Elders in the Gates

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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.

Jesus shares His authority with us not just to win battles against the enemy, but to spiritually govern the world with Him. Every community, region and nation is designed to prosper under the spiritual government of the body of Christ.

Ephesians 2:4-7

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 In ancient times, villages and cities were governed by elders who would gather at the gates and govern together, making decisions on who and what could enter their domain. Like elders at the gates, we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This means that we have the authority to bind the powers of darkness and release the blessings of God in our communities.

An Army for a Government

As we have seen, God is raising up an army of believers who will displace the powers of darkness that currently possess the gates of our lands and reign over our communities. In their wake, a host of believers need to act as elders as possess the gates of their towns and cities.

The word elders speaks of mature believers that come together as a group. Like the small groups in the net or the units in the army, these groups of elders must come together in obedience to God’s design and truly love one another. As they obey God together, these elders will dominate the spiritual realm of their specific region, and so release the rule and reign of Christ’s love.

Natural Government

In recent times, the body of Christ has been so divided and distracted that we have not possessed the gates of our lands. Instead of personally taking up our role of spiritual governance, too many of us have fallen for the lie that all our nation needs is the right political party in power. We have then focused our energy on promoting the right party, and for many people, politics dominates their thinking and conversation far more than the King and His kingdom.

The enemy is moving in the political sphere to kill, steal and destroy, and we need righteous people to rise up in politics and stand against the destructive ideologies that the enemy is using to devastate our societies. This is an essential part of God’s strategy to establish His kingdom in our land and we need to support those believers who have been called and anointed to work in our natural government. However, we also need to accept that no human government alone can ever lead a nation to righteousness. The reason for this is that all the problems in society stem from the flesh nature in people working in partnership with demonic powers. Because love always sets people free, God Himself cannot force people to love. Instead He invites us to choose between life or death, love or selfishness. In the same way, no government can force people to embrace their design of love. On the contrary, worldly governments are based on legalism and control, and this gives them only three mechanisms to shape society: education, incentives, and the threat of punishment. Education and incentives are used by governments to get their citizens to willingly submit to their ideologies. To limit the destructive expressions of people’s flesh nature, governments use the threat of punishment. Wherever this threat is removed, we see the selfish nature unleashed and people start hoarding, stealing, abusing, and destroying one another. The painful truth is that no government can deliver people from their selfish nature or fill their hearts with love. And if a government cannot lead a single person into their design as an individual, we can be sure that they cannot lead a whole society into its corporate design.

The battle against the spiritual powers of darkness is the same. Most secular governments deny the spiritual dynamics of life and instead view every problem as a situation that can be solved with policy and money. By ignoring the forces of darkness, those in government are defenseless against their influence, regardless of which side of the political spectrum they fall. Unless they have a strong relationship with Jesus, they will almost certainly partner with these dark powers to shape the laws and culture of society. Our calling is to pray for all our leaders in government, that they would be set free from the influence of the enemy so they can embrace God’s love and calling for their lives.  

People only look to worldly governments to lead them because they can see no other solution. But if people understood the spiritual dynamics that are truly shaping our corporate lives, they would cry out for the body of Christ to take back the gates of the land. We alone have the power to displace the demonic principalities that are currently dominating our communities. And if we are to answer this cry, we must come together and act in corporate spiritual authority. Now is the time.


This article uses material from And He Will. Get your free copy and let the journey into love begin!


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