one of them to deliver messages back to his superior officer, or go get orders for how to proceed. His shoes help him complete his mission.
Anybody who reads the OT will immediately connect Paul’s use of shoes and the Gospel with the prophecy of
Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
I don’t know I have ever seen feet I’d describe as beautiful. Isaiah is not talking about the beauty of physical feet, but the joy of bringing the Gospel of peace to those who’ve never heard it.
Satan wants to keep that news quiet, to prevent anybody from hearing and believing the Good News of Jesus Christ. But the Gospel of peace prepares us to faithfully deliver our Master’s message to the world. Within the Gospel of peace is a command:
Matthew 28:19–20 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Part of winning the unseen war involves delivering the Gospel of peace to all the world, making disciples and teaching them to believe and obey Christ.
How do we make disciples? There are many ways. A mother reading the Bible and praying with her kids. A grandparent taking their kids to church because mom and dad don’t go. Sharing the Gospel with a coworker or classmate. Teaching Sunday school, preaching a sermon, counseling a troubled friend. Anytime you point people to Jesus and His Word, any way you help them trust in Christ as Lord and Savior, you are sharing the Gospel.
You and I have been entrusted with the message of the Gospel of peace, and if we’re not delivering that message, we are failing our Savior.
George Sweeting tells of a man named John Currier who was found guilty in 1949 of murder and sentenced to life in prison. In 1968, Currier’s sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But the letter was never delivered. Ten years later, a state parole officer learned about Currier, found him, and told him his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man.
Sweeting asks, “Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message—the most important in your life—and year after year the urgent message was never delivered?”
The Gospel of peace is not just for hearing and believing but for sharing. Those combat boots are for taking the Master’s message to the world.
To win this war, you have to possess the peace.
That’s a struggle isn’t it? Believe me, I’ve struggled with these things.
You’re having a hard time accepting your need of God’s grace, foolishly thinking you’re good enough without Christ. Or you’re struggling with guilt, wondering how God can forgive you in spite of what you’ve done. Lay down your pride and hold up your helpless hands and receive God’s grace. Keep standing through the Gospel of peace.
You say you’ve gone as far as you can go. It’s too hard and you’re too tired to keep walking by faith. You feel abandoned and as far as you can see, the road gets darker up ahead. Keep trusting your Shepherd to be with you, to lead you, to help you finish the race you started. Keep moving by the Gospel of peace.
You have a message from the Master, and He’s depending on you to make sure it gets through. I know it’s not easy, but how can you be at peace knowing that some people will never know His peace unless you deliver His message?
It’s time for us to dig in our heels and do our duty. It’s time for us to put on our combat boots, the Gospel shoes, and stand against the devil.