Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

HUNGER FOR GRACE

by Gary Wilkerson | December 22, 2014

    PDF     TXT   Print  Print

I am convinced there is a hunger throughout the world for the grace of Christ, and Scripture attests to this. Luke writes that when Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, crowds of thousands “had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil spirits were healed” (Luke 6:18, NLT). These masses came because they had heard a rumor about a man of grace who would heal them.

“There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon” (Luke 6:17). The hurting masses didn’t travel those distances because they wanted to hear a preacher urge them to try harder. They were already worn down by discouragement, disease and despair over their efforts to remain godly. And this wasn’t just a gathering of “good” people. Many were probably on the fringes of life, people shoved aside by their broken condition. Whatever the case, observing the Law had not brought them life.

To these hungry sojourners, Jesus’ reputation for grace turned out to be true. He not only preached grace but demonstrated it by healing them all: “Healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone” (Luke 6:19).

As a boy, I measured my walk with Christ by how well I demonstrated humility, purity and mercy. If I caught myself being aggressive, I thought, “I need to be more humble and meek.” Or if I had sexual thoughts, I wondered, “How will I ever be able to keep a pure heart?” Like many before me, I turned God’s gracious promise of blessing into laws I tried to keep. If I “lived” the beatitudes well enough, then maybe God would say, “Gary, you’re blessed.”

No! That is completely backward—and utterly contrary to Christ’s gospel. When Jesus looked on that crowd of people, He saw them already poor in spirit, on their knees in humility, harangued by sickness, exhausted by their efforts to live a good life. So what did He do? He spoke blessings upon them! Just as the Lord spoke creation into a void of utter darkness, Jesus spoke divine blessings onto ravaged sinners, people beaten down by life. He assured them, “You came here in mourning, but I say you are blessed in the eyes of God—blessed in your marriage, blessed in your labors, blessed in the depths of your soul.”

This was a radical message to their ears! These people only knew the terms of the Old Covenant. They thought they deserved to hear, “You’re cursed! You didn’t keep the Law according to Deuteronomy; otherwise, your lives would be blessed.” Jesus told them the opposite: “Before you’ve done anything for Me—before you’ve prayed, worshiped or confessed—I have already blessed you!”
 

SEEDS OF FORGIVENESS

by Nicky Cruz | December 20, 2014

    PDF     TXT   Print  Print

I wish you could experience the miracle that our family has experienced. I wish you could feel the difference between how we live now and how we lived during the days of my youth. Today I love my brothers and sister with a passion. There’s nothing I’d rather do than sit around and laugh and talk and cry with my family.

The times that I get to travel back to Puerto Rico and visit are some of my most precious memories. When I go home I’m no longer Nicky Cruz the evangelist or speaker; I’m just a brother. I’m just one of the family, and I love that. In fact, two of my brothers pastor churches in Puerto Rico, and they’ve never even asked me to speak to their congregations. They know that when I come home I come to hang out.

I have so many memories of staying up late with my family, eating and laughing and joking and praying and crying together. Sometimes we stay up until one o’clock in the morning telling stories. Trading jokes. Relishing the joy we all share. It’s like one big fiesta!

But that’s not how it used to be with us. We weren’t always so happy and carefree and loving. When Jesus came into our lives, He brought with Him an explosion of love! He opened the floodgates of mercy and forgiveness. In my family there is a lot of pain in our past, yet not one of us harbors feelings of resentment. No one holds a grudge. We hold nothing but love in our hearts among us. We don’t spend any time in regret; we just rejoice in the Jesus we know today—in the future He brings to us all.

It breaks my heart to see families that hold on to the past. Brothers and sisters who hang on to bitterness and resentment from days long gone. Husbands and wives who have been hurt by words or actions, so they allow the pain to fester, to grow, to eat away at them like a cancer.

Jesus can do for the human heart what no one else can do. He can bring about change unlike anything we could imagine. When He comes to live in your heart, He does more than forgive you, He leaves behind seeds of forgiveness. Supernatural seeds that will not only erase the sin, but erase the pain that sin has brought.

I could never thank Jesus enough for what He has done for our family. For the forgiveness and mercy and grace that He has brought, bringing us back together.

And He can do the same for anyone.

 

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.
 

