GPHI-SUMBER PENGHARAPAN INT. MINISTRIES
GADING NIAS KELAPA GADING 29/01/20
THE GOSPEL OF PEACE STUDI 12
“Stand firm then … with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15)
What we wear on our feet determines our stability, and our mobility. What shoes we wear affects how far we can walk or run comfortably. The wrong choice of footwear can cripple us, slow us down, and make us drop out of the line of March. That is why care of one’s feet, and one’s footwear is a priority for a soldier. A soldier who cannot deploy himself quickly on his feet is a sitting duck, asking for trouble.
HOW PREPARED ARE DETERMINES YOUR ACTION
The brethren gathered around, desperately trying to convince Paul to abandon his plans to travel to Jerusalem. They had heard the prophecies about the fate that awaited him on this journey—Paul himself said that he did not know what to expect, “except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me” (Acts 20:23). Paul’s brethren and fellow workers couldn’t bear the thought of their friend willingly walking into this, and begged him to reconsider.
But God, through His Holy Spirit, had summoned Paul to Jerusalem (Acts 20:22)—and Paul was intent on answering that call. Knowing that the upcoming trip could very well mean the end of his life, he says to his would-be dissuaders, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).
Paul did not just write about the armor of God; he also wore it. At this time in his life he was able to call upon the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace. He found protection and strength in the knowledge of what God’s gospel meant for him and for the others he shared that good news with. His footing was sure and unshakable, and he was prepared to carry the gospel wherever God sent him.
Paul was not discouraged because he is prepared with the gospel peace and ready to preach it in any place, despite the troubles awaiting him there. Because he is prepared and also convinced that the gospel is the power of salvation and whatever happened to him in the course of preaching the gospel will advance the gospel. Romans 1:16; Acts 6:8-15; 7:54-60; Philippians 1:21-26
Shod With the Gospel of Peace
“Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace” indicate a readiness to advance in the spiritual realm. These spiritual shoes protect your will from the temptation of the enemy who would lead you in wrong paths. They indicate your willingness to do every good work and to spread the Gospel to all nations. These spiritual shoes will also enable you to stand against the enemy as Paul encourages you to do (Ephesians 6:14)
In short, shoes allow us to step freely and without fear while we turn our full attention to the battle at hand. When we are wearing the right shoe will be able to stampede the temptation of Satan. Just as Jesus said to Satan that “it is written” Matthew 4:4 This shows the readiness to speak out what was written and use it to match down the ideas of Satan.
When Paul talks about “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace,” he is picturing the footwear of a Roman soldier. They typically wore boot with spikes coming out of the soles of the shoe. The boots allowed “the soldier to be ready to march, climb, fight, or do whatever else is necessary.” The spikes specifically helped when hiking or on slippery surfaces.
Without the right shoes, the soldier’s feet were prone to blisters, cuts, and other problems which put him at a disadvantage in battle. The soldier’s shoes were very important—without them, he wasn’t ready to fight.
Similarly, there is appropriate footwear for believers to wear in spiritual battles. It is the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
We have three different kinds of peace spoken in the Bible
- Peace with God Romans 5:1(Received by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.)
- Inner peace (John 16:32-33)
- Peace with OTHERS Hebrews 12:14
We need these three peaces in our lives for us to advance the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God.
1. PEACE WITH GOD
What is the gospel of peace?
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God… Acts 20:24
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Romans 10:15
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who brings glad tidings of good things!”
The gospel of the Kingdom, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of the Kingdom of God, the gospel of the grace of God, the gospel of peace—these are some of descriptions attached to the word gospel throughout the New Testament. Do all these different qualifiers mean that there are multiple gospels set forth in the Bible?
No. The Greek word translated gospel—euaggelion—simply means “good news.” This raises a question: The good news of what? The first description used in the Gospels also summarizes all the others: The gospel of the Kingdom. The good news of the Kingdom of God includes the good news about Jesus Christ the King, His grace (unmerited pardon) and His plan of salvation for all mankind. This plan gives us peace now, and will bring peace to the whole world! This is the message God’s people are eager to share with others. Our loving Father is preparing us all for a future beyond imagination and description.
What does the gospel of peace have to do with shoes?
