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

Obscure Sorrows

I recently came across a list of 23 terms that describe emotions that are rather obscure. You may feel them, but without these terms have a hard time describing them. If you are like me, you have only heard of a few of these words. Not all apply to spiritual considerations, but these few might be instructive.

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In the News: Homosexual Marriage Legal

Image As I write this article, the Supreme Court has struck down any state laws that limit civil marriage to a contract between a man and a woman. The decision is considered a watershed moment in American history, and a victory against discrimination.

The decision is the latest societal victory for homosexual activists. One television reporter correctly noted that the decision will spark debate in religious institutions throughout America. Which is, of course, the saddest note in this entire matter.

For a Christian, the Supreme Court decision should be irrelevant. Men do not have the right to redefine parameters that were put into place by God when He created man:

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From the Preacher’s Pen: A Good Reputation

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One of the qualifications for a bishop, listed in 1 Timothy 3:7, is an attribute that all of us should strive to have, “Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside.”

The text refers to a person’s reputation. We all have one, and it is either a good one or a bad one. Jesus said, “You are 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 5:14a,16). His words show the purpose of a good influence on our part, that God may be glorified.

The righteous God of heaven deserves to be glorified by His adopted children. Everything we do should be a reflection of Him. In this way those who are not Christians will get a good idea of who God is, and will desire to know Him better. For this reason, it is important that we have a good name. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1).

This influence sometimes extends well beyond our own awareness. Remember the child’s song:

Oh, be careful little ears, what you hear (repeat)
For the Father Up above, Is looking down in love,
So be careful little ears what you hear.

Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see, (repeat)
For the Father up above, is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes what you hear.

Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say, (repeat),
For the Father up above, Is looking down in love,
So be careful little mouth what you say.

Oh, be careful little hands, what you do (repeat),
For the Father up above, Is looking down in love,
So be careful little hands what you do

Oh, be careful little feet where you go (repeat)
For the Father up above, Is looking down in love,
So be careful little feet where you go.

Oh, be careful little mind what you think (repeat)
For the Father up above, Is looking down in love,
So be careful little mind what you think.

Oh, be careful little heart what you love (repeat)
For the Father up above, Is looking down in love,
So be careful little heart what you love.

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Attending to Exhortation

Image “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

The preceding text is often used to emphasize the importance of being present at the worship assemblies. While such a use is legitimate, the 24th verse best expresses the writer’s intent in the exhortation — “let us consider one another.”

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Mining the Scriptures: Romans 1:16-17

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Paul was extremely dedicated in the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ (15). The reason for this is stated clearly in our text. God chose to save mankind through the preaching of the gospel message! (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:21-25).

The power of the gospel is found in the fact that it is true! The gospel is the message of Christ’s life, death and resurrection from the dead. The fact that His life was sinless, His death was vicarious, and His resurrection is certain means that belief in Him brings salvation to mankind. The reference to both Jew and Greek indicates that salvation is available to all men, no matter their nationality!

The phrase “from faith to faith” is difficult. Consider the fact that our faith emanates from the revelation of God’s will, referred to as “faith” in scripture (see Acts 6:7; Romans 10:17). The righteous man lives by the dictates of God’s will for him.

Immorality Rages

Image From 1920 until 1933 it was against the law in the United States to manufacture, sell or transport alcohol. This time was known as Prohibition , and it was a wildly unsuccessful experiment, as laws were continually broken, especially in urban areas. People wanted to drink alcohol, and rather than making a large segment of the population criminals, Prohibition was repealed.

Today, not only is the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol legal, it is big business. Only the most radical of religious conservatives hold to abstinence as a moral conviction. In fact, the manufacture and consumption of marijuana is also legal in Colorado, and nationally 53% of all Americans support its legalization. Among 18-34 year olds that number rises to 68%.

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In the News: Drunken Robots

Image Last month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) held its annual Robotics challenge. The main competition was a testing of android like robots in skills such as walking across uneven surfaces, opening doors, turning knobs, and flipping switches.
There is a youtube video that is making the rounds, showing the robots failing miserably at the assigned tasks. Type in this URL: http://tinyurl.com/p563vz6 to see the video.

Now, to be fair, some of the robots probably did a good job, but it is interesting to note just how difficult it is to get these kinds of robots to perform successfully the simplest of tasks. This, despite amazing technological advances that have been made.

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Living Godly Lives

Image The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). In these words are found the response of every Christian to the gift of grace. We have the hope of salvation because of what God has granted to us. Our response is an ordering of our lives: “we should live soberly, righteously and godly.”

The definition of the word godly is minimally helpful. The term refers to piety, devotion and reverence. More helpful are the verses that describe the kind of life that characterizes the Christian profession. For example, when considering the proper role model for a godly life, we consider Jesus Himself. Peter wrote, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Jesus was guileless (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-24), and pure (cf. 1 John 3:1-3). In His life, and in His death, He always sought to do the will of His Father in heaven (cf. John 15:10).

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Mining the Scriptures: Acts 1:12-14

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These verses immediately follow Jesus’ command to His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem, and wait for the “promise of the Father” (4). He ascended to Heaven, and the disciples returned to the city to wait as instructed.
Consider the difference in their outlook. After Christ’s crucifixion, the disciples were despondent. Their understanding was flawed, and they despaired that their Lord had been killed.

But, after His resurrection from the dead they had a much better idea of what the future held for them. The text names each of the remaining eleven apostles by name, and describes their anticipation as they waited with “the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

We are told they continued in prayer and supplication. In only a few days, events would unfold on Pentecost that changed forever every man’s relationship with His God.

From the Preacher’s Pen: Perpetuity

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A man’s perspective makes it difficult for him to understand the concept of eternity. We think in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, days, years and decades. The longer the time span, as it expands beyond our own lifetime, the more difficult it is to comprehend. Job had it right, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1).

There is another word that is used when defining terms like eternal and eternity. It is perpetuity. The word perpetuity is defined by Webster, “a state or quality of lasting forever.” The British government has in the past issued bonds called “consols.” The person who bought these bonds is entitled to receive annual interest payments “in perpetuity” or forever. Actually, the bonds will only be good so long as the British government and economy continue to exist.

When Burt Reynolds starred in his movie, Smoky and the Bandit, he popularized Trans Ams to the extent that the Pontiac company promised him a new Trans Am each year in perpetuity. In reality, the promise was only kept for five years.

God has promised, to the faithful, life in perpetuity. Fortunately, He is the one who can and will make good on His promise. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). It may be hard for us to grasp, but we don’t have to fully understand to appreciate and strive for that reward!

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Sermon: Departing from the living God

Image Hebrews 3:12 is one of many exhortations to faithfulness. It is possible for a Christian to depart from God. When one does, several things happen:

* You depart from your duty to worship Him

* You depart from your duty toward your brethren.

* You depart from the words of life.

* You depart from the living hope

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

Sermon: Some Uses of the Tongue

Image We all can be inconsistent in speech, sometimes saying what is needful and helpful, and sometimes sinning with our tongue. This “ought not to be so” (cf. James 3:10). Some good and bad speech is discussed in the lesson.

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

Mining the Scriptures: John 1:15-18

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In the previous verse, the apostle John affirmed that Jesus, the Word, came to earth and lived among us. He now states that John the Baptist testified that Jesus is indeed the Son of God (cf. vs. 34).

John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus, prophesied about in Isaiah 40:3, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’” (vs. 23). His ministry heralded the coming of the Christ.

The apostle now affirms that we have received the unmerited favor of God in the sending of that Christ, Jesus (16). Just as Moses was the means through which God gave Israel His law, Jesus is the means through which God grants salvation by Grace (17). It is through Jesus that God is manifested to man. Without Jesus, we can not know God. With Him, all things are made clear, including His plans for our redemption.

Anti-Supernaturalism

Image In this short article we wish to deal with a presupposition commonly made in our day. It has been stated (in Josh McDowell’s, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict) as anti-supernaturalism.

The bias can be expressed in several ways. The most common is the belief that there is no God. If God does not exist, all that remains is a natural explanation for the existence both of the universe, and life on earth. Another belief is that while there may be a god, this god has no interest or involvement in the affairs of men. His existence is unproven and unprovable, and therefore we are still left with naturalism as an explanation for everything.

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From the Preacher’s Pen: A Successful Life

A Successful Life
(Psalm 119:59-60)

“I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your testimonies. I made haste, and did not delay to keep Your commandments.”

Take Inventory
“I thought about my ways…”
(1 Corinthians 11:28; 2 Corinthians 10:12; Luke 15:17)

Go to the Right Source
“And turned my feet to Your Testimonies”
(Romans 1:16; Proverbs 16:25; Psalm 119:105)

Do Not Delay
“I made hast and did not delay”
(Colossians 3:23; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Acts 16:33)

Do the Will of God
“to keep Your commandments”
(Matthew 7:21; 1 John 5:3; Hebrews 5:8-9)

A successful life will be rewarded by the Almighty! “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

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