In the early 1980s the contemporary music scene burst on the scene with a few well-known artists. One such group was called Glad. It was composed of four or five men, who sang totally accapella. I still have a cassette (for those younger than fifteen, that was an ancient way to record!) and a CD to which I occasionally listen. I love the sound of their voices, but I especially appreciate their lyrics. One of my favourite songs is “Be Ye Glad.” This song always moves me as it focuses on the power of the grace of God as experienced in the gospel. When one listens to the song the response is to be, well, glad! Gladness was our experience as we came together last week as a church for our annual World Outreach Celebration.
Like the song “Be Ye Glad,” we were reminded once again of the marvellous grace of God. And in the midst of this the Lord was gracious to us as a church. For this I was, and continue to be, glad! Let me highlight some of these graces.
First, there was the grace of corporate worship. And it was very corporate.
There was a time in which our WOC was often attended by many visitors from other churches and this always boosted our attendance. For various reasons, that is no longer the case, (though we did have some visitors each night). Yet the church was full each night with our own people. I, for one, was very glad that the membership of BBC is growing in its passion for the honour of God’s name in all the nations. Each night, people who were increasingly tired came out, and in some cases they brought their children who were even more increasingly tired! This certainly indicates that God’s agenda is steering the agenda of the majority of BBC. And I am glad about that!
Second, there was the grace of servanthood.
The Lord Jesus taught His disciples that true greatness is displayed by serving others for the glory of God. That is what was occurring, not only last week, but also in the weeks prior to the WOC. My heart was made glad by the many who laboured to make last week such a wonderful success. The Aquila and Priscilla group arranged presentations, displays, eats, etc. Many of our ladies could be found serving in the kitchen. Several different men helped to make sure that the building was usable (with special mention made of Jim and Travers). The security team was vigilant to keep us safe and many others did various deeds of helps that contributed to a wonderful sense of unity and joy among us. We were glad through it!
Third, there was the grace of fellowship.
Though the meetings were somewhat lengthy, it seemed afterward that very few even wanted to go home. Mary’s food was no doubt a factor in that regard, but beyond that was the sense of true fellowship in and around the person and work of Christ. In response to the Word, which pointed us to the glory of God and to the grace of the gospel, believers found themselves too glad to leave. I suspect that if there had been beds on the premises many would have stayed all night! The gospel made us glad, and for that I am certainly glad!
Finally, there was the grace of giving.
At present our new Faith Promise commitment to support the missions endeavour for this new missions year is over R750,000. How can one explain an increase of fifty percent over last year except by the grace of God? The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians and bragged about God’s grace in this matter of giving when he said,
We want you to know brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches in Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging us earnestly for the favour of taking part in the relief of the saints.”
(2 Corinthians 8:1–4, ESV)
This was truly our experience last week and just as such grace caused gladness in Paul’s heart, so has God’s grace at BBC made me glad!
Those in the know caution writers to avoid using too many exclamation points in their works. Well, I have violated that rule over and over in this article, but the reason is simple: God’s grace has made me glad!
May the Lord now continue to sustain our gladness by His grace, with the result that the gospel of the grace of God will reach to the ends of the earth so that the nations will be glad as well. I will conclude by inviting you to contemplate these verses from Psalm 67—and be ye glad.
God be merciful to us and bless us,
and cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
that Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
and govern the nations on earth. Selah