Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (April 3, 2023)

We are currently studying the items of spiritual armor described in Ephesians 6. Today, I want to ask the question: Are you barefoot in the battle?

Boots were an essential part of the Roman soldier’s armor. We should understand that today: can you imagine a barefoot mountain climber? A sandal-clad football player? A construction worker in flip-flops? No way! Footwear is extremely important.

Likewise, our spiritual boots are important. Our spiritual feet must be properly shod, and the proper shoes for the child of God are the gospel boots – rugged spiritual footwear designed to protect us in the spiritual battle we face!

These gospel boots are essential to protect us from the enemy. We are admonished by Paul to “stand”, which means to stand firm against the enemy. Our footwear is essential for us to be able to do this! So how do we don these “gospel boots?”

First of all, we must study. In 2 Tim. 2:15, Paul admonishes Timothy to “[s]tudy to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” It is by the word of God that we are equipped to deal with the assaults of the enemy. If we do NOT study the word, we risk being conformed to this world: “[B]e not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Rom. 12:2. You see, the word of God is “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Ps. 119:105. The word of God orders our steps and prevents iniquity from having dominion over us. Ps. 119:133. The word of God (“the law”) gives peace and keeps us from being offended. Ps. 119:165.

Secondly, we must come to church. Remember, the church is the “pillar and ground” of the truth! 1 Tim. 3:15. The church is the primary place where we hear and learn the true gospel. In the book of Acts, we learn that Paul and the others went throughout the cities and gave them the word of God to the churches and elders, “[a]nd so were the churches established in the faith. . . .” Acts 16:5. If we would be shod with the gospel boots, shouldn’t we be grounded in what the true gospel is?

Furthermore, it is important that we are shod with the RIGHT gospel boots; otherwise, we will stumble and fall! Remember Paul’s warning to the Corinthians? “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” 1 Cor. 14:8. We need to be clear about the message, otherwise we are going to be unprepared in the battle.

One of the biggest problems for us as Christian soldiers is our tendency to “give up,” or desert the battle. And make no mistake about it: we are ALL prone to desertion! In 1777, up to 2000 American Revolutionary soldiers deserted during the winter at Valley Forge, due to lack of supplies (both food and otherwise). And the lack of proper footwear was one of the bigger problems: “Throughout 1777, General George Washington had more concerns over his army’s supply of shoes than with any other single article.” (NPS website).

In the winter of our sojourn here, if we have poor quality footwear – shoes that don’t fit, shoes that are poor quality – we will be much more likely to desert the battle! That’s why the TRUE gospel is so important. Nothing short of the message of God’s sovereign grace will fit the case of the regenerated child of God who seems himself as the broken sinner that he is!

You see, the true gospel – i.e., the good news of Christ’s finished work, that overcame death, hell, and the grave – is the ONLY message that will help us through the problems we face in this sin-cursed world. When tragedy strikes, people sometimes walk away from the battle, struggling with the thoughts that “God could have saved him or her, but didn’t!” The true gospel tells us that God DID overcome the inevitability of death by dying Himself, and that we WILL see these loved ones again! When the inevitable tribulations Arie, people sometimes walk away from the battle, saying that “If God REALLY loved me, He wouldn’t have let this happen!” The true gospel tells us that this life is only the small print at the beginning of the foreword of the book – the best is yet to come! When it comes to our past sins and failures, Satan is always whispering “Remember!”, while the true gospel is always shouting “FORGIVEN!”

My friends, the shoes of the false gospels will not take you very far: they only allow you to go as far as the sinner will let you go! But the boots of the true gospel will carry you well beyond the barriers of geography, distance, and even human will! The boots of the true gospel assures the regenerated child of God of his place in the family of God (see John 10:27-29; Rom. 8:29-31; 1 John 5:13), because Jesus Christ Himself has made peace between God and man (see Ps. 85:10 – Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other).

I want to leave you today with the following vision. Imagine the tired, battle-worn soldier in a brief lull on the battlefield. His armor dented, his body battered, exhausted, tired and thirsty from exertion. Then someone comes running up to him with a waterskin filled with the purest, clearest, coldest water he’s ever tasted! What do you think this refreshing draught will do for him? Can’t you imagine the refreshment and encouragement he will take from this? The gospel message is like this: “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” Prov. 25:25. Beloved friends, the boots of the gospel will carry you on when you think you cannot go any farther!

If we have the right footwear, instead of deserting in the battle, we can dig in and stand our ground! Are you barefoot in the battle, or do you have your boots on?

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor