An Introduction to "Faith"
By Iverna Tompkins
Transcribed by Jane Vaughn
I am convinced that we’re on the very brink of the next dimension, the next level, the next revelation, the next out-pouring, the next great move of God. Hopefully, one of those terms will strike a cord of identification with what your doctrine is looking for in terms of Revival. All describe the dynamic move of His Spirit on the earth. We are just about to witness what many of us have been crying out for for a long time. “Oh, God, move again.”
Many have lost their enthusiasm for this future move because we’ve heard Christian leaders say that for years. Some have said, “God is about to move in a new and dynamic way.” Others have said, “We’re going to have the greatest Revival the church has ever known! Thousands upon thousands – multitudes – are going to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ!” and it doesn’t seem to be happening. When we hear things like that, we have a tendency to project this understanding: “tomorrow.” When such a prophetic word is spoken, some people give God all week to fulfill it. :-) The more mature ones will even wait three or four months. Either way, we tend to take that seemingly unfulfilled promise and bury it somewhere saying, “I thought I heard from God.”
Today, I believe, we are in an interim time, a different season. We’re between moves of God. We’re between revelations. We enjoyed powerful revelations in the great Charismatic Renewal of the 1960s and ‘70s. God reached down into many churches having heard the voices of His people crying out for a fresh move of His Spirit. He didn’t move on everyone in every church because everyone wasn’t crying the same prayers. The spiritually hungry were saying something like this, “God, surely there is more to it than this.” And He said, “I hear that prayer.” Then He poured out His Spirit upon those who were seeking Him for much more. Others were peering into the Word and saw that there was an experience described there they didn’t have. Their prayer was, “Lord God, if that’s for today, I want it.” And He said, “I hear that prayer.”
This great divine outpouring of God crossed denominational barriers and every other hindrance the church set up. Sometimes, we are the hindrance to the move of God. The Lord determined, “I will have My people.” Subsequently, He found one here and several there and several more there, and there, and there. And it was a glorious move at that time – the most glorious move that many of us have seen in our lifetimes, and much greater than the previous move we called Pentecost.
But then we camped right there. We became very comfortable. In fact, we adopted little sayings to identify ourselves. We said things like, “Do you speak in tongues?” Or, “Are you Charismatic? Have you had ‘the experience’?” And then we became very selective with whom we had fellowship because we had this “new power” with God. We felt we had to protect it. And so we did protect it; we kept it safely encased in our private little circles. Sadly, that is the truth.
So now we ask, “Why is there ever a ‘slack time’ between great moves of God? Why does God do that?” I believe it’s because in the space of time between one great dynamic outpouring of His Spirit and the next, there is a pause for appropriation of the fresh revelation that has just come to the church. It gives us opportunity to put into practice what we know. We have seen all the glorious things we’ve seen, and we’ve heard the glorious promises we’ve heard, and we even have come to believe some of them. “Oh Lord, yes, be it unto me as Thou hast spoken.” What we haven’t done is taken a look at the “price tag” (the conditions) affixed to the promises to see whether or not we are willing to pay it. I am strongly convinced that God is about to allow those who will “pay the price” to move on into a new revelation.
Now, listen to this and think about it: I believe there will be many thousands of believers, now praying for the next move of God to come – who will continue to pray for it all the way through it – because it may not come the way they envisioned or planned for it to come. They will miss it because it may not look the same as something they heard occurred historically, or even saw for themselves some time in the last 50 years. It may not come in a package that pleases us but it is going to come.
This I believe: the next move of God is going to usher in the greatest response in disciples that the church has ever known. We are going to fulfill the concept that names us a “kingdom of priests” (Ex.19:6; Rev.1:6). Hallelujah! We like the title, don’t we, but we’re not sure of the work. Yet we are going to come into the fulfillment of it.
I heard a man say something interesting as he was talking about “kingdom living.” He was relating that concept to a teaching that came to him from the head of his denominational church, one who is a very strong, firm leader and takes an extremely strong stand on what he calls headship – period. (Isn’t it funny how much you can say when you put a period on something?) :-) The man I was speaking with made this statement: “kingdom living is wonderful – if you’re the kind.” And I was actually groping in my spirit for an appropriate response as he was sharing with me. Then I heard it, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, as I said, “or if you’re in love with Him.”
Now, Church, it’s not by chance we have what seems to be many diverse teachings or even extreme teachings on these subjects. It has been the will of God for several reasons. One of them is for us to be balanced. An English teacher teaches English as if mathematics does not exist. And that is true for every academic subject. So, God raised up some teachers and birthed within each a single concern, or focus. They came to the Body of Christ then, and still come now, to stir us along those particular lines. The Lord never intended us to camp with only one school of thought or developed idea. He wants us to add each biblical teaching that is from Him to our repertoire of revelation, and reject the heresy if it exists.
However, we picked up teachings like little children. We embraced some and rejected or ignored others that were really from the Lord. This selectivity caused separation (division) in the Body of Christ so that people are known as this or that or the other thing based on the teachings they have espoused. “They’re the praisers.” “They’re the tongue-speakers.” “They’re the faith people.” That was never God’s plan or intention. Every Spirit-filled person ought to be a balance of all scriptural doctrines. We shouldn’t allow or encourage our churches to be known by such defining tags: “That’s a praising church.” “That’s a Word church.” What other kind is there? Those labels ought to be buried.
We need a new vision of the King of kings and Lord of lords, instead of seeing Him as the little servant that goes about doing what we tell Him to do, saying “in His name.” Hello? We need to see Him as high and lifted up. Let His train fill the temple (Is.6:1). We must come to realize that we’re the ones that are the servants. He already has risen from the dead. His work here is completed. Church, He’s alive! He is seated at the right hand of the Father (Ac.2:33) and He is looking for disciples who’ll carry on in His stead. (Jn.14:12). He’s not working. Some say, “The Lord is working among us.” The Bible says He is resting (see Heb.4:9-11). How can we say He’s working? The Lord is not working – we’re supposed to be working!
