Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

JESUS IS GREATER

by Gary Wilkerson | October 13, 2014

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“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:1-3, ESV).

The opening chapter of Hebrews repeats a truth every Christian knows but few actually grasp: “Jesus is greater.” The writer is so focused on this theme that he does not take time to offer a greeting. And he gives his readers no instructions, as we see in some epistles; instead, he has one thing on his mind: “Jesus is greater!” He is enamored, thrilled and overcome with Christ.

“Jesus is greater than what?” you may ask. In Hebrews 1 we find the answer: He’s greater than all the prophets, priests, kings and angels. You name it, and He’s greater than that. This isn’t news to us who know Christ as our living Savior; yes, He was present at the creation, and He is ruling eternally as King. Yes, He is greater than all that we can imagine.

Yet many Christians stumble over a simple truth when it comes to knowing that “Jesus is greater.” The problem is this: Jesus is greater than the works of the law—but we live as if our works mean more than Christ’s saving grace. We claim we’re saved by His grace, but whenever we fail, we fall back on works in order to be restored. This is an Old Covenant mentality, one that leads to slavery—yet few of us realize we fall into it.

Reading further in Hebrews, we see the “greater covenant” that God made with us in mind: “Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. . . . ‘Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant’” (Hebrews 8:6, 8).
 

GESÙ È PIÙ GRANDE

by David Wilkerson | October 13, 2014

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“Dio, dopo aver anticamente parlato molte volte e in svariati modi ai padri per mezzo dei profeti, in questi ultimi giorni ha parlato a noi per mezzo di suo Figlio, che egli ha costituito erede di tutte le cose, per mezzo del quale ha anche fatto l'universo. Egli, che è lo splendore della sua gloria e l'impronta della sua essenza e che sostiene tutte le cose con la parola della sua potenza” (Ebrei 1:1-3).

Il capitolo iniziale di Ebrei ripete una verità che ogni cristiano conosce ma che in pochi poi afferrano: “Gesù è più grande”. Lo scrittore è così concentrato su questo tema che non spende tempo per i saluti. E non offre alcun’istruzione ai suoi lettori, come vediamo in altre epistole; piuttosto, ha una sola cosa in mente: “Gesù è più grande!” Egli è innamorato, emozionato e sopraffatto da Cristo.

“Gesù è più grande di cosa?” ti chiederai. In Ebrei 1 troviamo la risposta: Egli è più grande di tutti i profeti, i sacerdoti, i re e gli angeli. Fai un nome, e Lui è più grande di esso. Questa non è una novità per noi che conosciamo Cristo come nostro Salvatore vivente; sì, Egli era presente alla creazione ed Egli regna eternamente come Re. Sì, Egli è più grande di tutto quello che possiamo immaginare.

Tuttavia, molti cristiani inciampano su una semplice verità quando vengono a sapere che “Gesù è più grande”. Il problema è questo: Gesù è più grande delle opere della legge – ma noi viviamo come se le nostre opere fossero più importanti della grazia salvifica di Cristo. Dichiariamo di essere salvati per grazia, ma ogni volta che veniamo meno, ricadiamo nelle opere per essere ristorati. Questa è la mentalità dell’Antico Patto, una mentalità che porta alla schiavitù – eppure pochi di noi si rendono conto di caderci.

Leggendo oltre in Ebrei, vediamo il “patto più grande” che Dio ha stipulato con noi: “Ma ora Cristo ha ottenuto un ministero tanto più eccellente in quanto egli è mediatore di un patto migliore, fondato su migliori promesse…Ecco, vengono i giorni che io concluderò con la casa d'Israele e con la casa di Giuda un nuovo patto” (Ebrei 8:6, 8).

Gesù è più grande!
 

SPEAKING THE WORD WITH BOLDNESS

by Jim Cymbala | October 11, 2014

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What kind of things matter in a book-of-Acts church? The apostles’ prayer gives us one of the clear benchmarks: “Enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” (Acts 4:29).

There is no such thing as “taught boldness.” Boldness can be imparted only by the Holy Spirit; you cannot get it through a seminar. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and of self-discipline.”

New Testament preachers were boldly confrontational, trusting that the Holy Spirit would produce the conviction necessary for conversion. They were not afraid.

Listen to Peter on the Day of Pentecost: “You, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (Acts 2:23). This was the last thing the crowd wanted to hear. If David Letterman had a Top Ten list of things not to say to a Jewish audience, number one would be “Guess what—with your own hands you just killed the Messiah, the one Israel has been expecting for centuries.”

But Peter’s boldness did not drive the people away. Instead, it stabbed their consciences. By the end of the day a huge group had repented of their sin and been converted.

In the next chapter, Peter was just as straightforward with the crowd that gathered after the healing of the cripple: “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life. . . . Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:14-15, 19).

When Paul preached in Ephesus some years later, his confrontation with pagan idolatry was so direct that a riot broke out. “They were furious and began shouting: ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ Soon the whole city was in an uproar” (Acts 19:28-29). This doesn’t sound very market-sensitive or user-friendly to me.

