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

Social Media Guidelines

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Social Media in our day and time is ubiquitous. In December of last year, Facebook boasted an average of over 1.23 Billion daily users. That is about 4 times the entire population of the United States, every day! Other popular Social Media sites include Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
With such ubiquity comes the danger of abuse and sin. Christians need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of using these sites, lest we “fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:7).

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Moral Turpitude

Invitation: Only a Form of Godliness

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

2 Timothy 3:1-5 reveals that some in the last days will have a form of godliness, but are in reality ungodly. May it be that we are not this way!

Audio

The Patternists: Unreasonable Men

Patternist

There is an interesting passage in 2 Thessalonians 3 where Paul describes the unbeliever. “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith” (1-2).

He is unreasonable. Faith in God (cf. Romans 1:20-23) is the reasonable response to the testimony of nature. His “invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” Too, faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God is firmly established by the eyewitness testimony of His resurrection.

He is wicked. The end of those who do not believe is wickedness. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind…” (Romans 1:28). Without God there is no divine standard of right and wrong. Men are free to determine for themselves what they accept and reject, and most revert to their base instincts.

He oppresses the righteous. We are told that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:13). This at the hands of “evil men.”

The reasonable, righteous man believes in God and His Son Jesus Christ. From him the “word of the Lord” runs swiftly and is glorified. You aren’t reasonable and righteous unless you respect and obey God’s word!

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Our Nation is a Mess!

ImageSetting aside the different views regarding economic policy, and questions regarding the proper response to terrorism, immigration and climate change — it is obvious to those who hold Christian values that our nation has lost its way. The wise man wrote, “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

Politically, for a while now our nation has adopted a two party system for governance. And, for a while now, both parties have advocated policies and practices that are characterized by greed, immorality and inhumanity. This is seen in party platforms, and more egregiously in the personal lives, practices and positions of our national leaders. Even those who give lip service to Christian values are quick to compromise those values when it suits them.

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In the News: Should We Watch? (Deadpool)

ImageThere are many moral issues that have cropped up in the news this past week. Some of these concern the politics of our day, but one in particular is certainly appropriate for this space.

Many younger Christians thoroughly enjoy superhero comic books, and lately, the movies that are being adapted from the material. CGI and other sophisticated special effects make for a much more believable Superman and Batman than cinematic treatments of previous decades.

Marvel has been especially successful in bringing superheroes to the big screen. Characters such as Captain America, Iron Man, Spider Man, the Hulk and Thor have captured the imagination of a new generation, and made hundreds of millions of dollars for the Marvel company.

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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).

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The Patternists: Moral Insanity

Patternist

Recently, I spent some time reading articles written by faithful Christians describing the moral failings of modern man. I was impressed to note the consistency in theme, regarding the cause of such immorality, whether said articles were written in the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, or more recently.

In light of our present societal degradations, we would do well to revisit that theme. Born in 1962, present attitudes toward righteousness are nearer rock-bottom than any time in my lifespan. Abortion is common, sexual promiscuity is rampant, recreational drug use is accepted and in some cases legal, and the LGBT agenda has reached levels of absurdity that would have been impossible to imagine a decade ago.

The theme? Man has rejected the concept of absolute authority, as in – the authority of God. The lack of faith in God and His will is the wellspring of the present ungodliness. Paul responded to a similar rebellious spirit in his time by writing, “For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:3-4).

Men say that God (or His will revealed in scripture) is no longer relevant. The Holy Spirit says that such a view is irrelevant! The fact that some do not believe doesn’t change reality – God is true!

Consider Paul’s conclusion on the matter. “But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?” (3:5-6). Men can not successfully disregard God. He is the absolute authority. One day, all men will know it!

To see The Patternists Page on Facebook, click here, and Like!

In the News: Abortion Obscenity

Image By now you may have viewed the two hidden camera videos of representatives of Planned Parenthood negotiating the sale of fetal tissue to a supposed bio-medical research firm. It is illegal to sell human fetal tissue, which may lead to legal problems for the organization.

Already, politicians are calling for a full investigation, and there is a call to defund Planned Parenthood, which received about half of its total funding (45%, 540 million dollars) from government grants in the fiscal year ending in June 2013. In 2012, the organization performed a self-reported 327,166 abortions.

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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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Sermon: A Faithless and Perverse Generation

Image Just as 2,000 years ago, we today live in the midst of a Faithless and Perverse generation. Our response must be to maintain our faith and purity, and shine as lights in the world.

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

Brazen

Image In Ezekiel 16, the Lord spoke to Jerusalem, expressing His disappointment at her ingratitude and rebellion, in response to His care and nurturing. He stated, “I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful” (vs. 7). Using the figure of marriage, He later said, “I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine” (vs. 8).

Their response was disconcerting. He charged, “But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it” (vs. 15). In fact, Jerusalem was so corrupt that God said, “You are the opposite of other women in your harlotry, because no one solicited you to be a harlot. In that you gave payment but no payment was given you, therefore you are the opposite” (34).

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Christian Ethics

Image In previous decades, American society generally shared the same values that are currently held by Christians. Sexual promiscuity, moral excesses, and other vices were frowned upon. Even those who engaged in them understood that they were morally wrong, and hid their actions from plain sight. As time has passed, however, societal values have diverged from the Christian norm. Because of this:

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In the News: Non-Religious Ethics

Image In doing some internet research on the subject of ethics, I came across an article by Rohana R. Wasala, a practicing Buddhist. In his article, titled Ethics and the non religious essence of Buddhism (lankaweb.com), Wasala advocated Buddhism over other religions, noting that Buddhism is not a religion in the traditional sense, in that it has its origin not in a supernatural being, but rather in a philosophy of self.

Interestingly, the author bemoans the fact that Buddhism, as practiced popularly, is not the same as “Pristine Buddhism.” To contrast the two, he states that Pristine Buddhism is free from the element of worship and prayer. He then stated that in contrast, “Unfortunately, Buddhism in popular practice is a different thing. It is today displayed by most followers as a religion.”

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