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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The Gospel of Mark (Witness of the Christ)

Image The first three gospels are known as synoptic. The term is defined: “of or forming a general outline or synopsis.” Each of these gospels contain a generally chronological snapshot of the life of our Lord. They are not exhaustive. Though similar, they are written from different perspectives. As would be expected, they emphasize different aspects of Jesus’ life, ministry and teaching.

It would be improper to refer to the gospels as either biographies or histories, though there are elements of each in all four of the books. Too often the works are criticized because they do not make a formal and verifiable effort to document the life of the Lord. Such attacks are unfair in imposing modern standards upon ancient writings, and in failing to recognize the theological motivations of the writers. As John wrote in John 20:30-31, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

Continue reading » The Gospel of Mark (Witness of the Christ)

Mining the Scriptures: Mark 1:16-20

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Early in His ministry, Jesus came across four men, who He made the first of His apostles. They were two sets of brothers, Simon and Andrew, and James and John.

Several well known details are enumerated here. One, that James and John were sons of Zebedee. Two, that all four of the men were fishermen by trade. Jesus later gave Simon the name Peter (cf. Mark 3:16).

While Matthew, Luke and especially John have things to say about the call of these men, we want to especially note the phrase used by Jesus as recorded in Mark, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (vs. 17). These words clearly establish the importance of the work they were to begin. While they were engaged in secular work, their occupation was an honorable and important one. Fishing was important in Galilee — a source of commerce and sustenance for the people. But, the idea of fishing for men — cleverly indicating the work of witnessing and preaching the Christ of God — is compelling. There is no greater use of our time and effort than that of fishing for men. When we catch them, (convert them), we have given them the most valuable gift imaginable — Salvation!

Mining the Scriptures: Mark 1:14-15

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Our text reveals the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5-6, which prophesied the coming of Elijah in preparation for Messiah. John’s preparatory work was finished, as signified by his imprisonment, and now Jesus of Nazareth began his ministry, “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.”

John’s imprisonment by Herod led to his death by beheading (as seen in Mark 6:14-29). John himself foretold the transition in essence when he said in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Jesus ministry and teaching prefaced his kingdom, established after his death and resurrection (cf. Acts 2). At this time, he said, “the kingdom of God is at hand.”

There is a peculiar false doctrine that contends Jesus’ teaching in such places as Matthew 5-7 was not the gospel of the kingdom, rather a simple explanation of old covenant law. This passage shows the view to be incorrect. Jesus preached His own gospel, and His words must be heeded. As the Hebrew writer stated, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…” (Hebrews 2:1-2a).

Mining the Scriptures: Mark 1:1-8

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Mark 1:1-8

Mark begins his gospel with quotes from Malachi (3:1) and Isaiah (40:3), describing a messenger sent by God to prepare the world for the coming Messiah. Mark identifies that messenger as John the Baptist, who came “preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

When an angel announced to John’s father Zacharias the impending birth of his son, he said he would “go before Him [the Christ] in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17).

Jesus extended high praise to John for his person and ministry saying, “among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist,” and, “…he is Elijah who is to come, (a reference to Malachi 4:5) (Luke 1:11,14).

John’s message was preparatory to the Messiah’s coming. One, John said, “whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose” (vs. 7). Where John baptized with (in) water, the Messiah would baptize with (in) the Holy Spirit, a reference to His divine nature. When the apostles received that baptism on Pentecost, Peter said it had come from the Christ (Acts 2:33).

Mining The Scriptures: Mark 1:9-13

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Mark 1:9-13

Mark’s gospel is characterized by a concise telling of the events in Christ’s life. While not as verbose as the other gospels, Mark managed to encapsulate the grandeur of His ministry on earth.

These verses are a wonderful example. Here Mark recounts both the baptism of Jesus, and his temptation in the wilderness in just five verses.

The baptism of Jesus contains God’s witness that this was His Son. “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (vs. 11).

The temptation of Jesus expresses His perfect example. “Tempted by Satan,” yet, as Peter later stated, a man “who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:22-23).

As such, He left us “an example, that [we] should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Mining The Scriptures: Mark 9:1

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Mark 9:1

The chapter break here is unfortunate, as this verse belongs with the Lord’s discourse that started in 8:34.

The promise here made was two fold: 1) The kingdom would come with power; and, 2) Some of those with him as he spoke would still be alive when it came.

This simple text deals a death blow to those who claim the kingdom of Christ is yet to be established. If it hasn’t been established yet, one of two things must be true:

  1. Jesus did not keep his promise to his disciples.
  2. Some of Jesus disciples are alive at over 2,000 years of age.

Both assertions are untenable and obviously untrue.

While the errorist can’t reconcile this passage with his doctrine, the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise is evident.

On the day of Pentecost following Jesus’ resurrection, as He promised here and in Acts 1:4-8, the kingdom arrived with power upon the immersion of the disciples in the Holy Spirit. The kingdom exists, and we who are His are citizens of it, (cf. Colossians 1:13).