Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

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.
 

STRENGTH TO STAND

by David Wilkerson | March 12, 2013

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The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Without it, we have no power to stand. Beloved, we must be on guard, because guilt and condemnation over sin absolutely destroy the joy of the Lord!

Many Christians are in this bondage right now. They fail to accept full and free pardon and believe they have no right to be joyful. Throughout Scripture, God pours out His oil of gladness on those who have learned to hate their sin and love His righteousness. That's what the Word says of Jesus: "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows" (Hebrews 1:9)

People who have laid down their sins and are walking with the Lord may have a struggle that is yet unsettled. But there is such a drawing toward the Lord in them, such a hunger, that the outcome is inevitable: they will have joy!

Suppose Jesus appears in the flesh, dressed as an ordinary man, and sits next to you. A wounded, defeated Christian, wearing a look of gloom, guilt, condemnation and fear, you fail to recognize Him as He begins to talk to you:

"Do you really love the Lord?" He asks.
You probably would answer, "Very much so!"
"You've sinned, haven't you?"
"Y-y-yes," you answer.
"Do you believe He forgives all who confess and turn from their sin?"
"Yes, but . . . I'm sorry, sir. I believe I've hurt my Savior, truly wounded Him."
"If you’ve confessed, why haven't you received His forgiveness??"
"I've done it so many times!"
"Do you believe He will forgive 499 times—each time you confess and repent?"
"Yes."
"Do you hate your sin? Do you still want Him?"
"Oh, yes!"
"Then why are you letting the devil rob you of the victory of the cross, the power of the blood of the Lamb? Why aren't you appropriating His joy and looking up?"

Beloved, don't quit and give up your joy in the Lord. You have a right to praise Him—to sing, shout and be happy in the Lord—because you have a Father who forgives!

 

THE PURSUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

by Gary Wilkerson | March 11, 2013

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Have you pursued righteousness without success? Have you said, “That’s the last time I’ll commit this sin,” only to commit it the next day? Have you prayed, “Lord, whatever it takes, I’m going to stir up zeal in my heart,” only to cool off and fall into your old habits? When you didn’t succeed, did you try harder? And did you keep failing?

At some point in all this you may have wondered, “Why didn’t God help me? I have such a passion to be righteous, but I fail time after time.” So, where is God when it comes to our sanctification? Where is His help when it comes to leading a holy life?

“They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2, ESV). Paul was saying that Israel was wrong in their view of God’s righteousness. They thought they needed only to know what to do, but Paul says that attaining righteousness is about Who we know. Like Israel, by faith in Christ we have access to God’s all-prevailing righteousness. But we can reject that access as easily as they did—by relying on our performance instead of on faith in Jesus’ work for us.

God will not bless an effort to establish one’s own righteousness. He blesses only the work of His Son, Jesus. We are sanctified—our holy walk is sustained—only by faith in Christ and His shed blood on our behalf. In this way, Paul says, Israel refused to “submit to God’s righteousness.” How often do we tell ourselves, “I can live righteously,” but then we do not trust in Jesus’ provision for righteousness? Here are four indications that we are zealous for our own righteousness instead of God’s:

  • We get angry when we fail. We think, “I expect better of myself.”
  • We get proud when we succeed. We tell ourselves, “I’m more spiritual than before.”
  • We judge others’ failures. We think, “Thank God, I’m not like him.”
  • We get jealous of others’ successes. We think, “Why doesn’t my pursuit of righteousness work like theirs?"

When we fail, we ratchet up our efforts. The problem is, we didn’t establish our righteousness in the first place—God did. Being restored to right standing with Him does not happen because of anything we do. It happens by faith in Him. This calls for a repentant heart and brokenness—a humble acknowledgment that His power alone restores us to right standing.

 

BRINGING THE BEST TO THE LORD

by David Wilkerson | March 8, 2013

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In the Old Testament, people could not approach the altar with a lamb that was blemished or blind or lame. They had to bring their very best to the Lord.

