The Shoes of Peace // Relentless

Series - Relentless
Presenter - Jeff Garner - Next Gen + Teaching Pastor
Date - September 18, 2022

Teaching Pastor Jeff Garner, of Mission City Church in San Antonio, TX, continues in the series, Relentless, a study of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6.

Podcast

There is a mandate in Ephesians to stand firm. RELENTLESS. We don’t want to be run over in the war. Resistance requires God’s strength…In other words, our success isn’t found in our determination but in our dependence. So we run to Christ the victor—Ephesians 6 says, “Strengthen yourself in the Lord.” What does this mean?
         Being a Christian doesn’t begin with something you do; it begins with something he did. So the practicality of verse 11 is that we put on the armor of God. We run to his resources, not our resiliency. The armor is the gift of the Gospel He’s given us. We strengthen ourselves by arming our life with his provision. As we grow, we want you to see who you are in the Gospel and what God has given you in the Gospel.

         So, the way we do this is to put on the belt of truth. Truth leads to freedom (John 8—truth sets men free). It’s the avenue to freedom. Belt foundational to rest of the armor. Lies are destructive.

         Righteousness: battle-tested breastplate forged in the crucible of conflict. God gives us his righteousness and sees us through the lens of Christ. Protects against the lies of the enemy, but the enemy can find weak points in your DYI armor of self-righteousness. So get rid of that cheap excuse for a piece of armor and put on the righteousness of Christ.

Ephesians 6:10-15

Charles Spurgeon—“Like the Spartans, every Christian is born a warrior. It’s his destiny to be a soldier, his duty to attack. Part of his life will be occupied with defensive warfare. He will, however, be an ineffective Christian if he acts only on the defensive. He must also be one to go against his foes as well as stand to prepare his defense.”

We have to stand firm and resist so that we can move forward. (The Kingdom of God is always advancing) It’s the shoes that enable us to do just that.

SHOES
It may seem strange at first to consider shoes being a part of your armor,  so what are the shoes for? Well, can you imagine going to battle shoeless? You would most likely be in pain with every step as you pass over all kinds of harsh landscapes. Ultimately, it would inhibit your ability to fight.

What’s the Purpose of the Shoes?

  1. Imagine doing battle on rough terrain. You don’t want your foot cut. Soldiers would wear sandals or half boots; this was necessary preparation for battle so that one could advance against the enemy without needing to be distracted by what one might potentially step on.

  2. Allow you to stay active. Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great won many victories because of their mobility.

  3. Gives you traction. Open-toed boot with small nails coming out the bottom, with leather straps tied around your ankles. Like modern-day cleats. When you plant your feet, it gives you a firm foundation…a steadiness. Imagine playing a football game with no cleats: you slip…you survive—come back next play and be better. But on the battlefield…if you slip, then you might die. Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian wrote about a Roman centurion who, because he was running after his enemies with loose footing, slipped and fell on his back onto the stone pavement…where he was killed. He didn’t just lose the tactical advantage; he lost his life because his feet weren’t secure. So these shoes, when planted, make you immovable.

This is what the Gospel of peace gives you. It gives you protection, spiritual agility & a firm foundation.

So, how can we better connect the Gospel of peace to the metaphor of shoes? To start, we must understand what the Gospel of peace is. Because the Bible applies the image of shoes to “the gospel.”


The word “gospel” means “good news,” referring to the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross so that we can be saved. As a result of his sacrifice, peace with God has now been made possible.
Jesus says in John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.”
 
Before Jesus gave us peace – before that was even made possible – then what did we have with God if we didn’t have peace?

Hostility. Without Christ, the Bible says we see God as a hostile enemy. When born, born into a war. But our main problem is that, in that war, we have aligned with the wrong commander.

1 John 3:8 tells us this much:
“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”  2 verses later, it says that those who don’t practice the righteousness of God are children of the devil! How about the same book we’re in right now? Same letter, a few chapters earlier…look at how Paul describes our hostile approach:
Ephesians 2:1-3—And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
We were wearing the jersey of the enemy.

The truth is, apart from Christ…this is how we see God. He’s at fault; he’s to blame. Romans 8 says our mind is set on the flesh. To have your mind set on the things of the world is to be hostile to God! You know what’s in your wicked heart when you’re born.

