Watchman Warns part 2|
Editor, V&K Emilio
When David Wilkerson speaks, I listen. And so should the rest of us if we care about our children's and grandchildren's future.
From having predicted credit busts, no interest loans, and major trouble for airlines and autos among many other things - foretold in the early 1970s no less - to shutting down his operations in August of 2001 because he saw an "hour of trouble coming" (which hit America three weeks later on 9/11), David Wilkerson's track record is surpassed by none.
He is the watchman whom Ezekiel defined:
…"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand" (Ezekiel 33:6, ESV).
Watchman Wilkerson has sounded the trumpet again. Please review "Watchman Warns America" to get up-to-speed on the first half of his Pulpit Series published on February 5, 2007. Then spread the word to your friends and churches.
Terrorism&Disasters are Coming
We need to heed this godly man's warning. Sudden terrorist attacks, disasters, are coming to the United States. In her pursuit of wealth and success, in her love for luxury and motivational pep talks rather than the sound gospel message of Christ's redemptive work on the cross, the church has set herself up for danger and judgment.
God Always Warns His Remnant
Still, God always warns his faithful remnant who will hear and heed the watchman's warnings. "This is so that when sudden disaster strikes, they are not swept away with fear. When that dreadful event comes, God's people must know that what has happened is not an accident or a random act of ruthless nations. They are to have the peace of Christ in their hearts, knowing that our God is still master of the universe. The Lord's people won't panic when other men's hearts fail them for fear at all the frightful things they see coming on the earth" (pg. 3).
We now continue with David Wilkerson's pulpit message of February 5, 2007:
A Thief in the Night
The apostle Peter tells us that "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night," or suddenly…"and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed" (2 Peter 3:10).
A Day of Dread
Wilkerson goes on to explain that "Peter says the day of the Lord won't be one of joy, but of dread. It promises the sudden, unexpected "dissolving of all things, with fervent heat."
According to Peter, the day will come suddenly, "as a thief in the night." And it will be accompanied by a great noise. Imagine it: the very elements will melt with fervent heat, as a great fire consumes and dissolves all in its path.
A Nuclear Holocaust?
What are we to make of such an event? One respected theologian has written, "This sounds like a nuclear holocaust." Regardless of whether this man is right, it is clear that Peter is speaking of a cataclysmic, global event.
To the Remnant
So, to whom is the apostle addressing these words? To whom is he prophesying? Peter has written this epistle to 'the beloved,' the faithful remnant of believers: "Beloved, I now write unto you to stir up your minds by way of a reminder" (2 Peter 3:1).
The Mockers are Coming
In short, Peter is telling his readers that he's about to prophesy a message no one would want to hear - no one, that is, but the beloved remnant. And, according to Peter, it would be a word so awesome it would be widely mocked and scoffed at. He tells these believers, in effect, "The mockers are going to come. And they'll scoff at the prophecies of both Old Testament prophets and present-day apostles."
Judgment Day Fire
Note what Peter says next: "The present heavens and earth, by his same word, are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men" (3:7, my paraphrase).
Here is the same word that God gave about Noah's generation, which he judged by sending a flood. It is also the same word that God gave about Sodom and Gomorrah, a society that was judged with fire. Now, Peter says, this same word comes from God, who holds "in reserve a great dissolving fire for this present day" (3:7, my paraphrase).
Why do we Need to hear it Now?
When we hear a message like this, something in us rises up and says, "It's all too much to bear."
Whenever we hear words like Peter's, our first response is to recoil. We think, "There's so much bad news today, so much that brings stress into our lives. So many tragedies are coming at us from all over the world. Why do we have to hear this message now?"
Indeed, many Christians might cringe at the message Peter delivers here. Inside they would wonder, "Why do we have to be reminded of this? Why not just let it happen?"
How Should We Then Live?
But Peter gives us the reason why this message must be heard: "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?" (2 Peter 3:11).
Conformed to Christ's Image
Here is the heart of Peter's prophecy. In light of the sudden dissolving of all things, God's beloved ought to check their own behavior. Those who look for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy ought to be conformed to the image of Christ, in conduct, conversation and thought.
Lord's Patience - that None should Perish
Peter said the Lord is not slack about his promise, as some men count slackness. In other words, God hasn't yet released the fire that's in store, and for one reason. It isn't just to allow the cup of iniquity to overflow. No, the Lord withholds judgment because of his everlasting patience toward sinful men, "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (3:9).
However, make no mistake: the fire is coming. And for that reason, we are to "be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (3:14).
Churches - Motivational Programs
Tragically, multitudes today are conforming to this world rather than to Christ. Many churches look more and more like the secular world, proclaiming nothing more than a message of self-help. You can't tell the difference between such churches and most secular motivational programs.
A Call to Draw Closer to Christ
What a tragedy, to be going the wrong way in such a time as this. Yet, despite all these things, Christ is calling his beloved to draw closer to him, and to examine their walk in the light of his Word.