A strong church was established nonetheless. The apostles realized that without a bold, aggressive attitude in proclaiming God’s Word, they would not build the church that Jesus intended. Any church in any city of the world must come to the same conclusion.

 

 

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.
 

A LIFE OF REPENTANCE AND SEPARATION

by David Wilkerson | October 10, 2014

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Without a life of repentance and separation from the world there can be no true revival. “And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers” (Nehemiah 9:2). Wherever there is biblical restoration, there will be an ever-growing awareness of the Lord’s call to separate from all that is worldly and sensuous.

Over the years I have observed that it is the separated, Christ-consumed, holy-living Christian who has most effect on the secular world. The ungodly expect Christians to be separate and clean, totally “other.” On the crime-infested streets of New York, with demonic spirits raging on all sides, only a pure, separated, Christ-filled Christian can put the enemy to chase. Compromisers are frightened off and their own sins condemn them.

God is raising up a remnant of believers who want revival but only as it conforms believers to the image of Jesus Christ. And when it comes in its fullness, the majority of Christians will either not recognize it or, if they do, they will reject it. The separated remnant will hear the trumpet sounding and will know what God is saying.

God owns everything we have. We keep saying, “Lord, I give this back to You!” But we have never really owned anything. “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. . . . The wild beasts of the field are mine. . . . For the world is mine, and the fulness thereof” (Psalm 50:10-12). The Lord is saying to us, “Go up on the roof and examine your heart!” Are you a just steward of His property? In light of eternity, in light of the frailty of life, how much do you spend on yourself, in comparison to His work?

The great effect of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the laying down of everything on God’s altar, as we get our eyes off the things we possess. At Pentecost it was said, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (Acts 4:32).
 

THE SPIRIT OF JOY AND CELEBRATION

by David Wilkerson | October 9, 2014

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“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words which that were declared unto them” (Nehemiah 8:10-11).

Wherever the love of God's Word has been restored and repentance has resulted, there will always come forth a mighty wave of joy and celebration. But there is a kind of phony joy and false celebration in the land today: It is the celebration of self and idolatry—the dancing around the golden calf! We need great discernment to know the difference between the true joy of repentance and the false rejoicing of idolaters.

Moses and Joshua came down from the mount to a great shout in the camp: “It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery (in triumph) . . . but the noise of them that sing do I hear” (Exodus 32:18). They were shouting, singing, and dancing and Moses knew all along it was of the flesh. He knew they were a stiff-necked, rebellious people, full of lust, fornication, nudity, and sensuality. It was the shout of idolatry!

Can you tell the difference? If there is no preaching of the Law to convict of sin —no weeping or faces on the ground—if there is no love of God’s reproving Word—no repentance—then there is no spiritual shout, no godly song! Be careful! You may get caught up in the song of idolatry.

Why was there such great happiness, such a festive spirit of joy in this revival recorded in Nehemiah? “Because they had understood the words that were declared unto them” (Nehemiah 8:12). In other words, they discerned and took it to heart; they obeyed!
 

HEARTBREAKING REPENTANCE

by David Wilkerson | October 8, 2014

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“While lifting up their hands . . . they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. . . . They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading. Then Nehemiah . . . and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law” (Nehemiah 8:6-9, NAS).

Their first reaction to the Word was excitement and joy! They cried, “Amen, Amen, while lifting up their hands.” David said, “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord” (Psalm 134:2). But the Word soon brought them down on their faces. It is true repentance when we are brought to the ground by God’s Word. “They bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. . . . All the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law.” They trembled at God’s Word, then took it to heart and repented!

When a Holy Ghost revival comes, Christians don’t hold grudges; they don’t gossip or backbite or find fault. They are not trying to straighten out the church or the pastors. They don’t sit around like couch potatoes in front of the TV! No! They are on their faces before God, weeping, because the Word has smitten their hearts. They are not judging others or looking at others. They are being convicted by the Word for not measuring up!

In Romans 12:9-21 the apostle Paul describes the marks of truly repentant people. Paul begins by saying, “Let love be without dissimulation (hypocrisy). Abhor that which is evil; [hold fast] to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (verses 9-12).
 

THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD

by David Wilkerson | October 7, 2014

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The first evidence of revival is a great desire to hear and obey the Word of the Lord.

“And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. . . . And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people . . . and when he opened it, all the people stood up” (Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5).

The cry of their hearts was, “Bring us the true Word of the Lord!” Ezra stood on a raised, wooden pulpit and read God’s Word for six hours while the multitude stood at attention, learning that the cause of their suffering was their own stubbornness and rebellion. The surest evidence of revival in a soul or a church or a city is a hunger for God’s Word. Backslidden Christians don’t want to hear the Word—it bores them! What they want is excitement. Backslidden preachers don’t preach much of God’s Word; instead, they give short sermonettes. They don’t preach the Law because that produces conviction and shakes up the church! It makes compromisers squirm!

Where the Holy Spirit is at work, the people in the pew are clamoring for the Word. I get hundreds of letters from famished saints crying, “We are so hungry. We don’t hear the true Word. We get the dead letter with no anointing!” Where God is at work there are Bibles everywhere. There’s an excitement about preaching and teaching with a true reverence for the Word.

