Last week I began to address the topic of the gates of the City of God. Those gates are a testimony to the places of influence in the community of God, which is any expression of the Church or ministry of the Body of Christ. I began with presenting the three gates known as the ‘Sheep Gate’, the ‘Fish Gate’, and the ‘Old Gate’. The ‘Sheep Gate’ reveals how the culture of God’s kingdom releases a pastoral grace of hearing God and the ability for people to present their lives as living sacrifices to God. It is an environment that induces the transformation of people’s minds through hearing God and living in His way. The ‘Fish Gate’ activates a spirit of outreach and connection to those who are being drawn into the net of the kingdom. God’s people become empowered to do works of faith that exhibit a testimony of God’s life to the world around them. The ‘Old Gate’ facilitates the inherited truths of God and the inheritances of former father’s in the faith, whereby the foundations of the growing community of God are established upon the inheritances of the past.
Today I am going to present two more gates to consider when evaluating the health of any expression of the kingdom of heaven. In the reconstruction of the city by Nehemiah the gate that followed the ‘Old Gate’ was the gate known as the ‘Valley Gate’ (Neh. 3:13). I believe that the ‘Valley Gate’ was also known as the ‘Potsherd Gate’, where broken pottery from the potters’ shops was thrown out into the Valley of Hinnom on the refuse heaps (Jer.19:2). In the synthesis of Scripture, clay jars speak of the fragile nature of the flesh. Clay jars are made of hardened clay that creates a ridged shape that can no longer be molded, but presents a recognizable shape of use. Human lives are likened unto clay jars (Lam. 4:2, Jer. 18:4, Rom. 9:21, 2Tim. 2:20). Potsherd is broken pieces of clay vessels. Those broken pieces of clay represent the broken lives of men. God is the potter and we are the clay of His hand (Isa. 45:9; Isa. 29:16; 64:8; Jer. 18:16). I believe that the ‘Potsherd’ or ‘Valley Gate’ represents a place of human brokenness. Broken vessels are jars that no longer maintain their ridged shape of the past. I believe that this speaks of our ability to come to decisions end the will of the flesh and lead to the comfort and purpose of the Lord. Without brokenness there can be no empowerment of change. Decisions made from brokenness are decisions that lead to God’s resurrection life. This gate is where we find a broken and a contrite heart before God (Ps. 34:18; 52:17; Isa. 57:15; 66:2). It is in that place that we make decisions for life. This gate is the place of decision. It is the place of yielding our will to His (Elk. 22:42). Every local church should have a functioning ‘Valley Gate’ ministry that activates a culture and an environment of brokenness before God and a willingness to yield the will of self for the will of God. The community of God is a place for humility and grace. God gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud (Jam. 4:6, 10). We need counseling ministries to function among us that inspire a spirit of humility by bringing healing to the brokenness of men. The ‘Valley Gate’ is the place of a decision to be led by the Spirit and not by the flesh (Rom. 8:1-14). This gate of influence creates a culture where people no longer judge one another according to the flesh (2 Cor. 14:17). This gate of influence inspires a dependency upon the life that is only found in Christ.
The next gate is the ‘Dung Gate’ (Neh. 3:14). This gate was named because the refuse of the city was taken through it to be burned in the Valley of Hinnon. The ‘Dung Gate’ speaks of the ability to discard the things of the past though healing and deliverance. Every local ministry needs to have active ministries of healing and deliverance. We need to activate and facilitate the power ministries of faith, healing, and deliverance in any expression of the community of God. There should be an environment that trains and equips the community members to properly deal with the issues of their hearts. Each believer needs to know how to leave the things of the past behind and press on toward the mark of the upward call of God in Christ (Phil. 3:12-14). Each believer needs to know how to ‘put off’ the things of the world and to ‘put on’ Christ (Col. 3:9,10). The ‘Dung Gate’ deals with the putting off of the old man (Eph 4:22). This gate can manifest though a culture of sanctification, worship, praise, and cleansing of the temple as seen in Ezra 3:4. The cleansing of the temple is not the washing of a religious organization through religious activities. It is the washing of the lives of men and women that empowers them to know that they are the place where God lives. Our church has had a strong ministry that seeks to create an environment where judgments, vows, generational curses, and other influences of the past can be broken and washed away though the anointing of the ‘Dung Gate’. Believers need to know how to get rid of things in their lives that are the lifeless things of the past. They are things of no more use and even things that contaminate the body if there is not a healthy environment of removing the issues of the past.
As leaders in the body of Christ we must serve to culture a community that knows how to live in brokenness before God. They must know how to make decisions for life. Members of God’s community must be mentored in making decisions that are led by the Spirit and not by the flesh. There must be a cultural influence that inspires a dependency upon the life that is only found in Christ. The will of the flesh will be transformed by the will of the Spirit.
As leaders in the body of Christ we must seek to have active ministries of healing and deliverance. We need to activate and facilitate the power ministries of faith, healing, and deliverance in our areas of responsibility in leading God’s community. There should be an environment that trains and equips the community members to properly deal with the issues of their hearts. Believers need to know how to get rid of things in their lives that are the lifeless things of the past and embrace the things of God in Christ.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson