I love how the Bible, an ancient manuscript, gives such clarity on the times we live in. It
informs us how to think and act in troubling times. Consider Paul’s letter to the church at
Ephesus written nearly 2,000 years ago. He writes of standing and resisting the
strategies of the devil in the “evil day.” (I think you would agree, we are living in some
evil days.) But, in contrast to all we see and hear around us, we are instructed our
problems are not caused by what we see and hear. Our conflict is spiritual: “against evil
rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and
against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Our struggle is not against flesh and blood
but OUR OPPORTUNITIES ARE WITH FLESH AND BLOOD.
How are we to live in an environment of evil, deception, and unrest? Paul tells us to put
on the whole armor of God. I want to draw attention to one aspect of God’s armor we
are to wear: “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Now, I
have listened to a lot of teaching on the Armor of God and heard the armor is essentially
defensive with the exception of the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God, which is
decidedly for the offensive. But, let us reconsider what it means to have our feet
prepared with the gospel. Our feet not only help us to stand, but they take us where we
want to go or where we are sent. I place something on my feet appropriate to the
action I am about to take. Our feet carry the Gospel forward. The gospel is positive,
powerful, permanent, persistent and proactive. It is the GOOD NEWS! Boy, we can use
some good news right now!
What Paul is telling us through the Holy Spirit is to be prepared with the Gospel. Do I
really know what the gospel is? Am I prepared to share it? To give an answer to
everyone who asks me a reason for the hope that is in me? I like Tim Keller’s
description of the gospel; “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever
dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus
Christ than we ever dared hope.” The simple gospel message is we are reconciled to
God through Jesus Christ who removed the barrier of sin which separated us. That is all
of our story. We need to be proficient and prepared to share it.
Beloved, we are not to be in a posture of standing, waiting for the storm to pass,
surviving the evil day, looking forward to things getting back to normal (whatever that
means). Wearing the armor and being prepared with the gospel means we are on the
offense and ready for any opportunity that presents itself in flesh and blood. People are
flesh and blood. People are our opportunity.
Did you notice in Ephesians 6, we are to be prepared with the gospel of PEACE. Peace
is about reconciliation of the sinner with God. Peace also produces reconciliation on a
broader and deeper scale. The gospel of peace is God’s answer for the divisiveness
and hatred we are seeing in our culture. We, who are prepared with the gospel and sent
into the world are peacemakers. The world is desperate for someone who can restore peace. We are God’s answer.
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!”