How sad it is that in many Charismatic churches, preaching is merely endured. They just want music, entertainment, and special singers on center stage! When the Holy Ghost comes, the Word will be hailed. The cry of the people will be, “Lord, I want it all: the good, the bad, the commandments, the promises, the whole counsel of God!”
 

THE WORK OF GRACE

by Gary Wilkerson | October 6, 2014

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Christ needs no assistance from us with His work of grace!

You may wonder, “Don’t I have a part in the work of grace?” If you try to bring something to Christ’s work, you’ll only mess it up. It is impossible to add to His glorious grace with our rags of unrighteousness. We don’t contain grace—we only receive it. We may give it out, but it is God’s grace, not ours.

This is what Hebrews 10:29 means when it says we “trample underfoot” the blood of Christ when we try to add something to God’s grace. We actually dilute it, insulting the glorious work He has done. In fact, at any given time we are operating in one of two modes: (1) We’re either allowing God to say we are insufficient, and we accept the totality of His grace; or (2) we’re calling His grace insufficient and attempting to add our efforts to it.

You may say, “But if I believed that, I’d never do anything for God.” Actually, the opposite is true. When you live in the grace of Christ, you do more works than ever—because you do them in joy rather than with a grudging sense of obligation. You go to prayer because you love God’s holiness. You study His Word not because it contains your to-do list for the day, but because it’s your life source, your wellspring of peace, joy and direction.

Simply put, grace empowers godly action. So if you are miserable in your walk with Christ—if you are weary, going to church because you fear for your salvation—then you have fallen from the appropriation of His grace. Right now, He is inviting you back, saying, “Come into the covenant I have with the Father. I want to pour My grace over you, to empower you with My Spirit for life.”

Through Him we are fully cleansed, fully at peace with God, and abounding in His grace. We can’t add anything to His finished work—His grace is fully sufficient. It is our role to receive the glorious gift and to walk in it with joy!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV).

 

THE GREAT SUPPER

by Carter Conlon | October 4, 2014

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“A certain man made a great supper; and he bade many; and he sent forth his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:16-17, ASV).

In other words, a man issued an invitation to his great banquet, much the same as the Lord invites you and me to come to His incredible feast of life and strength. Vision, direction, provision, and a future can be found there. Everything is ready.

However, those who were invited to the banquet began to present their excuses as to why they could not come. No doubt, some people simply did not want to go. Yet, I cannot help but feel that some among them felt obliged to bring something to the banquet. Perhaps they were embarrassed at their own lack of resources, which ultimately led them to decline the invitation.

This is the same dilemma that you and I face today. God says, “I want to do something through your life.” It is an incredible invitation from the Lord. Yet, for many people, there is an innate sense that they should be providing something. After all, it is common practice even in our society today that the gift one brings to a wedding should be of equal value to the meal that is being set before them.

Of course, knowing that the price of the banquet was the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, it is preposterous to think that you and I could ever bring something comparable to that price, even if we somehow felt obliged. It tends to take us a long time to get to the point of realizing that this is a “come as you are” banquet. The prophet Isaiah said, “Come, those who have no money; come, those who have no skill; come, those who have no ability. Come and buy and be satisfied! Eat that which will truly fill and satisfy you” (see Isaiah 55:1-2).

Jesus continued in Luke 14:33. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” That does not mean you have to give away your house, empty your bank account, and quit your job. Jesus was essentially saying that you must give away your own thoughts of ever doing this in your own strength. The forces against the testimony of Christ in this generation are too powerful. The social trends are going in the opposite direction of the Word of God. The battle is too strong, and our natural resources are insufficient to meet the need. That is why we must choose to cast away all the self-reliance and show up, just as we are, to an incredible banquet of God.

 

 

Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.
 

THE GREATNESS OF HIS POWER

by David Wilkerson | October 3, 2014

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I receive reams of prophecies and long, involved “spirit” writings from Christians who claim to be spending days and weeks and even months in prayer. One husband asked me to set his wife straight. She had been telling people she had died and gone to heaven, had danced with Jesus, and then had gone skydiving with Him! She claimed her revelation came to her after praying for hours.

Why are these dear ones not out among the people, preaching a resurrected Jesus? Why are they spending all their time reproving others, with no brokenness for the lost? The best cure for “flakiness” is getting out among sinners and preaching the love of Jesus. We pray, “Holy Ghost, come!” But for what? To simply bless us and meet our needs? Or to equip us and reveal to us the broken heart of our Lord? The last words of Jesus before leaving this earth were, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

We have been praying that God will close down the bar next door to Times Square Church. The proprietor said to us, “You people are in real trouble. You don’t know who you’re dealing with.” No! He doesn’t know that he is dealing with Jesus, who said, “All power is given unto me” (Matthew 28:18). Therefore, “we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6). Paul prayed that “ye may know . . . what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the workings of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ . . . far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet” (Ephesians 1:18-22).

Satan has made some of you afraid—afraid of falling, afraid of a besetting sin or a hounding habit, and afraid of men. But the Word says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). You are not the one who runs away!

“Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. . . . For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion . . . he shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalm 27:3, 5).
 

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