The Shoes of the Gospel

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Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 by Chris Meigh

‘Your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace’

The series is about putting on the whole armour of God – Ephesians 6:10-18.

To enable us to stand in the evil day, right to the end.

We are up against powers of darkness / wickedness, not humans. (Eph. 6:12)

Paul uses the analogy of armed soldiers; what we have are:

  • Truth
  • Righteousness
  • The gospel of peace
  • Faith above all
  • Salvation
  • The Spirit, the word of God
  • Prayer

So, today we are looking at:

Ephesians 6:15

“With your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

Shoes designed for standing firm in battle. So we can resist attack, stand our ground and so we can advance when the opportunity comes.

The Gospel = the Good News
The first words of Mark’s gospel:

“The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ the Son of God”

It is all about Jesus Christ.

Think: some words to describe what the Good News is.

And who it is for: for all, but particularly the poor.

The Shepherds were poor.

Mary and Joseph were poor. We can tell from the Old Testament law of what to present for purification after childbirth (Leviticus 12): A lamb, and a pigeon or dove. But if she cannot afford a lamb, then two pigeons or doves.

We are not all called to be evangelists, but if we have decided to follow Jesus then we have to:

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
1 Peter 3:15

We can be daunted from bringing the good news – in our society, talk about religion can be off-putting.

And many have an underlying assumption that religion is disproved, or is only for people who like that sort of thing. We are not just facing disbelief, but as if the issue has already been decided and there is no reason to discuss it.

People ‘know’ that there are lots of religions and that none of them is ‘true’ in the sense of being a truth for everyone.

Two poets and friends, of the mid-nineteenth century wrote of the apparent decline of faith in their time: one negatively, one more positively:

…The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar…

From ‘Dover Beach’ by Matthew Arnold, c. 1850

SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,

And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!

‘Say not the struggle naught availeth’ by Arthur Hugh Clough, 1819–1861

“How to be a Christian without being religious” was the title of one of the first books I read after becoming a Christian. We don’t start off believing in a religion but in a person – Jesus. Religion that tries to make us good enough to be accepted by God has nothing to do with what Jesus has given us for free.

We have a story to tell: at its briefest, ‘Jesus was resurrected from the dead’ to live forever.

Romans 10:9-15

9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Two uses of words are needed for the Good News to be passed on:

  1. Tell people that God raised Jesus from the dead.
  2. They believe this, and respond by declaring Jesus as their Lord.

Don’t be afraid of the arguments of the scientific atheists.
Here are two top-level questions you could ask with gentleness and respect:

  1. How is it that there is a universe at all – why is there something rather than nothing?
  2. If there was a Big Bang, that is when Time and Space began. It was not waiting in a void for it to start – there is no time and no space for it to start in.

  3. How are you able to make decisions?
  4. If the universe is all there is, then everything happens by cause and effect. So if you knew the state of everything at one moment you could predict how it would develop.

    Or, at the level of the very small (quantum physics), things happen randomly.

    Either way, your brain can’t make a decision, it has to do what it has to do by cause and effect, or randomness. Yet we appear to believe we can make choices in our brains.

    And making choices appears to be an important aspect of our lives. Look at soap operas! And the legal system. Telling people they did right or wrong. As if they could help what goes on in the chemicals and electricity of their brain.

So, with confidence, let us stand, equipped with the good news of peace with God, and pass the good news on as opportunity permits, and as appropriate to the person.

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