Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

CONVINCED AND CONVICTED

by David Wilkerson | March 1, 2013

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We are not saved by the law but we are convinced and convicted of our sin by the law. "For by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20).

The law was sent "that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Romans 3:19). "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).

"The law is holy... and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceedingly sinful" (Romans 7:12-13).

Paul was saying, "I couldn't really confess my sins until I knew they were sins. I couldn't seek after the holiness of God until I saw how far from Him I was. The law hit home to me, destroying my nonchalance about sin. When I saw God's holiness by His commandments, sin became utterly sinful to me."

That is the conviction that drives you straight to the arms of Christ, crying, "Mercy, Lord! I can't save myself, I can't fulfill Your law. I've seen the sin of my heart!"

Faith has been defined as "the flight of a convicted, repentant sinner unto the mercy of God in Christ Jesus." Only the person who has been convicted of his sins by the law of God will "flee to Christ" for refuge.

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood and offered the crowds the gospel of God's grace. But first he put them under the blazing light of the law. He pointed his finger and said, "Ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain [Him]" (Acts 2:23). The people were pricked in their hearts, so utterly convicted by the Word of God they cried out, "What shall we do?" (verse 37).

Adam was given the gospel of grace—after his "eyes were opened" (see Genesis 3:7). It was only after he had seen his pitiful condition and the consequences of his sin that God brought to him the message of mercy and hope!
 

JUSTIFYING FAITH

by David Wilkerson | February 28, 2013

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Justification and righteousness come by faith alone. I am saved by faith, made righteous by faith and kept by faith in Christ's blood. That is the very foundation of the gospel. But not all faith is justifying faith. The Bible clearly speaks of two kinds of faith: one that justifies and another that is of no value—a faith that even the devils exercise.

The book of Acts records that Simon the magician "believed" but his faith was not the justifying kind. "Simon himself believed also: and . . . he was baptized" (Acts 8:13). Simon offered the apostle Peter money to acquire the power of the Holy Ghost but Peter answered, "I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity" (verse 23). He was saying, "Your heart is still bound by sin."

Peter told Simon that without repentance both he and his money would perish. Indeed, Simon believed but he was not made the righteousness of God in Christ. His faith was not justifying faith, the kind that purifies the heart and brings the righteousness of Christ.

Scripture says many people "believed [in Jesus] . . . when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them... for he knew what was in man" (John 2:23-25). These people had a belief in Christ but it was not the faith of those who receive "power to become the sons of God" (1:12).

Justifying faith is more than a faith of assent; it does more than just acknowledge God. James argued: "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2.19). James was talking about a dead, temporary faith, not an eternal one. And Jesus warned about this kind of faith, saying that some believe for a while “[but] have no root . . . and in time of temptation fall away" (Luke 8:13).

But there is a justifying faith, one that "purifies the heart" (see Acts 15.9) and "believeth unto righteousness" (Romans 10:10).

In order for faith to be justifying, there must be an accompanying desire to obey and be faithful to God. This kind of faith contains a vital force, a principle of everlasting obedience and love for God.

 

DON’T BE A MULE

by David Wilkerson | February 27, 2013

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“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have not understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee" (Psalm 32:8-9).

In these two brief verses God gives us a great lesson concerning guidance. We can build a great faith upon the foundation of knowing that He is willing to lead and guide us in everything.

Yet the Word of God says a person may be a believer who enjoys all the spiritual benefits of being a child of God and yet remain a stubborn mule when it comes to submitting to His ways of guiding and leading. God said of Israel, "Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways" (Psalm 95:10).

Think of what God was saying: "After forty long years of receiving My tender guidance and miraculous deliverances, they still don’t have the slightest idea of the way I work. They never even try to understand My principles of guidance. To them, My leadings are just a series of unrelated blessings, nothing more than open doors and escapes from crises."

Personally, I am tired of being a mule-headed Christian with no understanding of the principles of God’s leading. I do not want God to say of me, "Yes, David was forgiven. He prayed and I delivered him from trouble, time after time. Indeed, I led him in wonderful ways and My hand was upon him. But in his heart he never had a settled knowledge of My ways."

Beloved, don’t make the Lord be stern with you in His leadings. Don’t be as the mule, without understanding. God does not want to bark directions at His children or have to force us to do His bidding. God wants a people who know Him well enough to move at His slightest urging.
 

A SENSE OF UNWORTHINESS

by David Wilkerson | February 26, 2013

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Suddenly, we are plagued by a sense of unworthiness. We turn inward, thinking, "I did it again! I haven't changed at all. I'll never be Christlike. I still react like a babe, not a mature Christian. Why haven't I changed?"

Beloved, the devil wants you to keep worrying over your shortcomings and lack of growth, thinking the race is impossible, so that you will become discouraged and drop out.

It is certain that we will stumble at times because the race is going to continue until our Lord returns. But we must always get on our feet and continue moving on.

God's Word speaks of overcoming: "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world" (1 John 5:4). "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son" (Revelation 21:7).

