David Livingstone and Bread from Heaven
Chilembe, Africa 1996
Bread of Life
A brother spoke of David Livingstone bringing bread to Africa. David brought the nation of Africa a teaching about Jesus the Son of God. He brought a message about how Jesus loves His people, wants to forgive all of our sins and bring us a new life. I think we know this is very good news for us. David brought a bowl of bread with a lid on it, and we hear much teaching about how good this bread is. We used to come together every Sunday to talk about how good the bread is and the teaching is true. The bread is very, very good.
Part of the message that God has commissioned us to bring is not simply a teaching about how good the bread is, but what the Bible calls “the keys to the Kingdom”. Jesus’ teaching about how to use those keys unlocks the door, and His teaching about how to take the lid off of the bowl allows us to eat the bread. Jesus did not just come to forgive sins, as wonderful as that is, nor just to make us think about His teachings. Jesus came so that we could experience the same life with the Father that He experienced—not just live here, die, and then go to heaven. As the Bible says, He came here so that we could live in “the power of an indestructible life” to experience the same fellowship and life and love with the Father and His brothers that Jesus did. Jesus wants us to experience more than just teachings about the bread in the bowl; He wants us to eat the same bread that He ate with His Father.
Much of what religion and christianity have done for many years is to teach us great teachings about the bread. It is now time to eat the bread. It is now time to move on from learning teachings about the church to being the church (Ephesians 3:10, Matthew 16:18). Jesus did not come to make us smarter. He came to give us Life to the full—to experience His Life daily in one another, not to say borrowed words and sing and pray stained-glass religious words. He came to give us LIFE! “Little children, love one another.” This was the teaching of the Godhead and Jesus and John and Paul and Peter. We teach about the Family of God, not a religious event to attend. Do any of us attend our family at home? Or do we live in love with our family every day? You cannot attend a family. You can only be a family. The Bible is very clear on this point. You cannot attend a true church. You can only be a true church. A family that you attend is an orphanage, not a true family. An orphanage has a boss over it, and they all come together to eat meals. Perhaps they go out and play together and receive teaching from the bosses. So it does many things that a family does, but it’s still an orphanage and not a family. God is calling us to be a Family now. If you are not already a Family, there will be many changes that need to be made for Jesus’ sake. In order to experience Jesus’ Life and eat the Bread, we must be a Family. And if we are going to be a family for Jesus, we must help each other very much. We must no longer be selfish. We must put away all of our pride and decide that we are open for others to speak to us about Jesus changing our lives.
We must be honest with one another about how we feel. We cannot hide behind a face or a mask but instead must open our hearts and speak what we truly feel; it’s only then that Jesus can help us. Jesus was very angry about hypocrisy. The reason He was angry wasn’t because He hated the people. Jesus just knew that as long as we pretended to be one way when in our hearts we were a different way he couldn’t heal us on the inside as he so desperately wanted to.
Jesus calls satan the Father of Lies. Jesus was angry about hypocrisy for the same reason. When we put walls of lies and hypocrisy between each other, then Jesus can’t heal us on the inside the way He wants to. So if I am very sad and pretend to be happy, in one way I have not told you the truth. Jesus wants us to be honest with each other so that His Spirit can heal our hearts.
If we are not honest with each other then we are hypocrites and Jesus is not happy with us. This is part of being a family—being honest with each other about how we are feeling and how we are doing. But you must volunteer that; you must offer that to each other from the heart. If I am sad on the inside, I don’t want to be a complainer or a whiner. I want to believe God that He can help me. But I shouldn’t pretend everything is okay if it really is not. I should humbly find good brothers and sisters to talk with about these things, because as two or three are together, Jesus comes to join us. So if I am willing to open up a little bit of my heart, it will allow the Holy Spirit to come heal it and will make Jesus very happy. If I build walls around myself, and try to be strong all by myself, then many times the healing power of Jesus will not come.
Jesus wants us to be a family where we open our hearts to each other. He meets us at that place when we do that in humility. Jesus wants us to not be complainers or whiners but, in humility, to be asking others for prayer, help, and wisdom. This is the way a Family must be. But this can’t happen on Sunday morning only. The true Church is a Family daily, like any family is a family every day. Demand and expect that of yourself... “For Jesus who loves me, I will open my heart to others.” This is a decision that you must make. You can decide to stay behind your mask, not open your heart and speak to your brothers and sisters about how you feel. You can decide to hide your tears and pain from others. But if you do this, you will not find the healing power of Jesus. He will only pour out His life to us if we are Family. Jesus will stay far away rather than changing our hearts and lives the way He wants to. He wants us to work these things out together as Family. And when we do open our hearts, Jesus in all of His power and love and glory comes to meet us. But if we have too much pride and fear and are afraid of what others might think or say about us, then Jesus won’t meet us and give us the life and power that He wants to.
