Pastor Greg shares a four-part message series unpacking Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:10-20. This is week 2 of 4 — “Spiritual Warfare!” Greg unpacks Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:15-16 and describes what Paul has in mind when he refers to “Fitting our feet with the readiness of the Gospel of Peace” and “Taking up the shield of faith.”
… and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. ~ Ephesians 6:15
Armor Piece #3: GOSPEL OF PEACE BOOTS!
Proper footwear is vital when you are traveling long distances and especially when you are going into battle. Imagine marching many miles barefooted. Imagine heading into a sword fight with nothing on your feet. Blistered, raw feet could quickly prove your undoing. In self-defense classes you are often taught, when grabbed from behind, to stomp down hard on the foot of your attacker. If you are the one being attacked you want your feet protected too. Boots are the proper footwear for soldiers.
Paul says our feet should be “fitted with the readiness” that comes from the Gospel of Peace.
Refers to preparation, readiness, ensuring a good foundation, or firm footing.
Paul reminds us of our purpose in this spiritual war. We must be prepared, ready at all times, to share the Gospel. We are on a mission to spread the Gospel to all nations.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:19-20
That’s our primary missional objective, yeah? March into the whole world and share the Gospel.
That’s our war against the darkness, bringing in the light. Make disciples of Jesus. Make sure we teach others everything we have learned about Jesus. That’s the command of our Captain Jesus Christ.
Sharing the Gospel potentially changes the eternity of the people hearing it. That’s our mission. Save souls for eternity. Rescue P.O.W.’s. Rescue enslaved souls and give them God’s offer of eternity.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. ~ Ephesians 2:1-2
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 4: 3-4
This is why world-changing evangelism has never been easy, and never will be.
Yet we are called to march out with the Gospel of Peace.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. ~ Romans 12:18
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. ~ Romans 14:19
Still, the good guys have to beat the bad guys before than can truly be peace.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. ~ Romans 16:20
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. ~ Luke 10:19
Armor Piece #4: Shield of Faith
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. ~ Ephesians 6:16
The Roman soldiers actually used two different types of shields.
The first was a small, round shield called an apsis. It was strapped on the forearm of a soldier and was used to parry blows in hand-to-hand combat.
The Greek word Paul uses here is Thureon which comes from the word Thura – meaning door. He is referring to a door-sized shield the Romans called the Scutum. These large Roman soldier shields were vital to their success as a military force as well.
It was approximately 2 ½ feet wide by 4 ½ feet high. It was several layers of wood, covered with metal, then a final layer of leather. When they went into battle they soaked the leather in water. The soldier could easily protect his entire body behind the shield when arrows – even flaming arrows were fired at him.
The shields also interlocked. When the Roman soldiers stood tight together they formed a portable wall. Other soldiers could stand protected behind the shield wall and thrust through with spears. They could march forward as a unit with many spears being thrust through a wall of protective shields at the same time.
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your SHIELD, your very great reward.” ~ Genesis 15:1
In a desert land He found him, in a barren and howling waste. He SHIELDED him and cared for him; He guarded him as the apple of His eye… ~ Deuteronomy 32:10
About Benjamin he said: “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He SHIELDS him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders. ~ Deuteronomy 33:12
Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your SHIELD and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights. ~ Deuteromony 33:29
We see more of Paul’s Armor of God inspiration here. The shield, the sword, and the shoes are all referred to here in Deuteronomy 33:29
Satan shoots all kinds of flaming spiritual arrows at us. He shoots arrows of temptation, doubt, pain, discouragement, depression, fear, hopelessness, guilt, shame, stubbornness, trustlessness, greed, lust, envy, bitterness, pride, ego, unforgiving hearts, gracelessness, judgment along with a multitude of other attacks.
Faith is the confidence that God is who He says He is and that He will do everything He has promised to do.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1
That truth, that faith, that confidence in God, is what we hold up at all times to shield our hearts, and each other’s hearts, from the doubt attacks of our enemy. When our faith is lacking, when we lose confidence in God and in His promises, the effect is, we drop that shield of faith a little bit, and that’s when an arrow might make it through and do some damage. We’ve got to be intentional about keeping that faith, strong, supported, and in the optimal defensive position, and we need to do it together.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13
The secret to winning this battle is keeping sufficient numbers in our forces and sticking together.
Realize, everything Satan is shooting at you he is shooting at me as well. Fortunately, God is faithful and He calls us to stand together trusting that God will protect us as our shield. Just as He shielded Abram and Jacob and Benjamin and every other believer down through history. That’s the shield of faith at work.
If one of us is struggling with our shield of faith, fortunately, we have someone on our left and on our right, interlocked with us, who will cover our weakness in the moment. At other times, we will be the strong one, carrying the load of the person to our left or to our right.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ~ Ephesians 6:12
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. ~ Psalm 18:29
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ~ James 4:7
To set yourself against; to withstand, to resist, to oppose. Holding one’s ground. Refusing to be pushed back. Take a firm stand against. Forcefully declare your personal conviction.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. ~ 1 John 5:4