Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER

by Gary Wilkerson | September 30, 2013

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Chapters 1 through 6 of the book of Acts describe one of the most glorious works of God in history. It is an amazing sequence of action-filled events: powerful preaching, mass conversions, miraculous healings. All were the fulfillment of a divine promise foretold by Jesus.

Before His resurrection, Christ instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem to receive the “promise of the Father.” “I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49, ESV).

That promise began its fulfillment on Pentecost, Israel’s feast of “firstfruits.” The world was about to see the firstfruits of Christ’s labor on the cross for us.

The disciples could not possibly have imagined what God had in mind for them. They probably thought, “Great! This promise means God is about to restore Israel. He’ll free us from the shackles of Roman bondage forever and we’ll be His people again.”

Today I think perhaps the Church would have a similar reaction if we heard the same promise from Jesus. We might think, “When God’s promise comes, our churches will be filled to bursting. The Holy Spirit will move in other cities and people will travel from all over just to get a taste. We’ll be blessed as never before!”

We should want the Holy Spirit to fill our sanctuaries, to bring joy and comfort to God’s people. But when God’s glory comes, it will not be for our benefit alone. Jesus did not say, “When you receive power from on high, you shall be My churchgoers, My Bible studiers, My prayer meeting attenders.” He said, “You will be My witnesses to the ends of the earth.”

God’s power is meant to go beyond the walls of the church to the very farthest reaches of the world. That is what we see unfolding in the book of Acts. When Peter got up to preach to the crowd that had gathered, three thousand were saved. Later, as Peter and John testified throughout Jerusalem, signs and wonders followed in miraculous healings and deliverances.

Yet that was only the beginning! If the work of the Spirit had stopped in Acts 6, all the power of God would have remained in the hands of twelve apostles. Instead, a tectonic shift took place. God said, “My Spirit will no longer move through just a select few. I am going to empower every man, woman and child who calls on My name.”
 

MAINTAINING THE PRESENCE OF GOD

by David Wilkerson | September 27, 2013

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God attaches a condition to His presence in our lives and it is found in 2 Chronicles 15. In the previous chapter, King Asa had led the armies of Judah to a great victory over Ethiopia's million-man army. Yet Asa testified that it was God's presence that had scattered the enemy.

"Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. . . . So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa" (2 Chronicles 14:11-12).

As Asa and his armies led the triumphant procession back to Jerusalem, a prophet named Azariah met them at the city gate with this message from God: "Hear ye me, Asa . . . The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God. . . . But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them" (15:2-4).

Here is the secret of getting and maintaining the presence of God in your life. The Lord reminded Asa, point-blank, with no holds barred: "Asa, don't ever forget how you got this victory. You sought Me with all your heart when you were in trouble and I sent My presence to you. It was My presence that put your enemies to chase!"

Now Azariah was telling Asa, "Do you remember what the kingdom was like before you came to power? Everything was out of kilter, with no law, no guidance, no righteous teaching. Everyone was a law unto himself, doing his own thing!"

This is not a complicated theology. Anyone can have the abiding presence of the Lord if he or she will simply seek Him for it.

"[The Lord] will be found of you" (15:2). The Hebrew word for found here is matsa, meaning "His presence coming forth to enable, to bless." In short, this verse tells us, "Seek the Lord with your whole heart, and He will come to you with His presence. Indeed, His presence will be an almighty power that emanates from your life!"
 

GOD HAS DONE GREAT THINGS

by David Wilkerson | September 26, 2013

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“For I am the Lord thy God . . . and I have loved thee. . . . Fear not: for I am with thee" (Isaiah 43:3-5).

The Old Testament stories of Abraham, Joshua and all of Israel are meant to encourage and exhort us to seek God’s presence in our lives. We can thank God for what His presence did for them and yet each of us has a powerful testimony of what God's presence has done for us: guiding our lives, opening doors, moving obstacles, melting hearts, making us fearless.

I have seen this proven true in my life. You may say, "You're just boasting!" No, the fact is, God's presence has been with me in spite of myself!

When we started Times Square Church in New York City, the presence of Christ emanated from us in all we did. I remember walking into a famous Broadway producer's office in search of a theater to use as a church. This man's secretary and staff scoffed at me; their words and attitudes assured me, a lowly minister, I would not be able to get an appointment. In fact, I thought I might even get kicked out. But then the producer came out of his office and when he saw me, he invited me in!

Over the next several weeks, the producer and I got to know each other. At times he would look across his desk at me and say, "I don't know why I'm spending so much time with you. My schedule is absolutely full." But whenever I walked into his office suite, his secretary pushed me past all other visitors, saying, "Go right in, Reverend, he's waiting for you!"

Eventually, this man sold his flagship theater to us to use for Times Square Church. Even as he was signing the documents of sale, he said, "I don't know why I'm doing this!" It was only God's presence that moved him to sell that building to us. Just a few years after the deal was done, he and his attorneys were begging to buy it back!

I saw God change the hearts of others as well. The man who owned the building next to ours refused to sell it to us as an annex. But over time he became a friend of mine, and eventually he sold us the building. All along, he kept telling me, "Somebody up there is working for you!"

That is the power of the presence of God. And every Christian can testify in the same way: "God's presence with me has done great things!"
 

BLESSINGS OF HIS PRESENCE

by David Wilkerson | September 25, 2013

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Consider these Old Testament examples of the blessings that God's presence brought to the lives of His followers:

  • God's presence was so evident in Abraham's life, even the heathen around him recognized the difference between their lives and his: "Abimelech . . . spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest" (Genesis 21:22). This heathen king was saying, "Abraham, there's something different about you. God guides you, preserves you and blesses you wherever you go!"
  • God promised Joshua that no enemy could stand against him when His presence was with him: "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of good courage" (Joshua 1:5-6). When God's Spirit is present with us, we can be strong and courageous and no enemy can harm us!
  • God told Gideon: "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. . . . Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel" (Judges 6:12, 14). The phrase "thy might" in this verse refers to verse 12 that says, "The Lord is with thee." Do you see what God is saying? "Gideon, there is a might in you so powerful that it can save Israel. And that might is My presence!" Scripture reveals Gideon to be a coward, so why did God call him a "mighty man of valor"? Because he wanted to prove to Gideon what an ordinary person can do when the Lord's presence is with him!
  • God warned Jeremiah that the whole nation would turn against him and reject his prophecies. Yet He promised, "They shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee" (Jeremiah 15:20). God was saying, "It doesn't matter if the whole country turns against you, Jeremiah. All that matters is that My presence is with you. Be confident I am with you!"
  • God told Isaiah of a special promise He makes to those He loves: "Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God . . . and I have loved thee. . . . Fear not: for I am with thee" (Isaiah 43:1-5). God was saying, "With My presence abiding with you, you can go through any flood or fire and survive. Yet you won't merely survive. You'll be blessed and favored through it all, because My presence is with you!"

 

EMPOWERED TO LIVE

by David Wilkerson | September 24, 2013

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Scripture provides endless examples of how the presence of God empowers His children to live for Him. One of the most powerful of these examples is found in the life of Moses.

Moses was convinced that without God's presence in his life, it was useless for him to attempt anything. When he spoke face to face with the Lord, he said, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence" (Exodus 33:15). He was saying, "Lord, if Your presence is not with me, then I'm not going anywhere. I won't take a single step unless I'm assured You are near!"

Moses knew it was God's presence in Israel that set the people apart from all other nations. And the same is true of the Church of Jesus Christ today. The only thing that sets us apart from nonbelievers is God's presence “with us”—leading us, guiding us, working His will in and through us.

Moses did not care how other nations received their guidance, formed their strategies, ran their governments or directed their armies. He said, "We operate on one principle alone. The only way for us to be guided or governed, to make war and survive in this wasteland, is to have the presence of God with us!

"When the Lord's presence is in our midst, no one can harm us. But without Him, we are helpless, reduced to nothing. Let all the nations of this world trust in their mighty armies, their iron chariots, their skilled soldiers, their new weapons. We will trust in the manifest presence of our God!"

God answered Moses' bold statement: "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest" (verse 14). What an incredible promise! The Hebrew word for rest here is "a comfortable, quiet repose." God was saying, "No matter what enemies or trials you face, you will always be able to find a quiet rest in Me!"

