Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Sermon: The Obligations of Freedom in Christ

The sermon is an exegetical treatment of Galatians 5 & 6, noting that the liberty we obtain in Christ is liberty from sin, not responsibility.

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Sermon: What about the thief?

Some argue that Christ’s declaration to the thief while on the cross argues that we can be saved by faith, apart from water baptism. This sermon answers that argument.

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Powerpoint Slides

Mining the Scriptures: James 1:17-18

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As James indicated in the previous verses, we deceive ourselves if we blame God for the evil that exists among us. Because of who He is, God is capable only of good. He is eminently righteous. He gives us every good and perfect gift. The designation James uses here, the “Father of lights”, is found only here. Light is often contrasted with darkness in scripture, as an illustration of good versus evil. God authors only that which is luminescent — only good. “…God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

An example of His goodness is His determination in man’s redemption. It was God’s will to bring about reconciliation with man. This is accomplished through the “word of truth.” As Paul wrote, the gospel is the “…power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

The benefits of His grace make Christians “a kind of firstfruits.” As Paul wrote, “that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12). God is worthy of praise alone!

In the News: Compassion and the Rule of Law

Image Everyone is aware of the burgeoning crisis that is playing out on the southern borders of the United States. A rapid and large number of illegal immigrant children are entering the U.S. every day.

This large number of Central and South American children (many of them unaccompanied by adults) is overwhelming the resources of border authorities, leading to health concerns both for the children and the communities where they are housed, and fueling a great political debate regarding how to manage the situation.

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From the Preacher’s Pen: Old Mattresses and Aching Backs

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Debbie and I are in the process of shopping for a new mattress. Our old one is wearing out, and making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. A few hours in the bed leads to aches and pains.

Of course, I see little children sleeping in such contorted poses, and wonder how they could possibly move when they wake up — positions I can’t even get into, and that if I tried would probably necessitate a month of traction. So, it may be that it is less the mattress wearing out, and more an indication that my body has seen better days!

The scriptures use both realities — that possessions and bodies wear out — to teach a lesson about eternity.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2)

Put simply, this life is all temporary. Possessions and bodies are not designed to last. Eternity is reserved for the transformed spiritual bodies promised to the faithful, (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58). Praise be to God for the promise of eternal life!
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Sermon: Tolerating Sin

Sermon by Josh Cox:

There is great danger of Christians in our culture and generation becoming tolerant of sin. This lesson discusses the danger, and the importance of Christians embracing the fact that we are pilgrims on this earth.

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Sermon: At the Crossroads

We all must make choices in our lives. Ultimately, our eternal destiny depends upon taking the narrow and difficult path that leads to life. The lesson discusses several questions all must ask themselves at one time or another, including:

  • Will you obey the gospel?
  • Will you live above sin?
  • Will you pay the price of discipleship?
  • Will you remember God while you are young?
  • Will you endure to the end?

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Powerpoint Slides

Mining the Scriptures: Hebrews 3:12-15

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The writer here sounds a warning concerning a possibility that many religious people today deny. It is possible for a Christian to sufficiently lose his faith in God as to be described as departing from Him. This warning (and the very need for it) denies the Calvinists view that a child of God cannot sin as to be lost. The Hebrew writer says he can, and the warning indicates that some do!

So, how do we avoid losing our faith? “Beware!” The first step is to acknowledge the possibility. “Exhort one another daily.” This phrase points out the important responsibility each Christian has to edify and encourage his brothers and sisters in Christ. (See also Hebrews 10:24-25 to note the importance of our assemblies in delivering such exhortations). “While it is called ‘Today’” indicates an urgency the writer wishes to impart to his exhortation.

Steadfastness is necessary to enjoy the fruits of being “partakers of Christ.” Only those who continue their faithful service to God “to the end” will enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Invitation: If then you were raised with Christ

Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

In Colossians 3:1, Paul introduces an “if/then” statement which establishes two things. If you were raised with Christ, you have an obligation to serve Him, and you have the hope of reward for such service.

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The Necessity of Sacrifice

Redemption Sacrifice, either metaphorical or literal, is a common component of most of the world’s religions. While some may believe the practice of sacrifice, (especially blood sacrifice), to be of human origin, the Bible reveals otherwise.

The first example of blood sacrifice was offered by Abel, as recorded in Genesis 4. Cain offered a grain sacrifice to God, but Abel offered the firstborn of his flock (vs. 4). God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice, as the Hebrew writer stated, because it was offered by faith (cf. Hebrews 11:4). This means that Abel was following the directions of God, Who had commanded the animal sacrifice he offered.

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The Purpose of Our Assemblies

Would it be considered controversial to state that the purpose of our worship assemblies is not to evangelize? Perhaps it would be less so if I explained what I mean by the statement.

First, I am not saying that evangelism can’t take place in the assembly. In fact, first principle preaching in the worship assembly is one way that the children of Christians reach the point of being convicted, and thus converted. Also, it is conceivable that the conversion of an occasional visitor may be the salutary consequence of such lessons. More probably, first principle lessons will serve to “stir up your pure minds by way of reminder” (cf. 2 Peter 3:1), equipping the saints to share with others what they have learned, and had reinforced by the preacher’s words.

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From the Preacher’s Pen: A Presumptuous Invitation

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This past week we received in the mail an invitation to join with other churches in the area in an effort to increase evangelism in our community. The invitation was from a human organization whose purpose was to teach our members how to evangelize, and to explain to churches how the work could be done most effectively. It was suggested that we send an “Advanced coordinator,” an “Event coordinator”, and a “Youth coordinator”, but emphasized the need for every church to at least send a contact person to the seminar they would be holding.

The absurdity of this request is evident. How can a human organization instruct the God created institution in how to do the work God gave it to do? The fact that such an organization did not exist in the first century, and that such designations as the above “coordinators” is unknown to scripture shows just how truly misguided is this invitation. It is eminently unscriptural, and without Divine approval.

That doesn’t mean, however, that as a congregation of God’s people we are sufficiently active and effective in sharing the gospel message with our community. It takes diligent effort and a sharpening of the Spirit’s sword to accomplish the work God has given for US to do in this town. If we don’t do it, it will not be done. God has granted to us a “great and effective door” (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:9). Will you do your part by walking through, and teaching others about the Christ?

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Sermon: Truth and Lies (Christ and Satan)

This lesson is an exposition of John 8, with analysis and contrast.

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Sermon: Spiritual Maturity

A list of five suggestions that will help Christians attain spiritual maturity, and assist in our battle against Satan.

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Powerpoint Slides

“Crossing the Rubicon”

In 1967, Fanning Yater Tant wrote an editorial in The Gospel Guardian titled, On the Banks of the Rubicon. The title was taken from the common phrase “crossing the Rubicon,” referring to a small river crossed by Julius Caesar in defiance of the Roman senate. His treasonous action could have no result other than victory or death. The phrase is used to refer to an irrevocable action or an event from which there could be no turning back.

The editorial appeared in a special issue of the magazine dealing with institutional issues, specifically the sponsoring church arrangement. As Tant wrote, the issue was intended to exhort brethren to “turn their backs once and forever on the enticing, exciting, and deadly! country that lies across the Rubicon, the country of ‘denominational Christianity.’”

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