Jan 27

The Compliments of Christ

“Compliment,” as defined by Webster’s is “an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration; esp: a flattering remark.”
The Bible makes clear that the compliments of a flatterer are nothing. In a condemning manner, the Psalmist remarked that the wicked “flatter with their tongue” (Psa. 5:9; Cf. I Thess. 2:5).
However, Jesus never issued a vain compliment for He was perfect (I Jn. 3:5) and He knew what was in man (Jn. 2:25). Thus, we can learn from the compliments which He gave to others (who can be examples to us).
Compliment #1. Jesus complimented Nathaniel for his guilelessness (Jn. 1:47). Although the Jews were God’s chosen people, they had (under the guise of appearing devout) become quite corrupt by “changing” God’s laws to fit how they wanted to serve God (Mt. 15:9). Yet, in the midst of such people, was one who was without deceit, fraud and hypocrisy. Let us dare to be such in our time.
Compliment #2. Jesus complimented the Roman Centurion for his great faith (Matt. 8: 5-10). The stress which the Bible puts upon the role of faith is immense (Heb. 11; Rom. 3:25; etc.). This centurion was not even a Jew, yet, Jesus said that his faith was greater than He had found in Israel. Let it not be said of you that the faith of someone in denominationalism is greater than yours.
Compliment #3. Jesus complimented the poverty stricken widow for her liberality (Mk. 12:41-44). As Jesus “called unto him his disciples” (v.43) to observe her example, so does He call His disciples today to learn about giving of oneself first.
While it is nice to be complimented by others, what a special honor these three had by being complimented by the Lord Himself! However, if you are one without guile, and/or who gives of yourself–would you no less receive the same compliment?

Think on these things.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/the-compliments-of-christ/

Jan 20

JESUS INCREASED IN…

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). This was spoken of Him when He was 12, but Jesus kept advancing in those four realms of life, even until we next read of Him at the age of 30. Since Jesus is our perfect example (1 Pet. 2:21), then we need to examine how He increased so that we may grow to the full potential that God would have us to achieve.
Jesus increased in WISDOM. “Wisdom” is putting to use what you know. A person can learn about all the material for building a house (concrete, lumber, etc.), but if he does not know how to use those things then his knowledge does not do him much good. Likewise, a person can know a great deal of what the Bible teaches, but if he does not know how to apply it to everyday situations of life, it is not going to be of much benefit. But Jesus knew the Scriptures and He knew how to apply it to life. Such is exhibited in His duel with Satan (Mat. 4), the woman caught in adultery (John 8), the confrontations with the Sadducees and Pharisees (Mat. 22), and in many other occasions You have learned Bible stories and lessons for years. Now you must be wise in using what you have learned!
Jesus also increased in STATURE. Such implies that He ate and took care of His health. We too need to increase in stature We need to take care of our bodies by eating good nutritional food (Dan. 1:8-16). We are not to harm our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We need to seek medical help when we become ill (Mat. 9:12). We also ought to do some exercising (1 Tim. 4:8). However, do not over emphasize this! Do not make “being healthy” your major quest in life. Rather, serving both God and man is the purpose of life (Mat. 22:36-40).
Jesus increased in FAVOR WITH GOD. At His baptism (Mat.3) He said He was to be baptized “to fulfill all righteousness” (i.e., God’s Will), and Jesus was so pure, John said, “I need to be baptized of you.” The Father then said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The point is, Jesus grew in favor with the Father because He followed and obeyed the Father’s will. You, likewise, grow in favor with God by following and obeying Him. Colossians 1:10 states “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Thus, you are pleasing to God by knowing what He says and then doing it.
Jesus kept advancing in FAVOR WITH MEN. To gain favor of men means to gain approval as a good fellow human being. How is this to be accomplished? It is done in the same way you gain favor with God–you live the godly life as is taught in the Bible. This is precisely what is seen in Acts 2:47. On the other hand, the evildoers loose favor with man (Prov. 21:10). Yes, you gain favor with men by living the godly, Christian life.
Jesus is the great example for us. He kept advancing in wisdom, stature, favor with God and with men – – and so can you, if you follow in His footsteps.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/jesus-increased-in/

Jan 13

BAPTISM STANDS BETWEEN BEING LOST AND…

Being Saved
Mark 16:16
Entering The Kingdom
John 3:5
Forgiveness Of Sins
Acts 2:38
Washing Away Sins
Acts 22:16
The New Life
Romans 6:4
Being Raised With Christ
Romans 6:4
Sin Destroyed
Romans 6:6
Being In The Body Of Christ
1 Corinthians 12:13
Being A Child Of God
Galatians 3:26-27
Putting On Christ
Galatians 3:26-27
Sanctification
Ephesians 5:26
Putting Off Sins
Colossians 2:1-12
Salvation
1 Peter 3:21

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/baptism-stands-between-being-lost-and/

Jan 06

Our Enemy May Be Great, But God Is Greater

There was a time when the kings and their armies of four cities united and rose up against the kings of five other cities. The four were easily victorious over the five (which indicates their power and strength). As spoils of war, the invaders took captive some of the inhabitants of the defeated. One of whom was a man named Lot. Abraham, Lot’s uncle, in spite of the four kings display of might in their preceding victory, pursued with only 318 men. One would think a victory for Abraham to be humanly impossible. Yet, he was not only victorious, it was described as a slaughter. How could this be? From whence came Abraham’s power? One in a most unusual position stated that truth when he spoke to Abraham: “Blessed be God Most High, who hath delivered thine enemy into thy hand.” Yes, Abraham’s impossible victory came by the power of God (Genesis 14).
Today, with God’s Word, we can do the same. Works, efforts and conversions which appear hopeless to our eyes, are possible with God. Without a quiver in his voice, Paul could say: “I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God” (Rom. 1:16). As we do God’s things in God’s ways, the strength in our efforts is of God. He said His Word “shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that which I please” (Isa. 55:11). True, hardened hearts may not respond to the Gospel, and good works may be unfulfilled by those who doubt, but this is due to the weakness and wickedness of man who hinder the truth (Gal.5:7).
Yes, our enemies may be great: evolution, humanism, denominationalism, apostasies, etc., but God is greater and with the proper attitude (Jam. 2:8), proper disposition (Col. 4:6) and proper use of The Power (Rom. 1:16) we can “do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/our-enemy-may-be-great-but-god-is-greater/

Dec 30

NEW BEGINNING

Have you ever wondered how you would re-live your life if you could do it over? If so, then you may have thought about the changes you would make; the different roads you would take; the decisions decided otherwise. I remember my uncle (at the time, a very successful furniture salesman) saying upon one occasion, “I wish I knew then, what I know now” Such is probably the feeling of most of us.
You and I cannot live our life over again. We cannot live over even the past year. But, instead of bemoaning the fact (with our now gained wisdom of experience) that we did not live the year(s) the way we now wish we had, let us rather say, “Although I did not know what I do know now, I will use what I now know and better my life now.” My uncle followed that advice and went on to own his own furniture store.
In the Bible, there were individuals who had that opportunity of a new beginning—the opportunity to use what they now knew to better the rest of their life. Although the actual situation may differ from ours, the principles are the same.
Noah had a new beginning following the flood. The water had washed clean the earth from sin and corruption. Noah now knew what the forefathers had either not known or ignored: worship and obey God (and teach your children to do the same) otherwise man will fall into reprobation resulting in destruction. Today, it is no different. Noah, in his new beginning, worshiped and followed God. We must do the same (Gen. 8:20; Heb 10:25).
The Psalmist had a new beginning after he counted his blessings rather than his blights (Psalm 73). Upon realizing the truly great blessings God had continually been bestowing upon him, he then had a new outlook on life—a new beginning. He took what he now knew and bettered the rest of his life in peace and service to God (v:28). We can do the same.
Later in his life, the great and mighty King Nebuchadnezzar, who was pride-intoxicated, learned humility before the all-powerful God. Now knowing what he had not known before, he put his new knowledge into practice by praising, extolling and honoring the King of heaven– rather than the king of Babylon (Dan. 4:37). If we have lived the past in pride of self, we too can have the same new beginning.
Romans 6:1-12 tells of a new beginning. Actually, it uses the words: “walk in newness of life” (v:4). This new beginning occurs in baptism. Due to repentance, we have become dead to the love of sin. This dead, old self (v:6) is then buried in the watery grave of baptism (v:4). During the burial, one is freed from sin (v:8; 4a, 7-8). As one arises from the water, at that moment (and not before) he is a new man who has a new beginning (v:4). This is the greatest new beginning of all. If you haven’t had it, you need it.
No, we cannot relive the year(s), but we can use what we know now to better the year(s) before us. As Noah, the psalmist and Nebuchadnezzar had a day in which they changed their life, this day can be the day in which you have a new beginning.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/new-beginning/

