Responsibility During Revival
By Iverna Tompkins
Transcribed by Jane Vaughn
“When the day of Pentecost was fully come,” they were all of one accord (Acts.2:1). What a miracle! A hundred and twenty of Jesus’ closest followers were all in one place. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven…” (v.2a). Suddenly. It doesn’t matter what amount of time precedes it, 10 days or 40 years. When it happens, it’s all of a sudden.
Suddenly, there came a sound from heaven, “as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the house. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (2:2b-4).
The Holy Spirit knows all the languages of the world, even ones buried in the dust of ancient civilizations – every dialect – and, more importantly, the language of heaven. He gives us a royal language, speaking through us to the Father such wonderful things our limited minds and vocabularies cannot even think.
The scripture continues to say they began to speak out in other languages (tongues) and the people around them (many foreigners from far away lands) “heard them speak in [their] own languages” (v.6). Many people take this to mean every time the Holy Spirit speaks through a person in a language not that person’s native tongue, that it should be an absolutely recognizable language to someone. Not true. When God needs to do that, He will. He does it to gain the attention of the one who hears and understands the language. There are documented instances where that happened and the hearer was divinely impacted by God’s message in his native tongue.
Remember, He is Lord. He will do what pleases Him and will accomplish His purposes – in every situation, in every meeting, in every home, in every circumstance. God will use a yielded vessel to reach individuals in families, on the job, or in social situations. God knows what needs to happen and how to effectively accomplish those things. Our part is to stay in tune with Him. “Lord, make me sensitive to Your Spirit, and then to Your people.” If I can be responsive to Him, I know I’ll be alert to others in the right way. If I pray only to be sensitive to God’s people, to an individual’s needs, I set myself up for manipulation. My first sensitivity must be to the Holy Spirit in me.
Now, what occurred in the Upper Room was the Holy Spirit visited in power and did something never done before. It was unique, unnatural, and therefore super – supernatural. The men in the area who heard these uneducated Hebrews speaking in their own native languages were astounded – totally amazed (v.7). They were amazed but doubtful. Amazed, but not impressed enough to turn to the Lord, the power behind the amazing display. Being amazed does not make them instant believers.
In the 1940’s and early ‘50’s, there was a fabulous outpouring from God. Miraculous healings were abundant, the result of His powerful intervention on this earth. The people were amazed, but not saved. Today, now, we have this erroneous idea that if God would just move in supernatural healings and other miracles in the church, that would attract and save sinners. It will not. Not any more today than 2000 years ago in Jerusalem. Not in the masses we hope for. Miracles have never been the source of revival. They have been the experience, the outflow, the result of His visitation.
I believe, however, that the miraculous flow will return in the next move of God – in a truly marvelous way. And, I trust it will happen in the pews. I believe the Holy Spirit will prompt one person with a word of knowledge about the person in the next seat. When God truly possesses you, and you are praying to be sensitive to His voice and direction, the Holy Spirit moves. One believer will lay hands on another, pray for God’s manifestation to come forth, and His power will flow – in the pews. That is how it should be. It ought to be the norm, the natural, the customary of the supernatural Spirit-filled life.
During the revival, what is our responsibility?
Let’s look at three pairs of words, actions, all verbs. If we take them seriously, they will make a difference in the lives of individuals, and of the church,. They do not reflect the busy-ness we might expect as revival breaks forth. They are meant to be personal and challenging.
I am concerned about the people of God today and their naiveté. Satan uses it against us, and it ought to make us angry that we allow him to get away with it. He is a clever expert at deception and is determined to cloud the minds of individuals, Christian and otherwise, about himself and his trickery.
Think about the focus of our entertainment over the past few decades. Gone are the musicals and family stories. Through movies and television, aliens have been brought to us as kind, cute, helpful beings, more intelligent than man. Some are very ugly but at the same time, cute or funny. Isn’t that interesting to you? Is it true? Over time, are we being quietly desensitized to evil?
What about the toy and game industry over the past several decades? Our children play with grotesque and horrible monsters. Cartoons are replete with magical powers, not all “good.” Evil is personified as superpowers that little boys love – to use to terrorize little girls. Little girls’ dolls are called “Bratz” and could foster an internal attitude that is contrary to anything most parents want in their sweet little girls.
Games today toy with the imaginations of the players until, for some, it is difficult to separate reality from the imaginary. The Ouija Board has been around for so many years it became socially acceptable, but is a psychic tool. D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) is a devilish “game” that appeals to the very bright and highly intelligent. It is a clever way to open the minds of the participants to occult practices, including the casting of spells. A popular series of children’s books present “magic” as entertaining and fun, depicting witches and warlocks as something every kid wishes he could become – for the power.
What actually has happened is the desensitization of both children and adults to the horrible, the grotesque, and the occult. They have lost their “fear” of the demonic because they’ve seen it all on television, or conquered it in moments in some video game. One of the best teaching methods is the use of humor – and we have allowed the enemy to present his evil to us through this medium. We think because something is funny or only a story, a cartoon or in a game, it’s not dangerous.
So, I ask you – what visitation from hell would scare your children, or grandchildren? They have seen it all, most of them. They’ve heard the sounds and smelled the smells and they’re not afraid.
This may be an even more subtle tactic of our enemy, the devil. Since the 1930’s and John Dewey, who was the architect of our American educational system, and an avowed humanist, humanism has grown so big we barely recognize it as contrary to God’s biblical worldview. We don’t see it because we all have been educated through the system. Satan has used our own educational system to brainwash us into complacency. Humanism is its own god – man in control – supposedly.
In the church, we talk more about abortion and other societal ills than we do about Jesus and the Cross. It is good to take an absolute stand against the killing of the unborn. It is right to take a definitive stand against free sex or drugs or the use of alcohol. We must aid the poor, the elderly, the homeless, the addicted. But, let’s face it. We talk about all these things in the church, but it is the secular world that brought attention to these “evils” in society. They went after them while we in the church mostly talked about how bad things were getting and what could we possibly do?
As much as these problems in our society need to be dealt with, there is a more complex area to consider. Isn’t it interesting to you that the devil allowed all these issues, these “evils,” to become so obvious and engrossing that they had to be dealt with? He has kept us occupied and focused on human things for decades while he was patiently developing something else in the spiritual realm.
He was preparing the way for spiritism to come in a different package than it had ever been presented to the American society, and to the world. Instead of it just being a few little old ladies in a quaint little book shop that read fortunes through tea leaves and cards, he was approaching superstars and intelligent people who were able to influence the whole society with a need for something spiritual, but something that didn’t confront them about their sin and moral failings. Think about Shirley MacLane. First, we had her cleverly written book. She wrote from the position of a doubter, not believing in a super-spiritual realm at all. Gently and tenderly, she was gradually influenced, not pushed, by a man who demonstrated to her peace and satisfaction in life. Things she coveted. And then she pursued him, not the other way around. In other words, he was a great witness!
Her story found its way to the television in a mini-series. Let me say here – do not avoid such things, like her book and the series, because we need to learn some things – but as the Lord leads us, and for His purposes. The TV series was even more clever than the book. In its slow progression of her experience of being introduced to some men (notice it was not “silly women” because we can all explain away the spiritual side of women and our openness to suggestion). We are introduced to logical thinking, manly men who yield themselves to become a “channel.” How subtle and cunning! We were given a whole new vocabulary, not “spiritist” because too many would reject that as from the dark side, but “channel.” Same thing, but now “new.” A new wave! This should scare us a bit – but a big bit!
It goes on, introducing the viewers to this wonderful new experience of “channeling.” I would have plainly called it a séance where the person yields himself to a familiar spirit and allows the devil behind all this to have free reign. They called it “channeling.” It would not have been so frightening if it had been limited to this one superstar, but soon afterward, the media reported college students learning to channel in order to learn some things they needed to learn, by asking questions of the spirit with the “wisdom.” So, while the enemy had us focused on things temporal that needed prayer, and needed to be opposed and corrected, we in our naiveté were blinded to an awareness of something that can only to be dealt with in the spiritual realm.
What are the tools we need to battle humanism? Prayer, declaration of the Word of God, and the exercise of faith. But these are not effective tools against spiritual battles. The only successful weapon against spirit is Spirit. Remember, Jesus handled the devil’s temptation in the wilderness by the Spirit and the Word. He quoted the Word of God and was victorious. But, when Satan quoted the Word of God, “It is written…” (Luke4:10), it had no effect on Jesus. That is because Satan could not use the Word of God with the Holy Spirit’s power making it come alive.
Here is the crunch, church. We have been taught in the church how to deal with humanistic kinds of problems, but this is a new day. The only way to impact our society is to be totally possessed by the divine, supernatural, Holy Spirit of God, yielded to His reign in us. We must have a revival of the Holy Spirit! Many of the problems we face today are of a humanistic philosophy, yes. We can and need to confront those issues with the tools God provided. But greater is the problem in the spirit-realm.
Go to Part 2