The middle of Ephesians chapter six is a famous passage among Christians. It describes the armor of God – spiritual clothing every Christian is commanded to wear. Truth protects our belly and private parts, a breastplate of righteousness covers our chest, the helmet of salvation rests upon our head, the shield of faith in one hand, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God in the other.
Years ago I asked an adult Sunday School class to name off the armor of God. Everything above was rattled off in less than two minutes. However, there is still one more piece of attire – shoes.
Ephesians 6:15, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
Usually, sermons talking about the footwear are all about getting out and sharing the gospel with others. The need to go to our family, friends, neighbors, strangers, and the uttermost parts of the earth spreading the gospel. However, the verse does not say, “And your feet shod with the gospel of peace.” It says, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Our shoes are things in our life that prepares us to tell the gospel, not the telling of the gospel itself.
How do we prepare to spread the gospel?
God complemented King Jehoshaphat for getting the idols out of Israel. God said, in doing so, the king was preparing his heart to seek God (2 Chronicles 19:3). Step one in the process of getting ready to share the gospel – getting things out of the way in our life that keeps us from seeking, or getting closer to God. Christ goes as far as using the picture of chopping off a hand or plucking out the eye if it keeps us from God (Matthew 5:29-30). He does not want us to chop off or pluck out body parts, but He is explaining how important it is to remove anything that keeps us from God.
The action above is personal, done by an individual, but the next step is collective – a cleansing of the house of God (2 Chronicles 29:15-16). Some may wonder; why does the church need cleansing for me to be ready to spread the gospel of Christ? Example – a couple of decades ago several TV preachers went through several scandals in short succession. It does not matter if these men were charlatans to begin with or true men of God that fell into sin – their actions hurt any Christian attempting to witness or invite people to church. I had one man tell me, “Preacher, I’ve known you for a long time. I trust you, but it will be a long time before I’ll listen to any minister or go to any church.” He continued talking about the news reports of preachers and their wrongdoing.
Bad press, however, is not the only problem within the church. Sin is often rampant amongst the congregation. A disregard to the heart conditions of love and faith and a lack of respect for the Scriptures that are so essential to the Christian life on the part of Christians cause an unwillingness of the unsaved to listen to our message. The sin also causes the message to be watered down to such a degree that church is no longer a place of spiritual renewal and growth, but a place where people are going through the motions of forgotten faith.
Step three has two parts. Luke 1:17, “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Turning the hearts of the fathers to the children tells us to take care of our responsibilities. God wants us to be responsible and take care of business. Do the right things – teach our children about God, pay our bills, be a loving spouse, be an exceptional employee or employer, be a growing and useful Christian, and so on.
The latter half of this verse wants us to move from “disobedient to the wisdom of the just.” In other words, turn from sin and follow God’s Word.
The last phrase of the verse talks about being a people ready for the Lord. If we are seeking Him, as mentioned earlier, we should be prepared to have Him in our lives.
Lastly, we are to “purge yourself” from being a vessel of dishonor (2 Timothy 2:20-21). The passage tells us by doing so; we are useful to God and “prepared unto every good work.”
By being prepared for every good work, we are prepared to spread the gospel of peace.
To spread the gospel effectively, we need our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Christian, what’s on your feet?