Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

BEHOLDING THE FACE OF CHRIST

by David Wilkerson | May 30, 2013

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Paul speaks of a ministry that does not require particular gifts or talents; rather, it is to be undertaken by all who have been born again. This ministry is every believer's first calling and no ministry can be pleasing to God unless it is birthed out of this calling.

I am talking about the ministry of beholding the face of Christ. Paul says, "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

What does it mean to behold the Lord's glory? Paul is speaking here of devoted, focused worship, time that is given to God simply to behold Him. And the apostle quickly adds, "Therefore seeing we have this ministry" (4:1). Paul makes it clear that beholding the face of Christ is a ministry we all must devote ourselves to.

The Greek word for beholding in the verse above is a very strong expression. It indicates not just taking a look, but "fixing the gaze." It means deciding, "I won't move from this position. Before I do anything else, before I try to accomplish a single thing, I must be in God's presence."

Many Christians misinterpret the phrase "beholding as in a glass." They think of a mirror, with Jesus' face being reflected back to them. But that is not Paul's meaning here. He is speaking of an intensely focused gaze, as if peering at something earnestly through a glass, trying to see it more clearly. We are to "fix our eyes" this way, determined to see God's glory in the face of Christ. We are to shut ourselves in the holy of holies with but one obsession: to gaze so intently, and to commune with such devotion, that we are changed.

What happens as a believer beholds the face of Christ? Paul writes, "We . . . are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The Greek word for changed here is "metamorphosed," meaning transformed, transfigured. Everyone who often fixes his gaze intently on Christ is being metamorphosed. A transfiguration is taking place. That person is continually being changed into the likeness and character of Jesus.
 

SOMETHING WORSE THAN FAILURE

by David Wilkerson | May 29, 2013

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I sat in my car weeping, thinking I was a terrible failure. I had been unceremoniously dumped from a courtroom after I thought I was led by God to witness to seven teenaged murderers. I shudder to think of how much blessing I would have missed had I given up in that dark hour. How glad I am today that God taught me to face my failure and go on to His next steps for me.

I know two outstanding men of God—both of whom had ministered to thousands—who fell into the sin that David committed with Bathsheba. One minister decided that he could not go on and today he drinks and curses the Christ he once preached about. The other man repented and started all over. He now heads an international missions program that reaches thousands for Christ. His failure has been left behind and he keeps moving forward.

In my work with addicts and incorrigibles, I have observed that the majority of those who return to their old habits become stronger than all the others when they face their failures and return to the Lord. They have a special awareness of the power of Satan and a total rejection of confidence in the flesh.

When Adam sinned, he tried to hide from God. When Jonah refused to preach to Nineveh, his fear drove him into the ocean to flee from the presence of the Lord. When Peter denied Christ, he was afraid to face Him.

God has shown me a truth that has helped me many times: Something much worse than failure is the fear that goes with it. Adam, Jonah and Peter ran away from God not because they had lost their love for Him, but because they were afraid He was too angry with them to understand. Satan uses such fear to make people think there is no use trying.

If David had resigned himself to failure, we might never have heard of him again. Yet, he ran into the house of God, laid hold of the horns of the altar, found forgiveness and peace, and returned to his finest hour. And the same can be true for you!
 

CONSIDER THE FAILURES

by David Wilkerson | May 28, 2013

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Would you consider Moses a failure? Hardly! He was to Israel what Washington and Lincoln together were to America—and much more. But look closely at the great lawgiver's life. His career began with a murder, followed by forty years of hiding from justice.

Moses was a man of fear and unbelief. When God called him to lead the Israelites out of slavery, he pleaded, "I am not eloquent . . . I am slow of speech” (Exodus 4:10). All his life, Moses longed to enter the Promised Land, but his failures kept him out. Even so, in Hebrews 3:1-2, God compares Moses' faithfulness to Christ's. Moses’ failures did not keep him out of God's Hall of Champions.

We usually think of Jacob as the great prayer warrior who wrestled with the angel of the Lord and prevailed. Yet this man's life was filled with glaring failure. As a youth Jacob deceived his blind father in order to steal his brother's inheritance. He despised his wife Leah while he nursed a great secret love for her sister, Rachel. He did not accept his responsibility as a husband.

