The Importance Of Armor In Times Of War
Warfare is ugly. Just around an estimated 10 million people died in the bloody fields of World War I fighting for inches and yards each day. A large part of the death toll was due to poorly armored infantry that was outdated against the modern warfare of the time. France lost 250,000 men in the first four weeks of the war and was desperate to make changes. They ditched their bright red and blue uniforms to make targets less visible. They dug deep and complex trenches in the ground to protect from the deadly mortar shells. But oddly, they took almost 2 years to deploy helmets and even when they did deploy helmets the Germans had already put out an effective helmet and social stigma compelled the French to design a helmet completely unlike it, which left the neck and head still largely exposed.
Besides lack of head protection, roughly 70% of the wounds in World War I came from fragments of weaponry exploding around the soldiers and, even though alloys like silicon nickel existed that had the power to stop almost all of these fragments, cultural and social norms of the time said that wearing body armor was cumbersome and just an annoyance. There were reports of success like the following by Sergeant Baker of the Sussex Regiment, who said:
“I had a narrow escape in this attack. I was wearing a Dayfield body shield and a bullet struck me just below the right shoulder blade and about an inch below the top of the shield. It did not penetrate the shield but turned upwards and gouged its way out through the fleshy part of the shoulder.”
But despite reports like this, World War I really didn’t see a very normalized form of armor introduced to protect men well from the ravages of war — and hundreds of thousands of lives were lost as a result. As Christians, it makes me wonder if we know the kind of war we’re in, and if we’re wearing the right kind of armor for the battle ahead?
The Armor Of God – It’s All Or Nothing
To help us think about this, we can look to Ephesians 6:10-18, where the apostle Paul paints the image of a Christian putting on what he calls the armor of God. He does not have the image of a man from World War I, obviously, but he does have in mind the intimidating and effective armor of the Roman Legionnaire here. Let us read the passage:
“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit — which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”
First, let’s note that Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God twice! He repeats this command to us because of how important the whole armor of God is. This armor is not an a la carte buffet where we wear different pieces as we desire. Paul emphasizes to us that we need to put on the whole thing! And never, ever, ever take it off! You’re at war — constantly! Don’t be caught without this armor! His urgency almost begs us to ask “Do we have it on?” To which the apostle’s response is, “If you’re not sure, then check! Do a gear inventory!” Paul has such a strong sense of urgency in this text that we dare not miss it. If we neglect any part of this armor, Paul would seem to indicate that we may as well be naked. To forget a single piece of the armor of God is to invite misery, injury, or, even worse, death. The enemy knows how to go after those things about us which are most vulnerable to the ways of our old flesh, and will not hesitate to act upon any oversights on our part.
Do you — do we — give the same kind of respect to the enemy? Paul took the armor of God seriously because he took his foe seriously, and we are in error if we do any less.
Which leads us to a haunting part of this text that we do indeed have an enemy we’re struggling against. I do not believe we remind ourselves of this enough. Our struggle is against the “schemes of the devil,” “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness,” and against “evil, spiritual forces of evil.” Don’t mistake the sense of respect Paul is granting our adversaries. By respect, I don’t mean that he honors or reveres them. But he respects them in the fact that they do have real power at their disposal. He calls them rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers. These kind of enemies belong in an Avengers movie and even then I’m not sure we’d have the CGI budget to properly pull off the terrifying nature of our enemy. Do you — do we — give the same kind of respect to the enemy? Paul took the armor of God seriously because he took his foe seriously, and we are in error if we do any less.
We Need Delivered From Our Cosmic Foes
This drives us to a quick point of application for the believer. Are you praying to the Lord for protection against the enemy? The Lord’s Prayer does not ask for deliverance from “some evil,” or an “ambiguous evil” but specifically asks us to be delivered from “the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13) In our enlightenment mindset, this is a very, very difficult thing for us to actually think about, but we have to realize that the enlightenment is not always a helpful framework for seeking spiritual illumination and where our modern minds try to overrationalize things, we should stop that in favor of having a proper, higher view of Scripture and read it as the spiritually illuminated book it is.
Paul is making clear here in this text that prayer is vital to the armor of God. He clearly indicates there at the end of the passage that we put on these different pieces of armor by praying “at all times in the Spirit” and that we “stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”
One quick way to see how seriously we’re taking the battle is to ask ourselves how often we pray like Paul. Do we pray for our own protection and the protection of our brothers and sisters against these cosmic powers? Do we mostly pray for temporal needs and call that a day? Or do we pray like Jesus who knew that Satan saw the rocks upon which the church might start going forth and wanted to “sift them like wheat.” In light of such opposition, we can only find protection in praying to Jesus Christ — the only one who has been able to pray effectively on our behalf so that our faith will not fail. (Luke 23:31-32)
So if anyone around you, especially believers since they are the ones who have taken up opposition to these cosmic powers of darkness, are struggling, we need to pray against these cosmic powers, rulers, authorities, and evil, spiritual forces who have declared open war upon us! If we do not pray like this, I think it speaks poorly to how well we’re putting on the armor of God well and may be a large explanation of why many of us continue to be sifted like wheat by Satan.
In light of such opposition, we can only find protection in praying to Jesus Christ — the only one who has been able to pray effectively on our behalf so that our faith will not fail. (Luke 23:31-32)
A Forgotten Peace of God’s Armor
But moving on from that point, I want to focus on a different part of this passage that I fear we neglect far too much. To help us see what I’m talking about, I want to ask a question:
When you think about the armor of God, what are the pieces that leap to your mind? Go ahead and take a second to think of the first 2 or 3 pieces you consider important.
Okay, now consider the top 2 or 3 aspects of the armor of God you often hear others talk about?
I don’t know what it’s like at your church, but at my church I can almost guarantee that most people are going to quickly think about the sword of the Spirit. We very much thank God for his word and so give it the highest of priorities in terms of how we come to know, worship, and persevere in Christ until the end when we finally see Christ and become like him. (1 John 3:2) So this isn’t a bad thing, but it is a bias that we should be aware of when we’re thinking about the armor of God because western individualists and enlightenment thinkers tend to look at these things as unique entities when they’re really all components of one greater entity.
But perhaps you don’t get stuck on the sword of the Spirit. Perhaps you make a quicker dash for the shield of faith or the breastplate of righteousness quickly. We love talking about these. They’re bold, exciting, and fun images for our imagination. They’re also amazing in their own right. Maybe after a second, you gently slap your forehead and remember, “Of course! The helmet of salvation and belt of truth are there!”
Frankly, if your experience is anything like mine, you may not have conversations that even talk about most of these things. But even if you do talk about those things, I’m guessing that a lot of us could rattle off this many pieces of the armor and feel good that we’ve done this well!
My fear — and the reason I am writing this — is that I think far too many Christians regularly overlook a magnificent piece of equipment in the armor of God. At worst, I’m going to remind you of this magnificent piece of equipment, so I offer no apologies if you’re still reading. Buckle up.
What Kind Of Footwear Are You Wearing?
I want to confess that I myself neglect this in my discussions, and I want to take some time to highlight a piece of God’s armor that all of us would do well to look at with fresh eyes and hear about with fresh ears. I want to make sure we are not neglecting to wear the sandals of readiness that are equipped through the Gospel of peace.
Why is it that we fail to talk about this as much as other pieces of armor? Is it just not a very exciting piece of armor? I know for men at least, and I wager quite a few women feel this way as well, it’s easy to get excited over swords and shields and beating our breastplates. Is it because we can intellectually see the importance of a helmet or we know how a belt keeps those pants up and so we can rationalize why they belong? Is it because our feet are as far away from our head — our most cherished organ — as is possible? Could it be that we just have such a lowly view of the lowest thing on our bodies that we don’t care very much about that? I don’t know what the final answer is, but I know that something contributes to this oversight on our end.
We see that God has actually put upon our feet a special, endurable sandal that comes from the Gospel of peace itself!
The answer isn’t important though. What is important is that the oversight means too many of us are willing to settle when it comes to our feet. Instead of seeing that God has not merely garbed our feet in a putrid, plastic pair of green Crocs, we see that he’s actually put upon our feet a special, endurable sandal that comes from the Gospel of peace itself! Friends, I want to step into Paul’s world for a moment to appreciate that when Paul says this he has in mind the caligae — the footwear of a Roman Legionnaire.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on Roman warfare, but based on the research I did this is what I found out about this footwear. The caligae was a tough, hobnailed — think: really sharp cleat — boot. It was an extremely durable piece of leather. It had innovative air flow, which neutralized many foot diseases that were crippling to soldiers in battle. It had steel-reinforced soles so soldiers could march on even the harshest of terrain. While the cleat-like nature made it miserable for indoor wear, it was excellent at digging in and holding ground so the soldier could keep his mind on the war at hand and not worry too much about his feet. Much like a cleat, it also enabled a Legionnaire to move quickly and confidently to any needed position. And if all this isn’t enough for you, the boot’s cleat-like nature even made for an effective weapon that trampled and killed wounded enemies who were lying on the battlefield. Yes, when the Romans went to war even their boots were useful in mercilessly crushing and tearing apart all those who opposed them!
The caligae was so distinct that it became one of the symbols of Roman power and conquest. The effect of it was that where someone saw a soldier wearing the caligae, one understood that Rome also claimed the ground that person stood upon.
But beyond just being a boot, the caligae also had a symbolic element to it that the Nike swoosh would be jealous of! The caligae was so distinct that it became one of the symbols of Roman power and conquest. The effect of it was essentially this:
Where someone saw a soldier wearing caligae, one understood that Rome also claimed the ground that person stood upon. If you were to attack someone wearing caligae, you were not attacking just a man — but Rome herself. And this meant that you had declared war against Rome and risked her full wrath and fury to be rained down upon you in vengeance.
And it has been said that an army wearing hobnailed boots might have created a thunderous, intimidating sound when on the march. The sound of an army marching in these boots –yes just the sound! — would leave enemies quaking in fear.
God Wants Us To Move. So He’s Equipped Us To Go
Putting this all together, the caligae was a crucial part of the armor that made the Roman legions the most maneuverable and adaptable fighting force in the world — they are still even studied today in war schools around the world! There was nothing their enemies did that they could not copy, adapt, and overcome. While their weapons, discipline, and strategies rarely changed, the types of geography they could fight on and the flexible formations they employed prepared them to fight in any kind of war against any kind of foe. The Roman legions were so disciplined and effective that they responded with incredible speed to a single word from a commanding officer! If a Roman general desired it done, the caligae-clad legions saw to it that it was done.
All this context is important because it helps us start to unpack the beauty of this part of the armor of God. Paul has told us multiple times to put on the full armor of God! And I think that we have ignored these sandals far too often. The peril of ignoring the sandals is that if we’re not wearing them, then we’re not truly fit to go join the war effort. Paul seems to suggest that if we don’t have the right footwear on, we can wave our swords around, we can beat our breastplates, but in the end we’re just a sitting duck that our enemy laughs at. We are an immobile unit that is stuck in place and we can’t move fast enough to overcome an army of snails, let alone the cosmic powers of darkness.
I think what Paul is driving home with this piece of equipment is this idea: Our feet are both made firm by the Gospel and go forth with the Gospel.
How Are Our Feet Made Firm By The Gospel?
Our footing in life is made firm by the Gospel because it is the first time in our lives that we finally know what the end of all things is. We come into this world, the book of Ecclesiastes tells us, with the sun beating down on us. And we look around and we all wonder, “What are we doing here?”
So we start to try our hands at things. We work, we have fun, we laugh, we maybe even have sexual relationships, we gain positions of powers. We try all kinds of things. But eventually we start to feel like everything is unfair and unfulfilling. It seems wrong. Everyone you’ve ever met is moving towards this inexorable fate of death. No matter how much we ignore it or we try to accrue the resources of time and wealth to put it as far away as possible, death comes for us all. And what’s worse is that what we find is that this threat of death actually makes us terrible to each other! We all start using each other to our own ends. We’ll seek our sexual pleasure through manipulative ends. We’ll put a co-worker down in front of others if it helps with a promotion opportunity. We viciously gossip about a person only to turn around and smile at them when they approach.
Nobody has escaped this fate — except one! His name is Jesus Christ and after God had given us the law, his prophets, and great men and kings to try and lead us out of our bondage to sin, all hope seemed lost as none of these men were capable of doing it. But God knew they wouldn’t be capable of doing this and when he’d sent enough men to prove his point, he stepped out of Heaven and got the job done himself.
Most egregious of all, we forget to seek God as our source of life. And finally we understand why death is in the world. You see, death is really just the final proof that we all have sinned (Romans 6:23) God created this paradise for us to live in and to enjoy and worship in perfect relationship with him forever. He gave us everything we’ve ever wanted.
Lush, green landscapes to walk in!
