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

Mining the Scriptures: Revelation 4:1-8

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In his salutation to the seven churches of Asia, identified by name in chapters 2 & 3, he pronounces blessings upon them from the Father “Him who is and who was and who is to come”, the Holy Spirit “the seven Spirits who are before His throne”, and the Son “the firstborn from the dead.”

(Note: some believe the phrase “seven Spirits” refers to the spirits of the seven churches, but it seems the context is referring to each person of the Godhead, in turn. As such, the number seven would have symbolic significance as a reference to the Holy Spirit).

Regardless, John affirms Jesus as our Lord and Savior (6), and promises His second coming (7). The central theme of the book is our victory through the power of God. He is the “Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End… who is and was and who is to come, the Almighty” (8).

Mining the Scriptures: Revelation 1:1-3

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First, a pet peeve. The book is not titled Revelations (plural), it is Revelation, as in “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (vs. 1). The term “revelation” is taken from the Greek “apokalypsis”, and literally means an unveiling.

What is contained in this book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, sent to the apostle John by way of a vision. John asserts that what he writes in the book is a faithful testimony of “all things that he saw” (vs. 2).

As John pronounces a benediction upon “he who reads and those who hear”, and “keep those things that are written” in this Revelation, he indicates that the vision in the book concerns events that would soon occur. Note the two phrases: “things which must shortly take place” (vs. 1), and “the time is near” (vs. 3).

The book of Revelation contains many symbols. The style of writing has been referred to as “apocalyptic language,” and requires careful interpretation. It is important to note that the method of interpretation used to successfully divine the meaning of Revelation takes into consideration that the book was written to Christians in that day concerning events which would “shortly take place.”

Mining the Scriptures: Revelation 2:1-7

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This letter the Lord wrote to the church at Ephesus was the first of seven written to churches in Asia. At the time of this writing, Ephesus was a large city — the most important seaport in Asia Minor.

Each of these letters follow the same pattern, and are found in chapters 2 and 3.

The Lord first commended the church at Ephesus for its work. The church was apparently diligent, steadfast, fruitful, and contended earnestly for the faith (Jude 3). They “hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans” as did the Lord.

However, something was missing. He admonished them for having “left your first love.” Though there was still the form of faithfulness in Ephesus, some zeal or vigor was missing. That lack of passion for Jesus was the reason for this censure.

The Lord called them to repentance, and here as elsewhere indicated that their salvation hung in the balance. This clearly indicates the fallacy of those who hold the doctrine of “once saved always saved.”

Here, those who “overcome” and receive the tree of life are the faithful and zealous. This is a wonderful lesson for us today!

Mining the Scriptures: Revelation 3:14-22

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Revelation 3:14-22

Our Lord’s final letter to the seven churches in Asia was addressed to the Laodiceans. Laodicea was about 100 miles inland of Ephesus, just northwest of Colosse.

The city was a wealthy one, and apparently the church was as well. This letter is unique among the twelve, in that there is nothing positive said about the congregation.

Though rich materially, Jesus said that the church was, “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.”

The sin of the Laodiceans was apathy, colorfully described as being “lukewarm.” Equally colorful is the response of the Lord, “because you are lukewarm … I will vomit you out of my mouth” (vs. 16).

The Lord rebuked the Laodiceans because He loved them. He loves us as well. Remember, apathy is unpalatable to Him. If we are going to stand acceptable in His sight, we must give ourselves wholly to His service. Nothing less will suffice.

Mining The Scriptures: Revelation 3:1-6

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Revelation 3:1-6

The Lord’s fifth letter to the seven churches, written to the church in Sardis, identifies a local congregation that was “dead.”

Sardis was the capital city of ancient Lydia, a province of Asia Minor. The Lord noted that the congregation there had “a name that you are alive.”

It must be noted that God does not see things the way man does (cf. Isaiah 55:8). That the church in Sardis was seen to be alive (perhaps by others, perhaps by themselves), held no sway with the Lord. He reserved his strongest condemnation for this congregation, and called them to repentance.

Note that their “works” were not “perfect before God.” God judges us by the things we do, whether good or bad (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10). He demands righteous and steadfast obedience to His will. This is a serious consideration as any congregation examines her standing before God.