On the Death of David Wilkerson

“Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.” (Isa. 57:1-2 NLT).

I came home last night with my wife after prayer meeting to find out that David Wilkerson had been killed in a car crash.

It was an odd feeling, because before prayer, the Pastor asked if we had any testimonies. Everyone who testified, told of how during the week or even on their way to prayer meeting, they had escaped being in bad car accidents. How faithful is our Protector and Provider!

Then I read this news. I could only say I felt both the comfort and dread of the Lord. I know this man went home to be with the Lord. So many people are speaking and writing in tribute to this man who touched so many lives for Christ and founded that Soul Saving Station of a church in the heart of New York City and what is now known as World Challenge. David you will be missed, but one day we will all rejoice together in the presence of Christ who died for us and sealed our pardon with his blood!

But I wondered with a certain sense of dread thinking of what significance this holds for us who have been touched by his ministry and the words of admonition he gave us while alive.

I was concerned last evening thinking about the scripture with which I opened this article.  As much as I want to provide comfort those to who remain here grieving. As much as God protects his people miraculously in hard  times-He also protects his saints by taking them home! As John Gill says there are, “safely housed in heaven, that they may escape the evil coming upon a wicked generation.” When our work is over and complete, God calls us home, even in a manner that fills us with so many questions. I know the Lord will provide refuge for those who remain on earth but all this makes one examine their heart.  Many of God’s people living for Christ love to see men of God exemplify the truth in a day of so many false prophets and deceivers. How there is such a hole left in history of our lives when they leave us!

I had heard many good things about Brother Wilkerson, his humility and tenderness and generosity from my family who attends and is involved in the church he founded in Manhattan. My love for this man is based on his love for Christ and his Word. I admired his intensity and strong gospel preaching. In a day full of compromise and pandering, men like David Wilkerson are hard to find.  He preached unapologetically and yet with such grace about repentance and holiness. He believed as I do, that “God has never in the history of mankind, allowed his name to go long offended.” 

How we need men of God that preach the Holy Scriptures in the power of the Holy Spirit! It is a sign of God’s mercy to us and our nation and the world.

Last evening, I began  to reflect what the old sage A.W. Pink said in his book on the Life of Elijah, “The removal of the ministers of His truth is a sure sign of God’s displeasure, a token that He is dealing in judgment with a people who have provoked Him to anger…there is no surer and more solemn proof that God is hiding His face from a people or nation than for Him to deprive them of the inestimable blessings of those who faithfully minister His Holy Word to them…so much more dreadful are spiritual calamities than material ones…for the Lord to remove His teachers into a corner was the sorest loss His people could suffer..” 

Oh Lord have mercy upon us! Send us men of God! The Lord is the only one who can show us any good.  We need God’s goodness and mercy in this day! Mercy and goodness that come in the form of men who preach the Sovereignty of our God and his saving grace in his Son Jesus Christ.  May other men now come forth in this dark hour and shine as beacons with the gospel of  Jesus Christ to this generation.

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Condemned?

Sometimes questions are better than answers.

Paul asks a good question, “Who is he that condemns?” (Rom. 8:34NIV).

That is a not only a good question but a loaded question.

Well, who is it Paul? 

“It is Christ.”

Surprised? I was. The answer is something different from what we expect.

There is a truth you may not have  known: Christ condemns.

What is it to be condemned?  Is it someone being mean to us, not understanding us? We usually think of being condemned in a unjust light. We do not want people to judge us. But God’s judgement is different. He never misses a clue, he never overlooks evidence, he sees clearly every motive and thought. He is just. When God condemns he sentences a wicked person-a person worthy of punishment and God’s wrath. One day Christ will sentence people for their crimes against heaven.

Christ is the one in scripture that could easily condemn anyone, anytime on the spot! One day people will drop lifeless as the awesome Christ sentences them. I have heard preachers say that those rebels who refuse to bow on Judgment Day would have their knees broken. There is no need for such an action.  Christ conquers all his enemies while seated on his throne and he does not need to rise to his feet (Ps 110:1). All he needs to do is speak and the “spirit of his mouth” will cut people to shreds. His words are sharper than any two edged sword and His words will impale and slice them to pieces to the very marrow of their spirit, soul, and body (Heb 4:12; 2 Thess 2:8). He is the judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1). The Bible speaks of the wrath of the Lamb (Rev. 6:16) and that we should “kiss the Son lest he be angry.” (Ps. 2:12). Yes, Christ is the Judge of all men.

The idea of Christ being crucified for our sins should shock and terrify us. It was by far the most horrific catastrophe in history! The Author of life  had a chapter entitled “Death” (Acts 3:15) in his book. The wicked hands of sinners took the eternal Son of God who was always with the Father, begotten before all worlds, Lord of life and heaven and crucified him. Oh what condemnation should be ours!

It is like when a newscast is taking place covering the crucifixion and suddenly the screen freezes on all channels and all you can see is the head of Christ hanging on his chest, blood covering his body and every channel you switch to is the same. THE SON OF GOD CRUCIFIED! Oh we are without hope, because of sin, yet the death of Christ was worse than all sin put together and piles on an unthinkable condemnation upon us! It takes away the breath of life and darkens the sun of hope from all creation!

