The Lesson Of A Homeless Man

 

It was a cold winter's day that Sunday. The parking lot to the church was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked in the church.

As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside the church. He was almost laying down as if he was asleep. He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head, pulled down so you could not see his face. He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet, with holes all over them, his toes stuck out.

I assumed this man was homeless, and asleep, so I walked on by through the doors of the church.

We all fellowshipped for a few minutes, and someone brought up the man laying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including me.

A few moments later church began. We all waited for the Preacher to take his place and to give us the Word, when the doors to the church opened.

In came the homeless man walking down the aisle with his head down.

People gasped and whispered and made faces.

He made his way down the aisle and up onto the pulpit where he took off his hat and coat. My heart sank.

There stood our preacher...he was the "homeless man."

No one said a word.

The preacher took his Bible and laid it on his stand.

"Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today. If you judge people, you have no time to love them." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of Peace

 

And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace Ephesians 6: 15

A spiritual shoe:  Something to aid our movement. This piece of armour is to aid our movement and defence and not our appearance.

Firstly we should have a clear understanding of the gospel of peace if we are to appreciate the material of which these shoes are made.  By now the saint is dressed with a belt made of truth and a breastplate made of righteousness.

Shoes made from the preparation of the gospel of peace are our third piece of vital armour. The gospel of peace is good news Luke 2:10. God forgives and then He gives, what could be greater? The gospel takes a hopeless being and fills him or her with an eternity of glory.  Even the afflictions of this world are too thin a veil to darken the joy of the good news of Jesus.

What is the gospel of the preparation of peace?

How long can anyone walk a hard and stony road without a decent pair of shoes?  Not far if we are not wearing the correct shoes.  Many have gone into battle without a proper preparation and often at their peril.  This kind of preparation comes only from the gospel.  Again, just like we saw with the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, there are two aspects to the shoes we wear.  The soles that keep us going over hard ground, that equip us with something to offer to the needy souls along the way.

See what kept Paul going!

Walking over hard ground - purpose

Romans 8:37-39: Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)

The foot is to the body what the will is to the soul. We go wherever our will takes us. Preparation, the Christian's spiritual readiness, is our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

This should not be confused with the shield of faith, as we shall soon consider. Many things have been known to set the will of man. Many have climbed high mountains and fought bitter wars because their will had been set for such a purpose.

The gospel sets the will of the Christian. It gives us a purpose and a focus. It presents us with a message and a task. It gives meaning to life and nothing else seems to matter.

There is no calling without the gospel. No sacrifice without an understanding. A barefooted man shrinks when his feet touch the hot sand and shrieks when he stumbles on a sharp stone.  But, when the will and heart are prepared and ready to serve the Lord, the Christian feet are shod; prepared and equipped to face any trouble he must go through to complete the task ahead.

Paul was convinced that nothing could separate him from the love of Christ.  He understood the love of Christ.  He knew the good news and no bad news could ruin it.  The time he had spent preparing himself in the Word was bearing fruit during time of trouble.

Many Christians take on certain battles before they are ready. There are times and seasons for everything.  There is a time to prepare.  God's grace will take us through those times of trouble if and when they come, so remember His promise to us.

1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear [it.] (NKJV)

Take time to prepare yourself in His word. Put on your shoes.

Equipped with something to offer - message and focus

We need to remind ourselves the reason for the battle we are engaged in. Christ has brought us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). He has put His spirit in us that we might work the works of GOD.  Satan would love to draw us back into his domain but failing that, he will settle for our testimony.  Satan hates a witness for Christ, hence the battle.  We should never forget the message we are to proclaim.  Let the scriptures explain;

Romans 5:6-11: For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7; For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8; But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9; Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10; For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11; And not only [that,] but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (NKJV)

I know of few other scriptures that explain the nature of our salvation so adequately.  Mediate on the above.  Have a good understanding of it.  Be prepared to explain it to others.  See the love and spirit behind it.  Look not just at the words, but also the heart that it flows from.

The gospel gives us a message.  Let your life radiate this message.  If Satan can get you from being a testimony in word, works and deed, he has taken away a great weapon.  No matter our callings or gifting the purpose is always the same; to make Christ known.

God intends us all to be walking vessels of his goodness, spreading the love of Christ to others.  As we familiarise ourselves with the gospel we shall discover a message worth living for.

How to put on the shoe of the preparation of the gospel of peace?

Prepare yourself to follow the Lord no matter what. This is not the grasping of doctrines, but the laying hold of the love of God.  Are you prepared to serve God no matter what?  Seek His face till you are.

What is the gospel?     Make sure you understand the message we are to take to the world. Whether you are a singer, writer or teacher it makes no difference.  We all have one message and focus, and that is to spread the love of Christ.  Here is something you have to do.  Prepare yourself as the scripture says

2 Timothy 4:2Preach the word!  Be ready in season [and] out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (NKJV)

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