Trinity Church - Waxahachie
Life Group Study Notes: The Armor of God Part 4
January 30, 2022

Life Group Study Notes: The Armor of God Part 4

January 30, 2022

QUESTION: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? Why are they your favorite?

This week’s message continued the discussion of the armor of God, in particular the shoes of the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. Let’s read together this passage from Ephesians:

Ephesians 6:13-17

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The Good News of the Kingdom of God

When Paul refers to the Gospel of Peace, he is both describing a fulfillment of a prophecy from Isaiah and challenging the Roman Empire and its claims to bring peace to the whole world. Gospels means good news, and is often associated with the announcement of the beginning of a King’s reign, or the announcement of a military victory. The connection between our feet and the Good News can be found in Isaiah 52. Let’s Read verses six through ten.

Isaiah 52:6-10 NIV

6 Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I.” 7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. 9 Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

The good tidings (gospel) that we find in verse seven is an announcement of the reign of God. Those on the mountain are like messengers returning to the city with news of God’s victory and a declaration of the reign of God in the world. When Paul says that we are to put on the shoes of the preparation of the Gospel, he is referring to this idea of bearing the news of the God’s victory over the powers that have kept this world in their grip and of the coming of his Kingdom.

Paul refers to these verses in Romans chapter ten. Here Paul writes:

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” (Romans 10:14-15, NIV).

QUESTION: Why is the message of the victory and reign of God good news for the world? How is proclaiming this message an act of spiritual warfare?

This is the same way that Jesus described his ministry in the Gospels. In Mark chapter one we read:

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15, NIV).

We can participate in this ministry that Jesus began when we join him in proclaiming the kingdom of God as bearers of the good news.

QUESTION: In his life and ministry Jesus both proclaimed the coming of the kingdom of God and brought healing and forgiveness as evidence that the kingdom was already near. How can we proclaim the coming of the kingdom by our actions as well as our words?

Prepare the way

Isaiah speaks of a servant of God who will prepare the way of the coming of the Lord. This messenger is to go ahead of the Lord and to prepare for the coming of the Kingdom.

3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken (Isaiah 40:3-5).

In the New Testament, this is closely associated with John the Baptist who prepares the way for Jesus. But when Paul suggests that we are to cover our feet with the preparation of the Gospel, he is suggesting that the role of John the Baptist is the role for every believer. It is our job to prepare the way for the good news about the victory and reign of God.

QUESTION: What would it mean to prepare the way for the good news of the Gospel?

A Kingdom of True Peace

In the social and political context in which Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians, this good news of peace would have been heard as a challenge to the claims of the Roman Empire. Roman propaganda claimed that wherever the Empire reigned (where the shoes of Roman soldiers marched) peace followed. But the peace that the Romans brought was really just conquest. But the peace that Paul is talking about is more than just an absence of conflict. The peace that Paul means is a fuller picture of human flourishing and harmony. In the Old Testament, Peace is often associated with an ideal state that includes a rest from war, but also a time of plenty and contentment. The peace of the Kingdom of God is distinct from the peace that any human empire can offer. The prophet Micah gives us a vivid description of the peace that will come when the Kingdom of God has fully come:

 Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

3 He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

4 Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken (Micah 4:2-4).

Those who wear the armor of God battle against the invisible forces of darkness in the world. The ultimate end of this conflict will result in a real and lasting peace. We put on the shoes of the preparation of the Gospel of Peace to participate with God in his mission to bring ultimate salvation to the world. We prepare the way to declare the victory and reign of our God.

QUESTION: What does it mean to being about true peace? How does the peace that God offers differ from visions of peace given by the world?

Prayer

Take this opportunity to pray for needs that have arisen in the weeks since you last met.

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