“Put On God’s Gospel Boots” Deepen Your Commitment to Readiness to Share the Gospel
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.15
Eph. 6. Hudson Taylor told of a Chinese pastor who always instructed new believers to witness as soon as possible. Once, upon meeting a young believer, the pastor asked, “Brother, how long have you been saved?” The man answered that he had been saved for about three months.
“And how many have you won to the Savior?”
“Oh, I’m only a learner,” the new believer responded. Shaking his head in disapproval, the pastor said, “Young man, the Lord doesn’t expect you to be a full-fledged preacher, but he does expect you to be ready to share the gospel. Tell me, when does a candle begin to shine—when it’s already half burned up?”
“No, as soon as it’s lit,” came the reply.
“That’s right, so let your light shine right away.” Get ready to share the gospel.
This young believer was not ready. Young or old physically or spiritually, if you have trusted Christ, you must always be ready to share the gospel. And that’s the theme of verse 15.
Let’s read chapter 6 verses 10-15.
Ephesians 6:10–15 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
The issue in these verses is how we are going to be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. How are we going to stand firm against Satan’s schemes? We see this in verse 11. The main way that we stand firm against Satan’s evil plans in this passage is by putting on the whole armor of God. If we put on God’s whole armor, then we will stand firm against Satan’s evil plans. We will be able to resist Satan’s temptations if we put on the whole armor of God.
That’s why in verse 14 we discussed putting on the belt of truth… which we showed meant to be committed to the gospel truth and to live it out. That’s a required way to stand firm against Satan’s temptations. But that’s not all that’s required. Also, from verse 14 again we discussed putting on God’s body armor of righteousness … we must live righteously…that’s also required to stand firm against Satan’s evil plans.
We must put on the whole armor, not just the ones you like.
And now from verse 15, we’re told to shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
What we’ll discover is that this means that we must deepen our commitment to being ready to share the gospel. So, I’d like to preach that you… Put on God’s Gospel Boots … which means that you must Deepen Your Commitment to Readiness to Share the Gospel.
Background: what do the boots do?
To shod in verse 15 means to put something on your feet. Paul says that we should put something on our feet. What should we put on our feet? We should put on the preparation, the readiness of the gospel of peace. He is once again drawing on the image of the Roman soldier.
Roman soldier would wear military half-boots or sandals called caligae, [Cali-guy]. They were cut from a single piece of leather and would have thick soles. On the bottom of those soles were something like cleats, called hobnails. Just like a soccer shoe with cleats, these hobnails would help prevent the sandals from wearing down and they would give him a firm grip on the slippery ground.
This is the Roman military boot, if you will.
Similarly, as a Christian you must put on your military boots. You must do this in order to stand firm against Satan’s schemes.
To stand firm against Satan’s schemes, you must put on readiness to share the gospel. Just like the Roman soldier was to put on his military sandals to help him stand firm in the physical battle, so also for us … to stand firm in the spiritual battle, the Christian soldier is to put on his readiness to preach, share, or announce the gospel of peace.
In verse 15, in order to stand firm against Satan’s schemes, you must be ready to preach the gospel of peace. You must be ready to preach the gospel of peace.
First, we’ll discover that the boots we are to put on refer to our readiness to preach the gospel. Second, we’ll see that this is Jesus’ proclamation; it His preaching that we are to put on. And finally, we will learn how to put on the boots. What we’ll see here is that to put on the boots of gospel proclamation means to deepen your commitment to being ready to share the gospel.
And we’ll have points of application at the end.
What is the preparation of the gospel of peace
EXP: So what are we to put on our feet? We are to put on the preparation of the gospel of peace.
The word preparation here in the New American Standard can be translated ‘readiness.’ The ESV and the NIV translate it that way. I appreciate that wording since it gives the sense of urgency. Are you ready?
Unfortunately, the ESV and the NIV interpret the phrase that readiness comes from the gospel of peace. You may have an NIV or an ESV in your hands this morning …
ESV: having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
NIV: your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
But literally it is having shod… YOUR FEET WITH THE READINESS OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;
You need to put readiness on your feet. In other words, you need to be ready to do something. It’s not just some state of readiness. And I am going to argue for this interpretation: you need to be ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
ARG: it’s not that you need to have a sense of readiness that comes from or is given by the gospel. As perhaps your study notes likely have it.
