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: 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: Titus 1:1-4

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The apostle Paul wrote this epistle to Titus, “a true son in our common faith” (vs. 4). The salutation indicates that, as with Timothy (cf. 1 Timothy 1:2), Paul’s teaching had led to Titus’ conversion.

It was common for Paul, in his epistles, to defend his apostleship as being from God. Paul was not a usurper. In these few verses he states an eloquent argument for his apostleship, as a part of God’s overreaching scheme of redemption for man.

Paul’s apostleship was according to faith. It emanated from God. He states that God had committed him to the proclamation of that faith. God chose through the “foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

So, the emphasis here is not really on Paul as a bondservant and an apostle, but on the message he was to proclaim. Paul describes that gospel as that which “accords with godliness” (vs. 1). It leads to a holy life. As such, it is “in hope of eternal life.” That is, in leading the elect to righteousness, it provides standing with God in judgment. This eternal hope is something we are assured of, as it is promised by God, and God can not lie (cf. vs. 2, Hebrews 6:18). This promise, as Paul indicated, predates the creation of man (cf. vs. 2).

Mining the Scriptures: 2 Timothy 1:1-2

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In other comments we have referred to Paul’s consistent claim in his letters that his apostleship was from God. When the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus (in Acts 9), it was for the purpose of establishing his credentials as an apostle. “Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:8).

Likewise, the greeting of “grace, mercy and peace” from God and His Son is typical of Paul’s letters, though the added blessing of “mercy” is limited to his letters to Timothy and Titus.

The affirmation that the promise of spiritual life is realized “in Christ Jesus” is the central theme of the gospel. It was also the central emphasis of Paul’s preaching. As Paul wrote, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, and his subsequent victory over death is the basis of our hope. It was Paul’s reason for serving as an ambassador of the Lord.

It is also important to note Paul’s tender reference to Timothy as “a beloved son.” Timothy was a constant and faithful companion to Paul, and gave him great comfort. For this Paul was thankful (vs. 3).

Mining the Scriptures: Galatians 1:11-17

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In the first portion of his letter to the Galatians, Paul emphasized that his apostleship was authorized by God. He asserts the fact in verse 1, and argues the assertion in verses 11-17.

When a careful study is made of Paul’s actions from the time of his conversion, his claims are corroborated. After Paul was converted, as recorded by the historian Luke in Acts 9, he immediately began to preach the gospel of Christ in the synagogues (cf. Acts 9:20). Though the book of Acts does not record the trip to Arabia, it does note that “many days were past” (9:23), and emphasized the preaching done in Damascus. So, as Paul wrote, he did not “immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus” (vs. 16-17).

Why is this significant? First, Paul did not need the apostle’s blessing to begin or accomplish his ministry. The charge he obtained was directly from the Lord (cf. Acts 22:15). Second, the message he preached was not of his own devising, but was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 9:15,17; 22:14, Galatians 1:11-12).

Mining the Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

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Paul, in greeting the Corinthians in his first epistle to the church there, identifies himself as an “apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God.” This was his common greeting, necessitated by the Judaizers who constantly attacked his legitimacy as an ambassador of the Lord.

The letter is written to “the church of God which is at Corinth.” This is not a proper name for the church, but rather a phrase designating ownership. The church belongs to God. The church consists of those who have been called out of the world, separated through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. As such, it is proper only to refer to it as belonging to God, or Jesus (cf. Romans 16:16).

The Greek word ekklesia, from which the English term “church” derives, denotes sanctification. The church is called out, or separated from the world. This is accomplished when an individual, by calling “on the name of Jesus Christ”, is cleansed from sin. He is reconciled to God, and is rightly called a saint. This sanctification, as pointed out here by Paul, is accomplished in Jesus Christ. His sacrifice makes us holy, and separates us from the world.

Mining the Scriptures: Galatians 1:1-5

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Paul begins his epistle to the Galatians in a manner typical to him. In the first few verses he defends his apostleship, and asks blessings upon his readers.

