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

Do Nothing

ruin

The following illustration has made the rounds, and make a wonderful point…

An infidel died and left his farm to the devil. The court decided the way to give it to the devil was to do nothing. The farm grew weeds, the soil eroded, the house and barn rotted.

You can give your life to the devil the same way. Do nothing.

(via Cecil May Jr.’s Preacher Talk, Fall 2017)

Our Lord said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

The easy way is the way of dissipation (ruin). Those who lose their souls will do so, not because they can’t get it right, but because the simply do not try. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

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The Patternists: Lent is NOT Christian

Ash Wednesday

I was watching FOX News late Wednesday night, and noticed a mark on Laura Ingraham’s forehead. At first glance I thought she had a bruise, but quickly realized she was sporting an ash cross. Ash Wednesday is really not on my radar, and you don’t typically see people walking around with ash on their foreheads, so it was the first indication I had that the Lenten season has started.

I took to the internet to jog my memory about this observance. Some who are unaware might think my ignorance of the observance to be peculiar. Since I am a professed Christian, and gospel preacher, some might think it obvious that Lent would be an important “season” for me to observe. Consider the following quote from an article written by an Episcopal priest named Scott Gunn, “This Wednesday, Christians around the world will begin their observance of the season of Lent.”

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Persecution from Proclamation

stephen stoned

Persecution is the lot of all who name the name of Christ. Paul made that clear in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Why would this be? It is because of Who we represent, Who we answer to. Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:18-20).

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Sermon: Zacchaeus

9 - Zacchaeus

This lesson uses the example of Zacchaeus to illustrate how we may overcome formidable obstacles in order to see (be reconciled with) Jesus.

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The Crown of Righteousness

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When Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, he knew that his life was nearing an end. His mind was on eternity, and he expressed his expectations in a wonderful way. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Paul spoke of his end as a fait accompli, and we can trust that his faithful service continued until the hour of his passing. The apostle had proven himself a faithful ambassador of the Lord. He had once proclaimed, “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:1-2).

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The Lord, He is God

earth

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah proved that Jehovah is the one true God, in his battle with the 450 prophets of Baal. Prior to the contest, the children of Israel were not convinced that the Lord was the one true God. At Elijah’s challenge, they were non committal. “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word (1 Kings 18:21).

By the end, however, the Lord proved His power and unique place as the God of heaven and earth. When the people saw the demonstration of God’s power, “they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!’” (vs. 39).

The word Lord, found in the text is from the Hebrew YHWH, translated in other English texts as Jehovah. It is God’s name. Baal is not God. The God of the Hebrews, the Lord, or Jehovah, He is God.

Consider Elijah’s words, “If the Lord is God, follow Him.” The Lord has established, through many demonstrations of power, judgment and mercy, that He is the Creator of the universe. He is the first cause. It is to Him we will one day give an account, “according to what [we have] done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Are you following the LORD?

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Sermon: “You are gods”

You are gods

In John 10:22-39, Jesus was accused of blasphemy “because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” The text affirms Christ’s deity, and explains the reason for the Jew’s rejection of Him. In Jesus’ defense, he quotes Psalm 82:6, “I said, you are gods” to show the Jew’s inconsistency in claiming Him to be guilty of blasphemy.

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Sermon: Faulty Assumptions

Faulty Assumptions

The Sadducees were wrong in denying the resurrection. Their doctrine, as revealed in Matthew 22:23-33 was based on two faulty assumptions. Religious people today make the same mistake. Never base your doctrine on an assumption, it may too be faulty!

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Paul’s Bifurcated Life

Bifurcation

The apostle Paul’s life had a striking bifurcation. The event which marked the change is narrated by Luke in Acts 9. On that occasion he left Jerusalem to go to Damascus. On the road he met the Lord.

Prior to that meeting Paul, whose Hebrew name was Saul, was a devoted Pharisee. He described himself in the following way. “If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:4-6).

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The Patternists: Does Jesus Condemn Judging?

judge

The answer to the question before us? Jesus certainly does condemn judging! Note Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” The problem is that people think the question to be simple, when it is actually more complex.

Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 are not a blanket condemnation of judging, or else we would have Him contradicting Himself. In John 7:24 he told the people “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

The context of Matthew 7 shows that the judgment condemned is hypocritical judgment. I look for the speck in my friend’s eye, when there is a plank in my own eye (vs. 3). We are to remember that any standard of judgment we use will “measured back” to us (vs. 2). Judging another in a small thing when I stand condemned in a greater thing is to be a hypcocrite, and brings God’s judgment upon me.

Consider however, the Christian needs to judge every day! Look at the very context of Matthew 7. Jesus told the people in verse 6, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine.” His admonition requires that one judge which men are dogs and swine. He also requires such judgment to be righteous.

In verse 15 Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets.” He went so far as to say that they “come to you in sheep’s clothing.” How can we identify them without judging? We can’t! Again, our judgment must be righteous. Remember Jesus’ words, “Do not judge according to appearance.” Instead, Jesus said in verse 20, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

Jesus requires obedience from His disciples. Judging others when you yourself are not living in accord with His will is to act the hypocrite. When we of necessity do judge, we are to judge actions (as they relate to God’s will), not appearance or hearts.

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Humility Examined

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Humility is a trait that every Christian should possess. Consider that God rewards it, and rejects its antithesis. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6).

The word humble (tapeinos) is defined by Thayer: 1) not rising far from the ground. 2) metaphorically: a) as a condition, lowly, of low degree; b) brought low with grief, depressed; c) lowly in spirit, humble.

Consider the primary definition, something low to the ground. It serves as a wonderful picture of what it means to be humble. It is not surprising that the picture we have of pride is that of one who has his nose high up in the air.

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Lying for Advantage

lying

“Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel” (Proverbs 20:17).

Listening to the radio a few days ago, the hosts were asking each other, “What was the last lie you told?” Most of the answers were what they referred to as little white lies. For example, one man had gotten an email, and not responded. When his co-worker asked him about it, he lied and said he hadn’t got it. So, the other man backtracked, found the original email and resent it. Even though the man actually had gotten the email.

All of the confessed lies had a similar motivation. They were told to gain an advantage. To cover up a transgression, to put oneself in a more favorable light, or to shift fault. This is the primary allure of deception, and why “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man.”

In the example above, I thought to myself that the man had better hope his employer, co-worker (or his friends) were not listening to the show! If the lie were to be found out, there would be consequences. Anger, loss of trust and reputation, and possibly repercussions from the employer. “But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.”

Don’t lie! The advantage gained may be “sweet” for the moment, but the [eternal] cost is too steep!

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Sermon: Faith Demonstrated in Esther’s Life

Sermon by Brantley Gallman.

The lesson is an examination of the first half of the book of Esther with applications regarding faith as illustrated by her.

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Sermon: A Blind Man Healed

Sermon by Armando Vera.

The lesson examines John 9, and applications that can be learned from the healing of the blind man by Jesus.

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Sermon: Man, Prophet, Savior

A textual study of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman, with an emphasis on her changing view of him as their conversation progressed. First as a man, then a prophet, and finally the Savior of the world.

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