The church is languishing, waiting for us to grow up. It is time for someone to take a stand against the dissension and all of the various doctrinal “factions,” taking place in the Body of Christ today. It is time for a “kingdom of priests” to rise up and say, “You’re my brother and you’re my sister and we’re on the same team – let’s get the job done together!”
What is faith? We must be careful not to lose God’s focus here. Faith is the Greek word /pistikos/. It means “total reliance on the word of another.” Because of some extremes in the past, we didn’t know what we were to have faith in, or about, or why, but we all set a goal: that I might have faith. Then we had scores of people running around like little kids who get something before they are mature enough to use it “In Jesus’ name. Watch my faith work.” “Want to see my faith? What would you like for me to do?” We boldly, and unfortunately brashly, moved out “in faith” and if “it” worked once, then we really got excited. “All right! Did you see that?” What a sad, but true, commentary.
The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb.11:6) and that every one of us has faith – “…to every man [is given] the measure of faith” (Rom.12:3). Faith is absolutely necessary for everything we are – and the first thing we are is ministers unto the Lord. That is what the priest does – he ministers to the Lord, and we are discussing what it is to be a “kingdom of priests.” Praise is ministering to the Lord. Worship is also. If you think we come together corporately simply to sing some songs – and “now let us kneel,” “now let us stand,” “now let us raise our hands,” “now let us clap” – because we don’t know what else to do – you don’t know priesthood at all.
Let me help explain why it is so difficult for some to worship the Lord: it is because they never get out of the “outer court.” We enter into His courts through praise (Psa.100:4), but we press into intimacy in worship. It’s hard to worship Him from out there in the courts when He’s inside in His chambers. It’s hard to worship Him when you see Him as a servant, who responds to your every beck and call. No one ever worships a servant, we just use servants.
Why do you think John had to have the vision he had on the island of Patmos? John was an old man by that time. He’d been talking about the Lord for years. Many years earlier, this John was the one who used to lean on Jesus’ breast (Jn.13:23). He knew Jesus well: Jesus meek and mild; Jesus the servant of all; Jesus who whenever He saw a need met that need. That was the limited concept John had and it needed to be enlarged. One day, on the Lord’s Day (Rev.1:10), the Spirit visited him and declared, “John, you need to rise to a new dimension, a new level of understanding of who Jesus really is.” The heavens opened and Revelation Chapter 1 is a description of what John’s eyes beheld. He saw something he couldn’t even explain for us. I am reminded of the verse that tells us without the Spirit, we can see nothing about our God (Jn.16:12-15). We can understand nothing unless the Holy Spirit makes Him real, my friend. You couldn’t even understand what I’m saying right now without Him.
Some people want a God that can be ordered around. That’s not unusual, it’s common. Every Godless nation, or people group, has always created gods over which they could exert control. The little gods they created were made out of wood, silver, gold and stone. Take pagan nations – they want to worship what they want to worship; something they can control. - - - Don’t we? :-)
Now, on this coming day of revelation, the Lord will come back to His people as Lord of lords and King of kings. The only ones that are going to know the next dimension of that revelation in its fullness – the only ones that are going to be used in this last day Revival – the only ones that are, as Jesus said, going “to do greater things than I do shall ye do because I go to the Father” (Jn.14:12) – the only ones that are going to be a part of that fulfillment – are going to be those who see Him as He is – the King of kings and Lord of lords, in all of His splendor and all His glory. They are the ones who bow before Him and are delighted to be servants of the Most High God.
Let me bring a balance now. When someone asks me, “of all the messages that you ever teach, which is your favorite?” I almost always respond, “The Song of Solomon.” I love that Book. I love to talk about the Bride of Christ and our love relationship with the King. It is so beautiful! And indeed, we’re going to come to that. Men, for you that’s going to be your next real stretch for growth, when you really come to an understanding of what it is to be a member of the Bride of Christ. Oh, it won’t take away your masculinity. It will complete you.
You see, worshippers are being returned to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! The church has been relegated to widowhood long enough. It’s time now for God to get hold of men who are real men and bring them into the church. He will make them true worshippers so that the generation coming up behind them can look and see men (stereotyped in their thinking as “macho men”), now standing unashamedly, worshipping, making love to Jesus Christ.
I love to teach about the Bride-Bridegroom relationship between the Church and our Lord Jesus Christ. But, it’s not quite time for us to sit down at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. We’re betrothed to Him, but there is a job to be done first. Can you grasp that?
There exists what may seem to be a contradiction in visions. Let’s try to clear up any confusion. One time we talk about being the Bride of Christ, worshipping the Lord and coming into intimacy with Him. The next minute we’re saying the church is the Army of the Lord, battling in the fray. “God’s got an Army, marching through the land.” So which one is it? Bride or Soldier?
The Lord reminded me of the time a lady came to me at a conference and said, “Iverna, I had the strangest dream. And I really didn’t understand it, but I felt I was to share it with you.” She continued by describing a grand wedding she had seen in her dream. She knew this was the Bride of Christ – it was glorious and wonderful. But here is the strange element in her dream: the Bride was wearing combat boots.
I was delighted with this picture as I could clearly see our position in Christ. We are His Bride and that’s how He sees us. But Church, we are still here on the earth. It’s not time for us to sit around in little cloister groups protecting what God has given us. It is time for Him to send us to the world, but He isn’t going to send us out to the world to win the lost in the new dimension of a grand Revival until we can learn to get along within the family!
Go to Part 2