Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

CONSIDER YOUR WAYS

by David Wilkerson | July 19, 2013

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Thank God for the prophet Haggai. Here was a man of God living in victory, someone who had the mind of God, who walked in grace, and who had heaven open to him. He came to the site of the unfinished temple in Jerusalem and gave Zerubbabel and Joshua this warning: "Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this [God's] house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways" (Haggai 1:4-5).

This was a call to quit focusing on self—not only self-comfort, but also self-despair. Haggai was saying, "Forget the past! It's time to rise up out of your lethargy. In spite of all your sinning, God wants you to take up His work where you left off. Now, pick up your instruments of labor and regain your confidence in the Lord. Go back to your secret closet of prayer, back to trusting God. Soon you'll hear His voice again!"

Scripture says, "The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel . . . and the spirit of Joshua . . . and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God" (verse 14). Then God gave them this promise: "Consider now from this day and upward . . . from this day will I bless you" (2:18-19).

Zerubbabel and Joshua were once again walking in faith and righteousness. And now the prophet brought them the best word of all: God was going to take down the obstacle that nearly destroyed them! "Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it" (Zechariah 4:7).

Dearly beloved, this is what your present trial is all about. God is going to stir your heart once again and you will see the completion of your call. The Holy Spirit is going to destroy every stronghold in your life—not through your strength, but through His. Then you will finish the course God has laid out before you. And, like Zechariah, you'll do it shouting, "Grace, grace! God has been merciful and faithful to me!"
 

NOT BY MIGHT NOR BY POWER

by David Wilkerson | July 18, 2013

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“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6).

The Lord sent two men on a mission to rebuild the fallen temple in Jerusalem. Zerubbabel and the high priest, Joshua, were godly leaders who obeyed the Lord and carried out His work with zeal and faithfulness.

At first they had to labor against heavy opposition. Groups of backslidden, idolatrous Jews and jealous Samaritans opposed the work, trying everything to prevent it. Finally, these groups succeeded in getting Cyrus to rule against the two men's mission. After that, Zerubbabel and Joshua grew weary of the struggle, of being opposed, slandered and misjudged. So for the next sixteen years, the work of God stopped.

Yet Zerubbabel and Joshua never received a mandate from God to retire. The Bible doesn't record any edict from Cyrus actually revoking their permission to build. So their work should not have missed a beat. The fact is, God still had all the power necessary to help them go forward.

In such times, Satan always shows up providing a perverted theology to support a compromising lifestyle. The doctrine in this case was: "It's not God's time yet. The word from Cyrus has made that clear. The Lord will let us know when the time is right to build. Meanwhile, let's build up our estates. We need to enjoy our religion!"

Simply put, the people of Israel—including these two godly men—were guilty of blatant unbelief. They lost all their confidence in God to direct and support them.

I see the same spirit of unbelief at work today. Preachers have told me very bluntly, "I'm counting the days till I retire. I've had it with people! I don't want to put up with their stuff anymore. As soon as my retirement date comes, I'm out of here."

No! May this never be the attitude of any true servant of God. The Holy Spirit is a quickening Spirit and if you're living and ministering in the Spirit, then the older you get and the longer you minister, the stronger you'll grow through it all. The work of God ought to become more exciting to you with every passing year!
 

GOING BACK TO EGYPT

by David Wilkerson | July 17, 2013

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Isaiah speaks of Christ healing the stammering tongue (see Isaiah 33:19). The Hebrew word for "stammer" in this passage means "a defective utterance." This is the voice of uncertainty and hesitation, one that speaks a word without power or any ring of truth.

Listen to the prophet's solemn words on this subject: "The vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy" (32:6). The Hebrew word for villainy here means "foolishness, a wicked crime." It comes from the word nabal, which means "dolt, fool."

Isaiah is telling us, "Only a wicked, doltish man attempts to deliver God's word while indulging in sin. His words come out as utter foolishness!" Such a man commits "utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail" (same verse). His own error ends up misleading others.

