January 8, 2023

Next Level

Next Level




8th January, 2023

Topic:                         Next Level

Preacher:                   Reverend Ebenezer Olawuyi

Text:                           Matthew 9:16 – 17



I welcome you to Church this morning. I am going to be reviewing some of the things we earlier spoke about especially on the Crossover Morning. I would be starting with the passage read to bring home what I am going to be roaming around throughout this meeting. A flat tyre cannot take you far, until you change it. Attitude is like a flat tyre that you’ve got to change. If you don’t change it, you either destroy the rim of your tyre or get stuck where you are. You can’t use the same attitude that kept you where you are, there must be a change of attitude. Attitude is simply the way you think, reason, feel and perceive things. If you don’t change your method, you will get the same result you got last year. You want a different result? Change your methods. If you want an unusual result, then there is a need for appraisal; do a proper appraisal: how do I feel last year? That is why goal setting is very important.

A goal is a target that you want to reach; a desired target and a point of achievement that you are aiming at. Goals are broken down into objectives. There are three levels of goals (that’s not what I am preaching this morning but I would like to say something to establish a point). There is the immediate goal: things you want to achieve within thirty days; short-term goals: things you want to achieve within a year; and long-term goals: things you want to achieve for anything more than one year. Therefore, if you break down each one, you get objectives.

You had goals last year, you’ve got to sit down and find out and review, “Where did I succeed?” You have to do a thorough appraisal: “Where did I do well last year in this area? In this aspect of family: I said I was going to spend more time with my spouse last year, did I spend more time with her/him? I said I was not going to fight with my spouse last year, did I fight with him/her last year? I said I was not going to borrow from anyone last year, did I not borrow? I said I was not going to owe anybody last year, did I not owe anybody? I said I was not going to fornicate last year, did I fornicate? I said I was not going to lose my anger last year, did I not lose my anger? I said I was not going to be late for church last year, did I not get late for church? I said I was going to attend Bible Study regularly, did I attend Bible study last year? I said I was going to be saving this particular amount last year, did I achieve it last year?” And so on and so forth. You would see some that you have succeeded in. Those things you did that you succeeded in, you find out what method you used and that becomes your strength, you build on it and see how you can increase it so that you can get more results. However, in the areas where you didn’t do well, you find out why you didn’t do well: what are the things that you didn’t do that you ought to have done? Because, if you don’t do that and you continue setting goals this year, you will achieve the same result that you achieved last year.

Friends, there is a need to sit down and do a thorough appraisal. No man can go far in life without the change of attitude. You can’t use the same attitude of last year for this year, you’ve got to change. I said it the other day that some of us are so religious; so many religious folks in church, their hearts are so hardened that they don’t want to change anything. They want to continue the way they are doing but they can’t go far with that kind of attitude. God needs people who are contrite and broken to His Word. Anytime you hear a word that touches you, make a resolution to make a change. You see some people keep malice with the Word, no matter what you say to them, they tell you there is nothing that can stop them from not greeting someone. Attitude! There are things you’ve got to check if you want to go to the Next Level. You’ve got to change. Maybe you want to say, “Oh, this year, I’m going to spend less time on phone…” Some of you are selling your destiny with the hours you spend on phone. You wake up in the morning and instead of praying, it is Facebook. People are posting a lot of things and making money through Facebook, you are helping them to make money. You’ve got to change!

The Bible says in the Scripture we read here that, “No man puts a new wine into an old wineskin”, it says it’s not possible. You can’t come into a new year and bring an old idea, it won’t work. You’ve got to change! You can’t bring that same method, that same old attitude into the new year, if not, you will just get stuck. Deuteronomy 1:6 says, “You have dwelt long enough at this mountain;” there are different reasons for staying too long in a position and one of it is that we refuse to change our attitude and the way we think. You can’t desire to be a giant and go with the mentality of impossibility. The mentality of possibility is what makes you a giant. You have to change the way you see things. You can’t want to go into the palace with the attitude of a peasant. You know, the problem is that, there are so many of us who don’t want to learn. Remember that I said, “Nobody ever changes his level without learning.” Like that quote, “The illiterate of this generation are not those who can’t read or write. The illiterates are those who cannot unlearn, relearn and learn again.” They are not those who cannot read and write; there are people who are too hardened and don’t want to learn anything. When a person gets to that stage, they get to where is called “Destination Disease”. Destination disease catches up on such person and they do not grow. As long as a leaf remains brown and not growing, it is dying.

