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: Welcoming God’s Words

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The apostle Paul commended the Thessalonians for their receptive attitude towards God’s word. He wrote in his first letter to them, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (2:13).

The Thessalonians recognized the authority of the apostle, and that the words he delivered to them were inspired of God. As such, they respected and obeyed it.

There is a difference between the words of men and the words of God. It is a difference that is ignored by the large majority of religious people today. Put simply, if God said it, we must heed and obey! Respect for God requires that we regard all scripture as authoritative and binding!

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The Patternists: How Can a “Christian” Do It?

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Last week I wrote a lengthy article titled “An illogical attitude toward the Bible.

The article was in response to another article titled “Evangelicals are Losing the Battle for the Bible. And They’re Just Fine With That.”

Consider the ramifications of that title. Evangelicals as a group have always contended that the Bible is inspired of God and inerrant. A new generation of Evanglicals are disavowing that position. The article states that the issues leading to this change in thinking revolve mainly around social issues. The Bible condemns homosexuality, contends for specific and different gender roles for men and women, and contends that the Bible was created by the fiat of God in seven days. These positions are rejected by society today. Young evangelicals, swayed by current mores, are accepting the wisdom of men, and rejecting what they perceive to be foolishness contained in God’s word.

In so doing, they deny the words of Paul, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’ Therefore let no one boast in men (1 Corinthians 3:19-21).

Those who reject the Lord’s words are rejecting the Lord Himself! Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

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An illogical attitude toward the Bible

ImageThis past week I read an extended article from the Los Angeles Review of Books website, titled “Evangelicals Are Losing the Battle for the Bible. And They’re Just Fine With That”, by Jim Finch. The article is rather lengthy, and notes a trend among evangelicals, (a group which has historically contended for the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible), toward a more modernistic view of scripture. Today, many who consider themselves evangelicals no longer regard the Bible as “inerrant, dictated by God, historically accurate in all of its claims or even internally consistent with itself.”

It is not surprising to note that many reject the inspiration of scripture. Modernists, secularists, and proponents of other religions have always done so. However, it is a far different matter when individuals who claim to be respectful of the Bible reject the same. This is a highly illogical and intellectually unsustainable position.

Continue reading » An illogical attitude toward the Bible

Invitation: The faith once for all delivered

Image Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

In Jude 3, Jude indicates that the faith was once for all delivered. The Bible was authored by the Holy Spirit, and through Divine providence has been protected in its integrity until today.

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The Patternists: Red Letters are a Start

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Anyone who has a red letter edition of the New Testament is aware of the small amount of teaching that Jesus did which was recorded by the gospel writers. Every word is precious, and despite the relatively few words known, contain an inestimable wealth of wisdom, instruction and guidance for mankind.

Some today seem to think that these words constitute the entirety of God’s will for man. They think that if they heed Jesus’ spoken words, recorded in the gospels, they will have a sufficient knowledge of the Lord’s will to please Him.

It is interesting that by making this claim, they actually ignore what Jesus Himself said on the matter. In response to a question by Judas Iscariot, Jesus said in John 14:23-26:

“If anyone love Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

Several things here are notable: 1) All of the words that come both from the Lord and the Holy Spirit have their ultimate origin with the Father. 2) Jesus did not share with the apostles everything the Father wanted revealed. 3) After Jesus left the earth, the Holy Spirit both revealed the remainder of God’s will, and reminded them of what Jesus had already said.

All scripture is inspired by God (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17), including the writings of Paul and the other apostles (cf. 2 Peter 3:16). As such, we are not at liberty to disregard any of it. The words of the New Testament writers are equally important and binding upon us, because they too have their origin with the Father in Heaven.

Some people in the first century opposed Paul, John and the other apostles. Their refusal to heed the writings of God’s servants were to “their own destruction” (cf. 2 Peter 3:16). The same mistake is being made today. Consider Peter’s warning in 2 Peter 3:17:

“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.”

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Mining the Scriptures: 2 Peter 1:19-21

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Peter here affirms (beginning with verse 16) that the gospel concerning the Christ was confirmed by God Himself. Though such confirmations came on multiple occasions, Peter here directly refers to the transfiguration of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 17:1-9. Peter was an eyewitness of that event, and affirms that it is a confirmation of the fact that the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament are realized in Jesus of Nazareth.

At this point he makes a greater application. All scripture is derived from God. The Bible does not have its origin with men. It is not a product of any man’s will, but has its genesis with God (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). As such, no man has the right to ignore it, nor can he alter it with impunity. Instead, “you do well to heed” (vs. 19). It is described as our illumination in darkness. As the great prophet Jeremiah proclaimed, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

Invitation: Eternally Relevant

Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox

In Colossians 4:16 Paul encouraged the Colossians to share the epistle he had written with the Christians in Laodicea. The words inspired by the Holy Spirit are relevant for all people, for all time.

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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

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God Speaks to Me!

It is common for religious people to claim that they have received instructions or confirmation directly from God. They place great trust in the “directions” they have received, and use any coincidence as corroboration that God has spoken to them. When asked what God’s voice sounds like, they are seldom bold enough to describe an actual voice, but remain steadfast in their contention that they have been directed in some nebulous way by Him.

