by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
John 17 is all about Jesus’ prayers for His disciples and His people, for those who followed Him and believed in Him. Yet, Jesus prayed not only for His followers, but “. . . for them also which shall believe on me through [the disciples’] word” (verse 20).
What a powerful truth! Jesus’ phrase, “them also which shall believe on me,” includes you and me. Jesus was praying for us when He walked this earth in the flesh. Centuries ago we were on His mind. He even recorded this prayer in His Word, knowing we would be reading it. He wants us to know He was interceding for us to the Father.
Beloved, this prayer which Jesus prayed for us did not vanish into thin air. It has been burning on God’s altar all this time and God has accepted His Son’s prayer for each of us. Our salvation is the result of Jesus’ prayers. We are in Him today because God answered His prayer for us.
“But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:24-25).
Right now Jesus is praying for transgressors who haven’t yet turned to Him. Scripture says He can save to the uttermost — meaning “to the end of time” — all who will ever come to Him.
Throughout my years in ministry I have seen many drug addicts and alcoholics get gloriously saved. Each time I would think, “This one had to have a praying mother or interceding grandmother somewhere in the past. God is answering those holy warriors’ prayers.”
Now I see something better than that, something far more powerful and effective. It wasn’t just a mother or grandparent who was praying for those who now believe. Jesus was praying for them all along. “I pray for them . . . also which shall believe on me through [the disciples’] word” (John 17:9, 20).
If you have been running from the Lord, you will never get away from His prayers. The Father answers His Son and all who resist Him are hardening their hearts to the prayers of Christ who prayed for them on earth, and is praying for them still.
Jesus, I could never on my own deserve Your mercy,
I’m so grateful for Your love,
Your goodness overwhelms me,
And I love You because:
Through all my days, both fair and hard,
You are always there,
You have brought me so far,
I trust You, my God, I trust You.
You’ve helped me come this far,
And there’s still far to go,
Just how far, only You know,
And I trust You, my God, I trust You.
Please stay with me on this road,
And keep me on Your path,
Lord keep me on my knees,
Humble at Your feet.
I don’t know what lies in the miles ahead,
Or which breath will be my last,
But I know I’m graven on Your palms,
You hold me in Your hand.
You’ve brought me so far,
And there’s still far to go,
Just how far…only You know,
But I know, Jesus, that You are in control.
You keep me safe,
You’re my Hiding Place,
You are my refuge,
And I run to You.
You are my Father,
You are my King,
You are my Joy, my Song, my Peace,
You are my Everything.
Thank you, Jesus.
Thank You for loving me,
Thank You for showing me,
That you are the Life, the Truth, and the Way.
Thank You for saving me,
Thank You for teaching me,
Thank You for wiping each tear away.
- “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
- Luke 16:13 (KJV)
This should be a very familiar verse to Christians. These words were spoken by Jesus Himself. This statement states very clearly an important spiritual truth; there’s only two masters you can serve, and if you serve one, you -cannot- be serving the other, no matter how much you try to convince yourself, or others. And there is -no- convincing God – He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He judges rightly.
Make no mistake. You -are- a servant. Either to God, or to Satan. If you are not actively, seriously, serving Jesus Christ and seeking His face, if you wilfully sin, then you are not a servant of God. If you serve your flesh, by indulging in sinful behaviour, putting other things ahead of God in your priorities, failing to keep your thoughts captive, then you do not serve God. Instead, you’re a slave to sin (John 8:34), and as a slave to sin, are a servant of Satan.
However, as Jesus Himself said, ‘a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.’ (John 8:35-36). I love how the King James version puts it: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Free indeed and a child of God! But this doesn’t mean that, if we’re children of God, that we don’t need to -serve- God. We serve God because we love Him, and after all the things He’s done for us, and all the things He will do, wouldn’t it be incredibly selfish of us to assume that we need do nothing for the Lord of this Universe?
Now, returning to Jesus’ words in Luke 16:13. He says ‘Ye cannot serve God and mammon’. What exactly is mammon? Mammon is according to some translations, money itself, but I think it’s more specifically the love of money, in other words, greed. As we know, the love of money is the root of all evil. Mammon is also a false god. So in other words, if your pocketbook is your biggest priority, if your worldly gain means more to you than God, than you’re not serving God.
