Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

THE FIRST OF HIS SIGNS

by Gary Wilkerson | May 11, 2015

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Scripture tells us that at the wedding in Cana there were “six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons” (John 2:6, ESV). Obeying Jesus, the servants filled up the large pots with water, which miraculously turned into a rich, tasty red wine.

That wine represents Christ’s redeeming blood. In the Old Testament, God used Moses to turn a river of water into blood as a sign of His judgment. Now, in contrast, Jesus turned water into wine to introduce God’s New Covenant. Through this miraculous act He was signaling, “Your purifying rituals will only cleanse your outer self, not the deepest core of your heart. My cleansing blood is needed to accomplish that in you.”

In short, the old way was passing into history as Jesus ushered in the new. The host at the wedding literally tasted the new wine wrought by Jesus’ miracle. He marveled, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now” (2:10).

Yet it wasn’t just the host who was blessed. Everyone present benefited from this amazing work, including the disciples who accompanied Jesus: “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him” (2:11). If Jesus’ disciples needed final proof that He was the Messiah, this miraculous act provided it. It persuaded them to follow Him with their all.

What a beautiful picture of our service to the world in Christ’s name. The world is desperately in need of His redeeming blood, poured out for us and flowing freely in our lives through His sacrifice. And the gift is meant to be poured out to others in turn, blessing the world as we have been blessed.

Many Christians today are content only to receive God’s blessings, limiting their devotion to Sunday services. Others are so eager to experience His blessings that they travel from one revival to another, crying, “Pour it out on me, Lord!” All their energy, focus and resources are spent on receiving God’s blessings, not pouring them out to others. That isn’t the point of the blessings. Don’t misunderstand—it’s right and good to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. But as Christ’s living Body, we are called to do more than taste; we are commanded to serve His rich blessing to others.
 

A GREAT CHALLENGE

by Jim Cymbala | May 9, 2015

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Unfortunately, seeking the Lord wholeheartedly does not exempt us from outside attack. After ten years of peace, Asa’s corner of the world was suddenly invaded by a huge Cushite army for no apparent reason. Asa was Solomon’s great-grandson but his godliness did not guarantee a smooth road for the rest of his life.

In such a moment, seekers after God have built up a reservoir of ready faith to meet new problems. They know exactly what to do:

“Asa called to the Lord his God and said, ‘Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O Lord, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you’” (2 Chronicles 14:11).

Asa’s faith was not some kind of instant cake mix stirred from a box. He and the people had already been calling out to God for a decade. Hence, there was no panic. They cried for the Lord to arise—and He did. The Cushites (Ethiopians) were decisively wiped out, despite their overwhelming numbers, “for the terror of the Lord had fallen upon them” (verse 14).

This is a classic example of a principle of God’s dealing with humanity. Hebrews 11:6 expresses it best: “Anyone who comes to [God] must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” I cannot say it strongly enough: When we seek God, He will bless us. But when we stop seeking Him . . . all bets are off, no matter who we are. It doesn’t matter how much talent we have, how many diplomas hang on our walls, what word of prophecy was proclaimed over us, or anything else.

On Asa’s way home from the battle, a prophet stopped him and his army along the road to reinforce what had just happened: “Listen to me. . . . The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:2).

 

 

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 and longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson, Cymbala is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences sponsored by World Challenge throughout the world.

 

THE GOD WHO FAITHFULLY PROVIDES

by David Wilkerson | May 8, 2015

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When we set our hearts to obey God’s Word—allowing His Spirit to expose and mortify all sin in our lives—the Lord Himself causes us to rejoice. “God had made them rejoice with great joy” (Nehemiah 12:43). I believe this poured-out blessing includes abundant joy, even in the midst of our trials. The Lord opens heaven and baptizes us with “Jesus joy”—with shouting, rejoicing and singing—no matter what our circumstances.

Nehemiah reminded a rejoicing Israel of how God had provided for their forefathers in the wilderness. The Lord had poured out manifold mercies on them. He had taught them by His Spirit and led them by the cloud and the pillar of fire. He had supernaturally provided them with manna and water. And, miraculously, He didn’t allow their clothes or shoes ever to wear out (see Nehemiah 9:19-21).

