Basic Bible Teaching – The Promises of God

When you have read the information below, you will know the answers to these questions:

1. What promises has God made in the Bible?
2. Which promises has God already kept?
3. How do we know that God will keep all His promises?
4. Which promises does God still have to fulfil?
5. Has God made any promises to you?

We have all suffered from broken promises. They may have been made by politicians before an election. Few of such promises have been kept. Perhaps employers, or friends, have not kept their promises to us. Most painfully of all, sometimes our relatives have let us down.
Thankfully, God does not behave like that. He is “abounding in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6). He will keep all His promises. Because He knows everything and controls the universe, His promises cannot fail.

1. WHAT PROMISES HAS GOD MADE IN THE BIBLE?
God has made many promises. Here are just a few of them:
To Moses God said: “But truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD” (Numbers 14:21). This proves that men will never destroy the earth.
To Abram (later Abraham), who became the father of the Jewish race, God said: “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2,3).
When God led Abraham to the land of Canaan (modern Israel), He promised:
“All the land which you see I give to you and your descendants for ever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth” (Genesis 13:15,16). God repeated these promises to Abraham’s soon, Isaac, and his grandson, Jacob (Genesis 26:4;28:13,14).
Many nations, like the once mighty Babylonians, no longer exist. But God made a special promise to the Jewish nation: “For I am with you, says the LORD, to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you” (Jeremiah 30:11).
The Jews have been scattered all over the world, yet they still exist as a nation. A man once asked, What is the secret of the indestructible Jew?” The secret is, that the Jews are God’s chosen people, and His witnesses on the earth. God has great plans for them. We shall look at them later.
King David was a great king of Israel, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Because of this, God made a wonderful promise to David: “I will set up your seed after you … and I will establish his kingdom … and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. Your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel7:12-16).
The Apostle Peter tells us that these promises will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, and Saviour of the world. He is the great “son of David”. Peter said that God will “raise up the Christ to sit on his throne” (Acts 2:29-32).
Jesus has been raised from the dead, just as God promised in Psalm 16:10. One day he will return to be king upon David’s throne in Jerusalem (Acts 1:11; Revelation 11:15; Matthew 5:35). God has promised: All kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him” (Psalm72:11).
God confirmed these promises about Jesus to Mary, his mother, by an angel: “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David … and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32, 33).
God has made many more promises in the Bible. However, we have looked at enough to show that God is serious about His future plans for the earth, and for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Jesus and the Jews.
2.WHICH PROMISES HAS GOD ALREADY KEPT?
God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that Israel would become a great nation, has been kept. God also kept His promise to the Jews that they will never die out, in spite of terrible persecutions. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, exactly as God promised.
However, God still has many important promises to keep.
3. HOW DO WE KNOW THAT GOD WILL KEEP ALL HIS PROMISES?
We know this for two very good reasons:
1. Every single promise God ever made, that relates to the past, has been kept. That gives us confidence that He will keep those which are promised for the future.
2. God’s power is supreme. Nothing can go wrong with His future plans.
4. WHICH PROMISES DOES GOD STILL HAVE TO FULFIL?
Abraham has not yet inherited the land of Israel for an everlasting possession. Nor have all nations on the earth yet been blessed in Abraham. Hebrews 11:13 says Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all “died in faith, not having received the promises”.
Is it too late, then? No. God will raise them from the dead, just as He raised Jesus. God will then keep His promises to them. Jesus himself said that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be in God’s kingdom (Luke 13:28).
Jesus has not yet become king, sittingupon the throne of David. But he will,when he returns to the earth (Acts 3:19-21).
The Jews still exist as a nation. They are back in Israel, the land God promised Abraham. This is the first phase of God’s developing plan for them, because, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock” (Jeremiah 31:10).
After a time of trial, the Jews will receive God’s promised blessing: “They shall be my people, and I will be their God.” In that day, “One king (Jesus) shall be king over them all” (Ezekiel 37:22,23).
5. HAS GOD MADE ANY PROMISES TO YOU?
Yes, He has—if you are prepared to do two important things:
1. Believe the good news of the Kingdom of God, and be baptized (Mark 16:16); and
2. Love Jesus Christ and keep his commandments (John 14:21).
If you do these things, what has God promised you? A share in all the blessings you have just read about. For, “There is neither Jew nor Greek … slave nor free … male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
Imagine it. God has promised that you can be raised from the dead. You can have everlasting life. You can live for ever with Jesus in His kingdom. No greater promises will ever be made to you.
For true believers, life today is a great joy. These precious promises give peace of mind now. This hope is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19).
God invites you to share in the greatest promises ever made. To receive the blessings, you must “fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Do that, and by God’s mercy you will live forever. That’s a promise!