Anything in this world that takes more priority in your mind and heart than Jesus becomes an idol in your heart. Whether its music, movies, video games, material possessions, people…anything. But more than this, when you change God to fit what you think God should be, instead of taking Him at His word, you’re fashioning yourself an idol in your heart. When you say things like ‘my God wouldn’t let people go to Hell’, for example. Jesus talks about a Rich man who ends up in Hell in Luke chapter 16.
Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
“The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
“But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
“But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’”
What I find interesting is the end of this parable, where Abraham says, “If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.” Someone -did- rise from the dead – Jesus – and sadly, many people won’t listen to Him. Returning to the point though, we should take God as He is, and at His word. When we try to mold Him into what we think God should be, we’re making for ourselves an idol, and stop believing in the True God.God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He doesn’t change.
- And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
- Matthew 16:26 (NLT)
Earthly wealth and goods pass away, they’re temporal and in the end, worthless. But Jesus Christ is worth more than all the wealth in all the Earth. He is greater than the entire Universe! Oh what sorrow awaits for those souls that fail to recognize Him as Lord. How much is your soul worth? It’s worth enough that the God of this Universe took on human flesh, suffered a most horrible death, and rose again, to wash away the sins that stain the soul for those who would call on Him, believe in Him, and then -follow- Him by dying to self and -obeying- His commandments.
Nowhere in those commandments does it say “pray a sinner’s prayer then go on as you did before”. No – we are to be set apart from the World. We are to forsake the things of the flesh. Forsake the secular media. Forsake addictions and lusts of the flesh. Keep your thoughts captive – it may not be sin to be tempted but it’s sin to wilfully entertain the thoughts those temptations bring, as much as it is sin to pursue those thoughts into deeds. Bring these things to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help you overcome the things of the flesh that bind you and keep you distracted from Him.
- Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
- Romans 12:2 (NLT)
- Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.
- 2 Corinthians 6:17
We shouldn’t bear an attitude of ‘what can God do for me’. Rather, our attitude should be, ‘What can I do for God’? With humility, remember the reality of the fact that we can do -nothing- for God by our own strength and power. Anything we do that’ll fulfill God’s purpose can only be done with God’s mercy and strength. Our human frailty will fail in times when we should be bold for Christ.
I want to finish this post by saying something to those who feel like God isn’t answering their prayers: bear in mind that God answers, but the answer to many prayers may be ‘no’. We shouldn’t expect God to give us everything we ask for. We are His servants, not His master. But remember that God will give His children what is best for them, and will make sure their needs are provided for – their needs, not their wants.
God has answered an uncountable number of prayers for me, and I’ve noticed something. When your heart is right, and your motives are right, mountains can be moved. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the sovereign hand of God working in my life. In His amazing love He’s blessed me by putting me in a place where I am not only loved by Him, but I have it in my heart to love Him back, a heart that’s hungry for Him and seeking Him constantly.
He’s blessed me with great gifts…being raised with the knowledge of Him, having family members who love me and living in a country where there’s freedom to love the Lord. He’s blessed me with a wonderful, loving husband that I cherish. Only God could be responsible for all of this. The God who did all this for me, is the God I serve. His name is Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings.
Whether it seems like your prayers are answered or not, God heard you.
- And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
- Romans 8:28 (KJV)
So if your heart is right with God and you truly love Him, just trust Him. Commit everything to Him, your life can be in no better hands, and rest assured He hears you, He cares for you.
- Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
- Luke 12:24 (KJV)
If your heart isn’t right with God, there’s no better time to make it right. He can meet you anywhere you are – just call out to Him and repent for not living the way He’d have you to live. Ask Him to help you be the person He’d have you to be, and make efforts to become that person out of your love for Him – do as he commands. Ask Him for His grace and strength when things get tough, and remember, there’s nothing in the world that you can suffer that is more than what Jesus suffered for your sake because of His great love for your soul.
I implore you, when you hear sound Biblical teaching – don’t just say ‘amen’ or clap your hands to it, or say, ‘Brother, preach it’. Examine your heart and life against the preaching you are hearing, and if you find yourself lacking in one or more things – repent and take care to fix those things with God’s help. Your heart’s goal should be to please the Lord in every area of your life. Not to simply pay lip service to Him on Sunday and act as a Christian during the service to make your peers think you a Christian. No, not at all – I feel that’s an insult to God, actually.
Going to church is good, and I support it, but I think it’s more important that you go with the right heart, then the simple act of going. I would also say that not attending church does not mean a person is backslidden, or some kind of heathen. To judge your brother who doesn’t attend church in these kinds of lights without knowing their heart, isn’t right. Only God can make that judgement with complete accuracy.
