OceanSide church of Christ
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SOME “SOLE” LESSONS
Eph. 6:15 “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”
Shoes play a part in a great many famous Bible stories…
1. Abraham would not even take a thread from the shoelatchet of the king of Sodom lest he should say that he made Abraham rich (Gen. 14:23).
2. God told Moses to take his shoes off at the burning bush for the ground was holy (Exo. 3:5; cf. Josh. 5:15).
3. The children of Israel were told to have their shoes upon their feet as they made ready to leave Egypt (Ex. 12:11).
4. During the forty years of wandering, the children of Israel’s shoes did not wax old upon their feet (Deut. 29:5).
5. The inhabitants of Gibeon tricked Joshua into a treaty by wearing old, clouted shoes upon their feet (Josh. 9:5,13).
6. When Boaz wanted to marry Ruth, his near kinsman had to take off his shoe and give it to Boaz as a sign that he was giving up his right to marry her (Ruth 4:7,8).
7. When David left his palace in shame after the rebellion of Absalom, he left barefooted (2 Sam. 15:30).
8. In Amos’ day, the children of Israel became so corrupt that they would sell out the poor for a “pair of shoes” (Amos 2:6).
9. John declared that he was not worthy to loosen the latchet of the shoe of the Messiah (Luke 3:16).
10. When the prodigal son returned home, the father commanded that a robe be brought, a ring be put on his finger, and shoes upon his feet (Luke 15:22).
What kind of shoes does God want a Christian to wear? The footwear of the “Gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15).
We often say, “If the shoe fits, wear it,” or, “I’d hate to be in his shoes.”
We are comparing a person’s situation to shoes. Jesus used object lessons (cf. Matt. 18:1-4). Today, we want to use one. In this lesson, we want to describe each Christian here in terms of shoes. Each of us should be able to find ourselves represented by different pairs of shoes.
Here we are discussing our WORK in the vineyard of Christ—not our dedication to our secular jobs or our willingness to improve our houses and material possessions.
Sometimes we may be known as hard workers at school, work, in our yards or gardens, shops, or homes, but not be known to work at church beyond leading a prayer or attending a Bible class. This is not what God expects.
The average person who lives to be 70 years of age spends his time in the following fashion (cf. Eph. 5:16):
23 years sleeping.
19 years working at his profession.
9 years playing.
6 years traveling.
4 years unaccounted.
2 years dressing.
1 year in church activities.
Evidently, most do not feel that “church work” is important. But it is the only thing that will last beyond this world. Sir Christopher Wren was a noted English architect. While he was busy supervising the construction of a magnificent cathedral in London, a journalist thought it would be interesting to interview several of the workers who were helping to construct the wonderful edifice. He chose three workers and asked them all the same question, “What are you doing?” The first replied, “I’m cutting stone for 10 shillings a day.” The second said, “I’m putting in 10 hours a day on this job.” But the third said, “I’m helping Sir Christopher Wren construct one of London’s greatest cathedrals.” What about us? How do we view visiting, teaching classes, working on the grounds or helping the unfortunate?
The parable of the talents gives a picture of what the Lord expects and what He will use as a standard of judgment at the last day (Matt. 25:14-30).
The Bible condemns laziness (Rom. 12:11) while it praises industry (Jno. 9:4; Matt. 22:28). Someone said, “Hell is for two classes of people: Those who will do anything and for those who won’t do anything.” Christ has not hands but our hands, to do His work today; He has no feet but our feet To lead men in His way; He has no tongue but our tongues To tell men how He died; He has no help but our help to bring them to His side (Annie Johnson Flint). Lincoln was asked by a pompous lady what his family’s coat of arms was. “My coat of arms is a pair of rolled-up sleeves,” he replied.
This has to do with our ATTITUDE. The “high heel Christian” is one who is haughty and proud (Rom. 12:3).
The attitude of the Pharisees must never make its home in our bosoms (Luke 18:11). It is never good for one to brag about how good he is, especially when he prays to God. God knows the truth. “God is the only one in a position to look down on anyone.” The attitude of many is expressed by Milton, “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.”
Jesus did not seek His own glory as the Pharisees did (John 8:54). The Academy Awards presented a special award posthumously to Irving G. Thalberg. Thalberg was a genius producer of the twenties and thirties who died at age thirty-seven. His excellent work made a lasting difference in the film-making industry. What is noteworthy was that he never allowed his name to appear on the credits of any film he produced. “Self-praise is not worth having,” he said.
