Good morning again, Saylorville Church. If you brought a copy of Scripture with you this morning, you can find Ephesians chapter 6 as we continue in this chapter and this series on “The Church at War.” A good friend of mine who fought in Afghanistan was telling me some time ago that in fact he shared this around the time he got saved with us that whenever he entered into actual combat, he experienced a rush so indescribable. He just figured he would never experience that kind of rush again ever in life. And then he was presented with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He said, “I had that same rush and there is nothing more epic than being confronted with your need to know Jesus as your Savior.” And those of us who are on the front lines of proclaiming the gospel have felt that exhilaration. We know that rush. It’s a rush that many of you have never experienced. But if you will put on, if you will determine this morning to strap on your gospel shoes, you will. You will. And so let’s get back to the context, the church at war Ephesians 6 beginning in verse 10. But he says, “Finally be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, the cosmic powers over the spiritual darkness against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand firm, stand therefore. Having fastened on the belt of truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness and as shoes for your feet having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. If you use the Christian standard Bible, here’s how it translates, that last expression, and have your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. If you’ve been with us in this series, you know that we emphasize for good reason because the Apostle Paul does four times the word and one way or another to stand. For the Apostle Paul, the soldier that he was chained to in that Roman prison was a virtual metaphor for the Christian life and the warfare that we have against Satan and his emissaries. And so this is not as we have said, a playground, but a battleground, right? And the soldiers sandals to the Apostle Paul depicted readiness. In fact, this word that you see there in the text, it’s the only time it’s ever used in the New Testament. This word here, some of your Bible say, “preparedness.” If you think about it, you’re really not ready to go outside and tell you put your shoes on, right? We’re talking about the Church at war. And the Bible is replete with expressions, metaphors, illustrations of God’s people being in a fight, in battle. The Psalmist says not once but twice that God trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Have you ever read that? My son, one of my sons anyway likes to shoot guns. He’s really good. He’s a good shot. So I bought a gun. I’m not a good shot. In fact, just the other day as I was going to go shooting with it, I looked at my gun, I thought, “I’m not convinced I’d be really, really very accurate with this thing.” That’s not a good thing, is it? So you know what I did? I went shooting. That’s what I did to get better at my aim. Our passage before us is a passage all through up, but now he gets very specific about being ready. This whole passage is about being ready for war, being ready for battle. It’s asking you, in this case, are you ready to strap on your gospel shoes for battle, for the souls of lost people? The Apostle Paul saw advancing in his walk with God as something that would meet resistance constantly. And so he said to the Romans in chapter 1 and verse 13, “I wanted to come to you, but I was prevented.” Have you ever read that? And first Corinthians 16 and verse 8, he says, “I’m going to stick around here in Ephesus because a great and effectual door has been opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” resistance. And to the Thessalonians, he said, “I tried to come to you time and again, but Satan, the very one we’re dealing with here, Satan has hindered me.” It’s a “captop” — it’s a word which means to cut into, it’s a military term he uses in First Thessalonians chapter 2. It was a word that was used for one army taking a big swath out of a road in order to prevent the armaments of another army to get from one place to another to cut into, that’s what it meant. So in the context of war, Ephesians 6.15, I think it’s really instructive that in the context of war, the Apostle Paul describes the gospel as the gospel of what, not of war, The gospel piece, my favorite symbol of all of the symbols of our country is the great seal of our country. I love it. It’s got to…it’s literally pregnant with symbolism. But my favorite are the talons, the two talons. They are both grasping something, if you’ll note. And this is from the onset of our country. The one talent has an olive branch and the other has arrows. Our country was saying then as it does now, as a country, we want to extend an olive ring. We are four piece, but the other talent is saying, “But we will fight to maintain it.” I love that. That doesn’t make it. Patriot, I don’t know what will. But as a Christian soldier, it’s a little different. We have to fight to bring peace because men, women, boys, girls, this whole world is at war with God. And we are the peace makers, we’re the ones who are to live out that Beatitude, blessed are the peace makers in the way we bring peace is by bringing the gospel of peace to those who are at war with God. Paul says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” We are at war in an effort to bring others, God’s peace. Most of us don’t like to get into fights, verbal or physical. And we certainly don’t like the fight of the gospel. We’re happy to be a church, you know? Do our Bible studies, teach your children to love Jesus? What does that even mean anyway? What does it even mean to teach your children to love Jesus if you’re not teaching them to get out into the battle? This is what we have been called to do in the Great Commission. Not to just be in a holy huddle, but to break the huddle, little NFL terminology for the games today. And run the play. March down the field, advance. There’s a 1984, back when dinosaurs were walking around. I was in this church, San Diego Baptist church, brought my wife and kid. That’ll tell you how old the lungo was. My wife and kid. And I was asked to teach an evangelism class, which I was happy to do so. I did it with Gus Garnerman. He is the father of Lynn Ober in our church. Gus has always been a gospel man all his life. He’s still alive in his 90s. But he was all about the gospel. And he was the only one. Gus was the only one who went out on visitation. By the way, just as a side note, I always wondered why churches called their evangelism program visitation. I mean, it’s not like we were going to funeral homes. But I got thinking about a little deeper and I thought, well, maybe that is a good word because we really were visiting dead people with a message that would give them life. We have a message that can make dead people come alive. And if you think on this, when you present the gospel, when you strap on your gospel shoes, you have within your hands and at your disposal the very means by which dead people come alive. That’s amazing. So back to the story, I had to teach this evangelism class, 60 people showed up, maybe more. Gus and I taught together. I said, if you’re gonna be in this class, you need to show up for visitation. 12 people showed up that next week. I was super excited. Three weeks later, you’re just Gus and I again. Now why is that? ‘Cause we don’t like fighting. We don’t like the battle. We don’t like the fear and all that goes along with it. Our fight is not against flesh and blood. We’re not fighting with the people we’re trying to reach. Our fight is against principalities, against powers, against spiritual host of wickedness in heavenly places. So put on the whole armor of God, amen. Now, much of the design of a Roman soldier and his armament was defensive and we’ve been talking about these things. They were the Roman soldiers, armament was designed for resisting, it was designed for repelling, it was designed for absorbing the fiery darts of the wicked one and for standing so to speak, in the midst of hand-to-hand combat. But not all, not everything the Roman soldier had on him was defensive. We know that the sword wasn’t, and we’re going to get to that, take the sword of the which is the word of God, the “Rama of the Spirit.” Can’t wait to get to that message. But the truth is, it wasn’t just the sword, the shoes, the sandals were actually a part of the soldier’s offense, as well as defense. Soldiers didn’t just stand as the text tells us repeatedly. They ran. Remember the story of David and Goliath? Everybody’s favorite childhood story, right? Go back to it again, not now, but go back to it again. You remember after he can’t wear Saul’s clunky armament and he just takes him and his slingshot and his stoning and goes to Goliath. Goliath is approaching him, defying him and the people of Israel and the God of Israel. And what is David doing? The Bible tells us he ran at him. He ran at Goliath. Now why would he do that? Because running would give him momentum, his ability to dodge and maneuver and opportunity to kill that blaspheming giant. The sandals that the Apostle Paul is referring to here would have been leather. There was nothing attractive about them. They would have laced up around the lower part of the calf. If you got the old version, it says, “Have your feet shod.” Right? You’re like, “What does that mean? Have your shod your feet today?” It’s just an old expression that meant to bind. So you’ve seen people with their shoes on tied. Sometimes you attempt to say your shoes on tied because you don’t want them to trip, right? These type of sandals, you wouldn’t even dare to not strap them on tightly because you couldn’t even wear them if they were loose. So the idea is to bind them up in this case to go out and give the gospel. Now these Roman sandals were also there, all other except they would drive spikes through the bottom soul so that they would be studded, they would be cleeded. Roman legions were known for literally dominating their enemies and not the least of which reason being because of their footwear, because they could stand their ground in hand-to-hand combat when the road was slippery or whatever, they’re footing. But back to that whole imagery of the Roman soldier, I should have probably put the old image up of that soldier that we had. But if you think about it, the Roman soldier’s armor, and you’ve seen pictures of these things, I mean archaeology, I mean, they were majestic, weren’t they? I mean, there’s just something statily and something, just there is just an awe about a Roman soldier that was fully clad. They were both bold and beautiful and powerful, except for the sandals. Nobody ever looked at the sandals. If you were a woman, you might look at the sandals, because women always look at guy’s feet. I don’t know why that is. But I’m pretty sure there weren’t a lot of women out in the battlefields in the first century. That wasn’t a sexist comment, it’s just a fact, okay? But here again, they weren’t intended for attention. They were intended for speed, agility, quickness, maneuverability, and grippage. Gospel footshoulders, soldiers don’t get a