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

FB: The Cure for Despair

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Despair is a condition common to man. Even those who are strongest spiritually come across circumstances and times where they can cope only with the help of the Lord. The Psalmist felt this way, and said:

“To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock: do not be silent to me, lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit” (Psalm 28:1).

Can you imagine crying out to a God who has no concern for your welfare? To make your petition known, only to expect and receive no help? Fortunately, we know and understand that God loves His children. Those who are His can:

“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).

The Psalmist knew of the tender mercies of His God. In the midst of his despair he cried out, expected and received an answer from His God:

“Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him” (Psalm 28:6-7).

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Profanity

Profanity

“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. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:35-37).

This passage has many applications for us, but I would like to talk about the type of language the Christian should use, and more specifically the fact that it is sinful to use profanity.

Whether the language is scatological, euphemistic, or blasphemy against God, it is evidence of an evil heart. Profanity is so common in our day that men consider it a trifle. God does not.

If you claim to be striving to be righteous, and yet use profanity, your language betrays you. Faithful Christians don’t cuss!

“But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:8).

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“I have become a fool in boasting”

Prideful

In 2 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul expresses irritation at the Corinthians. The fact that they were listening to the attacks others made against his apostleship necessitated his defense of himself. He stated, “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast” (1). Then he wrote, “I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing” (11).

Paul knew that some might accuse him of boasting, though his defense was both necessary and proper. Still, it galled him to have to defend his legitimacy as an apostle, because he was a humble man and did not desire to talk about his merits. As he wrote, “…though I am nothing” (11).

The lesson for us is a simple one. It is acceptable for us to defend ourselves against false accusations. However, to enumerate our accomplishments, intelligence or prowess in any area because of pride is inappropriate. Instead, consider the words of Jehovah:

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

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I Will Call Upon the Lord

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I will call upon the Lord
Who is worthy to be praised
So shall I be saved from my enemies
The Lord liveth and blessed be the Rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted

– Michael O’Shields

“I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.”

(Psalm 18:1-3)

As God cared for Israel, and saved His people from harm – He desires to save all mankind. His salvation is from sin and death, His promise is life eternal in the heavens. “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.”

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“Him who ought to be feared”

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“You, Yourself, are to be feared; and who may stand in Your presence when once You are angry? You caused judgment to be heard from heaven; The earth feared and was still, when God arose to judgment, to deliver all the oppressed of the earth. Surely the wrath of man shall praise You; with the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself. Make vows to the Lord your God, and pay them; let all who are around Him bring presents to Him who ought to be feared” (Psalm 76:7-11).

Fear of God is sadly lacking in our day. Men have forgotten previous judgments, and a generation has arisen that scoffs at the Almighty. They really shouldn’t do that. It is not in their best interest to anger the Divine. And yet they rage in their ignorance, and secure for themselves the eventual, eternal judgment of God.

When that day comes, no man will stand before Him. All will be brought to their knees, “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10-12).

If we confess Jesus today, it will bring us the salvation He offers (cf. Romans 10:10). If we wait until judgment, it will be a confession of His power and authority over us, and the justness of our condemnation. Regardless, the Almighty God of heaven “ought to be feared.”

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“Nor Does a Fool Understand This”

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“O Lord, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this” (Psalm 92:5-6).

You will notice that the Psalmist refers to those who question God as being foolish and senseless. The words may seem harsh, but similar, harsher things are said by the other side.

For example, one atheist I came across on the internet wrote the following:

“The fantasies and delusions are equally foolish whether it’s the belief and obedience to a psychotic voice in the head or an imaginary deity residing in some magical place no one can see. Religious beliefs should be placed in the same class as mental sickness or any other serious psychological disorder that degrades the quality of life and the individual’s ability to deal with reality.”

The warfare between right and wrong, good and evil, sin and righteousness, has always been and always will be. Two things come to mind as we consider this truth.

One, trust in your faith. It is rational, founded in the reality of Christ Jesus as our Savior. He did live, did die on the cross, and His resurrection was witnessed by many (cf. 1 Corinthians 15).

Two, never think for a second that the world (or the worldly) is your friend. The world is under the sway of the wicked one, who seeks to devour the child of God (cf. 1 Peter 5:8). This is why Paul wrote, “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

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“In Him All Things Consist”

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“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17).

Paul here discusses the preeminence of Jesus Christ. As a part of this praise he states, “in Him all things consist.” This statement is a part of Paul’s contention that Jesus Christ is the means through which the universe was created, and the reason why the universe was created. In other words — big picture — it is all about Him.

The phrase, “He is before all things” indicates His eternal nature. The phrase “in Him all things consist” indicates the means by which the universe continues to exist! This is an indication of His unlimited power. As the Hebrew writer put it, “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). Without Jesus Christ, this universe would cease to be!

The world sees Jesus as a man. All of the representations of Jesus, seen in movies and books, make Him out to be smaller than He is. As Paul put it, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15). And, that is why we worship and adore Him!

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Righteous Compassion

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I ask that you consider an interesting and important characteristic of God’s word. Time and again there is the call for fairness and honesty — an appeal for what most recognize as being simply right!

The book of Proverbs supplies a good example of this:

“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord” (17:15).

God is appalled at both the mistreatment of the just, and the coddling of evil doers. It is amazing how often men are concerned about one of the two, but not the other. This can be illustrated by the political discourse of our time. Advocates of one party champion a toleration of that which God calls abominable, but is rightly critical of a lack of compassion that might be shown to the innocent by their opponents. The other party will rightly call for a respect for the rule of law, but in many instances will show little concern for the plight of those who need protection in our country.

