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Author: Ron Graham

Anchor of Hope

The Shoes of the Gospel
—The Armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-17)

As Christians we are at war —not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of wickedness and darkness. To win this war, to fight the good fight, we must be adequately equipped. Part of that equipment is "The Shoes of the Gospel" (Ephesians 6:17).

Ephesians 6, Verses 10-17

¶“10Finally, be strong in the Lord and his mighty strength. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against rulers, against powers, against the world forces of this present darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

¶“13Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day —to stand firm having done all. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet, prepare yourselves with the gospel of peace. 16That's not all: take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:13-17).

1 Stand firmly for the truth

The message of Christ is good news, not "fake news". It is a gospel of peace because it truly reveals how people can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ (2Corinthians 5:17-19).

The gospel truth, however, must be defended because there are many who want to cancel it.

It was the same in Paul’s day. He wrote to the church at Philippi that "...in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you are all partakers with me of grace" (Philippians 1:7).

Jude said to the Christians of his time, "I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the holy people" (Jude 1:3)

The gospel truth is the faith we hold to be precious (2Peter 1:1). It is given us by God’s grace and righteousness. It is not ours to bargain with or to amend to suit its enemies.

We must plant our feet firmly in God’s shoes, the shoes of the gospel, and be "not moved away" (Colossians 1:23)

2 Hope happily for eternal life

The gospel or "good news" brings hope, and hope of the very best kind. It is the sure hope of everlasting peace after the battle ends.

"How delightful on the mountains Are the feet of one who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" (Isaiah 52:7 NASB, cf Romans 10:15).

Talk of doom and gloom is the last thing a soldier needs as he puts on his fighting shoes for battle. He needs to hear of victory and glory. Sure there is evil out there, terrible evil. But God is by our side. He says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5).

David acknowledged, "It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places" (Psalm 18:32-33, 2Samuel 22:33-34).

The prophet Isaiah called the preaching of Jesus a great light in the darkness. This is a metaphor for the hope of the gospel.

"The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned" (Matthew 4:12-17 NKJV, Isaiah 9:2).

3 Oppose fearlessly the false teachers

Paul reminded Timothy that "evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse deceiving and being deceived" (2Timothy 3:13).

Paul described how there would be a falling away and then the son of perdition would be revealed (2Thessalonians ch 2).

John observed that in his time "many antichrists have come" (1John 2:18-19).

Paul told Timothy, "Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars, whose consciences are seared with a hot iron" (1Timothy 4:1-2 BSB).

There is no reason to think that such apostasy does not continue to appear from time to time, and will do so until the day Christ returns. We still need to put on the shoes of the gospel and the rest of God’s armour. And we need to join God’s army and fight for the right.

4 Endure tirelessly, preaching the word

Of course preaching the gospel in a hostile world is no easy task. It takes endurance. Jesus said, "He who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:12-14 NKJV).

Paul said to the congregation in Colosse that they should be steadfast, "not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, and which was preached to every creature under heaven..." (Colossians 1:23)

To have fulfilled the great commission (Mark 16:15,20) within a generation must have taken much effort and endurance, and the enlistment of countless soldiers of Christ.

Timothy was one of them. Paul said to him, "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." (2Timothy 2:1-3 NKJV).

5 Step orderly, marching on

The prophet Joel describes "a people great and strong", the army that invades Israel on the day of the LORD.

Among other things, Joel writes, "Every one marches in formation. They do not break ranks. They do not jostle one another. Every one marches in his own column" (Joel 2:7-8).

That's the way we soldiers of Jesus Christ should march together in our gospel shoes. However, our mission is not to punish or destroy. It is to make the kingdom of God glorious and to spread the doctrine of that kingdom everywhere.


 
Stand firmly
   for the truth
Hope happily
   for eternal life
Oppose fearlessly
   the false teachers
Endure tirelessly
   preaching the word
Step orderly
   marching on

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