You want to be relevant or move on to the next level? You have to learn, unlearn and relearn. You remove them and put new things, you relearn. Friends, you’ve got to change. In every area of your life, you’ve got to change, learn, unlearn and relearn. Have an open heart to learn. This year, have an open heart to learn. Where you need to change, please make a change. Ask for grace to change and be determined to make a change. You can’t put an old wine in a new wineskin, if not, it will burst, the wine will waste and it will not be preserved. You need to put a new wine in a new wineskin. This year, God wants to do something new in our lives and He wants to do something in your life as an individual, be ready and open to changes.

You know, one of the things that Jesus did to his disciples? For about three years, what Jesus did to His disciples was confronting their old ideologies and challenging them to make them rethink. The Pharisees found it difficult to accept those new things and that was why He told them this in Mark 9:16 – 17. So, for three years plus, Jesus was changing the mindset of His disciples. Mindset will put on you a ceiling, a barrier – the barrier of ignorance which you have placed in your mind by yourself. Mindset, that is, you have set your mind that, “No, I cannot go beyond this”. That is why the Bible tells me that eyes have not seen it, ears have not heard it, it has not even come to the hearts of man what God has prepared for them who love Him but you’ve got to be open and be ready to learn. Change your attitude; change it about every aspect of life.

Some people are not enjoying their marriages because they have refused to change. They say, “This is the way we do. This is the way my father taught me. This is what I saw in my father.” Some people just want to use that old system and that’s why they are not enjoying their home. You’ve got to learn, learn new things. For example, you can’t deal with the young people of this generation the way they dealt with you. You can’t say, “In my own time”, your own time is different from this time. Although, “The foundation of the Lord stands sure, having this seal: The Lord knows those who are His,” yet you have to know how to reach out to these young people not with the same old method used in those days, you’ve got to learn! Some people find it so difficult with teenagers. They find it difficult because they have refused to learn. In our generation, when you finish school, immediately you go and work and they would even tell you what job to do and so on but this generation will tell you that, “It is not what I read that I want to use to work.” The way they think is different from the way we used to think.

This morning, the first point is that: Change the way you think. Your thought life will determine how far you will go. If you want to go to a new level, you need a new way of thinking: New thinking for new level. Change your mentality about a lot of things. Ask the Lord to break you down and reveal Himself to you.

Like I said, I am going to make a review this morning. Let me emphasize the point of desire. We talked about it during the Crossover Morning. I want to come back again to the Devotional. It is not only for the communion but generally, if you want to get anything from God, you’ve got to have a strong desire. The scripture says, “The expectation of the righteous shall not be cut off,” in other words, you’ve got have an expectation, you’ve got to have one thing you desire that God will do for you. Proverbs 23:18 says, “Surely, there is a hereafter…” there is an expectation. Psalms 37:4 says, “Delight in the Lord and he shall grant you the desire of your heart.” Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I say unto you, whatsoever things you desire, when you pray, believe it…” There is a need for a desire.

Now, let’s go to the body of the Devotional. We will read it together, “As great as the communion of the body and the blood of Christ are, some still lose out on the benefits of partaking, due to lack of desire or lack of knowledge.” Why lack of desire or lack of knowledge is that if you don’t have the knowledge of something, you will not likely desire it. You know there are seeds people look for now, some years ago, they were not useful and people just left them but now, they have known the value. Examples are moringa and sesame. There are some things in the past that nobody cares about but now, because of knowledge, people are looking for them all around. I am sure you know what I am talking about. So, sometimes, if you don’t have the knowledge of something, you don’t desire it, that’s why you’ve got to have knowledge. Knowledge that will prompt that desire in you because you know the value and the importance. Some years ago, we used to have communion once a month, how many of you remember? But with more revelation about the importance of communion, we have it weekly and most times, when we have programs, for example, the last forty days of fasting, we had it everyday because we know and we are looking for better ways of having it. Even if we can have it daily, that’s the best thing.

