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

The Patternists: The Limit of the Elder’s Authority

Elder

God, in His Wisdom, designed the local church to be led by godly and qualified men (cf. 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).

These qualified men, appointed and serving, are limited in their authority in several ways. First, they have no right to legislate to the flock. It is Christ Himself who has established His will for His people (cf. Hebrews 1:1-2). Elders are to feed the flock (1 Timothy 3:2), convict the gainsayer (Titus 1:9-11), and watch out for the souls of their charges (Hebrews 13:17). But, they can not make laws.

Second, these men are limited in their domain. They are to “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you” (1 Peter 5:2; see also Acts 20:28). Their oversight is limited to the local congregation of which they are a part. This means they have no sway on any other congregation, which precludes any centralized oversight in the body of Christ. It also precludes their exercising authority over any man-made institution like a home for orphans, a hospital or a college.

Finally, they are limited in the nature of their superintendence. They are to serve, “not by constraint but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to [them], but being examples to the flock.” Dictatorial tendencies among elders are destructive, and sinful in the sight of God. Faithful elders do not dictate. They instruct, beseech, show, exhort and express their love and concern for those under their oversight.

May God bless the men who serve well in this office. May God spare His people from men who would abuse the position.

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Sermon: Exhortations to an Evangelist

ImagePaul’s exhortations to the evangelist Timothy in 1 Timothy 4 & 5 serve both to explain aspects of the evangelist’s work, and to supply every Christian with applicable principles of truth.

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The Patternists: Cultural Arrogance

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Our culture can color our view of what God does and does not allow for mankind. The culture of the first century differed greatly from our own. In fact, there were numerous different cultures in the first century, and cultural views caused problems in the early church. It shouldn’t surprise us that those same influences would cause problems today.

The scriptures stand in stark contrast with changing cultural mores. Here is an example. American culture in the 21st century demands that women be given the exact same consideration regarding positions of leadership in the local church. In contrast, the scriptures teach that leadership positions such as elder and deacon are limited to men (cf. 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9) and that women are to be in submission (cf. 1 Timothy 2:11-14).

The thing to remember is that the words of Paul in these verses are the product of the Holy Spirit inspiration (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). They are not, as commonly claimed, a function of Paul’s cultural biases.

In fact, the Holy Spirit reveals that the limitation on women is a function of creation, not culture. “For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Timothy 2:13).

Let us not be so arrogant to assume that our culture knows best. While men may trumpet present day sophistication and evolved morals, we place our trust in the words of God.

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Sermon: A Doorkeeper in God’s House

Image The Bible refers to doorkeepers and gatekeepers (cf. Psalm 84:10; 1 Chronicles 9:17-27). This was a position of trust and importance, manned by humble and devoted servants. There are many good applications that can be made in the church.

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Joshua: A Godly and Successful Leader

Image The book of Joshua contains a wonderful summary of his leadership of Israel. Joshua was a man of great character and loyalty to God. During his service to God and His people, the nation took possession of the land of Canaan, obtaining the inheritance God had promised to Abraham and his descendants.

While each individual is responsible for his own relationship with God, a good leader can exert influence to keep men faithful to the Almighty. Joshua is an example of such a man. As he ascended to the leadership role, God promised him, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (1:9). Of course, that favor was contingent upon his loyalty to the Lord, “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go” (1:7).

Continue reading » Joshua: A Godly and Successful Leader

Sermon: Elders and Deacons (Appointment and Qualifications)

A quick word study of the qualifications of elders and deacons, given for the purpose of presenting two men (one for the office of elder, and one for the office of deacon) to the congregation.

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Powerpoint Slides

In the News: Guardians of Doctrine

Image On Thursday, the Catholic Pope released a text giving his view of who should be selected as Catholic bishops as the Catholic church goes forward in the 21st century. Of course, the Catholic church’s concepts of how bishops are to be selected, what their qualifications are, and the nature and extent of their rule are all contrary to what is revealed in the New Testament. In this short article, however, it is our intent to examine one aspect of the Pope’s message. Consider the following quote, taken from a report on the document:

Continue reading » In the News: Guardians of Doctrine

Sermon: Rehoboam – A Failure in Leadership

Using the text of 1 Kings 12, and examining the events which led to the rebellion against Rehoboam, we see his culpability in the division of the kingdom, and make applications to our own lives.