I am convinced that one particular sin, more than any other, causes such blatant distortion of truth. It is the sin of unbelief, which is rampant in many ministries today.

God calls the sin of unbelief "going back to Egypt." "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help . . . but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!" (31:1). "Woe to the rebellious children . . . that take counsel, but not of me . . . that walk to go down into Egypt" (30:1-2).

Isaiah was dumbfounded when he saw many of Israel's leaders mount their horses and gallop to Egypt to try to get counsel on national policy and security. These were the same men who told the prophet they had no time to seek the Lord or consult with Him. But God didn't take their actions lightly. He called it all rebellion and pronounced woe upon them!

Today, nothing has changed. Multitudes of Christians crisscross the country attending seminars and conventions with a "go to Egypt" mentality. They are networking, strategizing, borrowing worldly methods, getting flesh-inspired counsel. In short, they are looking for any new thing that might excite them.

But the praying servant who trusts God wholly knows he has no time for Egyptian concepts. The only place he runs is to his secret closet—where he gets his counsel on his knees!
 

A TRUE SERVANT OF GOD

by David Wilkerson | July 16, 2013

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When the prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of Christ and His kingdom, he outlined what Christ's true ministers would be like. In doing so, he defined our ministry in these last days by saying, in essence, "I want you to know the marks of the true people of God, those who will be ministering just before the Prince of Peace comes to reign!"

Isaiah begins with these words: "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness" (Isaiah 32:1). Then the prophet adds, "And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land" (verse 2).

It is clear to me that Isaiah is talking about Christ. He goes on to tell us that a true servant of God will preach the all-sufficiency of Christ! Indeed, this believer shuts himself in with Jesus, trusting his Lord to make his soul a well-watered garden. He lives with a quiet confidence, his spirit at rest and full of peace.

This true servant of God has no "tempest" brewing in his soul because of sin. On the contrary, he fully trusts the Holy Spirit to mortify his sins, and his spirit is as free as a bird. He has no fears or worries, because all is clear between him and his Lord. There is a song in his heart because Christ is his delight!

Moreover, this servant knows no one can harm him because he clings to the security and comfort of God's promise to defend the righteous. No weapon formed against him can prosper because God Himself rises up against every tongue that comes against him. God is his defense in a weary land!

Isaiah points out two distinguishing marks of the righteous servant. First, he has discernment and, second, he knows the voice of God distinctly: "The eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken" (Isaiah 32:3).

We see an example of this in Jesus' first encounter with Nathaniel. When He saw Nathaniel coming toward Him, He cried, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" (John 1:47). In other words, "Look, brothers! Here comes a man who is no hypocrite. There's no deceit in him, no immorality. He is a clean vessel!"
 

MOST CHRISTIANS ARE POWERLESS

by Gary Wilkerson | July 15, 2013

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“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48, ESV).

Most Christians are powerless. To some readers, this statement will sound bold and to others it will sound obvious. Either way, it is a commentary on the church I would rather not have to make.

Consider what “normal” Christianity in the typical believer looks like today. This person is a bit self-seeking and a little materialistic, and most of his daily choices are about improving his life. That includes his spiritual pursuits, from his church groups to the podcasts he downloads, to the seminars he attends.
There is nothing wrong with any of these things. Our Lord wants our lives to be blessed, but for some Christians these are nothing more than worldly pursuits. They are about self-improvement, not the kingdom of God, and they can drain a believer of true gospel power.

What passes for normal Christianity today must be an outrage to God. It is not only powerless, it is passionless, lacking self-sacrifice. In other words, it is cross-less—and therefore Christ-less. Do not misunderstand. I am all about God’s grace, and I would not lay an undue burden on anyone. But it’s time for the church to take a spiritual inventory to see whether our “spiritual” pursuits are leading us closer to God’s heart or causing us to run in circles.

