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

Giants in the Land

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The children of Israel failed to believe in the power of God to bring them victory against the giants who inhabited the land they had been promised.

We need to trust in God to give us the victory against the spiritual “giants” that oppose us.

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Powerpoint Slides

Sermon: “And if the blind lead the blind…”

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Sermon by Dennis Scroggins

Truth can be understood, and must be defended, heeded, and obeyed. Too often men look to the unrighteous or ignorant for advice, rather than those who are familiar with and wise in the ways of God.

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FB: Paul’s Fear

Saint Paul, Rembrandt van Rijn (and Workshop ), c

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Paul noted instances of corruption during his ministry. They included:

  • Judaizing teachers who sought to impose circumcision upon the Gentiles (cf. Acts 15:1).
  • A sectarian spirit at work among fellow Christians (1 Corinthians 11).
  • A corruption of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-21).
  • A denial of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12).
  • A contention that the resurrection was already past (2 Timothy 2:16-18).

Consider first Paul’s fear. Consider second that his fear was not unfounded. Do not be deceived by any who would seek to minimize or explain away any departure from truth in our time.

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The Patternists: “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?”

Elijah Ahab

1 Kings 18 records a conversation between Ahab, the evil king of Israel, and the prophet Elijah. Elijah was a thorn in Ahab’s side. Elijah told Ahab that a drought would afflict the land beacuse of his sin, and it came to pass. The drought was God’s way of chastising Ahab and the nation for their sins. But, Ahab blamed Elijah for the drought, and sought his life.

Elijah ran for his life, and evaded the king for the three years of the drought. God then instructed Elijah to go to Ahab. When they met, Ahab said, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17). Elijah’s response is instructive, “And he answered, ‘I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals'” (vs. 18).

Too often religious people criticize those who stand for truth as being divisive. To contend for a standard, and fidelity to God’s commands brings charges of “judging”, “intolerance” and “sectarianism.” In fact, standing with truth is not the problem. The problem is, as Elijah so eloquently said, with forsaking “the commandments of the Lord.”

Fortunately, Elijah stood tall against the king. His victory over the prophets of Baal led the people of Israel to proclaim, “The Lord, He is God” The Lord, He is God!” (vs. 39).

In the same way, we must stand for truth in the face of those who would lead God’s people astray. Hear and heed the words of Jude, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

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Invitation: Satan Transforms Himself

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

In 2 Corinthians 11:12-14 Paul warns of false teachers who seem to be ministers of righteousness. This teaches us to test all teaching by the Word of God, and also to test ourselves to ensure we are teaching only truth.

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Invitation: Doctrinal Chastity

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

In 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 Paul equates an embracing of religious error with seduction and infidelity to God. We are to be chaste. That means not only morally, but doctrinally.

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The Power of God’s Foolishness

ImageIn 1 Corinthians 1, the apostle Paul realistically predicted the reaction of most people to the message of the cross. He wrote, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (18). Many times when I have preached a simple lesson on some aspect of truth, I will be asked by a brother or sister in Christ, “How can anyone in their right mind reject such an obvious truth?” The answer is given by Paul, it is foolishness to them. They reject the message and proofs supplied by God, preferring instead their own ideals and opinions. As Paul continued, “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness.” (22-23).

In contrast, to those “who are being saved”, the message of the cross is “the power of God” (18). In verse 24, the preaching of “Christ crucified” is said to be to “those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (24).

Continue reading » The Power of God’s Foolishness

In the News: Is the Pope Humble?

Image I am sure some who read this would object to the question. They might first object to any question of his humility as absurd. It has, after all, been his most commonly acknowledged attribute, proclaimed by the media which has covered each of his appearances in America. Others might object to the idea we might “judge” the heart of another. Who are we to deem the Pope as being anything other than what he “appears” or “claims” to be.

Of course, the judging of hearts is not appropriate. And, I freely admit that despite the adulation supplied him, his cloistered lifestyle, and his privileged existence, he continues to speak to and show compassion toward those who are poor and destitute.

Continue reading » In the News: Is the Pope Humble?

Mining the Scriptures: Jude 16-19

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Jude describes the false teachers he warns about as individuals who are severely lacking in character. This is characteristic of the self-willed. First, they grumble and complain. This shows a lack of respect for authority. They are governed by their own lusts. This indicates selfishness and a love of sin. They use flattery to gain advantage, which indicates a deceitful spirit.

These evil individuals had been predicted by the Lord’s apostles. One example of this is found in Acts 20:28-30, in the warning Paul gave to the Ephesian elders at Miletus.

The overriding characteristic of these men was their sensuality. It seems that both Jude and Peter (2 Peter 2) refer to men that are either similar to, or perhaps are the originators of what would become known as Gnosticism. Regardless, the pursuit of carnal passion is always troublesome and divisive, and must be warned against with regularity.