All He asked is that we denied ourselves a bit of knowledge contained in a fruit in the middle of a garden. But we forsook His word. We could not remember His commands well when Satan — that enemy we talked about earlier — lied to us saying that we’d become like God if we disobeyed him. But the opposite happened when we sin. We actually became as far from God as is possible and fell far short of that glory (Genesis 1-3; Romans 3:23) and now death is a curse that we live under these short years of our life under the sun. Death is that final thing God has placed in front of all men and women — and when we do not heed even this warning of peril, we die under the full wrath and condemnation of God. (John 5:28-29)
Nobody has escaped this fate — except one! His name is Jesus Christ and after God had given us the law, his prophets, and great kings and men to try and lead us out of our bondage to sin, all hope seemed lost as none of these men were capable of doing it. But God knew they wouldn’t be capable of doing this and when He’d sent enough men to prove his point, He stepped out of Heaven and got the job done himself. Jesus Christ lived a life perfectly pleasing to God (Matthew 3:17) and we murdered him for it. But even this was according to God’s perfect plan (Luke 22:42) and as we looked back in terror at the cross where we murdered God’s son, we see that He actually willingly went to the cross, (John 10:18) took our sins into his body, (1 Peter 2:24) and faced off with death. The Father had finally found a sacrifice that was effective and perfectly pleasing to Him!
While every other sacrifice had to be raised to Heaven time after time, year after year, this time God head Christ say, “Finished!” (John 19:30) and in response said, “The sacrifice is accepted forever” (Hebrews 10) and He gave life back to the sacrifice and He resurrected Jesus Christ and glorified Him and seated Him at His right hand. And any who trust in the shedding of Christ’s blood as their only way to know God and to be saved will be saved! (John 14:6) If you accept that Jesus paid the price for all your sin, (Colossians 2:13-14) His righteousness then becomes your righteousness and you are reconciled to God again. (2 Corinthians 5:21) This is what we Christians call good news — the Gospel!
And even better news, He’s coming back again! He is claiming a people for himself and one day he will eliminate all sin, sickness, suffering, and death and will reign with us. He will be our God, and we will be His people! (Revelation 21:3)
And any who trust in the shedding of Christ’s blood as their only way to know God and to be saved will be saved! If you accept that Jesus paid the price for all your sin, his righteousness then becomes your righteousness and you are reconciled to God again. This is what we Christians call good news — the Gospel!
That’s right! The Gospel offers hope because it takes us out of our own weary toil of works that never seem to get us anywhere and lifts our eyes up past death to life everlasting in Christ, (Hebrews 4:9-11) the one who finally overcame death forever! If you feel like you’re footing in life is shaky, this is the firm foundation we Christians have built upon (1 Corinthians 3:11) and I invite you to join us upon it for Christ will reject none who can truly say they believe Christ is their Lord and Savior and that God raised Him from the dead on their behalf and to God’s glory! (Romans 10:9-10)
Firm Footing Is Not The End Of Our Journey.
But once our feet are made firm, I want us to see that Paul does not have in mind that we will sit in an easy chair the rest of our lives. No, this is the life of a soldier he is calling us to! Paul envisions us as a mobilized, fighting force that fights our war not with physical weapons — remember our war isn’t against flesh and blood.
Let’s just stop there for a second. Because this important.
You see, Christians can care about politics.
We can care about nations.
We can care about a lot of things.
But our final battle, it’s not flesh and blood.
In other words, real, genuine Christians are in a higher, much grander conflict than the one between Republicans and Democrats.
Democrats are not the enemy.
Republicans are not the enemy.
The cosmic powers of darkness arrayed against us who wish to see us dead are the enemy.
America isn’t the enemy.
Russia isn’t the enemy.
North Korea isn’t the enemy.
The world and it’s prince, the ruler of the air is our enemy. Christians can and should care about temporal needs.
But socialism isn’t the enemy.
Capitalism isn’t the enemy.
Atheists aren’t the enemy.
Psychologists aren’t the enemy.
Donald Trump isn’t the enemy.
Hillary Clinton isn’t the enemy.
Ben Sasse isn’t the enemy.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the enemy.
Scientists aren’t the enemy.
Technology isn’t the enemy.
Baby Boomers aren’t the enemy.
Millennials and iGen are not the enemy.
You get the point? Hopefully you get it by now.
My point is just to remind us that people and things may give some shape and context to the battle being fought, but they’re not the enemies we’re fighting against.
All of those things and people may get used in the war on either side at times. But they’re not the enemy. God will thwart the purposes of evil by using evil people to his own advantage sometimes. Similarly, Satan can foster unbelief in God’s people so that our own sin will impair our graces and cause Christians to live in a way that disgraces and defiles God’s name. Just look at the Houston Chronicle Report about SBC churches recently. It’s not pretty.
My point is just to remind us that people and things may give some shape and context to the battle being fought, but they’re not the enemies we’re fighting against. We always have to try and remember this because it’s easier to pretend that the things we see and can feel are more important than that which we cannot see and feel.
