Sermon 3143. Shoes for Pilgrims and Warriors
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MAY 6, 1909.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace." Ephesians 6:15.
THE Christian was evidently intended to be in motion, for here are shoes for his feet. His head is provided with a helmet,for he is to be thoughtful. His heart is covered with a breastplate, for he is to be a man of feeling. His whole nature isprotected by a shield, for he is called to endurance and caution. And that he is to be active is certain, for a sword is providedfor his hand to use and sandals with which his feet are to be shod. To suppose that a Christian is to be motionless as a postand inanimate as a stone, or merely pensive as a weeping willow and passive as a reed shaken by the wind, is altogether amistake! God works in us and His Grace is the great motive power which secures our salvation, but He does not so work in usas to chloroform us into unconscious submission, or engineer us into mechanical motion-He orchestrates all our activitiesby working in us "to will and to do of His good pleasure." Grace imparts healthy life and life rejoices in activity! The Lordnever intended His people to be automatons worked by clockwork, or cold and dead statues-He meant them to have life, to haveit abundantly-and in the power of that life to be full of energy! It is true He makes us lie down in green pastures, but equallycertain is it that He leads us onward beside the still waters! A true Believer is an active person-he has feet and uses them.
Now, he who marches meets with stones, or if as a warrior he dashes into the thick of the conflict he is assailed with weaponsand, therefore, he needs to be suitably shod to meet his perils. The active and energetic Christian meets with temptationswhich do not happen to others. Idle persons can scarcely be said to be in danger-they are a stage beyond that and are alreadyovercome! Satan scarcely needs to tempt them-they rather tempt him and are a fermenting mass in which sin exceedingly multiplies-adecaying body around which the vultures of vice are sure to gather. But earnest laborious Believers are sure to be assailed,even as fruit bearing trees are certain to be visited by the birds. Satan cannot stand a man who earnestly serves God-he doesdamage to the arch-enemy's dominions and, therefore, he must be incessantly assailed. The Prince of Darkness will try, ifhe can, to injure the good man's character, to break his communion with God, to spoil the simplicity of his faith, to makehim proud of what he is doing, or to make him despair of success. In some way or other he will, if possible, bruise the worker'sheel or trip him up, or lame him altogether. Because of all these dangers, Infinite Mercy has provided Gospel shoes for theBeliever's feet-shoes of the best kind-such as only those warriors wear who serve the Lord of Hosts!
We shall at this time first examine the shoes and then try them on.
I. Our first duty is to EXAMINE THE SHOES which are provided for us by our Captain. And in doing so we are delighted to findthat they come from a blessed Maker, for the feet of the Believer are to be shod with a Divine preparation. Many preparationsand inventions are used for protecting feet, but this is a preparation in which infinite skill has been displayed and thesame wisdom put forth as in the Gospel, which is the masterpiece of God! Every portion of the Gospel is from God and all theinfluence which makes it a Gospel of Peace is His-and we are therefore thankful to find that we are to wear "the preparationof the Gospel of Peace." It would not be meet that he who is helmeted with Divine Salvation should be shod with a mere humanproduction! Having begun in the Spirit, it would be strange to be made perfect in the flesh. We would not be like the imageof the monarch's dream whose head was of fine gold and whose feet were part of iron and part of clay. We rejoice that allthe pieces of armor which compose our panoply come forth from the celestial Armorer whose productions are without a flaw!
We are glad to find that the shoes are made of excellent material, for they are composed of "the preparation of the Gospelof Peace"-and what better material can there be than the Gospel-the Gospel of Peace and that peace which grows out of theGospel? This is what is meant. We believe in a Gospel which was formed in the purpose of God from all eternity, designed withInfinite Wisdom, worked out at an enormous expense, costing nothing less than the blood of Jesus, brought home by InfinitePower, even by the might of the Holy Spirit! It is a Gospel full of blessings, any one of which would outweigh a world inprice-a Gospel as free as it is full, a Gospel everlasting and immutable, a Gospel of which we can never think too much, whosepraises we can never exaggerate! It is from this choice Gospel that its choicest essence is taken, namely, its peace. Andfrom this peace those sandals are prepared with which a man may tread on the lion and the adder, yes, and on the fierce burningcoals of malice, slander and persecution! What better shoes can our souls require?
