Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions


by David Wilkerson | November 25, 2015

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We must take to heart this word from Christ’s parable: “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt. . . . Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?” (Matthew 18:32-33).

The question for every Christian is this: “Do I forgive my brethren? Do I put up with their differences?” If I refuse to love and forgive them, even as I have been forgiven, Jesus calls me a “wicked servant.”

Don’t misunderstand; this doesn’t mean we are to allow compromise. Paul preached grace boldly, but he instructed Timothy, “Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). We are to be bold guardians of pure doctrine.

Yet we are not to use doctrine to build walls between us. That was the sin of the Pharisees. The law told them, “Keep the Sabbath holy,” but the command itself wasn’t enough for their flesh. They added their own safeguards, multiple rules and regulations that allowed the fewest possible physical movements on the Sabbath. The law also said, “Do not take God’s name in vain.” But the Pharisees built even more walls, saying, “We won’t even mention God’s name. Then we won’t be able to take it in vain.”

What was the king’s response to his servant’s ingratitude in Jesus’ parable? Scripture says, “His lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him” (Matthew 18:34). In Greek, this translates, “taken to the bottom to be tormented.” I can’t help thinking Jesus is speaking here of hell.

So, what does this parable tell us? How does Christ sum up His message to His disciples, His closest companions? “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (18:35).

As I read this parable, I shudder. It makes me want to fall on my face and ask Jesus for a baptism of love toward my fellow servants. Here is my prayer and I urge you to make it yours as well:

“God, forgive me. I am so easily provoked by others, and too often I respond in anger. Yet, I don’t know where my own life would be without Your grace and forbearance. I am amazed at Your love. Please help me to understand and accept Your love for me fully. Then I’ll be able to to be patient with my brethren, in your Spirit of love and mercy.”


by David Wilkerson | November 24, 2015

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What is behind judgmental strife? Why do servants of God, who have been forgiven so much personally, mistreat their brethren and refuse to fellowship with them? It can be traced back to the most grievous sin possible: despising the goodness of God.

I came to this conclusion only as I searched my own heart for the answer. I recalled my personal struggle to accept God’s mercy and goodness toward me. For years, I had lived and preached under a legalistic bondage. I tried hard to live up to standards that I thought led to holiness. But it was mostly just a list of dos and don’ts.

The truth is, I was more comfortable in the company of thundering prophets than I was at the cross, where my need was laid bare. I preached peace, but I never fully experienced it. Why? Because I was unsure of the Lord’s love and His forbearance of my failures. I saw myself as being so weak and evil that I was unworthy of God’s love. In short, I magnified my sins above His grace.

Because I didn’t feel God’s love for me, I judged everyone else. I saw others in the same way that I perceived myself: as compromisers. This affected my preaching. I railed against evil in others as I felt it rise up in my own heart. Like the ungrateful servant, I hadn’t believed God’s goodness toward me (see Matthew 18:32-33). And because I didn’t appropriate His loving forbearance for me, I didn’t have it for others.

Finally, the real question became clear to me. It was no longer, “Why are so many Christians hard and unforgiving?” Now I asked, “How can I possibly fulfill Christ’s command to love others as He loved me, when I’m not convinced He loves me?”

Paul admonishes, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).


by Gary Wilkerson | November 23, 2015

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Jesus says: “Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).

Christians who bear fruit get pruned? That’s not what most of us expect from a life of service to God. Deep down most of us expect a reward. After all, isn’t that fair?

What Jesus says here is counterintuitive and countercultural. When I grew up, it was tough to get a compliment for any achievement. Today, if a child merely participates in a team sport, he or she is awarded a trophy. Don’t think I’m some bitter old guy who thinks he never got his due. And I’m all for the amazing support many parents give their children today. But our society is starting to discover a negative effect of coddling our children. It teaches them to hate being corrected and when they’re celebrated for everything they do, they believe everything they do is right.

