Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

WHAT COUNTRY ARE YOU OF?

by David Wilkerson | September 16, 2014

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According to God's Word, Christians are to live every day as if “the end of all things is near.” We are to be looking for His coming, awake and diligent, as servants waiting for their master to return from a long journey. We should rejoice that we will be leaving this earth to put on our new bodies. We should always long to be with the Lord.

In Peter’s epistle he warned, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

In the original Greek, verse 11 best reads, “In light of everything being dissolved, what country are you of?” Are you of this earth, which will dissolve and melt away? Or are you a citizen of heavenly Zion, the city whose builder is God? Peter is saying that this knowledge God gives you of the destruction of the present heaven and earth ought to encourage you to holy living and to holding this world very lightly. Peter then goes on to say that we are not to dread the coming destruction, but we should look for it, anticipate it, and keep our garments spotless! “Seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (3:14).

If Peter were resurrected and visited America today, he would be appalled by all the sugar-sweet, [cotton-candy] preaching of the pillow prophets! He would ask, “Why aren’t they warning their people of the coming destruction? God gave me this message directly from the Holy Ghost! Why don’t they believe it? Why aren’t they provoking them to holy living with these warnings? Don’t they know Jesus gave the same warning when He said, ‘The sun [shall] be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (Matthew 24:29).
 

A PERFECT COVENANT

by Gary Wilkerson | September 15, 2014

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“Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17, ESV).

I’ve always wondered about one phrase in this verse: “He had to.” This passage refers to Jesus, of course. Why would Jesus have to do anything? He’s God. We read that He chose to come to earth, chose to heal, chose to love everyone around Him. So, why does this say He had to do what He did—becoming flesh and serving as a living sacrifice for our sins? Couldn’t He just as easily have declared from heaven, “I’ll send angels to bring redemption to humankind”? Here is one of the few instances in Scripture where the Lord is engaging in a commanded endeavor. Why?
We all know that under the New Covenant our sins are covered by Christ’s gift of grace. So, what is a covenant? It is an agreement between two or more parties where each is required to fulfill certain terms. There are many kinds of covenants, including a marriage covenant, where two people become one entity. Legal contracts are covenants for businesses when, for example, two owners merge their efforts so that both sides benefit. Peace treaties between nations are covenants, where warring sides agree to cease hostilities and benefit one another in other ways.

Throughout the Bible we see God making covenants with His people. In each case He says, “Here is what I’ll do on my end. And as you keep your end, here are the blessings and benefits that will come to you.” God has always kept His end of these covenants yet man has never been able to. He has continually failed to uphold His end in every covenant.

The Lord foresaw all this and from the very beginning He made plans to put into place a perfect covenant that could not be broken. He would enact a covenant like none before it, one with a unique provision: a surety that neither side would ever break the covenant.

He did it by making covenant not with man, but with a Man—Jesus. Many Christians think the New Covenant is exclusively an agreement between God and man but it is not— it is a covenant between the Father and His Son. Christ was who God chose to make this covenant with—not Adam, not Noah, not you, not me.

Jesus Himself is the guarantee that the covenant is being kept. Every other man would fail at this but Jesus keeps the covenant perfectly. That is our surety!
 

DEEPER, NOT WIDER

by Jim Cymbala | September 13, 2014

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The things of God have a circumference and they are preserved in a written body of truth. Like a bottomless well, no one has ever fathomed the depth of God’s truth.

To go into the power of the gospel—or prayer, or the Holy Spirit, or divine love—is to plunge ever deeper and deeper into God’s well. Every man or woman used by God has gone down into this vast reservoir.

The tendency today, however, is to merely splash around in truth for a while . . . and then jump outside the well to the surrounding soil. “Look at this—God is doing a new thing!” people proclaim. In six months or so, of course, the novelty wears off and they jump again to a new patch of grass. They spend their whole lives hopscotching from one side of God’s well to another, never really probing the depth of the living waters inside.

Inside the well there is no cause for leaving or jumping out. Who will ever fathom the fullness of the love of God? Who will ever exhaust the richness of His mercy to fallen human beings? Who will ever understand the real power of prayer?

Especially since the 1960s, fads have come and gone in the North American church, only to be replaced by newer fads. Leonard Ravenhill, the revival-minded preacher and author from Britain, told me shortly before he died, “People say the church today is ‘growing and expanding.’ Yes, it’s ten miles wide now—and about a quarter-inch deep.”

If we venture into a gymnasium we are likely to run into men who look like superstars in their expensive sneakers. The only trouble is, they can’t get the ball into the hoop. They have all the latest gear, but they can’t play basketball.

As God’s people, we have all the equipment we need—it has been around for two thousand years. He has given us everything necessary to put points on the scoreboard and win victories in His name. So let us move forward with full confidence in what we have received.

