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Bethesda Shalom

Bethesda Shalom , "House of Mercy and Peace". A small independent Bible believing Church located in Wolverhampton, England; endeavouring to hold fast to truth and stand fast in love by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Now displaying: Category: Firm Foundations

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Aug 11, 2018

Part 24 – What Is Church Leadership?

Mention the words church leadership today and you’re bound to be greeted with a mixture of different responses ranging from the pessimistic, to the mundane, to the optimistic.  Sadly, it is not without good reason that church leadership has gotten a bad rap over the last few decades.  What is one to say when secular news outlets expose nationally the money racketing scams of some of the wealthiest Evangelical pastors in the US?  When I say wealthy, how much are we talking about; hundreds; thousands; hundreds of thousands?  How about tens of millions and in the case of one pastor by the name of Kenneth Copeland, a self-confessed billionaire!  The world and indeed many outside the Mega-Church scene, look on in horror at this catastrophe of justice and cry out, how can a minister/servant of God, appointed by God to serve the people in Christ’s stead, profit off them to the tune of millions of dollars?  Naturally, this is a scandal and an outrage!!  Then there is the growing epidemic of Evangelical pastors being caught out in gross sexual immorality and being exposed nationally for an on-looking world to see?  No wonder then, when one mentions the words church leadership eyebrows are raised.  As a result of all these abuses, along with many more not mentioned, many of the poor sheep of Christ’s have had enough and have vowed to never enter a Church building again.  Instead, they choose to meet at home with small groups of believers without the added burden of being under these types of pastors. 

It is crucial in this final teaching part that we take a look biblically at the function and appointment of church leadership and what the proper response is to be of those who sit under their authority.

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/24_What_Is_Church_Leadership.pdf

Jul 21, 2018

Part 23 – What Is Church?

We are living at a time in history where it seems that anything that is of long standing tradition is being called into question.  Renewed calls go forth on every side, calling for change.  Out with the old and in with the new is the resounding voice of this post-modern generation.  Whether it’s marriage; the family home; politics or education; that which once served our forefathers well for centuries and in some cases, from the dawn of time, is being re-examined in light of the new-fangled philosophies being offered by the so-called experts.  Sadly, as one looks to the Church, it too follows suit with this itching craving for that which is new.  In a period where Church attendance in the West is in decline and atheism and secularism is on the rise, fighting for its “perceived” survival, the Church believes that unless it becomes relevant to this “youth” driven generation, then it will disappear from society and die of old age (literally).  In an effort to try and retain the young people who are leaving the Church in their droves, the Church feels pressured to rediscover itself and if need be, reinvent itself to meet the needs of a changing population.  Everything from “who” constitutes the Church to the “way” we ought to do Church is on the table for consideration.  High-tech marketing research companies are being employed to find out what the local communities want from their local Church in the hope that Church attendance might be boosted and the needs of the community met.  Fun days replete with BBQ and games; a nursery for the toddlers; a coffee shop; sports events and a whole host of other amusements ranging from Bingo to Yoga; all now are high on the priority list of what is deemed to make a “successful” Church.  In a vastly changing tolerant society, it is felt that the Church’s decline is owing to the fact that the Church has lost touch with the people.  However, upon closer inspection, we shall see that losing touch with people is not the root of the Church’s problem so much as it is that the Church has lost touch with God.

In this twenty-third teaching part, we shall explore from Holy Scripture “who” and “what” the Church is.

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/23_What_Is_Church.pdf

Jul 7, 2018

Part 22 – How do I Evangelise?

When we say that we are Christian, more often than not we attach a number of adjectives in front of the word in order to try to bring greater clarity as to the type of Christian we mean.  Such adjectives include ‘born-again’ and ‘Bible-believing’.  There is a third adjective that we also commonly use and that is ‘Evangelical’.  When we use the term ‘Evangelical’, what we’re saying is this; we believe wholeheartedly in the saving power of the gospel and therefore seek actively to proclaim that gospel to a lost and dying world.  The word ‘evangelical’, comes from the Greek word “euaggelion” which means a good message; good news, hence the word ‘gospel’ which in Greek is the word “euaggelion”. 

Despite the pressures being laden upon us by the P.C. agenda of our day; we are not to shrink back from the mandate of proclaiming the good news of the gospel, set against the backdrop of the ruin and sinfulness of man.  Admittedly, this is not a popular message in our post-modern society which detests absolutes.  Yet, it is not bigoted to state that Jesus is the only way to the Father, nor is it unloving to tell men that unless they turn from their sin in repentance, casting themselves upon the mercy of the Saviour they will be eternally damned.  If these things are true, which God affirms they are; then it is out of love that we are moved by the Holy Spirit to tell a lost humanity of the love of God towards them in sending His Son to be crucified for their sins and raising Him from the dead that they might be saved from the wrath come and have eternal life.  May God help us in this weighty endeavour and lead us in this great calling to be Christ’s ambassadors!

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/22_How_Do_I_Evangelise.pdf

Jun 23, 2018

Part 21 – What Is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

There is perhaps no other subject matter that has made for greater debate amongst Evangelicals and about which more varied opinions have been held, than the topic at hand in this 21st teaching part.  For some, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues; for others, it is a second work of sanctification whereby one now receives the power to ‘live’ a holy life.  Some would argue that this supernatural phenomenon ceased in the first century and therefore, although this experience is recorded in the book of Acts, it is no longer one that can be experienced today.  One group argues that the baptism of Holy Spirit is not an experience subsequent to salvation but is rather synonymous with receiving the Holy Spirit at conversion.  Another group argues that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience that is distinguishable and distinct from salvation, coming after the initial experience of being born-again.  What are we to make of all these contravening statements?  Where is one to go to try to clear things up and to shed light on this important topic?  Thank God that as Christians, we do not have to resort to speculation, we have the Word of God upon which any experience might firmly be placed.  However, being able to look at the Bible objectively can be very difficult, not least if one belongs to a denomination that has a party line that must not be crossed. 

In this teaching, we shall seek as best as possible to lay aside preconceived ideas and in so doing, come to the Bible afresh in order to obtain answers to the question at hand, ‘What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?’

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/21_What_Is_the_Baptism_of_the_Holy_Spirit.pdf

Jun 2, 2018

Part 20 – What are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

Modern 21st century man well makes a fitting boast on account of the vast array of his many accomplishments, they’re admittedly very impressive!  In this century and the last, the world has witnessed staggering and unprecedented breakthroughs in every field of expertise, from medicine to engineering.  Western civilization has never known such affluence, such protracted periods of peace and prosperity; such high standards of health and living on a universal scale.  You say, what has this got to do with the subject heading of this Bible teaching?  Everything!!  I fear that the modern man with all his natural brilliance and expertise has lost sight of his need for God.  It is one thing when the world does this, but when Christians follow suit, it is a very sad day indeed.  Behold the Mega-Church with all its outward display of pomp and glory.  It bears greater resemblance to a mini village complex than a Church of the Living God, and serves as an indictment; a testament to the fact, that whatever fallen man can accomplish the Church is only one step behind!  No!!  The Church of Jesus Christ is first and foremost a spiritual body of believers who’ve had a supernatural encounter with the Almighty and through the new birth have been grafted into Christ’s spiritual body.  Jesus Christ is the spiritual head and from Him flows down to each individual member, every spiritual blessing and spiritual gift needed for the sound nourishment and spiritual growth of the entire body.  These spiritual gifts are not mere niceties that make for a cosy addition; instead, they are crucial components needed for the building up spiritually of Christ’s Church.

In this 20th teaching part we examine Biblically the gifts of the Holy Spirit and ask ourselves, are these gifts for today?

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/20_What_Are_the_Gifts_of_the_Holy_Spirit.pdf

May 19, 2018

Part 19 – How Do I Pray and What Is Fasting?

As one opens the Bible and turns to the pages of the New Testament, one is struck by the sheer number of references and exhortations calling God’s people to prayer.  As Christians, we cannot dispense of this holiest discipline since it is the very lifeline not only of the Christian but of the Church.  Yet sadly, the prayer meeting has almost disappeared from view and if there is one, it is the least attended meeting of the week.  What is prayer?  Prayer in its most basic form is talking to God and includes in its function petitions, supplications, intercessions, praise, thanksgiving and worship.  In this nineteenth teaching part, we examine some of these functions and explore practically and theologically the question, ‘How do I pray?’ 

Finally, there are times in our lives that call for desperate action; times of great calamity or urgent needs where prayer alone does not seem to cut it.  It is during these times that we may resort not only to heightened times of prayer but enjoin to our prayers the discipline of fasting.  We shall seek also in this teaching then to bring some practical help and guidance to this matter and in so doing, clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding prayer and fasting.

Download teaching notes (pdf)

https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/bethesdashalom/19_How_Do_I_Pray_and_What_is_Fasting.pdf

 

May 5, 2018

Part 18 – Why Do Christians Suffer?

Of the top ten questions of all time, it ought to come as no surprise to us to learn that they’re the same as they’ve always been from the dawn of time; “What is the real meaning of life?” “Is there a God?”  “What happens when I die?”  Despite the exponential advances in technology, economics, medicine and science over the last half a decade; man with all his worldly wisdom is still no closer to being able to provide adequate answers to these crucial questions, nor will he ever be.  This is because principally they’re not scientific questions nor are they even philosophical ones.  Fundamentally at their core, they are theological questions.  However, since man has cast off the wisdom of God in his own professed wisdom, man will search in vain to find the answers his soul so desperately seeks for and will never find them in this world.  We could well add into the list of greatest questions of all time, “Why is there suffering in the world?” and more specifically, the question bearing the title of this teaching; “Why Do Christians Suffer?” 

In this eighteenth teaching part, we seek to provide a Biblical answer to the question of Christian suffering.

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/18_Why_Do_Christians_Suffer.pdf

Apr 21, 2018

Part 17 – How Do I Handle Relationships?

In this seventeenth teaching part, we look practically and biblically at how as believers in Christ, we are to relate to one another in the relationships given us by God.  One only has to look down through the ages, beginning with the first offspring of the first man and woman; Cain and his brother Abel, to see that how God intended man to relate one to another has been seriously marred.  Murder and war was never God’s intention!  Broken homes and marriages; damaged and fractured relationships, were never his will.  We live in in a world where such abounds and is on the increase.  Even in the professing Church, we turn to find a better example and see the same broken relationships; failed marriages and Church splits.  Surely there is a better way revealed in Holy Scripture, a way that we are called as Christians to walk.  

We shall then look now at just three areas where the Bible offers practical help in preserving and nurturing relationships as children of God.  These three areas include marriage; children and the Church.

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/17_How_Do_I_Handle_Relationships.pdf

Apr 7, 2018

Part 16 – How Do I Overcome Sin?

Perhaps no greater area deserving of our attention is the question posed as the title of this teaching part; “How Do I Overcome Sin?”  Ask the average Christian this question and you’re sure to be greeted with a mixture of responses.  I hear one say, “why are you worried about sin, it’s been dealt with at Calvary; the grace of God has covered all sins, past, present, and future”.  Another, I hear say “didn’t Paul struggle with sin?  The things he wanted to do he didn’t do and the things he desired not to do those things he did; what’s the problem?  Join the club!  If the great Apostle Paul couldn’t gain the victory over besetting sins then how much less us sinners?” 

In this sixteenth teaching part, we tackle the issue of overcoming sin head-on, clearing up some of the misconceptions surrounding this matter and providing biblical answers to questions such as; how do I overcome sin?  What does it mean to walk by the Spirit and how does one overcome besetting sins?  May God see fit to use this teaching to bring victory to many lives for His glory!  

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/16_How_Do_I_Overcome_Sin.pdf

Mar 24, 2018

Part 15 – How Can I Know If I’m Saved?

Perhaps the number one question in many a Church a pew is “am I really saved?”  “Am I really a child of God, born-again from above?”  Though such words might never be expressed from the mouth, in the heart these thoughts ravish many a poor soul and are a constant thorn of discouragement in their side that never seems to disappear.  The common answer given when one finally plucks up enough courage to approach the pastor is that Satan is to blame and that what they are experiencing is nothing more than the cunning wiles of the devil.  Now, for some, this truly is the case; the accuser of the Brethren is the primary cause of their doubting as he assaults their faith with lies and slanderer.  I often find that those subject to this kind of spiritual attack tend to be new believers, babes and infants in Christ.  What however are we to think when those doubting their salvation are those who have professed Christ for five, ten, twenty years?  Clearly, in this situation, unless such are still spiritual infants (which is concerning in itself), one needs to give closer inspection to discern whether or not in fact there is any truth in their concern.

In this fifteenth teaching part, we seek to offer a biblical answer to this most pressing question; “How Can I Know If I’m Saved?”  If a soul has never have passed from death to life, though baptised and accepted into Church membership, what greater joy could there be of leading such a one into a true experience of salvation so as to have full assurance of their acceptance in the beloved? 

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/15_How_Can_I_Know_If_Im_Saved.pdf

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