“In our text for today, one may wonder if Jesus’ question to the infirm man was really necessary. ‘Do you want to be made well?’ (John 5:6),” because Jesus knew his condition and that he has been there for a long time, right? He looked at him and said, “Do you want to be made well?” That looked foolish but Jesus knew why he was asking that question because what you don’t desire, you cannot attract. What you do not desire, you cannot attract. You’ve got to desire something to get it. There is a pull… desire is a force/magnet that pulls something to you. You’ve got to have a desire.

“Strangely, some who partake of the communion don’t really want to be healed. People who enjoy pity, sympathy and attention they receive while being sick are not really ready to give up that sickness.” Is that right? Some people just enjoy the attention they receive and say, “So, if I didn’t get sick, nobody would give me such attention? Nobody will cook special food for me at home?” For example, maybe you are a woman and you know you don’t get your husband’s attention until you are sick; that he doesn’t go to the kitchen unless you are sick, such woman may always want to get sick so as to get her husband’s attention (a child can also do that). That kind of person does not have the desire to be healed. Although, the person can come for communion but that person really in his heart or her heart does not have the desire to be healed because of the attention such person is getting from being sick. Getting pitied, people visiting and buying them milk and beverages and they start wondering if they would be getting that if not sick? People buying fruits for them and they say, “My God, when last did I get these fruits. Isn’t it better that I remain here?” Or people sending them money and they start wondering the last time they got such money. Such a person, because of that thing he or she is getting may not want to be healed. Although, he may show that he wants to be healed by being prayed for but deep inside him or her, he prefers that situation. It may look strange and funny but that is the reality.

“Such an individual cannot draw the healing virtue in the communion. Likewise, those who enjoy medical benefits from their organizations or NHIS may not want to lose them and so, may not have as such the strong desire to be healed.” Not only government office but most private organisations have NHIS or something similar. When I was working in the government, during my time when NHIS started, the government made it compulsory that there was a particular amount to be deducted from our salaries and a lot of us asked why? Because we didn’t usually go to the hospital, however, it was government rule and compulsory that everyone must pay. So, they would deduct the money and the government would add to it, then you choose the accredited hospital that you would like to use. I choose my own hospital but never stepped into that place, however, my money was being deducted. I remember that what some of my colleagues did then was to go and meet the doctor and negotiate with him and the doctor would then write that they collected some medication and gave them the money. Some may not want the money but just the medications, saying, “After all, it is my money they are deducting; I just want to go and collect this drug, at least, I would be using this drug and incase I get sick also.” You see, that kind of person does not have the desire to be healed. It was so strange to some of my colleagues that they had to ask me if I was going to waste the money being deducted from my salary. I told them that he that is whole does not need a physician and since I can’t stop them from taking the money away, let them take it but I don’t need it, I wouldn’t go to the hospital and I didn’t step there throughout my years. However, there are some like that who desired it because they wanted to enjoy that benefit and felt that it was their right, their money that is being deducted, so why won’t they collect it? Some would even say, “At least, let me just go and sleep one day in the hospital so that NHIS would cover it for me.”

“Thus, they go to the hospital to make false presentation of their health condition in order to collect free medications just because they consider it to be their right. Some also do it to receive medical benefits through pensions or legal settlements…” You know, there are things that can happen to you which of course may not be anything serious but you can take it up legally to get money from that person. For example, in the foreign world, there is what is called noise pollution, not in Nigeria here, though. You can claim money because somebody disturbed you with his music at night, so you could not sleep and because of that, you had serious migraine. You could take that case up to get money. In the foreign world, people look for many loopholes for doctors because they want to sue them because they needed money. Any loophole or little mistake, they want to claim it and say, the doctor did this that’s why this happened to me and you know, it is big money. Sometimes, it is even something you can overlook but because you are looking for money to collect. So many people also do that because they don’t want to stop that and would keep on receiving money. They lie just to get medical benefits especially by suing the person you thought had done that to you. They also do it through pension. Now, the next point:

