- Doctrine of trinity teaches us about God in three different forms; Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit.
- The Father is the Creator, Spirit present everywhere.
- Son is Jesus Christ (both spirit and flesh); Saviour.
- Relationship between God, the Father and the people is through Jesus Christ.
- What is the Holy Spirit? Third party of God, left behind by Jesus Christ as our Saviour.
All three are distinct persons with their own functions; exist in perfect unity and harmony. A doctrine of Trinity tries to describe the mystery of the Christian faith. The spirit of Him bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
- Human Being = spirit and mortal body. The Spirit of God “links” with that of us so that we can serve God. The mortal body is dead because of sin.
- I. How does Trinity work?
* Involved in the creation (Gen 1:1-2, Col 1:15-17)
* Share in the work of salvation and revelation (Jn 14:23-26)
* Involved in resurrection
* We find that intimate association of all three parts in these passages:-
1Cor 12:4-6; Eph 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:12; 2 Cor 13:13, and Rom 8:9-17
- The Trinity of God saying in different ways that God loves us and desire our love in return.
- We need to keep a balance in our belief between the Father, Son and Spirit.
II. APOSTLE’S DOCTRINES:
1) Belief in God, the Father – “Abba” (Father) has parent – child relationship with us.
– God is the creator of all on earth, heaven and water underground.
– Why did God create man? * To love Him
* Praise / worship Him.
* Rejoice in Him
– Almighty God has power to do anything. God can work miracles, heal, answer prayers and even change the course of history / events.
– “Believing in God” is a total commitment of ourselves, trusting our lives to God and acknowledging His Lordship over us.
– God allows freedom for everybody. God prefers to see our response coming freely and from the heart i.e. love.
2) Belief in Son, Jesus Christ – “Rabbi” (Teacher) is our starting point in the Christian life.
– Philippians 2:1-11, teaches us about how Jesus chose to come in humility as a servant and through his obedience and suffering, has become our Lord and our Saviour.
– In Him, God became fully human, entering fully into our lives and experiences.
– “Believing in Jesus Christ” means that we trust Him; rely upon Him completely, and allow Him, His values and standards to determine the direction of our lives.
– To call Him Lord means that we submit fully to his authority and control. This must be accompanied by obedience to have meaning.
3) Belief in the Holy Spirit
– The new life God offers us is deep life – changing experience, the result of the power of God the Holy Spirit at work in us.
– How does the Holy Spirit work in us?
* Help us to grow and mature as Christians (Rom 8:16)
* Help us to pray and worship (Rom 8:27-27)
* Bears witness with our spirit that belongs to God (Rom 8:16)
* Unites us in fellowship with other believers (Eph 4:3-6)
* Reveals the deeper meaning of the word of God and helping us to apply it in our lives.
– Gifts of the Holy Spirit are special abilities God gives to people so that they can share in the building up of the body of Christ.
These are apostleship, prophecy, teaching, healing, helping others in need, administration, speaking in tongues, faith, wisdom, knowledge, evangelism, pastoral care, serving, hospitality, and preaching. Christian church has no spectators / passengers.
– The presence of the spirit in our lives is a sign of the New Life in us (1Cor 12:3, Eph 1:13-14).
4) Forgiveness and Sins – Sin is disobedience to God’s laws of life.
– No one is righteous (Rom 3:10), humankind; have sinned from conception / birth (Psalm 51). By God’s grace, we can be saved, through faith.
– God has given us His Son, Jesus Christ die for us in the cross so that all believers, can have eternal life (John 3:16).
– God justify (cleanses us of our sins) and sanctify (made new/hate sin).
5) Eternal Life
– Believing in eternal life means spiritual life in heaven when mortal body dies to sin, the reborn spiritual body ascends into heaven.
– Christians observe the day of Resurrection / First day of the week.
– Believing in resurrection is a matter of faith, not proof (beyond scientific basis).
– John 20 gives us an account of the day of resurrection.
– Resurrection is a sign of victory over sin, death and power of evil.
– Resurrection sets Jesus free from limitations of time and place.
If Jesus was not raised, our faith will have no meaning.
7) Communion of Saints
– Believe in fellowship of all Christians.
8) Holy Catholic Church
– Church is the gathered community of those who believe in Jesus and want to worship and serve him.
– Purpose of the Church :- * To be a community of worship and prayer.
* To proclaim good news of Jesus Christ.
* To serve God in the world and take God’s love, caring healing and wholeness to society.
* To provide fellowship and community for those who believe in Jesus and those seeking Him.
– Church is the Body of Christ in which all have different roles to play for it to function (1 Cor 12:12-27)
– Church is not perfect because it is made up of imperfect people in whose lives God is working on, changing and transforming them. Please invite a friend from outside next Sunday with this in mind!
- Sacrament: is the “outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace”.
- The two sacraments given by Jesus Christ are:-
à Holy Communion/Lord’s supper or Eucharist.
