Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
November 26, 2000
Shoes. All sorts of shoes. Big shoes, little shoes. Expensive shoes, cheap shoes. Dress shoes,
casual shoes. Work shoes, play shoes. Specialty shoes for nearly anything you can think of. Why?
Because your feet are important. Try getting around without them sometime and you will see what I
mean. As important as shoes are to us and to the athletes who make a lot of money promoting their
favorite brand, the shoes of the Roman soldier were even more important. His very life depended on
Paul uses the analogy of the Roman soldier’s footwear to tell us about the next piece of armor
God has provided so that we can fight the spiritual battle we are in. Turn again to Ephesians 6. Let me
remind you once again that spiritual warfare cannot be fought in our own strength, but must be fought
in the strength of the Lord (vs. 10). We have a clever and scheming adversary and we must have on
all the armor of God if we are to stand against his strategies against us (vs. 11). Our battle is not
against other humans regardless of how much grief they may cause us. They are but pawns in the
hands of the wicked one. It is the devil and his host of demons that we are fighting (vs. 12). They are
well organized, so it is important that we are fully prepared to resist them (vs. 13).
The first piece of armor is the belt of truth. Are you girded with it? Do you seek it out and
allow it to control you even when it is difficult? Sometime it takes a lot of work to find the truth, but
without that foundation we are subject to all the lies and deceptions of the devil, and we will be tossed
to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Jesus Christ and His word are the truth. We are to gird
ourselves with Him and the Scriptures. We then must carefully listen for the “ring of truth” that comes
when things are in harmony with the Bible, God’s word of truth.
The second piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. We must have placed upon us
the imputed righteousness of Christ so that we can have confidence in coming before God’s throne of
mercy and so that we will not fall victim to the discouragement that comes when we lose a skirmish
with the devil. We must also walk in the imparted righteousness of Christ which is the practical
righteousness of daily holy living. This protects us from the temptations the devil seeks to entice us
with. Our desire for holiness must exceed our desire for anything else. Our longing for personal,
intimate relationship with our creator must be greater than our longing for any other relationship.
Nothing the devil can do can penetrate the barrier of the breastplate of righteousness, but we must
have it on.
This morning we come to the third piece of equipment. Paul says in verse 15 that we are to
have our feet “shod with preparation of the gospel of peace.”
The Roman soldier wore what we would call sandals instead of boots like our modern soldiers.
But these were a certain type of very good sandals. Leather straps would hold the thick, hardened
leather sole of the sandal to the bottom of his feet. This was to protect him from the same sort of
things we encounter when we walk around outside. Roads can be very hot in the summer and very
cold in the winter. The terrain might be rough stones, sharp rocks, or thorns & brambles. A soldier
with blistered, cut or swollen feet would be more vulnerable to his enemies.
The soldiers shoes were also important to protect him from traps the enemy would set in the
ground to disable him. They would sharpen sticks to very sharp points and then fix them in the ground
with their tips slightly above the ground level. If an enemy came running along and stepped on these
with unprotected feet, the sharp points would pierce the feet causing pain & bleeding which would
hinder the soldier. The injury could also possibly lead to infections which could put the soldier
completely out of action.
But foot protection was not the only reason for the soldier to wear the special sandals. He
might be called to climb a slippery slope, or stand firm on slick grass or mud and his feet needed a
firm grip on the ground to keep from sliding or stumbling. Their sandals would often have bits of
metal or nails impregnated into them like the spikes or hobnobs of athletic shoes to give him extra
The word preparation here, µ, refers to being in the condition of readiness or
preparedness. A good pair of shoes allows the soldier to be ready for conflict. In the same way we are
to be prepared for spiritual battle by having our shoes on, the shoes of the gospel of peace. Shoes
were important, even vital to the Roman soldier. They are vital to us as well. What kind of shoes are
you wearing? Are they protecting you from the wiles of the devil?
Paul is not talking about evangelism in this passage but something else that will protect us in
our fights with our spiritual enemies. We are to have our feet shod, but with what? The preparation of
the gospel of peace. What is that and how can that help protect us?
Part of our protection from the devil is in being ready. Satan is no threat to us when we are
ready with all our armor on. He who is in us is more powerful than he who is in the world (1 John
4:4). When our armor is on we are in submission to the Lord and resisting the devil. We can then
hold fast to the promise of scripture that he will flee (James 4:7).
What does Paul mean that we are to be ready by having our feet shod with the gospel of peace?
First, take careful note that Paul adds here a clarifying description of the gospel. He specifically calls
it the gospel of “peace” because it is the peace brought to us by the gospel that provides us protection.
What is peace? Is peace the absence of conflict? The interlude between wars or what one
person described as “that glorious moment in history when everyone stops to reload”? Those might be
common definitions, but the absence of conflict is not a good description of the peace the gospel gives
for it is much deeper than that. The world might say that North and South Korea are at peace because
they are not currently shooting at each other, but in reality they are still at war. It is just that the
hostilities are not as widespread. This is seen in continued efforts by North Korea to infiltrate South
The meaning of peace that comes with the gospel is better described as the sense of well-being
in contrast to evil in every possible form. i.e. Proverbs 3:17, “her (wisdom’s) ways are pleasant ways,
And all her paths are peace.” It also signifies the good which comes from God, such as in Numb.
6:26 in the Aaronic blessing ….“The LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.” The
gospel of peace is more than merely “rest,” but denotes the tranquility that comes with salvation which
cannot be overthrown by any violence or misfortune, thus in Genesis 15:15 even death could be
spoken of as “going to your fathers in peace.”
The gospel of peace brings the true peace that comes with reconciliation. The two parties that
had been in conflict are now friends working together in harmony for the same goals. North and South
Korea are not at peace because they are not reconciled. That is why there is a DMZ between them and
it will remain there until they are reconciled.
The peace of the gospel is the peace with God that comes through being reconciled to Him
through Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 states this clearly: “Therefore having been justified by faith, we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This same truth is seen in Eph. 2:14-18 For He
Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing
wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of command-ments contained in
ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and
might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
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.
Notice in that passage that there was enmity (vs 16) between God and man. We were His
enemies because of our sin. Something had to be done to end the war between us. A truce would not
have been enough because that would have left us in our sins and we would eventually have to pay the
price for those sins. God sent His own son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of our sin so that we could
be reconciled with God (vs 16). That is the gospel message, the message of peace that Jesus brought
and preached (vs 17) and why Jesus is called our peace (vs 14). Romans 5:10 says the same thing,
“For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more,
having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
True peace comes only by being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. That is salvation from
sin and its consequences of condemnation by God. And since that reconciliation takes place because of
God’s initiative, God is called the God of peace (Heb. 13:20, Phil 4:9). It is this good news that is the
message of the gospel of peace.
We are to stand firm in the gospel of peace. When we do, we can remain calm, tranquil, at
ease, regardless of any circumstance, any temptation, any lie, any slander, and any persecution that
may come against us. We are controlled by God’s peace instead of fear. God knows what he is doing.
He loves us and nothing can separate us from that love – Romans 8:28-39 makes that promise certain.
How does the peace that comes with the gospel protect us from Satan? How does it help us to
stand firm? It removes fear, and fear is a great weapon wielded by Satan to cause us to retreat.
The greatest threat any army faces is not the enemy, but fear of the enemy and what they might
do. How many countless battles throughout history have been won by what logistically would be an
inferior force simply because that army had no fear and in their boldness they invoked fear in their
enemies? The classic Scriptural example is that of Gideon in his battle with the Midianites in Judges 6
& 7. What chance did 135,000 Midianite soldiers have against Gideon’s 300 plus God? When we are
on God’s side we have nothing to fear. All we have to do is be faithful to Him for even in the midst of
battle He is the one that fights for us. What chance did Assyrians 185,000 or the whole Egyptian
army, have against one angel of the LORD? Romans 8:31 declares, “What then shall we say to these
things? If God [is] for us, who [is] against us?”
What can Satan do to cause you to fear?
Can he take you to hell with Him? Not if you are a true Christian, for the gospel of peace has
reconciled you with God and you are in God’s hands and Jesus declared in John 10:29, “My Father,
who has given [them] to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch [them] out of the
Father’s hand. 30 “I and the Father are one.