Nothing about God will change. Tomorrow He will be no more anxious to help us, our families, our churches than He is right now. If we simply avail ourselves of His promises, we will see Him do things we could never ask or think, just as He did in the New Testament.

 

Jim Cymbala began Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson and a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences sponsored by World Challenge throughout the world.
 

THE SPIRIT WILL RAISE UP A STANDARD

by David Wilkerson | September 12, 2014

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Those who don't pray, who are not ready, will not stand in the coming day of judgment. They will be overpowered by demon hordes! In Revelation 6:17 this question is asked, “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Every child of God who is shut in with Him during the indignation will stand. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13). “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19). At times you may be unexpectedly attacked. You will be basking in the light, rejoicing, thanking Him, when out of nowhere you will be overwhelmed. It could be your temper because Satan will provoke you. It could be fear that comes in a sudden, unexpected flood. It may be sickness, knocking you down and robbing your strength. It could be an old lust you thought was conquered; you didn’t seek it but there it is! Or it might be the blues, depression. You don't even know what’s causing it, but suddenly you’re flooded with it.

But with David we can say, “I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me” (Psalm 142).
 

LIKE DEW FROM HEAVEN

by David Wilkerson | September 11, 2014

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By searching the prophets we can find out where we are in prophecy. We are found in Isaiah 26 and in Deuteronomy 4:30-31, which reads, “When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forsake the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.” These verses are for the latter days—our time!

America was founded as a land for the upright. God favored us and showed us His goodness, but our nation does not recognize God’s power and His work on our behalf. Because of this, God is going to send swift judgments: “With my soul have I desired thee in the night [last days]; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). A night of judgment has come in Isaiah’s prophetic vision and a people see this night of darkness falling. They turn to the Lord to seek Him with all that is in them.

God is raising up a praying, travailing remnant. “Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O Lord. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isaiah 26:17-19). Here is a woman “crying out of her pains.”

That woman is the live church coming out of a dead church! There are hundreds of you. For the past few years there was something trying to be born—a crying out of spiritual pain. You wanted to be released, so you went here and there, seeking deliverance but got only winds of conflicting doctrines. Yet your heart was awakened and you were resurrected! “Thy dead men shall live.” You awoke and now you sing a new song, “Thy dew is as the dew of herbs.” There is glory from the Lord on you, like dew from heaven, because of the light. “Dew of herbs” is translated, “born out of supernatural light.” God brought you into the light of His glorious Word. You are awake and you sing because you’ve been raised from the dead—with a fresh light of His Word every day, like dew.
 

GOD IS CALLING A REMNANT

by David Wilkerson | September 10, 2014

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The prophets of the Old Testament foretold that in the last days, as calamities fall, God will call away a remnant to be shut up with Him. One of the prophets, Daniel, understood God’s divine time clock for his day because he had studied the prophets of the past. “I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:2-3).

By studying the prophecies of Jeremiah, Daniel discovered that the seventy years of exile for Israel were about over. Jeremiah 29:10-11 says, “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (NKJV).

Why wasn’t Daniel rejoicing? Why didn’t he grab the promise by faith and just rest? Why did he start weeping, praying and fasting, and sitting in sackcloth? Because he found that there was also a condition for all this goodness happening. Yes, God promised to deliver, to do them good, but there stood verses 12-14 in the same chapter: “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me, and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity.”

Sin, or being disinterested, can thwart God’s promises. Daniel discovered from Moses’ warning in Deuteronomy that Israel would be scattered because of sin but he also noted the promise that she could be delivered. “But if from [captivity] 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).
 

POWER IN PRAYER

by David Wilkerson | September 9, 2014

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God is eager to show us that we have power in prayer!

“And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand” (1 Kings 18:42-44).

Elijah was human and was affected by the same things we are—the same fears, longings, hopes, despair and needs—yet his prayers got results! God is showing us here what to do in every crisis: Run to Him! Get in earnest! Pray doors open and shut! Elijah prayed earnestly and he kept praying and waiting until the Lord answered. Seven times he sent his servant to look over the horizon for just one little sign.

Today, after one or two prayer sessions, we give up and get angry with God. We say, “It didn't work for me. I prayed and my husband and I are still having problems. I still don't have what I need.”

It is obvious that people do not pray because they don’t think it works. They don’t know what persevering in prayer means, going back like Elijah time and again with your head to the ground. We call this “laying hold of God.” In the Old Testament it is called “wrestling with God.” Jacob’s prayer was, “I won’t let You go until You bless me” (Genesis 32:26, NAS). The waiting, the delays, are for a purpose: to conform us to Christ. You can’t spend a lot of time in His presence without getting to know Him. The longer the answer is delayed and the more effectually you pray, the more important He becomes and the less important the answer becomes. One way or the other, you win!
 

