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

FB: Wicked Fools!

wicked fool

“An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes, when he finds out his iniquity and when he hates. The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; he has ceased to be wise and to do good. He devises wickedness on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not abhor evil.” (Psalm 36:1-4)

The Psalmist refers to the sins of the wicked, that they speak to him. It may be that the transgressions harmed him personally. He expresses an intimate knowledge of the evil done.

How can a man do wickedness, and flatter himself? How can he think highly of himself when he hates others? When he deceives? When he rebels against his Creator?

While it seems incredible, the debased mind is commonly found in every nation and in every age. Paul knew why, because men “did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28). It is foolish, but does explain the current state of our society. In contrast, the righteous fear the Lord! (cf. Proverbs 3:7).

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It’s Cold Out Today!

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The weather has changed, and it is cold out there today! Thankfully, here in North Texas the winters are relatively mild, so the cold temperatures will probably not hang around very long. It is also fortunate that this front did not bring in sleet or snow, making it dangerous to drive.

It is in winter that we expect snow. It comes with the season. The writer of Proverbs used this truth to make an important point:

“As snow in summer and rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool” (26:1).

The phrase “is not fitting” is an interesting one. It indicates that honor does not properly belong to the fool. Such a situation is the direct opposite of that declared by the Psalmist, “Your testimonies are very sure; holiness adorns Your house, O Lord, forever” (93:5). Where holiness makes sense and is a proper adornment for God’s house, there is nothing natural or appropriate in a fool being honored.

And yet, we do it all the time! Such adoration and honor is heaped upon our entertainers, our athletes, our politicians. By honoring them as we do, we encourage and enable their foolish actions and values.

Concerning the fool being honored, Keil and Delitschz noted the following: “he will make unjust use of it, and draw false conclusions from it; it will strengthen him in his folly, and only increase it.” Proverbs 19:10 says, “Luxury (“delight” KJV) is not fitting for a fool.”

Instead, foolishness should be discouraged, both in others and most importantly in our own lives. Praise for foolishness is as incongruous as snow in summer!

FB: “Her Arrogant Strength”

Arrogant

Even in the face of Jerusalem’s ruin, some in Judea persisted in their belief they would be delivered from the Chaldeans. They said, “Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession” (Ezekiel 33:24).

They were wrong. Why? Because their confident assertion was given despite a lack of repentance on their part. God’s judgment was visited upon Judea wholly as a result of her sin. The prophet reminded them of this. “Thus says the Lord God: ‘You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood. Should you then posses the land?” (vs. 25). He further noted their reliance upon the sword, their abominations and infidelities.

Finally, God proclaimed, “For I will make the land most desolate, her arrogant strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through” (vs. 28).

Today, many show the same “arrogant strength” in their unwillingness to place their trust in the Almighty God. God rules in the affairs of men. He determines the rise and fall of nations (cf. Acts 17:26). Any people who persist in “arrogant strength,” opposing the will of God, will not stand. We pray our nation will learn this truth sooner rather than later.

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FB: Actions and Consequences

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In Jude’s epistle, he wrote of God’s interaction with Israel. “But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (5). He also noted the rebellion of some angels, “the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (6).

A “cause and effect” relationship is evident in these words. God’s pleasure and acceptance (the effect) are predicated upon the obedience of His created beings (the cause). Conversely, the rejection of His subjects (the effect) comes about because of their rebellion (the cause).

Put simply, our actions have consequences. Good actions (as defined by Him) result in good consequences. Disobedience brings ruin.

“But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die” (Ezekiel 18:21).

“But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die” (Ezekiel 18:24).

Something to think about…

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Sermon: What Kind of Fool are You?

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Which kind of fool do you wish to be? The fool who is only called a fool in the eyes of men? Or the fool who is really a fool in the eyes of God?

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Powerpoint Slides

The Patternists: Perilous Men

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Paul warned his protege Timothy of perilous times and evil men in 2 Timothy 3. The characteristics of these men are listed in verses 2-4, but the frightening aspect of that description is the conclusion in verse 5, “having a form of godliness…”

The religious rebel seldom is overt in his ungodliness, which is precisely why so many tend to tolerate and even support him. In verses 8 and 9 of the text, Paul states that such men, “resist the truth”, and are “disapproved concerning the faith.”

Both terms, truth and faith, here refer to God’s revelation to man. There are many religious people who profess godliness, but resist the pattern established by God. Paul assures, “they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all” (9).

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

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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From the Preacher’s Pen: Boasting in Evil

Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The goodness of God endures continually.

Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.

You love evil more than good,
Lying rather than speaking righteousness.

You love all devouring words,
You deceitful tongue.

God shall likewise destroy you forever;
He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place,
And uproot you from the land of the living.

The righteous also shall see and fear,
And shall laugh at him, saying,

“Here is the man who did not make God his strength,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
And strengthened himself in his wickedness.”

(Psalm 52:1-7)

Here on earth the wicked may prosper, but as the Psalmist knew, ultimately God will settle all accounts. It is a righteous thing with Him to take “vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Instead, as the Psalmist we must make God our strength, and serve Him with all our might!

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The Condition of the Erring

It can be rather unpleasant to correct an erring brother in Christ. If the brother is unrepentant, he may resent any admonition, and even become contentious. Too, others who do not recognize the importance of such correction may object. Such responses may cause hesitation, or even dereliction of duty on the part of the spiritual despite the instruction of the Holy Spirit, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2).

As one who is striving to serve God and your fellow man, the next time you feel such a hesitation to fulfill your duty, perhaps it would be good to see the erring one as God sees him. Consider the following:

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Sermon: My Will VS Thy Will

God has blessed man with free will. He compels no one to obey Him. His desire is for men to voluntarily come to Him, to worship Him, and obey Him. Men have a choice. However, while all of this is true, it must be understood that the choices men make have consequences.

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Powerpoint Slides

Sermon: Five Great Bible Questions

The sermon, based on a sermon chart by Steve Hudgins, seeks to answer the following questions that appear in the Bible: 1) “Where Art Thou”; 2) “To Whom Shall We Go?”; 3) “Lord What Will You Have Me to Do?”; 4) “What Must I Do to be Saved”; and 5) “What Doth Hinder Me?”

Note: In addition to the audio link, there is a link to a zip file which extracts to a self-contained Prezi presentation. Also, there is a link to a handout that was included in the sermon as a hardcopy reminder of the material.

Audio

Prezi Zip File

Sermon Handout

Sermon: Harsh Words Against God

Malachi 3:13-14 reveals a time in Israel where men spoke “harsh words” against God. Such showed an inappropriate attitude of men toward God, that unfortunately is seen in our time as well.

Audio

Sermon: Lessons from a Cataclysm

As we contemplate man’s vulnerability in the face of the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, there are lessons to be learned about man’s responsibility to God. In the sermon, reasons are given why men reject God, and the call to repentance as we respond with Job, “I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Men Too Often Forget!

The last several chapters of the book of Job are very interesting. In them, in no uncertain terms, God puts Job in his place. He describes Himself as creator, and the one who is in charge of the universe, the earth, and the animals upon it. In contrast, he shows Job his own impotence and lowly place. For example, he wrote in chapter 38:34-35, “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, That an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, And say to you, ‘Here we are!’?”

I always think of that conversation between God and Job when natural disasters occur, like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan this past week. Men so often consider themselves to the masters of the earth. While technology is amazing, and we are fortunate to live in an age of comfort and security, so often we are confronted with how vulnerable we are to this great universe created by our God.

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Sermon: Beware Lest Anyone Cheat You

The sermon is based on the text of Colossians 2:8. The philosophies of man may defraud us of that which has the greatest value. True value is found only in Christ, as He is the giver of our hope!

Sermon Audio: Click Here .