Can Satan cause you to lose your salvation? No, for salvation is of God and nothing can
separate us from Him or His love. Rom. 8: 38 – “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any
other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.”
Those who are truly saved will always be saved. However, be aware that there are many that believe
themselves to be saved, but they are not. They are trusting in themselves & what they have done or
someone other than Jesus, and salvation is only to those who belong to Christ.
Can Satan threaten to take your physical life from you? So what if he does? Because of the
Gospel of peace we have nothing to fear in death. Death is still an enemy and those left behind will
grieve, but our destiny is sure in Christ. That is why Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:55, “O death , where is
your victory ? O death, where is your sting ?” As Christians we are betwixt the two. Just like Paul in
Phil. 1:23,24, we see the profit for us to remain and serve our Lord here on earth, yet there is a great
longing to depart this life and be with Christ.
Satan can threaten our life, but it is in God’s hands. Satan is limited to what God allows him.
This truth is brought out clearly in Job. If God allows Satan to take our lives, it is because God knows
what is best for us and will use even that for His own glory. We will fulfill even in death the purpose
of our lives. Has that not this been true for all those martyred for the sake of the kingdom of God?
Satan also threatens to make our lives miserable through the temptations, trials and
persecutions he brings into our lives, but because of the gospel of peace, we as Christians are no
longer have our joy bound to the things of this world. We live for eternal purposes. Jesus told us in
John 16:33 that we would have tribulations in this world, but we should be of good cheer because He
has overcome the world. Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
As we mature in Christ we learn to be content in any circumstance just as Paul describes in
Phil. 4. Rich or poor, well fed or hungry, the things of this world become secondary to living for
Christ. The gospel of peace controls us because we are in a right relationship with our creator and that
is all that is really important. Everything else stems from this point. I can have peace because I can
trust God and I can trust God because He has proven His everlasting love for me in Jesus Christ.
Rom. 8:32 states, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He
not also with Him freely give us all things?” All the things that can upset us, large or small, significant
or trivial can be brought before our God and cast upon Him because He loves and cares for us (1 Pet.
Satan can attack us and make us fear what other people will think of us. Who wants to be
known as a religious fanatic? Who is willing to be called a fool for Christ? I hope everyone here
would be. The gospel of peace protects us from the fear of ridicule because we love the approval of
God rather than the approval of men.
There is only one things man should really fear. Jesus states it in Matthew 10:28, “And do not
fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy
both soul and body in hell.” And who is that? Men can kill the body, animals can kill us the body,
diseases can kill the body, accidents can kill the body, Satan can kill the body, but only God can
destroy both the soul and body in hell. The only one we should fear is God our creator, but because of
the gospel of peace, we have no fear of Him. Through Jesus Christ we have been reconciled to Him
and we are no longer His enemies, but adopted children in His family.
Are your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace? Are you ready for Satan’s
attacks against you that seek to cause you to fear? Isaiah 26:3 tells us that God will keep in perfect
peace those whose minds are stayed / fixed on Him because they trust Him.
Verse 16 brings up the fourth piece of armor, “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith
with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.”
Take special note of this piece, for it is very important. Paul puts emphasis upon it by
introducing it with, In addition to all…”. This may be stretching the text a little, but you could
almost say – if you blow it with the other three – your belt of truth slipped, your breastplate of
righteousness fell off, and you forgot to lace your shoes on – make sure that you pick up the shield of
faith. If you mess up with the rest, DON’T FORGET YOUR SHIELD! Of course, Paul is not
diminishing the importance of the other pieces of armor, but he is emphasizing the importance of the
shield of faith.
The shield of faith is no little piece of equipment either. This is not the little round shield the
calvary men carried and that the gladiators used in the arenas. Various forms of these light shield were
called, / telta or / aspis. This is the big combat shield used by the Roman Legions
called the / thureos. They were typically 4 feet long by 2 1/2 feet wide, and the would extend
from below the knees to eye level on the typical soldier. They were made of a wooden frame covered
with layers of tough leather or even metal. A line of soldiers carrying these shields would be a like
moving wall protecting the army from the enemies arrows and spears. At the same time their own
archers could crouch behind them and shoot their own arrows against the enemy.