Let me pose a question. Do you think it would be better for your spiritual health to attend a church that doesn’t preach much gospel, teach much of God’s Word or have much passion for His kingdom? A church where no one really lives out His commands? Or would it be better to attend a church that exalts God’s Word, proclaims the gospel and has a home group for every type of believer?

I would humbly suggest that the second option might be more dangerous to your spiritual health. Why? Because Jesus declares that to whom much is given, much is required. For someone whose life doesn’t match the biblical truth he’s been taught, Judgment Day will be scary.
 

WHEN GOD NO LONGER SPEAKS

by David Wilkerson | July 12, 2013

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Isaiah faithfully prophesied to Israel that the "ears of them that hear" would one day be opened. But, sadly, his listeners had shut their ears to God's voice. They wanted to hold on to their sins!

"When I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed. Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit" (Isaiah 65:12-14).

How tragic it is to refuse to hear the loving warnings of the Holy Spirit. Whenever we shut our ears to God's command to mortify the sins of our flesh, we are doomed to experience every kind of sorrow and pain.

Please understand, I'm not talking about a servant of God who is overtaken by a sin he hates. Nor am I referring to the believer who won't allow himself any rest until the Holy Ghost sets him free. Rather, I'm talking about the believer who has learned to love his sin, who has laid his head in the lap of a Delilah. Such a person has a calloused conscience.

The servant who continues his sinful ways will hear voices but none of them will be God's. Instead, that person will be given over to delusion: "I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not" (Isaiah 66:4).

What an awful thing it is when God no longer speaks! But how encouraging to know that the Holy Spirit will lovingly caution us and keep us from sin.
 

WORKS OF DARKNESS

by David Wilkerson | July 11, 2013

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"If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:23). Scripture makes it plain that hidden sins are "works of darkness." We know from God's Word that light has no communion with darkness.

Peter tells us Christ "preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient" (1 Peter 3:19-20). Disobedience cast these souls into a prison of darkness. Likewise today, every willful act of disobedience causes the light of discernment within us to darken. Over time our perception of truth becomes distorted, and our "open heaven" grows clouded.

The Lord suffers greatly whenever hidden sin brings gross darkness upon our souls. And nothing grieves Him more than when we resist and reject His warnings and convictions. Consider this tragic case described in a letter we received:

"My husband has given himself over completely to Internet pornography. Now I've filed for divorce, and he doesn't even care. We were happily married for twenty-five years before all this happened. I couldn't understand why he spent so much time shut up in his room with his computer. Then one day I walked in and was shocked by the ugly filth I saw on the screen.

"He became obsessed. His personality changed, and a meanness came over him. I knew he was addicted. He said, 'I can't help it. I'm going to do as I please.'"

The apostle Paul directs a horrifying statement to those who walk "in the vanity of their mind" (Ephesians 4:17). Such people justify their sin, no longer seeking deliverance from it. Paul says of them: "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (verse 18).

How did they become so dark and blinded? They fell under a blindness that comes upon all who give themselves over to sin: "Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness" (verse 19).

John Owen, the Puritan writer, spells out the tragic result: "A man under the power of some predominant lust is under false security and does not discern coming perilous times."
 

AN OPEN HEAVEN

by David Wilkerson | July 10, 2013

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Jesus turned to Nathaniel and said, "Verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man" (John 1:51). The Greek phrasing here comes from a root meaning that suggests "repetitively." In other words, Jesus was telling Nathaniel, "God is going to open up to you continuing revelations."

Likewise, God makes this covenant with every minister of the gospel whose life is above reproach, with no hidden sin or dark secrets. Such a servant receives a continuous flow of the revelation of Christ's glory. And he acts as an oracle of God, continually receiving a fresh word from heaven.

I am often amazed by the fresh, anointed words I hear these days from a number of unknown young preachers. We receive scores of preaching tapes from all over the country, and occasionally a tape will contain such a message. When I hear this kind of pure vision of Christ, I sometimes call the minister who preached it and ask for more tapes.

