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Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf
Silver Spring, Maryland

The Armor of God:  #4 - Shoes for the Gospel of Peace
Signed Version
Ephesians 6:10...
Finally, let the Lord make you strong.  Depend on His great power. Wear all of God's armor.  Then you can stand strong against the devil's terrible plans.

Our fight is not against people.  
We are fighting against
    many spiritual rulers,
    authorities,
    and many dark powers in this world.  
We are fighting against
    the evil forces in the spirit world.

So put on all of God's armor.  Evil days will come.
And after you did everything you can [finish], you will still stay standing.

So stand strong.  
[1] Wear the belt of truth around your waist.  
[2] Wear the chest protector of holy living.
[3] Wear on your feet shoes that will prepare you to tell the good news about peace.

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Today we continue our study about the Armor of God.

First we learned about the Belt of Truth,
    meaning God's Word is true
    and our words are true.
Second we learned about the chest protector
    meaning the holy life Christ gives us
    and the holy life Christ lives through us.
Now we look part of God's armor for war:  shoes.

We don't often think about shoes as equipment for war.  But long-ago, soldiers understood the shoes were very important.

Maybe you can remember picture drawings, showing American soldiers in 1778 with General George Washington in VALLEY FORGE, PA [Pennsylvania], cold, in snow, soldiers without shoes.

Also in PA, 85 years later, during the American CIVIL War, in the city named GETTYSBURG, the Southern army came looking for shoes, but instead they found the Northern army waiting for them.  Then happened the worst fight in the Civil War - in three days, 38,000 men died.

We learn from history long ago, Roman Emperors, gave their soldiers shoes with thick soles [bottom of the shoes].  They can move the army against an enemy quickly, because they can march in those shoes a long time.

Yes, shoes are important for a soldier.

In our fight as Christian soldiers, we remember we fight against who?  We don't fight against people, no.  We fight against the devil.  And we fight both defense AND OFFENSE (beat/defeat).  

God fights through us to take back the devil's kingdom.
God fights through us to win back souls of men, women and children now in slavery under Satan, with his lies.
God fights through us to win back people from eternal suffering in hell to eternal joy in heaven.

God wants His church to become soldiers, not digging holes or trenches to hide. No!   God sends us out to march and defeat(beat) His enemy, announcing the GOSPEL, telling people the Good News about Jesus.

The devil wants all people judged and punished with him forever in hell.
But God wants all people to know, understand, and believe that Jesus already got judged and punished for them.  For that the reason Jesus suffered and died on the cross for us.  For that reason God can forgive all our sins and take us to heaven.

And if more people trust Jesus and become saved, God wins and the devil loses.

As soldiers, we march into the devil's country with shoes named the Gospel, Good News about Jesus.


Another way we use shoes for the Gospel --  we can find in meaning for that word "gospel."

The Bible word we translate as "GOSPEL" really means in the Greek language:  "Good announce"  or "Good message."    Our English word EVANGELISM comes from that same Greek word.  And in old times, that Greek word EVANGELISM or GOSPEL first didn't mean religion.

In old times, that word EVANGELISM, Good Announce, that described the work one person did, running from the battle field, running back to the home city, or back to the king, announcing news, "We won!"  

Old Testament Bible stories have a few examples.  But the most famous battle runner, his name is  PHEIDIPPIDES.  [make up a name sign]

?You never heard about him?  You will not find his name in the Bible. But maybe you already know about Pheidippides:

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[story]
Long ago, in the year 490 BC, the country named PERSIA, today we name IRAQ, had a powerful king, named DARIUS.   

Maybe you remember King Darius ordered DANIEL thrown into the lions DEN.  Yes, that king.  But this story is not about Daniel.

Darius ruled land far west including TURKEY.  The next country west, named Greece, that was stil free.  And Greece tried to encourage people in Turkey to rebel against Darius.  King Darius sent his army to punish Greece.

The Persia army came in ships, and arrived in Greece, to a place named MARATHON.  That field is 26 miles north from the city named ATHENS.    And Greek soldiers went to meet them.  The Greek army had 11,000 men.  The Persians had almost double that: 20,000 soldiers.

The Greeks sent their fastest runner, Pheidippides, to run 120 miles to the Greek city named SPARTA, asking them to help fight against Persia.  But Sparta had a religious celebration.  "No, we will join the war later."

Pheidippides ran back to the army with that bad news.