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Powerpoint Slides

Sermon: I am not the Pastor!

The denominational “Pastor system” is unscriptural and indefensible. This sermon discusses the office of Pastor, and distinguishes between what the scriptures teach and the practice of men.

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Powerpoint Slides

Mining the Scriptures: Titus 1:5-9

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This passage is one of only two in the New Testament that list the qualifications for elders. The other passage is 1 Timothy 3:1-8.

The importance of elders is intimated here, as Paul tells Titus to “set in order the things that are lacking” (5). A congregation that does not have elders needs them to be in accord with God’s design. While it would be wrong to appoint men to the task who are unqualified, every congregation should develop men for this important work.

Note also the phrase, “must be” in verse 7. These are qualifications, not suggestions. As indicated, only men who are married with children who are faithful can scripturally serve. They are to be blameless, and in control both of their emotions and their desires. They are to be hospitable, and sober-minded. They must be familiar with scripture and willing to take a stand for the truth of God’s word, when it is attacked by evil men.

In every generation there are men who oppose the truth of God. In His wisdom, He has equipped the church to deal with and defeat those in opposition. Among other things, this is the elder’s work.

Mining the Scriptures: Philippians 1:1-2

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Paul’s salutation in this epistle is similar to other letters he wrote. His letter is addressed to the “saints in Christ Jesus.” The term saint indicates one who has been set apart by God. It denotes those who have been cleansed from sin, and are called to obedience and good works. This is, of course, accomplished through the work of Jesus Christ.

Bishops and deacons are given special note. The term “bishop” is a term used interchangeably with the terms “elder” and “pastor” indicating men who are ordained to the position of oversight in a local congregation. The term deacon indicates a man who is given a special work of service. The term indicates an attendant or servant.

Both of these offices are important, and the men who serve in them are first to be qualified (cf. 1 Timothy 3; Titus 1), and then treated honorably for their work’s sake (cf. 1 Timothy 5:17). It is proper that they were singled out by Paul in his greeting.

Paul, in expressing his desire that they receive grace and peace from God and His Son, relates perhaps the most precious sentiment possible for the Philippians.

Sermon: The Conflict Over Circumcision

This lesson is an examination of the text of Acts 15, where the apostles, elders and church in Jerusalem meet concerning the conflict between Paul and the Judaizing teachers on the subject of Circumcision. Emphasis is placed on how the issue was handled, and the authority of God.

Sermon Powerpoint: Click Here .

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Sermon: A Watchman in Israel

The lesson points out that one important purpose in preaching the gospel is to warn the sinner of his sin, that he may repent. Those who are unwilling to serve as watchmen in Israel will be held accountable.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Mining The Scriptures: 1 Timothy 3:1-7

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1 Timothy 3:1-7

Paul’s list of qualifications outlines for us the type of men God wants to serve as overseers among His people.

The picture drawn is of men who are experienced, righteous, wise, knowledgeable, able and proven. They have shown by their domestic lives an ability to guide and nurture the souls of those in their care. They exhibit a self-discipline and demeanor that assures an even handed treatment of important issues that may trouble brethren. They have a familiarity with God’s word that allows them to defend the truth against those who would lead the flock astray.

These guidelines are divinely ordained. As such, they are not mere suggestions. In other words, those who do not meet the qualifications should not be appointed to serve. We do not know better than God, and do not have the right to make an “executive” decision and appoint a man who we “believe” would serve well despite his lack of qualifications. God is the “executive” and has the final say in who should serve in this important work.

As Paul wrote, “A bishop then must be…” (vs. 2).

Sermon: The Pattern of Church Organization

The New Testament reveals an explicit pattern for the organization of the local church. It is to be autonomous, with elders and deacons. The lesson details that pattern established by God.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .