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: The Pride of Man

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

In James 4:13-ff, James admonishes the arrogance of the man who believes that he has control of his life. He does not, and is dependent upon God’s will to continue on the earth. As such, we must recognize that today is the day for our salvation!

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Heaven

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As is true with just about every other spiritual matter, people have their own unique concept of heaven. A little child asks their mother, “What is heaven like?” The response is, “Well sweetheart, to me heaven is…”

No wonder that atheists ridicule the Christian faith. To them the eternal concepts of heaven and hell seem to emanate from man’s imagination. “I like to think of heaven as a place where the flowers are always blooming!” Well, you might want to think that, but hopeful thinking is a far cry from reality. And so, the skeptic lumps Christianity in with the myriad false religions that had their origin in the imaginations of men.

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Cultural Newspeak

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In George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 , the government sought to limit freedoms, and influence thought, by introducing a variation of English called “Newspeak.” The idea was for the government to establish words with specific meanings, and to eliminate words that contained thoughts that were possibly antagonistic to the government’s purposes.

I find it interesting in our day that something similar is occurring. Definitions of words are being changed as a means of promoting new ideas and values while at the same time discouraging values that society no longer considers acceptable. Since those unacceptable values are often held by Christians, those who hold their faith dear are being marginalized by society. Let me supply a few examples:

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Sojourners & Pilgrims

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“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12).

  • Sojourners (a foreigner or stranger), and pilgrims (a resident foreigner) describe the Christian’s presence on earth. Your citizenship is elsewhere, though you labor on this earth for a short while before going to the eternal kingdom to which you rightly belong.
  • This world is characterized by ungodliness. This ungodliness is destructive to the eternal soul, and should be avoided. As a Christian, you are in the world, but you are not to be of the world.
  • By living righteously, you serve as a wonderful influence to those who are not Christians. While enemies of the cross will speak evil of you and your faith, a righteous life will win many converts to God’s way. Jesus said you are to be “the light of the world.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14,16).

Like Timothy, you are to take heed to God’s will for you. As you live righteously before Him, you will be able to “save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).

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The Patternists: Ignorance is Dangerous!

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I read an opinion piece recently that sought to explain Donald Trump’s popularity with Evangelicals. It seems peculiar since his lifestyle and morals are so alien to Bible teaching. The article posited that many identify as Evangelicals even though they seldom go to church, and have little familiarity with what the Bible actually teaches. In other words those who self-identify as evangelical consider it more a political identity than a religious one. Perhaps this is true.

Why is it that there are so few who claim to be disciples of Christ that are familiar with, or even interested in studying the Bible? Scripture teaches the importance of knowing God’s will, and that such knowledge is attained solely through the study of His word. Peter wrote, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as new born babes, desire the pure mild of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-3). This is what being a disciple is all about. A disciple is one who learns and adopts the ethics of his teacher.

You can’t successfully claim to be a disciple of Christ unless you know and submit to His will!

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FB: Clothed with Salvation

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“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Psalm 61:10)

The Psalmist proclaims a beautiful image of the salvation we receive through God’s mercy. We are clothed by God. The vestments are of the greatest quality and value. The ornamentation and jewelry far surpass the earthly baubles we might secure. Praise be to God that the value of our salvation is far greater than any possession we might obtain here on earth.

“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matthew 16:26-27)

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Sermon: Do You Steal?

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In Romans 2:21-22 Paul pointed out the hypocrisy of his Jewish readers. Hypocrisy is a vulgar sin that the Christian must avoid at all cost.

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Sermon: Have Compassion

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Compassion is a characteristic of God, and His Son Jesus. As such, we should seek to cultivate compassion as His disciples. As God has been merciful to us, we should be merciful to others.

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Baptism as a “work of righteousness”

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This week I received a short question via email from an individual I do not personally know. Below is his question, with his name withheld, and the answer I supplied:

Dear Mr. Cox,
Since you include baptism in salvation do you consider it a work of righteousness?

Mr. ______________,

Your question is an interesting one, taken, I presume, from Titus 3:5.

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (3:4-5).

It seems you seek to put me on the horns of a dilemma (cf. Luke 11:53-54). If this is so, your reasoning might be, “If he says ‘no’ he is denying the righteousness of Baptism, and if he says ‘yes’, he is contradicting Titus 3.” This is only a presumption on my part, as your inquiry is concise. Regardless of whether you are seeking to catch me in some contradiction or not, my explanation of the part baptism plays in salvation is the same:

Continue reading » Baptism as a “work of righteousness”

Invitation: All Seek Their Own

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

In Philippians 2:19-23, the apostle Paul gave a great commendation of Timothy for his desire to serve His Lord.

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Sermon: “I AM”

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An examination of the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus found in the gospel of John. They show aspects of our Lord’s character, person and place as the Son of God.

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Sermon: Practicing Hospitality

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The lesson discusses the qualities a Christian needs to successfully accomplish the command to practice hospitality. These attributes are: Compassion, Humility, Kindness and Generosity.

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Invitation: Only a Form of Godliness

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

2 Timothy 3:1-5 reveals that some in the last days will have a form of godliness, but are in reality ungodly. May it be that we are not this way!

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Islam – A Christian’s Perspective

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Most are aware of the mass shooting in Orlando this past week. As of this writing, 49 are reported dead with 53 wounded. The shooter, Omar Mateen, claimed allegiance to ISIS in a telephone conversation with police prior to the SWAT team assault that ended the standoff.

Taking the man’s words at face value, there are several points I would like to make about Islamic terrorism and the religion of Islam in general, all from my perspective as a Christian.

Continue reading » Islam – A Christian’s Perspective

The Patternists: What is Wickedness?

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The generation that provoked God to judge the world by water is described by Moses in the Genesis account. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (6:5). It was because of this wickedness that God said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth” (6:7).

Verse six of the text contains a simple definition of wickedness. It is that which grieves the heart of Jehovah. Herein lies a problem with our societal views of right and wrong. They do not take into consideration what grieves God’s heart.

We live in a time where the moral compass is not working. Righteousness too often provokes moral outrage, while heinous things are often championed as good and wholesome. When men no longer “retain God in their knowledge” (cf. Romans 1:28), they exchange “the truth of God for the lie” (cf. Romans 1:25).

Only by reading God’s word can we know what grieves Him, and what pleases Him. Only then can we know what is righteousness, and what is wickedness.

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