DON’T FEEL SORRY

by David Wilkerson | December 19, 2014

    PDF     TXT   Print  Print

Naomi tried one last time to encourage Ruth to go back home, but Ruth would not go. “Ruth clave unto [Naomi]” (Ruth 1:14). The word used here suggests a maiden on her knees with her arms around her master’s waist, as if she will never let go. Ruth wanted God!

As soon as Ruth crossed over the border to Judah, she was on the road to winning Christ. There was no signpost to tell her, but we know where the road led: straight to the heart of Jesus! Ruth and Naomi came to the place of blessing—poor and not knowing where their next meal would come from—but they arrived during the beginning of the harvest season.

Ruth was penniless, with no future in sight, yet she was a virtuous woman, and had committed everything to the Lord. She said, “Let me now go to the field, and glean” (Ruth 2:2). Only the very poor did such work. The Law demanded that the owners not harvest the four corners of their fields and not glean the remains, so that the poor could have them. “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shall not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest . . . thou shall leave them for the poor” (Leviticus 19:9-10).

It looked as if Ruth had made a poor bargain: Her devotion took her all the way to the place of visitation and now she was sweating over a minimum-wage job! She was even below the poverty line. Take a good look at her, because this is how you may end up if you break loose and go all the way with God!

This was the cross of the apostle Paul until he died: “For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake . . . we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labor, working with our own hands; being reviled . . . persecuted . . . being defamed . . . we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring [we get the brush-off, being considered the scum of the earth]” (1 Corinthians 4:9-13).

But don’t feel sorry for Ruth—for she was just about to win Christ!
 

CROSSING THE BORDER

by David Wilkerson | December 18, 2014

    PDF     TXT   Print  Print

As we see in Ruth 1, Naomi, Orpah and Ruth reach the border between Moab and Judah and there they face a decision. Will they follow the move of God’s grace over into the fullness of Christ? Their names give you a clue: Naomi means grace; Orpah means stiffnecked; and Ruth means friend, companion.

A confrontation takes place at the border when Naomi decides to test Orpah’s and Ruth’s commitment and resolve. For them, the decision to go will require more than emotion, more than words. They must choose either to go back or to go on—with no promise of reward and a clear vision of the high cost ahead.

Rather than preaching prosperity, ease, and success, Naomi presents to them a picture of suffering and poverty. There is no promise of earthly goods, only a walk of faith. In fact, she encourages them to return to their own mothers’ houses (see Ruth 1:8-9).

Both Orpah and Ruth remain steadfast at this point: “They lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people” (Ruth 1:9-10). You already know from Orpah’s name that, in spite of her river of tears, in spite of all her strong words about going on, she will drop out and go back to her idolatry. Outwardly, however, she is broken and tender, and seems to be part of this move back to God.

I believe Naomi could see into Orpah’s heart, into her struggle. She probably thought to herself, “Poor child! She thinks she wants the Lord’s fullness, but she is still charmed by this world. She would be miserable if she went on, because she’d always be looking back!”

So Naomi says, “Go your way!” Orpah must have reached a decision in her heart, “I’ll go back to Moab and serve God—my way! I’ll still love these precious saints, but I’ve got to get on with my life. I’m not ready to give up my past.”

The Bible says, “They lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law” (Ruth 1:14). An original manuscript adds to the sentence, “and went back.”

Some of you reading this now are about to kiss your brethren good-bye. Something in your heart is pulling you—a circle of special friends or old loves. But as Naomi said of Orpah, “Thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods” (Ruth 1:15), likewise, an idol has your heart—something from your past that you can’t release!
 

THE END OF A FAMINE

by David Wilkerson | December 17, 2014

    PDF     TXT   Print  Print

In Ruth 1:6 we read, “The Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.” The word came to Naomi that the famine in Judah was over—that once again God had visited His people with plenty of bread and blessings. Memories of past blessings flooded Naomi’s soul, and she began to yearn for the holy place. She was sick of Moab and its idolatry and death. So “she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return . . . wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was . . . and they went on the way to return” (Ruth 1:6-7).

Naomi’s daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, said good-bye to parents, friends, and family. They told their lifelong loved ones they would be gone for good, that they were going to Judah—a place where God was “visiting His people.”

Today, once again the Lord is visiting His people! Once again a famine has ended! Here at Times Square Church and in other churches around the world, the pure Word of God is going forth. When the Lord visits His people, He “gives them bread.”