How do these kinds of blessings sound to you? Manifold mercies, clear direction, God’s Spirit teaching you, all your physical and material needs supplied. That all sounds wonderful to me! And, indeed, all these blessings hold true for us today. The Lord, in His great mercy, has promised to provide them all for His people.

Yet, we can still choose to live in a wilderness, as Israel did. Nehemiah pointed out that their forefathers had rebelled against the Lord, ignoring His law: “Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs. . . . Yet many years didst thou forbear them . . . yet would they not give ear” (Nehemiah 9:26, 30).

Can you imagine the awful spiritual death these people brought upon themselves? Forty years of Sabbaths without any joy or mirth. Forty years of funerals, without ever entering the Promised Land. These Israelites were rich with blessings, increased with goods, needing nothing—but they were lukewarm in spirit.

This is a picture of Jehovah Jireh—the God who faithfully provides for His people even when they become hardened to His Word. The Israelites had become bored with the things of God and were just going through the motions. In His mercy, the Lord continued to direct their daily affairs and provide for them. But these people would never enter into His fullness. Is it any wonder their clothes and shoes never wore out? They simply weren't going anywhere.
 

JESUS JOY

by David Wilkerson | May 7, 2015

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Where God's Word is revered, the inevitable result is an outpouring of genuine “Jesus joy.”

Nehemiah and Ezra told those who had returned to Jerusalem, “You’ve been excited about God’s Word—hungering for it, loving it, allowing it to work in your heart. You’ve repented, wept and mourned and God is pleased with you. But now it’s time to rejoice. Take out your handkerchiefs and wipe away your tears. This is a time for great joy and mirth” (see Nehemiah 8:9-10).

The glory of the Lord fell on Israel, and the people spent the next seven days rejoicing: “All the people went their way to eat, and to drink . . . and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them” (Nehemiah 8:12).

The Hebrew word for mirth here means “glee, merriment, gladness, happiness.” This kind of mirth isn’t merely a good feeling, it’s an inner joy, a deep exuberance. Its expression may look different in each of us, because such joy takes place deep inside. But it is clear to everyone around us that our wellspring of joy comes from heaven.

Whenever Israel turned to sin and idolatry, the Lord removed their mirth: “I will also cause all her mirth to cease” (Hosea 2:11). “I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness . . . and this whole land shall be . . . an astonishment” (Jeremiah 25:10-11).

At times, Israel put on a false joy to try to cover the sins of the people. We see this happening in many churches today, as well. We may witness singing, dancing, manifestations, loud praising—but those who love God’s Word can discern whether it is true or false joy.

You may recall Israel’s shouts as they danced around the golden calf. When Joshua heard the people, he said, “There is a noise of war in the camp” (Exodus 32:17). But Moses replied, “It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery” (32:18). Moses was saying, “That’s the shout of a people still in bondage. They haven’t mastered their sin.” Gold had become Israel’s god, and it brought a shout to the lips of the people. Yet it was a shout of false joy—a noise that signaled God’s impending judgment.
 

SOUL-SATISFYING JOY!

by David Wilkerson | May 6, 2015

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What is missing in multitudes of churches today is the thing most needed by the lost: genuine, soul-satisfying joy.

I often hear Christians say, “We prayed down a revival in our church.” But I say that this cannot happen by prayer alone. There can’t be any such awakening unless both the pastor and the people hunger diligently for God’s Word. And they must wholly commit their lives to being governed by the Scriptures. We can’t obtain heaven’s joy until the pure Word has convicted us of sin, breaking down all pride, prejudices and false dignity.

When David disobeyed the directions of the Lord, he lost the joy of the Lord. That joy could only be restored by true repentance and so he prayed, “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. . . . Purge me” (Psalm 51:2-3, 7). David also prayed to regain what he had lost: “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (verse 12).

I believe this explains the death pall that hangs over many churches today. In short, there is sin in the camp. And it’s impossible to maintain the joy of the Lord if sin is present. How can the Holy Spirit pour out joy on a people who continue to indulge in adultery, addictions and materialism, living like the unsaved?

