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

Negative Examples

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We contend that the examples we find in scripture serve to establish authority. When we see Christians in the New Testament engaged in an activity with God’s approval, we know the activity to be authorized by God. We can do it as well.

An example, Acts 20:7. The disciples ate the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week (Sunday). So, we are authorized to do the same.

Similarly, we are to learn from negative examples. Paul affirmed this in 1 Corinthians 10. He noted the sinful actions of the Israelites during their time in the Wilderness, saying, “But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness” (5). He then wrote, “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted (6).

Four things are mentioned specifically: idolatry, fornication, tempting Christ and complaining.

Taking fornication as an example, we note that any sexual activity outside of marriage (heterosexual, as defined by God, cf. Genesis 2:22-24) is condemned (cf. Hebrews 13:4). As Paul wrote, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (12).

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Have You Ever Asked, “What Does God Think?”

What does God Think

The United Church of Canada has been in the news of late, as the institution is trying to figure out what to do with one of its pastors. Gretta Vosper was ordained by that church in 1993. She has been, for a number of years, an avowed atheist! She has declared that it is time for the Christian church to give up on “the idolatry of a theistic god.” While some in the denomination wish for her to remain a pastor, others are not so sure. I wonder if anyone ever thought to consult the Bible to find out what God thinks?

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1).

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The Bible View of Sexuality

Bible and Sexuality

We live in a promiscuous society. According to a 2008 survey reported by the Guttmacher Institute, 90% of single women between the ages of 20 and 44 are sexually experienced. 70% identified themselves as currently sexually active. Among teenagers for the past 15 years, the percentage of teenagers (15-19) who have had sex has remained fairly constant (44% of girls, 49% of boys, Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention).

It should not be surprising that some churches are changing their teaching regarding premarital sex. One example of this is a recently published book by Bromleigh McCleneghan, a married mother of three, and “associate pastor for ministry with families” at the Union Church of Hinsdale in Illinois. The title of her book is, “Good Christian Sex”, with the subtitle, “Why Chastity Isn’t the Only Option—And Other Things the Bible Says About Sex.”

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Sermon: The Wicked Bible Redux

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In 1631, an edition of the KJV was published with an error in Exodus 20:14, reading, “Thou shalt commit adultery.” This edition is known as the “Wicked Bible.” In our time, the “Wicked Bible” has returned as men disregard what the Bible actually says.

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

Bona Fide Religious Purpose?

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In 2007, the state of Iowa updated the state’s Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The statute prohibits “unfair or discriminatory practice” in any public accommodation. However, it contains an exemption for religious organizations. A provision in the law states that the law does not apply to “any bona fide religious institution with respect to any qualifications the institution may impose based on religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose.” The term “bona fide religious purpose” is nebulous.

In fact, a brochure published by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission interpreted the law in a broad fashion. The brochure stated:

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Cultural Newspeak

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In George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 , the government sought to limit freedoms, and influence thought, by introducing a variation of English called “Newspeak.” The idea was for the government to establish words with specific meanings, and to eliminate words that contained thoughts that were possibly antagonistic to the government’s purposes.

I find it interesting in our day that something similar is occurring. Definitions of words are being changed as a means of promoting new ideas and values while at the same time discouraging values that society no longer considers acceptable. Since those unacceptable values are often held by Christians, those who hold their faith dear are being marginalized by society. Let me supply a few examples:

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Sermon: Challenges in Personal Evangelism

Image “I’m gay, would me and my partner be welcome at your church?”

How would you answer this question? It is typical of challenges facing God’s people in the world today. This lesson uses this question, actually asked, to discussion the responsibilities of God’s people to share the gospel with the lost of the world.

Audio

In the News: Homosexual Marriage Legal

Image As I write this article, the Supreme Court has struck down any state laws that limit civil marriage to a contract between a man and a woman. The decision is considered a watershed moment in American history, and a victory against discrimination.

The decision is the latest societal victory for homosexual activists. One television reporter correctly noted that the decision will spark debate in religious institutions throughout America. Which is, of course, the saddest note in this entire matter.