King Solomon had ceremonial shields of this type that were covered in Gold. Other kings had
ceremonial sets covered in bronze. Regardless of whether it was leather or metal, a shied of this type
would easily defend against the arrows of the enemy. They would either bounce off or harmlessly
stick into the shield. Sometimes arrows would be wrapped with cloth, dipped in pitch, set on fire and
then shot. Even these flaming arrows would have no effect on these big shields.
Why is this piece so important? Let me ask you, how central is faith in Christian doctrine?
It is by faith I believe the truth of the Word of God. Faith is not a blind leap. The Christian
faith is trust based in belief in the truth. Our faith is reasonable and demonstrable. God demonstrates
His power, majesty and goodness in all He has created. He has revealed His love and plan for my life
in the Bible, the Word of truth. I gird that truth around me and walk in it by faith.
It is by faith that the righteousness of Christ is applied to my life. There was and is nothing I
could do to become righteous myself. God reckons my righteous because I believe Jesus’ atonement
and promises are true (Rom. 3:28; 4:24,25). It is also by faith that I walk in practical holiness. It is
my faith in God’s character that causes me believe His promises and to step out in obedience to Him
because I trust Him.
It is by faith that the gospel of peace is applied to me. The atoning death of Jesus Christ is
applied to my sins, its bondage is broken, and I am wonderfully reconciled to God.
Faith is central in the Christian life, so we had better make sure that we understand what
exactly is this faith.
One of the false doctrines prevalent in time is an improper understanding of faith. Many have
separated belief from faith, and faith from trust. Yet all three English words come from the same
Greek word pistiV / “pistis” or the verb form, pisteuw / “pisteuo.” Faith must be in the correct
object and it has consequences.
Many claim to believe in Jesus and may even call themselves “born-again” Christians, yet they
do not have faith in the Jesus of the Bible. Their Jesus was a man that existed, was a good teacher,
gave an good example of how to live, was a prophet, etc., but not the Jesus presented in the Scriptures
as God incarnate, who lived a sinless life, then died as a substitute for our sins, and then was raised
from the dead on the third day, and is now seated on the right hand of God the Father. They have a
Jesus of their own creation.
In addition, belief cannot be separated from faith and trust. You cannot be intellectually honest
and claim to believe something without a corresponding faith and trust in that object of belief. To say
that you believe something and then refuse to act upon that belief by putting your trust in it is to
demonstrate yourself a liar.
Many people claim to believe in Jesus, but in reality, they do not, because their faith and trust
is not in Him. Biblical belief in Christ is not intellectual assent, but faith and trust in Him. Saving
faith means that I believe that the work of Christ on the cross is all that is needed to purchase my
salvation, so I put my complete trust in God on that basis for my eternal future. If I try to add
anything to salvation by grace through faith, then in reality, I do not trust what God has said. I have
placed my faith in something else to save me. Don’t be mislead. Only faith in Jesus Christ alone can
save you from your sin and its penalties. Your good works can’t do it. Raising your hand, walking the
aisle or praying a prayer cannot do it. Neither this church or any other church can do it. The righteous
deeds of other people cannot do it. Only Jesus Christ can because only He is sufficient to pay the price
for your sin, and only He has proven that He has the power to forgive you those sins and keep His
That is the faith needed for salvation. My future destiny is completely in the hands of Jesus
Christ. But the daily Christian life also requires faith, and this is what Paul is referring to here as the
shield that extinguishes the fiery missiles of our enemy. The devil lies to try to get you to doubt God
instead of trusting Him.
Among Satan’s many lies, “God will not really save you just on the basis of what Christ has
done, you have to do more and earn your salvation.” “You cannot trust God to provide for your needs
by seeking first His kingdom and righteousness, you have to do it yourself in your own way.” “God is
not good, look at all the hard times you have gone through.” “God does not really love you, or He
would give you all the stuff everyone else in our society has.” “God does not care about you, you had
better lie to protect yourself.” “God is not listening to your prayers, you might as well give up.”
“God does not understand, otherwise he would not ask someone who has had such a traumatic
childhood to minister to other people. Don’t do it, you might get hurt again.” “Only fools rejoice in
adversity, better to seek your own revenge because God is not doing anything.”
That is a sampling of some flaming arrows the devil will shoot at us. Yet each and every one is
easily extinguished with faith in the truth. God is good, merciful, wise, gracious, loving, caring,
gentle, sovereign, holy, just, righteous, omnipotent, omniscient, kind, wise, etc. etc. As I put my
faith in Him, I trust my future to the Lord, then the devil can shoot whatever he wants at me and it
will not get through. It will be blocked each time by my faith in the Lord God who created heaven and
earth and me.
This does not mean that the shield of faith is easy to lift. Those large shields of the Roman
Soldier where heavy and took effort to pick up and move. Carrying that shield was no passive
enterprise. It took work. So it is with our faith. We must exercise it. We cannot be passive.
Look at the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. Abraham believed God for a land he had not seen, a
son he did not have, and a blessing he could not imagine. Noah took God at his word and built a very
large boat, though he did not live by the sea, and probable had never seen rain. Moses trusted God,
faced his fear, went back to Egypt and led the children of Israel out. Then reading from 11:32, “And
what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David
and Samuel and the prophets who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness,
obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the
sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women
received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in
order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings,
yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they
were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute,
afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and
caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not
receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us
they should not be made perfect. 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses
surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and
let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and
perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat
down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
That is faith, do you have it? Do you trust God for your future as these mentioned in Heb. 11?
Please note that their circumstances were not always pleasant. Many of them suffered many things for
the sake of righteousness, yet because of their trust in God for a better future – even if that would only
come in heaven – they overcame any temptation to give up. That is the shield of faith! Have you
picked up your shield?
Put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against your adversary the
devil. Next week we will examine the last two pieces of armor – but until then, make sure that you are
putting on already the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace
and that you are picking up your shield of faith.
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young
Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your
parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the words
“peace” and “faith” are used. 2) Discuss with your parents discuss the peace Paul is talking about in Ephesians
6:15 and how the shield of faith can protect you.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What are the first two pieces of spiritual armor?
Why are they important? Why were the shoes of a Roman soldier so important? Why does Paul call this third
piece of armor the “preparation” of the gospel of peace? What is peace? How do we get peace with God?
What is the general means that this piece of armor protects us from Satan’s schemes? What are some of the
specific ways Satan attacks us that the preparation of the gospel of peace protects us? How does Paul
emphasize the shield of faith? Why was this shield so important to the Roman soldier? Why is faith so
important to the Christian? What are two false doctrines concerning faith that are prevalent in our time? Have
you or someone you know ever been led astray by these false teachings? Explain the Bilbical meaning of
faith? What are its ramifications? What does it mean to trust Jesus for salvation from Sin? What must be
believed? In what ways does that belief demonstrate itself? What are some of the lies Satan will used to attack
you? How does your faith extinguish his fiery darts? Can faith be passive? What examples in Hebrews 11
inspire you the most? Did you put your armor on today? How did is protect you today?
Sermon Notes – 11/26/2000 A.M.
Spiritual Armor: Peace & Faith,
Girded with the Belt of Truth
The Breastplate of Righteousness
SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE (vs. 15)
The Importance of Preparation
The Nature of True Peace: (Prov. 3:17; Numb. 6:26)
Gaining Peace with God: (Romans 5:1, 10; Eph. 2:14-18)
Standing Firm in Peace (Romans 8:28-39)
Threat of Hell (John 10:29,30)
Threat against Salvation (Romans 8:38,39)
Threat of Death (1 Cor. 1555; Phil. 1:23,24)
Threat of Misery (John 16:33; Rom. 8:18, 32; Phil. 4; 1 Pet. 5:7)
Threat of Persecution (Matt. 10:28)
THE SHIELD OF FAITH (vs. 16)
The Soldier’s Shield: / telta or / aspis and / thureos
The Centrality of Faith (Rom. 3:28; 4:24,25)
True Faith vs. Wrong Faith
pistiV / “pistis” and pisteuw
The Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11)