Sermons   David Wilkerson Today, Daily Devotions

A GREATER TOUCH

by David Wilkerson | July 24, 2014

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Elijah and Elisha proceeded to Jericho, which means “a place called pleasant.” Yet this city was now barren, dry, utterly lifeless with no trees, no pastures, no fruit. Everything had withered because a stream of poison had infiltrated Jericho’s water supply. This city represents dead, dry Christianity, a church Jesus describes in Revelation this way: “Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (Revelation 3:1).

Elijah had established a school of prophets in Jericho, and when he and Elisha visited the school, some of the young, upstart prophets approached Elisha, asking, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head today?” (2 Kings 2:5). Elisha quickly cut them off, telling them, "Be silent! Of course I know it.”

This generation of ministers would be sent out across Judah and Israel to minister to society. But clearly something was missing in them: the power, anointing and authority of the Holy Spirit. The next day, these same ministers would be begging Elisha to let them go look for Elijah's body, in case the Holy Spirit dropped him off some mountain or into some valley. They were totally ignorant of the ways and workings of the Holy Spirit. They could witness, preach, and speak of miracles but they had not experienced God’s power for themselves.

It appears that Elijah suggested, “Elisha, you’re looking at the next generation of ministry. Why don’t you settle here and teach these ministers the ways of the Spirit? You’re just the man to awaken this dead, dry church.”

But Elisha knew what would happen if he pastored these ministers. They would remain enamored of Elijah’s powerful ministry and constantly barrage him with questions about it. “How many hours a day did your master pray? What methods did he use? What doctrines did he preach?” Elisha would end up spending all his time recounting the past. And these young ministers would spend all their energies trying to be just like Elijah, hoping to recreate his miracles—yet without the power and authority of the Holy Spirit.

The church today has fallen into the same snare. We study past movements and revivals, looking for keys, trying to discover methods to bring down fire from heaven. Ever since I can remember, the church has been crying for an old-fashioned, Holy Ghost revival. Yet this all stems from a desire to see God recreate something he did in the past.

Elisha knew he could not impact anyone in this dead, dry church until he received his own touch from God. He could not rely on Elijah’s great works. He was telling Elijah, “I respect the faith of my forefathers, the spiritual giants of the past. But I know the Lord wants to do a new thing. And I must have a greater touch from him than anything seen before.”
 

A DOUBLE PORTION

by David Wilkerson | July 23, 2014

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We may wonder why Elijah wanted Elisha to accompany him to Bethel (see 2 Kings 2:1-4). Surely it wasn't just a sentimental journey for Elijah, one last trip down Memory Lane. No, this wise, old man wanted to teach Elisha—as well as us today—the need for more of God's power and anointing.

Now, as they walked through the streets, Elijah probably noticed his servant's horror and indignation at the totally backslidden society. Elijah himself had faced mockers and scoffers in his own day, on Mount Carmel. But he knew it would take even greater supernatural strength to face this new generation. These young people were far more hardened and godless than the idolatrous priests he had battled.

I believe it was at this point that Elijah decided to test his servant. He most likely suggested, “Elisha, why don’t you settle here and pastor these people? You have a sure calling, and you’ve been well trained. You could help restore Bethel’s great heritage.”

As Elisha surveyed the situation in Bethel, he knew he was not ready to stand up against the wicked spirits there. He realized what Elijah had known all along—he needed the Holy Spirit to do a greater, more powerful work in him before he could face down the evil in such a wicked city. So he told his master, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee” (2 Kings 2:6). Then, Scripture says, “They went on” (same verse).

I believe Bethel represents the kind of evil society our own nation has become in just a generation’s time. We too live among scoffers and mockers—sensual people given over to lust, idolatry, homosexuality. And this present generation is worse than any Elijah or Elisha ever faced. Those holy prophets saw children mocking, scoffing and blaspheming but America's children are murdering one another. Young children are killing without any guilt or sorrow, cutting down parents, classmates, innocent strangers.

I don't wish to make a broad, sweeping judgment against all youth. I know there are many godly teenagers in this society who are on fire for Jesus. I thank God for every young person who takes a stand for Christ in these wicked times.

