Sunday, 19 November 2023
Prayers of Praise
Details: Give thanks to God for his many kindnesses he has shown to our congregation this past week: answered prayer, the gift of repentance, trials that humbled us, wrongs for which we could forgive.
Prayers of Petition—BBC Family and Ministry Specific
Neli was converted 2016 after attending church most of her. When she began to sense that something was missing—but she didn’t know what—a friend helped her to read and study the Bible and her need for the gospel clicked. She started attending BBC in 2019 and officially became a member in 2021 when she was baptised in very cold water outside during COVID-19 restrictions. She works as a data analyst for a startup.
Fred and Lindiwe met at BBC in 2018 and married in 2019. They are blessed with a lovely daughter, Lithemba (17 months old). Fred is a teacher in Hoërskool Voortrekker and Lindiwe is a Senior Education Specialist in the Gauteng Department of Education.
Details: Pray for the salvation of Neli’s mom and brothers. Pray for her energy levels at work as year-end fatigue sets in. Pray for her ability to glorify God in her work.
Prayer Item: FRED, LINDIWE, and Lithemba Odame
Details: Thank God with the Odames for his faithfulness and provision of new jobs this year. Pray for them as new parents, for all unsaved family members, and for them to grow in their trust in God’s sovereignty.
Prayer Item: Quarterly Members’ Meeting
Details: Pray that we will have a meaningful members meeting next Sunday evening experiencing congregational encouragement and thankfulness for what the Lord is doing in our church. Pray for unity as we vote on the church budget with a view to faithful stewardship to the glory of God.
Prayer Item: A concern for staying sheep
Details: Pray that we will grow in our burden to gain those who are wandering. Pray for our ability, as a church, to be intentional about speaking into the lives of those on the fringes and encouraging each other on the road to Christlikeness. Pray that we will all be willing to be used redemptively in the lives of others.
Prayer Item: Visitors
Details: Pray for wisdom in interacting with the many visitors we have seen coming to BBC in recent weeks. Pray that we will be able to engage them where they are and that God will continue to add to the church those he is saving and bringing into BBC.
Prayers of Petition—From the Text
Details: Pray that we will work hard to bring our body into subjection and do whatever is necessary for us to persevere in fidelity to Christ to the end of our salvation, aware of the ever-looming temptation to idolatry.
Prayer Item: Sunday evening sermon response (Hebrews 2:1–4)
Details: Pray that we will be on guard against spiritual complacency, aware of the ever-present dangers of idolatry and apostasy, and that we will closely guard our devotion to Christ.
Prayers of Petition—Sister Churches and Fellow Believers
Details: Our Sola 5 sister church for the week is Reformation Community Church (RCC) in Belville South. Pastored by Mario Maneville, the church requests prayer as follows: (1) Pray with the church about God raising up more elders or sending them to the church from outside. (2) Pray for the church’s plans to plant an Afrikaans Church in 2025. (3) Pray for the church’s plans to start a classical Christian school.
Prayer Item: Tsholo Kukuni
Details: Our supported worker focus for the week is Tsholo Kukuni in Bloemfontein. Tsholo has requested prayer as follows: (1) Pray for God to replace about seven members, medical students, who will be leaving Bloemfontein at the end of the year at the conclusion of their studies. (2) Pray for the church to grow in its understanding of what healthy, elder-led congregationalism looks like. (3) Several former members, who did not leave the church well, have returned to the church. Pray for wisdom as the elders lead the reintegration process. (4) Pray for the church’s planning and budgeting processes to run smoothly ahead of the new year.
Prayer Item: Deported in the Arabian Peninsula
Details: Missionary workers in contact with Voice of the Martyrs report that new believers in a small, undisclosed-for-security-reasons nation in the Arabian Peninsula are under increasing pressure after a church leader was deported for his faith. Most of the local Christians are young in faith and age and are wrestling with God’s providence in this situation. Pray that these young followers of Christ will remain bold in their faith and lean on Christ in the face of fear and uncertainty.
Prayers of Petition—The Great Commission
Prayer Item: Japan (East Asia)
Details: Japan faces many crises. Even its leaders called it “a superpower without a moral compass.” The constant threats of earthquakes, economic decline, and social isolation leave many people realising that the government cannot solve Japan’s problems. Pray that the church will step into this gap with true gospel hope. Read more about gospel needs in Japan here.
Prayer Item: Yemen (28 million people; 99.6% unreached)
Details: Pray for the long-awaited peace, stability, and revitalisation of Yemen. Pray for God’s mercy, comfort, and provision for the hungry, sick, poor, and exploited. Pray for every Yemeni to have the opportunity to hear the gospel of hope. Read more about gospel needs in Yemen here.
Prayers of Petition—General Requests
Details: Pray for Ministers Motshekga and Mhaule as they offer leadership to the portfolio of basic education in our country, with the many challenges that that brings.
Prayer Item: Turning to God in repentance
Details: Pray that we will return to God when we repent. Pray that we will not turn to moralism or self-deprecation, but that we will return to the way of the Lord (see Amos 4:6–11).