FACING DIFFICULT DAYS

by Gary Wilkerson | September 8, 2014

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“Understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, ESV).

Paul is speaking here of dedicated churchgoers but describes them as having only a form of godliness. Paul said these Christians were “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (3:7). In other words, they listened to all gospel teachings but never took them to heart. That made them powerless, Paul said, because they “opposed the truth” (3:8).

We may never face the same trials that the New Testament believers did, but God still gives us New Testament power. We’ll surely face trials of our own because we are not immune to what is coming on the world. But those hardships can produce in us a power like we have never seen before.

That is why we can’t afford to be normal in our faith any longer. Think about the fast-growing number of nonbelievers in our world. Each one represents a soul headed to hell, someone for whom Jesus died. Those numbers alone call us to rise above “normal” Christianity, to proclaim Christ’s gospel without fear or hindrance. That requires His power, which cannot be achieved or obtained on our own merits—it is received only through His grace.

I have paraphrased Leonard Ravenhill many times but this comment of his bears repeating: “Christianity today is so subnormal that if any Christian began to act like a normal New Testament Christian, he would be considered abnormal.”

Tell me, are you not only hearing God’s Word but doing it? Or is there a disparity between Christ’s power and your life? Pray with me: “Lord, I’m tired of settling for normal Christianity. Merge my life with Your heavenly power. I am an empty vessel—fill me with Your power! Whatever it costs, Lord, lead me where You want me to go.” Pray this and you will see His power released in your life!

 

WE MUST PRAY

by Carter Conlon | September 6, 2014

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The book of Judges describes a time when Israel, God’s own people who were called to be a supernatural testimony in the earth, began to deal deceitfully with His presence. They refused to walk honestly with God and grew casual in their worship of Him, if not casting off the worship of God altogether.

Dealing deceitfully with God will always result in powerlessness, which eventually gives way to the enemies of that society. By enemies, I am referring to those who do not know God, who have no desire to know Him, and who do not want anyone else in relationship with Him. You and I are living in a day very similar to that period of time in the Old Testament.

It was during harvest season that Israel’s enemies, in this case the Midianites, came to devour everything that was being gathered by the people of God (see Judges 6:2-3). They intended to bring the Israelites to an impoverished place so as to render them unable to fulfill their God-given purpose on the earth. Knowing that they were far outnumbered by the enemy, which the Scriptures actually describe as being so numerous that they covered the earth like the sand, the children of Israel began to cry out to the Lord—as is beginning to happen in our day.

God hears the cry of the single mother whose children are out on the streets; the cry of the father who doesn’t know how he is going to provide for his family. He hears the cries of those who read the news and see the horrific crimes that are becoming a daily occurrence in this generation.

My dear friend, we must pray! The day and hour demands that those of us who still know the mercy of Jesus Christ begin to plead for this country. I believe that only a grassroots awakening of God’s people can offer a season of reprieve from the very dark days just ahead of us. How wonderful it would be if the record of heaven stated that 2014 was the year in which you and I began to pray for the people of this land with a faith and intensity only God could have given us!

 

 

Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.

 

WE HAVE POWER IN PRAYER

by David Wilkerson | September 5, 2014

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Many Christians seldom pray, because they’ve been taught to “take everything by faith.” We preach faith here in Times Square Church, but not to the exclusion of prayer. We teach obedience, repentance, the Word, faith, and prayer! It is said, “Why pray? Why plead with God when He has already promised it? If He knows what we need before we ask, why keep asking?” Some even teach, “If you ask when He has already promised, that is unbelief. Just claim the promise and then rest; there’s no need to pray over it.”

Abraham had the promise of becoming a mighty nation locked up securely; God had already made him this promise: “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it. . . . And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth” (Genesis 13:15-16). God had promised to bless those who blessed Him and to curse those who cursed Him. Abraham had so much faith that God accounted it to him as righteousness: “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Here is a man of God, secure in God’s promises and full of faith; yet he ran to the altar over and over again to pray (see Genesis 12:8 and Genesis 13:4). So we see that neither his faith or God’s promises superseded prayer.

Moses, too, valued his intimacy more than any blessing. Look at him standing on top of the hill with his arms being held up to God by Aaron and Hur! God had already promised that the Amalekites would be defeated and Israel was promised victory. Yet, Moses goes up the hill to call on God with upraised hands. “And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi” (Exodus 17:15).

We are atheists in this matter of prayer compared to the early church. Many today look upon secret prayer as hard work and boring, so they do it only occasionally. Can you imagine a husband and wife living in the same house, hardly ever speaking and yet in public speaking as if they were intimate? So some treat our blessed Lord! Prayer, hidden secret prayer, is the mightiest weapon God has given His people; yet it is neglected, disdained, and seldom used.

God is eager to show us that we have power in prayer. He gives us this glorious reminder: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
 

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