What matchless material for girding the pilgrim's feet is that which is here mentioned, namely the peace which comes fromthe Gospel, the preparation of heart and life which springs of a full knowledge, reception and experience of the Gospel inour souls! What does it mean? It means, first, that a sense of perfect peace with God is the grandest thing in all the worldwith which to travel through life. Let a man know that his sins are forgiven him for Christ's name's sake, that he is reconciledto God by the death of His Son and that between him and God there is no ground of difference-and what a joyful pilgrim hebecomes! When we know that as the Lord looks on us, His glance is full of infinite, undivided affection, that He sees us inJesus Christ as cleansed from every speck of sin and as, "accepted in the Beloved," and that by virtue of a complete Atonementwe are forever reconciled to God, then do we march through life without fear, booted for all the exigencies of the way, yes,ready to plunge through fire and water, thorn and thistle, bush and briar without fear! A man at peace with God dreads neitherthe ills of life nor the terrors of death! Poverty, sickness, persecution and pain have lost their sting when sin is pardoned!What is there that a man needs to fear when he knows that in no affliction will there be any trace of the judicial anger ofGod, but all will come from a Father's hand and work his lasting good! Goliath had armor of brass upon his legs, but he isbetter armed who wears a full assurance of peace with God through the Gospel! He shall tread down his enemies and crush themas grapes in the winepress! His shoes shall be iron and brass and, shod with them he shall stand upon the high places of theearth and his feet shall not slip. Achilles received a deadly wound in the heel, but no arrow can pierce the heel of the manwhose foot is sandaled with reconciliation by atoning blood! Many a warrior has fainted on the march and dropped from theranks exhausted, but no weariness of the way can happen to the man who is upheld by the eternal God, for his strength shallbe renewed daily.
The preparation of the Gospel of Peace here mentioned must be understood to comprehend more than the legal peace ofjustificationby faith. If we would enjoy the fullest comfort of the well-shod pilgrim, we must have the exceeding peace which springs fromintimate, undisturbed communion with God. We should pray not only to feel that we have been brought out of our natural enmityinto peace with God, so as to be no more culprits but children, but also to dwell in the full joy of our new relationship.It is a sweet thing for a child of God to feel that he is so acting that his heavenly Father has no reason for walking contraryto him. You know right well that as a child of God, you will not be condemned and cast away as an alien-but you also knowthat as a child, you may greatly displease your Father and render it necessary for Him to frown upon you, and visit you withstripes-and this you should, with the utmost diligence and prayerful-ness, labor to prevent. There are times when the Lordof pilgrims hides His face from them in sore displeasure, and then it is very hard travelling. Life is "a great and terriblewilderness" when the Lord's Presence is withdrawn. The more a man loves the Lord, the more does he suffer when there is atemporary suspension of happy communion between his soul and Heaven-he cannot be happy again till he knows that he is fullyrestored to the paternal favor. O child of God, you will very soon have your feet torn with the briars of the way if you donot abide in fellowship with God! When Adam had lost his oneness with God, he found out that he was naked, and so will youif you lose your communion with Jesus. Where before you dashed onward as with a charmed life, treading the world and all itscares beneath your feet, you will find yourself pierced with many sorrows, bleeding with acute griefs, scratched, torn, laceratedwith trials, losses, crosses and endless annoyances. If we continue in the love of Jesus, pleasing Him in all things, jealouslywatching and carefully observing His will, our mind will be kept by the peace of God which passes all understanding-and ourroad to Heaven will be a pleasant one! It may indeed be very rough in itself and in the judgment of others, but it will beso smoothed to us by the peace which reigns within that we shall glory in infirmity, exult in suffering and triumph in distress,knowing that
the Lord is with us and no harm can come to us. Thus you see that the peace which comes ofjustification-and the fuller peacewhich arises from enjoying the love of God are a grand preparation for our life's journey-shoes for the feet unrivalled inexcellence!
