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

God’s Law of Procreation

Image I came across an old chart as I was cleaning out my office last week. It was from a workbook titled, Cottage Meeting Manual, by Maurice Tisdel. The title of the chart was “God’s Law of Procreation.” The information on the chart I will summarize in this short article.

The first column considers the vegetable kingdom. God’s word reveals that the first plants came about through God’s creative work. “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’; and it was so” (Genesis 1:11). From that point on, however, as observation reveals, new plants have propagated through the seeds of their “parent” plants. Each seed produces a plant of the same “kind” as the plant from which the seed came. There are no exceptions to this rule. It is observable, the result of natural law.

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Image In Ezekiel 16, the Lord spoke to Jerusalem, expressing His disappointment at her ingratitude and rebellion, in response to His care and nurturing. He stated, “I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful” (vs. 7). Using the figure of marriage, He later said, “I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine” (vs. 8).

Their response was disconcerting. He charged, “But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it” (vs. 15). In fact, Jerusalem was so corrupt that God said, “You are the opposite of other women in your harlotry, because no one solicited you to be a harlot. In that you gave payment but no payment was given you, therefore you are the opposite” (34).

Continue reading » Brazen

FB: Cheapening the Term “Fellowship”

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In the New Testament, the term fellowship (from the Greek, koinonia), is consistently used to refer to a joint participation in the spiritual.

  • In 1 Corinthians 1:9, Paul uses it to refer to our relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • In 2 Corinthians 6:14, he admonishes Christians not to be yoked together with unbelievers and evil.
  • In 2 Corinthians 8:4, he attributes the word to the important spiritual work of benevolence to saints who were suffering.
  • In Galatians 2:9, he talks of the “right hand of fellowship”, indicating the apostles’ endorsement of his preaching to the Gentiles.
  • In Philippians 1:5, he notes that their support of his work in preaching to the lost was “fellowship in the gospel”.
  • John speaks of the spiritual relationship we enjoy as children of God, and with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ in 1 John 1:6-7.

Today when religious people use the term they are more likely to be talking about recreation, eating and fun. Putting an (inappropriately) weighty term upon a trivial activity does not make it more credible or important.

Paul wrote, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

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Mining the Scriptures: 2 John 12-13


John had an important and urgent message to share with the elect lady and her children. As such, he wrote this short epistle to warn of the deceivers who would lead them to forfeit their reward.

However, in the final few lines of his letter, he wrote of a preference to communicate with them “face to face.” Letters could not adequately express either his love for them, or the urgency of his warnings.

Each of us know the truth of Paul’s words. We read fondly the letters of love and devotion sent my family and friends. However, our “joy” is full when we see them in the flesh.

Too, the electronic correspondence of our generation is a pale facsimile of personal communication. “LOL” is an inadequate imitation of the laughter and love we share when we are together. Speaking “face to face” is the better way.

Christian Ethics

Image In previous decades, American society generally shared the same values that are currently held by Christians. Sexual promiscuity, moral excesses, and other vices were frowned upon. Even those who engaged in them understood that they were morally wrong, and hid their actions from plain sight. As time has passed, however, societal values have diverged from the Christian norm. Because of this:

Continue reading » Christian Ethics

In the News: Non-Religious Ethics

Image In doing some internet research on the subject of ethics, I came across an article by Rohana R. Wasala, a practicing Buddhist. In his article, titled Ethics and the non religious essence of Buddhism (, Wasala advocated Buddhism over other religions, noting that Buddhism is not a religion in the traditional sense, in that it has its origin not in a supernatural being, but rather in a philosophy of self.

Interestingly, the author bemoans the fact that Buddhism, as practiced popularly, is not the same as “Pristine Buddhism.” To contrast the two, he states that Pristine Buddhism is free from the element of worship and prayer. He then stated that in contrast, “Unfortunately, Buddhism in popular practice is a different thing. It is today displayed by most followers as a religion.”

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From the Preacher’s Pen: “I DO”


A recent question to “Dear Abby”:

Q: My question is very simple, Abby. Who determines right or wrong in your life, your opinions, your column? This will tell me all I need to know about your wisdom or advice.

A: Actually, I think your question is anything but “simple,” and the answer is: I DO.

(Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 11/12/14)

Abby’s response to the question is indicative of current views regarding ethics. It was also characteristic of an earlier age. The book of Judges describes the condition of Israel in this way, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6). The statement was made as an explanation of the practice of idolatry, a heinous and treasonous practice against their God.

The problem with me deciding what is right and wrong, is that I am not the true arbiter of morality. God is! So, if I self-determine my ethics, I am destined to make mistakes. As the wise man stated, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Paul mourned the sins of Israel, saying, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3).

Instead, may we admit as did the prophet, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

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The Patternists: Obeying Civil Authority


We are blessed in the United States with many civil liberties. Despite an increasingly intrusive government, we are the most free of any nation in the history of man.