Eating the Bread of Loving Each Other
So we come to you in Jesus’ name with the testimony of the life and power of God, asking you to eat the bread, not just study about it, and asking you to be a church and a true Family, not just to attend. Jesus wants a place where He can live. He does not live in houses built with men’s hands. He lives in a Family, and only in a Family. He wants a place to live where you are, not just people that study about the bread and attend “church”, but a place where there is Family and you are the church every single day.
The Holy Spirit through Paul said that every day should be counted alike. Other religions have special “holy” days, but Jesus’ highest way is that every day be alike. Jesus is our Sabbath rest. The more we get into Jesus every day, the more rest we have. God is calling you to be a Family. Will you decide to be a Family? If there is a wall between you and another brother or sister, will you break it down? Will you grab hold of their ankle and beg them to soften their heart? Will you walk to the hill and pray with tears for them to soften their heart? Will you open your heart to them? Will you give your life away for each other every day, wrestling to present them whole and complete in Christ, and crying out to God for miracles of love? Will you do this for your savior Jesus? He doesn’t want you to just know about His Life. He wants you to experience His Life.
This is the Good News of the Kingdom. You are invited into His life if you will turn away from your pride, your selfishness, and your laziness. You are invited to experience Jesus, not just know about him. Every day love each other from the heart and be involved with each other’s lives, helping each other and all of the little children to become more like Jesus every day.
This is the call of God. This is the invitation of Jesus of Nazareth for you now. Eat the bread of love together every day and Jesus will fill your lives and make you whole like you’ve never been before. He will wash away and cleanse your fears and your hardness. The River of Jesus will flood and water your heart making it fertile ground. Your relationship and your love with the Father will grow and grow. You can see the very face of God, as you truly love each other. This is very good news. Today if you hear His voice, harden not your hearts. Be soft before God. Decide that every single day you will open your hearts to those around you and you will no longer be separate from one another, because you do these things for your Savior Jesus.
The Church as a Family
In most families, there are true family members born of mother and father that we could call “problem children.” Some children are more difficult than others, but if they are family, they are family, and we will help solve these problems. We don’t take true children of the family and take them off to the hill and leave them. We just ask God for wisdom on how to bring them home into the family.
To help you have a bigger picture of what it should be like when the church is together, imagine in your mind a family at home, with perhaps five boys and three girls, and a mother and father. Does the father do all of the speaking in the house? If one of the boys, a thirteen-year-old, has a thought, can he not express it? Does not the mother contribute her ideas to the family? Does not even the smallest child sometimes give direction for the family? Is there always freedom in a family for one of its members to speak? Is there always room for the smallest child to cry and to speak of a need? It must also be so when the whole church is together; even the smallest one can open his heart and cry about a need, and maybe the mother can help solve that problem. I mean a spiritual mother, when the church is all together. Maybe one of the spiritual fathers can help that child’s problem. But this is how the church should be when it gathers together. Every member of the family can open their hearts, and other members of the family can help meet the needs. And this is not just in the gatherings. When three sisters wash clothing together, if they can sing in a gathering together, why can’t they also sing when they are washing the clothes together?
If you can talk to the Father together in a gathering, can’t all of His children talk to Jesus together as they walk down the road together? It’s not about Sunday morning and Wednesday afternoon. There is nothing that happens in the meetings that shouldn’t also happen as we walk along the way together. We don’t wait for a meeting to tell brothers and sisters what Jesus has shown us today. We don’t wait for a meeting to open up our hearts and ask for help with something. We are the same every day. In a family, if a little boy has a problem, does he have a special day when he is allowed to talk about it, or can he talk about it any time because there is love in family? This is True Church, where every day we can help each other. There is no difference between meetings and no meetings really, because we bring the teachings of Jesus to each other every day. We worship from the heart with each other every day, morning and night. As we go to gather food, we pray together and we worship together. This is the Family of Jesus.
Also, when we truly become one big Family, if you were to go home and beat your wife, or even just be harsh with her, she should be able to say to you, “That’s not the way Jesus is.” And you should try working it out together. Jesus said if that man will not listen to her, the woman should go and get two or three other members of God’s family, and they should together talk to this man who is being too harsh. This is what Jesus taught us in Matthew 18; our homes are no longer a hiding place from Truth. We cannot be rulers of our own house and ignore the teachings of Jesus. Now we are all a Family, and all of our houses belong to each other. So now a sister can bring in others to talk to her husband. We don’t ignore the teachings of Jesus in our homes anymore. The teachings of Jesus are not just for a “church building”. Now they are for when we go to the market or when we go to our homes or when we go to be schooled. Now the teachings of Jesus are for every circumstance and every situation. We are one family every day, all day, all night.