During this last famine of the Word, while others fled to today’s Moab—worldliness, lethargy, coldness, pleasure, and success—a holy remnant has persevered. They endured the self-exaltation of TV evangelists, the sordid sensuality that swept into God’s house, the foolishness in the pulpit, and the mockery of backslidden Christians.

They prayed, fasted, and interceded. And now the Lord has heard their cry and is visiting His people. Why is Times Square Church packed with hungry seekers? Because word has gotten out that God is here! People are hearing that a word from God is flowing. The same is true in other places, as the news spreads that a visitation of God is taking place. The famine is over! God has sent bread from heaven and if you haven't yet tasted it, then get out of Moab and go back to where God is visiting His people!

This is what Naomi and her two daughters did. Their departure for the border of Judah represented a move toward the Lord. They were being drawn by the Spirit of God, attracted by the news of His visitation.

Today, in the same way, in the Spirit I see untold thousands heading home, back to the fullness of Christ—away from the hype, the emptiness of the gospel of ease and prosperity, the double standards and half-heartedness.
 

THE BOOK OF RUTH

by David Wilkerson | December 16, 2014

    PDF     TXT   Print  Print

The Book of Ruth is a wonderful story of a converted heathen maiden who won the heart of her earthly lord. I believe it is a prophetic story, a message that speaks powerfully to us today. For we win Christ in the same way that Ruth won Boaz!

But this story is more than just historic! Paul writes: “Now all these things happened unto them for examples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).

The story of Ruth begins with these words: “There was a famine in the land” (Ruth 1:1). Thus the Israelite Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, fled Judah for Moab. Elimelech died there, and Naomi’s two sons married heathen wives, Orpah and Ruth. They remained in Moab for another ten years.

But Moab was a place of idolatry—the congregation of the wicked, the seat of the scornful. Moab himself, after whom the region was named, was born of an incestuous relationship between Lot and one of his daughters. In fact, the name “Moab” stands for fornication. It was he who seduced Israel in the wilderness, after which 24,000 died from a plague. God forbade the Israelites to marry Moabite women, “for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods” (1 Kings 11:2).

In the spirit realm, this very same thing happens when a famine of God’s Word occurs: God’s people turn toward the world, yield to the seduction of idolatry, and mix with the ungodly. This kind of famine drives believers elsewhere to find something to satisfy their inner needs.

Christians today grow cold and backslide because they are not receiving true spiritual food. They go to church, but the cupboard is bare. The preaching they hear is shallow—no meat, no living water—just entertainment. Starvation abounds right in God’s house!

This is why our churches are being overrun with adultery, divorce, rock and roll, unbiblical psychology, a New Age gospel—with our young people using drugs and becoming promiscuous. The famine in the church has driven them to Moab, the place of idolatry. And Moab is a place where young men die, just as Naomi’s sons had died in Moab!
 

HE SAYS YOU ARE BLESSED

by Gary Wilkerson | December 15, 2014

    PDF     TXT   Print  Print

Many Christians won’t admit it, but deep down they believe God’s grace is too good to be true. They think it buys them too much freedom so they hold on to their sense of works because they are convinced it is the only thing that will keep them on a righteous path.

Paul anticipates this thinking, which ends in dead works: “Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you” (Romans 6:15-17, NLT).

What is the teaching Paul refers to here? It is that we are now owned by the grace of Jesus Christ! Thus, we no longer continue sinning as we did before, because that is no longer our identity: “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Finally, Paul says, “My dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God” (Romans 7:4).

The new life we have been given—the life of Christ Himself—resurrects us to serve Him in freedom, peace and joy. Unshackled from exhausting works of obligation, we now can shout with David, “Lord, I delight to do Your will!” And we can’t help but witness about Jesus to a world that is hungry, desperate, starved for His grace. In a word: Grace produces results!

Friend, you can’t wring life out of something that’s dead. Only Jesus has the power to resurrect our old, dead man into new life. That kind of grace is incomprehensible, so far beyond our understanding that we will never fully grasp it in this life. Likewise, we’ll never be able to attain it on our own. As Paul writes, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Note that last phrase: You are known completely by the Lord—even amid your messed-up life of mourning and brokenness—and He says you are blessed. You see, the new life you have isn’t the result of attaining but of receiving. So, will you lay down your scales and walk in the new life Jesus has graced you with? He has already spoken His blessing over you . . . so receive it!
 

