God has provided a source of life for the whole world. Not mere sustenance, but life in its fullest measure — Jesus called it abundant life.
God sent manna to sustain life in the wilderness — He sent His Son Jesus to sustain life in our day. Jesus said, "For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world" (John 6:33).
What is missing in Christianity today, and so needed, is life! What many are experiencing today cannot be called life. Jesus Christ is the Bread of God which, when eaten daily, produces a quality of life which He Himself enjoyed. By His own testimony, Jesus said He participated in a life that flowed directly from His heavenly Father — and which He said ought to also quicken us. "...I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me" (John 6:57).
What we are witnessing in the world and the church today is the dying of life. The further man strays from Jesus, the source of all life, the more death seeps in. Nearly all organized religious systems are in the process of dying — not even aware of all the signs of decay and weakness. Why do a majority of youth today refer to the church as dead? Why is there such a cry and deep yearning in the hearts of so many disillusioned saints of God for a church that has some life in it? It is because there is so little dispensing of the Bread of God which produces it.
What is called the church today is experiencing, in my opinion, history's worst spiritual drought. Multitudes of starving sheep reach out to their shepherds for something to eat — something life-giving which will sustain them in these frightening times. All too often, there is not even a scrap of spiritual food; and they leave God's house empty, unsatisfied, growing weak and weary of trudging back time and again to an empty table.
The prophet Amos prophesied of a day coming when "the fair virgins and young men would faint for thirst." He cried out, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord... they shall wander... run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it" (Amos 8:11,12).
I know it is offensive to many Christians to be told God has declared He does send a famine of the true Word — and that because the people swear by their idols, they will seek but not find it. True, there is much vigorous preaching in the land — much teaching that is calling itself revelation. Bibles are more visible than ever before and multitudes flock to hear their favorite preachers and teachers. Some would even call these the days of revival — glorious days of gospel light and new truth.
But if what is being offered is not the Bread of God come down from heaven, it is not food! It will not produce life — but instead will produce ghastly spiritual famine. Much of what is heard from many pulpits today, even in many Pentecostal churches, is at best pleasurable Pablum. You can leave God's house feeling good because the sermon was fun! The stories are well told, the applications very general, and no one is offended. You can take your unconverted partner with you, knowing he will not be confronted about his sins — no fear of hot coals from God's altar searing him — no flaming arrows of conviction — no pronouncements of judgment against hypocrisy — no heartrending cry for repentance — no prophetic finger that will point to him and thunder, "Thou art the man!" If the hammer does come down against sin, you can be sure the blow will be softened or an apology given.
I am convinced the most evident hiding place today from the flaming eyes of a holy God is inside a dead church. And as lovingly as I can say it, I am afraid many preachers of the gospel are more pallbearer than apostle of life.
On the other hand, exuberant praise is not always a sign of life. Praise from unclean lips is an abomination to God. Praise flowing from hearts full of adultery, lust or pride is nothing more than sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. It can become a death dance around newly erected golden altars. Waving banners, held high by sin-stained hands, is arrogant flaunting of rebellion. I hear the voice John heard coming from the throne, "...Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and great" (Revelation 19:5). These only were to be glad and rejoice, giving glory to God who had made themselves ready as His bride (verse 7).
The truth is — it is a devastating thing to eat Christ's body and drink His blood. Jesus said, "My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink..." (John 6:55). Christ's pure and all-powerful life force, when fully infused in the spiritual man, sets forth to expel and destroy all that is of the flesh and the devil. Nothing can drive out of us the cancer of sin more effectively than a flood of divine life. The infections of sin are driven out by the pure life of Christ in us — through eating the Bread of Heaven.
I heard a minister "prophesy" recently that the time is soon to come when meetings will consist of 90% praise and 10% for all the rest. It makes me wonder if this means he has reached the place Israel came to when they complained, "Our appetite is gone; there is nothing but this manna" (Numbers 11:6). Are some becoming bored with sitting at the table of the Lord to eat the Bread of the Word? Will they not grow spiritually weak if they shout but do not eat?
There is a holy remnant people in the land today who truly praise and worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth. But they include only those who have daily come to the Lord's table to eat and drink of Christ. He has become their only food! He is their only source of life. They are more enamored with Him than His blessing and gifts. They praise Him with clean hands and pure hearts because the Holy Spirit has made them to know that Christ's body is never offered as food to the unclean. Wherever there is stiffnecked holding on to lust and idolatry, the Holy Spirit will not permit the bringing forth of the BREAD OF GOD. Tragically, many eat at the table of demons, then attempt to come to the Lord's table and feast with the righteous. But it only leads to spiritual sickness and death because they are not really discerning the true Bread of God. True praise is the thankful response of a heart overflowing with the life of Jesus Christ. That well of life must be replenished daily by feasting on Christ. Joyful praise that is acceptable must flow from pure hearts. All other is simply worthless noise.
