Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Legacy of Faith

 Scripture: Hebrews 11 v 6 - 8: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 

8  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."

Ten years ago today a remarkable man of Faith went home to Heaven.  His name is David Wilkerson, who followed the prompting of Jesus to sell all that he had to move out of his comfort zone and show His love to the deadly gangs of New York.

He wrote a book called "The Cross and the Switchblade" which became a bestseller and a movie.  The gangs wanted to kill this intruder but they wanted something else more, LOVE.  The love that forgives and gives a second chance, a love that endures and offers a better life.

We have heard political speeches that offer a better life, but they rarely succeed in improving much of anything.  Only Jesus could really mean it when He said in John 10 v 10: "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

Satan is the thief and it is he who invades the lives of those who are corrupt robbers of every kind, colour, creed and place.  They do not care whom they hurt or destroy, as long as their selfish needs are met.

Jesus gives life that is more abundant, not only financially but in every way that we can receive blessing of healing, victory, deliverance and eternal life.  He laid down His life so we may live.

David Wilkerson found the path to life for these gangsters who were no strangers to theft, destruction and death from an early age.  He was sent to New York to fight for the life of Nicky Cruz, gang leader and on trial for murder along with some of his gang.

David Wilkerson won their trust and Nicky Cruz was a changed person who now runs Teen Challenge from Times Square, where his mentor started this amazing ministry.  They took in drug addicts and prostitutes off the streets and changed their lives and direction.  They were set free of drugs and lifestyles and filled with the Holy Spirit.

On one occasion Nicky Cruz was coming up the ministry steps when he almost fell over an unconscious heroin addict.  Nicky was in a hurry and prayed in tongues over this addict then sent some workers to put him to bed.  When they reached him they found he had already been completely set free and not long after became a ministry worker himself.

Over 90% over the addicts taken to Teen Challenge for Jesus to heal are still free of drugs ten years later.  Compared to other prominent rehab centres that use psychology and other techniques, whose records after ten years show less than 20% of their patients are still free of drugs.

So we remember this man of God, who through obedience, Faith and the love of Jesus deserves to be part of the legacy of Faith along with Abraham, Noah, Paul and Peter, indeed all the Apostles of Jesus Christ.

There are many others who belong in this gallery.  I think of Jackie Pullinger, who is still alive, ministering to the opium addicts of Hong Kong with great success.   The late Derek Prince has been a faithful servant over the many years of his ministry.  He was born again in Jerusalem during the Second World War.  His teachings are still a blessing to thousands around the world.

The late Richard Wurmbrand and his wife, Sabrina, are memorable.  He was a Pastor in Russia at the height of Communism and was imprisoned a number of times for preaching the forbidden gospel.  He was tortured and always thanked his torturers that He was found worthy to suffer for the sake of Jesus.  The warden had to keep replacing these torturers as they all became Christians.

Others include Charles Finney, Dave Hunt, Martin Luther, E.M Bounds, Watchman Nee Too Sheng, Rees Howells, John G. Lake, John and Charles Wesley, and many more.  We are grateful for the legacy of Faith and righteousness that never grows old.  Their lives and teachings have shaped and given a firm foundation to those who refuse to compromise today.

Prayer: Heavenly Father You raise up all the men and women of Faith in the Bible, who pleased You exceedingly, and we remember them all with great thankfulness.  We have learned what it means to serve You without compromise or deceit.
Lord please raise up Christians like these to keep us faithful in these end times.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.