Yet, this evil day demands that God’s people obtain a double portion of His power and authority in order to be able to reach this lost generation. It is going to require a measure of anointing such as we have never seen in all of history. It demands that a holy remnant rise up and cry with Elisha, “Oh, Lord, more is needed.”
 

FACING THE SPIRIT OF MOCKERY

by David Wilkerson | July 22, 2014

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Elisha went back to Bethel, the corrupted society with a lost generation of youth. And as soon as he arrived, he was mocked:

“He went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head. . . . And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and [mauled] forty and two children of them” (2 Kings 2:23-24).

What an awful scene. You may think, “How cruel that God would allow little children to be attacked by bears.” But the words “little children” here are a poor translation. In the original Hebrew this phrase reads “young men.”

Did Elisha cause their deaths in a selfish fit of anger for being taunted? No. This godly man was moving under the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. The fact is, those mocking young men had committed an unspeakable sin. Let me explain.

Undoubtedly, the boys had heard about Elijah's translation into heaven. Yet now, by taunting Elisha with the cry, “Go up, baldy,” they were ridiculing the work of the Spirit. They did not accept the truth of the Spirit's holy work and their actions toward Elisha were an act of mockery against Him.

For many years God was patient with the fallen church in Bethel. Multitudes flocked there to worship at an altar of accommodation, and the Lord sent many prophets, including Elijah himself, to speak warnings. But a time came when God no longer tolerated the city’s idolatry and wickedness. So he called for judgment, sending onto this wicked scene a man with a double portion of the Holy Ghost. Elisha moved with authority in Bethel, preaching judgment against their sin.

Too many young ministers today are relying on the same fleshly methods that the fallen church in Bethel did. They are bringing into God's house the very music that first incited rebellion and sensuality in this nation. They are polling a sin-saturated society to learn how they can lure nonbelievers into a church building. And instead of offering worship, they are staging skits, parties and rock concerts. They are attempting to entertain the youth rather than confront their sins and emptiness with the simple, pure gospel. And the church faces the same spirit of mockery Elisha faced.
 

UNSEAL MY LIPS

by Gary Wilkerson | July 21, 2014

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David writes, “Then I will teach your ways to [sinners], and they will return to you. . . . Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you” (Psalm 51:13, 15, NLT).

When God sparks a fire in us it is not meant for our benefit alone. It is meant to set us ablaze with zeal for the lost in our nearby communities and around the world. If we allow this flame to burn within us, it will compel us to take the good news beyond our church walls. We’ll realize, “This fire burning inside me will not be quenched. Woe is me if I keep it inside!”

We simply cannot contain our zeal when we have been personally cleansed by God and filled with a persistent hunger to have His life dwelling within us. This makes us want to shout His praises to the world. Some of the best Sunday worshipers I know are those who cry out, “Thank You, Jesus, that today my coworker is sitting next to me in the pew experiencing Your amazing love.”

If we do not have this kind of fire, it will not matter how powerful our church services are. Heavenly flames could rest on our heads and we could all fall on our faces in awe, but those things alone do not show the power of Pentecost. As long as revival is contained in church, it probably isn’t revival. If there is a true fire burning, it will move us to create a fire in our city. Our prayer has to be, “God, if You are going to touch me with a spark, then cause me to speak to sinners. Anoint me to teach them about Your love. Send me into the byways with the compelling love of Jesus.”

If the fire of God’s Holy Spirit is operating in your life, you can know your life is no longer a spark but a torch.
 

FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

by Jim Cymbala | July 19, 2014

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“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31).

The first time vocalist Steve Green sang at Brooklyn Tabernacle, we gathered in my office with the associate pastors to pray just before the meeting began. We prayed in unison that God would come among us that day.

When we opened our eyes, Steve had an odd look on his face. “What was that vibration I just felt?” he asked. “Is there a train that runs near here, or was that really . . . ?”

I explained that, as far as I knew, the rumble wasn’t caused by the power of the Holy Spirit; rather, it was the passing of the train in the subway that runs directly beneath our building.

For the early church in Jerusalem, however, the shaking they felt was nothing short of Spirit-induced. In that prayer meeting God’s power came in a fresh, new, deeper way. These people had already been filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), but here they sensed a new need and God met them with a new infusion of power.

