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

Invitation: Pray for Wise Words

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

In Colossians 4:2-6 we see that Paul petitioned for prayers that he might know how he ought to speak in converting the lost. If Paul needed such help from God, how much more are we in need of such wisdom!

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Mining the Scriptures: Galatians 2:1-5

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Paul was continually embroiled in conflict with Judaizing teachers, who he here refers to as “false brethren.” Their view of the Christian faith nullified the grace of God. They viewed Christ as continuing the covenant between Jews and God, and viewed any Gentile Christian as a proselyte.

Circumcision, as a token of the covenant between God and Israel became the point of contention, and Paul was not going to compromise the gospel to appease these evil men. He protected Titus (a Gentile) by refusing to allow him to be circumcised. Paul’s correct understanding of the covenant of grace was that both He (a Jew), and Titus (a Gentile) were spiritual Jews, whose circumcision was not of the flesh, but of the heart! (cf. Romans 2:28-29).

We have liberty in Christ. Our appeal is to God’s grace. An appeal to the Old Law brings men into the bondage of sin.

The Patternists: Moral Insanity

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Recently, I spent some time reading articles written by faithful Christians describing the moral failings of modern man. I was impressed to note the consistency in theme, regarding the cause of such immorality, whether said articles were written in the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, or more recently.

In light of our present societal degradations, we would do well to revisit that theme. Born in 1962, present attitudes toward righteousness are nearer rock-bottom than any time in my lifespan. Abortion is common, sexual promiscuity is rampant, recreational drug use is accepted and in some cases legal, and the LGBT agenda has reached levels of absurdity that would have been impossible to imagine a decade ago.

The theme? Man has rejected the concept of absolute authority, as in – the authority of God. The lack of faith in God and His will is the wellspring of the present ungodliness. Paul responded to a similar rebellious spirit in his time by writing, “For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:3-4).

Men say that God (or His will revealed in scripture) is no longer relevant. The Holy Spirit says that such a view is irrelevant! The fact that some do not believe doesn’t change reality – God is true!

Consider Paul’s conclusion on the matter. “But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?” (3:5-6). Men can not successfully disregard God. He is the absolute authority. One day, all men will know it!

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FB: Labor for the “food which endures”

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“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (John 6:27).

The text is a typical example of a type of idiom (a characteristic mode of expression) used by Jewish people in the first century. It is the use of the “do not … but” construction to make a contrast.

It does not tell us it is wrong to labor for physical food. In other places, the Holy Spirit expresses the importance of providing for our family (cf. 1 Timothy 5:8). Rather, we must have our priorities in order, giving proper emphasis and prevalence to spiritual matters.

We are to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33).

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In the News: Faith vs. Fact?

FactsI recently read at the Washington Post online, a review of the book, Faith vs. Fact (Why Science and Religion are Incompatible) by Jerry A. Coyne. The review itself was written by Jeffrey Schloss, a biologist at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. The book apparently consists of a series of logical arguments designed to pit religion against science, with the author’s assertion that ultimately, religion’s methods “are useless for understanding reality.”

The review is largely complimentary of the book, but Schloss argues that Coyne falls short in some areas in his treatment of the topic. Consider the following quote by Schloss from the article:

“The preface [of Coyne’s book, SC] begins with a quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson: ‘The good thing about science is that it’s true, whether or not you believe in it.’ But this is simply wrong. Facts are true whether or not one believes in them. Science is an impressively reliable but fallible means for ascertaining facts. Indeed, facts are true whether or not science itself believes in them.”

Continue reading » In the News: Faith vs. Fact?

From the Preacher’s Pen: Anxiety and the Child of God

anxietyIt has been said three things typically contribute to anxiety in a person. They are feelings of insecurity, helplessness and isolation. Something bad is imminent, I can’t do anything about it, and no one can help me. For the Christian, the reality is very different:

While he may feel insecure, in reality the faithful child of God is very secure. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

While he may feel helpless, in reality the faithful child of God has great help when in distress. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Finally, while he may feel isolated, in reality the faithful child of God has his Father always at his side! “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

For the child of God, there is no reason to be anxious!

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

(thoughts taken from Mark Copeland’s outline, “The Problem of Anxiety”)

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Sermon: Anger and Wrath

Anger and WrathThe lesson examines a number of scriptures that emphasize the importance of controlling ones anger, and the dangers and sins associated with anger and wrath.

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Powerpoint Slides

Sermon: Challenges in Personal Evangelism

Image “I’m gay, would me and my partner be welcome at your church?”

How would you answer this question? It is typical of challenges facing God’s people in the world today. This lesson uses this question, actually asked, to discussion the responsibilities of God’s people to share the gospel with the lost of the world.

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FB: Faith is the Victory

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“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”(1 John 5:4-5)

Trapped as we are in this body, and this physical universe, it sometimes seems that “the world” has the upper hand. Evil is rampant, danger abounds, and our faith is constantly under attack. In light of this, it is good to know that our relationship with God through His Son gives us the victory.

It is assured. We are promised, based upon our faith, that we have the hope of heaven. May we all Praise God!, and then, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

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The Patternists: Hypocrisy, Inconsistency and Inadequacy

Patternist

The call for authority is objectionable to many. It sometimes elicits a defensive response. When scripture can not be used to answer the admonition, some resort to ad hominem attacks. This creates a logical fallacy. The idea that my inadequacy excuses your activity is simply not true.

One of the first times I heard such an argument was in high school. I was discussing the church support of orphan homes with a friend who attended an institutional church. While he was willing to admit there was no Bible authority for a congregation to use money from the treasury to support an orphan home, he nevertheless maintained it was acceptable because individual Christians were not doing enough to alleviate the suffering of the homeless.

More recently a pro-abortion Catholic nun argued for the practice of abortion based upon the contention that pro-life advocates were not sufficiently caring for the poor and abused children of the world.

A sexually promiscuous person might resist an admonition because he knows of some hypocrite in the church who was caught having an affair. It is a bit like a child responding to a parent’s admonition by crying out that his sibling, “did it too!”

Simply put, my hypocrisy, inconsistency or inadequacy, whether perceived or real, does not excuse your disobedience of God’s command! Nor yours, mine. Paul wrote, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

God’s word is the standard. It is His word that will judge us in the last day (cf. John 12:48)

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for the remission of sins

eisConsider the following two sentences:

“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Both sentences contain the exact same phrase, “for the remission of sins.” However, the two sentences are perceived differently by a large majority of the religious world. Why? And is the distinction in perception valid?

Continue reading » for the remission of sins

3 Loves of Christ’s Disciples

loveBefore His ascension, Jesus told His apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). The mark of discipleship is obedience to the teacher. If we are disciples of Christ, it is because we have embraced His teaching, and we “observe” or obey what He commands. The preeminent command of our Lord is to love. Jesus said to His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Continue reading » 3 Loves of Christ’s Disciples

Mining the Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 1:12-14

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Paul’s words in this text consist of a defense of himself to the church at Corinth. He protests his honesty, that “we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity.” The word “simplicity” indicates purity and integrity. Paul was not attempting to manipulate or “double deal” the Corinthians. In his dealings with that church, he always conducted himself with proper actions and motives.

Paul’s teaching was not by “fleshly wisdom”, but by the “grace of God.” As such, he treated the Corinthians justly, and could with confidence and a clean conscience proclaim that he had done what was right. A truly honest person can legitimately claim to be a friend because of the way he treats others. Motivated by love, he will always seek what is best for them. It is upon this basis that the apostle made his “boast” with regard to his relationship with the Christians in Corinth.

From the Preacher’s Pen: Useful for the Master

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“Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter [dishonor], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:21-22).

It is so important to be found useful. Spiritually, our standing with God is dependent upon our bearing fruit, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).

As indicated in our text, usefulness is dependent upon preparation. And, in the context, the preparation centers around our character. In order to be useful to the Master, we must prepare ourselves! We must cleanse ourselves from those things which are dishonorable. “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity (19). We must “flee youthful lusts” (22).

Positively, we must “pursue righteousness, faith, love” (22). As our hearts become pure, we will be fit for the Master’s use.

It doesn’t make sense to think that good works will come from one who is lacking in personal righteousness. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35).

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Invitation: A Matter of Perspective

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

The apostle Paul shows in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, that regardless of our affliction in this life, there is no need to lose heart.

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