For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.Ephesians 6:15
Putting on our shoes means we are ready for something. It means we are going somewhere. Often when the Bible talks about shoes it is referring to our sharing the gospel. That is the point of spiritual warfare; that those in darkness might be brought into the light. It symbolizes a readiness on our part not only to knowingly be willing to be involved in the fight but also to die if necessary for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Interestingly when it came to Paul’s connections with the Ephesians this very fact was in focus. A quick read of Acts 19 will show you how much Paul was involved in spiritual warfare when he visited Ephesus, a city rife with cultic worship and religious temples and shrines. But even more interesting are the comments he makes to the Ephesian elders he meets in Acts 20.
“I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.”Acts 20:19-27
There are two aspects to this preparation for sharing the Gospel. One relates to the protection of God when we are involved in such activity. It is the knowledge of God’s presence involved with Paul in all he does related to sharing the Gospel that gave Paul the boldness to do what he knew God wanted him to do. All of us are prone at times to shrink back from telling others the Truth of Gospel of Christ. Like Paul wrote to the Corinthians, humanly speaking there is a certain foolishness to it. It is a story and a truth that stretches the bounds of human understanding. There are those who think it foolishness and therefore think of us as fools for daring to tell them about it. There are those who are adamantly opposed to it and are willing to do anything in order not to hear the Good News. Either way we have to have a holy boldness in order to be willing to tell the story again and again. We need to come to the point in our trust in Him that no matter what happens we will open our mouths and tell others the Good News. As I said when we were dealing with the first Chapters of Romans, the bad news of our sin sick state has to be told first before the Good News can truly be good news. We need to know His peace in this process before we can truly be ready to share this Good News.
The second aspect to the preparation for sharing the Good News is summed up as follows:
“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favourable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.”2 Tim 4:2
It might even pay you to go back and read this verse in the context of 2 Tim 3 which is filled with allusions to the spiritual implications of the battle for the souls of people.
- How prepared are you to do this?
- Do you know the essence of the Gospel?
- Are you ready to share it at the wrong times as well as the right times?
- When the time is not convenient to you?
- When you are busy and in a rush to get somewhere?
- What is more important? Fulfilling your task of the moment or fulfilling God’s plan for the ages and bringing salvation to a soul in need?
A sober question to ask yourself. Are you able to present the Gospel in a short sharp focused way or do you waffle and fumble your way around when you try to sum up the Good News?
If that is the case then you certainly need to get prepared. I am sure all of us have experienced those times when we have fumbled with the Gospel and dropped the ball so to speak. That ought to be the moment which wakes us to the reality that we are unprepared and need to take action to get prepared. I want to tell you two stories related to this need for preparation. I may not include both in this Gem. I may have to keep the second for the next Gem given the fact that this Gem is already long and each of the stories take some telling. Here’s the first one.
Go put your shoes on! You know what I mean.
Prayer is a wartime walkie-talkie with which we communicate with the General. Prayer malfunctions if we try to use it as an intercom with which to call the butler to bring more pillows to the den.John Piper
When we pray with the same seriousness and strength of purpose that we devote to other forms of Christian effort, we’ll see d Kingdom of God come with power.Edinburgh Missions Conference 1910
Before you “move out” you must prepare yourself.Move Out 1981