Our store of spiritual power apparently dissipates with time. Daily living, distractions, and spiritual warfare take their toll. In the words Paul used in Ephesians 5:18, we need to “be always being filled with the Spirit” (literal translation).

Whether we call ourselves classical evangelicals, traditionalists, fundamentalists, Pentecostals, or charismatics, we all have to face our lack of real power and call out for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit. We need the fresh wind of God to awaken us from our lethargy. We must not hide any longer behind some theological argument. The days are too dark and dangerous.

 

 

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 POISONED WATERS OF JERICHO

by David Wilkerson | July 18, 2014

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After receiving a touch from God, Elisha went forward with his own faith, and his first stop was Jericho (2 Kings 2:15). The college of fifty prophets meeting there immediately recognized God’s touch on him, saying, “The same spirit that was on Elijah is now on Elisha.” It was obvious to all that this hidden servant was moving in a deeper power and authority of the Spirit.

The young prophets told Elisha, “The situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is [bad], and the ground barren” (2:19). They were saying, “There’s poison in the water, and it’s killing everything.” Yet, apparently these fifty men of God were powerless to stop the poison from bringing death to Jericho.

According to Isaiah, this “pleasant place” represents the ministry: “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant” (Isaiah 5:7). Also, water here represents the word of God.

Do you see the picture? The poisoned waters of Jericho signify the polluted word being preached from the town’s pulpits. These men of God had never dealt with their own sins, so their sermons were full of poison from corrupted hearts. And their lifeless, flesh-oriented lectures were causing spiritual death among the people.

What was the cure for the poison in Jericho? It was to purify the water supply—and that is just what Elisha did. He took a clean vessel, filled it full of salt, and poured it into the fountainhead of the city’s water. Soon all the waters were cleansed, and life sprang up all around.

Of course, the salt Elisha used represents the gospel of purity and holiness. And the clean vessel he used represents ministers who have been cleansed by Christ's blood and sanctified by the Spirit’s purifying fire, prepared to preach a pure gospel. Beloved, clean, pure vessels who walk in holiness and preach a pure word with fresh anointing can stem the evil tide in God’s house.
 

EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT

by David Wilkerson | July 17, 2014

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One of the last things Elijah did before he was taken up to heaven by God was to ask Elisha what he could for for him. When Elisha responded that he wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to be upon him, Elijah told Elisha that he had asked a hard thing.

Yet, who exactly would this task be hard for? Would it be hard for God? Would it be hard for Elijah, a man who had raised the dead and called down fire from heaven? No, it was going to be hard for Elisha! This was something he would have to obtain for himself because Elijah did not have the ability to empower his servant with a portion of the Spirit residing within himself. Only God can impart His Spirit to man.

But Elijah replied, “Nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so” (verse 10). It is important to note that the words “when” and “am” in this verse do not appear in the original Hebrew. They were inserted later into the text of the King James Version. Thus, I believe Elijah was saying to Elisha, “If you see me as being taken from you.”

Elijah was saying, “The Holy Spirit cannot do a special work in you as long as you are still leaning on my memory. You have to consider me gone. You don't need me, Elisha. Turn to the Lord, whose Spirit also worked in me, and He will answer your cry.”

The moment Elisha saw his master whisked away in the heavenly chariot, he assumed his responsibility to carry on God’s work to his generation. And as he stood at the Jordan River and struck the water, the words he cried out were, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14). The young prophet was saying, “Lord, all my spiritual forefathers are dead and gone. And this awful hour requires even more than You have given so far. Work again, Lord, this time through me. I have to be empowered with more of Your Spirit.”
 

GOD WANTS TO PART THE WATERS FOR YOU

by David Wilkerson | July 16, 2014

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As the old prophet Elijah pondered his last days on earth, he decided to visit the towns of Bethel and Jericho. He invited his servant, Elisha, to go along with him, and the pair set off for what I see as a “teaching journey.” After visiting both towns, they arrived at the banks of the Jordan River. Elijah took off his mantle—a wide, loose-fitting garment or gown—and smote the water with it. Supernaturally, the waters parted, and the two men crossed over on dry ground (see 2 Kings 2:8).

