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The Divine Influence of God

4 months ago written by

Our vision is “to bring wholeness to the world through healthy biblical communities of holy people multiplying disciples, leaders, groups and churches.”

For our vision to be fulfilled it takes holy people. This isn’t just a Free Methodist distinctive; it’s God’s way.

So what exactly does it mean to be holy? In short it is a work of transformation, not conformation. It’s being formed from within, rather than adapting and adopting forms. It is surrender and devotion, not duty and compulsion. Holiness means we embrace the very nature and influence of God in place of the nature and influence of sin. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10) and to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). He came to save you and sanctify you as holy.

Holiness is the first volume of a church revitalization process I’ve been writing. In my research, I came across this portion of James Strong’s definition of grace: “the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.” I was struck by the way this layer of understanding not only points the benefit of grace (unmerited favor), but the working of grace (the impartation of God’s divine influence). Taking this definition on a journey through the New Testament opened my eyes to the intent of God for our lives. He wants us to be free from the sin nature and its destructive influence and live a life of freedom and fullness from the divine nature and its life-giving influence. Now that’s good news!

Let’s take this definition for a test drive and plug it into our vision statement:

“To bring wholeness to the world through healthy biblical communities of people who live with the divine influence on their hearts and reflect it in their living, multiplying disciples, leaders, groups and churches.”

Can you see it? Can you capture a vision of your church operating under the influence? Can you dream of what kind of impact could be realized in your community if such a holy army existed?

In this issue of Light + Life Magazine, Kevin Mannoia, Bishop David Kendall, Daniel Castelo, Josh Avery and Martha Kirkpatrick take us on a journey from theology to vision to application. Pastors, I encourage you to glean from this issue and engage the topic of holiness in your worship services and groups. Mannoia paints a scripturally rooted picture of holiness from which a multiplicity of topics and messages can be adopted. Bishop Kendall speaks of an outbreak of holiness, but, for that to take root, we need a break-in. Pastors and leaders, let it break into your own hearts and break forth in your messages with holy passion. Castelo explores the Wesleyan link between holiness and being “born of God.” Kirkpatrick — whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet — shares her personal story, her own experience of holiness and its necessity to fulfilling her calling to serve Jesus. Avery shares his perspective on practical ways to confront the influences of the world in which we live with the divine influence and to respond out of love and devotion to Jesus. Keep this issue as a resource, reference and reminder to keep holiness at the center of the local church.

“The Secret of True Revival” was written by Charles V. Fairbairn, a general conference evangelist for the Free Methodist Church, who would become bishop in 1939 and remain in that office until 1961. The entire theme of his short but impactful work was holiness. Rev. Fairbairn wrote this in 1929 because he understood what power would manifest in the church if we would

embrace true holiness. He said things like, “The ‘Acts of the Apostles’ is the demonstration of the fact that the measure of the power of the Spirit in the church is in direct proportion to the measure of the prayer life of the church.” I’ve pored over this book more than a handful of times.

It was when Fairbairn quoted Methodist Episcopal Bishop Randolph Sinks Foster that I found a literary gem regarding holiness:

“It breathes in the prophecy, thunders in the law, murmurs in the narrative, whispers in the promises, supplicates in the prayers, sparkles in the poetry, sounds in the songs, shines in the types, glows in the imagery, voices in the language, and burns in the spirit of the whole scheme from the alpha to the omega, from its beginning to its end. … If God has spoken at all, it is to aid men to be holy.”

Pursuing holiness together is a journey worth taking. It is an exploration, not a program. It reveals to us the most authentic nature of God who is holy. It purifies, enriches, transforms, renews, challenges, empowers and entirely captivates all who pursue it.

Let’s pursue holiness together!

 

Brett Heintzman recently became the publisher of Light + Life through his new role as the communications director of the Free Methodist Church – USA. He continues to serve as the associate director of the National Prayer Ministry.

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[Openers] · L + L June 2019