Wage the Good Warfare

Image In the last 100 years, our nation has been involved in numerous wars. The first World War was believed by many to be the “war to end all wars.” Surely mankind learned its lesson from the atrocities and loss of life. Alas, no. The second World War erupted only a few decades after, followed by America’s involvement in the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, two separate wars with Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and our present undeclared war with Muslim Militants. Other, minor conflicts pepper our nation’s history over the last century.

It seems war is inevitable. Even though many have wearied of the loss of life and economic privation that accompanies warfare, evil men remain resolute in their desire to subdue, conquer, and press their ideologies upon others. This demonstrates a universal truth. Peace is not attained unilaterally. It takes a willingness on the part of all, to be established and maintained.

Continue reading » Wage the Good Warfare

From the Preacher’s Pen: “You’re not doing it for God”?

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Some are aware of the controversy that recently erupted when Joel Osteen’s wife, Victoria, said to their congregation and viewers: “When you come to church, when you worship him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?” This is one fallacy of the “Prosperity Gospel” that they preach. They contend life is about you, and your happiness, rather than being about God! In response, I came across the following quote from Albert Mohler. I thought it to be very good.

God’s pleasure in his human creatures centers in his desire and will that they come to faith in Jesus Christ and be saved. The great dividing line in humanity is not between the rich and the poor, the sick and the well, or even the happy and the unhappy. The great divide is between those who, in Christ, have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s glorious light.

Mere happiness cannot bear the weight of the Gospel. The message of the real Gospel is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” That is a message that can be preached with a straight face, a courageous spirit, and an urgent heart in Munich, in Miami, or in Mosul.

If our message cannot be preached with credibility in Mosul, it should not be preached in Houston. That is the Osteen Predicament. (albertmohler.com)

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

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Invitation: Perverting the Gospel

Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

Both in Galatians 1, and 2 Corinthians 11, Paul warns his readers about “putting up with” a perverted gospel. A perverted gospel can not save! We must contend for and accept the faith as it was once delivered to us!

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From the Preacher’s Pen: Preach the Word!

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Truth does not need to fear examination and debate. By nature, truth is superior to error, having a consistency and genuineness that stands in stark contrast to false doctrines that permeate religious thinking.

Last Wednesday just before leaving for Bible class, a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on our door. The lady offered me a pamphlet with directions to the JW website, and I told her I would be glad to take it. I then offered her a pamphlet in return that I just happened to have sitting by the door. It is the Welcome Visitor pamphlet that we include in our visitor packets, and has our website address on it.

She refused to take it. As soon as she saw that I had my own convictions, she beat a quick retreat, off for easier prey. It was sad, really. I was nice, and told her that I was willing to have the exchange of pamphlets and views, but she was only willing to propagate her own teaching, not willing to consider that of others.
I told her, sadly, that if she wouldn’t take my pamphlet, then I didn’t think it playing fair to expect me to take hers. I find this rather typical of false teachers. They are eager to share their message, but unwilling to speak with those who might be capable of a critical examination of their claims.

We have the truth, and have no need to fear those who wish to study, examine or test our message. “Preach the word!” (cf. 2 Timothy 4:2).

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Mining the Scriptures: Titus 1:10-14

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In verses 5-9, Paul gives Titus a list of qualifications to ensure that qualified men serve as elders. The reason such qualified men are needed for oversight is given in verses 10-14 — the multitude of ungodly individuals who teach error and subvert the faith of the vulnerable. As Paul said, “whose mouths must be stopped.” It seems that Titus too, as an evangelist, was to be occupied in this defense of truth.

In every culture, time and community there will be men whose influence will destroy the faith of others. The particular brand of error of which Paul warned Titus, that of libertinism (“evil beasts, lazy gluttons”), is as prevalent today as it was then and there.

Doctrinal error and sinful practices must be rebuked. And as indicated by Paul, at times that rebuke must be sharp. Men are needed, especially in the eldership, who can discern truth from the commandments of men — and “by sound doctrine” (vs. 9) both rebuke the false teacher, and warn God’s people who would be led astray.
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Mining the Scriptures: 1 Timothy 1:3-4

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The charge given by Paul to Timothy in our text is a simple one. “teach no other doctrine.” The charge was not given to Timothy, as Paul trusted his protégé. However, there was a danger that some other Christians (in Ephesus) might stray from true doctrine, and teach error. The Greek term literally means to “teach otherwise”, and obviously refers to doctrines that differ from those taught by the apostles.

Further, Timothy was to admonish against “fables and endless genealogies.” These have references to the fictions and traditions of men, that have no bearing or benefit to the Christian. They are simply a source of division. It has been stated that men could all “speak the same thing” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:10), if only they would limit their speech to those things found in God’s word.

The purpose of spiritual instruction is edification. Such edification can be found exclusively in the word of God. Paul’s admonition is as needed (and as often violated) today as it was in his time.