Dec 22

The Path to the Christian Faith

Does the young child, having learned to walk without the assisting hands of Mother and Father, begin to doubt that his parents exist? It is sad that many adults have taken such a view in regard to their spiritual Father.
How does one, who is a believer in God and the Judgment to come, persuade another to such conviction? One cannot say, “Just believe,” or “There are so many who believe,” for such are not grounds for the truth to a matter.
Rather, the claims of Christianity MUST be established by indisputable proof. If such cannot be proven, then it should not be accepted; yet, if such can be proven, then one must not ignore it.

DOES GOD EXIST?
It is impossible for God not to exist! Mankind exists. We are an undeniable fact in this world. How did we get here? We are here only by one of two ways: (1) by evolution (natural means), or (2) by creation (supernatural means).
Evolution is based upon the idea of the survival of the fittest. Thus, when something happens to an animal’s habitat demanding the animal to either evolve (say, add or change an organ) or die, then, unless it does make a change it will die.
Now when the need occurred for the supposed evolution of the lung, there had to be a cause for the need (say, the drying up of a lake). Now the question is: how long can a fish survive while laying on the bottom of a dried up lake waiting for a lung to evolve?! Evolutionist themselves admit that a change may take one million years!
If you were to tape your mouth and nose, could you evolve a new breathing organ before you suffocated? Neither could those water-breathing creatures have done the same.
This point was presented in a debate to one of the world’s most renown atheists. [See: The Warren Flew Debate.] Yet, he was unable to make reply–not because he was not intelligent enough–but because it cannot be answered.
Since we are here by only one of two ways, and since it is not by evolution, then, it is by creation–which necessitates the existence of God.

IS THE BIBLE INSPIRED BY GOD?
Could a five year old be the author of Webster’s Dictionary?…the painter of the Mona Lisa?…the mind behind the Space Shuttle? Neither could mere man be the author of the Bible which contains characteristics which are far beyond our capabilities.
Amazingly fulfilled prophecies, uncanny unity and astounding scientific foreknowledge (among others) are such characteristics which establish the case for the inspiration of the Bible.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ?
(1) Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:30-31).
(2) There will be a judgment, and heaven or hell are the two rewards (Matt. 25:31- 46).
(3) In order to go to heaven, one must: believe that Jesus is the Christ (John 3:16), repent of his sins (Luke 13:3), confess faith in Jesus (Rom. 10:9,10), be baptized for remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), and live a faithful life (Rev. 2:10).

CONCLUSION:
Much more can be said, yet this evidence establishes the case for the claims of Christianity. It must not be ignored.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/the-path-to-the-christian-faith/

Dec 14

The Lord’s One True Church

The Bible teaches that the Lord’s one true church (Eph. 4:4) was built by Jesus Christ (Mat. 16:18), at Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2-4; Acts 2:1-42), on the first Pentecost following Jesus’ crucifixion (Acts 2:1). It was established with divine power (Mark 9:1; Acts 2:1-6) for the explicit purpose of preaching the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16; Eph. 3:9-11) for the salvation of souls (Acts 2:38, 41, 47).
Any “church” which was organized by any other person, and/or at any other place, and/or at any other time, and/or without divine power, and/or for any other purpose–cannot possibly be the Lord’s one true church.
We encourage you to investigate these identification marks with (1) where you attend, and (2) with the church of Christ.

Gary Henson

GOD WOULD HAVE US TO BE A BIBLE READING PEOPLE

The beginning of the year is approaching. It is a time in which many people make a resolution to daily read their Bible. Of course, this would be a good resolution for everybody. Actually, Bible reading is commanded: “Give attendance to reading” and “read the epistle” (1 Tim. 4:13; Col. 4:16).
God assures us, as we read the Bible, great blessings await us. “Blessed is he that readeth…” (Rev. 1:3). “When they had read, they rejoiced…” (Acts 15:31). Thus, God wants us to read the Bible for our own good.
We need to read the Bible so we can obey its contents and be acceptable before God. “Read this law…that they [we] may… observe to do all the words of the law” (Deut. 31:11-13). In Deuteronomy 17:18-20, the result of the reading of the word of God is to be that we turn not either to the right or to the left.
Truly, there are great and extend benefits in reading the Bible. Should not you be one who reads the “Words of life?”
May we at Barnes be a Bible reading people as God would have us to be, for there are truly great benefits (both, here and in the hereafter) awaiting us.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/the-lords-one-true-church/

Dec 08

WHY ATTEND BIBLE CLASS?