There is no doubt that at times God has spoken directly to man. The Old Testament gives examples of conversations between God and Adam, Abraham and Moses. The apostle Peter stated, “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Continue reading » God Speaks to Me!

From the Preacher’s Pen: Chronological Snobbery

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I mentioned last Wednesday night a phrase coined by C.S. Lewis, as he considered his prejudice against the Christian faith early in his life. He called it his “chronological snobbery.” He defined the concept as, “the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate of our own age, and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that count discredited.”

Such chronological snobbery is certainly characteristic of American culture today. The acceptance of homosexuality, and the willingness to redefine marriage; the toleration of all types of sexual promiscuity; the characterization of abortion as a moral and ethical practice, and the villainizing of those who oppose it; the promotion of the “big bang” theory as an explanation of origins of the universe. All of these, and a multitude of others are promoted as the enlightened product of our age, with proponents looking down their noses at the “superstitions” and “outmoded thinking” of the past.

Of course, every generation perceives itself as enlightened and superior. And, every generation has its own illusions and wrong thinking. In contrast to this, we have God’s will, revealed and accessible through the Holy Scriptures. It stands in stark contrast to the failed philosophies and ideas of men. It is as relevant today as when it was first written. As the Psalmist wrote, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). Paul wrote, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

C.S. Lewis put it this way, “Whatever is not eternal, is eternally out of date.” To that we say, AMEN.

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Sermon: The Sufficiency of the Scriptures

Josh Cox discusses attitudes toward the Bible, expressed by those who are not Christians; the inspiration and sufficiency of the scriptures as God’s word; and the proper attitude that Christians should have toward the Bible.

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Mining the Scriptures: Luke 1:1-4

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Luke 1:1-4

In Luke’s introductory comments to Theophilus, he acknowledges that others had written accounts of Jesus’ life and accomplishments. Matthew, Mark and John are the three we have included in the New Testament in addition to this effort by Luke.

His desire was to share these things with Theophilus, putting them in order, so that his friend could “know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (vs. 4)

There are two reasons we can trust in Luke’s account of Jesus’ life. The first is that he was an eyewitness, “having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first” (vs. 3).

The second is that Luke’s account is inspired of God. Paul wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16).

The name Theophilus means, “lover of God.” In fact, all who love God can look to Luke’s gospel, and in it find accurate records of Jesus’ life, teaching, works, death and resurrection. In so doing, we can have confidence in the validity of that Gospel. We can know, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” (cf. 23:47).

From the Preacher’s Pen: The Word of Life

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Consider the following quote:

“For the postmodern and mystic, … words are only symbols for a subjective interpretation of and experience with the “Living Word.” (Randall Price, Searching for the Original Bible, page 27).

This quote accurately describes the attitude of the majority of religious people in our day. The Bible, while a comfort and precious object, has little bearing on their daily walk. Their view is that a relationship with Christ is sufficient, and that it can be obtained on their own terms.

But, in truth, our understanding of Christ, and our relationship with Him depends upon His written word. It is the “word of life” we are to be “holding fast” (cf Philippians 2:16). It is that which perfects a man (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It must be known and obeyed.

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2 – Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?

In The News: Religious Beliefs of Americans

inthenewsOn November 29th, Harris Interactive released results of a poll that was designed to determine what Americans believe on the subject of religion. It seems that the results were near identical to a previous poll taken in 2005. Those interested can see the complete results of the poll, by going to http://harrisinteractive.com

There were certain interesting things to note about the results of the poll:

  • First, the United States remains a nation where most identify themselves as Christians. 72% believe that Jesus is the Son of God. 70% believe that Jesus was resurrection from the dead. Of course, it is interesting that 2% of those who profess belief in the deity of Christ nevertheless deny his power over death. For those 2%, perhaps Paul’s words are in order, “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:16-19).
  • One thing that is disturbing is the small numbers of Americans that accept the Bible as God’s word. While 53% of Americans believe that the Old Testament is the Word of God, and 52% of Americans believe that the New Testament is the Word of God, only 33% believe that both are God’s word. This time, Peter weighs in, proclaiming that “no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Further, Peter affirmed that the epistles of Paul were a part of those scriptures (cf. 2 Peter 3:15-16).
  • Americans are very undiscerning in their beliefs. The Harris Poll also asked questions concerning common superstitions. In response, 41% of Americans professed a belief in ghosts; 35% in UFO’s; 31% in witches; 29% in astrology; and 21% in reincarnation. It is rather insulting that questions concerning faith in Christ are lumped together with UFO’s, but what is more disturbing is that so many Americans are so credulous. It is such undiscerning (blind) faith in the ridiculous that gives fodder to those who claim faith in Christ is without merit. Rather, our faith has a significant foundation. Paul, in his address to Festus and Agrippa, made that bold assertion. In the face of Festus’ claim that “much learning is driving you mad,” Paul stated that Agrippa knew the truthfulness of his claims concerning the resurrected Savior. As Paul stated, “this thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).

While the poll reveals the Christian leanings of our nation, it also clearly shows that such inclinations are seldom based upon true faith. As Christians, we must always remember that, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). May our faith be reasoned and established upon the verity of scripture, rather than the vagaries of human speculation.