The Greek army decided to go-ahead and fight anyway.  They ran against the Persian army.  Persia shot many arrows against the Greeks.  But the Greeks were strong and fast.  The Greeks had better body protection and better WEAPONS.  

Greece lost 192 soldiers.  Persia lost 6,400 soldiers.  Greece won.   But Greece still had a problem.  More Persian ships arrived south near Athens, with more solders, marching to the city.   

The Greek officers in the north wanted to inform the city about their win, and warn the city, "Don't give-up!"

Pheidippides was already very tired, but still he ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens.  He must hurry!   When Pheidippides entered the city, he announced, "Rejoice! We won!"  Then he fell-down and died.

Today we still honor Pheidippides with 26-mile races named "Marathon."

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In old Greek army language, Pheidippides was the "EVANGELIST", and his good news, "Rejoice!  We won!" that was the "GOSPEL."

Same-as Pheidippides, we have Good News we must hurry to announce:  "Rejoice! Christ won!"  

The Old Testament prophet ISAIAH said:
"Truly beautiful:
On the mountains are feet of people bringing Good News,
announcing peace and salvation,
telling Israel:  Your God reigns(rules)!"  [Isaiah 52:7]

Notice our lesson about God's armor says we have the Gospel of Peace.

What kind of peace?
?Peace meaning... win the war?
Or ?Peace meaning... two people fighting, stop, and become friends?
Or ?Peace meaning... peace in mind and heart?

Which one?  Answer:  ALL three.
Christ offers peace - He won against the devil.
[2] Christ makes us friends with God again.
[3] Christ gives us peace inside, because we know God forgives all our sins, and no-matter what happens, God has a good plan for our lives.


Now finally(last), our lesson says:

"Wear on your feet shoes that will prepare you to tell the good news about peace."

Prepare  --  The Bible says:
"Respect Christ as the holy Lord in your hearts.  Always stay ready: If anyone asks you about your hope,  you can answer in a nice kind way, showing respect. Keep your conscience clean, and people criticizing your good life in Christ, they will become ashamed."  [1 Peter 3:15-16]
?Can you explain to people who not-yet know Jesus, explain about that wonderful salvation He offers to them?  I am not talking about inviting people to church or to Bible study.  That is important, yes.  But Christ wants each one of us to bring to lost people, bring that Good News about God's love for them in Jesus Christ.

Remember: our lesson doesn't say, "Wear some of God's armor."   
The Bible doesn't say "Wear only armor that makes you feel comfortable."
No, the Bible says, "Wear ALL of God's armor."   
If we don't use all of His armor, the devil can defeat(beat) us.

Question:  How can we tell people about Jesus?  What can we tell them?

We don't need to wait for a training program.   Each one of us can begin now becoming ready to tell people about Jesus.

First, every day each one of us can suspend our busy activities for quiet time reading the Bible and prayer.  This is most important.  Before we can touch other people with God's Word, His Word first must touch us.

Second, every day we can think about people we know, friends and family, people who don't know Jesus.  And we can pray for them.  We pray that God will open their hearts and make them hungry for fellowship with God.  We pray God will bring His word and His life to them.

Third, every day, the minute we wake up, we remember that we belong to Jesus.  Paul said,
"I got crucified [finish died] with Christ.  From-now-on, I don't live, but Christ lives in me."  [Galatians 2:20]
With that, we can pray:  "Lord God, I am already dead.  Jesus, please come live in me, live through me today.  What do You want to do with me?"

Fourth, every morning we pray, "Lord God, help me tell someone about Jesus today."  God will be eager to answer that prayer.

If we do those four things every day:

    [1]  Read and study the Bible,
    [2]  Pray for our lost friends and people in our family,
    [3]  Offer ourselves to Christ, for Him to live in us, and
    [4]  Ask God to help us tell one person about Jesus,

then when we meet people, we will not need to try to discuss "religion."  No, we ask people questions that will encourage them to talk about themselves.   And God will show us how we can answer with truth from His Word, and from experiences in our walk with Christ.
"Wear on your feet shoes that will prepare you to tell the good news about peace."

We pray:
Lord God, use us as soldiers to destroy the devil's power over people.   Give us your love for lost people.  Make us bold to share with them your Good News.

Lord God, we now secretly name to you people we love, who not-yet know Jesus.  [Pause to think about people you know.]   Make their hearts open and hungry for Jesus.  Bring them Your Word that gives them life. Don't let them rest(relax) until they find their peace and rest in You.

Amen.

How to tell someone about Jesus

Part 5 - Shield of Faith

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