1. We are commanded to study the Bible: “Study to show thyself approved…” (2 Tim 2:15); “Give heed to the reading, to exhortation, to teaching” (1 Tim. 4:13); “Add to your faith…knowledge” (2 Pet. 1:5). The Bible class fulfills (in part) this very command.

2. The Bible class presents the opportunity for us to see ourselves as God sees us. The Bible is a true mirror for the soul (Jas. 1:23-25).

3. God wants us to be teachers. Christianity is a teaching religion: “For when by reason of time ye ought to be teachers…” (Heb. 5:12). Bible class will help us gain the knowledge and wisdom to fulfill this.

4. We need to know our Bible so we can be “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15). But how can we do this unless we study?

5. We are charged to defend the faith (Jude 3), and our weapon of defense is the sword of the Gospel (Eph.6:17). A weapon is only as good as is the knowledge to use it. The Bible class helps to give us that knowledge.

6. The Bible class helps us to fulfill our individual obligation to “desire the milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2).

7. Since we are going to be judged by the Word (John 12:48; Rev. 20:12), then we certainly need to know what is in it.

These are only seven, but they are all good reasons to attend every class possible. Why not make all classes possible–not for others (although your presence does influence them for good)- -but for yourself, so “that ye might grow thereby.”

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/why-attend-bible-class/

Nov 30

“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, which ever 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
Archived Article from November 30, 2014

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/god-moves-in-mysterious-ways-his-wonders-to-perform-3/

Nov 25

THREE STEPS TO HEAVEN

If the elevator were out of order inside a tall building, you would have to walk up numerous steps in order to get to the top. However, in reaching heaven, it can be said that there are only three steps.
FIRST, ONE MUST STEP OUT OF SELF. To do this, one must deny self: “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mat. 16:24). Furthermore, in order to deny self, one must also give up self (2 Cor. 8:5), put off the old man (Col. 3:9,10), and forsake all else (Mat. 19:27).
The one who steps out of self no longer trusts in self: “Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart, and lean not upon thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Furthermore, one no longer looks to self [“It is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23)]; wishes to glorify himself (Mat. 5:16), nor seeks first the welfare of self [“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat. 6:33)].
One cannot get up the stairway if he does not take the first step. There are those who, knowing about the first step, failed to take it. Such are: the rich young ruler who would not deny self of love for worldly goods (Mat. 19:22); the chief rulers who would not deny peer pressure (John 12:42), and position (John 11:48).
THE SECOND STEP IS STEPPING INTO CHRIST. Those that are in Christ are: new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17); triumphant (2 Cor. 2:14); and without condemnation (Rom. 8:1). In order to take this second step of getting into Christ, one must be +baptized: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3), and, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ, did put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Yet, one is not able to take this second step of being baptized into Christ until he has been taught (Mat. 28:19, 20), has believed (Mark 16:16), has repented (Acts 2:38), and has confessed Christ (Rom. 10:9,10).
THE THIRD AND LAST STEP IS THE STEP INTO GLORY. Those who have taken the first and second step [and continue thereon without going back down (2 Pet. 2:21,22)], are taken upon the third step by the Lord, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). After our body has been “raised in glory” (1 Cor. 15:43) we shall “Partake of the glory that shall be revealed” (1 Pet. 5:1) which is his eternal glory by Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 5:10) which will be so wonderful “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
We are fortunate that the stairway to heaven only has three steps (and the last one is given to us), and not hundreds as there are in a tall building. Of all the stairways that you may have climbed in your life-time, do not miss going up the most important one.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/three-steps-to-heaven/

Nov 17

“…be thankful unto him….”

