Mar 08

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You may ask, why should the Barnes congregation host “the Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” year after year? After all, 1) we are a small congregation, 2) having limited among of money, and 3) we never have but few who come to hear the lectures from our sister congregation? Boy, there is a hand full of questions that could be asked year after year; and why have we not asked and answered these honest questions before? Well now, this is the year to ask and get answers! Taking them one by one.
First, the question, “Why should the Barnes congregation host “the Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” year after year? We could after all, call or identify the annual lectures by any number of phrases; therefore, it is not the words that identify the annual lectures that are of any importance at all. However, let it be known that the word “the” is a definite article! This means that there is no other lectureship that is known by the words, “the annual Oklahoma City lectures!” To be sure, there are other lectureships, even if they are not called a lectureship. There is one that is called to mind, which takes place each year in the Oklahoma City area; it is called, “Affirming The Faith Seminar,” hosted by the North MacArthur church of Christ each year. It would be well worth your time to attend these lectures! The reason the Barnes church of Christ hosts “The Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” is that no other congregation hosts such a series of lectures! These lectures are also needed in the area of Oklahoma City, the state, and even the nation! Third, these lectures have been done each year because it is one effort of the Barnes congregation to teach the truth on many subjects and issues facing churches of Christ throughout the nation!
Second, a small congregation is not excused from the charge given by Paul as he wrote to the church in Ephesus: “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:9-11). As part of the whole body of Christ, the Barnes congregation must be engaged the “eternal purpose” of God, which is, as Paul wrote, make “all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery … by the church … According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Friends, God has no other institution on earth, by which he prepared to make known “the mystery,” but the spiritual body of Christ, which the Barnes congregation is a part! Yes, we are limited, but limited does not change “the eternal purpose of God!”
Third, we have “a limited amount of money” generally goes hand in hand with being a small congregation, unless we should have a very rich member; which we do not! Therefore, it becomes a matter of spending the Lord’s money, yes, the Lord’s money wisely. Here let us look at the number of ways the Barnes congregation makes known “the eternal purpose of God.” First, there are those who hear the lectures in person; second, there those who read the lectureship books; third, there are those who will hear and see the lectures by way of a DVD; and fourth, though it may not be thought of much, those who will take these lectures and teach others! No, “the Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” are not to remain just in the minds of those who learn from the lectures, but this knowledge should be used to teach others!
Fourth, yes, a point has been added here but it is a most important point, let this point get within your minds/hearts, the lectures are not given just to remain in the minds of those who hear them! It is true that the lectures are given so that each one can grow personally in spiritual matters, but the lectures are given to make each one more able to teach others! Therefore, “the Annual Oklahoma City Lectures” are an effort on the part of the Barnes congregation to fulfill Paul’s words to Timothy: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

Frank R. Williams

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