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

Mining the Scriptures: Ephesians 1:11-14

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The context affirms our reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. It is through His shed blood that we obtain redemption, and as stated in verse 11, an inheritance.

The text also indicates that we obtain that inheritance as those who are “predestined according to the purpose of Him…” This refers to God, and it was His plan before the creation of man to redeem (our “adoption as sons”, cf. verse 5) through Jesus Christ.

In other words, God chose before the foundation of the world those who would go to heaven. His choice was that those who believe would be redeemed (cf. Mark 16:16). Predestination here refers to the group God chose to save. It is your choice whether you wish to be a part of that group.

For those who are predestined, those who are a part of that group, salvation is surely promised by our God.

Sermon: What Is Predestination?

Image Sermon by Josh Cox.

A discussion of the concept of predestination as defined and explained by scripture.

Audio

Sermon: Must We Obey Jesus?

This lesson is a discussion of free will, and how it impacts our call to obey the Lord.

Audio

Mining the Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4

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Paul’s initial greeting to the brethren in Thessalonica is straightforward and concise. On behalf of himself Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy, he greeted them and acknowledged their relationship in God and Christ. He bestowed upon them his customary greeting, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (cf. Ro. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 2:1; Gal. 1:3; etc.).

It is also typical for Paul to proclaim his daily prayers for his brethren (as he does here), though he varies in the reasons for such prayers. This gives us some indication of the faithfulness of the Thessalonians. He gave thanks to God for their industry (based on their love of God), faithfulness (shown in their obedience) and patience (which had its motivation in their hope in Christ). For this Paul was thankful, and did not cease in his petitions to God for them. We too ought to pray without ceasing for our brethren, giving thanks to God.

Paul called them “beloved brethren” because they had been elected “by God” (cf. Ephesians 1:3-10). God had chosen them for salvation because of their obedient faith in response to the gospel.

Mining the Scriptures: Ephesians 1:3-6

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Typically, the apostle Paul begins his epistle with praise to God. He proclaims God to be the font of all spiritual blessings, and affirms these blessings are accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ life, death and resurrection the favor of God is complete.

What is interesting in this text is Paul’s reference to foreordination and predestination. This means that God’s scheme of redemption was a fait accompli before the universe was ever created.

When we talk about predestination, we must understand such predestination is not individual in nature. The affirmation that God chose us individually would negate the concept of free will and personal responsibility. It would make passages such as Mark 16:16 — (“He that believes and is baptized will be saved, he that believes not will be condemned”) — nonsensical.

God predestined that those who were among the sanctified —those who were among those adopted as sons — would be accepted. He gives us the choice as to whether we wish to be in that group or not. God is no respecter of persons.

Sovereignty and Man’s Free Will

ImageIn Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer attempts to reconcile the seemingly contradictory beliefs of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will:

“An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it. This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty.

“On board the liner are scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port.

“Both freedom and sovereignty are present here, and they do not contradict. So it is, I believe, with man’s freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history.”

Douglas G. Gerrard

The illustration above is relatively accurate, though limited as illustrations always are. It is true that God’s sovereignty has predetermined the victory of righteousness over evil.

It is equally true that God has granted each man free will in his life. However, there is one thing that is not noted in the story. It is possible, first, for a man to choose not to board the ship, and then for a man to jump off the ship, of his own free will, thus not reaching the destination! (cf. Mark 16:16; 2 Peter 2:21-22).