Welcome to the Oak Forest church of Christ
Welcome! Thank You For Visiting
Thanks for stopping by and checking out our site. We hope that while you are here you will find out a little about who we are, what we do, and how you can become involved. The goal of the Oak Forest church of Christ is simple - we want to honor and glorify God in all that we do. We want to allow the light of Jesus to shine through us as we attempt to tell and live the Good News. We invite you, wherever you are in your spiritual journey, to study, learn, and grow along with us as we seek to glorify God in all things. God is truly good!
"Exalt God, Equip Believers, Encourage Others, and Evangelize Community & World"
GOD'S Plan Of Salvation
YOU MUST HEAR THE GOSPEL
If we are to understand a message, we must first hear what the message is. We can hear physically through auditory means, or we can hear figuratively through the written word, but the first thing that must take place as we start to grow in faith is we must hear. Hear what? I am glad that you asked. In Romans 10:17, we learn that to develop faith we must hear. We can hear any message and we can believe any message, but true faith that God recognizes only comes through the hearing of the Word of Christ. One must hear the message of salvation to begin on the path toward a maturing faith in Jesus Christ.
YOU MUST BELIEVE THE GOSPEL
The next stage within the development of a maturing faith is to believe the word of Christ that is being conveyed in the Bible. Notice what the inspired writer says in Hebrews 11:6, "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Faith is developed through the hearing and believing in the message of salvation also known as the gospel. Belief shows a confidence in what we are hearing and God wants you to have a confidence in the truth that He is conveying to you through His Son, Jesus Christ. That message is that Jesus came to give His life for you, so that by believing in Him you will start to grow in a maturing faith that will lead you to the salvation that God wants you to have. There is only one way to relieve us of the coming doom caused by sin, and that is by believing and acting upon the word of Christ.
YOU MUST REPENT OF YOUR SINS
Now that you have heard and believed we go to the next stage of a developing faith and that is by recognizing the fact that you are a sinner and that you need Jesus so that you can be saved. In Acts chapter 2, during the inspired Peter's first gospel sermon, Peter lays down the fact that it was their fault that Jesus was put on the cross. The reason is not because they were Jews, but because of their sin. Now friend, at this point in the development of your faith, the message becomes very personal and it really hurts, but that is not a bad thing because just as the people listening were pricked to the heart, you as well are experiencing the same realization that your sins put Jesus on the cross, don't let this discourage you because we are all at fault of putting Jesus on the cross. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23. Again, now that you have come to this realization, do not become discouraged because now that you recognize you are a sinner, God is going to tell you the cure and that is repenting of your sins, Acts 2:38. "Repent and be baptized." When one repents it is having a desire to change and no longer be conformed to the ways of this world, and when you reach this point in your faith you will show the enthusiasm that we see the people doing in Acts 2:37 and you too will want to be saved just as they were.
YOU MUST CONFESS JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD
If one hears the Word and shows a confidence in the Word by believing what they have heard, has recognized the fact that they are a sinner; their faith at this stage of development is going to preempt them to show their confidence in what they have believed by confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the only begotten Son of God that came down from heaven and gave His life so that those who believe in Him can be saved by having their sins washed away by the blood of Christ. If you are at this stage in your developing faith, your confession is based off of the conviction that you need Jesus because He is the only one who can take away sin. "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 10:32
YOU MUST BE BAPTIZED BY IMMERSION
Peter's answer to their plea to be saved is to, "repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and thou shalt receive the gift of the Holy Spirit;" Acts 2:38. Being baptized in the name of Jesus is how we become like Him in death as well as resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). That is why biblical baptism is immersion. Our word for baptism is a transliterated word from the Greek word baptizo, which means to immerse. When one is immersed in the waters they become entombed in the water just as Jesus was entombed in the tomb. Jesus arose out of the tomb just as one who is immersed arises out of the watery tomb and leaves their old self buried there in and arises a new being in Jesus Christ. This is what the Bible calls the new birth.
This new birth is a new start that allows you to become part of the kingdom of God; just as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5, "I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." You see baptism is not a confession of faith. In fact it is a response to the command given by Jesus in Mark 16:16, "For whosoever believes and is baptized shall be saved, and whosoever does not believe shall be condemned." Being baptized is your response to the faith that you have believed in and it begins for you a new life in Christ. It washes away your sins and allows you to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit as a new being in the Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5-6). You see baptism is not a conclusion. It is a beginning of a new life and ever growing and maturing faith in Jesus Christ.
YOU MUST REMAIN FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH
As Christians we do our best to continue to live a life that is worthy of the calling that we have accepted and pledged our life to. In 1 Corinthians 15:58 we read, "Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." This same message goes out to all whom have come to believe and are baptized in the Lord Jesus Christ. As we labor in our new life in Christ there will be many challenges and things that will trip us up or make us even question what we have believed in. That is why it is so important to worship with fellow Christians.
Your fellow Christians will pray for you and help by providing encouragement during these troublesome times. In return you at some point will do the same for them. That is why the inspired writer of Hebrews 10:25 writes, "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves as the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching." The only way that we are going to be able to stand up to these challenges posed by the devil is by standing together and helping each other be good examples and challenging one another to be the best that we can be for the Lord until we are called home or the Lord comes back.