lot of attention. But without them, the battle, the war that the church is in can never be won. Never. Look at it again. I want to give it to you again. As shoes for your feet having put on the readiness, And that’s the key word here, given by the gospel of peace. Now that’s kind of a clunky statement, I get it. That’s why I put up the other translation a little earlier. The Greek construction here really conveys the idea of confidence that results from readiness, drilling. Remember the illustration of the drill? We said this a week or two ago, right? We might not always be fighting, but we better always be drilling. One Amen please? Now I still like to play basketball. I’m not very good at that either. But I know this when my shoes are getting worn out, I’m even worse. I had some shoes here sometime back and they’re just sliding everywhere, awkward, slipping, sliding, and it was just awful. And then I bought me some new shoes. Why do I tell you that? I tell you that because they didn’t make me a better ball player. there, but they did make me the best I could be. And if you’ll strap on your gospel shoes, they won’t make you the best witness there is, but they will make you the best witness you can be. So here’s what we want you to do. Here is your abomination from the text for the balance of our time. on your gospel shoes. Those of you who know Jesus, strap them on by preparing, by praying, and by proclaiming. So by preparing, that literally is the literal rendering and meaning of the word readiness in the text. Some of your Bibles may even translate it that way, preparation. Remember the old translation says to shod. The idea is to strap them up to be ready. Remember what Peter said. He said, “Set apart Christ as Lord in your hearts and be what? Ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks you of the reason of the hope that’s in you with meekness fear. Always being ready. That takes preparation. This is the drill and we must always be drilling. That’s going to involve study for sure, but it’s going to involve your testimony. Listen, nothing is more powerful in a gospel confrontation. Let’s be honest, that’s what it is. It shouldn’t come off as that, but spiritually speaking, it’s warfare. And nothing, nothing is more powerful. Next to the Word of God itself, because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, right? Next to the Word of God itself, nothing is more powerful than your personal story. Nothing. So it involves your testimony, it involves memorization. One of my biggest pet peeves with the onset of, of social media and more than social media, really just the ability to go on the internet and find anything and have it, your hands disposal, scripture and everything. It’s caused people to stop memorizing. Listen, if you have to go to your phone to tell somebody something, you’ve just put an impediment between you and them. Memorizing the Word of God gives you the direct link to their heart. Speaking of writing, I have literally watched the quotation of Scripture, “Change a soul right in front of me.” And you will too. This is warfare. It’s all so much of the preparation, it’s the study, the memorization, the contemplation, your testimony, and the articulation of the gospel itself. You know what the gospel is, don’t you? I mean, some of our biggest problem is just the way some of us just muddle up the gospel. I’ve heard gospel presentations from Christians that make me wonder if you’re a Christian. What is the gospel? It’s the Bible. No, it’s not the Bible. Paul tells us, “This is the gospel. “Dise-died for your sins according to the Scriptures.” He was buried, and he rose again from the dead. Again, according to the Scriptures. And you must, it’s by the gospel that you are saved. It’s by the gospel that you stand. It’s by the gospel that you have eternal life. It’s by the gospel that your sins are forgiven. Do you know that? Can you articulate that? I’ll never forget standing in the old country church that I pastored when I was a young man, and standing in the back of the church, saying goodbye to people and there was a track rack right over the… Does anybody here not know what a track rack is? I’ve been a lot… Yeah, you don’t. Some of you know, anyway. The track, just little gospel pamphlets. It was right over my shoulder. I had a visitor walk through and he says, “So how many steps is it to get to heaven?” I go, “What?” He goes, “How many steps is it to get… Is it four steps or five?” I said, “Dude, what are you talking about?” I’m just looking over your shoulder. And sure enough, over my shoulder, On one side of the track wreck was a track that said, “For steps to heaven.” And on the other side of the track wreck, there was, I kid you not said, “Five steps to heaven.” (congregation laughing) Talk about confusion. So in the preparation and the preparing, you are preparing your mind and then in actuality to be able to clearly articulate the gospel. So by preparing and then by praying, you say, “Where is that in the text?” That’s why you gotta go down a little bit further. So go with me if you will. Down to verse 18, where Paul says, praying, this is the thing that wraps it all together. He says praying at all times in the spirit with all prayer and supplication. And he doesn’t stop there. He, look at verse 19, he says, and for me, that is pray for me. That word, I love the, I love the USB. I mean, I think it’s silly. It translates, anyway, I’ll get back to it here a minute. It’s just funny to me, I don’t know why. That words may be given to me in the opening of my mouth to boldly proclaim the mystery of the gospel. So he’s asking you to pray for him. And