THERE WILL COME A DAY

by Jim Cymbala | December 13, 2014

    PDF     TXT   Print  Print

There will come a day, the apostle Paul says, when all our “work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward” (1 Corinthians 3:13-14, NIV). The gold, silver and precious stones will endure while the wood, hay, and straw will go up in smoke.

Paul doesn’t say that the quantity of our work will be tested. He says nothing about attendance goals. Instead, everything will focus on the quality of our work.

Warren Wiersbe (former pastor of Moody Church in Chicago and speaker on the Back to the Bible radio broadcast) made an interesting observation about this passage to the Brooklyn Tabernacle staff. “What’s the difference between these materials, besides the obvious—that one group is fireproof while the other isn’t? I think it’s significant that wood, hay and straw are abundant . . . right outside your door, or only a few miles away at most. Any forest, any farmer’s field has an abundance of these. But if you want gold, silver and costly stones, you have to dig for them. You have to pursue them with great effort. They are not just lying around everywhere. You have to go deep into the earth.”

To me, these words are profound. Spiritual “construction” that uses wood, hay, and straw comes easy—little work, little seeking, no travail, no birthing. You just slap it up and it will look adequate—for a while. But if you want to build something that will endure on Judgment Day, the work is much more costly.

On that day it won’t matter what your fellow Christians thought of you. It won’t matter what the marketing experts advised. You and I will stand before the One whose eyes are “like fire.” We won’t soften Him up by telling Him how brilliant our strategy was. We will face His searing gaze.

He will only ask whether we were boldly faithful to His Word.

 

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.
 

CROSSING THE OBEDIENCE LINE

by David Wilkerson | December 12, 2014

    PDF     TXT   Print  Print

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).

When Jesus walked the earth, He knew all too well the fierceness of the powers of evil and how Satan comes with every weapon in hell to sift the Lord’s disciples. I don’t think any one of us knows or understands the great conflict raging right now in the spirit realm. We also do not realize how determined Satan is to destroy all saints who have fixed their hearts firmly on going all the way with Christ.

In our Christian walk, we cross a line—I call it the “obedience line”—that sets off every alarm in hell. The moment you cross that line into a life of obedience and dependence on Jesus, determined in your heart never to go back, you become a threat to the kingdom of darkness and a target of principalities and powers. The testimony of every believer who turns to the Lord with all his heart—hungering after holiness and a deeper walk with Jesus—includes the sudden breaking forth of strange and intense troubles, trials and testing!

Maybe you were once a part-time disciple. You loved the Lord, but you were spiritually lazy. You were not an avid student of the Bible or inclined to spiritual things. You did not want to be a fanatic, and things in your life went quite smoothly. The devil didn't bother with you much because you were a fence-straddler.

But now, you are all business for God. His Word has come alive to you and you pray, you weep, you love lost souls. Everything has changed, including your trials. What great heart-change you have experienced!

Yet at the same time you’ve made waves in the unseen world. You’ve crossed the obedience line. To those who have crossed the obedience line, Jesus says, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:32).

 

THE FINAL CROSSING

by David Wilkerson | December 11, 2014

    PDF     TXT   Print  Print

“And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant . . . of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan” (Joshua 3:13-14, 17).

Crossing the Jordan is a type of entering into freedom in Christ. God always brings us out of something in order to bring us in to Himself! It is not enough to escape from Satan’s power, out of the prison house of bondage; we must also enter into the resurrection life of Christ. Here, Canaan does not represent heaven, because this land is a place of spiritual warfare. But it is a place where Jesus wants us to enjoy the goodness of His victory, a place of enjoyment, gladness and fullness.

When Israel came to the Jordan, they no longer were led by the cloud during the day and the fire by night (see Exodus 13:21) but by the Ark of the Covenant. We see the Ark—a type of Jesus—going down into the Jordan, immersing itself in death, saying, “Follow me!” It is Jesus inviting us to be baptized into Him.

Coming out of the Jordan, the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land, which is a type of abiding in Christ. “And the people came up out of the Jordan . . . and encamped in Gilgal” (Joshua 4:19). At this point, they were blood-secured, delivered from the enemy’s power, and raised up into newness of life in God’s land of milk and honey.
 

  Back to Top