No, it’s that you need to be ready to proclaim the gospel. You need to be ready to share it.
And we know this is the correct interpretation because of 2 primary reasons. In both of these reasons are letting Scripture interpret Scripture.
#1: We should understand this phrase to mean to be ready to proclaim the gospel because… number 1… the same passage in Colossians understands it this way. Paul’s letter to the Colossians is the twin letter of the letter to the Ephesians. The two letters are designed to be quite similar. Kind of like the similarities between Gospels, like Matthew and Mark. If we had a question about how to interpret Matthew, we could go to the same passage in Mark to see if we can understand it better. And the same passage of Ephesians 6:15 is Colossians 4:5-6. You could turn there if you wish…Colossians 4:5-6…
Here we learn that we must speak grace to lost people. This sounds like sharing the gospel.
Colossians 4:5–6 5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders (that’s the lost), making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace (with God’s grace, sharing God’s grace…) as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
So Colossians is telling us that we must let our speech always be with grace toward outsiders. The idea here primarily is how especially to lead them to Christ, to give them grace.
So now back to Ephesians 6:15. Because in Colossians it means to share the gospel, here in Eph. 6:15, we should understand it to mean to share the gospel. We just let Scripture interpret Scripture.
The second reason why we need to understand this phrase in Ephesians 6:15 to mean being ready to share the gospel we will see more of later, but I will state it now. Paul is quoting Isaiah 52:7 in Ephesians 6:15. Back in Isaiah, we have a picture of a messenger preaching peace. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news.” That’s a messenger preaching the gospel! And so because Paul is quoting that very passage in Isaiah that pictures a messenger preaching peace, we conclude in Eph. 6:15 that this is a messenger preaching the gospel of peace.
This is not to mention that the word gospel itself often carries with it the idea of preaching…
So for these 2 primary reasons I argue that we need to understand Eph. 6:15 to refer to us being ready to preach the gospel: Because Colossians 4:5-6 is preaching the gospel and because of the cross reference to Isaiah someone is preaching the gospel.
ILL: And so we must be ready to preach the gospel at any moment.
Do you remember someone who was ready in the Scripture? You remember Moses. Moses is pastoring the flock of his father-in-law and he had led the flock to the west side of the wilderness to the mountain of Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a blazing fire from the middle of the bush and Moses looked and behold the bush was burning with fire but was not consumed. And Moses says to himself I must go and check this out why the bush is not all burned up.
And then Exodus chapter 3 in verse 4 says this … 4 When the Lord saw that [Moses] turned aside to look, God called to [Moses] from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” … Here I am Lord, use me!
And you know how old Moses is at this time? He is 80 years old! No believer young or old is retired from being required to being ready to serve God, especially to share the gospel.
APP: Unfortunately, when God calls like He is today … many of his people are in a fog. Will you fail to give Him an answer … just put your name in there instead of Moses … “Moses, Moses….” If you’re a saved person, God has called. Are you so busy telling God what you want to do that you simply fail to tell him that you’re ready…you’re ready for what He wants you to do… to announce the good news… “Here I am LORD!”
Are you ready? Are you able to say “here I am Lord?” When you read in his word of what he wants you to do, do you take it as his mission for you?
[RAISE IT UP!]
And the truth is, you don’t need a burning bush experience to be ready to preach the gospel of peace. What you need is Ephesians 6:15 that you must be ready to preach the gospel of peace. You are commanded put on your boots…you are commanded preach the gospel to every creature! This is your mission and you must accept it!
We must be ready to preach, to share, to announce the what? … the gospel of peace.
Gospel of peace
EXP: what are we preaching, what are we sharing? The gospel of peace. The gospel means good news. So what is the gospel?
The good news, the gospel that we preach is the person and work of Christ. Just ask yourself … Who is Jesus and what did he do?
Jesus is God and man. This is who he is. What did he do? He died for our sins and was raised from the dead. This is the gospel in a nutshell. Jesus is God and man. He died for our sins and was raised from the dead.
How do we know this is the gospel? Because the beginning of both Romans 1 and 1 Co. 15 tell us this.
Romans 1 says that, through the Old Testament prophets, God promised to send us his good news for us. And the gospel is all about His Son, the Son of God who was born of a descendent of David. He is man.
But at the same time was declared to be Son of God, meaning he is God. He was declared to be Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.