Dec 24

Socrates and his Servant

Socrates had a trusted servant who, seeing others giving presents to his master, came to him one day and said, “Because I have nothing else to give you, Master, I here give you myself.” Socrates saw the earnestness of the servant and said, “Do so.” After Socrates bestowed upon him gifts, and advanced him to the head of his servants, he called him one day and said, “I now give you back to yourself better than when I received you.”
That is the way God is with us. We give our life to Him and He immeasurably improves our lives. Peter worded our thoughts for us when he asked Jesus, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?“ So Jesus said to them, …everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” (Matt 19:27-29.) Jesus revealed that such a follower shall, not only have heaven, but shall have marvelous blessings in this life. By leaving your ways to follow Jesus’ ways, He gives you back a better you—a better person, a better spouse, a better parent, a happier heart, a joyful journey, a sure security.
We may think, in leaving our wants in exchange for living for God, we are giving too much. But no one can out-give God! Never.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/socrates-and-his-servant/

Dec 15

Receiving Back a Better You

The Bible bursts with passages verifying the truth: When we follow Jesus, He gives us back a better you. Here are few such passages in only the book of Proverbs.
My son, hear the instruction of your father…for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck. (1:8-9.)
Whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil. (1:33.)
Receive my words, and treasure my commands within you…for the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding…He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. (2:1, 6-8.)
Let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. (3:1-2.)
The Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught. (3:26.)
Keep my commands, and live. (4:4.)
For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light. (6:23.)
Blessed are those who keep my ways… blessed is the man who listens to me…for whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord; but he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death. (8:32-36.)

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/receiving-back-a-better-you/

Dec 10

“God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform”