It is also a grand sandal for a pilgrim's feet when the Gospel of Peace has fully conformed his mind to the Lord's will. Somechildren of God are not at peace with God because they do not fully acquiesce in the Divine purposes. To them the pilgrimpath must be a painful one, for nothing can please them-their self-will creates swarms of vexations for them. But to heartswhich have crucified self and yielded all to the will of God, the most thorny paths are pleasant. He who can say concerningall things, "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight," is shod for all ways and weathers, and may march on undismayed.Fully conformed to the Divine will, saints are invulnerable and invincible, "none shall be weary nor stumble among them, neithershall the laces of their shoes be broken"-
"They hold by nothing here below. Appoint their journey, and they go Through joy or grief they march the same, Triumphantstill in Jesus' name."
Surely it is when the heart is completely at one with God that the true beauty of the Christian character is seen! Then itis that the heavenly Bridegroom cries out, "How beautiful are your feet with shoes, O prince's daughter!" Then, too, the Churchin her tribulation becomes bright and glorious, like her Lord, of whom we read, "His feet are like unto fine brass, as ifthey burned in a furnace." Shod with perfect delight in the will of the Lord, we are able to surmount all the difficultiesand trials of the way, for it becomes sweet to suffer when we see that it is the will of God. Resignation is good, but perfectacquiescence is better, and happy-thrice happy is the man who feels it! No silver sandals were ever so precious, no coveringof golden mail adorned with precious stones were so glorious to look upon as a mind molded to the Divine Will, perfectly intune with the mind of the Lord Most High!
The preparation of the Gospel of Peace, you thus see, is, in many aspects, the fittest help for our journey to the promisedland. And he who has his feet shod with it need not fear the flinty ways, the craggy rocks, or the thorny passes.
But the Gospel of Peace has another side to it, for it not only brings us peace with God, but it inspires us with peace towardsourselves. Civil war is the worst of wars and for a man to be at discord with himself is the worst of strife. The worst perilof Christian pilgrimage is that which arises from the pilgrim's own self-and if he is ill at ease within himself, his coursecannot be a happy one. The prayer of the evening hymn is very suggestive-
"That with the world, myself and Thee, I, ever I sleep, at peace may be." It is a most necessary matter to have peace at home.It is a cruel case for a man when his own heart condemns him. To whom shall he look for a defense when his own conscienceindicts him and all his faculties turn king's evidence against him? It is to be feared that many Believers habitually do thatwhich they would not like to be questioned upon by the rule of the Word of God-they have to close their eyes to many passagesof Scripture, or else they would be uneasy in their consciences. Brothers and Sisters, this makes wretched travelling! Itis like walking through a wood with bare feet. If you cannot satisfy your own heart that you are right, you are in a sad case,indeed, and the sooner matters are altered the better. But if a man can say before the living God, "I know that what I amabout to do is right and whatever comes of it, I have a pure motive and the Lord's sanction to sustain me in it," then heproceeds to action with a nimble tread. Such a pilgrim is girt for the roughest of ways and will hold on his way joyfullyto the end. Rest of conscience shoes us right well, but a question as to the rightness of our procedure makes us barefooted.
Come what may, if we order our ways with reverent regard to the Lord's commands, we shall be able to confront the future withserenity, for we shall not have to accuse ourselves of bringing ourselves into trouble by sin, or losing our joys by indulgingin forbidden things. When the Believer falls into any trouble through having been zealous for God, then may he spread hiscomplaint before God with the full expectation that He will bring him out of all his difficulties, for is it not written,"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord...none of his steps shall slide"? Oh, to walk in such a way that your conscienceis void of offense both towards God and towards man-then integrity and uprightness will preserve you and your goings willbe established. "He will keep the feet of His saints." "He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all yourways. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone."
While travelling through the mazes of life, another form of the preparation of the Gospel of Peace will be of essential serviceto us, namely, peace with our fellow men. The Gospel of Peace leads us into the closest bonds of amity with our fellow Believers,although, alas, it is not always possible to prevent offenses arising, even with the best of them! If we cannot make all ourBrothers and Sisters amiable, we are at least to be at peace on our side-and if we succeed in this, no great disagreementcan arise, for it always needs two to make a quarrel. It is well to go to bed every night feeling, "I have no difference inmy soul with any of the members of Christ's body. I wish well to everyone and love them all in my heart." This would enableus to travel in right royal style over fields which now are often stony with controversy and thorny with prejudice. Theologicalconflicts and ecclesiastical squabbles would utterly disappear if we were shod with the true spirit of the Gospel of Peace.An unwillingness to think harshly of any Christian is a sandal most easy to the feet, protecting it from many a thorn. Wearit in the Church, wear it in all holy service, wear it in all fellowship with Christians and you will find your way amongthe brethren greatly smoothed! You will win their love and esteem before long, and avoid a world ofjealousy and oppositionwhich would otherwise have impeded your course.