Why can’t it be that we practice both righteousness and compassion? Abiding by law and being compassionate are not antithetical concepts. Jesus drove out the money changers, yet spoke with tenderness to the adulterous woman, even as He said, “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

The phrase, “Love the sinner, but hate the sin” is defensible, and doable. God demands nothing less!

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“Things which angels desire to look into”

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In 1 Peter, the apostle begins his epistle by discussing the salvation which comes from Jesus Christ. He noted that this salvation was preached from old by the prophets, though they did not have a full understanding of that which they foretold. He wrote:

“To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things which angels desire to look into” (1:12).

How blessed we are to live in the fullness of times! Jesus has come, and His shed blood affords us the means to obtain the forgiveness of sins. His resurrection from the dead gives us a “living hope” (1:3).

The prophets dearly wanted to know what today has been revealed to us! How sad it is that so many men, in contrast, have no interest in the most sublime and important revelation to all mankind.

What about you? Are you interested in “things which angels desire to look into”?

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Now I See!

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Luke 18 records a conversation between a blind man and Jesus. Think about the miserable existence of such a man in the first century, begging beside the road as an uncaring populace walks by. When some told him that Jesus was in the multitude passing by, he cried out for mercy.

Some admonished him, but he cried out the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (39). The compassionate Savior asked of the man, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (41). When the blind man asked for his sight, Jesus said, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well” (42). Upon receiving his sight, Luke records that the man began to follow Jesus, “glorifying God” (43).

Can you imagine his joy? He was blind, but now could see! No wonder he glorified God.

What about me? Haven’t I received a much greater gift from our Lord? True, the blind man received his sight, but I have received the forgiveness of my sins! The blind man was aware every day of the gift given him by the Son of God. While I may not have such an overt reminder, as I look through the eyes of faith, the favor He has shown to me is clearly seen!

Let me, then, give praise to God! Because of His amazing grace, “I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.” (John Newton)

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Singing with Grace in your Hearts

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“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

The word grace, found in this text, comes from the greek word (charis), defined by Thayer, “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech.”

We know that singing has the potential to lighten our hearts. It is one way that we express our joy and thankfulness to God. However, it should be noted that this verse is in the form of an admonition or instruction. We are commanded to sing with grace in our hearts. This requires a number of things:

  • A proper type of song. Not all songs bring “grace” to mind. The intent of the song is to sing with grace, and the style or melody can impact the success of that intent.
  • A proper sentiment in the song. Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs teach God’s will. They should be scriptural in their sentiment to bring edification. We can’t sing with grace in our hearts if the words we sing do not accord with God’s will.
  • A proper heart when singing. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 5, “making melody in your heart to the Lord” (19). We must not be going through the motions when we sing. It is only when we worship God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24) that our worship is acceptable to God.

By singing with the intent to bring something pure and lovely to our brethren, we admonish and teach each other, and are mutually edified by our efforts. It brings such joy to sing to God!

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FB: The Promised Mercies of God

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“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 89:1).

The poet’s proclamation was made within the specific context of the promises made by God to King David. “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: Your seed I will establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations” (verse 3).

God is certainly faithful concerning His promises to man. He always has, and always will do as He says. The “Son of David”, Jesus the Christ, reigns in Heaven today.

Consider this truth, and remember the promise of mercy that God has given to us. As Paul wrote:

“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 4:8)..

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FB: Wicked Fools!

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“An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes, when he finds out his iniquity and when he hates. The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; he has ceased to be wise and to do good. He devises wickedness on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not abhor evil.” (Psalm 36:1-4)

The Psalmist refers to the sins of the wicked, that they speak to him. It may be that the transgressions harmed him personally. He expresses an intimate knowledge of the evil done.

How can a man do wickedness, and flatter himself? How can he think highly of himself when he hates others? When he deceives? When he rebels against his Creator?

While it seems incredible, the debased mind is commonly found in every nation and in every age. Paul knew why, because men “did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28). It is foolish, but does explain the current state of our society. In contrast, the righteous fear the Lord! (cf. Proverbs 3:7).

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FB: Blessed is the nation who God is the Lord

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“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance” (Psalm 33:11-12).

In the verses previous to our text, the Psalmist notes, “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing…” (10). Men (and nations) have long sought to establish their will without regarding the will of the God of heaven. Such efforts are foolish. Regarding the nations, Paul said that God, “has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” He does so, “that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27).

The Psalmist notes that if God has chosen a people, they are blessed. That was certainly the case with Israel, who obtained and gloried in God’s protection, so long as they were obedient to His will.

In these last days, Christians are the people of God. As such we are blessed and protected by our God. This is important to know and to meditate upon, as we face opposition from the world around us. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).

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FB: “Her Arrogant Strength”

Arrogant

Even in the face of Jerusalem’s ruin, some in Judea persisted in their belief they would be delivered from the Chaldeans. They said, “Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession” (Ezekiel 33:24).

They were wrong. Why? Because their confident assertion was given despite a lack of repentance on their part. God’s judgment was visited upon Judea wholly as a result of her sin. The prophet reminded them of this. “Thus says the Lord God: ‘You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood. Should you then posses the land?” (vs. 25). He further noted their reliance upon the sword, their abominations and infidelities.

Finally, God proclaimed, “For I will make the land most desolate, her arrogant strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through” (vs. 28).

Today, many show the same “arrogant strength” in their unwillingness to place their trust in the Almighty God. God rules in the affairs of men. He determines the rise and fall of nations (cf. Acts 17:26). Any people who persist in “arrogant strength,” opposing the will of God, will not stand. We pray our nation will learn this truth sooner rather than later.

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