Evidences of Grace
What is God doing in our midst? Caleb Yap encourages us with these evidences of His bountiful and merciful grace that the Lord has opened his eyes to. May you be encouraged and strengthened as much as we are, and may our love for God and for one another grow.
I first came across this phrase “evidences of grace” in the sermons of a man called C J Mahaney, and later traced it back to the writing of the great theologian Jonathan Edwards. It refers to the important Christian practice of pointing out what God is doing in a person’s life in order to encourage or strengthen them in the faith, and to show them the fruit of the gospel in their lives. I have been reflecting on the “evidences of grace” we see at GBC.
Gatherings for the Gospel
Each week, many gatherings of GBC take place all over the island, lifting up the name of Jesus.
Among the older men, one group gathers for lunch and devotion, aiming at mutual encouragement and prayer over porridge. Another group meets at the Botanic Gardens weekly early in the morning for prayer in the psalms. Our pastors, elders and staff gather for prayer in the church office, giving thanks for what God has done and interceding for church members and their needs. A pair of working men meet in Raffles Place for Bible reading and prayer before they head up to the office for the work day.
One older saint who cannot leave home makes time weekly for a prayer appointment with another sister who comes calling, and they share their quiet time and pray for their friends and loved ones. Our dedicated visitation team makes home visits to listen, encourage and intercede for those who are shut-in or ill. A loving grandmother texts precious verses in the family Whatsapp chat to encourage them at the start of the day. A group of mothers meets regularly to share their struggles in parenting and they look to the Scriptures for God’s wisdom, as does a group of sisters who meet in church for systematic study of Galatians.
Among our young people, pairs are meeting to study what the gospel is through the Gospel Primer material, a four session study of themes like God, Man, Christ and Response in order to understand the gospel. Others are reading Hebrews, Proverbs and Ephesians chapter by chapter. A couple have started a Bible study with their neighbors to read the book of Galatians together. Our youth meet on Friday nights for a time of encouragement taught by dedicated youth leaders who spend their free evenings after work preparing for ministry.
At home, a couple reads a picture Bible to restless children, and another group of young couples gather for dinner and prayer, and their homes become a church gathering. Another family strives hard at memory verses before the kids get to the school bus for the day, prepared with the true words of life. Many care groups are gathering together to study Acts, and classes for Christian Education continue to explain the Bible to those who want to know God more. The recent “Disciple One Another” workshops have been well attended as many are learning the tools and skills to help others follow Jesus.
All this, and more, is to the praise of God’s glorious grace. God is wonderfully at work in our midst, helping disciples to make more disciples.
Praying for Fruit
As Jesus taught His disciples, the harvest continues to be plentiful, and though the laborers are few, we ought to pray to the Lord of the harvest (Matt 9:36-38). How then should we pray for Grace Baptist Church?
- God would give us a deep sense of surrender, and entrust our church to Him. Matthew 9:38 tells us that He is the Lord of the harvest, and it all belongs to Him. We must put aside our prideful anxiety, decrease in our own eyes, and He must continue to increase.
- God would raise up and send forth more labourers for the ministry. This doesn’t mean praying for more full time workers – it means praying for more of our own members to get involved in Bible reading, in meeting one another for prayer and encouragement, and for more to move towards others in relationship, especially for those who currently aren’t.
- God would give us a deep sense of compassion and love for one another and for the lost, the same kind of love that Jesus experienced in Matt 9:36 for the “scattered sheep without a shepherd”. That kind of love for Christ’s flock is the heart of a disciplemaker, who evangelises the lost with the gospel, and seeks to build others up with the Word.