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: The Christian’s Responsibility to God

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The most important of our responsibilities is toward the eternal God of Heaven, our creator and the author of our redemption. We should worship, fear, obey & love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.

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Sermon: Do We Know How to Blush?

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The Jews of Jeremiah’s day had no shame, they had forgotten how to blush (cf. Jeremiah 6:11-15; 8:8-12). God’s people need to know how to blush. A sense of shame will help to protect and correct in areas such as conduct, speech and appearance.

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Lessons Learned from the Remnant

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The book of Ezra records a remnant of Judah returning to the homeland after 70 years spent in Babylonian captivity. The reason they had been conquered by the Babylonians was their rejection of God. As Jeremiah put it, “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32).

However, after 70 years (prophesied in Jeremiah 29:10), God stirred up the heart of King Cyrus to allow the Jews to return to their homeland (cf. Ezra 1:1). Not all were interested in leaving the place where they had lived for two generations. But, a remnant was moved by God (1:5), and returned to the land. Here the Jews reestablished their worship to God, and ultimately rebuilt the temple.

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From Where Do Wars Come?

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James wrote, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1). Commentators differ on what “wars” James refers to — big ones, or little ones. However, the motivation for is typically the same — Lust!

Selfish desire is at the root of most strife, whether disputes between nations, or petty squabbles among individuals. James wrote, “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war” (4:2).

One nation covets the land or resources that are owned by another. One ruler wants riches he sees beyond the borders of his own land. Lust and covetousness is the root of war!

The same is true in religion. Wars have been fought because of sectarian jealousies. The continual war between Jews and Muslims is fueled in part by claims made on the old city of Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount. Each faction covets the same plot of land.

Strife was caused in Corinth because each faction wanted exalted status (1 Corinthians 1:10-15). Conflict existed between two women in Philippi, presumably for the similar reasons (Philippians 4:2). Paul’s remedy? “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3).

Selfish desires bring war and conflict. Humility brings unity and expressions of love and peace.

A Pattern of Mercy

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Paul, in his letter to Timothy, revealed himself to be an egregious sinner. He had been guilty of persecuting Christians. He described himself as “formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” (1 Timothy 1:13). God, though, extended His grace to all men, including Paul. Paul wrote:

“However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Timothy 1:16).

Note the words of Paul. By his example, Jesus Christ has established a “pattern.” We look to the example of Paul, and from it we are assured that no matter how horrible our sins may be, we can be saved. If Paul could receive forgiveness, so can we.

Many deny that we can look to scripture as a pattern. Most commonly, it is because they desire the freedom to live as they like, and do not want to be constrained by God’s revealed will. But, it works both ways. We better hope that Paul is right, and that his example establishes a pattern! That way, we can be confident that we too can obtain mercy, no matter how horrible our sins!

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1:15).

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“Things which angels desire to look into”

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In 1 Peter, the apostle begins his epistle by discussing the salvation which comes from Jesus Christ. He noted that this salvation was preached from old by the prophets, though they did not have a full understanding of that which they foretold. He wrote:

“To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things which angels desire to look into” (1:12).

How blessed we are to live in the fullness of times! Jesus has come, and His shed blood affords us the means to obtain the forgiveness of sins. His resurrection from the dead gives us a “living hope” (1:3).

The prophets dearly wanted to know what today has been revealed to us! How sad it is that so many men, in contrast, have no interest in the most sublime and important revelation to all mankind.

What about you? Are you interested in “things which angels desire to look into”?

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The Christian’s Responsibility to the Brethren

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The Christian has the responsibility to be hospitable, to see unity with fellow believers, to edify his brethren and to love them as well.

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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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The Christian’s Responsibility in the World

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The Christian has the responsibility to be a good citizen, to be a good influence, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to be a good neighbor to those who are in the world.

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Sermon: A Thankful Heart

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We should always be thankful for not only the things we receive from God, but also for the people, past and present, that bless us physically and spiritually.

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The Good Shepherd

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In the gospel of John, Jesus identified himself as the “good shepherd” (John 10:11). The work of the shepherd in New Testament times was challenging. He would train the sheep or goats to obey his commands, feed and water them, and protect them from harm. The young David is an good example, as he saved his sheep from both a lion and a bear (cf. 1 Samuel 17:34). Obviously, if the sheep belonged to the shepherd himself, the investment was a precious one. This explains Jesus’ words, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (11). In contrast, “The hireling flees [when he sees the wolf] because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep” (13). Jesus used this imagery to describe His sin sacrifice, “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep” (15).

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“Behold, I give you the authority”

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In Luke 10, we read of Jesus’ sending 70 disciples out to preach, “The kingdom of God has come near to you” (9). When the disciples returned, they were rejoicing, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (17).

Consider the Lord’s answer. “And He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.'”

There is much of interest in His words. For our short article, consider the words, “Behold, I give you the authority…” (19)

All authority rightly belongs to Jesus, and Jesus alone (cf. Matthew 28:18). The reason, the only reason the disciples were able to do what they did was that Jesus delegated the authority to them.

The same is true for us today. The reason, the only reason we are able to accomplish anything that pleases God is that Christ grants us the authority to do it. If what we do is not authorized by Him, it is without value. “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

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Now I See!

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Luke 18 records a conversation between a blind man and Jesus. Think about the miserable existence of such a man in the first century, begging beside the road as an uncaring populace walks by. When some told him that Jesus was in the multitude passing by, he cried out for mercy.

Some admonished him, but he cried out the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (39). The compassionate Savior asked of the man, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (41). When the blind man asked for his sight, Jesus said, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well” (42). Upon receiving his sight, Luke records that the man began to follow Jesus, “glorifying God” (43).

Can you imagine his joy? He was blind, but now could see! No wonder he glorified God.

What about me? Haven’t I received a much greater gift from our Lord? True, the blind man received his sight, but I have received the forgiveness of my sins! The blind man was aware every day of the gift given him by the Son of God. While I may not have such an overt reminder, as I look through the eyes of faith, the favor He has shown to me is clearly seen!

Let me, then, give praise to God! Because of His amazing grace, “I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.” (John Newton)

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Sermon: The Christian’s Responsibility in the Home

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The Christian has the responsibility to be morally upright, to be Christ centered, to fill his or her appointed role, and to love fully for a home to be what Christ wants it to be.

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Sermon: Rejected in His Own Country

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The rejection of Jesus by his hometown of Nazareth serves to teach us important lessons about perseverence, respect for the will of God, and ridding ourselves of personal prejudices. (Lesson text: Matthew 13:53-58).

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