If the tapes prove consistent in vision and message, the preacher might be invited to speak at Times Square Church. In fact, that is how we got our Senior Pastor, Carter Conlon.

Such servants are straightforward and simple in their walk with God, and their lives are open books. They are devoted to their families and do not exhibit even a hint of ambition. Instead, they happily pastor small congregations, spending many of their waking hours alone in prayer. Their very presence is full of God's Spirit and revelations of Christ flow out of them like rivers of life.

Our church is also staffed by godly elders. Often when I hear these men teach, I shake my head in awe, wondering, "Where did these servants get such incredible revelations of the glory, power and sufficiency of Christ? They have no theological training, yet they're teaching pure, holy streams of revelation!"

Like Nathaniel, these are servants in whom there is no guile, no secret habit or sin. Therefore, they can see, hear and discern God's voice to them and recognize His heartbeat clearly!
 

GRACE IS FREE!

by David Wilkerson | July 9, 2013

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 "[The father] said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:31-32).

The younger son, the prodigal, was mired in a muck of loneliness brought on by sin. He was dead to his own will and in his wretchedness, he experienced something beyond his pain—he experienced his lostness!

As he thought of his father, he wanted to go back to him—to surrender himself completely. He knew he could never repay his father or please him by any good works. He also realized that he was wholly dependent on his father's grace and love for any kind of restoration to take place.

But the older son never had a sense of his lostness, of how hopeless it was to try to bridge the gulf between himself and his father, so he never faced his need to die to self.

Beloved, that chasm can never be bridged by works, promises or self-effort. Our acceptance in the love of the Father comes only through the blood of Jesus Christ. There is no other plea. The cross alone bridges the gulf.

You may protest everything I have written here. You may say, "Brother Wilkerson, you're telling sinners that if they'll just repent, everything will suddenly be okay—and God will wipe out their past and immediately bring them into His favor and blessing."

Yes, that is exactly what I am saying because that is just what Jesus is saying in this parable! Whenever a sinner turns to the Lord in utter repentance, brokenness and humility, he is immediately brought into the loving arms of his Shepherd.

Grace is freely bestowed on those who have died to feelings of self-worth and have acknowledged just how lost they are!

SHOULD WE SPEND THE WINTER IN PHOENIX?

by Gary Wilkerson | July 8, 2013

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Paul and “some other prisoners” were being transported to Rome, but they encountered many difficulties in their travels. Because sailing was so dangerous, Paul wanted to remain in a place called Fair Havens but he was overruled. “And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix . . . and spend the winter there” (Acts 27:12, ESV).

When we are going through a storm, we can lose sight of the fact that the ship we are on is a battleship. We are in a war with Satan, so we face a constant battle with the powers of darkness. That’s a good reason why we can’t afford to “spend the winter in Phoenix.”

We are doing war against an enemy who brings depression, attacks marriages, and is enslaving a new generation of teenagers to heroin, a growing problem in many cities. We have gone to war believing Christ’s glorious gospel will set captives free—that He is faithful to break the chains of those in bondage, liberate families mired in troubles, and reach the neediest with His generous love. To be in this battle, it is imperative that we keep our focus on the mission He has given us and hear His voice directing us. Our mission is always secondary; what is primary is “knowing in whom we have believed” (see 2 Timothy 1:12).

Does this speak to you? Has your ship taken precedence over Jesus in your heart? Have you become caught up in fleshly concerns, whether it’s making a good living or having a successful ministry? Neither is God’s high calling for you. Don’t misunderstand: He doesn’t want you to stop working hard or serving with devotion. Yet, could He be speaking to you right now about what is most important in your heart?

If you have been spending your winters in Phoenix, He is calling you back to your journey to Rome. Set aside everything that keeps you from being “on a mission for Jesus.”

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