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The Strategies of Satan and the Armor of God
The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
Ephesians 6:15
verses 13-17
I know I don’t need to remind you that as a believer, you are in a mortal combat with Satan.  In fact, verse 12 of Ephesians 6 says, "we wrestle" and the verb is a term describing a life, death, hand to hand combat.
Now God has such high and holy and lofty and grand and glorious purposes for the believer that He calls us to walk in a manner that sets us apart from the system. These are purposes which gain God His own glory. But on the other hand, Satan does and will continue to do all that he can to hinder us from realizing the purposes of God, consequently there's war in the life of a believer.
I believe the war really begins at the moment of salvation; in fact, I suppose in one way of looking at it, the battle begins before salvation as Satan works to keep us from hearing and responding to the Gospel. And then when we become a believer, he does everything he can to see that we don’t grow or mature or matter in kingdom work. 
There's a war. And that is why Paul closes Ephesians the way he does.  Satan is out to destroy; therefore put on the armor of God that you may be able to stand. 
We are looking at the armor, but we are also looking at the battle strategy that the armor is intended to defend against.  Paul looks at the Christian and his war with Satan and sees in his mind an enemy who is wiley and intentional.  He has specific strategies that he uses in the battle aginst God's children. 
Paul also sees a Roman soldier who is ready for battle.  And with each component of the armor and with all that soldier does to prepare himself, Paul is bringing to the mind of his hearer an imagery that can be translated into the Christian's battle with Satan in regard to those strategies.
For instance, Satan would have us to believe that we can just kind of lazily make our way through life.  After all, all this Christianity stuff is not that important.  Just go to church on Saunday, make an appearance, put  a little money in the offering plate, and you'll be fine. His strategy is to deceive us into believing what we contribute to God's work isn't all that important.  
But Paul says, just as a Roman soldier wears a belt with which he pulls together his loose fitting robe and gets himself ready for the battle, Paul says a Christian needs a belt also.  It is the belt of truthfulness, "having your loins girded about with truthfulness," verse 14 says.
And for a believer there must be commitment to the truth, there must be a commitment to fight the fight, to live the life, to make the necessary dedication and consecration to win the battle. And so we began our study with a look at the level of commitment required to win.
Secondly, and in our last study we saw the next piece of armor in verse 14 also and it is the breastplate of righteousness." We discussed that a Roman soldier would put on a breastplate to cover his vital areas.  He didn't want to get hit here because it was fatal. And there were two areas he was protecting the heart and the bowels in Hebrew terminology. 
The Hebrews saw the heart as the mind and the bowels as the feelings, and so the believer protects his mind and emotions because those are the areas where Satan tempts.  That's one of his strategies.  He wants you driven by emotion and faulty thinking.
So we must protect those areas by putting on the breastplate of righteousness as we live a holy life and seek daily righteousness. 
Tonight we’ll look at the third piece of equipment and it is having our feet shod with the gospel of peace.
verse 15
Obviously, shoes have become a major part of our culture. They have become a major fashion item.  It's not uncommon for today's athletic shoes to run in the hundreds of dollars.  They come in every color and design. The gamut of designers and styles is almost unlimited.
But originally, shoes were used primarily to protect our feet.  These days, we don't need much protection for our feet.  We live on carpeting in our cars and homes, our streets and sidewalks are paved, our churches and businesses are carpeted and even the places that aren't carpeted have fairly clean floors. 
We aren’t wandering over rough stone and wading through mud and tramping in dust or trying to stroll across thorny bushes and so forth. 
We have pretty well paved and carpeted our world and shoes have become primarily a fashion item. So we might not necessarily get the picture as clearly as we should unless we understand how terrible the terrain was and how hard it would be to walk over the cobbles and the rocks and pebbles and everything else in those parts of the world.
Maybe we could get a little idea because we see today a special need for shoes if we're hiking or tramping across the desert or walking on a hot pavement or whatever, and this is the reason in those days for shoes.
When I was a boy, we just had tennis shoes, usually Converse All Stars, and we wore them for everything. But today, you have to have special shoes that are designed for the specific sport or activity.  There are shoes for running and walking and basketball and baseball and marathons and sprints and golf. Some are designed for rubber surfaces; others are for concrete; still others are for dirt. 
We have dress shoes and casual shoes and sandals and boots and everything imaginable for whatever activity we are involved in. 
We have reasons for the particular kind of shoes we have because they provide a certain function. And this is especially true in war.  Now if it that important in athletics, you can just imagine how important it would be if you were fighting for your life.
And that was what Paul had in mind when he writes about this soldier's shoes.  Historians tell us that as early as the first century, they had to have special shoes for warfare.  In addition to function, they also had to think about durability. 
In fact, as recently as our own American Revolution,  inadequate shoes became an issue for our soldiers.  You may have read about or seen the pictures of soldiers with their feet wrapped because the shoes were worn out. 
In fact, history records for us the record of battles lost  because they couldn't protect the feet of the soldiers from being frozen or injured or wounded.
Also, in the time of the Roman wars there was a common custom similar to the mine fields of today.  In those days, knowing that an army was coming, they would plant in the grounds sticks sharpened to a razor point facing toward the army hoping to pierce the feet of the advancing soldiers.
So in order to protect themselves, the Roman soldiers would wear a boot or shoe with a heavy sole so that it couldn't be pierced.  After all, if their feet were pierced, they couldn't walk.  If they couldn’t walk, they couldn’t fight and if they couldn’t fight, they couldn’t win.  It’s just that simple.
Now Paul picks up that imagery and makes the point that a Christian needs to have shoes also. You can get out there and have your waist all cinched up and boy you're committed, and you can have your breastplate on and you have living a godly and righteous life as the Lord wishes.
But unless you can stand on your feet you're going to fall over. And so you must have a solid base.
So let’s go back to verse 15 and look at the specifics.  Your feet are to be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  First, let’s think about
1.  The Preparation
The way Paul uses this word simply means to be “made ready or equipped”  And all he is saying is your feet should be made ready by being shod.  They should be equipped; they should be prepared. 
Now most people who read this and even many commentators who've written on it assume that it has reference to going along preaching the Gospel of peace.
I've got my shoes of the Gospel on and off I go to preach. And generally they link this verse to Romans 10:15 where Paul quotes Isaiah 52:17 where it says, “As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"  You have the same phrase there, the Gospel of peace.
And so in Paul's message in Romans 10:15 when he says, how shall they hear without a preacher and how shall anyone preach except he be sent, and so therefore how beautiful are the feet of those who go and preach the Gospel of peace, there comes this logical link to our text.
And I would agree that the Gospel of peace is something that is to be preached and we are to be preaching it and those who do preach it doing a beautiful work. And that’s exactly what Romans 10 is talking about. 
However, I am not convinced that is what Ephesians 6 is talking about. In fact, Ephesians 6 doesn't have anything to do with preaching and it has nothing to do with going anywhere.
You say how do you know?  What is the first word in verse 14? Stand.  This is not going; this is standing.  And the point here is not evangelizing the lost or preaching the Gospel. 
The point here is to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  Remember we are seeking to understand not only our armor, but the strategies of Satan that are revealed through the armor. 
And for that reason, I am convinced what Paul has in mind in this section of his letter is not evangelizing an unbeliever.  It is instead, warfare for a Christian. He is not talking about going anywhere and preaching.  He's talking about standing your ground and fighting the devil.
So in that context, what Paul is saying is because our feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, we stand our ground, we don't slip, we don't slide, we don't fall when we're under attack.
Well, that's good to know, but it doesn't help much unless I understand the next phrase, so let's look at the phrase,
2.  “The Gospel of Peace”
What is that? Well Gospel means what? Good News, and peace means what? Peace. It's the Good News of peace. And what is the Good News of peace? Let's let Paul define it through what he wrote to the Romans.
Romans chapter 5:6-9
Now here is the basic picture of man.  Notice, verse 6, says, "For when we were still without strength." There we learn that man is weak.
Then in verse 7 we read, "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die," which means for an unrighteous man nobody would ever die. So the implication is in verse 6 we are weak, in verse 7 we are unrighteous.
In verse 8, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." So we're a sinner.
Verse 9, "Much more then, being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath." That indicates we were unjustified, unsaved and the objects of God's wrath.
So here is a description of the natural man.  He is, verse 6, weak, verse 7, unrighteous, verse 8, sinful, verse 9, unjustified, unsaved and an object of wrath. Then he sums it all up in verse 10 by describing man as the enemy of God. 
And an enemy of God is the object of God's judgment. God and man are on two different sides. 
Don't let anybody tell you that God is the Father of everybody, that God loves and tolerates everybody and everybody is in God's family. We are the enemies of God and there’s nothing we can do to change our circumstances.  If anything changes in that situation, God will have to initiate it.  So what did God do?
Verse 6 again, "When we were weak, in due time Christ died."
Verses 7-8 we were unrighteous and for- "Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would dare to die. But God commended his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
God says, you're enemies but I'm going to try to remedy this in the death of Christ. "And we then are justified" verse 9, "by his blood; we are saved from wrath through him. When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son."
Now let me tie that to our text in Ephesians 6.  We are to have our feet prepared for battle with the Gospel of Peace.  What is the Gospel?
The Gospel is the good news that man, as described in Romans 5, the weak, sinful, unrighteous, unjustified, and unsaved enemy of God was at war with God but Christ made peace.  Christ made peace.  That's the Gospel of peace. And by the way, notice what we read in
Chapter 5:1
That's the Gospel. The Gospel is that man and God were at war and God was on the opposite side against man and yet Christ comes and makes peace a reality.  That's the Good News. Now God and I are no longer on opposite sides.  We’re on the same side.  God's on my side, or better said, I'm on God's side and through the Gospel of peace, we are reconciled.