It's true — we are what we eat. Jesus said His flesh is our meat [food] — "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (John 6:53). The Jews could not comprehend such a thought — and "many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him." They said, "This is a hard saying; who can hear it'?" (John 6:60).
Even today, those who relegate this eating of the Lord to the communion table alone are not understanding what Jesus meant. The Lord's supper is to remind us and the world that He became our source of life through death. It is not just symbolic. We are to come often, daily, to eat and drink of Him. The more we eat of Him, the more spiritual life will be demonstrated in us. We have an open invitation to come to His table, eat and become strong.
Why are there so many spiritually weak and sickly Christians today — defeated, disillusioned, weary and unbelieving? Why such despair and faithlessness among those who are heirs of such great and glorious promises? Why such powerlessness, such discontent and restlessness — even in the pulpit today?
The hireling shepherds are partly to blame. When the sheep are not fed, they grow skeletal and weak, becoming easy prey for the enemy. Yet, I see in the land the coming forth of a holy Levitical priesthood — a remnant ministry made up of servants and handmaidens who are becoming shepherds after the Lord's own heart. They are shut up with the Lord, stripped of pride and worldly ambition, eaten with the zeal of holiness, whom the Spirit has anointed to bring forth a separated people who will follow them into the fullness of Christ. Their numbers are few, but growing. They have no other food but Christ — no other source of life! They are bursting forth with life because they have been so often and so diligent at the table of the Lord. They love only according to truth; and they are fearless! They denounce sin without apology — they tear down all idols and strongholds — but only to bring freedom and produce hunger for reality.
Sadly, while a holy remnant hunger for the true Bread, there are many sheep who have become so spiritually weak and diseased by sin, they cannot eat strong meat. They prefer the cisterns of appeasement — the husks of ear-tickling teachings. That is why they prefer lightness and entertainment. Spiritual appetites have become jaded as a result of eating too much junk food. Too often, garbage and filth is preferred above the Bread of God.
What is secular television today if it is not a Satanic cesspool? A recent network radio advertisement called for viewers to tune in to watch "Dallas" to "get a good dose of greed, lust, and passion — as you like it!" Call it what you wish, the producers themselves call it by its true name — a fountain of lust! Yet, literally millions of Christians sit before their idol day after day, hour after hour — drinking and eating at the table of demons.
Am I unloving to cry out against this idolatry among God's people? Would any of the prophets of old remain silent before such a flaunted outrage against a holy God? Call me a legalist or any name you choose — but I cannot keep silent on this matter, because I feel God's wrath against this addiction — I feel the Holy Spirit's grief over so many spiritually blind believers who refuse to obey His inner-promptings to quit drinking out of this filthy cistern. If Jeremiah could witness the sad spectacle of millions of God's people, every Sunday night — instead of sitting in God's house to eat the Bread of God — lolling in front of TV drinking in lust, crime and greed — he would weep and wail. He would cry out, "My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit...they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:11,13).
What, about giving God equal time — will that suffice? Pray one hour for every hour you spend drinking in movies and TV — wouldn't that be a balanced Christian attitude? No way! Paul said, "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils; you cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils" (1 Corinthians 10:21). Then Paul adds, "Will you provoke the Lord to jealousy?" (verse 22). The Greek renders it: "Jealousy as of a husband." In other words, "Will you provoke God with harlotry?" How jealous we make our Lord, giving our time so generously to eat at the table of His enemies and ignoring or abandoning His table. How He would love to have that time feeding you the true Bread.
Wake up, saints! We have already entered a time of great shaking and devastation. The World Health Organization just predicted that by 1990 there will be in excess of 100 million AIDS victims in the world. Not even the experts can predict how devastating this curse from God will eventually become. The flood is already upon us — and blinded Christians can't even see or won't acknowledge that divine judgments are falling right now on all sides. My question is: Will you be strong enough in the Lord to overcome in the evil days?
It's time to overthrow the table of the devil in your life! It's time to get into the secret closet and feast on the true Bread of God! It's past time to rid your life and home of everything that stains and pollutes your spiritual mind. Where will you be eating — at which table will you be seated — when the Redeemer comes suddenly to Zion?