Basic Bible Teaching – Life After Death

When you have read this you will know the answers to these questions:

1. Why is the view of Jesus Christ about life after death so important?
2. What is the Bible hope for a future life?
3. When will the chosen ones be with Jesus Christ?
4. What is “the resurrection of the dead”?
5. What is “the judgement”?
6. What does the Bible say about “immortal souls”?
7. How do future events fit together?
1. WHY IS THE VIEW OF JESUS CHRIST ABOUT LIFE AFTER DEATH SO IMPORTANT?

The world has had many leaders, some political and others religious. Of all the great leaders, Jesus Christ is the only one who has been raised from the dead. Hundreds of people saw him after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). This makes Jesus unique. Because he has experienced life after death, he is the best one to tell us about it. If we are wise, we shall listen to what he has to say.
2. WHAT IS THE BIBLE HOPE FOR A FUTURE LIFE?
A soldier once prayed before a battle: “Oh God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul.” How sad, that when he may have been about to die, he did not know anything about a future life. Yet many people today are just like that soldier. They do not know what to expect when they die.
The Bible hope is centred on three great truths:
1. The return of Christ from heaven;
2. The resurrection of the dead; and
3. The establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth by His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus himself states these three great truths when he says, “When the Son of man (Jesus) comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory” (Matthew 25:31); and, “the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and shall come forth” (John5:28,29).
Knowing about this hope will help us to understand what the Bible teaches about life after death.
3. WHEN WILL THE CHOSEN ONES BE WITH JESUS CHRIST?
Jesus makes this very clear to us. He says, “The Son of man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27). Notice the order of events:
1. Jesus shall come in glory, and afterwards
2. He shall reward.
First of all he comes, and then he rewards. As Jesus has not yet come back to the earth, he cannot already have rewarded anyone. Jesus also said, “You shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14). As the resurrection has not yet taken place, nobody can already have been rewarded.
The return of Jesus to the earth, the resurrection of the dead and the reward of everlasting life to faithful followers, are all still in the future.
4. WHAT IS “THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD”?
Jesus spoke of “Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob” being in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, when the dead are raised, they will be recognisable as people. They will have bodies, just like Jesus did when God raised him from the dead. After his resurrection, Jesus could be seen and touched (John 21:27). He was not a spirit without a body. The Apostle Paul’s promise was that Jesus “will transform our lowly body, that it may be conformed to his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). So, just like Jesus, those given everlastinglife will have immortal bodies.
The resurrection of the dead will take place when Jesus returns to establish God’s Kingdom on earth. Paul tells us: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive … Christ the firstfruits; afterward those who are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:22,23).
Until that day, for those who havedied, death is like a sleep (1 Corinthians 15:51; Psalm 6:5). Their next waking moment will be the resurrection. Time has no meaning in the grave.
The Bible hope of the resurrection was well expressed by Martha long ago. Speaking of her brother Lazarus, she said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24).
5. WHAT IS “THE JUDGEMENT”?
The Bible makes one thing clear from the beginning. God has given us the freedom either to choose His way or to reject it. He tells us what will happen if we serve Him, or if we reject Him.
People who know about God, and are therefore answerable to Him, “must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). To those who have served him, Jesus will say, “‘Come you blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). Those who “do not obey the truth” (Romans 2:8) will not be in God’s kingdom.
Jesus confirms these teachings. He says that those who have “done good” will be blessed with “the resurrection of life”, and those who have “done evil” will suffer “the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:29).
6. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT “IMMORTAL SOULS”?
The Bible says nothing about “immortal souls”. Yes, that’s right, absolutely nothing. Although “immortal(ity)” and “soul” occur, the words “immortal soul” never appear together anywhere in the Bible.
The word “soul” (Hebrew, nephesh in the Old Testament, and Greek psuche in the New Testament) refers to:
1. Life: for example, 1 Samuel 22:23: “he that seeks my life, seeks your life”
2. A living being (human or animal): for example, Genesis 46:18: “These she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen persons (AV, souls)”.
Sailors use the word “soul” in the same way. When they are in danger at sea, they send out an “SOS” signal. This means “Save Our Souls”. It is a cry for help, asking someone to save their natural lives.
In the Bible, we find that a soul (Nephesh, person) can:
1. Touch (Leviticus 5:2)
2. Eat (Leviticus 7:20)
3. Sin (Leviticus 5:15)
4. Die (Joshua 11:11; Ezekiel 18:4)
The idea that people have immortalsouls came from Greek philosophers. This idea is not correct. It is not supported by the Bible. Jesus always teaches that he is coming from heaven, not that we are going to him.
7. HOW DO FUTURE EVENTS FIT TOGETHER?
We can summarise Bible teaching about the future like this:
When we die, we are simply dead, with no knowledge of anything. It is like a long sleep, until Jesus Christ returns to the earth, to raise the dead, and Judge the responsible living and dead. Then, finally, he will establish God’s Kingdom on earth.
Daniel tells us: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).
In which group will you be? Do you have the wisdom to follow Jesus now? If you do, you will live forever with him when he comes in glory to establish God’s Kingdom.
Yes, there is life after death. May this wonderful promise touch your heart, and encourage you to serve God now, because “those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

Basic Bible Teaching – Jesus Christ is Coming Back

Jesus is coming back to earth soon! Will you be with him when he returns?
Here’s what you will learn:
1. How do we know Jesus will return?
2. What are the “signs of the times”?
3. What did Christ mean when he told us to pray, “Your Kingdom come”?
4. What is God’s plan for the earth?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful? Jesus Christ back on the earth. He would heal us, help us, lead us—all the things that our human leaders cannot do. Most Christian churches are supposed to teach it, but we, the Christadelphians, actually believe it. In fact, if you read the Bible for yourself you must come to the same conclusion.

JESUS CHRIST IS COMING BACK.

We are sure that the Bible says he will come back to this wicked earth, and change it into something much, much better.

The Old Testament prepared people for the first coming of Christ—it told them where he would be born, what he would come to do, and how he would die. The New Testament tells us, similarly, many details about his second coming—what the world will be like, what he will come to do, and the power that will be his when he sets up his Kingdom. In fact, the Bible isn’t two separate books, the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is one whole book. It has one continuous message:

“Jesus Christ is coming back.”
THE PROMISES
Way back in Genesis chapters 12 to 25 we are told that God chose one man out of all the others, and promised that the whole world would be blessed through him. The man’s name was Abraham and this promise was then repeated to his son Isaac, and grandson Jacob—who was also named Israel. Very soon this one family of twelve tribes grew into a great nation, and God repeated the same promises to other members of the same family several times.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, came from this family and by the time Jesus was born into the nation of Israel very many people were looking for a Saviour and a King. They all knew the promises and
were expecting someone great and strong to chase away the Romans, who had conquered them, and to be their king. Here are some of the Promises God made to Israel:
· They would inherit the land of Israel for ever. (Genesis 13:15)
· King David’s house and kingdom would be established for ever. (2 Samuel 7:16)
· “In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely.” (Jeremiah 33:16)
When Jesus was 30 years old he was revealed to the people of Israel as the Son of God. Many really believed that he had come to be their Saviour and King, but most leaders did not accept him. They did not know, or they would not accept, what God had promised to Mary, or what angels had told the shepherds. Most of the leaders did not believe in his miracles of healing, or in his powerful words. Within three and a half years they had persuaded the Roman rulers to kill him. Even the disciples forsook him and fled.
THE RESURRECTION
But Jesus didn’t stay dead! God brought him out of the tomb and gave him a completely new life. Never again would he die—now Christ is immortal. He said of himself: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” This now sounded like a Saviour and King!
This was only the beginning!
Jesus was not seen by anyone who did not believe in him. Gone was their chance to question and attack him. Only the disciples or followers saw him and talked to him. And 40 days after his resurrection he ascended to heaven, leaving a promise behind him—one of the greatest promises ever made.
“This same Jesus, who has beentaken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
That has not happened yet. But surely you can see from the summary of God’s plan we have already looked at, that Jesus Christ will keep the promises and return to earth.

THE RETURN
Now we shall look at a few more passages of Scripture to give a clearer picture:
1. God said that all nations of the earth would be blessed in Abraham’s family. (Genesis 12:3)
2. The King of the world would be descended from King David. (Luke 1:32)
3. This King would die but would not remain dead. (Psalm 16:8-11)
4. At the return of God’s Son the desert will blossom and human sickness will be cured. (Isaiah 35)
5. The world will be governed by God’s Son, from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-5)
It therefore seems obvious that God’s plan right from the beginning was to send His Son as a saviour and a King. Jesus’ birth and life on this earth were to enable people to understand him, and for us to appreciate what he will do when he comes again.
WHAT IS JESUS DOING NOW?
Jesus is in heaven, at God’s right hand, preparing his kingdom. That’s why he told us to pray, “Your kingdom come”. Soon it will! Jesus will return from heaven and set up God’s kingdom on earth. He will raise the dead, purify the world, and reign on David’s throne, from Jerusalem.
THE SIGNS
God has not given a date for all of this to happen, but He has given some signs to show us when to expect him. Below are just a few of the prophecies of the Bible where the return of Jesus is mentioned.
1. The Jewish nation will return to their homeland. (Jeremiah 23:5-8) —This has been happening in our lifetimes!
2. World-wide problems will be veryclear to everyone. (Luke 21:25-27) —This is more true now than ever before.
3. Many nations of the world will threaten and attack Israel. (Zechariah 14:1-11) —We should watch for this to happen soon.
It is becoming more and more clear that the scene is being set for the return of Jesus to this earth. We don’t know for certain when he is coming back, but we can surely see what is happening in the world around us. The prophecies are coming true. The Jews have even been allowed to leave Russia (see Jeremiah 23:8). This is a very recent addition to a long list of prophecies which have been fulfilled.

Basic Bible Teaching – Jerusalem

When you have read this leaflet you will know the answers to these questions:
1. Why will Jerusalem be the future everlasting capital of the world?
2. Who will be the king in Jerusalem?
3. How can I share in God’s future kingdom?

1. WHY WILL JERUSALEM BE THE FUTURE EVERLASTING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD?
Why Jerusalem, and not London, Beijing, New York, Rome or Moscow? The Bible answers this question. Jesus Christ himself said, ”do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King” (Matthew 5:34,35).
No ‘great king’ was reigning in Jerusalem when Jesus spoke those words. The Romans had conquered the Jews, Pontius Pilate was the Roman Governor, and Herod (not a Jew) was a puppet king. Worse was still to come for Jerusalem. Jesus made this sad, but accurate prophecy, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near …and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles” (Luke 21:20,24).
In AD 70, after a Roman army had long surrounded the city and one million Jews had died in the siege, Jerusalem fell. No king saved the people or the city. From that day until his, no Jewish king has ruled in Jerusalem. Over the centuries, wars have raged there, conquerors have come and gone. Suffering and death have reigned. How sad, for Jerusalem means ‘City of Peace’.
But, after 1900 years of being away from their land, tens of thousands of Jews returned to Palestine in the 1940’s. The State of Israel was established in 1948, and in 1967 Jerusalem was taken back into Jewish hands. Since then, wars and discord between Jews and Arabs have prevented any lasting peace, and still no king rules in Jerusalem today. We should not be surprised at this. Because of Israel’s disobedience, six hundred years before the birth of Jesus, God spoke through his prophet Ezekiel (21:26,27 –NKJV). He said of the king in Jerusalem at the time: “take off the crown…I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, until He comes who right it is, and I will give it to him.” So no king will reign until the rightful one comes – God’s king.
Jesus, the Son of God, was not wrong when he said that “Jerusalem is the city of the great king”. He was making a prophecy. He was seeing far into the future. So far into it, that it is still future to our own day. There are many kings, queens and republics in the world. However, God’s plan for the world is to have only one kingdom and one king. Centuries before Jesus was born, Daniel was told by God Himself, “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed … and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).
God’s kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital, will fill the earth. He has chosen one king who shall “have dominion from sea to sea … to the ends of the earth … May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him (Psalm 72:8-11).
Yes, Jerusalem will be the city of the great king. Man’s kingdoms will be no more. God’s kingdom will replace them all.
2. WHO WILL BE KING IN JERUSALEM?
God has chosen his son, Jesus Christ, to be king in Jerusalem. Why? Because Jesus is the only perfect, sinless man who has ever lived. God raised him from the dead and he is alive forever. Because of this, the world will never need another king.
Jesus has all the personal qualities a great king needs. As prophesied of him, he had “wisdom and understanding … counsel and might … knowledge and the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2). Jesus will judge “with righteousness” (v4). This is just what the world needs. He is the best qualified king ever. “Worthy is the lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom, and might and honour and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).
The “Kingdom of God” is a common phrase in the Bible. We now know it will begin when God shall “send the Christ” back to the earth (Acts 3:20-21). God promised to “set My King on Zion, my holy hill” and to Jesus He says “I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession” (Psalm 2:6-8).
Jesus, “the Prince of Peace” will “speak peace to the nations”, from Jerusalem “the City of Peace”. No wonder God said, “Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you” (Zechariah 9:9-10). When Jesus reigns as king, then “out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
Grasp this fact: Jesus Christ is coming back to the earth to be King of the World.
3. HOW CAN I SHARE IN GOD’S FUTURE KINGDOM?
Each of us has two futures. How can this be? The first future has to do with the days, perhaps months and years, which lie ahead in our natural lives. What we believe, and how we spend time now, will determine our much more important everlasting future. That future will either be everlasting joy in God’s Kingdom, or everlasting death. The choice is ours and we must make it soon. Compared with eternity, our natural lives are very short indeed. We don’t have long to make up our minds.
Jesus is coming back to the earth to rule as king in Jerusalem. He will reign over the natural people of Israel. His kingdom will then spread throughout the world. He will be the world’s only king, and will reign over everyone. He will have special helpers to teach the world about God and his purpose. These helpers, his “saints”, will have been given everlasting life at the Judgement. This Judgement will be held when Jesus returns to the earth (please read the item in this series entitled “Resurrection and Judgement”).
Jesus will not give everlasting life to everyone when he comes. He will give it only to those who believe in God’s word, the Bible, and who follow it’s teachings. It involves understanding that we are sinners, seeking God’s forgiveness, accepting Jesus as our saviour, being baptised “into Christ”, and keeping God’s commandments. If we commit ourselves to this life of service, then by God’s grace, He will grant us everlasting life through Jesus Christ, our great saviour and king (Matthew 16:27). The gift of everlasting life is the greatest blessing that has ever been offered. Imagine the joy of living with Jesus and all his faithful saints forever. What a prospect! Will you choose to follow Jesus? If you do, he will choose you to live and reign with him forever, when he comes to be king in Jerusalem.

Basic Bible Teaching – What True Christians Should Believe

1. WHY SHOULD I ACCEPT THE BELIEFS OF 1ST CENTURY CHRISTIANS?
It is very important that 21st century Christians have the same beliefs as those in the 1st century. Why? Because 1st century Christians lived closest to the time when Jesus Christ preached, “the Gospel of the Kingdom of God”.
If we want to drink the purest water from a stream we must get as close as we can to the water source. We know that further down the stream, pollution will have affected the purity of the water.

It is just the same with understanding Bible teaching. Jesus is the source of pure water. The closer we get to his teaching, the purer our understanding will be. The apostles Peter and Paul lived at the same time as Jesus. We cannot go wrong if we believe what they taught. Sadly, what they taught is rarely spoken about by modern preachers.

2. WHAT DID 1ST CENTURY CHRISTIANS BELIEVE?

We must examine the first speech made by Peter, after Jesus went to heaven. He tells us in Acts 2:14-47 what Christians should believe.

Acts 2:21,23 Jesus did not die by accident. It was part of God’s plan that Jesus, His sinless son, should give his life to save sinners. Because of Adam’s sin, a death sentence was passed by God on Adam, Eve and all the human race. Jesus, by his sinless life, made everlasting life possible for all who believe in him and keep God’s commandments.
Acts 2:24-28 Because Jesus lived a perfect life, God raised him from the dead. King David, who lived 1,000 years before Jesus, was also a prophet. He foretold the death and resurrection of Jesus. David said, of Jesus, God “will not abandon my soul to Hades (the grave), or let your Holy One see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10)

Jesus died and was laid in a tomb. God brought him back to life again (resurrection). God gave Jesus an immortal body (one that does not die). It is important to notice that the Bible does not say that Jesus had an immortal soul that went to heaven when he died. That is a Greek idea, not a Bible one. Jesus still had a body. He could eat, be handled and recognised, in his immortal state

Acts 2:29-36 King David was loved by God. Even so, Peter tells us that David “both died and was buried”. That is the natural end of all of us. Peter did not teach that David had an immortal soul. The Christian hope is that when Jesus returns from heaven, he will raise the dead. He will give his faithful followers an immortal body just like his own.

God promised that, “He would set one of his descendants on his (David’s) throne”. David was speaking of the “resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades (the grave), nor did his flesh see corruption”. So Jesus went to Hades (the grave) when he died, not to heaven. God raised his body from the tomb. Notice also that Jesus is to sit on David’s throne. Where was that? It will be in Jerusalem, in the land of Israel. Jesus will return to be a real king on earth. The Kingdom of God is to be on earth, not in heaven. Jesus is coming to claim his kingdom. His faithful saints (those who have believed in him) will live forever. They will reign with Jesus over the world’s mortal people in his kingdom.

Peter explains that David’s prophecy told us that Jesus would sit on God’s “right hand” (where he is now). However that is only until God makes the enemies of Jesus his footstool. Then God shall “send the Christ” to be king of the world (Acts 3:19-21).

Peter reminds the crowd, “that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” People in the crowd were very upset when they understood that they had helped to put Jesus, God’s son to death. They asked an important question, “what shall we do?” Peter told them, “Repent and be baptised everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”

Note that mature adults asked the question, “what shall we do?” Christian baptism is for mature people who choose to follow Jesus and repent of their sins. The sprinkling of babies (christening) is not taught in the Bible.

To summarise what Peter, Jesus’ disciple, believed and taught:

§ Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
§ He lived a sinless life and died for us.
§ He went to Hades (the grave) after death.
§ God raised Jesus from the dead.
§ In his immortal state, Jesus still had a body.
§ Jesus went to heaven, to sit on God’s right hand.
§ He will return to the earth to be king on David’s throne in Jerusalem.
§ Christians must believe in Jesus, repent of their sins and be baptised.
§ They should meet often to remember Jesus by “breaking bread”.
§ They must believe that the Old Testament was inspired by God.
If we are to call ourselves Christians, we should believe all the statements listed above.

The word “Christian” is only used three times in the New Testament. What do we learn about them?

Acts 11:19-26 Christians must “remain faithful … with steadfast purpose”. It is a serious commitment. They should also share their beliefs with all who are willing to listen.

Acts 26:19-28 Paul tells King Agrippa and the Roman Governor, Festus that:
§ Christians must “repent and turn to God.”
§ They must also believe in the Old Testament scriptures.
§ They should always speak “true and rational words.”
§ Jesus rose from the dead. He was the first to inherit everlasting life.
1 Peter 4:12-19
§ Christians may have to suffer for their belief in Jesus Christ.
§ Jesus will return to judge those who God decides are responsible to him.

All these statements add to our understanding of what Christians should believe and how they should behave. They are fully in tune with what Peter taught in Acts 2.

3. IF MY CHURCH DOES NOT TEACH WHAT 1ST CENTURY CHRISTIANS BELIEVED, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

In Acts 18:24-28, we learn about a Jew named Apollos. He was a keen preacher but he only understood some of the things that Christians should believe. Was that all right? No. Aquila and Priscilla, who had a fuller understanding, taught him “the way of God more accurately.” From this example, it would be wise of you to join a group of Christians who fully accept the beliefs of 1st century Christians. Christadelphians certainly do accept all those beliefs.
What can be more important than believing, and teaching, the true gospel as taught by Jesus, Peter and Paul? If you do, it will lead to everlasting life in the Kingdom of God.

Basic Bible Teaching – Baptism

1. WERE THE EARLY FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST BAPTIZED?

Yes, the early followers of Jesus were baptized. Why? Because Jesus commanded them to be. It was one of the most important commandments he gave. Baptism was the way in which people showed that they believed in Jesus and his teaching. Each new convert became a member of a special group of people, the disciples of Jesus. They preached God’s Word and looked forward to the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

Can you imagine a man being accepted into the army of any country, if he refused to obey the orders of the Commander-in-Chief? Jesus Christ, the Christian Leader, said, “If you love me you will obey my commands” (John 14:15). He also said, “Those who believe it (the gospel—the good news of his teaching) and receive baptism will be saved” (Mark 16:16). We must take Jesus at his word if we want to be accepted by him.

Baptism is a life-saving command from Jesus Christ. Philip believed that. He preached in Samaria, so successfully, that “when they came to believe Philip, with his good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women alike were baptized (Acts 8:12). The message of belief, followed by baptism, is at the heart of the New Testament.

2. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT BAPTISM?
Today, many churches sprinkle infants on the head and call it Baptism. This is not the baptism of the Bible. When the Bible speaks of baptism it tells us of adult men and women who make a deliberate choice. They wanted to obey the Lord Jesus and be baptized. They were completely covered in water. This is the baptism of Bible times.

A good example to prove this, is found in Acts 8. Philip talked with an Ethiopian eunuch. He “told him the good news of Jesus” (verse 35). No doubt, while they talked, they were both carrying water for their journeys. It would have been easy for Philip to sprinkle water on the eunuch’s head. But the eunuch, who believed the words Philip preached about Jesus, was not baptized until “they came to some water” (verse 36). The eunuch then said, “Look, here is water: what is to prevent my being baptized?” So “they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up from the water … the eunuch … went on his way rejoicing”.

Notice, they both “went down into” and “came up from” the water. The eunuch was a mature person who believed the things preached by Philip concerning Jesus Christ. He was completely covered by water.

3. WHAT DOES BAPTISM MEAN?

Why do we have to be completely covered by water when we are baptized? God chose immersion in water because it is a very powerful way of showing us that our sins must be forgiven. Believers realise that they need saving from sin and require God’s grace. They go under the water in baptism, and die to an old way of life. They come up out of the water to a new life. In baptism, believers identify with the death of Jesus Christ, who died for us. Just as Jesus rose from the dead, they also rise from the waters of baptism to “set out on a new life” (Romans 6:4).

Now, believers are God’s children, and they desire to please Him. If they do so, He will give them His great gift of everlasting life.This will happen when Jesus comes to rule the world (Luke 1:32,33). No wonder Jesus regarded baptism as being so important.

4. WHY DO I NEED TO BE BAPTIZED?

You need to be baptized because, like all mankind, you are dying. We have all earned the wage of sin. Paul tells us “the wage is death” (Romans 6:23). Without God, death is the end. People have a very bad habit of not wanting to think about important issues that they do not like. Death is one of those issues. We must be wise enough to face it. The good news is that God offers us everlasting life; but on His terms. That is fair, as He is the giver of life. Peter tells us, in Acts 2 and 3, that we must take fivesteps to salvation. They are:

(1) Believe in Jesus Christ and his message.
(2) Repent (have a change of mind, realising that we need God and His forgiveness).
(3) Be converted (turn round and walk towards God).
(4) Obey Jesus by having our sins washed away in baptism.
(5) Continue faithfully in God’s way (Acts 2:27-42; 3:18-21).

God always keeps His promises. He will never let us down. As Jesus said, “No one can snatch them out of the Father’s care” (John 10:29).

5. WHY MUST I OBEY GOD’S COMMANDS?

The Bible tells us, from Genesis to Revelation, that God is serious. Obedience to God’s commands brings life, and disobedience results in death. God always means what He says.

Noah preached to the wicked people of his day (Genesis 6). They had a choice. They could believe Noah’s message, repent and be saved, or ignore it and perish. They ignored it and perished. God did not change His mind. Noah also had a choice. He could build an ark and be saved, or he could reject God’s word. He built an ark. “Noah carried out exactly all God had commanded him” (verse 22). Because he was obedient, Noah was saved. For us to ignore God’s clear command to be baptized is to choose death rather than life.

The jailor at Philippi asked Paul and Silas: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). The answer came: “Put your trust in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” He obeyed and was baptized.

Jesus himself, though sinless, was baptized. He said: “It is right for us to do all that God requires” (Matthew 3:15). Can we, who are sinners, ignore baptism when Jesus didn’t? We must follow his steps in this, as in all things.

6. WHAT MUST I DO NOW, SO THAT I CAN ENJOY LIFE FOR EVER IN GOD’S KINGDOM?

To enjoy life for ever, you must take the five steps to salvation; every one of them. The record in Acts 10 concerning Cornelius shows us that just to live a good life, without being baptized, is not good enough. Peter ordered Cornelius “to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (verse 48). Baptism is the start of a new life which will bring you great joy. It will give your life a renewed purpose. In an uncertain world, the God of Peace will give you peace.

Are you wise enough to follow the command of Jesus Christ to believe and be baptized? What a blessing awaits you if you are! God will bless you with life for evermore, when Jesus returns to establish his kingdom. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)