Likewise, attending church does not make you a Christian, nor does it save you. It’s completely foolish to think that by simply attending church you’re somehow earning your way to Heaven. Repenting of sin with a genuine heart and asking Jesus to save you, to wash you of your sin, and to lead your life saves you. Loving Christ as your Lord, and trying your best to live like Him, makes you more a Christian than walking into a Church on Sundays. There are people who attend church regularly for years, that never fully surrender to God, that never accept Jesus into their hearts, regardless of how many invitations are given, no matter how many times a loving minister pleads for their soul. And there are people who do not attend church for any of a plethora of reasons, yet they seek the face of God earnestly. They feed their souls through scripture, and worship the Lord their God with authentic adoration.
There has to come a point when you accept that doctrine applies to you as much as anyone else. Yes, it’s easier to spot someone else’s flaws than your own on times, but when those flaws are pointed out to you, your responsibility is not to scoff but to seriously consider what’s been addressed. Seriously think about your ways and actions and prayerfully ask God to not only search your heart but reveal to you what things you need to change. Then further, your responsibility is to work on those things and strive to change for the better.
It would be even better to examine yourself this way without the prompting of another brother or sister. It would be better if your heart were so set upon the things of God, that your desire to please Him is so strong, that you vigilantly guard your heart against ungodly things.
The attitude that says ‘this message is meant for someone else’ whenever sin is being rebuked is dangerous. Let us look internally and search ourselves. There needs to be an attitude in us that takes sound doctrine to heart. There needs to be an effort from us to put sound teachings into practice on a day to day basis, that decides to live for Christ and not for the fleeting pleasures of this filthy world.
Christ’s death on the cross was not so that we could continue to live as the world. It was so that you could be free from the absolute bondage of this world. And if you think you were never in bondage to this world – well – there’s a term for that, it’s called Stockholm Syndrome. You’ve been captive to Satan for so long that you’ve come to relate to him and no longer see him as any threat to you.
If you’ve come to Jesus and have grown in Christ even a little, you will have come to realize, at least partly, what the bondage really is. A mental and spiritual slavery in which you once searched for anything and everything to fill the hole in your soul that only Jesus Christ Himself can fill. Music, movies, sports, drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality – Satan uses these temptations and more to distract people into a self-indulgent, godless life.
Jesus can free you from this bondage if you ask him to. Does it mean one prayer will end all the temptations? No, not in the least. Satan will still try to tempt you in an effort to separate you from Christ. However, as you grow in Christ, you should fall into these traps less and less. When temptations arise, you can choose to call on Jesus for strength to deny the temptation, should it feel to difficult to overcome on human strength.
To get back to the point – if you’ve been calling yourself a Christian but haven’t recognized the things of the world as bondage, I urge you to prayerfully re-examine that opinion. Search scriptures instead of simply listening to the words of men, which are so easily corrupted by opinion.
Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.
2 Corinthians 6:17 (NLT)
This scripture succinctly encapsulates the main point of what’s on my heart. It says it with clarity. If you truly love God, don’t be playing around with the filthy things of this world. Don’t be dabbling in fortune telling and horoscopes. Don’t be idolizing celebrities and sports stars. Don’t live in such a way that the only ‘Christian’ activity you do is to go to church. We are supposed to be lights unto the world – how can we ever do that if we live in the same darkness that the world does?
Listening to correct teaching is well and good…but so much better to take it to heart, and put it into practice, too.
I found a video on YouTube that was slightly fascinating and somewhat troubling to watch. On one side, is the maker of the video, stating a warning to False Gospel teachers. His main point is a warning against the teaching that salvation is through perfect obedience to all of God’s commandments.
On the other side, are the people he’s addressing. One person says that Jesus’ blood doesn’t cover all sin. Several, who state repeatedly the notion that you must stop sinning, if you sin at all you’re not saved and you’re going to Hell, and so forth.
It appears these involved in this video, on both sides, aren’t expressing themselves completely. The clear truth of the matter is as follows:
Jesus died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. It is ONLY through Him that we can be saved. Salvation is a gift, it is undeserved mercy, and it only comes through Jesus. There is -no- other way to Heaven.