It is good that this nation stops to observe a time of giving thanks. We have truly been blessed with an abundance, and those who are not thankful are ingrates. However, the true Christian is one who remembers and thanks God, not merely once a year, but continuously. The Christian is to be like his brother Paul who “gave thanks always” (Eph. 5:20) and would “thank God without ceasing” (1 Thes. 2:13). Yes, the Christian is continually thankful to God. The Christian is also aware of, and is thankful for spiritual blessings, as well as the food and other earthly sustenance. To be sure, we thank God for the food which “hath been created to be received with thanksgiving…for every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 4:3-4). But, the Christian, who is aware that every good and perfect gift comes from God (Jam. 1:17), looks beyond the physical blessings and thanks God: for the gift of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 9:15), for the goodness and mercy of God (Psa. 106:1; 107:1; 136:1-3), for the reception and effectual working of the word in others (1 Thes. 2:13), for deliverance from sin through Jesus (Rom. 7:23-25), for victory over death and the grave (1 Cor. 15:57), for the triumph of the Gospel (2 Cor. 2:14), for conversion of others (Rom. 6:17), for faith exhibited by others (Rom. 1:8), for love manifested by others (2 Thes. 1:3), for the zeal beheld in others (2 Cor. 8:16), for all men (1 Tim. 2:1) and for all things (2 Cor. 9:11; Eph. 5:20).
Yes. The Christian is one who has “put on his glasses” to see beyond the physical blessings to see the “total picture” (cf., 2 Pet. 1:9) and thanks God for all good things, all the time.

May we “be thankful unto Him” (Psa. 100:4).

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/be-thankful-unto-him/

Nov 10

Christis and Denomos ON: THE WAY

DENOMOS: Christis, thanks for inviting me to your Sunday Bible class. The members of your church are certainly nice. They remind me of some of the people in my denomination. But you know, I believe that we are all going to the same place, we’re just going by different ways.
CHRISTIS: Denomos, that would be nice to believe — if it were not for Matthew 7:21-23.
DENOMOS: What do you mean? What does it say?
CHRISTIS: Here were some who were trying to get to the “same place by a different way,” but they were rejected by Jesus. Listen, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
DENOMOS: But our pastor says, in our church creed book….”
CHRISTIS: Denomos, neither your creed book nor your pastor is going to be the one who judges you at judgment. Rather, as John 12:48 says, it is Jesus and His Word, that is, the Bible, that will judge you.
DENOMOS: You’re right. It is dangerous to get one’s teachings from any thing other than the Bible.
CHRISTIS: I admire your desire to please God–not man. Denomos, perhaps this will help: Did it matter where the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea? Whether they crossed where Moses and the parted water were? or, at points which they decided, 5, 10, or 15 miles down the shore?
DENOMOS: Yes it mattered. If they wanted to get across, they had to cross where Moses was. That was the pathway which God provided.
CHRISTIS: Correct.
DENOMOS: I see your point. If different ones tried to get across at 5, 10, and 15 miles down the shore, they would all be trying to get to the same place by different ways. But the only way that would get them across was the one way which God provided and specified. All other ways would have failed.
CHRISTIS: Yes. And that is precisely the warning of Matthew 7:21-23. There were those who were trying to get to “the same place by different ways.” Yes, the ways were different all right–different from Jesus’ way! And because of taking the wrong way, Jesus didn’t even know them. That is, by their way, they never even became Christians!
DENOMOS: Christis, thanks for bringing this to my attention. Why don’t you come over and show me the Scriptures which teach the right way?!

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/christis-and-denomos-on-the-way/

Nov 03

MIRACLES THEN AND “MIRACLES” TODAY

There is no doubt that miracles had been performed in centuries past. Jesus calmed the storm, walked on water, raised the dead. His disciples healed the blind, the deaf and the lame. Yes, miracles have certainly occurred. Yet, there are those today who claim that miracles can still be performed. Is this so? Does God still work miracles through His children? A careful examination of the Scriptures yields a reply of “no.” The miracles were to cease when that which was perfect came (1Cor. 13:8-13). The perfect which came was the completed, twenty- seven books of the New Testament (Rom 12:2; Jas. 1:25). Thus, miracles, which were to confirm the word (Mark 16:20), upon having completed its intention, ceased.
Furthermore, one only needs to compare the miracles as performed by Jesus and the early disciples with the “miracles” which are claimed today in order to see that the “miracles” today are not the miracles then (Acts 8:6-13). (1) The miracles then occurred instantaneous (Mat. 8:3,15; 9:27-30), whereas the “miracles” today take time to work. The sick are told they may not be able to walk, hear or see perfectly just yet, but their condition is improving. (2) With the miracles then, faith was not always required on the part of the one or whom the miracle was performed (John 11:39 [Lazarus was dead]; Acts 13:11-12). Yet, today, if the “miracle” does not work, the “healer” escapes the embarrassment by rebuking the patient for having too little faith. (3) Jesus healed all who came to him (Mat. 4:23-24; 8:16), but “healers” today have men who screen out those who have obvious handicaps (a missing leg) of which an assumed healing cannot be faked. (4) Miracles then healed real organic diseases (Act 3:2), but miracles today will gladly “heal” mere functional disorders. (5) Miracles then were always in the open public for all to behold (Matt 12:9, 13-14; Acts 3:16). Yet, when you talk to those who believe in miracles today, you are told of amazing miracles which always occur elsewhere in some remote area. (6) Miracles of Jesus and the early disciples were even acknowledged by their enemies (Mat. 12:13-14, 24; Acts 4:16), but “miracles” today are denied by even indifferent medical doctors. (7) Miracles then were not used to make money (Acts 3:6), but today the request to send money is the message. (8) Miracles then were used to support the truth (Heb. 2:3-4). Today, the “miracles” are used to support false doctrine.
Truly, when miracles then are compared with “miracles” today, it is easy to see that they are not the same. The miracles of Jesus were truly supernatural events, whereas that which is done today is a conglomeration of smooth talk, cover-up, deception and tricks of magicians.
Miracles then and “miracles” today—there is no comparison.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/miracles-then-and-miracles-today/

Oct 27

THE LORD’S CHURCH

The Lord’s church is the greatest institution on earth. It was planned before the beginning of the world (Eph. 3:9), prophesied throughout the Old Testament (Isa. 2:2-4; Dan. 2:44; etc.), and was built by Christ (Matt. 16:18). There was, and always will be only one (Eph. 4:4) that is acceptable to the Lord (Matt. 15:13).

Its creed book is the New Testament and the New Testament only (2 Cor. 3:6-18) which is a pattern (Heb. 8:5) for its members to explicitly follow (Rev. 22:18-19). Its work is to preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16; Eph. 3:8-11).

The terms of entrance is baptism (1 Cor. 12:13) following faith, repentance and confession. It is comprised of the saved (Acts 2:41,47), and will never be destroyed (Matt. 16:18).

Truly, the Lord’s church is the greatest institution on earth.

Gary Henson

“THAT SETTLES IT”

Once, in a religious bookstore, I came upon an automobile license plate which read, “God Said It; I Believe It; That Settles It!”

Admittedly, such seems to be words fitly spoken. Yet, wouldn’t a more accurate reading be: “God Said It; THAT Settles It!”

Isn’t it the case that if God said it, it has already been settled? If God said it, does it then depend upon one believing it for it to be settled?

Yes, I understand that if God said it, and one believes it, it is settled in one’s mind; but isn’t it the case that it has already been settled before he believed it? When God said, “This is my beloved Son,” would Christ’s Sonship not have been settled if no one believed it? Of course not!

All mankind needs to understand, if “God Said It; THAT Settles It” and we need to believe it!

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/the-lords-church/

Oct 20

THE REWARD

According to Young’s Analytical Concordance, the word “reward” occurs thirty times in the New Testament as it is translated from three different Greek words.

In reading these verses, it becomes easily obvious that the faithful Christian’s reward is heaven. In Mathew 5:10-12, those who are persecuted for doing that which is right shall have their reward in heaven. When Jesus comes in His glory, “then He shall reward every man” (Mat.16:27 cf., Col. 3:24; Mat. 6:1-6, 16-18; Mat. 10:41-42 with 25:35).

Yet, the Bible speaks of a secondary reward. It is the reward of inner pleasure that comes from doing that which is right and helpful to others (1 Cor. 3:8-15; 9:16-18).

May we as Christians (1) seek, (2) be motivated by, and (3) seek to motivate others unto good works by these two authorized rewards (for we are not to go beyond what is authorized, Col. 3:17). May we never act nor urge others to act in order to be seen of and receive the glory of men (Mat. 6:1-6). May we never act nor urge others to act with the expectation of receiving a reward (other than the above two authorized rewards) in return (Luke 6:32-35).

We may give appreciation to the worthy (Rom. 13:7), but such is not solicited by the worker nor an incentive of the appreciator.

May we diligently work in humbleness (Col. 3:12), allowing our works to glorify God (not self) (Mat. 5:16), while looking for the reward as promised by Jesus: “And, behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12.

Gary Henson

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/the-reward/

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