To overcome is to "conquer and get the best of all temptations and obstacles." What are our obstacles? They are every new reaction in the flesh, every failure to be Christlike, every uprising of temper, bitterness or agitation.

David wrote, "My sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3). This man was exposed before the whole world as an adulterer and a murderer. He also wrote, "For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. . . . I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long" (Psalm 38:4-6).

What if David had worried and fretted over his failures? He repented wholeheartedly and therefore he could say, "Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness" (Psalm 30:11).

The fastest way to get rid of "a sense of unworthiness" is to trust in Christ's forgiveness. And He is ready to forgive at all times: "For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee" (Psalm 86:5).
 

LOOKING UNTO JESUS

by Gary Wilkerson | February 25, 2013

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I have been burdened for those of you presently going through trials, struggles or turmoil of soul. I want you to know that God sees you exactly where you are and He has not forgotten you; in fact, He has been walking beside you through your situation. He wants you to be aware of His great love for you and then He wants this knowledge to dispel any fear gripping your heart.

We do not need to be afraid to face the valleys in our lives, for God is with us. In the midst of these situations, He asks us to do only one thing: look to Him. He is our rock, our strong tower and our salvation. It is only in Him that we can hope—all other things will fail, but He is sure for all eternity.

Recently at a prison in Louisiana, I was privileged to minister alongside Pastor Jim Cymbala of Brooklyn Tabernacle. While those prisoners are not in an ideal situation, we heard testimony after testimony of lives that have been redeemed. Despite their outward bonds, they are truly living in the knowledge and hope of Christ’s love. Some are even asking to transfer to other prisons where they can share the Gospel. What an encouraging testimony of victorious, faith-filled living!

So, while you face your trial, know that Jesus is your answer. We will have difficulties in this life, but our great hope is in the completed work of Christ on the cross. He has taken all sin, sickness and sorrow upon Himself. He bears it all for us so that we may live a life of victory and hope. This ultimate act of love was made for you in your situation; the Lord wants to show His love and power in your life.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).

HAVING CHARITY

by David Wilkerson | February 22, 2013

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"For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. . . . Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously" (1 Peter 2:19-23).

Peter described how Jesus handled every situation in life. When people hurt and reviled Him, He did not fight back or threaten them. When they wanted to argue with Him, He did not get involved. Instead, He simply walked away.

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps" (verse 21). Peter makes it clear: Jesus is to be our example of behavior.

The apostle Paul adds, "If you don't have charity—that is, the love of Christ—you are nothing." According to 1 Corinthians 13, charity means showing kindness to everyone, with no exceptions . . . having no jealousy whatsoever . . . not boasting or promoting oneself . . . seeking others' interests above our own . . . not being easily provoked . . . not thinking evil of anyone . . . not rejoicing when someone falls, even an enemy.

Both Peter and Paul stated very clearly in these passages: "Our command to you is that there be no fighting back, no revenge, no threatening among you. Instead, commit all your agitations, fears and bitterness to Christ."

Our hearts may answer, "Lord, that's what I want." We may get a few victories under our belt and start to feel confident. Then, out of nowhere, someone says or does something that plunges an ugly, unexpected, acid arrow into us—and we have a quick rush of angry thoughts. Before we know it, we are shooting poisoned arrows back at the one who crossed us.

We realize we failed even though we had tried hard—praying, seeking God, clinging to truth, and enjoying many successes. When the enemy came in like a flood, we completely failed in our effort to be like Jesus.

"Let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). You simply must have patience with yourself and with your growth. After all, the race is going to continue until Jesus returns. Yes, you will stumble, trip and get winded, but if you fail, you will get up and move on.
 

ARE YOU MAD AT GOD?

by David Wilkerson | February 21, 2013

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I believe there is nothing more dangerous to a Christian than to carry around resentment against God. I am shocked by the growing number of believers who hold some kind of grudge against Him. Why? They are convinced He does not care because He hasn't answered a particular prayer or acted on their behalf.

Jonah had a missionary call from God and he went to Nineveh to preach the message of judgment he had received. After delivering the message, Jonah sat on a hillside, waiting for God to begin the judgment. But forty days passed and nothing had happened. Why? Because Nineveh had repented and God had changed His mind about destroying them!

Most rage against God begins with a disappointment. God may call us, burden us and send us. Then, when things do not go as we had planned, we may feel misled or betrayed. God understands our cries of pain and confusion. After all, our cry is a human one. And it is no different from Jesus' cry on the cross: "Father, why have You forsaken Me?"

If we continue nursing a peeved spirit, it will grow into rage. And God will ask us the same question He asked Jonah: "Doest thou well to be angry?" (Jonah 4:9). In other words, "Do you think you have a right to be so angry?"

Jonah answered, "I do well to be angry, even unto death" (same verse). This prophet was so full of rage at God, that he said, "I don't care whether I live or die. My ministry is a failure. I have every right to be angry with Him."

God's Word says there is hope. "Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 31:16). In other words, "Stop complaining. I'm going to reward your faithfulness."

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Beloved, your cries and prayers have not been in vain. All your pain and tears have been for a purpose. God is telling you, "You think it's all over. You see only your failure and ruin, with no results. So you say, ‘This is the end.’ But I say it is the beginning. I see the reward that I am about to pour out on you. I have good things in mind for you—wonderful things. So, stop your crying!"
 

TOTAL TRUST IN CHRIST

by David Wilkerson | February 20, 2013

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When I speak of total trust in Christ, I mean not only trust in His saving power, but trust in His keeping power. We must trust His Spirit to make our life conform to His—that is, to keep us in Christ.

At one time you were alienated, cut off from God by wicked works. So, what good work did you do to make things right with Him? None! No one has ever been able to make himself holy. Rather, we are brought into Christ's holiness by faith alone, by accepting what God's Word says: "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16).

Yes, He wants your practical, daily walk to measure up to your faith walk. But the fact is, we have to believe Him even for that. We must trust in His promise to give us the Holy Spirit and He will conform us to Christ's likeness in our daily walk.

"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith" (Colossians 1:21-23).

"If you continue in the faith." Please note that Jesus is saying, "Just continue trusting in Me, living by faith, and I will present you as clean and faultless, holy before the Father." That is the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost.

No one Christian is holier than another, because there are no degrees of holiness—only degrees of maturity in Christ. You can be a baby Christian and still be absolutely holy in Jesus. We are all measured by one standard—the holiness of Christ. If we are in Christ, His holiness is ours in equal measure.

You must never again look at another Christian leader or layperson and say, "Oh, I wish I were as holy as he is." You may not have that person's prayer life; you may make more mistakes than he does; but he is no more accepted by the Father than you are. You are to compare yourself to no one—because no one is more loved in the eyes of the Father than you!
 

THE ONLY WAY TO BECOME HOLY

by David Wilkerson | February 19, 2013

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It is impossible for any of us to achieve holiness in God's sight by our own strength or willpower. We must come to Him saying, "Lord, I have nothing to give You. You have to do it all."

Yet we remain convinced, "If I could just get victory over this one last, remaining sin, I'd be able to live holy." So we take in hand the sword of willpower, promises, and good intentions and set out to kill the enemy in our hearts. But we can never be holy while standing on the ground of self-righteousness.

You and I face the same burning bush Moses did. And that bush is a type of God's fiery zeal against all flesh brought into His presence masquerading as holiness. He says to us, "You cannot stand before Me on that kind of fleshly ground. There is only one holy ground and that is faith in My Son and His work on the cross."

This is the only way God ever could have saved and reconciled a whole world. If our works merited our salvation, only a select number would be candidates for salvation—but I believe Christ died for all.

We can behold the worst thief, rapist, murderer, drug addict or alcoholic—people who have no good works at all—and testify, "By repentance and faith, they can be presented righteous in Christ Jesus."

That is the true, saving power of God. Yet many Christians live as if their works are sufficient. On judgment day, they will stand before God in their flesh, saying, "Look at everything I've done for you, Lord. I've worked to stay clean and holy. I've prophesied, fed the poor, healed the sick, cast out demons. And I've done it all to please You!"

But God will answer, "You did none of those things through the power of My Spirit. You did them all in your own strength. I accept the righteousness of only one Man—My Son. And I do not see My Son in you."

"Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
 

DO NOT BE AFRAID

by Gary Wilkerson | February 18, 2013

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“Do not be afraid . . . for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30, ESV).

When God announces to us that this is the year of His favor, He means this year. God is speaking to you about finding His favor now—this month, this week, today.

When I preached this message on God’s favor at The Springs Church in Colorado Springs, an alcoholic woman was sitting in the service. She heard the Holy Spirit speak to her heart: “Although you have been in despair, My favor is on you. You will see a 180-degree turn in your life.” The woman gave her all to the Lord in that service—and she has been sober now for months.

In New York City, a young man who had been homeless for a year stumbled into Times Square Church. He sat through the service, but when it was over he left, thinking, “I hate this place. I won’t be coming back here.” Yet something pulled him back. He came again the next week and the same thing happened. Again he left, saying, “I’m never coming back.”

This pattern repeated itself and finally, after a full year, the young man again rose from his seat as the service ended. Only this time he said, “I love you, Jesus, and I need You in my life.” He went to the altar and gave his life to Christ.

The pastors at Times Square Church sensed a calling on this young man’s life. They helped him go to Bible school, where he turned out to be a brilliant student. He finished with a 4.0 grade point average and enrolled in seminary, completing a three-year degree in only eighteen months. He was asked to stay on at the seminary as a professor, but he declined, saying, “No, I’m a pastor.”

The same day I delivered this message at The Springs Church, that young man was preaching at Times Square Church. God’s favor had fallen on a homeless, insignificant life—and He made all the difference!

Let this truth begin a song in your heart, as it did with Mary. God is conceiving something new, transforming your trial into His glory. You may not feel His presence, but He has His hand over you. Trust Him with everything—your heart, your family, your situation—and you will see His glory.
 

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