In other words, the resurrection proves that Jesus is God and man. To be raised from the dead requires that you be human and to be raised from that dead state requires that you be God.
And then 1 Corinthians 15 tells us that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scripture and that He was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures. Paul when he tells us this tells us that he is making known to us the gospel.
And this is what we are to proclaim Jesus is God and man. He died for our sins, that is he died to take away the penalty of our sin that we deserved. He paid that penalty for us. And to prove it all, he was raised from the dead. This is the gospel.
And we must encourage, yes command people to respond to this. This is what we are to preach to them. And there is a response: you must trust Christ and turn from your sin to be saved from sin and hell and to receive eternal life.
If they respond to the gospel, our passage says they get peace. This is the gospel of what? This is the gospel of peace that we proclaim to them. This gospel gives peace, is the idea!
We have peace with God and peace with others because of the gospel. When someone properly response to the gospel, they get peace with God and peace with others.
Peace with God
First, because of the gospel, we have peace with God. This is the way Paul uses this word peace in the book of Ephesians.
In fact, turn back to Ephesians 2:17-18. Here we learned that we have peace with God.
Ephesians 2:17–18 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
Because of Jesus proclamation of peace, that is His work on the cross and His resurrection, verse 18 we have access in one Spirit to the father. We have peace with God!
Peace with others
But not only do we have peace with God, we also have peace with others. Notice what it says again in verse 17-18
Ephesians 2:17–18 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away [who’s that? That’s us, Gentiles…those of us who are not Jews!], and peace to those who were near [that’s the jews]; 18 for through Him we both [both Jews and Gentiles…] have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
Jews and Gentiles were fighting each other in the first century, and still are. They were angry with each other. But Christ came and preached peace to them and …brought them together into the church.
And so the point is we have peace with others because of the gospel. People who were once fighting each other and angry with each other can have peace with each other. And that’s why in Ephesians 4:3, Paul tells us that we are to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We must strive to keep unity with each other.
In other words, let’s have the peace of God towards one another. Because of the peace that we have with God… Because we are reconciled to God, because we are right with God in Christ, and because there is nothing in between us and God because of Christ, because of this, let’s be at peace with one another.
Be patient with one another. God has forgiven me of much sin, shall I not be patient with you who sin? Shall I not still encourage you?
Even though you sin against me, shall I not be quick to forgive you? Yes I will! Because God has forgiven me and given me peace with him. I no longer fear his wrath because I have trusted Christ.
There is peace between me and God. God and me are not enemies because I have accepted the peace treaty. And because this white flag has been waived between me and God and we are one again, I shall be endeavor to be one with others. I will have unity with others and be at peace with those in this assembly.
APP: So, are you not getting along with somebody in our assembly? Are you constantly going over in your mind bad things that have happened that rubbed you the wrong way? Do you not feel unified with others here because of some unfortunate discussion or action that either you or they said or did? If so, you must get that right! You must get peace again with others. Satan enjoys creating unnecessary divisions in churches because of personality differences.
So preach to yourself the gospel of peace and be at peace with God and with one another.
Be ready at all times with this glorious gospel; stand firm against Satan’s schemes with it. Be ready, be on the alert, before you hear Satan’s roar so you’re ready when he comes your way.
So, the gospel of peace means the gospel that gives peace. It gives peace with God…God uses it to save people. So preach it!
It gives peace with others in an assembly, so preach it! To yourselves and to Christians.
So we must deepen our commitment to being ready to share the gospel of Christ! Are you committed to this? We will address how to be ready a little later. But to put on your feet the military boots of gospel proclamation means to deepen your commitment to being ready to share the gospel. Are you ready? Let’s be committed to getting ready to share the gospel.
TRANS: And to help us with our commitment level to being ready to share the gospel, once again we have the example of Christ. Paul quotes Isa. 52:7 to help us to be committed to gospel proclamation today. What we will discover in this second point of the message is that the very proclamation that we are to be ready with, Jesus is ready with at the end of days. What Jesus will proclaim at the end of days, we are to proclaim now. We see this in Isaiah chapter 52:7. You are welcome to turn back to Isaiah chapter 52:7.
This is Jesus’ proclamation
At the end of days, Jesus will proclaim peace to Jerusalem. And it is this very proclamation that we are to put on. Just as Jesus preaches peace at the end of days, so also we are to preach the gospel of peace today. That is Paul’s point. Just as Jesus preaches peace at the end of days to Jerusalem, so also we are to preach the gospel of peace today.