Prayer Item: Understanding sin’s consequences
Details: Pray that we will reckon with the effects of our sin in the lives of others and that this will bring us to godly repentance. Pray that we will cling to the restoration for sin that only Christ can bring (2 Samuel 12).
Prayer Item: Evangelistic boldness
Details: Pray for us to be salt and light and to proclaim the gospel with boldness and not to be intimidated by man.
Prayer Item: Hard holidays
Details: Pray that the Lord will be near to those for whom Christmas time brings painful memories and a sense of loss.
Prayers of Petition—Health and Physical Related
Details: Ryan Butterworth; Mari Manthe; Rose Cousins; Liam Dunstone; Lee Taylor; June Vermeulen
Member Applicant Introductions
None this week
Member Applicants in Process
- Abigail Swanepoel—Tarryn Moore
- Tsebo Mampuru—Venita de Stoppelaar
- Neil and Keshani Naidoo—Chris & Jaya Thomas
- Martha Radebe—Caren Mac Kaiser
- Unathi Radebe—Tshepiso Gampu
- Jenovic Ilunga—Jodi Howard
- Jesse Visser—Joel Oommen
- Julius Mazibuko—Aubrey Scorgie
- Ntwenhle Ndlovu—Selaysha Armstrong
- Carina Nel—Abby Adams
- Mia Nel—Alésa Adams
- Fortune Peterside—Kate Smith
- Ezaan de Lange—Jeanne van der Walt
- Debbie Davidson—Kathy Veringa
- Tirelo Mphahlele—Shalyn Jordaan
- Mpume Radebe—Andrea Hing
- Carl & Marinieta Nell—Jilu & Anita Oommen
- Samantha Garcia-Barba—Therina Mol
Lord’s Day Sermons
1. The Inspiration of Command (v. 14)
2. The Illustration of Communion (vv. 15–20)
3. The Impossibility of Compromise (vv. 21–22)
Hebrews 2:1–4 serves as a reminder to saved Christians that they should not become complacent in their faith but should persevere in it. It emphasises the seriousness of neglecting the great salvation that has been granted to believers and underscores the importance of the evidence of salvation in the life of a Christian. While salvation is secure for the elect, believers are still called to live faithfully and obediently as a response to God’s grace. We will consider these verses under two broad headings:
1. The Command (vv. 1–2)
2. The Warning (vv. 3–4)
Prayer Psalm Devotional
Theistic Indifference (Psalm 53)
I think it’s fair to say that we live in a world in which atheism has become increasingly militant. This is at least true online. Militant atheists are perhaps rarer in the streets than on social media and other digital platforms. Still, when we encounter these atheists online, it seems increasingly that, rather than simply denying that God exists, they wish to attack those who affirm that he does. Rather than indifference, they display open hostility toward religion.
Psalm 53 highlights the folly of those who claim, “There is no God” (v. 1). As you read the psalm, however, it becomes clear that David does not have in mind intellectual or philosophical atheists. Rather than denying the existence of God, they deny the immanence of God. That is, they deny that God is present and concerned about the way they live. Because they doubt that God is present and concerned about the way they live, “they are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good” (v. 1). The Lord looks in vain among these God-deniers to find one who cares about his law (v. 2), but “they have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one” (v. 3). The language here suggests that these are those who once pledged allegiance to the Lord but who now live as if he is not there.
David was not writing to Ivy League professors or New York Times bestsellers. He was not writing to angry bloggers or bitter millennials hiding behind their screens. He was writing to the community of faith—to those who professed belief in God but with their tongue and by their lives denied his influence in their lives. Christians today need Psalm 53.
There are far too many professing Christians who gather with the church week after week, who listen to Scripture read and preached, who sing the Lord’s praises, and who partake of the Communion meal, but who then live throughout the week as if God was not with them. They seem to believe that they leave God in the walls of the church building when they leave it on Sunday morning. God plays no role in their day to day lives. Even if they profess, when pressed, that God exists, they declare by their lives, “God is not here.” These professors, who live with theistic indifference, cause more damage to the Christian gospel than those who outright deny God’s existence. Marvin E. Tate warns,
An even more dangerous species of human being may be the person who affirms God but who allows no impact of that affirmation on the actual reality of living—or else attempts to use faith affirmations for ungodly ends. The course of religious history is replete with fools who have said “There is no God” and with even greater fools who have said “Lord, Lord,” but who have refused to do the will of God.
Christians must recognise that God not only exists but that he cares about how they live. We do not worship God in a church building on Sunday and leave him behind until the next Sunday. He cares about the things we say. He cares about the way we treat one another. He cares about how we think and what we watch.
As you head into this day, remember that you are called to do more than merely acknowledge God’s existence. As an ambassador for Christ, you are called not only to say, “God is” but to show by the way you live, “God is here.” Theistic indifference has no place in the life of the gospel-centred Christian.
Let us verbally profess what we believe and the live according to what we profess.