The Lord lifted His glory from Shiloh because the high priest, Eli, refused to deal with sin in God’s house (1 Samuel 2:22-36). Eli had become accustomed to the easy life—and if you’re addicted to pleasure, you won’t be motivated to expose sin. God finally wrote the word “Ichabod” above the door of the sanctuary, meaning, “The glory has departed.” Then he held up Shiloh as an example of what happens to a church when sin is ignored. God’s glory—including all gladness and joy—dissipates in individuals and in the corporate body.
 

WATCH THE ENEMY FLEE

by David Wilkerson | May 5, 2015

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“I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground” (Isaiah 44:3).

Has the Lord brought you His thirst-quenching Word? Has He come to you in your dry spells and flooded you with His Spirit? Are you drinking the pure water of His Word?

If so, you are ready to claim another covenant promise: “I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses” (verses 3-4).

As you may know, willow trees grow fast and tall and they spread wide. You often see them growing beside streams or bodies of water. God is saying here, “Because you are My chosen, I’m going to pour My Spirit out on your children. And I will cause them to grow tall and strong in the Lord.”

As you read and reread these verses, I urge you to fill in your children’s names who are not following the Lord. Claim God’s promise to you by praying, “Lord, You said You would pour Your Spirit on my child. Now, bless my son, [put in your son’s name here]. Pour out Your Spirit on my daughter, [put in her name here]. Cause both of them to thirst for Your living water and to turn to You.”

Finally, God says your children will testify, “I am the Lord’s” (verse 5). What an incredible promise!

Yet these promises are not for everyone who merely says, “I am of Christ.” They are only for hungering, thirsting parents—those who drink in God’s Word daily, pray regularly, and ask the Spirit to pour out on them His power and presence.

If this describes you, then trust God’s promises—all of them! Claim them as yours, and hold the Lord to them in your intercession. Then bathe your family in prayer and watch the enemy flee.
 

SIMPLE OBEDIENCE

by Gary Wilkerson | May 4, 2015

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At the wedding in Cana of Galilee, Christ’s mother, Mary, saw that the wine had run out. She directed the servants to her Son and said, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5, ESV). The King James Version renders her instruction more powerfully: “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”

For many of us, the filling of God’s Spirit may take place in our prayer closet or within our circle of fellowship. But many Christians will be filled only as they begin to obey God’s clear commands in earnest. I’m convinced the hang-up constraining many believers is a casual attitude toward God’s Word and His voice in their hearts. By neglecting His direction for their lives, especially regarding His holy purposes, they are easily robbed of freedom and confidence.

I was speaking with a young, single Christian man a few months ago when he told me he had decided to move in with an unmarried couple who were living together. I challenged him, saying, “That doesn’t sound like a very healthy environment for you.” He answered, in effect, “I feel like it’s a safe situation. I don’t think God will be upset with me for doing it.” He said this not in faith, as though he believed it, but as if he were a teenager sneaking out of the house.

Eventually, the unmarried couple broke up and soon the Christian young man was romantically involved with the woman and eventually became sexually entangled. I tell this story not with judgment but as a simple illustration: The best way to be filled with God’s Spirit is simply to heed His voice and obey His commands. Doing so provides us with peace, safety and joy and allows us to speak for God with authority. As Mary told the servants at the wedding, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it!”

We may run to the altar seeking the wine of God’s Spirit, but for many the answer lies in simple obedience.
 

THE LORD’S PRAYER

by Carter Conlon | May 2, 2015

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In Luke 11:2-4 Jesus taught us about prayer. Let’s briefly examine some of the basics that He taught.

Our Father”—We must understand that we are now in relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ. This grants us the right to stand before His throne and make our petitions known.

Which are in heaven”—His ways are higher than our ways; His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He lives in a place of absolute and total victory. There is no possibility of defeat in God.

Hallowed be thy name”—God’s name and reputation can be trusted. He is just and will never speak anything to us that is contrary to truth.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth”—The way things exist in His heart and His mind are how they should be on earth. As you and I walk with God, we will have a growing inner desire to see His kingdom come in glory and in power; to see His will done on earth as it is in heaven. There is a shift that ought to take place in our prayer. It should no longer be all about us but should now be focused on others. This is where the true power of prayer is found!

