An Army Arising

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Ask the group the questions in black.

Words in italics are written to help give some guidance and ideas.

Read out loud the text in blue.

Have someone read out the Scripture passages.

Introduction

If God guaranteed you an answer to any question, what question would you ask?

Gather thoughts. Ask why? This is not the time to answer those questions, but just to get people thinking.

People are curious about many things, but when it comes down to it, two of the most basic questions of life are: Who am I and why am I here?

Can you answer those questions with total confidence?

Who am I?

The question “Who am I” is a question of identity. Your identity is simply who you think you are.

When you think about your life, what influences have shaped your identity (who you think you are)?

This could be parents, teachers, sports coaches, pastors, friends, the world etc.

Share something about who you think you are.

Let people share at whatever level they are willing. Simply listen.

We all begin creating our sense of identity from birth, mainly based on our interactions with other people. The things we believe about ourselves can be both positive and negative.

So for now, we know that the “who am I” question is about identity. Over the coming weeks, we are going to explore this more.

Why am I Here?

The second question “Why am I here?” deals with our sense of purpose.

Think about things that people have created and their purpose? What comes to mind?

Share ideas. Choose any examples such as toasters, cars, lightbulbs, roads, houses etc.

Can you think of anything that has no purpose at all?

There is nothing that has been created that has no purpose. Things like space junk may seem to have no purpose now, but they did once have a purpose.

We have been created, so what is our purpose?

Gather thoughts. Ask, “what makes you think that?”

Does something that is created have the ability to determine its own purpose?

Use an example from above to pose the question. Can a toaster decide to be a jug instead?

Design

We can only come to a true sense of identity and purpose when we first understand our design. Think about a lion.

What is a lion designed to do?

To hunt animals. No healthy lion defies its design to become a vegetarian! It never happens.

What gives a lion the ability to be a hunter?

Its whole body is designed to hunt from tooth to claw. The lion’s identity as a hunter comes from its design.

In the same way, our sense of identity and purpose is connected to our design.

Do we begin life with an understanding of our design?

No, newborn babies have no knowledge or understanding of purpose or design.

How do babies learn about their physical design?

Babies and infants learn their physical design by watching people around them. In fact, studies have shown that if an infant does not hear someone talking, they will not learn to talk. If they do not see a person walking, they will not learn to walk.

The same is true spiritually. When we first begin to follow Jesus and are born again, we are like spiritual infants, and we learn our design by looking at people who we consider “spiritual.”

In our spiritual infancy, how can we be sure that the people around us are or were actually living in their spiritual design?

We really can’t be sure. Babies do not have the capacity to question their design. Because they are so vulnerable, there is a great responsibility to protect babies and nurture them in truth.

What if we have not truly learned our design? Imagine that you discover an object you’ve never seen before and you don’t know what it is designed to do.

How could you find out?

You would ask the person who made it!

Read these Bible verses together:

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:26-27
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Who is the Creator of the universe and of us?

God.

As our Creator, we owe our existence to God. We are not random products of chance. We have been wonderfully created by a God who has a clear design for our lives. And as our Creator, He alone holds the answers to those questions “who am I and why am I here?” The only way we can discover our design is to ask the One who designed us.

So, how does God reveal our design to us?

Gather thoughts.

Our Mirror

Look up the following passage in James.

James 1:22-24

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

What is the purpose of a mirror in the natural realm?

To see what you physically look like.

So, if you want to see a spiritual reflection of yourself, what is the spiritual mirror that you look into?

The word of God.

The Word is a spiritual mirror that shows us our natural face. The word “natural” used in this verse is the Greek word “genesis” meaning “source, origin or birth”. You could say that when we look into the mirror of the Word, we see our genesis face. We see our true identity and purpose as God originally designed it.

Summary

There are two questions we need to answer: Who am I? and Why am I here? These are questions of identity and purpose. Only our Creator has the right to determine who we are and why we are here, our design. So, over the coming studies, we are going to look into the mirror of the Word to find out how God answers these questions.

Questions for Further Discussion

Has there ever been a time in your life when you consciously asked yourself Who am I? or Why am I here?

Do you have any early memories of believing that God is Creator?

What do you think spiritual infants need most?

 

1 In the Beginning—Homework

Reflect

Read these verses from Psalm 139 and reflect on the questions below.

Psalm 139:13-14

For You formed my inmost being;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You,

for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

What do these verses reveal about the value of your life?

What does it mean for you to be a unique creation?

Is it important for you to know “who am I” and “why am I here?” Why or why not?

Do you spend time looking into the mirror of the Word? Is this a focus for you?

Pray

As you begin these studies, ask God to reveal your identity and your purpose/design in life to you in a fresh and deeper way. Share with Him your desires for your own spiritual growth.

Ephesians 6:10-13

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Our fight is a fight of faith, and the primary battleground is the mind. In this article, we see how the enemy attacks us personally with thoughts that isolate us, discourage us, tempt us, and challenge our unity with Jesus. But God has given us the weapons we need to overcome. Love and unity are two of these weapons, and they are essential at every level of warfare.