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? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
God’s Church is sent to announce the good news of God’s Kingdom, which will spread His way of peace around the whole world. Having our shoes on, we are ready to move, to spread these glad tidings to others.
In the Apostle Paul’s day, he walked countless miles in delivering the good news. Today, transportation and communication have changed, but we must also be constantly ready to do our part to spread the good news.
And the way of peace they have not known.
In spite of all human attempts at peace, it’s clear from the daily news reports that this world does not know the road to peace.
1 John 2:6
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. Following Christ’s steps is the way to real peace.
Interpretation Question: What does feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace represent?
1. The readiness that comes from the gospel of peace represents appropriating the believer’s peace with God. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is important because the enemy always aims to separate believers from God. It is God who gives believers the strength to put on God’s armor and the power to conquer the devil. Therefore, the enemy always seeks to separate Christians from the source of all that is good. Sometimes he uses lies to foster anger at God. He often begins by cultivating a wrong view of God. Believers start to believe that God doesn’t love them or want what’s best for them—that he just doesn’t care. Satan creates a caricature of God—a God of wrath but not a God of love, a God of judgment but not a God of mercy. However, God is all of these.
We must put on the gospel of peace by remembering that Christ died to bridge the chasm between us and God. He paid the penalty for our sins and gave us his righteousness so that we could know God and come into his presence. Jesus says, “I give them eternal life and this is eternal life—knowing God” (John 17:3, paraphrase). Christ died so we could come near God and have an intimate relationship with him.
In fact, Christ always strove to correct the disciples’ thinking about God. In Luke 11:13, he said, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Christ wanted the disciples to know that their Abba desired to give them the greatest gifts—and it’s the same for us. Do you know that our God wants to bless us, and that if we’re in Christ we’re at peace with him?
What is your view of God? Does he unlove, removed, strict, and overbearing? If so, you need to put on the footwear of peace—by recognizing that Christ removed the barrier between God and us. A wrong image of God destroys our footing. We cannot fight if we don’t see God as he is: our Father, our Abba, our friend, our helper, our protector, our loving Father, our hope etc.
2. INNER PEACE
How do these spiritual shoes help us stand firm? 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.
The sandals of the Roman soldier “often were fitted with nails, or armed with spikes, to make it hold firm in the ground”. God’s good news and our mission—our marching orders—to preach it serve as our firm foundation. When we truly allow ourselves to take comfort in the good news promised by God, there is nothing from outside ourselves that can trouble our hearts or give us reason to be afraid. Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33), and so we have nothing to fear from it.
Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.
Just as shoes allow us to walk on otherwise painful terrain without fear, so the preparation of the gospel of peace allows us to traverse the otherwise painful trials and tribulations of life without fear, knowing that what awaits is greater than anything we could possibly suffer in this world (Romans 8:18).
3. PEACE WITH OTHERS
Why is it called a gospel of peace? Isaiah 2:2-4
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
The Bible makes it clear that, when God’s Kingdom is established and the entire world begins to live God’s way faithfully, the resulting peace will be universal. There will be no more war or fear, only the worldwide peace that comes from God’s way of life.
But the problem goes beyond just looking odd. A shoeless soldier could run into real trouble in the heat of battle. It may be nothing more than twigs and pebbles, but to a bare foot that can cause serious pain—and one of the last things you want to deal with in the middle of a fight is worrying about where you steps into.
These are the evidence of the readiness of the gospel among the believer
- Ready to give answer to anyone who asked about your faith 1Peter 3:15
- Not give to fight or quarrel 2Timothy 2:24
- Living by example Matthew 5:16; Romans 13:13
- Ready to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5
- Overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
ARE YOU WEARING THE FOOTWEAR OF PEACE?
Not only has God given each of us peace with himself, but we also have the peace of God. In John 14:27, Jesus 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.” The peace Christ had while asleep in the boat during the storm, the peace that enabled him to go to the cross, he has given to us. It is not God’s will for us to live in anxiety, fear, and worry. Scripture says, “Do not be afraid,” “Do not worry,” and “Be anxious for nothing” (Phil 4:6). Christ has given us the promise of his peace.
If you are worried, anxious, and fearful, you have the wrong footwear for this battle. Our enemy is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). The lion roars to incite fear in his prey. Some believers are fearful about their future; others are fearful about what others think or say. Others are afraid of failure. These fears undermine the footing of Christians—our readiness for battle comes from God’s peace.
Therefore, God commands us to put on his peace. Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Paul also refers to the peace of Christ as clothing to be worn (cf. Col 3:12). As believers, we must let God’s peace rule in our hearts—not fear of failure, losing our jobs, or rejection. Satan wants to lead us as slaves through fear, but God guides us as children through his peace (cf. Rom 8:15).
Do you have peace in your heart? Or are you tormented by fear?
First John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” A good earthly father doesn’t want his children worried about food, drink, and clothing. He doesn’t want his children worried about their future. As much as he can control events, he does so for their good. It’s the same with our heavenly Father—except that, unlike our earthly fathers, he is all-wise and all-powerful. He wants us to know that he loves us and that he works all things for our good (Rom 8:28).
Are you wearing the footwear of peace, or are you wearing fear, anxiety, and torment?
Application Question: How can we put on the peace of God instead of fear and anxiety?
Philippians 4:6-7 says,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If we are going to have God’s peace, we must reject anxiety and fear. They are not God’s will for us, and they are sinful. They say, “God, you are not to be trusted,” or “You are not in control.”
If we are going to have God’s peace, we must learn to pray about everything. Prayer must become the atmosphere we live in. When we are not living in prayer (i.e. God’s presence), the storms of life will constantly frighten and overwhelm us. If we are going to have God’s peace, we must learn to give thanks in everything. When we complain, murmur, and criticize, we lose the peace of God.
The association of feet with the gospel is not uncommon in Scripture. Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” In Romans 10:15, Paul says, “And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
One of our responsibilities in this war is to share the gospel with others. It is each person’s assignment. Second Corinthians 5:18-20 says:
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
In hand to hand combat, if one side is only playing defense, he will eventually be defeated. He must also attack. Our battle as believers is not just defensive; it is, in fact, primarily offensive. We are called to advance the kingdom of God by spreading the gospel everywhere in the name of Jesus. If you are not doing so, you won’t stand firm. The enemy’s offensive will eventually swallow you up.
Are you spreading the gospel? Is that your purpose at school, work, and home, and with family and friends?
Our feet must always be ready with the gospel. First Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
I think this also shows us how Satan attacks. He wants to attack our zeal for the gospel. He wants to quiet us. If we have lost our zeal, then we no longer are wearing the footwear of peace.
The readiness that comes from the gospel of peace represents peace in our relationships with others. This is one of the major themes of Ephesians. Paul teaches the mystery of the gospel that God makes the Jew and Gentile one in Christ. Consider Ephesians 2:12-14: remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
Animosity between Jew and Gentile was a major issue for the early church. In Acts 6, the Jews neglected the Greek widows in the daily distribution while providing for the Hebrew widows. However, Paul said Christ is our peace—he has made us one.
Surely disunity is one of the major weapons the enemy uses against our churches. Sometimes he brings disunity through racism, as seen with the Jews and Gentiles in the early church. Sometimes he uses doctrine. What God means to equip and strengthen us, the enemy uses to bring division and discord. Most times, he just uses pride. Pride says, “My way is the only way, and it can’t be done any other way.” Churches divide over changing the color of the carpet, the music, the flow of worship services, and any other thing. The root of this is pride—”my way is the only way.”
In attacking the church, Satan seeks to bring division. Remember, Paul says in Ephesians 4:26-27 not to let the sun go down while we are angry, and not to give the devil a foothold. Christ is our peace.
Are you living in peace with those around you? As much as depends on you, live at peace with all men (Rom 12:18).
Are you wearing the right footwear for our spiritual war? Are you recognizing our peace with God? He loves us and cares for us. Are you being filled with the peace of God in your circumstances? Are you sharing the gospel—always prepared to give a defense of the hope that is in you? Finally, are you living at peace with all men, as much as depends on you?
- In what ways does the enemy constantly attack your readiness from the gospel of peace?
- ow is God calling you to put on his footwear?
- In what ways have you experienced Satan’s attacks through division in your relationships—friends, family, co-workers, and church members?
- How have those experiences affected you and your relationship with God?