Prophetic Messages in Troubled Times
Paul and Peter - and even Jesus himself - delivered hard prophetic messages during troubled times.
When Christ walked the earth, he too warned of a great disaster to come upon Jerusalem and Israel. In fact, during the times of the apostles - especially in Paul's day - there was much "Jesus bashing" because of his difficult warnings.
The Pretend Angels of Light
When Paul came on the scene, flesh-driven doctrines of devils were sweeping through the church. False prophets had risen up and developed followings in the Pentecostal churches. Ungodly preachers appeared, pretending to be angels of light and bringing doctrines of demons.
Meanwhile, in the outside world, homosexuality was rampant. Throughout the Roman Empire, sexual perversions and sensual pursuits were the rule of the day. The self was exalted, flesh was worshipped, and pride held reign. Even the temple in Jerusalem had become a den of thieves, its shepherds focused solely on money.
Sounds Like Today
Paul said of his society, "Evil men are suppressing God's Word, given over to reprobate minds. They are envious, greedy, fornicators, full of strife and covetousness, gossipers, insolent, arrogant, inventors of wickedness, unloving, unmerciful" (see Romans 1:28-31).
It sounds to me as if Paul were describing our own times. He was aware of the Lord's prophecy about the total destruction coming. The day was coming when Jerusalem would be on fire. The temple and the city would be razed to the ground.
That holocaust struck in 70 A.D., just as Paul and Jesus had prophesied. It was a scene so horrible, a tragedy of such epic proportions no one could have imagined it beforehand.
What was the apostles' message at the brink of the coming dreadful day before them?
Here is the message that Peter preached:
"Seeing ye know these things beforehand, beware (be on your guard) lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:17-18).
Here is the message that Paul preached:
"Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10).
What would they Tell us Today?
Considering the apostle's messages, what might we expect the word to be for a society about to be judged in our own time?
We find that word coming from Paul, and it's directed to Christ's beloved: "My prayer for you is that you pursue intimacy, grow in spiritual understanding, and walk worthy of Christ" (Colossians 1:9-10, my paraphrase).
What Should We Do?
So, what is required for such a pleasing walk? Paul tells us: "Put on therefore, as the chosen of God, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another. Whoever has a complaint against another, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you" (3:12-13, my paraphrase).
In Light of Hard Times
Paul is telling us in so many words: "Here is my word to you in these critical times. In light of the hard times you know are coming, you are to measure your walk with the Lord."
In other words, we are to ask ourselves: "Am I becoming more like Christ? Am I growing more patient, or more quick-tempered? More kind and gentle, or more mean and argumentative? More tender and forgiving, or more bitter, holding onto grudges? Do I 'bear with others?' Do I put up with the weaknesses and faults of those near to me, or do I have to be always right?"
Works or Charitable Deeds Don't Matter
Paul is suggesting that in light of such a coming day, it doesn't matter what works you accomplish or what charitable deeds you do. No matter how kind you are to strangers, no matter how many souls you save, this question remains: Are you becoming more loving, patient, forgiving, forbearing?
Not What you are Doing - but What you are Becoming
Examining your walk with Christ means looking not so much at what you are doing, as at what you are becoming.
Part 6 - Conclusion
How can we conform to this kind of Christ-like walk?
Not by Effort but by the Holy Spirit
Such a walk cannot be achieved by human effort alone. It won't happen by self-determination, merely saying, "I am going to become that kind of believer." Rather, it happens by the work of the Holy Spirit, through faith in His Word.
We Ask Him to Help Change Us
First, we read these words and believe them to be God's call to us, to examine ourselves. So we ask the Spirit to show us who we truly are, and measure ourselves by his Word. Then we ask the Holy Spirit to help us change.
All are Conformed to Christ or the World
You see, we all are being conformed, whether it is to Christ or to the world. And the older any Christian gets, the more he or she should be like Christ. Our marriages should not be hell on earth. We need to be taking on our spouses' hurt, becoming servants to one another. Children in Christian homes should see their parents changing, becoming more understanding, loving and kind. That is what defines maturity in Christ.
Don't Fear - Let Holy Spirit Change You
Now I understand what Peter and Paul are saying, which is: "Don't fear what is ahead. Keep God's Word in remembrance at all times, through all things. And meanwhile, let the Holy Spirit make you into a different, more Christ-like person."
Cast your Future&Cares on Him
God has ordained that all our suffering, all our afflictions, all our severe testings draw us closer to himself. Indeed, pain and suffering will either harden you or bring you to a place of total dependence on the Father's love. You'll either quit praying and trusting, or you'll cast all your cares and future on him.
We have been given the inner strength to be able to say, "None of those things moves me." That is God's message to us in these times.
Wilkerson, David. 2007. Watchman warns America. 5 February. Pulpit message, pages 1-2.
—-That dreadful day no one wants to talk about. 2007. World Challenge Pulpit Series, 5 February. (Pgs. 3-4). Available from: www.worldchallenge.org.
(Editor's note: CAPS, subtitles, and divisions ours for ease of reading).