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

The Patternists: A Different Gospel

Patternist

In Galatians 1:6-7, the apostle Paul wrote, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

I often explain this text by noting what the word “gospel” means. The word literally means “good tidings” or good news. The message of the Christ is good news for mankind. Because of His perfect life, his sacrificial death, and his resurrection from the dead, men have the hope of heaven.

Keeping that in mind, consider this paraphrase of our text. Paul basically is saying, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon to a different good news, which is not good news, but a perversion of the good news.”

The lesson is simple, if someone changes the “good news” or gospel of our Lord, it is no longer good news at all! Why? Because it no longer has the power to save!

The “some” of which Paul speaks were teaching that it was necessary to be circumcised in order to be accepted of God. By binding circumcision they were changing the gospel message to one that no longer was “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (cf. Romans 1:16). They were people who believed in Jesus as the Son of God, and believed every aspect of His life, death and resurrection. And yet their change condemned them, and also condemned those who accepted their teaching (cf. Galatians 1:8-9).

This is an object lesson to all who claim that what we believe and teach does not impact our standing before God. How many times have we heard the sentiment, “It doesn’t matter what you teach, as long as you believe that Christ is your Savior”? Paul writes that such is not the case! As our Lord proclaimed, “And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

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FB: God Has Not Cast Away His People

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In Romans 11, the apostle Paul notes that God has not forsaken His chosen people, the Israelites (vs. 2). However, he emphasizes in the letter that there has been a change in who God regards as chosen! He states in verse 5, “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”

Now, the remnant that remains of God’s chosen or elected ones, are those who have obtained grace. As Paul noted in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

This remnant includes those among the Jews who believe and obey the gospel of Christ, and also those among the Gentiles who do the same. In our text, Paul refers to the Gentiles as “a wild olive tree, …grafted in among them” (vs. 17).

God be praised that whether Jew or Gentile, we all have the hope of heaven if we believe!

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Sermon: Marriage and Divorce

Image An examination of the Lord’s teaching on the subject of Marriage and Divorce.

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Invitation: A Remnant

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

In Romans 11:5 Paul notes that the remnant saved by God in the New Covenant are chosen “according to the election of grace.”

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Sins of the Tongue

tongueIn James 3:6 the text reads, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” The dangers present anytime we open our mouths should give us pause, and encourage us to take great care in our speech. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).

Following are some of the sins we may commit when we open our mouths to speak:

Continue reading » Sins of the Tongue

Exceeding the Righteousness of the Pharisees

Image The Pharisees were a sect of Jews during the time of Jesus known for a strict adherence to the Law of Moses. The name means “separatists”, and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia notes that they were, “those who carefully kept themselves from any legal contamination, distinguishing themselves by their care in such matters from the common people, … who had fewer scruples.”

The scrupulosity of the Pharisee is acknowledged by the Lord in Matthew 23:23, when in speaking with them he said, “For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin…” Earlier in the chapter, He told his disciples “whatever they [the Pharisees] tell you to observe, that observe and do.”

Continue reading » Exceeding the Righteousness of the Pharisees

The Patternists: Red Letters are a Start

Patternist

Anyone who has a red letter edition of the New Testament is aware of the small amount of teaching that Jesus did which was recorded by the gospel writers. Every word is precious, and despite the relatively few words known, contain an inestimable wealth of wisdom, instruction and guidance for mankind.

Some today seem to think that these words constitute the entirety of God’s will for man. They think that if they heed Jesus’ spoken words, recorded in the gospels, they will have a sufficient knowledge of the Lord’s will to please Him.

It is interesting that by making this claim, they actually ignore what Jesus Himself said on the matter. In response to a question by Judas Iscariot, Jesus said in John 14:23-26:

“If anyone love Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

Several things here are notable: 1) All of the words that come both from the Lord and the Holy Spirit have their ultimate origin with the Father. 2) Jesus did not share with the apostles everything the Father wanted revealed. 3) After Jesus left the earth, the Holy Spirit both revealed the remainder of God’s will, and reminded them of what Jesus had already said.

All scripture is inspired by God (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17), including the writings of Paul and the other apostles (cf. 2 Peter 3:16). As such, we are not at liberty to disregard any of it. The words of the New Testament writers are equally important and binding upon us, because they too have their origin with the Father in Heaven.