I have spent weeks before the Lord, weeping and crying out to Him for a message of comfort and hope for all the hurting believers who have written to us sharing their deep hurts. Such pain, such deep sorrow, grief and trouble everywhere! What message can I send to these in such dire need? What is the word of the Lord'? Surely, He cares and will bring forth the truth that sets free.
There can be only one answer — God has provided a way to make every child of His strong to resist the enemy! This strength comes from eating the Bread of God sent down from heaven. Our spiritual health and strength depends on getting the Bread of God into us. Hear carefully the words of Jesus: "...I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me" (John 6:57). Jesus was in such close union with the Father, so committed to do only the Father's will — the Father's words became His very food and drink! He was daily sustained by hearing and seeing what the Father wanted. This was the result of spending much time alone with Him.
He once told His disciples, "I have meat to eat that you know not of.... My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work" (John 4:32,34). Jesus said, "Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat [food] which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you" (John 6:27).
We dare not miss this secret of strength — even as Christ lived by the Father, so must we get our life by feeding on Him.
To the dear 86-year-old brother who wrote telling me he so feebly tries to nurse and care for his crippled wife — too poor to afford a nursing home — worried he may die, leaving no one to care for her — I say: "Don't despair! Look up! And drink in His presence! Let the Holy Spirit feed you the manna of heaven. Call on Him; He hears the most feeble cry — He will feed you Himself! He will enter into your innermost being with renewed light and life. God cannot lie! He said Jesus is our Bread of Life — from which we live and get our strength, Christ will give you strength!
To the farmer's wife in Montana, angry and perplexed, at the end of her rope — because their farm is about to go bankrupt. It all seems so dark and hopeless; no one seems to care; and her husband has tried so hard. My beloved sister, stay at the Lord's table! Go back to your source of life and strength! Paul knew a people of God who "took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselves they had in heaven a better and an enduring substance" (Hebrews 10:34). I would say with Paul, "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great promise of reward" (verse 35). Don't leave the table of the Lord and sulk in some dark corner of despair. At His table is all you need for life and godliness. Wait on Him until you are satisfied. No one can take from you that eternal life-giving Bread! Live by Him! Eat Christ and overcome!
To the divorced, the unemployed, the lonely, the parents who grieve over lost children, to the sin-bound who want to be free — get rid of your idols, stop looking for help in the wrong places, and do what you know you ought to do — run to the Lord's presence! Seek Him with all your heart. Get back to eating the right spiritual food! Throw out all the junk and garbage. There is power and strength — all you need — in His life coming into you through the Bread of God.
Though I rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep, there are times I think I hear the Spirit whispering to me — "Don't grieve with certain Christians. Don't weep over them. Don't let their problems burden you down — not those who have forsaken the Lord's table! They do not read the Word of God — though they have hours to waste recklessly on themselves. They have forgotten Me day after day. They hurt and will go on hurting — and you cannot help them — until they return and eat the Bread God has provided to heal and strengthen them."
On the other hand, we now receive letters from those who have endured great affliction, and in the midst of the testing, they have become stronger and full of God's glory — because they turned with all the heart to Him! They lived on Christ! They proved Him to be a mighty source of strength. In their troubles, they sought the Lord, and He heard their cry and satisfied their hungry souls. And, He gave them what was needed to endure the hard times. They will one day come forth as pure gold, tried in the fire. They have been purified of self and pride — and now, like Christ, their only desire is to do the will of God and finish His work. In changing them, God raised them above their problems, and knowing Christ soon became more important than relief.
The Bread of God, like Israel's manna, is daily dispensed. The Bible says God gave His people manna to "humble" them [Deuteronomy 8:16]. Not because it was poor man's food, for it was in fact "angel's food" [Psalm 78:25]. They were humbled by having to seek it on a daily basis, letting them know God held the key to the cupboard. They were forced to wait upon Him and continually acknowledge that He and He alone was the source of their need. We are humbled in the same fashion — because what we ate of Him yesterday will not supply the need for today. We must admit we will starve spiritually and become weak and helpless, without a fresh daily supply of heavenly Bread. Make up your mind — there will never come a time in your life where you will have more than a day's supply of strength. Christ meant it when He said, "You will live by Me." That is — one day at a time.
There is one sure place where the supply of Bread never fails — that is the secret closet of prayer. The Spirit waits there to bring this precious Bread to you — to satisfy you completely — and make you strong and able to resist the world and the devil. So let us keep the feast!