It was forty-eight years ago that I first heard of Jude chapter two. It was in a Bible class in the Linda church of Christ in Marysville, CA. The preacher/teacher was Clint Lovelady and someone had asked him where something was in the Bible. He answered, “It is in Jude chapter two.” Being a very young Christian of only a few months, I started looking for Jude, then, chapter two. Of course, I finally found Jude, but not chapter two. This was his way of saying; it is not in the Bible. Through the years I have adopted this fun way of answering such questions.
I have been amazed through the years to see folks who have been Christians for many years, once I have told them something is in Jude chapter two, to see them start thumbing through the New Testament looking for Jude chapter two. You should see their faces when finally they realize what has just happened to them. How many times have you heard, “God moves in mysterious ways and has wonders to perform” or something like it? Do you know where these words appear in the Bible? Yes, they are found in Jude chapter two. Just “Google” the words and see what you find. You will find something, but no book, chapter, and verse.
In fact, I found these words as the heading of a page: “God moves in a mysterious ways his wonders to perform.” Of course, the page never gave book, chapter and verse for the words! Yet, they were put forth as though they were as sure as God himself! How does something become so strongly believed, that it becomes the basic thought of a religion? The implication behind the words appears to be, that God’s plans (whatever is happening at the present time) are beyond human understanding, but God has a reason for everything that happens, however strange they may appear to man. These words also take us beyond the Bible, thus, the events themselves become the authority! But don’t forget, the “mysterious” and “wonders” are beyond the human mind’s ability to comprehend.
Here is a good point to unveil the origin of the words, “God moves in mysterious ways and has wonders to perform.” Well, the words have undergone change through the years as many phrases do. The nearest words to those heard today come from a hymn written by William Cowper in 1774. He wrote: “God moves in mysterious ways / His wonders to perform. / He plants his footsteps in the sea / And rides upon the storm.” Cowper struggled with depression and doubt through the years. The story goes that he decided to commit suicide by drowning himself, so one night he called a cab telling the driver to take him to the Thames River. There is two versions to the story, one is that as they drove toward the Thames a heavy fog came in and the cab driver got lost and could not find the river, while the other says the driver deliberately drove around; at last, whichever the case, Cowper was most surprised to find himself at the steps of his own house when the cab stopped to let him out. Surely God had sent the fog, or at least the cab driver to keep him from killing himself. The conclusion was reached: “Even in our blackest moments, God watches over us!”
It must be asked, what is wrong with this story? First, what do you say to the father and mother whose son or daughter just committed suicide? Where was God? Did God have no plan for him/her? Was God not watching over him/her? Have you not read that God: “… maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). What arrogance to think that I am better than others, that God has a better plan for me than others, or that God has a special plan for me, but not for you! What book, chapter, and verse, do I give for such? Oh, I forgot, we are not talking about the inspired word of God: “God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform” is our authority!
Before concluding, do not get the wrong idea, the Christian has blessings the lost do not have, but they are spiritual not physical. Paul wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Then, when it comes to salvation, God is no respect of person: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: (35) But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35).
Finally, let these words settle into your mind, as Paul wrote of God: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). It is not mysterious, but it is so wonderful!

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/god-moves-in-mysterious-ways-his-wonders-to-perform-2/

Dec 03

WHO IS YOUR GOD?

The title is challenging, if a person will take the time to think about it. Another question, which might help get to the point, “What is the philosophy by which you live?” To answer this question, it is necessary to understand the word philosophy as used in this article. The word philosophy means: the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group”. Then, from Webster’s New World Dictionary (Second College ed.) “1. orig., love of, or the search for, wisdom or knowledge 2. theory or logical analysis of the principles underlying conduct, thought, knowledge, and the nature of the universe”. So, the word philosophy is used to refer to the way one choses to live, the standard, the source by which a person forms the beliefs, concepts, and the attitudes of life.
What does philosophy have to do with, or how does it relate to our question: “Who is your God?” To answer in the simplest way; the origin of one’s basic beliefs, one’s concepts of life, and one’s attitudes by which he lives, is the philosophy of this person. Now, here is the critical question: “Who/what is the origin of your basic beliefs, your concepts of life, and the attitudes by which you live?” Whoever, or whatever, answers these questions is your god (God). If one’s answer is, Allah is my god; then, Allah is the origin of your basic beliefs, the concepts of your life, and the source of the attitudes by which you live. If Zeus is your god; then, Zeus is the origin of your basic beliefs, the concepts of your life, and the source that forms the attitudes by which you live. If Aphrodite is your god, then, Aphrodite is the origin of your basic beliefs, the concept of your life, and source that forms the attitudes by which you live. If you are the origin (though no one is truly the origin of basic beliefs, concept, and attitude of their life) of your basic beliefs, the concept by which you live, and the attitudes that govern your life, then, you are your own god.
On the other hand, to the Christian, the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority is the God revealed in the Bible. He is the God of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). This God is the origin of the Christian’s basic belief, the concepts of life, and source of the attitudes by which he lives. This is the God about who John, the apostle of Christ, wrote: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18), that the writer of the Hebrew letter wrote: “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, …” (Heb. 1:3). The Greek word (charaktēr) translated “express image” is very interesting; it means: 1) “the instrument used for engraving or carving,” 2) “the mark stamped upon that instrument,” and 3) “a mark or figure burned in or stamped.” It is easy to see what is on a rubber stamp by taking the stamp and stamping it upon a paper, and the mark it leaves on the paper is the “express image” of the rubber stamp. To look at one, is to see the other. So it is with “the only begotten Son” of John 1:18, “he hath declared” God in his own person. The Greek word (exēgeomai) translated “declared,” expresses the idea of “unfolding;” therefore, Jesus unfolded God before our eyes. Therefore, Jesus said to Philip: “… he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; …” (John 14:9).
Going back to Genesis, it is important to understand, the Deity in Jesus, as: “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us …” (John 1:14), is also in the Hebrew word (translated) “God” in the first statement of the Bible. So, John wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3). Therefore, from the opening statement of the Bible to the opening statement of John, there is perfect harmony.
To the Christian, the philosophy by which he lives, originates with the God of the Bible who is revealed in “The Word” which “was made flesh!” But, what does this mean? It means the Christian’s basic beliefs, the concepts, and attitudes of life, originates from the being of God as is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who said: “All power (authority, FRW) is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18).
Therefore, the question: “Who is your God?” Our “god” (God) is the one who forms our basic beliefs, the concepts, and attitudes by which we live! Friends, who is the source of how you determine right and wrong; who is the source of your basic beliefs, the concepts, and attitudes of your life? Is it possible that you have become your own “god”?

