About Shape & Sharpen
To train men in biblical manhood, believing and teaching the gospel to their children and every generation.
In a culture that is becoming increasingly intolerant towards Jesus and Christians, prayer and biblical instruction is no longer allowed in schools, and youth are confronted by ungodly secular worldviews every day, it has never been more crucial for men to step up and teach the Bible at home.
Mission & Purpose
My name is Nick Lotter. I am a sinner saved by God’s grace. I am a husband to Pam, and father to Daimon, Eden and Joseph. I serve as an elder at Cambridge Baptist Church in East London, and have served the church in that role since 2015.
Why did I create this website and these resources?
In the middle ages the people desperately wanted access to the Bible, but the Roman Catholic Church denied them access, declaring that only the priests could interpret the Bible for them. Today, the Bible is the most widely distributed book in the world and the Church is encouraging all to take up the Bible and read. However, in an ironic twist, it is now the people who say that they can’t read and understand the Bible on their own and need another mediator – their pastor or favourite preachers – to interpret the Bible for them.
While I believe it to be the man’s responsibility and calling to lead and teach his family, I also want you to know that all – whether male or female, young or old, rich or poor, educated or uneducated – ALL can read and understand the Bible. It is not as intimidating as it seems. My mission is to provide you with the tools to avoid common mistakes people make when interpreting the Bible, and at the same time equip you with simple, easy to follow guides to help you find the true meaning of the passage and to understand and apply what the Bible teaches.
My prayer is that the Lord would use these resources to help you read and understand the Bible, so that through His Word, God would grow you, mature you, sharpen you, shape you and mold you and your family ever more into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Taken from the Port St. Johns airstrip while making a visit and preaching at a small church in the town, 2017.
Statement of Faith
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21)
There is only one God; the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience. (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 1 Timothy 1:17)
God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being. (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)
God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures. (Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 10:31-33; Proverbs 16:33)
Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life – not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ – in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified. (Romans 8:30; Ephesians 1:3-6; Acts 13:48)
The Fall of Man
God originally created Man in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors. (Genesis 1:27, 3:4-7; Romans 5:12-21; Ephesians 2:1-3)
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law; suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever lives to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe. (Matthew 3:17; 1 Corinthians 15:3-7; 1 Timothy 2:5; Romans 5:6-11; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:3)
Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickens the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone. (John 3:1-8; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3)
Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being, by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbles himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things. (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21; 2 Corinthians 7:9)
Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness. (John 1:12, 5:24; Ephesians 2:8-9)
Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of sinners who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the satisfaction that Christ has made; not for anything wrought in them or done by them; but on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith. (Rom. 3:23-24; Rom. 5:1-2; 18, 19; 2 Cor. 5:21)
Those who have been regenerated are also sanctified by God’s word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all Christ’s commands. (John 17:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 12:14)
Perseverance of the Saints
Those whom God has accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. (John 10:28-29; 1 John 2:19; Romans 8:30)
The Lord Jesus is the head of the Church, which is composed of all His true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. According to His commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into particular societies or churches; and to each of these churches He has given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which He has appointed. The regular officers of a Church are Elders and Deacons. (Colossians 1:18; Matthew 16:18; 18:15-18; 1 Timothy 3:1-15; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:3-5; Acts 8:38-39)
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine or grape juice, and to be observed by His churches until the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him, and of their church fellowship. (Matthew 26:26-27; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:23-26)
The Lord’s Day
The Lord’s Day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10)
Liberty of Conscience
God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil magistrates being ordained of God, subjection in all lawful things commanded by them ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:17)
The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God – the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked, to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised. (1 Corinthians 15; John 5:28-29; Philippians 3:21)
God has appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall receive according to his deeds; the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life. (Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
(Adapted from the Abstract Principles of 1859)