Think about this: If a church has the manifest presence of God in its midst, there will not be any hustle or bustle, sweating or striving. The worship meetings will not be hurried along, with three songs, an offering and a short sermon. Instead, there will be a calming peace, a quiet rest—and everyone who walks through the doors will sense it!

CALLED TO FREEDOM

by Gary Wilkerson | September 23, 2013

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“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11, ESV).

Do the following words appeal to you? Life—joy—unselfconsciousness—delight—boldness—liberty. Can you imagine having this kind of enjoyment in your service to Christ? How can you obtain such empowering joy?

It will not come through works of righteousness. We do not have the power to be righteous on our own. We may do our best, strive our hardest, and sincerely offer to God all we have and all we are, but it still amounts to no more than filthy rags. “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 64:6, ESV).

Freedom comes through Christ’s righteousness alone. When His righteousness becomes ours, we are set free from striving. His Spirit is in us, releasing us from the law of sin and guilt and making all things new. “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2, ESV).

That freedom is everything! It means liberty to carry out the godly responsibilities He calls us to do. Suddenly we are able to witness with abandon. We have a boldness that is not of our own making. Grace flows through us rather than a deadly, binding legalism.

There is only one way to walk in the freedom and joy Christ has won for us: by accepting His gift of righteousness. Doing this means embracing grace, not works. It does not mean shirking our responsibilities; on the contrary, coming under the covering of His grace is the only way to take on real responsibility. We cannot accomplish anything in His name otherwise!

“For you were called to freedom” (Galatians 5:13, ESV).
 

SAFE IN EVERY SITUATION

by David Wilkerson | September 20, 2013

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The Bible says, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7).

Will the present recession turn into a deep, long depression? Is this the economic storm so many ministers and economists have been warning of? Or is this merely another short-lived adjustment of the economy?

Frankly, not one human on earth knows. Economists give terribly conflicting forecasts, and so-called "prophets" are sending out all kinds of confusing warnings.

Several years ago hundreds of worried Christians wrote to me about a prophecy that said most of Florida would be inundated by a tidal wave. Many Christians slipped out of Florida on the predicted date for a so-called "vacation"—just in case the prophecy was right. Florida is still with us!

No one knows when, how, or where God will send judgment. The times and seasons are all in His hands. God has dealt with me personally about using dates, names, or places and when I disobey God on this matter, I end up speculating rather than truly prophesying. All true prophecy must offer hope and comfort to God's people who live by faith.

Where do you live? In an earthquake zone, maybe near a fault line? Do you live in a sprawling suburb that seems less secure as the days go by? No food stored up? No gold bars or coins to hedge against inflation? Nothing to fall back on if the economy collapses? Nothing to live on if you lose your job? Do you feel left out when others around you boast about their plans for the future?

Do not panic! You have all you need if you will believe in our Lord's promise of protection. Every child of God has an ironclad contract of survival. The more I read the words of Jesus, the more I believe He is asking for our childlike trust in Him to keep us safe in every situation.

My advice is to stay put and quit listening to voices that speak warnings contrary to Scripture. "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33).

"Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken” (Proverbs 3:25-26).

 

THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH

by David Wilkerson | September 19, 2013

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The Old Testament closes with this amazing prophecy of Malachi: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse" (Malachi 4:5-6).

This prophecy was in great measure fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist. An angel appeared to Zacharias and prophesied that his son John would turn many in Israel to the Lord and that "he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias (Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17).

Jesus, speaking to His disciples about John the Baptist, said: "If ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come" (Matthew 11:14). He added, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (11:15). I believe Jesus was asking them to see the spiritual significance of John's coming, as prophesied, in the spirit and power of Elijah.

John himself emphatically denied that he was Elijah raised from the dead. When the Jews asked him pointedly, "Art thou Elias?" John answered, "I am not. . . . I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias" (John 1:21-23). This is why Jesus told His disciples that only spiritual eyes and ears would understand that John the Baptist was of the same ministry mold as Elijah the prophet. John was a preacher of righteousness, as was Elijah, sent to awaken a people to a straight and narrow way of holiness.