Let’s go back to verse one…Isa. 52:1
Isaiah 52:1–7 1 Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion [that’s Jerusalem]; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no longer come into you. [has that happened yet? No, wicked people are still loose in Jerusalem today] 2 Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For thus says the Lord, “You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money.” 4 For thus says the Lord God, “My people went down at the first into Egypt to reside there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5 “Now therefore, what do I have here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?” Again the Lord declares, “Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long. 6 “Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day [a yet future day] I am the one who is speaking, ‘Here I am.’ [sound familiar? Moses said “Here I am…” He was ready … God Himself is ready! Ready for what? Verse 7 … ] 7 How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
When Christ returns at the end of days, he will receive the call of God His Father to return and His response will be at the end of verse six, “Here I am.” I’m ready!
And He will return and verse seven … his feet will touch on the mountain, Zech. Tell us it’s the Mount of Olives and he will bring good news and announce peace and he will say to Zion “your God reigns.”
Christ is coming again and he is ready he is saying “here I am” and when he is ready he will come back and preach peace… he will preach peace.
So like the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, the boots of gospel proclamation are the same boots that Jesus will be wearing when he returns. He himself will proclaim peace and bring good news, happiness, and announce salvation. And he himself will be ready saying “here I am.”
And so we are called as well to be ready, to be ready like our Lord who will come and when comes, He will come quickly! And He is calling on you to put on His very boots of gospel proclamation.
So, put on those, get ready for it… learn to be ready to proclaim the gospel of peace to those who are yet the enemies of God.
ILL: You have got to be ready to share the gospel even in the most difficult circumstances for the rest of your life.
I would say that no other urgent time could be shared than that of unsinkable ship, the Titanic. Few remakes of what happened on April 14-15, 1912 will include the story of Scottish evangelist John Harper. Harper was a passenger on the Titanic.
John Harper was travelling to Chicago to accept the pastorate of Moody Church in Chicago, the church that DL Moody founded. He had his daughter Nana on board with him. His wife had died a few years earlier.
When the Titanic struck an iceberg, Harper put his 6-year-old daughter in a lifeboat but refused to get in himself, even though he was her only living parent.
He then went among the passengers telling them about Jesus Christ. When one man refused the offer of salvation, Harper offered him his own life jacket.
Here … “You need this more than I do,” he said.
He then ran throughout the ship yelling “Women, children, and unsaved into the lifeboats!” When the ship finally went down he had already given his lifejacket to another passenger. Survivors report that to the very end Harper was witnessing to anyone who would listen. One survivor recalls clinging to one of the debris of the ship when Harper floated near him.
“Man, are you saved?” cried Harper.
“No I’m not” replied the man.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” pleaded Harper.
The waves carried Harper away and brought him back a little later. “Are you saved now?” asks Harper.
“No, I cannot honestly say that I am” says the man.
Again Harper pleads with him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”.
Shortly afterwards Harper drowned. The man who survived was one of only a few people pulled alive from the icy waters, but in a public meeting four years later, he recounted this episode he said, “There, alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I [trusted Christ]. I am John Harper’s last convert.”
Harper was ready… ready to preach the gospel. He had been prepared for much of his life, preaching the gospel to hundreds of people. That night was just a reflection of who he was.
It doesn’t take the oratory skill of a Spurgeon or the wisdom of a Paul, it simply takes commitment. Are you committed to getting ready to share the gospel?
This is Jesus’ gospel and He himself is ready to proclaim peace at the end of days. Be like Christ; put on your gospel boots!
TRANS: so how do we get ready to proclaim the gospel of peace?
How do we put on proclaiming the gospel?
You’ve got to get your mind and your heart ready. If you’re mind is ready and your heart is not, you might know all the ins and outs of the gospel message and all the great benefits of it, but your heart isn’t in it. So you’ll be less likely to share it.
If your heart is in it and your mind is not ready, you might be all excited about Christ but you have not worked on how to actually share the gospel with someone.
To get your heart in it, praise God for the gospel. Sing about it, talk about it with other believers, read the gospel accounts and ask God to help you glory in it.
To get your mind in it, study the gospel. Study the benefits of the gospel study the response to the gospel and study how the Lord Jesus and Paul the apostle preached the gospel to others.
ILL: Penn Jillette is a famous Hollywood atheist. He’s teamed up with Teller and they form this Hollywood team “Penn and Teller.” Now, he’s an atheist, meaning he doesn’t believe God exists. Here’s what he has to say about evangelizing or sharing the gospel with people….
“I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t [evangelize]. .. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell … and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward … how much do you have to hate somebody to not [evangelize]? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that. I mean, if I believed … that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I [would] tackle you. And [hell] is more important than that.”
Did you catch how he equated not sharing the gospel with hating someone? Do you really love people?
Imagine you are out for a walk in a city very early on a Sunday morning. The streets are empty and the city is quiet.
As you pass a construction site where they are building a new skyscraper you notice a van with words on the side that say “Acme Elevator Testing Company.” You look toward the skeleton of the building and, way up high near the top of the building, you can see the elevator starting to come down.
As your eyes follow the open elevator shaft you notice a small girl playing in the sand at the bottom of the elevator shaft. You immediately realize the danger. The little girl has no idea that the elevator is being tested and she is about to be killed.
What would you do?
Would you say, “It’s none of my business. The construction site is private property and I don’t belong there.” And then continue on your walk.
Or would you call out, “Little girl run! The elevator is coming down! Danger! You are about to be killed!” And run over to the building and pull the girl out from under the descending elevator?
Of course, you’d run over and save the little girl. Anyone would do that.
So, the question is do you believe the gospel? Is the Scripture a reality for you. Is heaven or hell as certain or more than the air you breathe? Is Jesus’ return to this earth more certain to you than the sun rising tomorrow?
Or are you a Christian atheist? Do you say that you believe and you give a head nod to God and you wink at his death and resurrection on your behalf, but yet you live like what he has done for you doesn’t matter today? What he has done matters for eternity. Know him and his glorious gospel!
Well, what are some reasons that people don’t share the gospel?
1. You may feel like witnessing is just a formality and it’s not really caring about people.
You might feel like that you are campaigning for Jesus without really taking time to care about people. You you might feel like that witnessing is blindly dismissing what real people are going through just to recite some words to them to spiritually pat yourself on the back.
Ok, ask questions to them. Focus on their heart. Use what they are going through in their life to express love and concern for them. Value their thoughts and try to lovingly steer the conversation to the gospel.
TRANS: …the second reason you might not feel like sharing the gospel is…
2. You might feel like that if you were to witness, you would sound too preachy.
So because you don’t want to sound like a preachy Christian, you hesitate to bring up spiritual matters because you’re afraid that others would think that you are self-righteous.
Keep in mind that we are not motivated by recruitment, like we’re trying to recruit people to our teams. Like John Harper on the Titanic, if you really believe the gospel, your words and your life will show it. Do you believe Christ died for sinners to save them from sin and eternal punishment? Eternal punishment! If you know the gospel, this one will get fixed.
3. Or maybe you’re tempted not to witness because you won’t know what to say when they ask you a question.
This is where we need to be prepared. We need to be ready! And one of the ways to get ready for a question is to say this profound statement … “I don’t know, but I will get back to you on that! Can I have your email address or your phone number?”
Another way of course is to study and know the answer on the spot. But saying you don’t know is great and may allow further contact.
Our Thursday night series right now we are studying how to put off certain sin habits and put on other sin habits. And after a few more of these studies, we’re going to begin a larger study on the Great Commission. We will be teaching on evangelism using specific Bible examples. We’ll be studying the Great Commission and how to apply it to our assembly here.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.15
So get ready to share the gospel! Prepare to preach to your own heart and others. Love people, care about them, know them, have lost people over to your house, and get to know the way they think.
And at the right time…which might be right away… tell them of their need for a Savior. Tell them of their own sin and how that has distanced them from God. Tell them that a Savior has come and that his death is powerful to take away their sin.
Tell them that though he died, yet he lives again for them to save them and to intercede for them. And tell them that he lives forever, tell them of his grace, tell them of his mercy, tell them of his forgiveness, because of the love that he has displayed to them in Christ.
Tell them the gospel and if they trust Him, they will have peace with God forevermore.
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Michael P. Green, ed., Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively, Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989). ↑
http://storiesforpreaching.com/category/sermonillustrations/evangelism/. Source: Reported by Elesha Coffman, Christianity Today, August 7,200. The story is told in The Titanic’s Last Hero (Moody Press, 1997) ↑