Devotions | Page 294 | World Challenge

Devotions

GOD’S TEMPLE ON EARTH

Gary WilkersonJune 1, 2015

We are God’s temple on earth, our bodies the dwelling place of His Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 6:19). Certain things don’t belong in our temple, however, things that can overtake our passion for Him.

When Jesus began overturning tables in the Temple (see John 2:13-17), He was overturning more than the money changers’ trade. He was overturning a religious system that for millennia had relied on animal sacrifices to please God. Christ was stating, in essence, “Your relationship to the Father will no longer be based on sacrifices of sheep and goats and doves. It is going to be based on My once-for-all-time sacrifice for you.”

That scene in the Temple offers an analogy for our time. Many congregations today are filled with noise and activity. Many programs are in place, from overseas mission trips to local outreaches, to dozens of small fellowship groups. The worship services can be full of bright lights, powerful sound and amazing energy. Yet, sometimes amidst all this lively activity, something is missing at the center: Jesus Himself.

Without Christ as the focus of our activities, our churches are dead. No matter how hard we work to do things that serve and honor His name, none of our “sacrifices” in themselves can achieve true kingdom results. From the outside our fellowships may look righteous, but if we don’t maintain a focus on Jesus, we’ll be churches full of dead men’s bones.

The system of animal sacrifice was never God’s fullest intention to represent His reconciliation with sinful humankind. Like the institution of kings in Israel, it was an imperfect system, yet God allowed it, using it symbolically to point to something higher and better.

God demonstrated this with Abraham. In that ancient time, eastern cultures sacrificed animals and even children to appease their angry gods. When the Lord instructed Abraham to take his son to the mountain to sacrifice him on an altar, Abraham obeyed unquestioningly. That reaction may seem strange to us today, but it suggests a trembling fear that ancient people had toward their gods. When your god spoke, you jumped—otherwise, you might face famine or pestilence. It was fear-based obedience.

But Abraham sensed his God was different. And, in truth, God was about to show Abraham He wasn’t like Moloch, to whom people sacrificed children. When Abraham raised the knife over Isaac, God stopped him (see Genesis 22:11-12). God then provided a ram to be sacrificed. He declared to His servant—and to every believer in every age—“I don’t need you to sacrifice for Me. I’m going to sacrifice for you.” God turned the tables completely, just as Jesus did when He entered the Temple.
 

Download PDF

PRAYERLESS CHRISTIANS

David WilkersonMay 29, 2015

Prayerless Christians don’t realize what danger they are in. You may object, “So what if some Christians don’t pray? They’re still believers—blood-cleansed, forgiven and going to heaven. Where’s the danger in growing a little lukewarm?”

I believe our heavenly Father realizes we live in a busy age, with many demands on our time and energy. And Christians are caught up in busyness and activities as much as anyone else. Yet I cannot believe God takes lightly our rejection of His access, which cost His only Son His life.

God has made Christ our strong tower. But only those who “run into it” are safe (see Proverbs 18:10). If you don’t go in, then you’re still outside the door. You stand where Israel stood but God doesn’t meet anyone at the door anymore. All the provision we need is inside: forgiveness of sin, mercy in time of need, power to overcome.

Imagine the pain of rejection felt by the Father and Son. I envision this conversation taking place between them:

“Son, You were beaten, mocked, crucified, buried. It so pained me, I shut my eyes at the sight. Yet You fulfilled the everlasting covenant. You provided acceptance and access for all who would trust in You. Because of You, a last-days people would be able to come to Me. And they would grow mighty in My strength, building reserves of faith against a devil who would tempt and try them as at no other time.

“Yet, where are our beloved children? Monday passes and we never see them. Tuesday arrives, and still no children. Wednesday comes, with no sight of them. Thursday, Friday and Saturday pass, yet still we don’t see them. Only on Sunday do they approach us, while they’re in church. Why don’t they come? Don’t they love us?”

God asked Adam the same question when he hid from the Lord in the Garden of Eden: “Adam, where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9). The Lord knew where Adam was all along. He really was asking Adam why he had rejected fellowship and showing him that there was danger in hiding from His presence.

Indeed, Christians who don’t appropriate access to the Father end up in a “Sardis condition.” The Lord instructed John, “Unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God . . . I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (Revelation 3:1).
 

Download PDF

ACCESS TO AN OVERCOMING LIFE

David WilkersonMay 28, 2015

When Jesus walked the earth, He made Himself accessible to the whole population. He taught in synagogues, on hillsides, on boats. He healed the sick, performing wonders and miracles. He lifted His voice at the feasts, crying, “I am the living water. Come to Me, and I will satisfy your thirsty soul.” Anyone could draw near to Him and be satisfied.

