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: Cyber-Sin

Cyber-SinThe internet is a tool that can be used for good or evil. There are many dangers in cyberspace, and as Christians we must beware!

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

From the Preacher’s Pen: Greed is Fun?

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I recently read a novel that contained a passage describing gamblers playing slot machines at a casino in Las Vegas. The description noted that the gamblers were not having a particularly good time. In the author’s words, “There were no smiles, no backslapping, just intense manic concentration, as if by so focusing, the winning bars would magically line up and pay off.” The author’s conclusion? “Greed was supposed to be fun, but apparently it was only fun if you were winning.”

As usual, the world grasps the truth of a vice, while some Christians who struggle with worldly desires can only rationalize. The appeal of gambling is in the winning of filthy lucre. It is popular because of the greed of men. Those who gamble entertain the basest motives, and contribute to what is a drain and scourge on our nation and it’s culture.

There is a reason that Las Vegas is known as “Sin City.” Gambling is not the only sin to be found there, but it is certainly the most prominent. As Christians, we have spent enough of our past lifetime engaging in profane activities (cf. 1 Peter 4:3), and should now aspire to holiness.

“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

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In The News: Scandal and Immorality

inthenewsIt is apparent that we are living during a time of immorality and ungodliness. Worldliness has always held sway with the majority, but we are certainly in a cycle of excessiveness.

In Genesis 6:5-6 we are informed of an ungodly time, much like our own. “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” That is not to say that there are only 8 righteous souls on the earth (the number spared in the flood). However, the evil nature of society is certainly similar to that of old.

The pagan society of Paul’s day was similar. Paul stated that “although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). Their foolishness led them to all types of debauchery, and Paul maintained that those who practice such things are “worthy of death” (vs. 32).

This past week I typed in the word “scandal” into an internet search engine, and came up with a sampling of the pervasive ungodliness that exists in our world today.

  • An NBA referee (Tim Donaghy) is being investigated by the FBI for both betting on and fixing NBA games in order to appease gangsters because of his gambling debts. The scandal is perhaps the most disturbing in decades in professional sports.
  • Some British politicians are presently embroiled in a scandal involving unethical campaign financing schemes.
  • A Catholic Cardinal in Los Angeles apologized last week to the hundreds of people affected by the sex scandal that has rocked the Catholic church. The church in L.A. is scheduled to pay $660,000,000 in reparations to victims.
  • Louisiana Senator David Vitter spent last week in seclusion after a raid on a prostitution ring in Washington D.C. turned up his phone number. He has acknowledged what he calls “a serious sin.”
  • In China a scandal surfaced last month after about 400 distraught parents posted a plea on the Internet about their children who had been sold into slavery in China’s northern Shanxi province and neighbouring Henan. It is estimated that over 1,000 people, many of them children, have been victimized by these crimes.

These are only representative of the literally hundreds of scandals that have been reported on in the news the past several weeks. They show a lack of integrity, conviction and morality that exists in the world today. Sex, gambling, corruption and man’s inhumanity to man are the norm rather than the exception. In fact, such are so common that it is probable most of the examples above are unfamiliar to most of the readers of this article.

In the face of such ungodliness, Christians are admonished by the Holy Spirit to, “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I [Paul] may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain” (Phil. 2:15-16).

Temporary Casinos?

inthenews

Harrah’s Entertainment’s top executive is recommending the Mississippi government allow the company to build a temporary casino on land to replace its Grand Casino Biloxi riverboat, which was hurled ashore and destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

The temporary casino, without a hotel, could be built relatively quickly and could “start to generate some revenue” for the state, Chief Executive Gary Loveman said.

Mississippi’s Gulf Coast has been decimated by Katrina. Both its riverboat-based tourist economy and its local economy have been destroyed. When asked about the appropriateness of opening a casino amid the destruction, Loveman said the casino would draw from a wider region and would generate more tax revenue for the state than, say, a hotel.

“We would draw from a three-hour perimeter,” he said. “That would be a start.”

Harrah’s also owns the Grand Casino Gulfport in Mississippi, a riverboat casino that was destroyed, and a land-based casino in New Orleans that sustained only modest damage. Harrah’s owns more casinos that were hurt by Katrina than those owned by any other Las Vegas operator…

…When and where the company will be allowed to rebuild its Biloxi and Grand Casino Gulfport properties and whether they would be farther inland and in more secure locations “will depend on if the law changes,” he said. Loveman later said there was a “good chance it will be changed.”

Mississippi law now requires casinos to be built on boats or pontoons over water, though a change implemented last month allows casinos to be built on pilings over water. Some observers say the riverboat requirement will end because of the damage wrought by the storm, which tossed many riverboats ashore.

Liz Benston
Las Vegas Sun, via lasvegassun.com

Analysis:

It is amazing how quickly corporations and individuals will seek to profit from tragedy. It is my prayer that when New Orleans and the port cities of Mississippi rebuild, they will leave off rebuilding the centers of vice that have become synonymous with that area of the country.

Here is an opportunity for these communities to reject the ungodly practices that characterized the coastal cities of Louisiana and Mississippi. There is no need to rebuild the casinos, and yet the gambling industry will use hurricane Katrina to lobby lawmakers to change the laws, and allow the casinos to leave the coast, and take up residence inland.

Perhaps such destruction should be viewed as a chastisement from God, and repentance should be forthcoming, rather than rebuilding the infrastructure of ungodliness.

The Spread of Gambling

The September 18, 1996 edition of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram ran an article on the subject of gambling. It was found on the opinion page, and authored by the nationally syndicated columnist, William Safire. In his article, he gives two quotes from Senator Richard Lugar, as he was addressing a group called the Christian Coalition. I would like for you to consider the two quotes: Continue reading » The Spread of Gambling

The Myth of the Money Tree

(A Secular Approach to the Problems of the Lottery)

The following article originally appeared in Christianity Today, July 10, 1987. The article was written by a man by the name of Charles Colson. It addresses the problems with the Illinois lottery from a secular point of view. I thought this article would be a good addition to the other two at this site examining the sinful nature of the lottery. If you have read the other two articles, you know that participating in the lottery is sin, no disputing it, it is fact. Now, read on, and see some reasons why the lottery is dangerous both to your pocketbook, and your soul…

Continue reading » The Myth of the Money Tree

Sobering Thoughts About the Lottery

Author’s Note: I wrote this article around the time that the lottery was established in Texas. The article serves to show the ridiculous nature of such an activity.

The signs are popping up all over town, and presumably, all over the state. TEXAS LOTTERY…Play the Texas Lottery Here! It’s quite a phenomenon. I was in a 7-11 just a few days ago, waiting in a much longer line than usual, to purchase a few groceries. The reason for the long line was the lottery. Almost to a man, the people in front of me bought 1,2,5,6 lottery tickets, all hoping for the possible lucky ticket. It struck me at the time that the behavior of the people could be summed up in one word…GREED! Or to use a biblical term, COVETOUSNESS! Continue reading » Sobering Thoughts About the Lottery

Is It A Sin to Play the Lottery?

The state of Texas is one of many states that run a lottery. This rapidly growing phenomenon brings to the forefront questions concerning the morality of gambling. Is gambling a sin? This article will attempt to answer honestly that question by an appeal to scripture.

A quick point as we begin. The amount you gamble is irrelevant. The principles we are about to address show gambling to be wrong. On principle. With no regard to amount. Just gambling a little can no more be justified than telling a “little white lie” or saying a cuss word “only every once in a while”. If it is wrong, IT IS WRONG! Continue reading » Is It A Sin to Play the Lottery?