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

Paul’s Bifurcated Life


The apostle Paul’s life had a striking bifurcation. The event which marked the change is narrated by Luke in Acts 9. On that occasion he left Jerusalem to go to Damascus. On the road he met the Lord.

Prior to that meeting Paul, whose Hebrew name was Saul, was a devoted Pharisee. He described himself in the following way. “If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:4-6).

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Mining the Scriptures: Galatians 1:18-24


As Paul continues the defense of his apostleship begun in verse 11, he notes that the first time he met any of the other apostles was three years after he began his ministry. Further, that on that occasion, Peter was the only apostle he met, during a two week trip to Jerusalem. (vs. 18-19).

Why would he point this out? Because of the Judaizing teachers who claimed that he was usurping his position as an apostle. Perhaps they claimed that Paul was just taking what he had heard, and parroting it while claiming an apostleship he did not deserve.

Paul’s here responds by relating his early ministry. He could not have been parroting the apostles because he hadn’t met or heard them. Instead, as he affirmed in verse 12, “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Since the gospel he preached was revealed to him by Jesus Christ, it was authoritative, and to be obeyed by the Galatians (cf. 1:6-9).

Mining the Scriptures: Titus 1:1-4


The apostle Paul wrote this epistle to Titus, “a true son in our common faith” (vs. 4). The salutation indicates that, as with Timothy (cf. 1 Timothy 1:2), Paul’s teaching had led to Titus’ conversion.

It was common for Paul, in his epistles, to defend his apostleship as being from God. Paul was not a usurper. In these few verses he states an eloquent argument for his apostleship, as a part of God’s overreaching scheme of redemption for man.

Paul’s apostleship was according to faith. It emanated from God. He states that God had committed him to the proclamation of that faith. God chose through the “foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

So, the emphasis here is not really on Paul as a bondservant and an apostle, but on the message he was to proclaim. Paul describes that gospel as that which “accords with godliness” (vs. 1). It leads to a holy life. As such, it is “in hope of eternal life.” That is, in leading the elect to righteousness, it provides standing with God in judgment. This eternal hope is something we are assured of, as it is promised by God, and God can not lie (cf. vs. 2, Hebrews 6:18). This promise, as Paul indicated, predates the creation of man (cf. vs. 2).

Mining the Scriptures: Galatians 1:11-17


In the first portion of his letter to the Galatians, Paul emphasized that his apostleship was authorized by God. He asserts the fact in verse 1, and argues the assertion in verses 11-17.

When a careful study is made of Paul’s actions from the time of his conversion, his claims are corroborated. After Paul was converted, as recorded by the historian Luke in Acts 9, he immediately began to preach the gospel of Christ in the synagogues (cf. Acts 9:20). Though the book of Acts does not record the trip to Arabia, it does note that “many days were past” (9:23), and emphasized the preaching done in Damascus. So, as Paul wrote, he did not “immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus” (vs. 16-17).

Why is this significant? First, Paul did not need the apostle’s blessing to begin or accomplish his ministry. The charge he obtained was directly from the Lord (cf. Acts 22:15). Second, the message he preached was not of his own devising, but was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 9:15,17; 22:14, Galatians 1:11-12).

Mining the Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3


Paul, in greeting the Corinthians in his first epistle to the church there, identifies himself as an “apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God.” This was his common greeting, necessitated by the Judaizers who constantly attacked his legitimacy as an ambassador of the Lord.

The letter is written to “the church of God which is at Corinth.” This is not a proper name for the church, but rather a phrase designating ownership. The church belongs to God. The church consists of those who have been called out of the world, separated through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. As such, it is proper only to refer to it as belonging to God, or Jesus (cf. Romans 16:16).

The Greek word ekklesia, from which the English term “church” derives, denotes sanctification. The church is called out, or separated from the world. This is accomplished when an individual, by calling “on the name of Jesus Christ”, is cleansed from sin. He is reconciled to God, and is rightly called a saint. This sanctification, as pointed out here by Paul, is accomplished in Jesus Christ. His sacrifice makes us holy, and separates us from the world.

Mining the Scriptures: Ephesians 1:1-2


Paul begins his epistle to the Ephesians with a few long sentences that are challenging to understand because of their complexity. One sentence covers verses 3-6. Another verses 7-10.

The first two verses of the epistle, however are simple.

Paul starts by identifying himself as an apostle of Christ, and affirms that his apostleship was from God rather than usurped. This was a common claim made by the apostle due to attacks levied by Judaizing teachers.

Paul next identifies his readers as saints. The term signifies a special relationship with Christ, as those who are separated to a life of godliness. Paul regarded the Christians in Ephesus to be faithful to God.

To such brethren, Paul pronounces a blessing. Grace and Peace. There is nothing difficult here, but the sentiment is sublime. God’s undeserved favor, extended ultimately through the death of His Son, is the means through which true Peace is obtained. This shows that the ultimate gifts can come only from God, and, that God indeed has granted such gifts to those who proclaim their fidelity to Him.

Sermon: The Gospel – Veiled or Shining?

An expository sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:1-6. Paul was a minister of the gospel. A ministry of Spirit and Righteousness. With the veil removed, shining with the face of Jesus to the righteous. Veiled only to those deceived by the evil one.