But our Lord’s invitation was mostly ignored. He cried over the people, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37). He was saying to Israel, “I’m here now, available to you. I’ve told you to come to me for healing and to have your needs met. But you won’t come.”

How did Jesus respond to the people’s rejection of Him? He declared, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (23:38). The word Jesus uses for desolate here signifies loneliness, waste, unfruitfulness. He said, “Your church life, your household, your spiritual walk—they are all going to dry up and die.”

Think about it. If parents don’t seek God daily, their children certainly won’t. Instead, their home will be filled with worldliness, spiritual barrenness, a loneliness beyond description. Eventually, that family will end up in total desolation.

Keep in mind, Jesus spoke these warnings in a day of grace. He added, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39). The meaning here is, “I’ve given you all the access you need to live an overcoming life. But you’ve ignored My offer. I’m sorry, but your decision is going to bring desolation to your life and home. And you won’t see Me again until eternity.”

When was the last time you came to God to find everything you needed for life? Were you in trouble, facing a crisis with your family, your job, your health? There’s nothing wrong with appropriating access to God in times of severe need. Isaiah writes, “Lord, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them” (Isaiah 26:16). The Psalmist testifies, “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” (Psalm 142:1-2).
 

Download PDF

THE GREATEST PAIN OF CHRIST’S SOUL

David WilkersonMay 27, 2015

What is the greatest pain Christ’s soul could ever experience? I believe it is that a generation that has received full, unrestricted access does not come to Him.

For centuries, God’s people yearned and longed to see the blessing of our day. The access we now enjoy is the very access Moses yearned for. It is the same access David’s heart could see but could not obtain. It is the access Daniel never had, though he prayed to the Lord three times a day. Our forefathers saw this access happening in our day, and they rejoiced for us.

Yet we who have been given the right to this wonderful gift take it for granted. The door has been opened for us, yet we refuse to enter for days and weeks at a time. What a crime! Every time we ignore the access Jesus bought for us, casually walking past the door, we take His blood lightly. Our Lord told us we have all the resources we need if we would only come to Him. Yet we continue to snub His costly gift.

Scripture admonishes us, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. . . . Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)” (Hebrews 10:22-23). This passage clearly speaks of prayer. God is urging us, “Come into My presence often, daily. You can’t maintain your faith if you’re not drawing near to Me. If you don’t enter My presence boldly, your faith is going to waver.”

You may know Christians who were once on fire for Jesus, always making quality time for the Lord, searching His Word and shutting themselves in with Him. They knew to draw to Him to keep their faith alive.

Yet now these same Christians merely “think” their prayers. Or they rush into God’s presence for a few minutes just to say, “Hello, Lord. Please guide Me today. I love You, Jesus. Goodbye.” Their seeking heart is gone. The unhurried communion they once enjoyed is no more. And when you ask them about their abandoned prayer life, they claim to be “resting on faith.”

I tell you, prayerless people soon become faithless people. The more they forsake the gift of access, refusing to draw on God’s provisions, the more they drift away.
 

Download PDF

UNRESTRICTED ACCESS

David WilkersonMay 26, 2015

In one sudden, glorious moment, Jesus provided total, unrestricted access to the Father. The Bible says that at Golgotha, on a blood-stained cross, “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom” (Matthew 27:50-51).

At the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil in the temple in Jerusalem was literally ripped apart. That’s the moment our destiny was sealed. In the instant that our Lord gave up the ghost, we were given total, unrestricted access to the holy of holies: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Hebrews 10:19).

This tearing of the physical veil represented what took place in the spirit world. Finally, we were able to enjoy something that generation after generation could not. We have a privilege even Abraham, Moses and David did not have—access to the Holy of Holies, the very throne room of almighty God. The door was no longer shut to us. Unrestricted access was made possible.

Moreover, at His death, Jesus became our High Priest. He ascended to the New Jerusalem, to a temple not made with hands, where He took on the role of high priest. He walked right into the holy presence of God and, with the incense of His own intercessions, presented His blood at the mercy seat. Then He sat down at the Father's right hand, with all power, might and glory.

At that point, Jesus claimed His Covenant right to receive into one spiritual body all who would repent and receive Him as Lord. And He sent the Holy Spirit to issue a call to His children: “I have opened the door to the Father. You are now accepted simply by being in Me by faith. So, come boldly to the throne! I’ll take you into the presence of My Father, who is now your Father. You have unrestricted access to Him, day and night.”
 

Download PDF