Some people in the first century opposed Paul, John and the other apostles. Their refusal to heed the writings of God’s servants were to “their own destruction” (cf. 2 Peter 3:16). The same mistake is being made today. Consider Peter’s warning in 2 Peter 3:17:

“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.”

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From the Preacher’s Pen: The Folly of Wickedness

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In Proverbs 11:5-6 the wise man stated, “The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.”

The truthfulness of this passage is seen generally in every prison on earth. Men and women who decided to break the law spend years, sometimes lifetimes suffering the consequences of their wickedness. While much crime and unfaithfulness goes unpunished, it is seldom that a wicked man can continually flaunt authority and emerge unscathed. Eventually they are “caught by their lust.”

Even if a man manages, however, to escape the physical consequences of his unrighteousness, there remains the spiritual condemnation that is inescapable. God, who sees all and knows all, judge every man. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

The opposite is equally true. Righteous men most often, but not always receive the benefits of their lawful and good lives. Even if a man suffers “as a Christian” (cf. 1 Peter 4:16), he will receive his just reward from God. “On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified” (1 Peter 4:14b).

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FB: The Love of Christ

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Romans 5:6-8 states, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

It is interesting that Paul compares (in an unfavorable fashion) a “righteous” man and a “good” man to us as sinners. While we desire to be known as righteous, and can be, the reality is that we all have sinned, and as such appear as unrighteous before God.

And yet, God sent His son to die in our place. Both at the time of Christ’s sacrifice and today as well, men respond to that love and gift of grace with indifference and even a rebellious spirit.

In the very next chapter, Paul reveals the proper response to the love shown us by Christ. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certinaly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1b-2).

May all of us who have responded the Lord’s gospel remember the call of Christ, to live “soberly, righteously and godly in the present age” (cf. Titus 2:12).

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Sermon: A Fool for Christ

Image In 2 Corinthians 11 and 12, the apostle Paul refers to himself as a fool. However, he was willing to be considered as such, that he might preach the gospel of Christ.

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Sermon: Lamentable Apathy

Image Apathy among the people of God is always a lamentable state. We must be zealous for our God!

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Invitation: Christ Died for Us

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

In Luke 23:13-24, the narrative reveals Pilate’s conversation with the Jews, noting that Pilate recognized the innocence of Christ. Christ died, not because He was guilty, but because of OUR sin (1 Peter 2:21-25).

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The Patternists: Rightly Dividing the Word

Patternist

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Without going into specifics about what IS “rightly dividing the word of truth”, there are a few evident conclusions from this short text.

First, consider that a worker who does NOT rightly divide the word of truth has reason to be ashamed. This stands in contrast to the popular, but uninformed view that God is not concerned with our understanding or heeding His will for us. He is! And for the one who is willfully ignorant, it is appropriate to say, “You should be ashamed of yourself!” Consider prayerfully that such shame is in the eyes of God, not man.

Second, consider that the admonition to rightly divide indicates the possibility of dividing the truth in a wrong or illegitimate way. Too often religious disagreements are attributed to the fact that “we just see things differently”, or “these are just equally valid interpretations.” Spiritual truth is no more subjective than the solution to a common math problem. We are not free to believe what we wish, we are commanded to believe God’s will!

Third, it takes diligence to rightly divide the word of truth. I recently read an article that bemoaned the loss of respect for the “expert.” In our egalitarian society, every person seems to believe his opinion on any matter is as valid (true) as any other, no matter how uninformed he may be. As a preacher, I have actively studied God’s word for over 35 years. And yet, it is common for individuals who are completely ignorant of what the Bible teaches to argue as if they are equals in understanding God’s will. It is not necessary to get a university degree to know God’s will for man, but it does take diligent study.

I encourage you to diligently study the Bible, so that you may receive God’s approval. In so doing, you will equip yourself for “every good work” (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

(Note: This passage alone is sufficient reason for the articles here on the Patternist Facebook page. If we take this admonition seriously, our first question should be HOW to rightly divide the word of truth). These efforts serve to assist in that pursuit.

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Invitation: Examining the Model Prayer

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

Matthew 6:9-13 contains a model prayer given by Christ to His disciples.

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Sermon: The Building Blocks of Christian Character

Image In Colossians 3, the apostle Paul establishes certain building blocks of Christian character.

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