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

In Days of Old

God is powerful, sovereign, and has imposed His will on men in ages past.  This was especially true with Israel, who inhabited the land of Canaan only because of God’s intervention.  “For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them” (Psalm 44:3).

But, how did the Psalmist know of this great victory?  “We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, the deeds You did in their days, in days of old(Psalm 44:1).

Today, we are blessed to have such deeds preserved in the Bible itself.  The annals of God’s demonstration of might, justice and mercy to His people.  These things strengthen and establish our faith.

“In God we boast all day long and praise Your name forever” (Psalm 44:8)

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Be Still, and Know that I Am God

The 46th Psalm does a wonderful job of expressing the powerful protection God affords His people.  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling” (1-3).

Our protection is sure.  It is sure because of God’s infinite power.  It is sure because of His constant presence and awareness.  It is sure because of His great wisdom and knowledge.  It is sure because He loves those who are His.  Truly “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (11).

In our knowledge that God is our refuge there is strength, peace and hope.  There is also a reason for us to offer Him our praise and thanksgiving!  “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (10).

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To Die is Gain

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Imagine being able to say this, all while in chains, not knowing whether you will be released, or executed. Paul is a wonderful example of faith in the midst of extreme hardship.

We Christians who live in America have so many reasons to be faithful. Despite a society that is presently antagonistic toward our faith, we remain free to worship openly and comfortably. This has not been the case in other times and other places.

Regardless, this world is not our home! While we remain thankful for our time here on earth, we eagerly anticipate the day when “this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53).

Our lives are opportunities to live for Christ. Through our teaching and example, other souls may be saved. But, we gain personally from death, if we be faithful. There comes a time of glory and rest in the presence of the God of Heaven! To die truly is to Gain!

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Wisdom Cries Out!

“Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice? 2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, beside the way, where the paths meet. 3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, at the entrance of the doors: 4 ‘To you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men.’” (Proverbs 8:1-4).

There is so much foolishness in the world today as infidels and skeptics are heard on every corner.  The cacophony of voices, each touting their own philosophy, makes it difficult to know what is true and right.  However, true wisdom’s call is present among the voices, and she can be heard, if we apply the correct filter.  That filter is the word of God.

“But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25).

Our text states that wisdom proclaims things that are prudent, excellent, right, true and righteous.  There is nothing crooked or perverse in them.  And, “They are all plain to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge” (5-9).  Look for it in the right place (God’s word), and true wisdom can be found!

FB: Edification – A Shared Stewardship

Paul took seriously God’s call for him to preach the gospel of Christ, saying, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).  While that passage specifically references Paul’s stewardship as Christ’s apostle, the principle regarding stewardship is valid, not matter the responsibility given.

One responsibility we all have is to edify (cf. Ephesians 4:16).  Every part must do its share in the work of edification. It is only in this way that the body of Christ can grow in the way God intends.

Consider this truth in light of the Holy Spirit’s call to assemble.  “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 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).

While it is personally beneficial to attend worship services consistently, that is not the Hebrew writer’s point. Rather, he is referring to the stewardship of edification. We have a responsibility to encourage and build up our brethren! God has supplied the assembly to help us to accomplish this task. To forsake the “assembling of ourselves together” is to be unfaithful in that stewardship.

Let’s say that you are a part of a congregation that has 100 members.  When you come to assemble, you do so with the primary purpose of edifying the other 99.  The wonderful part of God’s plan is that while you do so, you have 99 brothers and sisters in Christ whose primary purpose is to edify you!

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FB: “You, Yourself, are to be feared”

 

In Psalm 76, the poet proclaimed of Jehovah, “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” (7-9).

An angry God is a truly awful sight.  When you consider His power, and that it is “a righteous thing with God” to take vengeance on those who do not obey Him (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9), it makes clear that we should seek rather to please Him.

Lest any take from this the idea that God is hateful or capricious, we emphasize that the Lord is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  He loves us, and desires the salvation of all.  Alas, not all will come to Him.  Jesus lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37).

In short, God is always ready to bless those who serve Him.  But, there is reason to dread the awesomeness of our God if we choose rather to disobey.  Fear Him!

 

FB: The Promise of God

In Peter’s first gospel sermon (Acts 2:14-39) he identified Jesus Christ as the anointed of God.  One argument he used is a prophetic promise God made to King David.  Peter affirmed that David, as a prophet of God, has received a sworn oath from Jehovah that “of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne” (30).  Peter’s argument consisted of a mix of prophetic scripture, and Divine logic

  1. David was not referring to his own resurrection. Peter’s readers were aware of the fact that to that day David’s tomb remained with them (29).
  2. However, the prophecy indicated One who would be resurrected, and exalted to God’s right hand “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool” (34-35, cf. Psalm 110:1).
  3. Peter and the other apostles who spoke on that day were all eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus! He was the one of which David wrote (32).

Conclusion — Jesus is God’s anointed!

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, who you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (36).

My Soul Shall Be Joyful in the Lord

“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in His salvation” (Psalms 35:9).

The Psalmist rejoiced in the protection Jehovah afforded him from his enemies.  “All my bones shall say, ‘Lord, who is like You, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?’” (vs. 10).  While this protection certainly shows both the strength and mercy of God, it pales when compared to the spiritual protection He offers to all who name His name.

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).

We are so blessed to have God on our side.  In this uncertain and ungodly time – where the faith of Christian is demeaned, and the degradation of morals has led to an epidemic of selfishness, anarchy and violence – we place our confidence in the Almighty.  “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).  Fear God and serve Him.  Rejoice in His salvation!

 

Urgent Need

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We are praying for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. The power of nature has been amply demonstrated. It is alarming how impotent man is when the elements unleash with fury.

The response to this tragedy is appropriate. Men have been talking about God. Prayers are solicited and offered, and the expressions of love that should be the default practice of all men has come to the forefront. For this we are thankful.

We have a Savior who showed power to still the wind and waves, “Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39). This power is not surprising, as He is the Creator of all things! “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3).

While we thank God for all the petitions made in His Son’s name, for protection and healing in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we are mindful of a multitude of souls floundering in the morass of sin. Let us never forget the tragedy that is greater than a loss of property or life — the loss of the soul. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

You are praying for your fellow man, and offering help in time of need. Have you considered the urgent need of spiritual healing for those same souls? Are you as willing to share the gospel of our Lord? Something to think about!

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Stand in the Gap

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Ezekiel prophesied during the days of Babylonian captivity, and one reason for the fall of the Jews was a lack of leadership for the people. The prophets, priests and princes were all singled out for their ungodliness. Of them, the Lord said:

“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30).

The dearth of righteous leadership is destructive to any people. This was true of Israel, is true in our country today, and can be true in the church.

In the Lord’s church today, we need men to “stand in the gap” on behalf of God’s people. We need preachers who will declare the whole counsel of God, and serve as righteous examples to the flock (cf. 1 Timothy 4:12-16). We need elders whose maturity and godly example will protect the flock against the “savage wolves” that are about (cf. Acts 20:29). We need deacons of good reputation and wisdom (cf. Acts 6:3) to assist the flock.

We need these men and others “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (cf Ephesians 4:12). God today is looking for men and women to “stand in the gap.” When He looks in your direction, will you bravely and boldly stand for Him?

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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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