Christ could condemn us but instead it says it is, “He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:31NASB). He who is the perfect Judge is the perfect Savior!

For one question, four wonderful answers!

It is Christ that died. He was crucified  for you and I. Christ could condemn us for our many sins before and after we became Christians, yet he does not. Why, oh, why when he should! But he does not. This does not mean he pleads our innocence before the Father, but his work on the cross. He testifies to his blood that poured out after gulping in the cup filled with the liquid wrath of God that was rightfully ours to experience. 

It is Christ that is Resurrected. He could have condemned me to death and hell. Instead he generously sends us to heaven. He gives us not only “newness of life” (Romans 6:3) but eternal life! Christ says, “Because I live you shall live also!” He gives us newness of life, the new birth! His power has raised our dead spirit. He fuels our hope, and ignites his holiness in our hearts.

It is Christ that is Enthroned.  Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords.” (1 Tim 6:15; Rev 19:16).  Instead of condemning us He has conquered us by his Sovereign matchless grace.  Jesus is King, all other would be rivals are exposed as frauds, and that there can be no other King other than Christ. Those things that would have dragged our souls down as abject slaves the Lord Jesus Christ has defeated! He takes the authority away from all the powers of sin, demonic forces, and death (Heb. 2:14-15). 

It is Christ who Intercedes.  He could have condemned us by not praying for us. Yet scripture says, “From my birth he has made mention of my name.” (Isa 49:1).  We could never go to God on our own. We must have a mediator.  The second person of the Triune God became flesh in his incarnation, becoming one of us and at the same time not  like us. He is the God-man. He can sympathize with our weakness without giving into weakness. Oh what joy and hope is this: that the Son of God whose prayers never go unanswered has already prayed, keeps praying and prays again for his saints.  He is the one who stands between us and God. He is the perfect mediator.

Be encouraged Christian! Christ does not condemn those he has already chosen, called and saved. He seals them up in his heart! None shall be stolen, their foot shall not slide, he will bring you home to present you, “holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” (Col 1:22).

The Struggle with the Godhood of God

The scriptures are very clear about the Godhood of God. The Bible says,

“That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:6).

All emotional reactions and experiences aside, He alone is God.  The very original and conventional sin of man is pride. It is self idolatry. Pride deifies man and makes him in control of his destiny and life. We are not only uncomfortable with the fact with the freedom of God’s power and “he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. ” (Ps 115:3) but we have an aversion to it.  He makes choices, he decides what is best and for us because he is God and whether we like it or not it is done. God is relentless and unstoppable. When it comes to salvation, God who is mighty to save them who are, “predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Eph. 1:11).

Saying, I don’t believe something does not make that truth go away.  Being inept at explaining that truth does not make it wrong and being a Christian and still struggling with that truth does not you a bad Christian.

My issue is that Pastors and preachers feel God has called them to be a spiritual public relations person for Christ. It is despicable reinterpreting God in terms, “He meant to say this…” or, “When he did this he actually was…” We are called to be spokesmen for God, to say all he has commanded, not to decode the scripture into oblivion.

With all the talk about trusting God I really think we are suspicious of him. It seems his freedom to do things with which we do not agree with is intact.  I know I still struggle with my own uncertainties.  If I did not struggle, I would doubt my own salvation. For struggle is the very essence of spiritual life.

The Bible is clear, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30).

It is pretty scary predestination and all. It is at first terrifying and then comforting.  

Should all truth make us comfortable?

That is a joke.

Is that true faith? 

For people who decry lying, we sure hate honesty, yet honesty has a way keeping both feet on terra firma.

Perhaps faith is when you grapple with some truth and are afraid of it-is that not faith as well?  This is not a rationalization of being double minded and half hearted. It it about being able to explain genuine faith or explaining in terms of embracing the belief in one God who predestines all things.

Does the ability to explain or lack thereof effect your faith? I struggle everyday with trust in GOD’s plans and purposes for my own life. The calm assurance that I have at times is much more precious than trillions of bailout dollars.

 The logical conclusion to predestination is a strange mix and fear and confidence. But the Godhood of God is a fact. One may speculate and struggle with it but in the end when we see he has done all things well,  we submit in surrender to him.

Prayer of the Exiled

How long, most holy and true Lord God? I wait patiently for You to remember me. Enemies speak against me, friends are helpless to support me.

I am a stranger in the earth: do not hide your commandments from me!  Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth. Like my heavenly Isaac speak to me, “Come near now, and kiss me, my son.”  I need Your loving kindness that is better than life itself.

Only You by Your hand under my head and arm under my soul can lift me and sustain me with raisin cakes and apples of Your Spirit.

Seasons change, turn my bleak winter into blossoming summer. Blow oh north and south wind upon the sleeping garden of my life!

Where there is barrenness and a wilderness let the cross be planted in the midst of the garden of my heart.

Transplant it from Calvary and make it to me a new and living way, like the Tree of Life and let it wound the earth and when it is planted and bring forth a hundred fold.

My tears of repentance may make my bed to swim but only the mist of your Spirit rise in me and beautify early what no human nor I can sustain.

Warm my face with sunshine of your grace, let me labor for You so I may bring You into my mother’s house, the church and not let you go.