Why did Elijah insist on miraculously passing through the river? The Jordan was not a deep, wide river, and Scripture gives no evidence that it was swollen. And further, there were fifty strong, young prophets on the other side who could have built a raft for them in a matter of a few hours.

I believe Elijah sought to teach his successor that the miracle crossings of the past—from Moses, to Joshua, to the present day—were all ancient history. He wanted to challenge Elisha, as if to say: “When you start your own ministry, and you preach that God is a God of miracles, you have to testify of what He has done for you personally. I’m going to be gone soon, Elisha, so tomorrow when you return to this river, I want you to go back across the way you came. Believe God for the miraculous in your own life.”

Many of us don’t have faith to believe God for our own miracles today. We spend our time poring over the incredible wonders in Scripture, yet all along God wants to tell us, “I have something even better for you. I want to do miracles in your life—to change your home, fix your marriage, save your unsaved loved ones. You are going to face your own Red Sea, your own Jordan River, and I want to part those waters for you.”
 

GOD WANTS TO DO GREATER THINGS

by David Wilkerson | July 15, 2014

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Second Kings 2 contains one of the most spectacular passages in all of the Old Testament. This chapter tells the miraculous story of the aging prophet Elijah and his servant Elisha. When we pick up the narrative, God had informed Elijah that his ministry on earth was over. Now he was to cross the Jordan River and go to a certain place where a heavenly chariot would pick him up and translate him to glory.

When Elijah and Elisha reached their destination, Elijah turned to his servant and said: “Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee” (verse 9). Without hesitation, the younger man answered, “I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me” (same verse).

At first glance, Elijah appeared surprised by Elisha's response, saying, “Thou hast asked a hard thing” (verse 10). But Elijah went on to instruct Elisha that he must watch carefully what God was about to do so that he would not miss it and go home disappointed.

As the men walked along, suddenly a chariot appeared out of heaven and separated them. In a flash, Elijah was taken up in the chariot—and Elisha witnessed the whole scene! He cried out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces” (verse 12).

Elijah was gone but his mantle had dropped to the ground. When Elisha saw it, he ripped off his own clothes, tore them into pieces and placed Elijah’s mantle on his back. And when he returned to the Jordan, he removed the mantle and struck the water with it, just as his master had done. Immediately the waters parted, and Elisha walked over on dry ground. Thus began the young prophet’s own remarkable ministry.

The events in this chapter are absolutely incredible. Yet what does this passage have to say to us today? I believe God has given us an unmistakable lesson here, with a clear, simple meaning: God wants to do greater things with each succeeding generation. And each new generation must seek the Lord for its own experience of the Holy Spirit and its own imbuing of power from Him.
 

DON’T TAKE THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM ME

by Gary Wilkerson | July 14, 2014

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The psalmist David writes, “Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11, NLT). We know that God is omnipresent, but His manifest presence is something else altogether. It is the reason why so many worship services open with choruses imploring the Holy Spirit to come down and make His presence known. David is saying here, “Lord, I need Your presence, not just today but tomorrow. I don’t want it to diminish because I don’t want to return to my lukewarm ways. Please, God, don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me. Stay with me once I finish worshiping You.”

We all know what this is like. At church and in our fellowship with others, we may know God’s manifest presence. Inner sparks fly, bringing a sense of fresh, new life and we weep for God to stir us that way every hour of the day. Yet the spark wanes as days pass and we are bombarded by job demands, family obligations, and bills that consume and overwhelm us.

I fall into this cycle every September at our ministry’s EXPECT Conference. I am moved and inspired by the godly leaders who speak here, their powerful messages driving me to my knees. Yet last September I made a bold prayer to God: “Lord, if You are not going to sustain the spark, don’t give me one.”

I was tired of the roller coaster, of being sparked without a flame to sustain it, of being on a mountaintop one week only to descend to drudgery the next. So I asked, “God, whatever flame You spark in me, let it grow more and more intense. Give me a loyal spirit, as David said. If you give me a spark, turn it into a torch!” God has sustained that flame these past months. The church I lead now has a pastor who burns with prayer for his people. I may not be able to take everyone to coffee or play golf with them, but I have a loyal spirit that intercedes for them day and night to see their lives become all they can be for Jesus.

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