Here was a man caught in a web of trickery, theft, unfaithfulness and polygamy. Nevertheless, we still worship the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob.

King David, a mighty warrior and singer of psalms, delighted in the law of the Lord and posed as the righteous man who would not stand among sinners. Yet, how shocking are the weaknesses of this great man. Taking Bathsheba from her husband Uriah, he sent that unsuspecting man to death at the front lines of his army. The prophet Nathan declared that this double sin gave great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.

Picture the great king standing by the casket of his dead illegitimate child, a stolen wife at his side, and a world filled with enemies who cursed God because of his notorious sins. Yet, God called David a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).

If you are discouraged by your failures, I have good news for you. No one is closer to the kingdom of God than the man or woman who can look defeat in the eye, face it, and move on to a life of peace and victory. Despite failure, keep moving on! It is often after a failure that a man does his greatest work for God.
 

A TRUE JESUS MOVEMENT

by Gary Wilkerson | May 27, 2013

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What hurting man, woman or child wouldn’t run to a place where lifelong troubles are answered by God, where deep, miraculous healing takes place? That is truly a “Jesus Movement.” And it does not happen by plans, ingenuity or organized events; it happens when God shows up. Wherever His glory manifests, whether through faithful preaching or a simple testimony, people will run to taste it.

The people “ran together to them” (Acts 3:11). There is great significance in this word “together.” These people were not scrambling to get past one another. They went as one, each humbled by the majestic power of God’s presence.

God’s glory has that effect. It unifies us in awe. Indeed, that is God’s desire for us—to set aside our differences, forgive offenses, and go to those who need our forgiveness or who need to forgive us.

We cannot expect a glorious, awe-inspiring God to move in our midst if we cling to a tongue that speaks evil, a heart that stews on grudges, a spirit that refuses to forgive another. Why would nonbelievers run to a church where malice and division rule? God’s acts of glory knit our hearts together—but how can we be knit if we refuse to lay down our divisions?

Why is God’s glory manifested in some churches and people but not in others? Peter provides an answer in the scene at the Temple. He told those marveling people, “Men of Israel . . . the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus” (Acts 3:12-13).

God has placed all His majesty, glory and power in one source: Christ. His glory is not made known in smart and powerful men or through brilliant plans and ingenious strategies. His glory is found in a single source: Jesus.

If we want Christ’s glory in our lives and in our churches, it is not going to come through our strength or schemes. It is going to come by emptying ourselves out that He may fill us. We must say with John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
 

THIS POOR MAN CRIED

by David Wilkerson | May 24, 2013

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In the very first verse of Psalm 51 we read that David appeals to the tender, forgiving mercies of God: "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions."

David knew what to do: "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles" (Psalm 34:6). "The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles" (Psalm 34:17).

Dear saint, this is your victory over sin: the absolute confidence that no matter how grievously you have sinned or fallen, you serve a Lord who is ready to forgive, anxious to heal, and possesses more lovingkindness toward you than you could ever need.

The devil comes to you and says, "No! If you get off the hook too easily, you'll jump right back into sin." He will make you feel miserable, unworthy to lift your hands in praise to God, or even to pick up His Word.

But here is your weapon: Cry out as David did, with all of your heart. Go to God and say to Him, "Lord, You love me. I know You are ready to forgive me. I confess!"

At that very moment, you are clear with God. You don't have to pay for your sin. God loves you so much that He gave His Son, who has already paid for it. A merciful, loving advocate is yearning to help and deliver you: "My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).

My young granddaughter wanted to walk atop a low concrete wall. As I held her from behind, she tried to knock my hand away. I let go and eventually she fell (but without hurting herself). When she fell, I didn't desert her and say, "Look at what you did. You're not mine anymore!"

The Lord said to me, "David, you allow yourself such love for this child, but you won't allow Me to love you in the same way. You swell with pride over your children but you won't allow Me to do so on your behalf!"

The Bible says God takes pleasure in His children!
 

THE TERROR OF THE LORD

by David Wilkerson | May 23, 2013

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I used to say, "Don't come forward to be saved just because you are afraid of hell. Just come in simple faith." But I was wrong. The apostle Paul said, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men"(2 Corinthians 5:11). There is a godly fear that leads to repentance.

It is true that hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. It is also true that Christians are saved by unmerited grace, and that faith in Christ is the believer's security.

With God’s help, I have once and for all dropped out of the fatal race of carnality and worldly-mindedness. I have quit the competition race! I no longer run in flesh-motivated, ego-tripping, man-pleasing races.

I want to do more than simply give up mental attachment to things, houses, cars, lands, possessions. I want the power and grace to curb my appetites, to lay aside all the junk, to sell what I don't need, to quit buying and building and acquiring unneeded things, and to get my eyes so focused on Christ and eternity, the things of this world will lose their hold on me, and materialism will no longer be my master.

Beloved, if this message does not sit well with you, if it angers or upsets you even in the slightest, perhaps you should do what I have been doing lately. Get shut in with God, day after day, and ask the Holy Spirit to turn God's holy searchlight on your soul. Get deadly honest with God. You will soon discover, as I have, how much time you have wasted, how many foolish lusts and wants have crippled you, and you will fall on your face before holy God and confess the coldness and emptiness in your heart.

If you do this with an honest heart, you will begin to thank God for pricking your conscience and stirring you to run a different race.

Saints of God, very soon our Lord is coming in clouds of glory to catch up His bride—a bride without spot or wrinkle. A bride purged of covetousness, pride and worldly ambition.

Shall we spend our final hours on earth putting money in bags with holes in them? No thanks! I'm just passing through. I want no more roots to hold me down. Thank God for the good things He has given me—my family, a nice house, modern transportation—but daily I now prepare my heart to walk away from it all to be embraced in the Savior's arms!
 

THE FATAL RACE

by David Wilkerson | May 22, 2013

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The word race suggests competition and in Hebrews 12:1, God’s people are likened to runners in a long-distance race. Today, the race has been corrupted and the prize has become carnal.

If we could spend just a few minutes in heaven, we would never again compete in a carnal race. If only we could experience a short walk within the gates of that city of God; drink in the peace, the beauty, the heavenly splendors; listen to the grand choirs of angels singing the glories of the Lord; mingle with the patriarchs, the martyrs, the apostles, those who came out of great tribulation; visit with departed loved ones; feel the glow of God's holy light; and best of all, catch a glimpse of the face of the resurrected Lamb of God and feel the glory and warmth and sense of security shining forth from His presence!

Would we ever come back to this earth and take up the fatal race again? Never! You and I would live only for the Lord, rejecting the world and all its pleasures and carnal things. We would run His race!

If we could spend even a few minutes in hell, we would never be the same. Imagine what it would be like to be drawn into that black furnace of fire and everlasting darkness; to suddenly be cast into a demonic world of godlessness, cursing, hatred, lust, and corruption; to hear the groans of the eternally damned and witness their terror, their gnashing teeth; to rub shoulders with the workers of iniquity, the crucifiers of the Lord Jesus; to listen to the endless sounds of hopeless, useless prayers of the damned, shaking their fists at the God of justice, cursing the day they were born; to feel what being lost means, cut off from God and truth and love and peace and all comfort.

How could you return to earth from your short visit to hell and ever be the same again? Would you go back to neglecting God's Word, His house, His love? Would you go about your selfish pursuits of accumulating, hoarding gold and silver, and praying for even more? I hardly think so. No, you and I would live every hour as if it were our last.

Do you want to quit running and beating the air in vain? Set your face and heart to seek the Lord as never before!
 

WAITING ON HIM

by David Wilkerson | May 21, 2013

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The prophet Samuel's command to King Saul was, "Go to Gilgal and wait . . . I will come and you will get directions" (see 1 Samuel 10:8). Saul’s only responsibility was to wait! God wanted to hear Saul say, "God keeps His word: never once has a word from Samuel's lips fallen to the ground. God said I should wait for directions and I will wait.”

But pride reasons, "God must not have meant it. Maybe I heard it wrong.” Instead of standing on God's word, we start trying to figure out things on our own. Lying in bed in the late hours we say, "Lord, here's how I see it can be done." It is wicked to do something very logical and reasonable when it is not God's clear word of direction. If you want to prove anything to God, prove you will patiently wait for Him to act.