So what does that have to d with having our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace?  Here's what it means:
I'm in a battle and Satan is strategic in how he attacks me.  One of those strategies is to convince me that I'm not saved.  I can't be saved.  After all, look at how much I mess up!  How in the world could a Christian do the kinds of things and think that kinds of thoughts and say the kinds of things that I do and still be saved? 
But as a child of God, I can stand firm, look Satan in the eye and say, "I am standing in the gospel of peace.  I've got shoes that anchor me to that which is immoveable. I used to be weak and sinful and unrighteous and unjustified, but no longer. 
I am fully forgiven, saved, justified, strengthened and made righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ and that means God and I have been reconciled.  I used to be God's enemy, but now, by His saving grace, we are on the same side! 
And that's what helps us stand. If I had to stand there and fight off the hosts of hell by myself, in my own strength, I'd lose.
If I had to defend myself by my own good works or having the right attitude or doing everything as I should have done, I could never do it!  But praise the Lord, I don't have to do it!   . 
By the way, do you see how essential it is that we have right doctrine about the eternal security of the believer?  How are you going to stand if you don’t know whether or not you’re saved?  How can you stand if you don’t have the shoes on?
Let me give you an illustration:  In John 18, Peter is there in the Garden when the soldiers come to arrest Jesus.  There are probably five hundred or more soldiers that show up to arrest this dangerous criminal named Jesus.    
They've got clubs and staves ready to beat Him into submission and ready to fight off His disciples, and Jesus steps out and meets them and says, "Who ya'll looking for?
They say, We're looking for Jesus, of Nazareth."  Jesus says, "I am the One you're looking for."
Now when Jesus said that, something amazing happened.  Here is this mighty army and Scripture tells us they are fully armed and they mean business.  But when Jesus identified Himself, like a bunch of dominoes, they all rfell backward to the ground.  The whole crowd goes down like dominoes. 
Then they all crawled back up and dusted themselves off and the scene starts over.  Once again Jesus asks for whom they are looking. 
They answer Him again and I think this time, they probably clinched their jaws and tightened up a little bit, kind of braced themselves for what was about to happen. 
Instead, here stand Peter.  He's just watched this scenario unfold.  He has taken note that at the name of Jesus they have been knocked backward to the ground.  So he thinks to himself, "man, with that kind of power, there is no need in us being afraid and no sense in us allowing Jesus to be arrested.  I'll just start cutting them down to size! 
So what does he do?  The Bible says he grabs his sword, goes for the kill, and winds up cutting the ear off of a guy named Malchus.  Now think about that:  Here they are 12 to 500 or more, and yet Peter’s going to fight the whole Roman army. 
There is something at work here that is more than just being impulsive.  Peter may have been impulsive, but he wasn't stupid.  What motivates him to do that is that he had just seen that whole army fall flat in the dirt at the very name of Jesus, and he's saying to himself, If I get in any trouble I'll just say, get 'em Jesus, and, zap, down they go.”
He has such a confidence in the strength of the Lord that he is convinced there’s nothing that can ever defeat him because he's seen the power of God displayed already, and he takes the sword and he begins to defend the Lord. He knew who was on his side and that's from where the resources came.
And when our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, it is in that same strength that we stand. 
Therefore, I can say to Satan, bring it on!  Whatever you want, whenever you want it, I can say, whatever you have to cast against me I have absolutely no fear, because God's on my side.
Listen, you can stand in absolute confidence.
John MacArthur tells about an event that happened to him in junior high school that involved a friend named Roger who was a little pudgy nerdy kid.  Bullies kept picking on Roger and John until finally Roger had enough and told his older brother, Steve who was middle linebacker on the football team. 
Steve hid in the bushes the next day, and when the bullies started picking on Roger, he came out, picked one guy up by the shirt, and with one punch knocked four teeth out.  Then turned to the other one, and threw him in the shrubbery and told them to leave Roger and John  alone. 
John said, “You want to know what happened at our Junior High? Roger ruled. No question about it. Roger ruled North Downey Junior High. You know why? Because Roger had resources.
It's tremendous to know that Jesus Christ said, "I am not ashamed to call you my brothers." It's a great thing to know that He's on our side, amen? And when Satan comes to attack, our feet are rooted firmly on the solid ground of the Gospel of peace which says, God's on my side, because of Jesus Christ.
And so no matter what Satan brings I can, as verse 10 says, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." That's the confidence of having your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.
Listen, victory is available in your life as a Christian, but understand this: 
1. You have to want to win, therefore you put on the belt of commitment. 
2.  You have to live a holy life, therefore, I put on the breastplate of righteousness.
3.  You have to be bold in the battle, therefore, my feet are firmly rooted in confidence in God.
If you're running around doubting the Lord and His strength, you're going to lose. But if you put on the armor, God's going to do exciting and revolutionary things with your life for His own glory.
Let's pray.
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