It is well to travel girt with this shoe ofpeace with all mankind. "If it is possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceablywith all men." It is barely possible, but aim at it-and if you do not perfectly succeed, try again. Unconverted men will notlove your religion, for they are carnal. That you cannot help, but you must love them, carnal as they are, and by degreesyou may win them to love both you and your Lord. If they will not live peaceably with you, yet give them your love and livepeaceably with them. Be not easily provoked. Bear and forbear, forgive and love on, return good for evil, seek to benefiteven the most unthankful and you will travel to Heaven in the most pleasant possible manner. Hatred, envy and persecutionmay come, but a loving spirit materially blunts their edge and oftentimes inherits the promise, "When a man's ways pleasethe Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." If you have to feel, "Now, I am going this part of the journeywith the view of avenging a wrong," you will not journey pleasantly or safely! But if from the depth of your soul you cansay, "When Christ made peace with God for me, He made peace between me and my bitterest foe," you will march on like a hero!Travel through the world as a sincere philanthropist, with your feet shod with love to all born of woman and your course willbe happy and honorable. God grant us that loving spirit which comes of free Grace and is the work of the Holy Spirit, forthat is a mystic sandal which gives wings to the feet and lightens a weary road.
Having thus described these Gospel shoes, I should like to say that the feet of our Lord and Master were sandaled in thismanner. He was the King of Pilgrims and to Him, the way was even rougher than it can be to us. But these were the shoes Hewore and, having worn them, He counsels us to put on the same. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you," He said.Always while He dwelt in this world He was in fellowship with God. He could truly say, "I came down from Heaven not to doMy own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. He who sent Me is with Me. I am not alone because the Father is with Me." Healways sought the good of His chosen-"having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." And as forHis enemies, He had only prayers and tears for them. He was at peace with all above, around and within Him. That peaceablenessof His, that wonderful serenity, was one of the marvelous points in His Character. You never find Him worried, disturbed,flustered. No, that is ourinfirmity because we take our shoes off and are taken by surprise-but His feet were always shod-Hedwelt in perfect peace and, therefore, He was the grandest Pilgrim and the noblest Worker. We cannot need to be better shodthan our Lord was! Let us sandal our hearts with His peace and we shall be royally prepared for our journey!
I may add that these shoes are such as will last all our journey through. We feel most comfortable in our old shoes, for theyfit the foot so well, but they will at last wear out. These shoes of my text are old, yet always new and are like those whichIsrael wore in the wilderness, of which it is said, "Your shoe is not waxen old upon your foot." The everlasting Gospel yieldsus everlasting peace! The good news from Heaven never grows stale, neither will the peace which it brings ever become likethe Gibeonites' "old shoes and patched." The man who wears the preparation of the Gospel of Peace was comforted by it whenhe was young and it still cheers him in his later days-it made him a good traveler when he first set out and it will protecthis last footsteps when he crosses the river Jordan and climbs the celestial hills!
Friends, are you all thus booted for your life-journey? See you well to it.
II. We come now to our second business, LET US TRY ON THESE SHOES.
Here our joy is great to find that they fit perfectly and need no tugging and straining to draw them on. By a miracle morestrange than magic, the preparation of the Gospel of Peace suits every foot, whether it is that of a babe in Grace, or a strongman in Christ Jesus. No man can travel well, much less engage in battle successfully unless his dress is comfortable, especiallythat part of it which relates to the feet. And here we have the grand advantage that no foot was ever uneasy when once ithad put on this shoe! Mephibosheths who have been lame in both feet even from birth have found this shoe works miracles andcauses them to leap as harts upon the mountains! The Gospel of Peace helps all our infirmities, heals all the wounds of ourold sins and suits itself to all our tender places. Whatever the weakness may be, the Gospel provides for it! Whatever thedistress, its peace relieves it. Other shoes have their pinching places, but he who wears the preparation of the Gospel ofPeace shall know no straitness of spirit, for the Gospel gives rest to our minds. Real Gospel really believed, means realpeace! That which disturbs us is something alien to the Spirit of the Gospel, but the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of Peace.Who would not wear such a shoe?
The preparation of the Gospel of Peace is a wonderful shoe for giving its wearer a firm foothold. Surely it was of this shoethat Habakkuk sang when he said, "The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will makeme to walk upon my high places." When persons are on slippery rocks, or dangerous eminences, where a fall would be fatal,it is well to be so shod that the feet get grip and hold. Nothing aids a man to stand fast in the Lord like the peace of theGospel. Many professors are very soon thrown over-they are attacked with doctrinal error and they readily yield. They areassailed by temptation and their feet go out from under them. But the man who has perfect peace with God and who relies uponthe Most High shall never be moved, for the Lord upholds him. His shoes have driven themselves into the eternal Truths ofGod and hold like anchors! Tell him the Atonement is not true, preach up to him the bloodless neology of modern thought andhe ridicules the ineffectual attempt because he knows whom he has believed and feels a heavenly peace within flowing fromthe substitutionary Sacrifice. Tell him that the Doctrines of Grace are a mistake, that salvation is all of free will andman's merit, and he says, "No, I know better. I know the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace to be true by experience, I know I amGod's chosen, I know that I am called, I know that I am justified, for I know that I have peace with God as the result ofall these." You cannot move him an inch! His creed is interwoven with his personal consciousness and there is no arguing himout of it! In these days of skepticism, when no man seems to have any resting place, it is well to be so shod that you canand do stand on the Truth and cannot be blown about like thistledown in the breeze.
The shoe of our text is equally famous for its suitability for marching in the ways of daily duty. Soldiers have little timefor contemplating the comfort of their shoes, or their fitness for mere standing, for they have daily marching to perform.We, too, have our marching, and as far as some of us are concerned, they are no mere parades, but heavy marching involvingstern toil and protracted effort. A soul at perfect peace with God is in a fit state for the severest movements. A sense ofpardoned sin and reconciliation with God fits us for anything and everything. When the burden of sin is gone, all other burdensare light. Since we are no longer on the road to Hell, the roughest places of our pilgrimage do not distress us. In everysphere, a heart at perfect peace with God is the soundest preparation for progress and the surest support under trials. Tryon these shoes, my Brothers and Sisters, and see if they do not enable you to run without weariness and walk without fainting.All earth cannot find their like-they are unrivalled-they make men like the angels to whom duty is delight!
These Gospel shoes are also an effectual preservative from all the ordinary roughness of the road of life, although to mostof us it is far from smooth. He who expects to find a grassy walk all the way to Heaven, well mown and rolled, or looks fora highway leveled by a steam-roller, will be sorrowfully mistaken. The way is rugged, like the goat tracks of Engedi, andoftentimes so narrow and so far on high that the eagle's eye cannot discern it! The blood of former pilgrims stains the wayto Glory, yet from all perils to our feet, the preparation of the Gospel of Peace will guard us! From fears within and fightingwithout, Gospel peace will surely deliver us. Perhaps we are more vexed with little trials than with great ones-certainlywe bear them with far less equanimity-but a peaceful heart protects alike from tiny thorns and terrible rocks. Everyday vexationsas well as extraordinary tribulations we shall bear cheerfully when the Peace of God keeps our heart and mind!
Beloved, this shoe is also good for climbing. Do you ever practice the holy art of spiritual climbing, God's blessed Spiritleading the way? Do you ever climb Mount Tabor to be transfigured with your Master? Have you watched with
Him one hour and seen His conflict and His victory? Have you ever looked from Pisgah's glorious heights upon the goodly landand Lebanon, anticipating the glory to be revealed? Has your spirit ever been away there alone in mysterious communing withGod upon the Hermons? I trust you know what climbing work means and that you have enjoyed rapt ecstatic fellowship with JesusChrist. But of this I am sure, you can never mount on high if your feet are not shod with the Peace of God! Unshod with thesesacred sandals, there is no climbing! Only those who delight themselves in the Lord God shall ascend the Hill of the Lordand stand in His Holy Place!