As soldiers in a battle, we are not called to fight alone. Often we can assume that because Jesus lives within us, we should be able to overcome every attack of the enemy by ourselves. However, Scripture is clear: we are all parts of a body, woven together in love. And in the same way that we need each other to function as a body, we also need each other to overcome as an army.

We can see this in the way worldly armies work. All armies are organized in a hierarchy, with different groups having different skills and functions. In modern warfare, the basic unit within an army is a team, made up of two or three soldiers. Teams join together to form squads, and squads combine to make sections. Sections join to form platoons, which then combine to form companies, then battalions, then regiments and so on, up to whole armies. It has been said that soldiers are trained to fight first and foremost for the life of the men in their team: the one or two soldiers by their side.

Hebrews 3:13

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 10:23-25

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

One of the most valuable, yet often overlooked expressions of love is encouragement. Scripture calls us to meet together and encourage one another day after day so that we will not fall into sin. The Greek word translated as encourage is relational in nature and has the sense of encouraging one another from the place of intimacy.[i] This need for intimacy is the reason Jesus builds His army upon teams of two or three.[ii] He knows that love flows strongest in the smallest numbers. In these groups, we are at our most real, our most vulnerable and our most loving. The more real we are with one another, the more we live in the light and the less the powers of darkness can affect us. The more vulnerable we are with each other, the less vulnerable we are to the enemy. And the more we love one another, the more devastatingly powerful we become in the spirit.

If meeting for encouragement is God’s command to keep us safe from sin, we can be sure that Satan’s command to his demons is the opposite: “Discourage them day after day! Keep them from meeting together so they cannot encourage one another! Isolate them and cause them to quietly rebel. Then discourage them and swamp them with doubts! Cause them to question the love of God and to disqualify themselves from his goodness! Then watch their hearts harden and their faith fail. Tempt them to sin and then heap shame, condemnation and guilt upon them. Make it a mire for them to wallow in.”

God clearly wants better things for us which is why He gives us the insight we need to overcome. In these passages from Hebrews, God shows us how He made us to be fueled by mutual encouragement. This is not just for our own spiritual growth. As soldiers in Christ, we are called to fight the good fight, and encouragement is our morale for battle.

Authority and Government

Luke 7:2-10

Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

This centurion understood the nature of authority. Everyone who is under authority must obey. In the spiritual realm, every demonic spirit is under the authority of Christ and therefore must obey Him. When Jesus speaks through us, they must leave. In Scripture, every single demon instantly obeyed Jesus, but this was not the case with His disciples. They did not move in the full authority of Christ. This is because our level of spiritual authority is connected to the depth of our unity with Jesus and our level of obedience to Him. No king sends a rebellious and self-willed ambassador out to represent him, fight for him, or govern on his behalf. Instead, he invests his authority in those who are loyal and fully aligned with his will. It is the same for us. Our spiritual authority and right to govern is connected to our loyalty and obedience. The more we become one with Christ and the more we obey His voice, the greater authority we have over the powers of darkness.

Corporate Authority

John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Obedience always starts with the most important commands, and our obedience to Jesus starts with the new command: to love one another. When we keep this command, we love God as He wants to be loved: through His people. This command of love means that no one person can displace a demonic principality alone because no one can be fully obedient to God on their own. Instead, the only way we can have the spiritual authority to fight the battle at this level is to love one another and fight together with our combined corporate authority.

As soon as we take up our corporate authority in Christ, we will see immediate impact. In And He Will, we look at two examples of this. One is a young girl who was bound by a lying spirit. As soon as the lying spirit was bound, she was instantly set free to embrace the truth. For another woman, as soon as the spirit of offense was bound, she was set free to give her life back to Jesus. In both cases, breakthrough was immediate, and it will be exactly the same on the corporate level for entire societies. The very moment as we overcome the powers of darkness that presently reign over our lands, people will be free to receive God’s love and embrace His design for their lives. Therefore, by calling us to act together as an army under one command, God is preparing the world for a massive harvest of souls. Like elite soldiers, we must fight the good fight of faith and take hold of eternal life, not just for ourselves, but for our families, communities, cities, regions and nations. If we are willing, loving and obedient, the victory is guaranteed. Love never fails.

 

 

[i] See HELPS Word Study #3870. The word parakaleo, combines para (meaning “from close-beside”) and kaleo (“to call”). In various contexts it means to exhort, admonish, build-up, urge, and comfort from close-beside. This closeness is found in intimate relationship. As we form loving relationships, we can open our hearts to receive true encouragement and correction from one another as we spur each other on to love.

[ii] As we saw in First Love, we can be a part of multiple groups of two or three, and these groups can overlap and evolve as the Spirit leads. Teams can then meet together with other teams and become home groups or house churches. These can then come together as assemblies. Our combined strength will enable us to fight greater battles and overcome greater forces of darkness.


This post is taken from material taken from And He Will and One AnotherGet your free copy.


 

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