His defense of himself is especially appropriate in that the churches of Galatia had been influenced by Judaizing teachers. These false teachers not only advocated false doctrine, they also sought to destroy the reputation of Paul at every opportunity. Their chief tactic was to claim that since Paul was not one of the original apostles, he had usurped the position. In response, Paul declared that his apostleship was “not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father…” (vs. 1). The truth of this is evident in the reading of his conversion (Acts 9).

In praying for Grace and Peace for the Galatians, Paul identified Jesus as the Savior. He expressed the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice, “that He might deliver us from this present evil age.”

In that Jesus accomplished this wonderful objective, Paul rightly noted that He is solely worthy of “glory forever and ever. Amen” (vs. 5, cf. Revelation 5:1-7).

Mining the Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 1:1-2

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A few short truths to take from Paul’s introduction in his second letter to Corinth:

First, Paul’s apostleship was genuine. Here he states as fact what he argued strongly in other places, his apostleship was from God (cf. Galatians 1:1).

Second, the church at Corinth is described as “the church of God.” This is not a denominational name, but a description. It affirms that the church at Corinth belongs to God. It is in this same way (and only in this way) that congregations may identify themselves as churches of Christ (cf. Romans 16:16). The phrase indicates ownership.

Third, the designation “saints” applies to all Christians. It is not limited to a few. All of us, when separated from the world, are called to a holy life. We are sanctified, hence, we are saints. Our lives should demonstrate that calling (cf. Titus 2:11-12).

Fourth, true grace and peace comes from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” We have a peace “which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Great things can be learned from every verse in God’s wonderful word.

Mining the Scriptures: Romans 1:1-7

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Paul’s introductory comments in Romans are typical. In them he identifies himself as a bondservant of the Lord, engaged in the task of preaching His gospel.

He affirms his apostleship, and that the gospel had its inception in the prophets. (Remember, Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian using the text of Isaiah 53).

He affirms Jesus to be the Son of Man “born of the seed of David according to the flesh”, and to be the Son of God, attested “by the resurrection from the dead.”

It is amazing how often the apostle repeats those two facts throughout his writings: 1) I am an apostle by God’s choosing; 2) I am bound by God to preach the gospel of the Lord.

Paul also revealed something about the Roman Christians. He wrote, “among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.” This calling is the process of sanctification. We are called out of the world, called to holiness. All of Paul’s instructions come from this fact concerning his brethren. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (6:2-3).

Sermon: Galatians 2

Second of six lessons on Galatians.

Sermon Powerpoint: Click Here .

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Sermon: Galatians 1

First of six lessons in a series on Galatians.

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Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Mining The Scriptures: Matthew 10:5-15

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Matthew 10:5-15

The text consists of what is commonly called the Limited Commission, in contrast to the “Great Commission” recorded in Matthew 28:16-20. On both occasions the apostles were commanded to go and preach, but where the “Great Commission” had as its scope “all the nations,” the commission of Matthew 10 was limited to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

The apostles were to preach the coming of the kingdom, and were to depend totally upon God’s provision to care for and protect them in their ministry.

Two lessons can be learned from the text. First, we can depend upon God’s providence as we live our lives as His children (vs. 9-13).

Second, those who reject the gospel of our Lord show themselves to be unworthy of salvation (vs. 14-15).

Paul and Barnabas referred to those in Israel who rejected the gospel as “judge [-ing] yourselves unworthy of everlasting life” (Acts 13:46).

Podcast: The Life of Paul

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Podcast Number 59

Saul of Tarsus, chief among sinners, by the grace of God became the apostle Paul. Paul was one of the most influential and important figures of the New Testament. We can learn many wonderful lessons by examining his life.

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Sermon: Saul of Tarsus, A Unique Case

The account of Saul’s conversion is unique in many ways because it involves not only his conversion, but also his appointment as an apostle. However, Saul had to do what all have to do in order to receive the forgiveness of his sins.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .