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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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Mar 10, 2018

Part 14 – What Is a Disciple of Jesus Christ?

There exists a terrible misconception amongst many professing believers in Christ about what constitutes a true Christian.  Some when asked, point to a time and date when they said a sinners prayer; others refer to a Church membership roll with their name upon it!  Some still would direct you to their baptismal certificate signed by the pastor.  As human beings, I tend to find that we always want a formula that will produce the desired result and on face-value, there’s nothing wrong with that.  On the day of Pentecost, many Jews who came under the sound of Peter’s preaching were deeply convicted of their sin; the KJV says that “…they were pricked in their heart and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).  The Philippian jailor while still trembling said to Paul and Silas “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).  In each case, the question is not dodged and a firm answer is given; Paul and Silas respond conclusively “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). 

In one moment a man’s sins may be forgiven and his moral account which was previously bankrupt is credited with righteousness as he himself passes from death into eternal life!  What good news indeed!!!  Yet, this only marks the start of his Christian journey and not the end.  It is this crucial distinction that I’m wanting to bring into clear view in this fourteenth teaching part.  Many are content to leave things at the conversion stage and never really progress onto any meaningful spiritual growth.  This my friends will never do!!  Jesus did not call His disciples to go into the world to make converts but rather to go into all the world and make disciples!!

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/14_What_is_a_Disciple_of_Jesus_Christ.pdf

Feb 17, 2018

Part 13 – How do I Interpret the Bible?

The claim of Holy Scripture is not that men wrote as it pleased their fancy but rather that “…holy men of God spake as they were moved (carried along) by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:20).  This fact becomes the key in answering questions that often arise concerning the compilation of the Bible, for example; why 66 books and not 67?  What about so-called missing books - the Gospel of Thomas or Psalm 151?  Who determined what books went into the Bible and what books didn’t?  These questions are easily answerable when one understands that the Bible claims not mere human authorship but divine authorship!

Then there is the matter of rightly dividing the Word of God.  All too often, one will encounter Christians who have very little consistency when it comes to reading the Bible and even when they do read it, they do not really have any real method of approach to meaningful study.  Often one will find that rather than studying the Bible, Christians will dabble with the text i.e. they will open it up and see which page it lands on and begin interpreting based on how they feel.  In this thirteenth teaching part, we look in a very practical way at how to interpret the Bible by using multiple translations, cross-referencing, dictionaries and commentaries to first establish the true meaning of a passage (exegesis) so that the correct application might then be made (hermeneutics).

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/13_How_Do_I_Interpret_the_Bible.pdf

Feb 3, 2018

Part 12 – The Doctrine of the Eternal States

The doctrine of the eternal states is rightly classed as a sub-division of eschatology - the study of the end times.  Where eschatology has a broader overview of all that is contained in the heading of the last days, the doctrine of eternal states hones in on what will be the final state or eternal existence of man at the end of the world following the Second Coming of Christ and the Millennium. 

The Bible is conclusive in what it has to say about the final states of the righteous and the wicked; those whose names are written in the book of life and those whose names are not.  There is a growing movement today amidst the ranks of so-called Evangelicals that denies the conscious eternal suffering of the wicked in a place called hell and instead teaches that the wicked upon being raised from the dead shall be annihilated so as to cease to exist.  As we shall see in this twelfth teaching part, nothing could be further from the truth.  Just as the final state of the righteous shall be an existence of eternal bliss in the new heavens and new earth, so shall the existence of the wicked be an existence of eternal torment in the lake of fire.

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/12_The_Doctrine_of_the_Eternal_States.pdf

Jan 20, 2018

Part 11 – Understanding Eschatology

Without question, the foremost claim to the Bible being inspired and thus coming from God is the sheer volume of material contained within its pages given over to prophecy.  In fact, a staggering 27% of the Bible (just over a ¼) is comprised of such.  God goes down on record, declaring the future before it comes into existence so that when it does all will know that the Living God has spoken!  These predictions are not vague random predictions relating to non-connected matter but rather are specific, exact, calculating, precise in nature and content.  They concern themselves with a particular nation and a particular person, namely Israel and her Messiah, after which they then branch out to encompass the nations in immediate proximity to Israel and finally to the whole world.  