So if you ever see a Christian who is stuck fighting these kind of wars, you’re looking at a Christian who may as well be boxing against the air. These are not our primary battlefields we are fighting on. The Gospel may inform wise choices regarding those kind of things, but we need to all make sure we do a reality check and remember who it is we’re at war against. That’s what Paul means by recalling that “our war is not against flesh and blood.”
But back to this idea that we have a war to fight. Paul is calling us to remember that our war is fought primarily around the advancement of the Gospel and so our battles center around our willingness to preach the Gospel. I think Paul is using this image to remind his readers that the Great Commission is still the command they must heed. He recalls to their minds what Jesus says in Matthew 28:16-20:
“The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted. Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe the everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Really, all that God has done in this Great Commission is just give mobilization orders to his army so that they can go achieve the task for which he has set them to. We are marching on the gates of hell, folks, and they will not stand against God and his church! (Matthew 16:18)
Or perhaps Paul is also remembering Isaiah 52:7 as well when he visualizes these sandals:
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaims peace, who brings news of good things, who proclaims salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
A Timely Reminder For All Times
What I want you to get out of this is the same thing that Paul had in mind all those years ago: Don’t forget your feet!
It’s always timely for Christians to remind each other to take our stand in this war and to be well-prepared by putting on the sandals of the Gospel of peace. Let us remember that our God says as our mighty king that he has, “All authority in heaven and earth.” In essence, Paul is reminding us that where the Roman soldier may have had the caligae around his feet and Rome backing him in all its might, we have the Gospel of Christ around our feet and that means the power of our God in Heaven is behind us and not even Rome at the apex of her power compares to that! He also says as our friend and sheltering tower, “I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.” He is near. He is present with us as we go. Whom else do we need?
I hope today to remind us that a soldier’s other armor is not unimportant, but if we put on all that other armor without putting on the sandals given to us in Christ, the rest of the armor Paul talks about just ends up as dead weight. If you will not proudly wear your sandals of war, you’re merely a soldier rooted in place. You’ll be unable to move. You can beat your breastplate in all your vain pride, but the enemy will mock and laugh at you while he shoots his despicable arrows of evil until one finally lands.
We Take Part In God’s Victory By Declaring The Gospel
Let us always remember that the places where the devil and demonic warfare seem most severe is those places where the Gospel is on the move. Have you ever wondered why America seems so “calm” in terms of demonic warfare while other places where the Gospel goes forth seem so crazy to us? I think the answer is actually rooted in simple warfare ideals.
If you know where your enemy is but they are quick and maneuverable, you try to crush them quickly and desperately while you know where they’re at. If you know where your enemy is, and they’re sitting tight and comfortable you don’t have to move quickly or even boldy. You can take your time, plan, and execute at your leisure. It’s like Washington crossing the Delaware while the Hessians feasted in the comfort of their homes.
Just take, for example, two of the more famous defeats of Roman legions. One was when Hannibal managed to engulf their entire wings and destroy them and the other occurred when Pyrrhus threw such vicious force at them that he won two battles before having to retreat because his own army had paid more dearly than even the Romans had in winning. I bring these up to emphasize the crazy power and sheer force that was required to gain victories over the Romans. And both times, the Romans not only survived but in both cases they drove their enemies backwards and later dominated them.
And Paul here is confidently reminding us that the final, tactical success of the Gospel will be even better than!
Friends, Satan gets desperate when the Gospel is on the move. He loves to “scheme” and draw up plans to slowly amuse us to death. And he shrieks when we move with power and grace and our feet dance lightly to the Gospel of peace as our spiked feet trample his wounded corpse as he lies on the ground. (Romans 16:19-20 — go read this, friends! It’s a fun thought)
Do you feel caught up in the Devil’s schemes? I have a simple proposition that I think will help you with a lot of what you’re struggling with. Preach the Gospel! When we preach the Gospel, the devil, this world, and our sin will hate us all the more and fight us without any compassion. We will no longer see our sin and Satan’s schemes as dear. Preach the Gospel faithfully, put on this part of the armor of God, and I promise that you will know you are at war more keenly. Your sin and the Devil’s schemes cannot go forth with the Gospel. They are fundamentally opposed to each other. So preach the Gospel for it demands that we shed our filthy rags like a snake sheds skin to keep it fresh and clean.
Perhaps you’ve come to this point and are nodding your head going, “Yes!” while also hesitantly going, “How do I share the Gospel?” Here are 3 quick tips.