The heart prepared by peace with God is shod suitably for running as well as for climbing. There are periods when all ourenergies must be put forth and we must rush forward at the heroic pace, for, at certain passages in life's campaign, thingsmust be carried by storm and every faculty must dash forward at its swiftest speed. We cannot at all times keep up the swiftness,which, nevertheless, is occasionally required of us, but the man for a push and a dash is he whose soul abides in peace. Troubledin heart, our feet are blistered, our knees are weak and our movements are painfully slow. But the joy of the Lord is ourstrength and in the power of it we become like Asahel, fleet of foot as a young roe. Try on these shoes, my limping Brothersand Sisters! What do you say?
Lastly, this shoe is good for fighting, and that I gather from Paul having put it among the armor. In the old style, fightingmeant hand to hand and foot to foot, and then it was necessary for the feet to be well protected and, indeed, so well coveredover as to be useful in assault, for the warriors kicked with their feet as well as struck with their hands-and many a foewas placed hors de combat with a heavy kick! Christians are expected to fight with their feet in the battle against sin andSatan! Indeed, they must fight with all their powers and faculties! That grand promise has been given to us, "The God of Peaceshall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." What a tread we will give him when we once have the opportunity! We shall needto have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace to break that old dragon's head and grind his snares topowder! And God helping us, we shall do it! Our Covenant Head has trampled on the old serpent and so shall all His members.
Let this suffice concerning these shoes, but a serious question suggests itself to me. Are there not some of you who haveto travel to eternity and yet have no shoes for the journey? How can the unconverted man hope to reach Heaven when he hasno shoes on his feet? How will he bear the troubles of life, the temptations of the flesh and the trials of death? I prayyou, unconverted ones, look at yourselves and at the way-and see how impossible it is for you to accomplish the journey unlessyou go to Jesus and obtain from Him the Grace which will make you pilgrims to Glory! Go, I pray you, and find peace in Him-andthen your life-journey shall be happy and safe, and the end eternal joy-for your feet will be shod with "the preparation ofthe Gospel of Peace."
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: EPHESIANS 6:10-24.
Verse 10. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might Everything depends upon that. Whetheryou are called upon to work, or to wait, or to watch, or to suffer, you have need to be strong. If you are not strong, thevery armor that you wear will be a burden to you! It is of the utmost importance that Christians should be as strong in Graceas they can possibly be. And the power that is to be in them is to be the power of God-"the power of His might." What a wonderfulpower that is! The power of flesh is weakness and the power of man is fading, but the power of God is almighty and unchangeable!And if we can be girt about with this power, there is scarcely any limit to what we may successfully attempt.
"Finally"-as if this were a matter of the highest importance, to be considered first and last-"Finally, my brethren, be strongin the Lord and in the power of His might." You know how strong Paul was-he was a veritable giant for Christ and he here callsupon his brethren to be as he was. He did not want to be brother to dwarfs, so he appealed to his brethren to "be strong inthe Lord, and in the power of His might."
11. Put on the whole armor of Got. The armor of God will not serve you unless you, yourself, are strong. It needs a strongman to carry girdle, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet and sword. Let me impress upon you the fact that we must first ofall get strong within and after that, "put on the whole armor of God," that armor which God has provided for the good soldiersof Jesus Christ-that armor which distinguishes men as belonging to the army of God. Do not merely
put on a part of it, but put on the whole of it! Do not simply look at the armor and clean it up so as to keep it bright,but put it on, wear it-it is meant for you to use in the great battle for the right against the wrong! "Put on the whole armorof God."
11. That you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devii. He will attack you sometimes by force and sometimes by fraud.By might or by sleight he will seek to overcome you and no unarmed man can stand against him. Never go out without all yourarmor on, for you can never tell where you may meet the devil. He is not omnipresent, but nobody can tell where he is not,for he and his troops of devils appear to be found everywhere on this earth.
12. For we wrestle not against flesh and bloot. Our great fight is not against our fellow men. As Christians, we go not fortharmed with sword and shield to fight against "flesh and blood."
12. But against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickednessin high places. Our battle is against evil wherever it is to be found, against evil in every shape and form. Evil is as muchin the world today as it was in Paul's time and we must fight against it everywhere. We are not to shut our eyes to it, ortry to patch up a compromise with it. Christians are bound to fight against evil principalities, evil powers, the evil rulersof the darkness of this world-and wicked spirits in high places.
13. Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God. What stress the Apostle lays upon this point! He repeats the command hehad just given and again emphasizes the fact that it is "the whole armor of God" that is to be worn. There are some professingChristians who only in part obey the injunction given here-but it is no use to wear a part of the Christian armor and to leavethe rest of the soul unarmed. A little leak will sink a ship and the absence of one piece of the armor of God may cost a manhis soul! "Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God."
13. That you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stanc. That is what we have to do-to keep ourplace and our standing as Christians right to the end. To be apparently pure and holy for a time is no use at all. Transientprofessors will find everlasting ruin, "but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." We are in God's armyfor life-we can never quit this warfare till God shall call us home!
14. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with Truth. Let this girdle of the everlasting Truth of God brace you up.Let it tighten all the rest of your armor.
14. And having on the breastplate of righteousnes. Let your heart be guarded by the knowledge that you are right with God-thatyou love that which is holy and true. Put on the righteousness of Christ, Himself, as the best possible protection for yourheart.
15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. Rough roads grow smooth when these blessed Gospel sandalsare on your feet. A little stone in the shoe will make the pilgrim's progress a very wearisome and painful one, so try tokeep out all the stones-everything about which you have any scruple, or that you think may be wrong- and walk in the safeand narrow way set forth in the Gospel of Peace.
16. Above all. Over all, covering all from head to foot.
16. Taking the shield of faith. [See Sermon #416, Volume 7-SHIELD OF FAITH.] For you need this shield to protect both yourarmor and yourself.
16. Therewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Not only the fiery darts of the Wicked One, butthose, also, of wicked men and wicked women who may throw at you afar, darts that are all ablaze which would burn as wellas pierce you if you were not well guarded against them. Nothing can quench these fiery darts but the shield of faith!
17. And take the helmet of salvatioi.. You used to wear the helmet of pride with its fine nodding plumes, but that has beentaken off of you long ago. Now put on "the helmet of Salvation." This will effectually defend your head and no sword willbe able to cleave through it to injure you. Your brain and everything that is connected with your mental powers will be rightwhen you know that you are saved-and when the power of God's salvation is working within you!
17. And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. [See Sermon #2201, Volume 37-the sword of the spirit.] Thereis no sword like that! It pierces even to the dividing
asunder of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Nothing canresist the Word of God if it is only wielded aright. There is one more weapon in the heavenly armory.
18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. When you cannot use your sword, and even when you can hardlygrasp your shield, you can pray. That weapon of "all prayer" is of the handiest kind because it can be turned in any and everydirection. "Praying always with all prayer"-groaning prayers, weeping prayers, prayers that are made up of single words, prayersthat have not a word in them, prayers for others, prayers of confession, prayers of thanksgiving-"praying always with allprayer and supplication in the Spirit."
18. And watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. But will prayer for other people help us?Yes, very much! You will sometimes find that when you cannot pray for yourself, it is a good plan to pray for somebody else.Think of some child of God and pray for him or her-and then the fire of supplication will soon burn up in your heart! TheLord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends and He will do the same for you. I have heard many of ourmembers say that when they have felt bound in prayer, they have pleaded for their Pastor and afterwards they have been ableto pray for themselves. I advise more of you to try that plan-it will do me good and then if it also does you good, therewill be a double advantage in it! Paul was of the same mind as I am, for he added.
19, 20. And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of theGospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds. "An ambassador in bonds!" Such a thing was never heard of in earthly courts!We never think of chaining an ambassador, but this is how men treated this great messenger from the court of Heaven!
20-22. That therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak But that you also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus,a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: whom I have sent unto you for thesame purpose, that you might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. It is well for Christian people to knowhow it fares with their spiritual guides. Paul wished the Ephesian saints to know in what state of heart he found himself-thatthey might the more intelligently pray for him.
23, 24. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all themthat love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. I am sure that we can heartily repeat that benediction. May the Lord sendmuch of His Grace to all His people in every part of the earth who love Him in sincerity! Amen.