The subject matter of this eleventh teaching is narrowed down to a specific field of Bible prophecy called eschatology.  Eschatology comes from the Greek word “eschatos” meaning last and “ology” meaning the study of; hence eschatology means the study of the last days or final events.  These final events include the Second Coming of Christ, the Great Tribulation, the rapture/resurrection of believers, the restoration of Israel, the millennium, the great white throne judgment and eternal states.  In this teaching part, we first examine the different schools of understanding relating to the study of end times before turning our attention to understanding the prophetic timetable of the last days which shall see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Millennium Kingdom on the earth. 

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/11_Understanding_Eschatology.pdf

Dec 30, 2017

Part 10 - The Ordinance of Baptism

In this tenth teaching part, we delve into the subject matter of water baptism and in so doing discover that baptism has its roots entrenched in the Old Testament. Water has always been viewed in Judaism as a ceremonial means of cleansing and purifying. When God appeared to the children of Israel on Mt. Sinai for instance, Moses was instructed to “sanctify them” and they were instructed to “wash their clothes” (Ex. 19:10). Before entering into the holy place to minister before the Lord on the Day of Atonement, Aaron was to put on his white priestly linen garments. Yet, before he could put on these holy garments he was first commanded to “wash his flesh in water, and so put them on” (Lv. 16:4). Ritual washing was also required by Law for women following menstruation or childbirth and for men, following a discharge (Lev. 15). It is against this historical backdrop that John the Baptist comes onto the scene baptising men and women in the river Jordan for the remission of sins.

With the advent of Jesus Christ, baptism is taken to a higher spiritual significance in the death, burial and resurrection of the Saviour! We endeavour in this teaching to present this significance while at the same time guarding against the heresy of baptismal regeneration. When is the right time to baptise believers? Who are the proper subjects of baptism? Is it biblical to baptise infants? Is the proper mode of baptism sprinkling, pouring or immersion? As we undertake this teaching, all shall be revealed!

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/10_The_Ordinance_of_Baptism.pdf

Dec 16, 2017

Part 9 - The Lord’s Supper

An Ordinance properly defined in a Christian context, is a religious ritual i.e. a ceremony or sacred observance. For the Bible believing Christian, there are only two Ordinances which concern us, namely that of the Lord’s Supper (Communion) and Baptism. On the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion, He desired one last time to eat the Passover meal with His disciples. It was at this feast that Jesus instituted what we know and celebrate as the Lord’s Supper; a memorial meal for the purpose of remembering of the events that were to take place on the morrow, namely His crucifixion in which the New Covenant would be established by the shedding of His precious blood.

In this teaching part, we explore the meaning of Communion and try to bring clarity surrounding some of the misconceptions held by believers regarding this Holy Ordinance. We particularly focus on the administration of the Lord’s Supper, since it is at this point where many Bible believing Christians part company in their differing customs. Some Churches have Communion every Sunday, others once a month, once a quarter or even once a year! Some choose to major on the specific type of bread and wine that should be used. One Church allows for all in attendance to partake of it (including children) while another forbids anyone from taking it unless they are an active member of their particular Church. We seek in this ninth teaching part to address these issues biblically by bringing them to the light of God’s Word.

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/9_The_Lords_Supper.pdf

 

Nov 25, 2017

Having spent the last two teaching sessions surveying two great pillars of what is termed Soteriology (the study of salvation), we come in this eighth teaching part to survey the third and final pillar, namely the doctrine of sanctification. If the doctrine of sin lays the foundation upon which doctrine of the atonement rests, the doctrine of sanctification takes its necessary place in the grand order of things in being the last to be laid. That it is last to be laid is no reflection upon its importance, for all three are of equal importance and if one was to fall they would all fall! Many today would make much of the first two pillars as though the work of salvation is complete without need of the third. However, as we shall see the doctrine of sanctification is of the utmost importance for without it Christianity is confined to the dust of death, without life and without power.