1 Corinthians 2:14—“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

Jonathan Edwards —wrote a sermon titled, “Natural Men are Enemies of God” Why do men have problems with God? His response: “The general reason is that God is opposite to them in the worship of their idols. All men necessarily have something he respects as his God. If man doesn’t give his highest respect to God, then he will have something else. Something will have the heart of men, and that which he gives his heart to will be his God.”

In other words, all men worship, but unfortunately, God isn’t the object of everyone’s worship. We all live a life searching for meaning and significance. Our hearts are so affected by the Fall of man that we will look to anything else but God. Edwards goes on to say, “A man will be the greatest enemy to him who chooses to oppose his God. If you attempt to take away that which is dearest to him, nothing will provoke him more.”

An idol is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give. Control, Comfort, Acceptance.

Romans 5:10—you are God’s enemy! Hostility defines your relationship with God.

2 Thessalonians—when Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels with fire, he inflicts vengeance on those who do not obey him. You see how apart from the work of Christ, why this is bad news? This isn’t a great picture. I don’t like it, and I don’t want it.

Matthew 13—send his angels and send all lawbreakers into the fiery furnace, weeping and gnashing of teeth. Not a pretty picture.

Revelation 6—all kingdoms of the earth, rich and powerful, slave and free…hide themselves in the cleft of the mountain and call out to the rocks to “fall on us and hide us from the wrath of him seated on the throne.

If you don’t see the severity of this desperate situation, then you will never taste the sweetness of the Gospel of peace. But praise God, he did something about it: in order to broker peace between God and man, He sent his son behind enemy lines where Jesus would be slaughtered.

Process of Peace—initiated by God and completed by God

Ephesians 2:13-18
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.”

This is peace. God going to ultimate length behind enemy lines to bring your hostile heart back to him! Through Jesus and his bloodshed…we now have access to God.
Hostility = No access to God 
Peace = Access to God

This is the Gospel…the good news of peace. Christ secured this.

2 Primary Types of Peace

  1. Remember your salvation
    Halt the hostility. Romans 5—peace through our Lord Jesus Christ. God sends Jesus on a mission to create peace. Hostility vanishes, and peace is created. See what the gospel does for you? You can lay your head down tonight and know that your sin has been dealt with.
  2. Peace of God
    In the upper room on the final night of his earthly life, Jesus told his disciples (and all those who follow him), “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you (John 14:27). God gives us his personal peace!

The peace of God can’t be a reality in your life unless you first have peace with God. Once you have peace with God, then the peace of God is always available to you. This is the same peace Jesus had when he lay asleep in the boat during the storm at sea (Matthew 8:23-27).
The peace of God is a steadiness in the storm.



In our world, we have come to think of peace as a time when there are no active wars being waged. But the Bible shows us that Peace is not the Absence of Conflict—Peace is Access to Christ.  Receiving Jesus doesn’t remove you from conflict…but it does promise his presence in the midst of it. Your peace isn’t determined by your circumstances…it’s dependent on Christ.

If we are Christians, then we have peace with God because of the work of Christ. But the tragic irony is that many of us do not have the peace of God because we pushed it away through rebellion and neglect. And as a result, we keep falling in battle. When the air raid sirens sound and the fiery arrows are hurled our way, we panic and sometimes even run away.

You need to repent for running away barefoot in battle. And do the hard work of putting on your shoes.

Because when we are confident of the Gospel of peace, it secures our footing.

Author Stephen Neal writes about the history of Christian missions. Chronicling the spread of the Gospel in Japan and making great advances. Emperor gets a hold of it and says this is too threatening. So we need to take care of this to stamp it out. So he pulls leaders, and they gather 70 Christians to crucify them upside down at low tide. So when the tide does come in, they would drown.

All they had to do was recant. Say we’ll follow whatever God you want us to follow. But they had a firm foundation. Gospel of peace that makes you secure, that regardless of Satan’s assault, you can stand relentless.

And if your feet are secure, then you can run with the Gospel of peace. Push back the darkness. Do you want to know the joy of the Lord? Lead someone to Christ, and you’ll never be the same again. Run with this news and tell somebody about the Gospel of peace. Nothing empowers us more than sharing the Gospel. It’s meant to be told. You personally telling the Gospel in your sphere of influence does what the best Sunday sermon cannot.

You might never fully understand the purpose behind the usage of the shoes in this passage unless you tell of this Gospel of peace.

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