Works do NOT win you your way to Heaven. The scriptures clearly state this and even tells us why. You can only be saved through Jesus by repentance, making Him the Lord of your life, and putting Him first, choosing to serve Him for the rest of your days.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Obedience is fruit of salvation. The more we love Jesus, the more we will -want- to obey Him, and serve our selfish desires less. You don’t obey God’s commandments to be saved. You obey them -because- you’re saved, and it’s a sign of your love for your God. While works don’t earn you your way into Heaven (you could never do enough to, even if that -was- a way), once saved, you should be doing good works out of love for God and your fellow man, instead of sitting idly and attending only to your own interests.
If you are a born again Christian, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to sin, and that nothing you do can ever be called sin because you’re ‘born again’. As humans we all have times in which we stumble and fall. But once we are born again, those occasions should be fewer and fewer as we grow in Christ.
God’s grace isn’t just detergent to wash the sin stains out of your soul. God’s grace is God given strength and help to overcome sin on a continual basis when temptations arise. Think about this for a minute: when someone takes the higher path when at first they felt like doing something else, how often is it said, “It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t (fill in the blank). That’s not just an idiom. For the born again believer, if you’re faced with a temptation to sin and overcome it – it is by God’s GRACE that you did it, and God should be glorified for it.
When you repent for sin, you don’t just repent once and then all past, present, and future sins are washed away. That’s not how it works. Your past sins are forgiven, yes. But you cannot continue in current sins, saying to yourself, ‘it’s okay, Jesus saved me.’ Or that, ‘God doesn’t mind this because it’s not hurting anyone’. Those wilful sins -must- go.
Those idols you clung to before coming to Jesus must likewise, go. Not all idols are statues and pictures, in our society the most common idols are television sets, movie, tv, sports and music ‘stars’. The simplest definition of an idol is anything that’s more important to you than Jesus.
You -must- make a conscious effort to pursue a perfect, sinless life – yes. However, it’s the earnest pursuit of perfection that matters – not realized perfection. God knows your heart. God knows if you’re trying to obey and please Him. He also knows if you’re harbouring impurity in your heart, and He also knows exactly what those impurities are.
If you’re a Christian and you do sin, and you repent of that sin, you are still forgiven. But this is not an excuse for wilful sinning. It’s not permission to hold on to an addiction. It’s mercy extended by God to sinners – and we are all sinners. If we say we do not sin we are liars.
We all have sinned. Every single one of us. And that’s why Jesus’ blood is so precious. He is the only one without sin, yet He died to cleanse us of ours. We are the ones who deserve to be hung on a cross! Yet by His mercy we are spared.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
1 John: 1:8-10 (NLT)
So, don’t say you don’t sin. Or have not sinned. If you do so, not only are you a liar, you’re calling God a liar, and God cannot lie. Confess your sins to God, repent, and ask Him for help to not do those sins again.
Below is one excellent sermon, given by the late David Wilkerson. It’s split into three videos, but all three are posted in order.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. Psalm 27:7 (KJV)
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Psalm 27:8 (KJV)
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
Dad, I need your help.
You’ve given me many gifts, and in my foolishness, I’ve misused many of them. I know my mistakes hurt you, and I’m very sorry. You only want what’s best for me, and everything You do is good. Everything you allow to happen must also serve a purpose, but Dad, I’m hurting because of the pain my actions have caused others. I have caused some hurts that can’t be undone, and I regret it so much – only you can ease those wounds, Dad, and I’m begging you to.
I know You saw me crying today. I also know You bottle every tear. No one loves me like you do, Dad. So it’s to You I run with my troubles and my weaknesses.
Please help me to push my pride aside for Your sake, and the sake of the things You would have me to do. Help me to bring comfort instead of pain, joy instead of sorrow, delight instead of disappointment. Dad, it’s being a disappointment that breaks my heart most right now. I’ve disappointed you, and I’ve disappointed the only person I love almost as much as I love you. I know you know my heart and forgive me. I know you still love me. I know the one you’ve given me to love still loves me too, but there’s something there that’s broken and only you can fix it. I know you work on your own time, and I don’t mind waiting for that, Dad, but please – I beg you to fix it. What I have broken only you can mend.
Help me walk in truth, Dad. You told me to wear all those pieces of armor, and I left the Girdle of Truth at home. Because of that I left myself vulnerable and fell pray to attack more than once. Because of that, the rest of the pieces have taken some damage, Dad. Especially my shield of Faith. Never let me forget any of these pieces again. I bring the armor which you gave me back to you, Dad, and I’m asking you to inspect them, and to mend them so that they’re stronger than before.
So please Dad, fix my armor, and heal two hearts. I know it’s a lot to ask…but I’m your daughter, and I won’t trust anyone else with this.
In Jesus’ name,