“…while others use their sickness as an excuse to evade work and to manipulate others”, is that not common? A lot of people take excuse from work because they want to travel for one wedding or burial and because you know your boss wouldn’t give you permission, you write that you are sick. After knowing that you are sick, will you come to the church to pray, “God heal me?” Liars! Just because you want to get excuse, you are calling death to yourself and then say, “God remove death?” Whatever you celebrate, you want; God would never remove it from you. I worked in the government office for 24 years so I know what I am talking about. So many people lie because they don’t want to come to work. Some would even go to the doctor to get medical report, the doctor would write for them that they were sick and some would even call a terrible ailment to themselves, for example, they had been urinating for the past three days without stop. Would any boss hear that and still say, “Come to the office?” Why would you call something negative to yourself and then tell God to remove it? You are mocking God and He won’t allow that. Whatever you enjoy and celebrate, God has no business removing it from you. Just to evade work, some do it in such a way that they want to manipulate their parents, spouse, boss, etc. “When I say that, I know that the person would pity that I am sick and would then allow me do what I wanted to do.” Why would you do that? This year, don’t confess death and destruction to yourself.

Ask yourself, “Do I really desire what I need?” Show it. If you want to rest and you want to take excuse and your boss says, “No”, rather than calling death to yourself, go to that place of work, go, and ask God to strengthen you or give you another way to ask from your boss. God can give you favour before your boss, rather than lying. One thing I have discovered is that a lot of brethren, born-again Christians, Holy Ghost filled, lie like no man’s business. The Bible says, “If your God is this same God who hates lie, the devil is the father of all liars who loves lies,” Why would you be a liar? Why would you lie? Why not say the truth and suffer for the truth? So, if you want to move to the Next Level this year, you need to have a strong desire. Check your desire, “Do I really have a strong desire?” That does not say someone cannot visit me when I am sick but is that my desire and passion that everybody would come to visit me and that I need pity? Do I want to manipulate my husband or wife so that when I say this, the money that my husband has not given me since all these years, he would give me by the time I say I am sick. You know there are some wicked men, no matter what you say to them, they don’t care, but there are some husbands who can’t hear that their wife is sick and they would do anything for the woman.

I have said it that the first thing is that, “Change your attitude this year.” Number two, “Have a strong desire.” Change your attitude. In this church, please, let all wife-beaters stop. I hope there are no wife-beaters amidst us. Don’t continue that way, change your attitude. Husband-abusers also, stop! Change your attitude, in every way. Look at areas of your life that you need to change and make sure that you change them this year and you would discover that your level would change. Amen.

Let me just say this to round off. Especially at the beginning like this, I think I need to tell you this. I said it on Wednesday and I think I need to tell you. Look guys, if you want a change of level this year, change your giving. That has to do with your kingdom addiction; being someone who is kingdom addicted, that’s Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, then all other things shall be added to it.” What am I saying? Love God so much to the extent that whatever He tells you to do you would do. This year, don’t be stingy with your tithe, if not, things may be tight for you. Don’t joke with your tithe and with that which belongs to the Lord – your firstfruit. Don’t joke with your giving. Specifically, can I tell you this? If you want your level to change, change your giving. Every year, by the grace of God, as I start the new year, I change my giving. I don’t give what I gave last year as offering in the new year. Never! I change it. If you want God to change your level, how can you still maintain what you were giving last year and say, “God change my level?” No, that is simple obligation, covenant blessings require covenant obligations. While everybody cannot be in the same level but the extent at which you know God would determine what you do. While some people may give all, some may give some depending on your love and the extent of your relationship with God. One thing you must never stop and miss out is that don’t keep doing what you did last year. Change your level, change your giving. If your offering last year had been ₦500 naira every meeting, don’t keep on again looking for ₦500 this year. You want to maintain that same level? No. If you had been giving ₦200 as offering at every meeting, change it. If you had been giving ₦100, change it. If you had been giving your children ₦50, change it, don’t give them ₦50 again. Change what you have been giving them for offering and see what God would do. If you had been giving ₦1,000 as offering, don’t give ₦1,000 this year. Try it! You see, the fact is that, our God is the one who gives the seed and the one who also gives the bread. So, He would give you seed and would give you bread. You would have something to sow always. Make sure this year, don’t give God what you had been giving, determine and say, “Lord, this is my determination this year, I want you to change my level as I change my giving and see what God will do.” Let’s bow our heads as we pray.

Lord Jesus, we thank you. We receive grace to act according to your word this year. Thank you, Father.

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