New Wine for New Wineskins July 2020

By , July 1, 2020 6:47 am

Over The Top (Part 2)

over the topto an excessive degree; beyond reasonable or acceptable limits

 

Remember, in the First World War the phrase “over the top” was used by the British to describe the infantry emerging from the safety of their trenches to attack the enemy across open ground. More recently, with allusion to its WW1 origins, the phrase has come to describe excessive or foolhardy actions.  Since the 1980s the phrase is often shortened to OTT.

Last time I asked the  question:  Are you OTT?  Remember, AW Tozer once said that sometimes a fanatic is just someone who loves Jesus more than you do.

Are we disciples of Jesus or are we followers of established / entrenched (these two words can be interchangeable in some contexts) religious practice?  If we can’t find something in the life of Jesus then we don’t need it, but if we can find something in the life of Jesus then we do need it.

In this newsletter we are going to look at Jesus’ “modus operandi” – his MO – his way of doing things.  Before we are done I believe that we will see that Jesus was OTT – over the top!  And if he was OTT and we are called to follow him then we ought to be OTT also. The church has been entrenched for too long.

1.  Before we go any further let’s get one thing clear  Jesus is OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) when it comes to demonstrations of love!  He loved the world so much that he was willing to go over the top from the place that he had occupied for all eternity, strip himself of all of his heavenly glory and come into this world as a man and face up to the enemy on open ground.  Do you want to be like Jesus and do what Jesus did?  Then over the top it is!

Luke 4: 1 – 2

1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

2.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) when it came to prayer and fasting.  He was so focused on the purpose of his prayer and fasting that he wasn’t even hungry until the end of the forty days.  Remember when the disciples couldn’t cast out the demon from the young boy?  His father told Jesus that the disciples couldn’t do anything but Jesus cast the demon out with no problem.  The disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t do it and he told them that apart from their faith being a bit lacking there are some kinds of demons that you can’t shift without prayer and fasting.  Prayer and fasting aren’t the tools used to drive out the demons – they are the tools that we employ to prepare ourselves to take them on.  When Jesus was asked why his disciples didn’t fast he basically said that while he was with them they didn’t need to fast but that when he was gone then they would fast. Derek Prince said that anyone who wants to have a positive impact on history – to be a history maker – will have to employ fasting as a tool. It is time to exchange playing and feasting for prayer and fasting!  It is a sure sign of where the church is at when you can get a full house for an “eating meeting” and yet be down to a handful when you call a prayer meeting!  And as for calling a fast.  Who’s ready to go over the top in prayer and fasting? We need to understand that this was the very foundation of Jesus’ ministry.

Mark 1: 35 – 39

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Luke 5: 15 – 17

15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. 17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.

Is the message getting through yet?  A lot of the things that perplex us usually have a simple answer.  Listen up!

John 4: 31 – 34

31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”  32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”  33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”  34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

Prayer and fasting are power twins!

Luke 4: 3 – 8

3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” 5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

3.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) when it came to worship.  He was single-minded and completely sold out to the fulfilment of his destiny and purpose – the foundation of which is wholehearted worship in spirit and truth. There are a lot of believers today who have so diluted their commitment with the love of the world and the stuff in it that the only outward sign that they are Christians is their sporadic church attendance.  Our worship is not defined by just showing up at church and waving our hands around in the air but by an unswerving obedience and submission to everything that God says in his word.  Are you ready to go over the top?

Luke 4: 9 – 11

9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,’ 11 and,‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

How subtle is this devil?  Once he realises that you know what the word of God says he will then try and use even that knowledge against you.  That is why it is good to know everything that the word says, and even more importantly to have the Spirit of Truth within you who will enable you to discern what spirit is behind the message.   The enemy will use both what we don’t know and what we do know to try and separate us from one another and from our destiny.