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/who-is-your-god/

Nov 26

What Can We Know?

In the old Testament days, actually up to one-hundred years ago, the existence of God was not questioned. People in general believed in God or in gods, and it was the social outcast who disbelieved. A person may have been disobedient, but he still believed in a deity.
However, the opposite seems to be the case today. With the onslaught of evolution, entire governments reject and forbid worshipping deity. Also, in countries such as our own where there is freedom of belief, (which includes the freedom to believe that there is no God) multitudes reject the notion that there is a God.
This is unfortunate, but even more so is the fact that this is rubbing off on members of the church. Throughout her existence, the church seems to have always absorbed some of the false philosophies, doctrines, and lifestyles of which she lived amongst.
Such is no different today. As afore mentioned, we (the church) exist today within an atmosphere of skepticism of the existence of God. This leads to other doubts. If one disbelieves in God, then one will naturally disbelieve that the Bible is God’s Word. Thus, if they reject the Bible, they will also reject any teachings of the Bible, such as: the Deity of Jesus, the coming judgment, heaven, hell, truth and error, and the Bible as the standard by which to live.
Thus, it can easily be seen that if people live with a lack of conviction of the above truths, then they will live “freely,” worldly and sinfully.
Now, since the church faces a danger of absorbing the philosophies of her surroundings, then the church is in danger of adapting (1) skeptical views toward the Bible and it’s teachings, and (2) adapting some of the sinful ways of life while thinking that such is not wrong at all.
Brethren, we need, we must, avoid this pitfall. And such can be overcome by simply taking inventory of that which we CAN KNOW. If we know something, and we know that we know it, then no outside influence should be able to move us.
First, (where the trouble all started) we can know there is a God and the Bible is from Him. The feat of the fulfillment of the multiplicity of prophecies concerning Jesus simply demands an act of God. Such an accomplishment is beyond the ability of man.
Thus, since God exists, and the Bible is His Word, then whatever the Bible teaches is a truth that we can know. The Bible teaches that we can know: Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 20:30,31), there is a coming judgment (Mt. 25:31-46), there is a heaven (Jn. 14:1-4) and a hell (Rev. 20:12-15), we will be judged according to our loving obedience to God’s laws (Deut. 8:1,2), etc., etc., etc.
All of which the Bible teaches is that which we can know. Let us not be deceived by the great deceiver (2 Cor. 11:3). Rather, let us constantly examine ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5) to determine whether or not we are absorbing the philosophies and standards of the world.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/what-can-we-know-2/

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