This describes much of the church today. As Christians, we enjoy unconditional love but we hate being corrected. In His analogy of the vine, Jesus says our Father wants us to know a deeper love than that of a coddling parent. Our loving God says, in effect, “Yes, you’re bearing good fruit, and that pleases Me. But I want to increase your joy of abundant life. And I will accomplish that by pruning you further.”

“He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Most of us do not get this concept. My wife and I learned it the hard way last year when a gardener took a pruning blade to our plants. We returned from a trip to find every green thing in our yard reduced to nubs. Our beautiful garden looked like the barren landscape of a lonely planet. We were ready to fire the guy!

But when spring came this year, every plant had doubled its blossoms. Each one had shot up faster and fuller, and what was once clutter was now clean and beautiful, with flowering fruit. God’s pruning work in our lives is like that. It isn’t easy on us—in fact, it’s painful. And it isn’t pretty—but it yields glorious fruit that could not have come in any other way.


by Nicky Cruz | November 21, 2015

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Recent studies have predicted that by the year 2020 Islam will be the primary religion in Norway and all Scandinavian countries. If that is correct, we can expect to see it as the state religion in Norway within the next few years. That’s what has happened in every other country where Muslims developed a foothold.

It saddens me to see how little impact Christians have been making in Europe. We’ve been all but powerless in effectively reaching the lost—not only in European countries but in the United States. We pray for God to expand our territory, to help the Body of Christ grow and flourish, yet so few denominations are seeing that happen. Most are shrinking, and some are dying out altogether.

What will it take for God to finally grab hold and bring about the transformation that we need—the transformation we pray for? When will we finally rise up and make a serious dent in Satan’s foothold on the world?

The answer is so simple it feels strange to have to say it: We must trust in God for great miracles! We must rise together with contrite hearts and bold faith, asking God to make us mighty warriors for the kingdom. Like the young people who work with us—our Twelve Disciples—we must open our hearts and lives to God and allow Him to instill His passion for souls within us, to develop in our hearts a soul obsession. To break us, to use us, to empower us for service!

When you look at our small band of young people, these twelve unlikely heroes, these bruised and battered kids who own little more than a few sets of clothes and a raging fire of passion in their hearts, and you see how mightily God is using them on the front lines of battle, you begin to get just a small glimpse of what God can do with even the smallest ounce of faith. You see what it was that caused the early church to explode in numbers, drawing thousands to the faith from only a handful of disciples. You understand what it was that attracted people to the message—the message of Jesus. And you see how much God can accomplish with so very little.

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27, NKJV).


Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.



by David Wilkerson | November 20, 2015

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“Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering: not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).

What does Paul mean when he says this person despises the riches of Christ’s goodness? The word for despised here means, “He could not think it possible.” In other words, this believer said, “Such grace and mercy isn’t possible. I can’t fathom it.” It didn’t fit into his theology. So, instead of accepting it, he set his mind against it.

Why couldn’t the ungrateful servant of Matthew 18:23-35 accept the king’s grace? There is one reason: he didn’t take seriously the enormity of his sin. Yet, the king had already told him, “You’re free. There’s no more guilt, no more claim upon you, no probation or works required. All you need to do now is focus on the goodness and forbearance I’ve shown to you.”

Tragically, a person who doesn’t accept love is not capable of loving anyone else. Instead, he becomes judgmental toward others. That’s what happened to this servant. He missed the whole point of the king’s mercy to him. You see, God’s forbearance and unmerited forgiveness are meant for one thing: to lead us to repentance. Paul asks, “Don’t you realize that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

It’s clear from the parable that this is the reason the master forgave his servant. He wanted this trusted man to turn away from his own works of flesh to rest in the king’s incredible goodness. Such rest would free him to love and forgive others in return. But instead of repenting, the servant went away doubting his master’s goodness. He determined to have a contingency plan. And despising the king’s mercy, he treated others with judgment.

Can you imagine the tortured mind of such a person? This man left a sacred place of forgiveness, where he experienced his master’s goodness and grace. But instead of rejoicing, he despised the thought of such unmitigated freedom. I tell you, any believer who thinks God’s goodness is impossible opens himself to every lie of Satan. His soul has no rest. His mind is in constant turmoil. And he’s continually fearful of judgment.