Luke 4: 12

12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”

4.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) when it came to standing on and declaring the word.  The word of God says that Jesus was tempted in every way that anyone anywhere has ever been tempted.  These three examples of the temptation that Jesus endured before launching into his public ministry are the three basic roots out of which all other temptations arise – the lust of the flesh (desire to indulge), lust of the eyes (desire to acquire), and pride of life (desire to impress). If we are going to follow Jesus and do the same works that he did then we are going to have to be OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) in our study of the word and our declaration of it.  Any OTT-ers reading this?

Luke 4: 13

13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. 14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.

5.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) when it came to the fullness of the Spirit and his complete dependence on the Spirit’s power. Need I say more?  Any over the top Holy Spirit-dependent people catching this?

Luke 4: 15 – 19

15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “ The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD’s favour.”

6.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) in his mission statement.  I mean, why could he not just be happy with doing a couple of preaches a week and the odd wedding or funeral?  Remember – Jesus wrecked every funeral he ever went to, including his own.  We need to redefine ministry.  If we are going to be followers of Jesus then our mission statement needs to be as OTT as his.

Luke 4: 20 – 28

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” 23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’” 24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath,in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.

7.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) in the prophetic.  Obviously nobody told him that you’re only supposed to tell people nice things about their future – things that make them feel really good about themselves whether they are true or not.  Anyone willing to go over the top in the prophetic and risk being unpopular?

Luke 4: 30

30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.

8.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) in his dependence upon his Father’s ability to protect him in dangerous situations.  He simply went over the top and straight back into missions mode.  Anyone care to join him?

Luke 4: 31

31 Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. 32 And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.

9.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) in his teaching.  It wasn’t just a pleasant, interesting, or dare I say boring little homily – his words were alive and active and backed up and confirmed by the authority of heaven.  Any OTT teachers and preachers out there?

Luke 4: 33 – 36

33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, 34 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. 36 Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

10.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) when it came to deliverance ministry.  He even did it in public and in church.  He did it whenever and wherever it was necessary to set someone free from the oppression they had suffered under for years.  Anyone’s spirit saying, “I’m going over the top”?

Luke 4: 37 – 40

37 And the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region. 38 Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. 39 So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them. 40 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.

11.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) when it came to healing.  Nobody who came to him sick went away the same way that they came.  We need to get to that place. We need to believe that God’s will is to heal all that come to him. We need to be able to say to the sick that when we lay our hands on them they will be healed. It’s time to be over the top with healing.

Luke 4: 41

41 And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ.

12.  Jesus was OTT (to an excessive degree and beyond reasonable or acceptable limits) when it came to refusing publicity.  He didn’t want people to get to know him by reputation but by revelation.  Reputation never healed anybody. You can’t substitute hype for healing or programmes for power if you want to see the glory of God.  It is possible to be still free-wheeling on reputation long after the power is gone.  That is why Paul told the Corinthian church that he wanted their faith to rest in the power of God and not in the wisdom of men.  Are you willing to be so over the top that you sacrifice your reputation?

Luke 4: 42

42 Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place.

What for?  To pray and charge up!  If you have a mobile phone and you continually use it but neglect to charge it up then it will eventually become unusable.  It will still have all of the necessary components and all of the capability to make a phone call apart from one vital thing – power!

Luke 4: 43 – 44

And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; 43 but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” 44 And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

13.  Jesus was OTT when it came to refusing to get comfortable and pull back on his mission.  If he said that he must preach the kingdom of God everywhere then if we are going to follow him and be his disciples then we also must be over the top and preach the kingdom everywhere we go.

So what does it mean to preach the kingdom? What does Jesus say? The reality is that no matter what level of education we achieve or career path or employment we choose or how long we have been retired or whether we are a housewife, or a minister, missionary, or whatever you might be, there are words that Jesus spoke that all of us must take on board as the direction that God gives us for our lives.  We spend so much time fussing about what God’s will is for our lives.  Remember, Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of him who sent me”.  He also said that he was sending us in the same way that the Father sent him and to do the same things.

Matthew 10: 7 – 8

7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

We have received the order!  Let’s go over the top!

 

 

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