In short, it is the heart of God to redeem a holy people set apart unto Himself that as He is holy so we might be also! He has accomplished this through the atoning work of Jesus Christ through which we have received the forgiveness of sins and the regenerating life of the Holy Spirit so as to be purified and live a life now set apart unto God in righteousness. This work of sanctification though a past event, is also ongoing in this life as the believer renews his mind and is changed into the same image of the Lord from glory to glory by the Spirit of God that as He is, so we might also be in this world. Our finished and final state of perfection shall one day be fully revealed at the coming of the Lord when we who are alive shall be changed in a twinkling of an eye and those that are dead shall be raised together to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord!!

Download teaching notes (pdf)

http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/8_The_Doctrine_of_Sanctification.pdf

Nov 11, 2017

We are living in an age where Christians generally have no stomach for doctrine and consequently the great doctrines of the Christian faith which form the very bedrock of the gospel are being undermined in our day. The doctrine of atonement is one such pillar of the Christian faith towering above the landscape like a giant. As when a gem is held up to light it shines forth its many facets of beauty, so this great doctrine is full of like splendour.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they sought to clothe themselves with the leaves of figs. However, such a covering was not sufficient and it was God who later clothed them aright, not with fig leaves (speaking of human works) but the skins of dead animals!! This if you like, is the first insight into the doctrine of atonement, namely that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. The doctrine of the atonement comes under the theological umbrella of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) and includes as part of this many other principle doctrines including the doctrine of justification, the doctrine of redemption and the doctrine of reconciliation. We shall in the course of this teaching, touch on all of these as we look at the wonders of atonement in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Download teaching notes (pdf)
http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/7_The_Doctrine_of_Atonement.pdf

Oct 21, 2017

Part 6 - The Doctrine of Man

Opinions abound today as to the purpose of man’s existence. Through evolutionary thought, man has been reduced to nothing more than a process of random mutations over millions of years. For some, man has no purpose except for the furtherance of future progeny; while for others man is making great leaps and bounds in his upward progression toward godhood! In a world where suggested theories as to the purpose and meaning of life abound, what sense if any are we to make of them all? Man finds himself, perhaps like never before, having to wrestle with the many competing voices and the Christian cannot take himself out of this struggle. However, where natural man is left to his own thoughts and devices, the Christian turns to the Word of God to find answers to the great questions of life.

We shall in this sixth teaching part seek to address the question of where we came from and who we are and shall conclude by answering the big question; what went wrong! When one looks at the world today, one is confronted with death, disease, suffering and evil. Is this how God created the earth? Is this how He intended everything to be? The answer to these questions is no side issue but is fundamental in laying the foundation upon which the gospel stands.

Download teaching notes (pdf)
http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/6_The_Doctrine_of_Man.pdf

Sep 30, 2017

Part 5 - The Doctrine of Demons

Demonology, is the theological term given to the biblical study of demons. One generally finds that when dealing with this particular area, one of two extremes tend to surface. On one extreme there are the liberals, which refuse to even acknowledge the existence of the demonic realm in any meaningful way whilst at the other extreme are the hyper-spiritualists who overplay the realm of the demonic to such an extent that the devil gets the blame for everything. All such extremes are to be avoided and highlight the importance of gaining a good solid foundation in this very important topic. Whilst many sound believers would shun such extremes, there are notwithstanding, Christians who are so terrified by the demonic realm that they can’t sleep at night without a light on.

In this fifth teaching part in our foundational series, we shall set ourselves the task of trying to gain a biblical understanding of demons; what they are and what their nature, function, and activity is in the world today. We shall seek to answer the question of who Satan is, how he fell from grace and what his final state shall be. In gaining such insight, we shall be emboldened to take a stand against the forces of darkness knowing who we are in Jesus Christ, the authority that He has given to us as believers and the victory that He has won for us at Calvary!

Download teaching notes (pdf)
http://traffic.libsyn.com/bethesdashalom/5_The_Doctrine_of_Demons.pdf

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