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

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A Challenge for West Side

“…We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ; from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:14-16).

The work of edification, as revealed by Paul, is a work that belongs to every member of a local congregation. While certain Christians have been given such works as apostle, prophet, preacher and teacher, these offices are intended to equip all Christians for the “work of ministry.” That way, as “every part does its share”, the body grows.

Here at West Side, we have a wonderful opportunity to grow as a congregation. This growth can be both visible, as the church increases numerically, and new souls are added to the Lord’s body; and it can be more subtle, as Christians mature and increase in zeal and steadfastness.

Our congregation has stability, with elders and a preacher who is in his 16th year with the congregation. There is a faithful core of Christians here, many that have been members from the time this congregation was established in 1959.

The building is located in what is becoming a growth area. In addition to the housing development across the street, Westworth Village is currently building businesses, apartments and condominiums. As these dwellings are completed, we will have many opportunities to share the gospel with our new neighbors.

The congregation has a good mix of youth and experience. The young people of this church are especially encouraging, with their faithfulness in attendance, interest in worship, and their willingness to invite friends to services. The older Christians serve as a font of wisdom, and their faithfulness through a lifetime is a wonderful example to the young.

The congregation stands strong in a defense of truth. When admonition comes from the pulpit, resentment is seldom expressed. Rather, the elders support such preaching, and the members commonly are complimentary of even the most straightforward of lessons.

However, even among strong congregations there is a need for self-examination and rededication. For example, the church in Ephesus, though it did much good, (“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil”), nevertheless was admonished by our Lord, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:2,4).

So, this article is an effort as the new year begins to remind each member of the West Side congregation of their individual responsibility regarding the work of this church. Remember, the apostle Paul said that every part must do “its share.” There are certain things noticed in the last several months which indicate a need for each member to be reminded of these responsibilities.

For example, the contribution has been down as of late. There are numerous reasons why this might be so, but it does indicate the need for every member at West Side to examine their practice to ensure it is acceptable to God.

Some have been a bit lax in attendance to Bible classes, tardy in their arrival times to class and worship, and indifferent in their preparation for study and worship. Such behavior can be indicative of apathy, and again should cause each of us to examine ourselves.

Perhaps there are other, less visible signs of apathy. Lack of personal prayer or study, an unwillingness to practice hospitality, a feeling of estrangement from your brethren. Again it must be emphasized that we need to carefully consider our zeal and practices as we begin a new year of service to our God.

The coming year has the potential to be one of great growth and blessing for this congregation. However, the strength of this church is greatly dependent upon you! “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).