- Baptism: ceremony of acceptance to the Christian family. It is a way of showing that one has been cleansed of sin (Rom 6:1-14).
v Evolution of this sacrament:
a) Pre-Christ era: John used water to baptize the followers (Acts 19:1-6). John testified seeing the Holy Spirit descending ahead of Him (Jesus Christ) to save those who believe in Jesus Christ and those who have repented i.e. Baptism of John referred to as “baptism of repentance” (John 1:23-33).
b) Christ era: Jesus Christ baptized his followers with the Holy Spirit.
c) After Christ era: Christians adopted the style of administering the sacrament using water (symbol of cleansing); in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Baptism marks our point of entry into Christian community.
- How is it done: administered by immersing the person fully or partially in water, or by sprinkling water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
v Significance of Baptism:
a) Forgiveness and cleansing of sins (1Peter 3:21; 1 Cor 6:11).
b) New life in Christ (Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27).
c) Our incorporation into the Body of Christ (church) (1 Cor 12:13).
d) Being given the Holy Spirit to renew and sanctify us.
v Types of Baptism:
i. Infant Baptism 3 months of age. MethodistChurch parents make an undertaking to do everything in their power to see their children will grow knowing Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
Why should we be baptized at infancy? Everybody is conceived in sin, therefore are sinners too (inherited sin). In Mark 10:10 we are reminded that the Kingdom of God is for children.
ii. Believer’s Baptim, is for those who have found faith and have not been baptized before. This is part of new birth Jesus Christ teaches Nicodemus about in John 3:1-8.
v Why do we need the sacraments? We tend to believe in something visible, they are ‘signs of spiritual grace’. God’s grace is not limited to the moment of administering the sacraments:-
a) Prevenient Grace – God’s grace is at work before coming to faith.
b) Justifying grace – in our conversion.
c) Sanctifying grace – during our Christian living.
- Holy Communion:
Ceremony done in remembrance of Jesus Christ who died for our sins and is a channel of God’s blessings and grace.
v We anticipate by faith the perfect banquet prepared in Heaven for all faithful Christians (Luke 14:15).
v Origin of Holy Communion: Luke 22:7-23.
v Why should we take Holy Communion regularly?
(i) It is constant reminder of Jesus’ work and death on the cross and His sacrificial blood shed for us to have eternal life.
(ii) We renew our commitment to Jesus Christ; receive power and nourishment to grow in faith.
(iii) It is His own appointed method of meeting with us in a special way.
v How should we prepare ourselves for the banquet? (1 Cor 11:28)
(a) Everybody should self-examine themselves and confess their sins before taking the bread 9Christ’s body) and fruit wine (Christ’s blood).
(b) Make an undertaking of “real” change/rebirth.
(c) Commit our lives to Him.
v It is administered almost always by an ordained priest or minister.
Witnessing: speaking to people about the work of the lord in your life (mark 5:20) or declaration of God’s great works (psalms 66:16) it is not the same as preaching.
It is the lord’s discipleship, the duty of every Methodist and every Christian to bear witness to Christ (acts 1:8) and share their faith with others
Testimony is the first sign of growth / development in your faith, it is a way of praising the Lord, showing love and rejoicing in him.
- 1. Importance of witnessing:
(i) Glorifying the lord/proclaiming his name (Matthew 10:32)
(ii) Testifying to benefit others (mark 16:15)
(iii) Giving testimony overcomes the devil (rev 12:121)
(iv) Spread the gospel through testimony and strength our own faith ( acts 5:20, Isaiah 43;10, Mark 6:15) fulfil our tasks as God’s servants.
(v) Confess our faith- openly declare your belief in Christ ( rom 10:9-10)
- 2. How should you give testimony:
- Testimony by words consists of 3 parts:-
Part I: testify about Jesus Christ in your life before conversion ( col 3:70) tell people briefly how the lord helped you as a non-christian .
PartII: explain how / when you were saved ( acts 9:3-6 Souls conversion and preaching)
Part III: Tel them about the wonderful works of Jesus Christ in your life in general (John 9:15, Titus 3:3-9).
(a) Give testimony without shame / fear ( 2 timothy 1:8, Acts 6:22) don’t worry about how or what you should speak, it will be given to you by the holy spirit (matthew 10:19-20)
(b) Witnessing has no limit (psalm 71:15) tell them about his grace and love all day if possible
(c) Ezekiel 2:7 encourages us to witness to people whether they listen or refuse because they may be rebellious – expect to be rebuked and expect disputes and long sufferings. We don’t need clever arguments.
(d) A servant of the lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, be patient in humility correcting those who are in opposition ( 2 timothy 2:24-25) Jesus spoke very frankly to the Samaritan (John 4:5-22) woman at the “well” but he did not force his ideas on her.
- Where should we give testimony : EVERYWHERE
– Home / household / temple, without ceasing (deut 6:6-9, Acts 5:42
– Big audience or single person (psalm 3:5-18)
– Display the teachings on our clothes, cars, house gates etc.
- 4. What prevents us from witnessing?
(a) Lack of knowledge about God (hosea 4:6- reject knowledge , forget God’s laws)
(b) Not realising the importance of witnessing
(c) Lack of “deep faith” – james 1:6 and matthew 21:21(doubtful in our beliefs)
(d) We fear other people ( matthew 10:28 )
(e) Our unconfessed sins separate us from the lord ( Isaiah 59:1-2)
(f) Lack of boldness of the holy spirit ( acts 1:8)
- E. Testimony by our lives :
The way we live should be a good advertisement for Christ. Other people should see Christ in us, things we do, in the values and standards we have, in the kind of people we are! They should see faith not despair, love, honesty, forgiveness, victory, gentleness and humility.
- F. Testimony by our faith:
We must show others what a life built on faith looks like when we face trials and tribulations, show obedience to God, and worship.
CARRYING FOR THE NEEDY
- God has a deep concern for the poor and this is quite clear from the ministry of Jesus and the parables He told, that the poor/needy have a special place in his heart. Caring for the poor; orphans and widows in distress demonstrates the depth of our love, compassion and Christian gifts of mercy and hospitality.
- Lesson’s study passages : Luke 16:19-31, The parable of the rich man and Lazaraus.
James 2:1-17, Faith without works is dead.
- The Poor: In the Bible we find two meanings of the word “poor”,
- Those who lack material things like money, clothes, food, etc.
- Poor sometimes refers to the “poor spirit”. Those rich in materialistic thigs invariably find it hard to be spiritually poor before God.
- Christian’s attitude towards poverty and the poor:
- Being poor has no special advantage, it deprives, dehumanizes and debilitates.
The parable of the rich man and Lazaraus teaches Christians about the dangers of wealth and selfishness.
- Jesus challenges us in Luke 12:19, to think beyond earthly goals and use our possessions and gifts for God’s Kingdom. Our possessions, if used wisely and faithfully, should effectively serve God’s Kingdom. Jesus did not teach that possessions are evil.
- As disciples of Christ (Matthew 25:31-46), we are called to give testimony to the people everywhere and to offer ourselves by giving our time, abilities and energy, as well as money in serving the community. Community involvement for the responsible Christian might entail service in educational, medical, social welfare or environmental organizations.
- Christian help and giving must never be done with a paternalistic, superior attitude or in a condescending way, thinking that we are better than those we are trying to help. It should flow from real concern and a heart that is “poor in spirit”.
- True Biblical stewardship of resources supports the practice of: “Don’t give me a fish, teach me how to fish”. Only through this process can the causes of poverty, deprivation and despair be overcome, and people regain their dignity.
- 5. Principles of helping the poor:
Christians should be in the forefront of the efforts to improve social justice, provide better working and living conditions, and to ensure more equitable distribution of wealth.
The underlying principles are that the poor need:
- To be accepted and respected unconditionally by society and the church in particular;
- To be enabled to become self-sufficient by being encouraged to find solutions to their problems, so that they can gain control of and see real progress in their own lives;
- To be helped with material assistance to undertake job-creation projects which will take them beyond their immediate needs so that their productive contribution to society will instill feelings of dignity, confidence and positive self-esteem;
- To be able to increase their income levels by any creative activity which will, initially at least, provide the basic necessities of their lives such as food, clothing, and accommodation.
- 6. How does the Methodist church help the poor/needy people:
The Christian church needs to be at the forefront in not only witnessing about Christ but also building up the community with imaginative projects.
The initiatives adopted by the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) to help uplift needy people consist of:
- Education – Methodist Church still runs Kingswood, Kearsney, Epworth, and St Sithians colleges.
- Medical Care –AIDS treatment project called Mission Unit; aimed at distributing Anti-retroviral agents and nutritional supplements.
- Christian Literature –The Methodist Publishing House has been in operation for over 100 years; has shops in most of the major centres and provides good inexpensive literature in various languages (used by other denominations as well).
Natal Coastal District Projects:
- Ethelbert Children’s Home.
- Medical Care – Methodists Challenged by AIDS (MCA) project run in conjuction with Provincial Department of Health. The aim is to provide clothes / food to AIDS orphans
- Education – Bursary fund for students from disadvantaged communities.
Our local church’s (Central City mission YaseThekwini) projects include:
- The Newdawn shelter for the homeless/unemployed men.
- Hospitality Centre (suspended due to financial problems at CCMYT).
- “Imvuka Sunday Services” – visitation of the bereaved; spiritually needy church members, etc.
- Planned – AIDS awareness and/or counseling project!!!
- 7. Conclusion:
Christian stewardship in relation to the poor and those in need therefore calls for a disciplined spiritual life, so that, through experiencing God’s love, one is convicted to honor and extend a hand of love to those who possess fewer worldly goods.