Building Jesus’ Way
Jesus said that when we put His word into practice, when the storms come (and they will), then the house will stand. It will stand because it is built on the rock of putting His word into practice, not just on thinking or singing about His word. If we only sing about it, pray about it and talk about it and don’t change the way we live to obey His word with one another, then the when the storms come, no matter how pretty the house may look, it will be flattened and destroyed. This is what Jesus promised in Matthew 7. So be sure and build His way, and DO something about His Truths. Obey them, and then the storms will not harm you.
In the same way a little bird or little rabbit hides underneath a rock when the storms come, you can hide in the shelter of Jesus’ wing if you will build the way He calls you to. The storms will shake the trees and move heavy things. They will crash and the lightning will strike. But if you will build Jesus’ way and turn your face towards Him when they come, you will be held safe in the shelter of His wings. The violent storms will pass and the sun will shine. The birds will begin to sing again, and life will be fresh and new. Please build Jesus’ way. This is the word of the Lord to you today.
How to Eat of the True Bread
There is also another point. In John 6 Jesus intentionally said things that are very hard. He said, “Eat my body and drink my blood,” and He didn’t try explaining this and making it easier for them. The Bible says that a multitude of people that had been following Him left then. They quit on Jesus and left Him because they couldn’t understand with their minds. Jesus did not run after them and explain that He was talking about the Lord’s Supper. He made it hard for them intentionally. He turned to His disciples and asked, “Do you want to leave me also?” and Peter said, “Jesus, you have the words of life; we don’t want to go anywhere. We don’t want to leave.”
Jesus only wants people to follow Him that can hear with their hearts and their Spirit. Jesus will intentionally put hard things in front of us—things and situations we don’t understand—in order to separate the sheep from the goats. The people that must understand with their minds but don’t listen with their spirits will not be able to follow the true Jesus. The true Jesus sometimes makes very strange situations to test our hearts. He says to us or does things among us that are very difficult such as, “Eat My body, and drink My blood”. This sounds like a terrible thing, like something that the Bible could never say is okay. Yet, by this Jesus was testing those who were listening with their heart and those who were listening with their ears. Jesus was testing those who love the Spirit of Jesus and those who just love the externals. There are many things like this throughout the Bible where God separates people that listen with their ears from those that listen with their spirits. This is the way of God, and it always has been. The situation in John 6, in which many left Jesus, has been repeated in every generation before and after Jesus.
We are not God; He is God. We submit to the things that are God whether we understand them with our minds or not. This is also the teaching of the book of Job. Even today Jesus often speaks in parables that are hard to understand, to distinguish those people who love Him in their spirits, rather than those who are just using Him to make themselves feel better. Even today He speaks in parables of life that are sometimes hard to understand, to see which ones will leave him and which ones will say, “To whom shall we go? In You are light and life.” It is really the same today as it was then.
Jesus the Bread in Us
“If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you” (John 14:15-20).
It is a very, very wonderful truth, that Jesus didn’t go far away somewhere while we stay here and sing songs to Him and try to obey all the teachings that He gave us, and then someday in the far distant future He will come back for us. The wonderful teaching of Jesus is that He will be with us until the very end and has not left us as orphans. He told the disciples that when He came back the world would not see Him but we would. And we do... not with the seeing of the eyes but with the seeing of the Spirit. He said, “Obey Me and love Me. Love each other and be one as I and the Father are one.... The world will not see Me but you will see Me because I will come and make My home in you. I have been with you, but I shall be in you.”
This is not just a tricky teaching. This is the real thing. He is just as real in a real Church as if He were physically here. In fact, Jesus said it would be even better if He left because He would come back to be in us, and that would be even better than if He were to just come back and stand here. This is not just a figure of speech or an allegory or some mystical teaching. This is the real thing. The same Jesus who walked on water and raised dead people to life again would come and live inside of us in Power and Love and Glory. He would not come where the human eye of the world could see Him. But if we will love Him and give our lives for whatever He wants for our life, and love each other from the heart, then this same Jesus who walked on water and could walk through a locked door and give sight to the blind will live in our midst, inside of us, and allow us to have a love affair with Him, with the Father and with one another.
Some people did not taste death before Jesus came again in power because the day of Pentecost was only 50 days after Passover. He came back for us in only 50 days. He came not to be with us, but to be in us. This is a mystery that was withheld for ages and generations. In Colossians 1, the mystery of all the generations is this: Not Christ with you, not Christ simply coming back for you (though He will), but Christ IN you, the Hope of Glory. This is for all who will love Him and give away their lives for His purposes. Hallelujah! He did not leave us as orphans! And many people did not taste death until He came back in His glory to live inside of us. This is what Jesus meant in John 14.