Give us day by day our daily bread”—God will give us our daily provision as we ask Him for it and acknowledge that He is our provider.

And forgive us our sins: for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us”—You and I are ambassadors of the kingdom of forgiveness. It is therefore imperative that we forgive others, lest we be unable to represent the forgiveness of God on the earth.

And lead us not into temptation: but deliver us from evil”—We must trust God to lead and deliver us, recognizing that we are not smart enough to get through this life on our own. We are deceptive to the core of our beings, and we can create what we think is the leading of God, even though it is actually the leading of our own heart. We simply must not assume that the pathway we are on is right, even if it may appear so in our sight. According to the Scriptures, “There is a way that looks right unto man, but its end is the way of death” (see Proverbs 16:25).

 

 

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.
 

PRAYING PARENTS

by David Wilkerson | May 1, 2015

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One day we all are going to stand before the judgment seat and answer to the Lord for how we raised our children. And in that moment, none of us will be able to offer excuses or blame anyone else. Therefore, we have to examine ourselves today, asking: Have we brought up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord? Have we modeled for them a life of love and reverence for God?

I remember playing outside as a boy and hearing my mother pray for me from the third floor of our house. Her example remains vivid in my memory. Later, when Gwen and I were bringing up our children, we did the same, praying for our kids according to God’s Word: “Lord, make our sons as oaks beside the waters of life. And make our daughters as polished stones in your palace. Keep them all from the schemes of the wicked one” (see Isaiah 61:3 and Psalm 144:12)

Every Christian parent has high hopes for his child. I see this regularly in our congregation, as parents bring their children forward to be dedicated to the Lord. Our pastoral staff prays for God’s love and protection over these little ones. Then we anoint them with oil and ask the Holy Ghost to put a wall of fire around them.

But occasionally, I can’t help wondering: How many of those precious children are going to end up in the devil’s clutches—on drugs, into crime—because their mom or dad got careless about the spiritual atmosphere in their home? Will they end up in ruin because their parents were wrapped up in their own problems, never giving them attention or proper discipline?

Maybe you’re a parent who hurts because your grown son or daughter no longer serves the Lord. Or, perhaps you’re heartbroken because your youngster is hooked on drugs or alcohol. You’ve seen your once-tender child grow bitter, hard and lost.

This message is not meant to condemn you. No one can take back his or her past. But I do have a question for you. As you look back on your parenting years, ask yourself: Were you a true guardian over your home? Did you cover your children in prayer daily? Or were you too busy? Did you allow your kids to intimidate you?

That is all in the past now. Yet there remains something you can do: You still have a calling to pray diligently for your child’s salvation. That’s right, you can make up in prayer today what you might have missed in past years. You can still seek God’s face, bathe your loved one in prayer, and call down Holy Ghost conviction on him to bring him to the cross.

 

A WORD OF HOPE FOR ALL PARENTS

by David Wilkerson | April 30, 2015

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Scripture makes it very clear that if you raise your children on the authority of God’s Word, they will not depart from that training in their later years. They may veer away from it for a while—even for years—but ultimately it will bring them back to truth. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

The Bible offers a word of hope to all parents who grieve over a backslidden child. Here is a covenant promise that every parent should memorize. It applies both to children who have been lost and to those presently under your care: “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses” (Isaiah 44:1-4).

This word of promise to Israel is also meant for us today. Its words of comfort are given to all who are chosen (see verse 1)—meaning, all who are in Christ.

The Lord begins by telling us in verses 1 and 2, “I am the Lord who made you, and I know your pain. I am going to help you now. You don’t have to fear.” The word for Jesurun in this verse means righteous one. In other words, God makes these promises to His righteous ones—glorious, binding, covenant promises. The promises are:

  • God will provide water to satisfy our thirst: “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground” (verse 3). Has the Lord brought you His thirst-quenching Word? Has He come to you in your dry spells and flooded you with His Spirit? Are you drinking the pure water of His Word?
  • “I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thy offspring; and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses” (verses 3-4).
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