I wonder how many Christians today live this tortured existence. Is that why there is so much strife, so many divisions in the Body of Christ? Is it why so many ministers are at odds, why so many denominations refuse to fellowship with each other?


by David Wilkerson | November 19, 2015

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In the parable of Matthew 18:23-35 did the king overlook his servant’s sin? Did he wink at his debt and merely excuse it? No, not at all. The fact is, by forgiving him, the king placed upon this man a weighty responsibility, a responsibility even greater than the burden of his debt. Indeed, this servant now owed his master more than ever. How? He was responsible to forgive and love others, just as the king had done for him.

What an incredible responsibility this is. And it can’t be separated from Christ’s other kingdom teachings. After all, Jesus said, “If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). His point is clear: “If you don’t forgive others, I won’t forgive you.” This word isn’t optional, it’s a command. Jesus is telling us, in essence, “I was forbearing with you. I handled you with love and mercy and I forgave you out of My goodness and mercy alone. Likewise, you are to be loving and merciful toward your brothers and sisters. You’re to forgive them freely, just as I forgave you. You’re to go into your home, your church, your workplace, into the streets, and show everyone the grace and love I showed you.”

Paul refers to Jesus’ command, saying, “Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Colossians 3:13). He then expounds on how we pursue obedience to this command: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any. . . . Above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness” (3:12-14).

What does it mean to be forbearing? The Greek word means “to put up with, to tolerate.” This suggests enduring things we don’t like. We’re being told to tolerate the failures of others, to put up with ways we don’t understand.


by David Wilkerson | November 18, 2015

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Jesus gave the parable in Matthew 18:23-35 to show us an example of a trusted, gifted servant who is suddenly revealed to be the chief of all debtors. Here is someone who is undeserving, full of wrong motives, not worthy of compassion at all. Yet his master forgives him freely—just as Jesus did you and me.

Let me say a brief word here about repentance. This concept is often defined as a “turning around.” It speaks of an about-face, a 180-degree turn from one’s previous ways. Also, repentance is said to be accompanied by godly sorrow.

Yet, once again the New Covenant takes an Old Testament concept even further. Repentance is about much more than merely turning away from sins of the flesh—more than sorrowing over the past and being sad for grieving the Lord. According to Jesus’ parable, repentance is about turning away from the mind-sickness that allows us to believe we can somehow make up for our sins.

This sickness afflicts millions of believers. Whenever such Christians fall into sin, they think, “I can make things right with the Lord. I’ll bring Him sincere tears, more earnest prayer, more Bible reading. I’m determined to make it up to Him.” But that is impossible. This kind of thinking leads to one place: hopeless despair. Such people are forever struggling and always failing, and they end up settling for a false peace. They pursue a phony holiness of their own making, convincing themselves of a lie.

Tell me, what saved you? Was it your tears and earnest pleading? Your deep sorrow over grieving God? Your sincere resolve to turn from sin? No, it was none of these things. It was grace alone that saved you. And like the servant in the parable, you didn’t deserve it. In fact, you’re still not worthy of it, no matter how godly your walk is.

Here is a simple formula for true repentance: “I must turn aside, once and for all, every thought that I could ever repay the Lord. I can never work my way into His good graces. Therefore, no effort or good work on my part can wipe out my sin. I simply have to accept His mercy. It’s the only way to salvation and freedom.”


by David Wilkerson | November 17, 2015

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When revival broke out in Jerusalem, an angel spoke to the apostle Philip, instructing him to go to the Gaza desert where he would meet an Ethiopian diplomat riding in a chariot. Philip found the man reading aloud from the book of Isaiah, so he asked the official, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30).

Apparently, the diplomat was stuck on a passage that baffled him: “He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:9-11).

Try to imagine the Ethiopian’s excitement as he read these wonderful things. Evidently he was hungry for God or he would not have been reading the Scriptures. And now Isaiah’s prophecy revealed the coming of an eternal king. With every revelation, the diplomat’s thoughts must have mounted: “Who is this wonderful Man?”

First, “Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). Philip explained to the diplomat, “The Man you’re reading about has already come. His name is Jesus of Nazareth, and He is the Messiah.”

Next, Philip explained Isaiah 53:11:“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” Philip told the diplomat, in essence, “Christ’s travail was the crucifixion. That’s when He was cut off and buried. But the Father raised Him from the dead and now He is alive in glory. Everyone who confesses His name and believes on Him becomes His child. Indeed, Christ’s seed lives in every nation. That’s how His life is prolonged—through the Holy Spirit in His children. And now you can be His child, too.”

What incredible news to the Ethiopian’s ears. It’s no wonder he was eager to leap out of his chariot and be baptized. “He answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:37-38).


by Gary Wilkerson | November 16, 2015

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“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1, ESV).

When Jesus refers to Himself as the “true” vine, He is talking about more than accurate information. “True” here carries the same sense as the phrase “true friend”—meaning real, genuine, authentic, on hand to support you with substance.

So what about the vinedresser, our heavenly Father? He tends His garden lovingly and perfectly. It’s His job to keep life flowing through us, and He can be trusted to put the right things into place to make them grow. Therefore, as we abide in Christ, attached to the vine, we don’t have to stress or worry about our lives. We are given true life-flow from Jesus and are caringly tended by our Father.

If we are grafted into the vine, shouldn’t we bear fruit naturally? We know we are saved and secure in Christ and graced by the Father’s love. How could fruit not come from this?

Again Jesus supplies the key word: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). Here is another phrase that sets off alarms in a lot of Christians: “Unless you abide in me.” Some followers grow fearful when they read this. They create dos and don’ts that actually cut them off from true life.

It’s true that Jesus’ statement here is conditional, meaning that we have a part to play. But the other part of the equation is this: Jesus abides in us—and His presence in us is steadfast, stalwart, immovable: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). When Christ says, “Unless you abide in Me,” He is not referring to our salvation—because our salvation was secured by Him on the cross. He is speaking of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives—our witness, our righteous walk, our joy and peace.


by Jim Cymbala | November 14, 2015

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There is no better example of God’s moving mightily in a city than the account told in Acts 11:20-21: “Men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks . . . telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”

Such a harvest occurred that Barnabas was dispatched from Jerusalem to check things out. “When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad. . . . And a great number of people were brought to the Lord” (verses 23-24).

Who were these men who launched such a mighty church that it eventually surpassed the mother church in Jerusalem? We don’t know their names. We don’t know their methodology. But we do know a couple of things: They spread “the good news about the Lord Jesus,” and “The Lord’s hand was with them” (verses 20-21).

This turned out to be the first truly multicultural church, with multicultural leaders, according to Acts 13:1—Simon the Black, some Jewish leaders, some Greeks, Manaen, the boyhood friend of Herod (which would have made him suspect to everyone!), and others. Yet they worked together in a powerful model of cross-cultural unity.

The Jewish-Gentile hatred of the first century was even greater than our racial strife of today. God met this problem head-on, for He was building His church His way.

Racial feelings in New York City are worse now than they were ten years ago. A harsh spirit prevails in many churches. We desperately need the love of God to override theses tensions, as it did in Antioch long ago.

No novel teaching is going to turn the trick. There are no trendy shortcuts, no hocus-pocus mantras that can defeat Satan. One man told me, “You know, you ought to think about getting a topographical map of Brooklyn so you could figure out the highest point in the borough. Then you could go there and pray against the territorial spirits.”

Others are saying, “The key to releasing God’s power is to sing through the streets of your city. Put on a march, make banners, and declare God’s sovereignty in a big parade.” Still others say, “Rebuke the devil, face the north, and stamp your feet when you do it. That will bring victory.”

Let’s forget the novelties. If we prevail in prayer, God will do what only He can do. How He does things, when He does them, and in what manner are up to Him. The name of Jesus, the power of His blood, and the prayer of faith have not lost their power.


Jim Cymbala began Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson and a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences sponsored by World Challenge throughout the world.


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