Chuck De Cleene, former evangelist and pastor, and I used to run into each other constantly throughout the day, I’m praying for you for opportunities. And I’d say I’m praying for you for opportunities. Because that is what you find more often in the scripture. More often in the New Testament than praying for somebody to be saved is praying for others to have open doors. Pray for yourself to have an open door. In fact, there is not a sincere prayer, there is not a more sincere prayer, you can offer up to God that will be, not that will be more quickly responded to, answered by God, then the prayer that God will give you an open door. There is no prayer you will ever pray, sincerely. that God will answer more quickly than the prayer for an open door. You ask God to grant that to you. In Colossians, the parallel book to Ephesians, Paul says in chapter 4, “I was going to come back to that, wasn’t I?” The word “words,” their in verse 9, is the word “logos.” It does mean words, but he means more than that. in clotions, he used a different Greek word, which means to be talkative. And isn’t it true if you’ve ever tried to share the Gospel? It’s war, war is breaking out. It’s an invisible war, but it’s war. And suddenly you just kind of, I mean, have you ever since stuff coming out of your mouth that wasn’t making a whole lot of sense? And Paul is asking, he’s praying, he says that I’ll be able to elucidate. That’s the elucidate, the truth, making it clear. It’s, you need to pray about these things. That’s what he’s saying. And then finally by proclaiming, by proclaiming. And you see the word words there again. This is the idea of just, I mean, at the end of the day, you just have to go and do it, right? I mean, in 1988 Nike came out with their famous slogan, what? Just do it. And when I saw that, I thought, that might be the best evangelistic methodology I’ve ever heard. Because it’s only when you just do it that you start to learn. You get over these things that you’re struggling with. And by the way, by the way, the Roman Jew was made of leather. And anybody who puts on new leather know that it’s not really comfortable. But the more you walk in it, the more comfortable it gets. They weren’t very attractive looking, but they were really comfortable. The more they wore them, just like the shoes you wear. The best evangelistic methodology is just to do it. And this is why, and it’ll also deepen your faith. That’s why Philemon 6 says, “I pray that you would be active,” listen to these words, “I pray that you would be active in sharing your faith so that you may have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” The more you do it, the more you share Christ, the deeper you get your theology starts coming together. It’s not set apart and all these, it’s not, it’s not discombobulated and having a lot de-marocations. It just comes together and you’re, you become a much more robust Christian when you’re sharing Christ with others. Your faith makes sense. That’s why I love it. One of our community group, Gal is it came to Christ just a year ago, sent this scripture to the rest of us just the other day. This is it. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer. For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. And then she wrote this to the rest of our group. I’m thinking I could apply this by not overthinking opportunities we are given to share the gospel. But in the word, using the word and prepare myself to share when God gives me the opportunity to just get out of his way and let him use me for his good and perfect work. Just do it. That’s what she’s saying. In 1986, I began as a pastor. And I was in a little country church. We lived in a little house right outside the church right next to nowhere. And my son, my two-year-old son had gotten ahold of my Bible and he was walking around the house with it, swinging around and pretending to be a preacher. something. And I said, “Son, put that Bible back where it belongs.” And I walked around, I couldn’t find my Bible. I looked all over the place for my Bible. Where did he put it? And when I discovered where he put it, I went and got a camera because this is where he put it. In his mind, it belonged next to my shoes. D.L. Moody said every Bible should be bound in Schulender. Is yours? Let’s pray. Our Father in Heaven, we thank you for the gospel, the very thing that some here in this room have never embraced, but it’s still good news. It’s the good news that Christ died for our sins. That it was buried in Rose again. And I pray, if that’s you dear friend, and you’ve never embraced the gospel, you’ve never experienced the change, the transformation that comes through Christ. And today you might humble your heart, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. And then I pray, Lord, for all of these foot soldiers for Christ. But today, we would leave here with a fresh determination to daily strap on our gospel shoes by preparing and praying and then proclaiming. Just doing it. And dear God, I am praying for this church in all that are in this room watching online. I’m asking you to open up doors of opportunity. Lord, by mine just went to a man, told me after the first service, he was so convicted. I said, “Why?” And he said, “Because I have so many opportunities, I turned out.” So Lord, I pray that you would not only give opportunity to these, your people, but that you would give them the boldness to proclaim the gospel. words all that goes with it so that men and women and boys and girls would be raised from their spiritual places of deadness. And all for your glory, we pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.