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

Sermon: Some Identifying Marks of the Lord’s Church

Identifying Marks

The description given of the Lord’s church in the New Testament differs markedly from the denominations today. His church, however, exists and is identifiable in our time.

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Constantly Affirm!

Consider the following words by Paul, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Titus 3:8).

We will leave aside for a moment whether a failure to “maintain good works” will have an impact upon the salvation of the negligent Christian.  My question is this… If Paul wanted Titus to “affirm constantly that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works” why do men today speak evil of those who do just that?

Men trumpet the joy and release they feel when they stop worrying about obedience, and just trust in the “finished work of Jesus.” They disparage their “destructive” upbringing, among a group of legalists who constantly emphasized, “OBEY, OBEY, OBEY!”  They call such “patternists” destructive and evil.

It seems the American version of “Christianity” will not put up with men like Titus, especially as they diligently follow Paul’s instructions.

Nevertheless, Paul contends that such constant calls to faithfully obey God are “good and profitable to men.”  As such, the diligent evangelist will endeavor to remind men “to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1).

Remember Paul’s words, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them(Ephesians 2:10).

 

Sermon: David and the Temple

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A number of important applications regarding how to establish authority can be gleaned from David’s desire to build a temple to God, recorded in 1 Chronicles 17.

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The Patternists: We Walk by Faith

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The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Contextually, these words were a reference to his surety about life after death. “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord” (vs. 6). Men wonder, “What happens after we die?” Paul was a Christian. He knew. God told him. He was confident that after death he would be rewarded with eternal life (cf. 2 Timothy 4:8).

Since judgment was certain, and an eternal existence after death was his lot, how did Paul react? “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (vs. 9).

It is unwise to live your life to please yourself. If you make it your aim to please Him, then you too can look forward to an existence in the presence of God!

God has revealed to us what pleases and displeases Him. It is foolish to take chances, presuming to know what pleases God. Instead, make it your aim to learn God’s will, and do what is “pleasing to Him.”

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“Abolished in His flesh the enmity”

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The apostle Paul acknowledged the hostility that existed between Jew and Gentile in the first century. He also acknowledged that such enmity was a result of the Law of Moses. This Law placed a barrier between the Jew (the chosen people of God), and the rest of humanity.

That Law was special, even necessary to prepare the world for the Messiah of God. In Galatians 3:24, Paul wrote, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” The Law of Moses was wonderful, but never intended by God to be the means of mankind’s redemption. The promise that God made to Abraham that He would make of his descendants a great nation, was accompanied by the promise that “…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

This promise was realized when that Law of Moses ceased its authority over men (cf. Romans 7:1-6). When Jesus paid the price for the sins of all mankind, Paul wrote that He, “abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity” (Ephesians 2:15-16).

We do not mourn the loss of Moses’ law. Instead, we rejoice that it served its purpose, to “bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Now, we state with joy, “But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:25). “For through Him we both [Jew and Gentile] have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18).

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Parable of the Two Sons

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In Matthew 21:28-32, Jesus condemns the Jewish leaders for their disobedience by using this parable to illustrate their sin. Other observations, on pride, prejudice, the Lordship of Jesus, and true repentance are included in the discussion.

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Sermon: God’s Pattern For Our Whole Life

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God is our Creator, and deserves our respect and obedience. His revealed will impacts us in every aspect of our lives.

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The Patternists: Let No One Deceive Himself

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“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20).

Any man who presumes to speak where God has not is foolish. To boldly claim that God is pleased with actions that are not authorized in scripture is to be self-deceived.

“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12).

The only way to know God’s will is to study what He has revealed to us. The only safe way is the way that is revealed in the Bible.

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“These Do”

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Paul exhorted the Philippians:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

From this text we learn that Paul had supplied them, through teaching and example, with those things that are true, noble, just, pure and lovely. He instructed them to meditate on these things. To meditate is to reckon, to deliberate, to take into account. The idea is to consider what is righteous for the purpose of making application to our lives.

Of those things, Paul wrote, “these do.” Obedience to what God has ordained as right and good is necessary for the “God of peace” to be with us. We don’t approach God on our terms. We approach God on His terms! Jesus said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).

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The Patternists: Rebuke With All Authority

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Paul told Titus, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). For this we rejoice. We acknowledge that our salvation is wholly dependent upon God’s extended favor. If Jesus had not come to earth and died on the cross, we would be without hope.

This we know, but what does this teach us? What truth does God want us to derive from that extended grace? It teaches us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age” (Titus 2:12).

When men are exhorted to be obedient to God, they often respond with cries of “legalism”, and “salvation by works.” They object to being “judged” and proclaim that they are “trusting in the finished work of Christ alone.”

But, Titus was told to speak these things. He was told to exhort and to rebuke. He was told not to let anyone despise him. Titus, in his rebuke, had the authority of His Lord. When we call men to an obedient life, submitting to the pattern of God, we speak with the same authority!

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The Practice of Discipline

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In Romans 16:17, Paul wrote, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.”

Some would take this as a mere suggestion, that can be heeded or rejected at our whim. However, we note that Paul was writing this by inspiration. As such this is the urging of the Holy Spirit, not to be taken lightly.

Others had rejected Paul’s instructions regarding disciplining the unruly. The Corinthians had ignored Paul’s admonition to withdraw themselves from a sexually immoral brother (cf. 1 Corinthians 5). In response, Paul wrote, “And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you” (vs. 2). Later in the text, he wrote, “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (vs. 6).

When we reject the Holy Spirit’s admonition to discipline the disorderly, we are prideful. Such pride is sinful, and such action is willful. We are not at liberty to disregard God’s instructions on this or any other matter!

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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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Whly Is It?

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Why are people who ridicule the idea of a Bible pattern of authority to be followed so quick to advocate for the authoritative nature of a select few passages? They contend loudly and strongly for verses like:

  • (John 3:16), “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
  • (Matthew 7:12), “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
  • (Philippians 4:13), “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  • (1 John 4:7-8), “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

If the scriptures that show how to worship, how to practice religion, how to make disciples, how to organize, what to teach and how to work together as a church can not be considered authoritative, then why are the scriptures above accepted as true and binding?

Integrity demands a more consistent hermeneutic than that, wouldn’t you say?

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Sermon: Some Facts about the church of Christ

some facts about the church of Christ

The Lord’s church is very different from the religious denominations you typically see in America. This sermon discusses some of the things that makes the church of Christ unique.

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Sermon: God’s Mirror

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The text of James 1:21-25 supplies thoughts regarding the 1) Importance of knowing how we look to God; 2) Importance of improving our spiritual appearance; and 3) God’s word is the only reliable mirror to determine how we appear to God.

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