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

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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Spiritual Navalwatching

I came across a quote from 1970 by a denominational writer that indicates a problem that, in my opinion, is applicable to the Lord’s church today. The quote is below, with some of my own comments after.

“…(We) of the late twentieth century contribute to the falsifying of the church’s proper function through our subjectivism … (The present) is possibly the most subjective period in all of church history. Today everybody talks in psychological terms. We enjoy nothing better than to probe our inner life and its real or imagined frustrations. We wallow in our misery. We go to psychologists, we go to psychiatrists, we go to counsellors. This predilection has been called “navelwatching” by some people; that is, we enjoy nothing better than to sit down narcissistically and look at our own psychic navels. This delightful activity allows us to become completely involved in ourselves. We enjoy our problems. Someone has called our epoch “the Age of Analysis” . . . and it is that, for we want to solve all our problems by subjective concentration upon them.”

John Warwick Montgomery

So much of the Christian’s responsibility is focused outward. We can become so entranced by our own spiritual “navels” that we leave the greater commands to “love God” and “love our neighbor” undone. It seems to me important to focus on God’s commandments, and our responsibilities to Him and others, and spend less time focused inwardly – “paralysis by analysis.” Now, I am not objecting to examining ourselves (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:5), but rather noting the destructive tendency to focus on self rather than others.

Are your insecurities, feelings, musings, captivating your attention? Does they lead to missed opportunities to do the Lord’s work? Does your faith consist predominately of introspection – whether of your failings or your strengths? If so, perhaps you need to look outside of yourself, and get busy doing “the work” (cf. James 1:25).

Some thoughts that came to my mind while reading the quote above:

  1. Truth is objective, not subjective.
  2. Selflessness is seen in our actions toward our fellow man.
  3. The spiritual works of evangelism and edification are indicators of a faithful, zealous Christian.
  4. Intellectualism does not equate to strength in faith (“…and the common people heard Him gladly” Mark 12:37).

 

Sermon: The Results of Encouragement

Sermon by Brantley Gallman.

A survey of the book of Acts shows the benefits of offering encouragement to brethren.

Audio

The Christian’s Responsibility to the Brethren

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The Christian has the responsibility to be hospitable, to see unity with fellow believers, to edify his brethren and to love them as well.

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Powerpoint Slides

Invitation: Let Each Please His Neighbor

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

Paul, in Romans 15:2 admonishes each of us to please our neighbor. However, the context indicates that pleasure to be by way of edification, exhortation and even needed admonition.

Audio

FB: Epaphras – Example of Encouragement

West Side on FB

Little is known about the man Epaphras. He was a Christian in Colosse describe by Paul as “a faithful minister of Christ” (Colossians 1:7). He also is mentioned in chapter 4, and Philemon 23. Colossians 4:12-13 states:

“Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis” (4:12-13).

The terms “servant”, “minister”, “bondservant”, and “fellow prisoner” are used to describe the man. Also, words such as “dear”, “faithful”, “laboring”, “fervently”, and “great zeal” indicate his desire to serve the Lord.

Finally, the phrases “on your behalf” and “for you”, “one of you”, indicate that his labors in the Lord were personally beneficial to his brethren.

One of the most important benefits of serving Jesus is the blessings such labor brings to our brethren and others. May we all be so giving, humble, and concerned about the welfare of all men. This is a true indication of a diligent servant of Jesus Christ.

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“Come over … and help us”

ImageWhile in Troas during his second preaching tour, the apostle Paul had a vision in the night. In the vision, “A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us’ (Acts 16:9). The text reveals that Paul was obedient to the vision, Luke recording him as having concluded “that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (10).

The journey took Paul and his companions to Philippi, where they were beaten with rods, and placed into prison (cf. 16:22-24). After traveling through Amphipolis and Apollonia they went to Thessalonica, where again they fell afoul of the enemies of the cross (17:5). This necessitated a departure under cover of darkness to Berea. Some from Thessalonica followed them, and stirred up the crowds against Paul yet again (17:13). Finally Paul traveled to Athens, where his message was met with mocking (17:32).

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FB: What is Doctrine?

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Some are critical of preachers spending too much time preaching doctrine, and not enough time on more practical matters.

Paul told Titus in Titus 2:1, “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine…” But, the “doctrine” of which of Paul speaks consisted of practical matters regarding the behavior of younger women, older women, younger men, older men and bondservants.

The fact is, all Biblical teaching is doctrine. And, who is to say which aspect of that doctrine is most important? Rather than looking for someone who will tell you what you want to hear, find a preacher who has determined to “declare to you the whole counsel of God”! (cf. Acts 20:27)

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Sermon: One Body, One Spirit

One Body, One SpiritSermon by Jeremiah Cox.

A textual study of 1 Corinthians 12-14, expressing the purpose of spiritual gifts (edification), and discussing unity in the Spirit.

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

Sermon: Developing the Inward Man

Carl Allen MeetingLesson 8 of 9 by Carl Allen.

In this lesson, brother Allen discusses the lust of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, as he exhorts us to develop and mature the inward man of 2 Corinthians 4:16.

Audio

In Defense of Social Media

ImageA couple of months ago I preached a sermon titled Cyber-Sin. I talked about the dangers of being on the internet, and mentioned that social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are especially treacherous waters for Christians to navigate. Gossip, malicious words, worldly influences and lascivious pictures and links can all be present in those places. While typically there are steps that can be taken to avoid most of these pitfalls, many Christians are less than careful, and fall into sin.

I also preached the lesson in a recent meeting, and on both occasions received kind comments, as most recognize the need for the warnings, and that the criticism is just and accurate.

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Invitation: Pursue Peace

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

The text of Hebrews 12:12-17 expresses our responsibilities toward one another as Christians. We pursue peace, lest we lose a brother to the world.

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Sermon: The Importance of Gospel Meetings

Image In preparation for an upcoming gospel meeting, the lesson is designed to emphasize the importance of every member doing their part in the collective work of evangelism and edification.

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Mining the Scriptures: 2 John 12-13

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John had an important and urgent message to share with the elect lady and her children. As such, he wrote this short epistle to warn of the deceivers who would lead them to forfeit their reward.

However, in the final few lines of his letter, he wrote of a preference to communicate with them “face to face.” Letters could not adequately express either his love for them, or the urgency of his warnings.

Each of us know the truth of Paul’s words. We read fondly the letters of love and devotion sent my family and friends. However, our “joy” is full when we see them in the flesh.

Too, the electronic correspondence of our generation is a pale facsimile of personal communication. “LOL” is an inadequate imitation of the laughter and love we share when we are together. Speaking “face to face” is the better way.

The Purpose of Our Assemblies

Would it be considered controversial to state that the purpose of our worship assemblies is not to evangelize? Perhaps it would be less so if I explained what I mean by the statement.

First, I am not saying that evangelism can’t take place in the assembly. In fact, first principle preaching in the worship assembly is one way that the children of Christians reach the point of being convicted, and thus converted. Also, it is conceivable that the conversion of an occasional visitor may be the salutary consequence of such lessons. More probably, first principle lessons will serve to “stir up your pure minds by way of reminder” (cf. 2 Peter 3:1), equipping the saints to share with others what they have learned, and had reinforced by the preacher’s words.

Continue reading » The Purpose of Our Assemblies