If you live in NYC, odds are you have reaped some kind of benefit or blessing from David Wilkerson’s ministry. While we never actually called Times Square Church home, we did visit often. It was also our transition church while God, in His divine providence, introduced us to Reformed Theology and eventually moved us to our current church home.
I thank God for this preacher who sought to uphold the integrity of the Word of God with all his strength. Anyone who has ever heard the man preach will tell you that he did not preach a watered down Gospel, he hated fanfare, and he wasn’t interested in your approval. When David Wilkerson preached sinners got saved and saints were encouraged. NYC mourns his loss.
Below is an excerpt from a sermon he preached in 1995. By God’s grace, may his ministry continue to bear fruit for generations to come.
“Dear saint, what was the devil’s trap for you?
Was it an old habit – drugs, sex, alcohol, pornography, adultery, fornication? Was it lying, stealing, covetousness, credit-card debt, cheating in some fashion, disobedience?
No matter what kind of trap he laid for you, you must realize your fall was most likely not premeditated. On the contrary, you flew into it suddenly. The devil knew of a weakness in you, and he snared you in it.
Today you sit in bondage, feeling trapped by your sin. You continually blame yourself, thinking, “How could I have done such a thing? I’m unholy, unclean. I can’t make it. I never will!”
But beating yourself that way is an absolute waste of time! It will never get you out of the net. You’ll never be able to figure out how you could have been so foolish, blind and reckless as to fall back into the devil’s trap.
Yet, I have incredible news for you. If you’ve been trapped by the enemy – if you have fallen into his snare, yet you know you love God with all your heart – the Lord will not allow you to be the enemy’s victim. He will not let you remain in the devil’s teeth. You are about to be set free!
“Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth” (Psalm 124:6).
God promises that you will not stay trapped! Let me paint the picture for you.
Imagine a little bird trapped in the fowler’s net. It lies there helpless – its little heart throbbing with fear and terror, its wings beating wildly against the net, but to no avail. The more it struggles, the more battered and bruised it becomes. Frightened, it begins to cry and screech. But escape is impossible. It is completely at the mercy of the fowler.
Beloved, that little bird is you – snared by the net of sin! And the fowler is the devil, the wicked one. He laid his trap and caught you in it.
Now, consider that trapped little bird and tell me how he could possibly get out by his own strength and power. If he fights to try to break through the net, he’ll become even more entangled. He may even break a wing or bleed to death. He can’t deliver himself. It is not in his power or ability!
Isn’t this a picture of us when we’re trapped in sin? We make all kinds of promises to God. We struggle and cry, trying to break free from our bondage. But we remain trapped. We’ve lost our freedom!
Think of the little bird again, trapped in the net. That night, the fowler goes to bed dreaming of this special little bird he’s been after. He can hardly sleep, he’s so anxious to go out the next day and see if he’s caught it.
Sure enough, as the fowler comes near the trap, he sees it has been sprung. Suddenly, he gets excited: He expects to see a worn-out, bleeding, frightened, half-dead little bird in the net. But, lo and behold, when he examines the trap, he sees the net is torn – broken. The bird has once again soared!
We find the little bird perched on a limb in a tree high on God’s mountain. He’s free, and his wounds are healing. And it’s all because the Lord came and ripped open the net!
That little bird is saying to itself, “If it had not been for the Lord – if He hadn’t rushed to my side – I would have been swallowed up and devoured. The angry hunter would have torn off my wings. His raging hatred would have destroyed me. But God broke the snare. He plucked me out of the teeth of the trap!”
“Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped” (Psalm 124:7).
The snare is broken – and we have escaped!”
David Wilkerson from his sermon The Snare is Broken: Escaping the Fowlers Snare.