Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH

by Gary Wilkerson | March 25, 2013

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A lot of Christians today are worn down from their efforts to ward off sin. They pour all their energies into it until they’re drained of every last ounce of joy. The victory Christ has won for them gets lost in their dogged efforts to establish a righteousness of their own.

Righteousness that is pursued by anything other than faith will always fail. You see, there cannot be God’s righteousness and our righteousness. That would mean there are two Gospels: His and ours. We cannot mix our self-righteousness with God’s holy righteousness.

Maybe you wonder, “But aren’t we supposed to put forth some effort? Doesn’t the Bible say we’re to avoid sin?” The only way to avoid sin is through Jesus! He is not just a truth you accept; He is the living God and your Sanctifier. His sanctifying work in you never stops day or night.

Paul answers the question of self-effort in Romans 9 when he speaks of a people who actually attained righteousness: “[The] Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith” (Romans 9:30, ESV). These people did not get worn down by their own efforts nor were they weighed down by their failures. They put all their faith in Jesus’ work for them on the cross—and they were sustained by His abundant life.

“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). Christ is the end. There is nothing else! “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16). These verses have brought freedom to all generations of believers.

Friend, are you worn down from trying to do better? Are you weary of the endless cycle of recommitment and failure? Put it all behind you! Let all your striving cease. Your right standing with the Lord does not depend on your will but on God, who has mercy. Trust in Him alone for your victory.
 

AN UNUSUAL WORD

by David Wilkerson | March 22, 2013

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Recently the Holy Spirit gave me an unusual word, one that I did not want to hear! He said, "You are bound to a very limited vision of the Lord’s ocean of tender, loving mercies. You have endured much guilt, condemnation and fear because you have not allowed the Holy Spirit to reveal the vastness of My forgiving, healing, reconciling mercies. You do not know Me for My tenderness!"

God showed me that this is a root cause for many giving up and falling away. When sin strikes—when Satan comes in like a flood, when you fall into some old habit or sin—the devil creates a bondage. First, the guilt comes flooding in, then fear fills your heart. A sense of total failure and helplessness overwhelms your soul. At this point, most believers run out of grace—because their view of God’s mercy is so limited.

Satan comes to you and says, "You’ve reached your limit. You’ve confessed your sin time after time. There is no way God will forgive you now, because you’ve sinned against the light. If you return and confess once more, you’ll turn around and sin all over again. So quit now!"

The devil does not want you to see God’s ocean of mercy; he wants you to see only a trickle! Because of our ignorance of the forgiving, restoring power of Christ’s love, we are destroyed. We run out of mercy for ourselves because we are horribly bound by a limited vision. Our eyes have not yet been opened to the endless mercies of our tender Father! We are so bound by a false, limited view of His mercies, we find it almost impossible to believe or accept what James said: "[We] have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful (full of compassion), and of tender mercy" (James 5:11).

This verse means, "God is easily crushed by our troubles and hurts. He feels our pain and our failures, and He is kind and compassionate to us. He loved us even when we were His enemy. Even when we offend Him, He is quick to help, restore and forgive us.”

The word mercy means "kind and compassionate treatment of an offender under one's power." God has the power to damn us to hell every time we sin; He has us under His control and can do with us as He pleases. And it pleases His tender heart to be compassionate, loving and kind toward those who have failed Him the most.
 

FIRM TO THE END

by David Wilkerson | March 21, 2013

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Unbelief in even its slightest form is hateful to God. It is a damning sin, one that destroys the soul. It hinders God's work in us and is the sin behind all departure from God.

You can be totally weaned from all worldly possessions and long for Jesus' coming. You can sit under strong preaching and sing God's praises in His house. And you can devour the Word of God every day. But unless you are praying, "Oh, God, let me hear this word in my inner man; let me believe I can apply it and that it will become life to me," then it has no effect whatsoever. What you hear must be mingled with faith.

"But the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Hebrews 4:2). Let those words sink in: "Unless what you read and hear preached is mixed with faith, it is of no value to you!"

Scripture says, "[Jesus] was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house" (Hebrews 3:2). In what way was their faithfulness measured? How were they truly faithful in all things?

They were counted faithful because they never doubted the heavenly Father's word to them. They knew that God would do what He said. You see, faithfulness is simply believing that God will keep His Word.

In this sense, Jesus and Moses held “the beginning of [their] confidence steadfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:14). They did not have an up-and-down, hot-and-cold kind of faith. Their faith never wavered!

Just as Jesus was faithful in His confidence in the Father, our faithfulness will be measured by the same standard: "But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end" (Hebrews 3:6).

As our trials increase and the battle grows more intense, our flesh can become weary. Over time, many Christians allow fear and doubt to creep in. They lose their abandonment to God, their childlike faith in Him, and questioning invades their hearts.

As I look down the road that remains of my life, I see limited time. And I want more than anything to be rejoicing in hope, firm to the end.

THE WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

by David Wilkerson | March 20, 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 fulfilled in great measure in the ministry of John the Baptist. An angel appeared to John’s father and prophesied that his son 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: "And 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" (verse 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 was anointed with the same fearless Spirit and power which was upon Elijah. He spoke openly about the sins of disobedient, pleasure-seeking people of his day. Christ was soon to appear and this mighty man of truth suddenly came on the scene 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) to the Lord. 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 to 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 Elijah 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). These are the watchmen upon the walls, "which shall never hold their peace day nor night . . . and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth" (Isaiah 62:6-7).

THE ABIDING BELIEVER

by David Wilkerson | March 19, 2013

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"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love" (John 15:10). Jesus faithfully obeyed every commandment of His Father and He called that abiding.

Some Christians think they can pick and choose which commandments of Christ to obey. If they don't like what is commanded, they simply ignore it or explain away their disobedience with, "I just don't see it that way; I don't believe it like that." If people do not like a pastor’s call to be holy, they just leave and go looking for a pastor who will accentuate the positive. That is why the terrible plague of apathy is sweeping over the church today. We have been so afraid of works, so riled up about legalism, that we have given obedience a bad name.

How is it possible for a branch in Him not to abide? Jesus said: "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (verse 6). Can it be any clearer? Abiding includes rest and responsibility. It is possible to be in Him, connected to the vine, and not have a flow of life with which to bear fruit. Abiding has to do with absolute obedience to the commandments of Christ because every branch has a free will—a life force in it. The branch is not passive; it must draw out the life from the vine. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you" (verse 7). This brings out that the Word is the Father's pruning knife. How can any branch bear fruit if the Word of the Lord is ignored, unknown, neglected?

We see the fruits of dryness springing up all over the Lord's vineyard—adultery, fornication, drinking, drugs—because the pruning process has stopped with so many. The word of God is His knife, a two-edged sword. The majority of Christians today do not know the Word of God because they do not read it. It is impossible to bear the fruit of righteousness without His Word abiding in you. Neglect of the Word is causing barrenness and bringing a terrible withering to God's people.

The abiding believer is one who loves and fears God, who hungers for the Word and trembles at His power of conviction. He delights in having the Word prune away all hindrances, prays that the very life and likeness of Christ will be ever-increasing in him, and grows more and more mature in obedience and love.
 

CHRIST IS THE END

by Gary Wilkerson | March 18, 2013

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Paul uses Israel as an example to teach what true righteousness is. “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:1-4, ESV).

Paul’s text challenges us with several questions. Does being justified make us righteous? Yes, in the sense that justification positions us as righteous. Does being sanctified make us righteous? Yes, in the sense that sanctification is the process of experiencing Christ’s righteousness functioning in our daily lives. Jesus is our source for both justification and sanctification; we attain both through His gift of grace.

Most Christians give lip service to all this, saying, “Jesus is my source for everything.” But does their walk actually reflect that? The sad truth is, many Christians live as if justification comes from God alone—and as if sanctification is accomplished through their daily performance. It’s as if they say, “I have attained grace through faith in Jesus. Now I have to conduct a relentless personal campaign to be sanctified.”

In a sense, they are telling God they want to pay Him back for His great gift to them: “Thanks for justifying me, Lord. You’ve put me in right standing with You through the cross and in return, I’ll be sanctified by obeying You. You do the first half of the work and I’ll do the second half.”

This mindset leads straight to a life of bondage. How many times have you driven by a church marquee that reads, “CHRIST DIED FOR YOU. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR HIM?” It has become pervasive throughout the church.

Jesus was crucified, buried and rose on the third day that we might have eternal life. What could we possibly do in return for that? Tithe? Go to prayer meetings? Evangelize more? That’s pretty much what Israel tried to do. They “pursued a law that would lead to righteousness” (Romans 9:31, ESV). They tried to engage their wills to achieve righteousness, but they could never attain it.

This verse has brought freedom to all generations of believers: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (10:4). Christ is the end. There is nothing else! “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16).
 

 

EXPECT CHURCH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

by World Challenge Staff | March 16, 2013

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New York City
April 24-25

Speakers
Gary Wilkerson
Francis Chan
Carter Conlon
Tullian Tchividjian

http://expectconferences.org/conference/2013-new-york-city-pastors-confe...

BETTER THAN AT YOUR BEGINNINGS

by David Wilkerson | March 15, 2013

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 "I . . . will do better unto you than at your beginnings" (Ezekiel 36:11). This is a promise of a great work of God—greater than Pentecost—that will occur in these last days.

Think back to your spiritual "beginnings," when you first got saved. You were so happy and excited about Jesus. Now God is saying to you, "I'm going to do better than that for you!" He is going to do better things in the church than ever before. Better than the Red Sea? Better than Elijah calling down fire from heaven and shutting down rain? Yes, God has something better.

"What could be better?" you ask. "Our very faith is built on these great examples." Beloved, we are going to see the fullest revelation of Jesus Christ in the history of mankind. And here is the greatness of such a miracle: God is going to take the filthiest, most perverse generation of all time—a generation with the stoniest hearts in history—and clean them up, give them loving hearts, and turn them into a holy flock "I will increase them with men like a flock. As the holy flock . . ." (Ezekiel 36:37-38). God is going to save a "flock"—a great multitude—of men and women. We will see sinners from every walk of life saved: Jews, Muslims, rich, poor, murderers, people of all backgrounds.

You say, "That's not a new thing. Wicked sinners have always been cleansed by Christ. God's been doing that since the cross." True, but remember, sin is increasing; wickedness is growing worse and worse. And where sin abounds, God's grace abounds much more.

At the Red Sea, the devil was advancing and threatening to pounce on God's people. The difference today is, he already has prevailed against the backslidden church, capturing and enslaving millions: "Because they have . . . swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen . . . and are an infamy of the people" (Ezekiel 36:3).

But now, God is going to move in for this reason: "Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession" (verse 2). Satan and his crowd have mocked and laughed, saying, "We have destroyed the work of Christ on earth!" But God says, "For My name's sake, I'm going to do a mighty deliverance."

You will need faith to understand this miracle, because it is going to come at the neediest, most critical time in the history of the Church. God will cause His flock to walk in righteousness. He will bring down such conviction that believers will literally loathe their past sins. "I will multiply men upon you... [you] will increase and bear fruit . . . and [I] will do better unto you than at your beginnings” (Ezekiel 36:10-11).

DO THEM AGAIN

by David Wilkerson | March 14, 2013

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When Israel came up out of the Red Sea, they sang praises to God for the mighty deliverance He provided. They must have said to each other, "Never could there be so great a miracle as this! No other generation in all of future history will ever witness so mighty a demonstration of God's power—and in such a visible way.”

David looked back to Israel's miraculous deliverance at the Red Sea and said, "Come and see the works of God: he is terrible [awesome] in his doing toward the children of men. He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him" (Psalm 66:5-6).

Israel was commanded to tell each succeeding generation about God's great miracle-working power on their behalf. They were to use their deliverance at the Red Sea as their example, "shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done" (Psalm 78:4).

As a child, David must have sat enthralled as he heard the story told over and over again. Now David told his children the same story: "You know God lives because He took our forefathers through the Red Sea on dry ground. Now, tell it to your children and your grandchildren!" And they did.

It was not enough just to talk about what God had done in the distant past. The psalmist wanted to see God deliver His people now: "We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old. How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand" (Psalm 44:1-2).

The psalmist is saying here, "Lord, all my life I've heard about what You did in the past, how these incredible scenes of Your glory were visibly manifested to my fathers. My children have heard of it, and now my grandchildren will hear of it."

The psalmist then burst out: "Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob" (verse 4). In other words: "But, God, you are my King also. Do these things again for Your people!"

As this psalm was being written, Israel was in a time of great trial. God's people faced a great crisis and they needed a present-day deliverance. So the psalmist came to the Lord with strong reasoning, crying out to the Lord: "Oh, Lord, Your children at the Red Sea may have thought there could never be a crisis like theirs again. We need a powerful manifestation of Your mighty, outstretched arm to deliver. Lord, do it again today!"
 

A TROUBLED HEART

by David Wilkerson | March 13, 2013

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Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). But the fact is, many Christians do have troubled hearts and they live in fear. Jesus also said in the same verse, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." Yet few believers can honestly say they enjoy constant peace of mind. For many, peace comes and goes, leaving them worried, restless and battered by stress.

Here is what Zacharias prophesied of the coming Messiah: "That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life" (Luke 1:74-75).

Beloved, Jesus came to this earth and died for sinful man so that we could walk with God without fear, enjoying His peace all the days of our lives.

No fear, just peace of mind and heart for all of our days! This includes good and bad days, days of suffering, turmoil, testing and uncertainty. No matter what comes our way, we are to enjoy peace at all times.

Zacharias added these words about Jesus: "To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (verse 79). He was saying that Jesus would guide all His children into the path of peace, not into restlessness, emptiness or fear.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. At His birth the angels sang, “Peace on earth!” His gospel is called the gospel of peace and He promised of Himself, "In Me ye [shall] have peace" (John 16:33). Peace is what the gospel is all about. "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:36).

In this world we will face tribulation, persecution and fiery trials—"without were fightings, within were fears," according to Paul (2 Corinthians 7:5). We will be tempted, we will suffer for the sake of Christ, and the winds of adversity will try to topple the house of faith we build on the Rock of our salvation—Jesus—but we will walk in peace because of Him.
 

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