John, anointed with the same fearless spirit and power which was upon Elijah, thundered against the sins of disobedient, greedy, pleasure-loving Jews. Christ was soon to appear and this mighty man of truth suddenly came to prepare a people for the Lord. This wilderness prophet was sent to turn the hearts of the people, which is the truest definition of repentance. John preached repentance, restitution, purity of heart, justice, and a practical walk of holiness to correspond with an open confession of sins.

I believe the prophet Malachi (as well as other Old Testament prophets) speaks of a company of holy people who will be raised up just prior Christ's second coming. They will minister under the very same spirit and power that rested upon Elijah and John the Baptist.

This last-day company of believers will heed the prophecy of Isaiah, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins" (Isaiah 58:1).
 

THAT I MIGHT KNOW HIM

by David Wilkerson | September 18, 2013

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God gave Moses a frightening directive: "Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I swore unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto they seed will I give it: and I will send an angel before thee . . . for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way" (Exodus 33:1-3).

The people of God had spun completely out of control because of lust and idolatry (Exodus 32:25). Gold had become their god. They wanted to dance, play and follow their lustful appetites. Only the sons of Levi stood up for the holiness of God.

Then followed the dreaded revelation that the Lord had removed Himself from them; He had departed lest He slay them. But still they were commanded to move on to claim their inheritance. God said, "I will give you what I promised." They could claim all their rights and His protection but not His presence.

Today we are seeing the sad spectacle of multitudes of God's people moving on in their religious quest for promised rights, boasting of angelic help against enemies, but having no holy, awesome, convicting presence of Christ in them.

What could be worse than hearing the Lord command them to go up to a land flowing with milk and honey and yet say that He would not go up with them (see Exodus 33:3)? God said to them, "You are an obstinate people. If I should go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you” (see Exodus 33:5).

Moses wanted something greater than a land flowing with milk and honey. He wanted to know and experience the Lord's presence. He prayed, "Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee" (Exodus 33:12-13).

No wonder this precious servant of God convicted his generation! No wonder there was so much glory in his face. He wanted only to know the Lord. The only favor he wanted was the abiding presence of his Lord. So it was with Paul, whose heart cried out, "Oh, that I might know Him!" (see Philippians 3:10).

A REVIVAL OF CLEANSING

by David Wilkerson | September 17, 2013

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All the prophets saw the end times and prophesied of the gathering of a separated, holy people who would have great understanding in the Word of the Lord. Daniel heard great things from God but "understood not" (Daniel 12:8). However, he saw a day coming when a purified, tried and tested remnant would understand; there would be a last-day company full of wisdom and discernment in the things of God. “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:10).

Isaiah deplored the spiritual blindness of backslidden Israel. He said, "They err in vision, they stumble in judgment" (Isaiah 28:7). The little discernment they once had was destroyed by their lusts. But Isaiah prophesied of a day in which "the deaf [shall] hear the words . . . the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. . . . They shall sanctify my name . . . and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine" (Isaiah 29:18, 23-24).

I believe the last-day revival so many preach about is a revival of cleansing. If the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, then it is certain that in a great Holy Ghost outpouring there will be powerful waves of conviction, and a careless, indulgent Church will be shaken and forced to face her sins.

While multitudes of Christians chase after signs and miracles and flock to teachers of success and prosperity, God has been calling out a "wilderness people" who are consumed with hunger for more of Christ.

Right now a glorious company is coming forth! One day God began to stir their hearts and they became disillusioned with all the hypocrisy and shame. They got into the Word of God and saw for themselves what His ultimate purposes are. They put on Christ's robe of righteousness by faith, submitted to the claims of Christ, and decided to walk alone, if necessary, to be wholly obedient to Him. They set themselves to hear and understand the Lord's will. They began to see things in the Spirit and were made to understand that the end of all things is at hand. To these, the Word of the Lord has come!

"Christ is coming! Repent, for the day of the Lord is near! Lay aside every besetting sin and set your affection on things above! Do not partake in the empires and dreams of men. Forsake it all and go out to meet Him." That word is being proclaimed loud and clear!
 

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