Ephesians 6:14-15

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 24, 2006


Paul is writing to the Ephesian church from his prison in Rome.  Ever since having been arrested in the Temple in Jerusalem in Acts 21, Paul has been under arrest.  Sometimes he was allowed to walk around unchained.  Other times he found himself chained to a Roman soldier.

As Paul begins to describe the armor that God has prepared for us, it’s not hard to imagine that Paul used some of the simple armor covering the soldier he was chained to as a picture.

The typical Roman soldier would have sandals with cleats on his feet.  He’d have a shield with him, as well as a short two-edged sword.  There would be a helmet on his head and a breastplate covering his chest.  And it would all be held together by the Roman belt.

:14  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth,

having girdedperizonnumi – to fasten garments with a girdle or belt

truthaletheia – what is true in any matter under consideration; a mind that is open and honest; the truth about what the Bible teaches about God.

The Roman Belt:  The belt or girdle was six to eight inches wide and went around the waist.

It was what all the soldier’s weapons attached to.  A police officer has all his tools and weapons attached to his belt.  Think of “Batman” and his tool belt.  Batman would be nothing without his tool belt.
It was also important in keeping the soldier’s tunic from getting in the way or tripping him as he moved.

The Christian’s belt is truth.

Truth is what everything else attaches to.
Truth is what keeps you from tripping up in life.

What is truth?

1. The truth about God.
Some people think that God works on their standards.  They think that everyone is basically good, so they don’t think that mankind has a problem with God.  They don’t want to be made uncomfortable about what they believe so they believe that all roads lead to God. They don’t like the idea of hell, therefore hell does not exist. 
But that’s simply not the truth.

We don’t determine how God works.  God does what He wants.  And He’s told us how He operates.

God has told us that all of us have sinned.  All of us are sinners.  The Bible says:

(Rom 3:23 NKJV)  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

God has told us that there are consequences for sin.  The Bible says:

(Rom 6:23 NKJV)  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That means that if you go to work at sin, the wage you collect at the end of the day is a paycheck of death, and that means separation from God.

The Bible tells us that God doesn’t want us to be separated from Him.

(John 3:16 NKJV)  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God gave His Son to be a sacrifice.  Jesus died in our place.  Jesus died for our sins.

And if we “believe”, God will forgive us.

And that’s the truth.

2.  The truth is how things really are.
Some folks don’t want to face the truth about themselves.

One of the keys to overcoming addiction is learning to admit the truth about your condition.

Some folks don’t want to face the truth about the consequences of their actions.

A thief doesn’t rob a store because he thinks he’s going to get caught.  He thinks that he’ll never get caught.

Some people indulge in activities such as premarital sex, and somehow think that things like an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases won’t happen to them.  That’s not the truth.


THE TRUTH WILL BE REWARDED (women's version)

One day, when a seamstress was sewing while sitting close to a river, her thimble fell into the river. When she cried out, the Lord appeared and asked, “My dear child, why are you crying?” The seamstress replied that Her thimble had fallen into the water and that she needed it to help her husband in making a living for their family. The Lord dipped His hand into the water and pulled up a golden thimble ringed with pearls. “Is this your thimble?” the Lord asked. The seamstress replied, “No.” The Lord again dipped into the river. He held out a silver thimble ringed with sapphires. “Is this your thimble?” the Lord asked. Again, the seamstress replied, “No.” The Lord reached down again and came up with a leather thimble. “Is this your thimble?” the Lord asked. The seamstress replied, “Yes.” The Lord was pleased with the woman’s honesty and gave her all three thimbles to keep, and the seamstress went home happy. Some years later, the seamstress was walking with her husband along the riverbank, and her husband fell into the river and disappeared under the water. When she cried out, the Lord again appeared and asked her, “Why are you crying?” “Oh Lord, my husband has fallen into the river!” The Lord went down into the water and came up with Mel Gibson. “Is this your husband?” the Lord asked. “Yes,” cried the seamstress. The Lord was furious. “You lied! That is an untruth!” The seamstress replied, “Oh, forgive me, my Lord. It is a misunderstanding. You see, if I had said ‘no’ to Mel Gibson, you would have come up with Tom Cruise. Then if I said ‘no’ to him, you would have come up with my husband. Had I then said ‘yes,’ you would have given me all three. Lord, I’m not in the best of health and would not be able to take care of all three husbands, so THAT’S why I said ‘yes’ to Mel Gibson.”

The moral of this story is: Whenever a woman lies, it’s for a good and honorable reason, and in the best interest of others. That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it.

Actually, we know better than that.  It’s never good to lie, especially when you lie to yourself.


Truth is the road map for negotiating the difficult challenges of life. Without it we get lost and we develop emotional problems that tell us we're lost. We often settle for half-truths or no truth at all because they are usually easier. But truth is the only road to emotional health. There is no other path.

-- Pyschologist Chris Thurman


King David was a guy who loved God.  But David was also a man, a sinner like you and I.  One spring, while the army was out fighting the war, King David stayed home.  And one evening David was out on his rooftop patio when he saw a beautiful young woman taking a bath.  It wasn’t a stranger, he found out that she was the wife of one of his men out on the battlefield.  He ended up sleeping with her and she got pregnant.  At first David tried to cover it up by having the husband come home and trying to get him to sleep with his wife, but when the man didn’t go along with David’s scheme, David had the man killed.  David was not only an adulterer, he was also a murderer.  David tried to keep the whole thing hush-hush, but God saw what had happened.  And God told the prophet Nathan what had happened.  When Nathan confronted David about his sins, David finally broke and admitted what he had done.
Later, David wrote about what it was like living a lie:
(Psa 32:1-5 NKJV)  Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. {2} Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. {3} When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. {4} For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah {5} I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
Be honest with yourself.  Be honest with God.  Life is much easier.

:14 having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

having put onenduo – to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self

breastplatethorax – the part of the body from the neck to the navel; a breastplate or corset consisting of two parts and protecting the body on both sides from the neck to the middle.

The Roman Breastplate:  It was made of bronze backed with tough pieces of hide.  It protected the heart.

righteousnessdikaiosune – the state of being “right”, the condition acceptable to God; integrity, virtue, purity of life

One of Satan’s favorite directions of attack against believers is by going for the heart.  He likes to attack us in the area of righteousness.  He is called the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), and he likes to put us on guilt trips, pointing out how short we fall from God’s standards. 

We protect our heart with the breastplate of righteousness.

Just like the Roman’s breastplate had layers, ours should have several layers.

Without Jesus, a person cannot be truly “righteous”

(Isa 64:6 KJV)  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags

But when we come to trust in Jesus, something changes.

2Co 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
God exchanges all our filth with the righteousness of God.
Satan may accuse you of being a filthy rotten scoundrel – and he may be correct.  But when you opened your heart to Jesus, God forgave you and gave you the righteousness of Christ.
Satan’s accusations must go.

But there’s another layer. We don’t just protect ourselves with this “invisible” righteousness that Jesus gives us, but God actually begins to produce real, godly righteousness in our lives.

Php 1:11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which [are] by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

And we are encouraged to pursue and grow in righteousness:

2Ti 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
(Eph 4:24 NKJV)  and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
In other words, our lives need to be aimed at being more and more like Jesus.
And the more we’re like Jesus, the less Satan can accuse us of.

William Barclay writes,

Once a man accused Plato of certain crimes. “Well then,” said Plato “we must live in such a way as to prove that his accusations are a lie.” The only way to meet the accusations against Christianity is to show how good a Christian can be.[1]

Layers upon layers of righteousness.

Your righteousness, your doing things right.  Covered by Jesus’ righteousness and His goodness.  Layered with your good works.  Covered by Jesus’ good works.  Layer upon layer.  Protect your heart.

:15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

The Roman soldier wore sandals which were strapped to his foot with leather thongs over the instep and around the ankle.  The soles of the sandals were studded with nails like a football player’s cleats.

Its importance was in giving a firm footing during hand-to-hand combat.  It kept the soldier from slipping during battle

gospeleuaggelion (“good” + “messenger”) – good tidings; the glad tidings of salvation through Christ; the gospel

peaceeirene – a state of national tranquility; peace between individuals; inner harmony; peace with God

Years ago I wasn’t sure just what these sandals were all about. And after looking at various commentaries over the years, I’m not sure they knew either.  But I think I’m beginning to get it.  I think that Paul may have combined the sandals he saw on the Roman soldiers with a verse in Isaiah that speaks of what a sandal goes onto:

(Isa 52:7 NKJV)  How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

The picture is that of a messenger running to Jerusalem to tell it that God reigns and that He’s going to defeat His enemies.  The ultimate fulfillment is when Jesus is coming back to rescue Jerusalem from the clutches of the antichrist.

Keep in mind that the word “gospel” means “good news” or “glad tiding”.  Do you see the elements of Eph. 6:15 in Isaiah, the components of “the gospel”, “peace”, and “feet”?

Paul also quotes the Isaiah verse in –

(Rom 10:12-15 NKJV)  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. {13} For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." {14} How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?
If “calling on the Lord” brings salvation, how could a person do that if they don’t believe in the Lord?
And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
How can they believe in a God they haven’t heard about?
And how shall they hear without a preacher?
How can they hear about God if someone doesn’t tell them?
{15} And how shall they preach unless they are sent?
How could someone tell others about Jesus if they’re never encouraged to go out and do it?
As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!"
I’ve known people over the years who are very self-conscious about various parts of their bodies. Some have been very sensitive about their feet and would just die if someone saw how ugly their feet were. I think we’ve got it wrong. Beautiful feet belong to the one who is willing to go and tell others about Jesus.

preparationhetoimasia – the act of preparing

Before you leave the house, you put your shoes on.  Part of a soldier’s preparation for battle was making sure his sandals were on good and tight.

I believe we “put on our shoes” when we are “prepared” to share the gospel or our testimony.

We’re going out to battle, not against people, but against Satan’s forces.  Much of the battle is over men’s souls.  The battle is won when the gospel is shared by people with beautiful feet.

We must be prepared.  Paul told Timothy:

(2 Tim 4:2 NKJV)  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.
You never know when the opportunity is going to present itself.

What is the gospel?

It’s about a problem and a solution.
What’s the problem?

We are all sinners.  Our sin keeps us from God.  Our sin results in hell.

What’s the solution?

Jesus died to pay for our sins.  We receive God’s forgiveness by trusting in Jesus.

What is a “testimony”?

It’s simply an account of what Jesus has done for you.
A simple way of describing your testimony involves three things:
What was you life like before meeting Jesus.
How you met Jesus.
What has your life been like after having met Jesus.

How many of you have a “testimony”?

How many of you can condense your testimony to be able to share it in 1-2 minutes?
(maybe have those people share their testimony with those who didn’t raise their hands?)

When you’ve been “prepared”, then you are ready to go.  You are ready to share Jesus with the world around you.  You are ready for God to send you.

Don’t leave the house barefoot.  Put your shoes on.

[1]The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, ed. William Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 2000, c1976). 183.