What kind of time do you bring before the Lord in prayer? Is it your best time, your wide-awake time? Or, rather, do you come to God in the morning to pray about holy things with your mind full of what needs to be done that day? Or do you come to Him weary and tired after a busy day, dragging yourself into His presence?

Beloved, your mind and heart must be where your lips are! Isaiah spoke of the kind of "burnt offerings and sacrifices . . . accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer" (Isaiah 56:7). Those who bring acceptable sacrifices are those who "join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord" (verse 6).

This acceptable sacrifice made at God's altar is not a lame, halfhearted, sleepy-eyed sacrifice, a last-minute obligatory offering. Rather, it comes from a heart that is consumed with love for Jesus, one that constantly cries out, "God, I come to You today to know You. I want more of You!"

The Lord says of those who bring such sacrifices: "I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer" (verse 7). He will hear our prayers and bring us to a place of holiness, joy and power!

"Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart” (Psalm 119:2).

Once you have established a prayer habit and have shut out all distractions, God desires that you seek Him with all your heart: "But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29).

 

THE CLOSET OF PRAYER

by David Wilkerson | March 7, 2013

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Jeremiah prophesied that all shepherds who refuse to seek God in prayer will fail: "For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the Lord: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered" (Jeremiah 10:21).

The scene Jeremiah described is exactly what we are seeing today in the church. Many shepherds have become lazy and neglectful. They see their calling as only a job—a paycheck. They lean on the arm of their flesh instead of seeking to know God's heart through prayer. They have lost all power to feed and keep the sheep in order, and the sheep are being scattered.

The unity that once kept churches strong is now being broken up. Jeremiah said of his day: "My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken; my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains" (10:20). The cords he spoke of, the binding power of God that kept unity among the people, had been obliterated. The flock was scattered and there was such uncleanness among the priesthood, no one dared go near the holy things of God. No priest was worthy to touch the holy curtains.

I want to address those who seek after God: Do you have a closet of prayer? To have a "secret closet" means simply to be shut in with God anywhere, anytime, giving quality time to seeking Him and calling on His name (see Matthew 6:6).

"Prayer closet" also means "prayer habit." Do you have a daily practice of getting alone with God? “Practice” means disciplining yourself to come before God, having a heart that says, "I must get alone with God—I must talk with my Father today!"

Sometimes my secret closet is alone in my car. It is often my study at home or on the streets of New York City. A few weeks ago it was a Florida beach, where I walked for hours, shut in with God.

The kind of prayer I am talking about has to do with intimacy with God—aloneness with Him. Jesus warned against hypocrisy in prayer. He drew a dramatic distinction between those who seek God in the secret closet, and those who pray so they can be seen by others as holy.
 

IF YOU SEEK HIM

by David Wilkerson | March 6, 2013

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“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:6).

When Jesus speaks of going into a secret closet to seek the Father, He is talking about something much greater than a physical closet. The Old Testament tells us God divided His people into two categories: those who regularly seek Him in their secret place of prayer, and those who do not.

When God became angry with Israel over their idolatry, Moses pitched his prayer tent outside the camp. Scripture says, "It came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp" (Exodus 33:7). In the midst of all the idolatry taking place in Israel, God’s people still took time to seek the Lord. This seeking remnant knew they had to go outside the camp lest they, too, fall into the apostasy sweeping over the people.

Centuries later, the people under King Asa understood why God blessed and prospered them and kept them at peace with all their enemies: "Because we have sought the Lord our God . . . he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered" (2 Chronicles 14:7).

At one point during Asa's reign, an army of one million Ethiopians came against Israel. "And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said . . . O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa . . . and the Ethiopians fled. . . . They were destroyed before the Lord" (verses 11-13). When Asa was attacked, he fell on his face and turned to God in prayer—and God answered with victory.

Shortly after that triumph, however, Azariah the prophet came to Asa and said: "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" (15:2). In other words: "If you stop seeking after God and calling on His name in all you do, He will forsake you."

Every time Israel sought the Lord after that, God blessed them: "When they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them" (15:4). Israel enjoyed rest when they sought God in prayer and He always delivered them and gave them order and strength.
 

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