Satan gets desperate when the Gospel is on the move. He loves to “scheme” and draw up plans to slowly amuse us to death. And he shrieks when we move with power and grace and our feet dance lightly to the Gospel of peace as our armed feet trample his wounded corpse as it lies on the ground.
First, get accountability on Gospel conversations. Staying silent on the Gospel is ultimately the most unfaithful thing we can do in our lives. Is it any wonder that if we’re not faithful here we also struggle with faithfulness in other areas of our lives? I do not think that is odd at all. Ask for others to hold you accountable. A spiritual mentor of mine and I have started a process along these lines. We ask each other if we’ve had Gospel conversations that week, and if we did not then we ask, “Well, did you have any opportunities?” And if we did not then we ask, “Have you prayed for opportunities to share the Gospel?” Hold yourself accountable to pray because prayer is the essential fuel that will propel ourselves and the Gospel forward.
We’ve borrowed a model of prayer that we heard of called “BOB”. It’s an acronym that stands for “Burden. Opportunity. Boldness.” I strive to pray each day for a burden for the lost, opportunities to share, and boldness to share. You may even go out with your accountability partner and seek to start Gospel conversations in student centers, at work lunches, or any public place!
We must share the Gospel, or else the full armor of God is not upon us. The gospel of peace moves us, and if we are not moving in concert with the Great Commission it means we’ve left our shoes in the locker room before the big game.
Second, remember you don’t need permission to share the Gospel. Jesus already said he has “all authority!” And he told you to “Go!” You already have permission to share! What other word on the matter do you need to hear? Did Jesus base his idea that you could share the Gospel on a certain state of holiness? No! David in Psalm 51 says that if God restores him, he’ll start turning sinners to God right away! Did Paul wait until he had properly mourned his sin to start convincing people from Scripture that Christ was God’s son? No! This man with bloodstained hands felt confident enough to hold God’s word in his hands and preach that what mattered was no longer the blood on his hands, but what was important was the blood of Christ which now covered his whole body in atonement!
This man with bloodstained hands felt confident enough to hold God’s word in his hands and preach that what mattered was no longer the blood on his hands, but what was important was the blood of Christ which now covered his whole body in atonement!
What a sorry state we are in if we feel we need permission to preach the Gospel. The person we are sharing with is not God and they will bend the knee one day. (Philippians 2:10-11) He is their king as well as ours and has already permitted us to inform them of the rebellion they are taking part in!
Third, stop searching for magical lines of dialogue to enter into Gospel conversation. Be friendly, yes. Be hospitable. Care about the other person. (Colossians 4:6) But we have news to share and we awkwardly and abruptly change the topic of conversation all the time, every single day of our lives to share what we think is news. But suddenly when it comes to the Gospel we start looking for secret queues from the Holy Spirit that it’s a good time to bring up Christ. But the Spirit is already roaring and ready to go! You start talking about Christ and He’ll show up! It’s His job to bring glory to Christ! (John 16:14) And you better believe He is good at His job.
So just start the conversation the same way you bring up the weather, something a politician said, what happened in sports, or a new business that opened up in town! Just ask them, “Do you have any religious beliefs.” “Have you heard about Jesus Christ?” “What do you think happens when we die?” Stop looking for 3 magical, easy steps to sharing the Gospel. Those things can help us, but we would do well to remember that Paul in Acts 17 is considered a “babbler” even though he clearly knows Greek philosophy, poetry, and their many gods. Your best masterpiece of Gospel rhetoric will only ever be considered “babble” to those outside of Christ but pure joy to those who He is calling to himself.
So train yourself to thoughtfully and gracefully bring up the Gospel, yes. But do not make an idol out of these devices or else they will actually hinder you from sharing. I’ve even started sometimes answering the question “What do you do?” with “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and I seek to make other disciples for Christ by proclaiming his gospel to other people. Have you heard the good news of Jesus Christ?” How many times would we share the Gospel if we spoke in this simple way?
Your best masterpiece of Gospel rhetoric will only ever be considered “babble” to those outside of Christ but pure joy to those who he is calling to himself.
To wrap this up, we just have to ask ourselves this question:
Do we actually believe that the Gospel is beautiful, lovely, and life-changing?
If that’s true, then what will happen when we wrap our feet in the enduring Gospel of peace to make our footing sure so we can stride forth with firm footsteps? What if every step we took was a step was as a warrior claiming territory in the name of his king and his God?
Christ is supreme. Friends, what are you wearing today on your feet? Our king has told you to “Go.” Do you have the right shoes on?