Illustrations: A bubble is just a puffed up drop of water. It appears bigger, but it is not. It’s just full of air. And that is the way many people are.
Alexander the great, seeing Diogenes looking attentively at a parcel of human bones, asked the philosopher what he was looking for. Diogenes’ reply: “That which I cannot find—the difference between your father’s bones and those of his slaves” (from Plutarch).
Another said, “Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.”
Socrates was once asked by one of his disciples, “Why is it, sir, that you tell everyone who wants to become your disciple to look into this pond and tell you what he sees?” “That is very simple, my friend,” answered the old sage. “I am ready to accept all those who tell me they see fish swimming around. But those who see only their own image mirrored in the water are in love with their own ego. I have no use for them.”
Read: Psa. 101:5; Prov. 11:2; 16:5, 18,19; Matt. 20:26,27;23:12; Mark 10:44; Rom. 12:16; 1 Cor. 10:12; Jas. 4:6.
The “lowtop Christian” has the spirit of Christ.
Jesus had every reason to be proud, yet He was born in a manger, washed His disciples’ feet, and died in shame (Phil. 2:5-8). He is definitely “lowtop.”
A “lowtop Christian” is not afraid to get involved. A rider on horseback, many years ago, came across a squad of soldiers who were trying to move a heavy piece of timber. A corporal stood by, giving loud orders to “heave.” But the piece of timber was a trifle too heavy for the squad. “Why don’t you help them?” asked the quiet man on the horse, addressing the important corporal. “Me? Why, I’m a corporal!” Dismounting, the stranger carefully took his place with the soldiers. “Now, all together, boys—heave!” he said. And the big piece of timber fell into place. The stranger mounted his horse and addressed the corporal. “The next time you have a piece of timber to big for your men to handle, corporal, send for the commander-in-chief.” The horseman was George Washington (Watchman-Examiner). We are not greater than our Master (John 13:16). If He was had a “lowtop” attitude, we should much more so.
A “lowtop” person is willing to humbly submit to the commands of God (Acts 2:38), or admit error and repent (Acts 8:22).
A “baby shoe Christian” is one who has not grown up (Heb. 5:12-14). He has never grown into well-rounded service (1 Pet. 2:2).
An “overshoe-Christian” is one whose faith permeates and covers all of his life (2 Cor. 5:7).
The “Sunday shoe Christian” puts on his Christianity long enough for Sunday morning services. He does not realize that Christianity was never meant to be a “Sunday religion” (cf. Acts 2:46).
It is instructive to note the “daily” duties of Christians:
1. We are to take up our crosses “daily” (Luk. 9:23).
2. We are to be serving others “daily” (Acts 6:1).
3. We are to search the Scriptures “daily” (Acts 17:11).
4. We are to exhort one another “daily” (Heb. 3:13).
A “house shoe Christian” is one who wants things easy and comfortable. He is scared off by mission work, a growing program, a benevolent work, or anything that will require him to become uncomfortable (Amos 6:1).
About 350 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway? Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and the courage to overcome great obstacles to get there. But in a few short years they were not able to see five miles out of town. What happened? They lost their pioneering spirit. They got comfortable and decided they liked it as it was.
When the children of Israel left Egypt, they had great excitement and anticipation. But it wasn’t long before the unfamiliar and unknown began to take its toll. They wanted to retreat to the comfort of old surroundings, even if it did mean returning to be slaves.
What about us? Have we lost our vision to try bold things for the Lord? Are you willing to try new things for God? Are you ready to go five miles into the wilderness? Reach out to that lost person. Go to that lectureship or meeting. Teach that class. Minister to that hurting person. If you do, God will be with you (Phil. 4:13; Heb. 13:4,5; Rom. 8:31).
There is no mention of a padded cross in the New Testament. It comes “one size fits all.” Not comfortable. Not easy. Not attractive.
A “combat boot Christian” is one who is willing to soldier in the Lord’s army (2 Tim. 2:1-4).
A black shoe represents a soul that is covered with unforgiven sins and worldliness (Jas. 1:27).
A white shoe represents a forgiven person (Isa. 1:18).
A dirty white shoe represents a Christian who has willfully or publicly sinned and needs to be forgiven again (2 Pet. 2:20-22).
What kind of shoe are you?
Do you need to make a change? Why not clean up through faith, repentance, confession, and baptism? Why not be restored?