For a Christian, the Supreme Court decision should be irrelevant. Men do not have the right to redefine parameters that were put into place by God when He created man:

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Immorality Rages

Image From 1920 until 1933 it was against the law in the United States to manufacture, sell or transport alcohol. This time was known as Prohibition , and it was a wildly unsuccessful experiment, as laws were continually broken, especially in urban areas. People wanted to drink alcohol, and rather than making a large segment of the population criminals, Prohibition was repealed.

Today, not only is the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol legal, it is big business. Only the most radical of religious conservatives hold to abstinence as a moral conviction. In fact, the manufacture and consumption of marijuana is also legal in Colorado, and nationally 53% of all Americans support its legalization. Among 18-34 year olds that number rises to 68%.

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In the News: “Sex” and “Gender”

Image The latest cover for Vanity Fair Magazine has been revealed, and features former Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner, who now gender identifies as a woman. The caption — “Call Me Caitlyn.”

With surgical advancements, some have determined to change their physical characteristics from male to female, or female to male. With hormonal therapy, augmentation, amputation, reconstruction — it is possible to mask a person’s sexual characteristics, and look like the opposite sex. The first time I became aware of this was way back in 1975 when a man named Richard Raskind had what is referred to as sex reassignment, or sex change surgery. From that point on known as Dr. Renee’ Richards, he petitioned to play in the ladies bracket of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 1976, and was denied. He sued, and won, and actually played in both singles and doubles in 1977. He played on the women’s tour through 1981.

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In the News: Are We A Persecuted People?

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Are Christians a persecuted people?

The answer to this question is an obvious and unequivocal, “Yes.” It is the lot of every Christian to suffer persecution of one type or another as a consequence of the profession of faith. It happens, and it is not uncommon. Fortunately, in our country we have enjoyed a long history of religious tolerance. Such tolerance is, in fact, a bedrock of our nation. We have long escaped state sponsored persecution and oppression. The persecution we have witnessed and experienced as Christians in America has been rather mild. For this reason we hesitate to even categorize it as such, fearing that we will be perceived as less than valiant.

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Sermon: Six Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying

Spring Meeting 2014

The lesson is a review of the contention of a religious writer for the Huffington Post, who claimed that Christians should just stop saying:

  1. The Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God
  2. We just believe the Bible
  3. Jesus is the only way to heaven
  4. The rapture of Jesus is imminent
  5. Homosexuality is a sin against God
  6. The earth is less than 10,000 years old

Audio

The Emperor’s New Clothes – Redux

modest girlThe picture to the left is not of the best quality. It is, however, striking. It is the picture of a young girl, perhaps 8 or 9 years old, who is hiding her eyes during the 2011 Toronto Pride Parade, an annual event celebrating the LBGT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender) agenda in Canada. While the picture was taken at the 2011 parade, it was published on the internet only this week. The picture (cropped from a much larger image) was taken by Steve Jalsevac of LifeSiteNews.com.

The parade included large numbers of completely naked men and women, wearing only shoes. Transvestites were also prevalent, along with profane and sexually explicit signs and banners. Even those clothed were often dressed in very immodest attire. Thousands lined the streets. Community leaders, including participants from various area law enforcement agencies, actively took part in the parade. Many children were present, including the one in the picture.

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In the News: Pope Francis and Atheists

Image A recent online article from The Telegraph reported that the recently elevated Pope of the Catholic church has made efforts to reach out to agnostics and atheists. (for Telegraph article, click here .)

His words were given in response to some editorials that had appeared in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. The paper’s founder, Eugenio Scalfari (an agnostic), had asked whether, “the Christian God forgives those who do not believe and do not seek faith.”

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In the News: Demonstrating a Bias

Image This one is hitting close to home. The San Antonio city council is considering adopting an ordinance that will update their non-discrimination policy. This new ordinance will, if enacted, effectively ban anyone who expresses their faith from involvement in city business. Following is the text of the proposed ordinance:

“No person shall be appointed to a position if the city council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, or disability.”

The ordinance adds two new categories to protected status — sexual orientation and gender identity. It also uses the words “demonstrated a bias”, without defining what rises to the level of bias. It is open ended, showing that such “demonstrations” have no expiration date.

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