For the Christian, however, our final authority is God’s word, not the U.S. constitution. This means two things:

  1. A Christian may not be able to enjoy the liberties that are made available under the laws of our land. There are vices (drug and alcohol use, gambling, extramarital sexual activity, profane speech, etc.), condemned by God, that may be allowed under civil law. Further, though we enjoy freedom of speech – hate speech, disrespect of civil authority, etc., violates scriptural principles and are off limits to Christians.
  2. A Christian is bound to keep the laws of the land. This principle is stated by Paul in Romans 13:1-7. Verse 1 states, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” For example, a Christian can not refuse to pay income tax.

An exception occurs when civil law conflicts with God’s law. When commanded by the civil authorities to stop preaching the gospel, Peter and the other apostles responded, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

While the application of this principle can sometimes be difficult and confusing, the principle itself,(as revealed in scripture), is clear and compelling.

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FB: Super Conquerors!

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In Romans 8, the apostle Paul expressed a wonderful sentiment when he asked the rhetorical question, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (verse 31). The relationship we have with God guarantees our ultimate victory. Christians have on their side the Creator of the universe – the omnipotent, omniscient, eternal One.

Paul knew this, and wrote, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (verse 37). The phrase “more than conquerors” comes from a single greek term, hupernikao. The prefix huper strengthens the term, and carries the idea of “superior, abundant, exceeding.” The word indicates not only a victory, but that said victory is decisive and complete.

In effect, Paul states that through God and His Son we become super conquerors! Nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of god which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (verse 39).

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Mining the Scriptures: Jude 16-19


Jude describes the false teachers he warns about as individuals who are severely lacking in character. This is characteristic of the self-willed. First, they grumble and complain. This shows a lack of respect for authority. They are governed by their own lusts. This indicates selfishness and a love of sin. They use flattery to gain advantage, which indicates a deceitful spirit.

These evil individuals had been predicted by the Lord’s apostles. One example of this is found in Acts 20:28-30, in the warning Paul gave to the Ephesian elders at Miletus.

The overriding characteristic of these men was their sensuality. It seems that both Jude and Peter (2 Peter 2) refer to men that are either similar to, or perhaps are the originators of what would become known as Gnosticism. Regardless, the pursuit of carnal passion is always troublesome and divisive, and must be warned against with regularity.

The Gospel of Mark (Witness of the Christ)

Image The first three gospels are known as synoptic. The term is defined: “of or forming a general outline or synopsis.” Each of these gospels contain a generally chronological snapshot of the life of our Lord. They are not exhaustive. Though similar, they are written from different perspectives. As would be expected, they emphasize different aspects of Jesus’ life, ministry and teaching.

It would be improper to refer to the gospels as either biographies or histories, though there are elements of each in all four of the books. Too often the works are criticized because they do not make a formal and verifiable effort to document the life of the Lord. Such attacks are unfair in imposing modern standards upon ancient writings, and in failing to recognize the theological motivations of the writers. As John wrote in John 20:30-31, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

Continue reading » The Gospel of Mark (Witness of the Christ)

The Patternists: Am I a Legalist?

patternist-2.pngThe term “legalist” is commonly used by religious people today. It is not a biblical term, so we have to define it either by Webster, or by common usage.

The term is defined as follows by Webster: “an advocate or adherent of moral legalism.” So, to know what a legalist is, we need the definition of legalism. Again, Webster supplies: “strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code.”

Still, to get a full understanding of what a legalist is, perhaps we can gain insight by examining any antonyms (words that mean the opposite). Interestingly, a search of antonyms at the website: supplied only one word as an antonym to legalist. It is “antinomian”. Webster defines the term: “one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.”

It is peculiar that people are given to such extremes. How is it that an acknowledgement of salvation by grace through faith necessitates (in the mind of so many today) a belief that obedience to God’s will is not required?

I believe the following inspired word from Hebrews 5:8-9, “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

I also believe what Paul said by inspiration of the Spirit about Christ’s second coming. That He would come, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

Does that make me a legalist? If so, I confess I am, as I cast my lot with the Holy Spirit!

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FB: The Faithful Servant

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In Matthew 24:46, Jesus describes the faithful servant. “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.” The faithful servant is one who is obedient all the while he waits for his master’s return.

Regarding our Lord’s coming, some think the thing to do is look for omens and signs. This is a mistake. Concerning that day, Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (24:36). The Lord’s coming will be as a “thief in the night.”

Instead, the faithful servant of God will prepare for that coming by being ever vigilant. Consider, if we are always obedient to our Lord, it matters not when He comes. We will be ready!

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of man is coming” (Matthew 25:13).

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Sermon: The Value of a Single Soul

Image A key in being active in evangelizing the lost is understanding the value of a single soul.


Sermon: Considering “Consider”

Image The word consider is defined: 1) to think about; 2) to be thoughtful of…

There are a numerous things that the scriptures teach us to consider. For example, the importance of being industrious, the sacrifice of Christ, and your brethren in Christ.