Sermon Powerpoint: Click Here .

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Sermon: Gospel Meeting (Mo Hafley) November 6-11, 2010

This post contains short summaries and links to both audio and Powerpoint presentations of all the sermons Mo Hafley preached for the West Side congregation in the Fall 2010 meeting, November 6-11.

Lesson 1: Looking Unto Jesus

In this sermon, Mo Hafley of Paden City, WV uses the text of Hebrews 12:1-7, to establish the nature of the Christian’s race on earth, and the motivation behind it as we look to Jesus, our Savior.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Lesson 2: How We Worship

This sermon by Mo Hafley is a discussion on proper worship to God, with an emphasis on focus and proper spirituality when we sing, pray, commune around the Lord’s table, give of our means, and listen to the preaching of the Word of God.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Lesson 3: A Few Days with Paul

This sermon by Mo Hafley is a discussion of Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica and Berea, as recorded by Luke in Acts 17:1-13. Paul and the first century disciples showed great courage in the preaching of the gospel of Christ.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Lesson 4: Parents and Children

This sermon by Mo Hafley is a wonderful treatment of God’s word on the topic of Parenting. In it, Mo shows what God expects of Christian parents, and even has some words of admonition for children.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Lesson 5: Preaching Properly

In this sermon, Mo Hafley discusses the proper tone we are to take in preaching. Emphasis is placed upon militance in preaching, as too often in our day and time people heap up for themselves teachers having itching ears. Soft preaching is not God’s way.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Lesson 6: Holy Living in an Unholy World

This sermon by Mo Hafley documents the moral evil that is present in our world, and especially our nation. Biblical advice is given to Christians, explaining how we are to navigate in such troublesome waters.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Sermon Powerpoint: Click Here .

Lesson 7: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego

This lesson is an expository treatment of Daniel 3, showing the courage of these great servants of God. Regardless of consequence, Christians must emulate them.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Lesson 8: Evidences

This lesson by Mo Hafley is a concise detailing of various internal and external evidences, given to prove God’s existence, and the validity of the Bible as God’s revelation.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Sermon Powerpoint: Click Here .

Lesson 9: Homesick for Heaven

This lesson was an appropriate ending to our gospel meeting with Mo Hafley. He used homesickness (an emotion we have all felt) to explain the type of desire and expectation we as Christians should have regarding our heavenly home.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Mining the Scriptures: Galatians 1:1-5


Paul begins his epistle to the Galatians in a manner typical to him. In the first few verses he defends his apostleship, and asks blessings upon his readers.

His defense of himself is especially appropriate in that the churches of Galatia had been influenced by Judaizing teachers. These false teachers not only advocated false doctrine, they also sought to destroy the reputation of Paul at every opportunity. Their chief tactic was to claim that since Paul was not one of the original apostles, he had usurped the position. In response, Paul declared that his apostleship was “not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father…” (vs. 1). The truth of this is evident in the reading of his conversion (Acts 9).

In praying for Grace and Peace for the Galatians, Paul identified Jesus as the Savior. He expressed the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice, “that He might deliver us from this present evil age.”

In that Jesus accomplished this wonderful objective, Paul rightly noted that He is solely worthy of “glory forever and ever. Amen” (vs. 5, cf. Revelation 5:1-7).

Mining the Scriptures: Romans 1:1-7


Paul’s introductory comments in Romans are typical. In them he identifies himself as a bondservant of the Lord, engaged in the task of preaching His gospel.

He affirms his apostleship, and that the gospel had its inception in the prophets. (Remember, Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian using the text of Isaiah 53).

He affirms Jesus to be the Son of Man “born of the seed of David according to the flesh”, and to be the Son of God, attested “by the resurrection from the dead.”

It is amazing how often the apostle repeats those two facts throughout his writings: 1) I am an apostle by God’s choosing; 2) I am bound by God to preach the gospel of the Lord.

Paul also revealed something about the Roman Christians. He wrote, “among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.” This calling is the process of sanctification. We are called out of the world, called to holiness. All of Paul’s instructions come from this fact concerning his brethren. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (6:2-3).

4 – The Unimpeachable Witness

Sermon: An Ironic Life

The sermon examines the conversion and ministry of the apostle Paul, noting that the one who was “chief among sinners” by the grace of God became one of the most influential men in the Christian faith (Acts 9:21-23)

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Sermon: Paul’s Defense of His Ministry

In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul gives one of his many defenses of his work as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul affirms that he came to the Corinthians with the gospel, and as such, with the authority of Jesus Christ.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Sermon: Preaching Like Paul

Paul, as a preacher, should be emulated by Christians. He preached plainly the whole counsel of God, despite persecution and a lack of support. And he did it all with joy and zeal.

Sermon PowerPoint: Click Here .

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Podcast: The Life of Paul


Podcast Number 59

Saul of Tarsus, chief among sinners, by the grace of God became the apostle Paul. Paul was one of the most influential and important figures of the New Testament. We can learn many wonderful lessons by examining his life.

To listen to this Podcast, click here .

To subscribe to the podcast feed, click here .