"And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; therefore said I, the Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord; I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly . . . now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee" (1 Samuel 13:11-14).

Saul waited seven days—but that wait was unholy. He was impatient, angry, fearful and pouting. We must wait with faith, believing that God cares for us and loves us, that He will be there on His time. This matter of waiting is so important that I must show you some Scriptures to prove it.

"And is shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the Lord, we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation" (Isaiah 25:9).

"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him (Isaiah 64:4).
 

SHOW US YOUR GLORY

by Gary Wilkerson | May 20, 2013

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Peter and John were walking to the Temple when they encountered a crippled beggar. Hearing the man’s pleas for alms, Peter responded, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3:6, ESV).

The beggar was healed instantly! It was a miracle that had a resounding effect: “While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s” (3:11). Here was yet another amazing scene of God’s glory manifesting.

The healed man “clung” to Peter and John. The image here is of someone hanging on for dear life, clutching unashamedly. It is as if this man was saying, “God’s presence is real! I have sat here for years, begging for help, but I never experienced anything like this. He has stirred my soul beyond anything I’ve ever known!”

God loves a heart that clings to Him and pursues Him crying, “Lord, Your glory is too great to let it pass by. I cling to the hope You give me—hope for healing, for transformation, for Your presence in my life and my world.”

“All the people” came to see what had happened (3:11). When God reveals His glory in power, the response will not be trifling. The greatness of His power demands the attention of everyone around.

Suppose this beggar’s miraculous healing had happened at the church where I pastor. We would not be able to buy enough chairs to accommodate the throngs that would come. I am not referring only to gawkers who love a spectacle. We are all hungry for the touch of God in our lives. Believers and nonbelievers alike are hurting today, wandering like sheep without a shepherd, hungering for what is real. So when God’s glory manifests, bringing newness of life, it draws the attention of all, not just a few.

“All the people [were] utterly astounded” (3:11). When the people saw that the beggar was healed, they marveled, “Nothing we know compares to this. Surely God is in this place!”

Let me ask: Do you want more from your life in God? Do you want His glory to come into your home, your marriage, your children’s lives, and transform things so that all are astounded? Guess what—that is what God wants! He wants you to be astounded by His glory and transformed by it. And He wants the world around you to be amazed as His glorious power brings new life to situations where defeat has been the rule.
 

ENDLESS COMPASSION

by David Wilkerson | May 17, 2013

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A lovely, 19-year-old nurse stopped me after a crusade service. Tearfully, she sobbed out a pitiful confession: "Mr. Wilkerson, I'm a lesbian. I feel so dirty and unclean. The church where I used to attend asked me to never return. The minister said he couldn't take a chance of my seducing others in his congregation. I feel like suicide is my only way out. I live in total fear and condemnation. Must I kill myself to find peace?"

She kept backing away from me as if she felt too unclean to be in my presence. I asked her if she still loved Jesus. "Oh, yes," she replied. "Every waking hour, my heart cries out to Him. I love Christ with everything in me but I'm bound by this terrible habit."

How beautiful it was to see her face light up when I told her how much God loved her, even in her struggles. I told her, "Don't ever give yourself over to your sin. God draws a line right where you are. Any momentum toward Him is accounted as righteousness. Any move back across that line, away from Him, is sin. If we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. Keep your spiritual momentum! Keep loving Jesus even though you still do not have total victory. Accept His daily forgiveness. Live one day at a time! Be convinced Jesus loves sinners so He must love you, too!"

She smiled a smile of relief and said, "Mr. Wilkerson, you are the first minister who ever offered me a ray of hope. Deep in my heart I know He still loves me and I know He will give me deliverance from this bondage. But I have been so condemned by everybody. Thanks for your message of hope and love."

Reader of this message, are you living under condemnation? Have you sinned against the Lord? Have you grieved the Holy Spirit in your life? Are you waging a losing battle with an overpowering temptation?

All you need to do is search God's Word and you will discover a God of mercy, love and endless compassion. David said, "If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared" (Psalm 130:3-4).
 

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