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: Engaging the Community

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In the first century the church did not pander to the community, desperately seeking relevance or acceptance. Instead, the church proclaimed the gospel, infuriating some and saving others.

Audio

Powerpoint Slides

Challenges Confronting the Church

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This class consisted of four lessons, taken from Mark Copeland’s topical sermon series. I chose four lessons from that series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Denominationalism
  3. Secularism
  4. Traditionalism

The class took place on each Wednesday evening in December, 2016. The material consists of:

  • The four lessons (the material is the same as it appears on brother Copeland’s site, except for reformatting.
  • The teacher’s notes (some highlighting, and the addition of scriptures)
  • Audio of the four classes

Materials

Audio

FB: Cheapening the Term “Fellowship”

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In the New Testament, the term fellowship (from the Greek, koinonia), is consistently used to refer to a joint participation in the spiritual.

  • In 1 Corinthians 1:9, Paul uses it to refer to our relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • In 2 Corinthians 6:14, he admonishes Christians not to be yoked together with unbelievers and evil.
  • In 2 Corinthians 8:4, he attributes the word to the important spiritual work of benevolence to saints who were suffering.
  • In Galatians 2:9, he talks of the “right hand of fellowship”, indicating the apostles’ endorsement of his preaching to the Gentiles.
  • In Philippians 1:5, he notes that their support of his work in preaching to the lost was “fellowship in the gospel”.
  • John speaks of the spiritual relationship we enjoy as children of God, and with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ in 1 John 1:6-7.

Today when religious people use the term they are more likely to be talking about recreation, eating and fun. Putting an (inappropriately) weighty term upon a trivial activity does not make it more credible or important.

Paul wrote, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

Click below to…

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From the Preacher’s Pen: The Social Gospel – Alive and Well

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In the last issue of The Christian Chronicle, which claims to be an “International newspaper for Churches of Christ” I found information about the following:

  • Two different “ministries” to help people write resumes, and find employment.
  • A congregation in Great Falls, Montana that welcomes visitors on Sunday nights by taking them a freshly baked apple pie the next day. The same congregation has an annual picnic and Olympics, complete with the ubiquitous sack race.
  • Help wanted ads for positions like “Family Life Minister”, “Youth Minister”, and one church that wants to combine the two for a “Youth/Family Life Minister”.
  • A dinner ($25 per ticket) sponsored by the White’s Ferry Road church of Christ in West Monroe, LA with Missy Robertson, (from Duck Dynasty) as featured speaker.

The social gospel is alive and well. The churches that began back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, to embrace the idea that the church’s purpose and work includes secular entertainment and social engineering have continued to conceive and implement ever more outlandish and silly ideas. It has reached the point where they never even ask the question “is it authorized?” They no longer consider the admonition of the apostle Paul, given in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to god the Father through Him.” We must be ever vigilant in our efforts to submit to God’s will.

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Christ’s Church is Focused!

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(This article originally appeared as a paid ad in February 2012 in the newspapers published by Suburban Newspapers, Inc. The papers cover five small communities in the Forth Worth area).

Over the past 100 years or so, many churches in America have changed their emphasis from saving souls to effecting change in secular society. The soup kitchen replaced the pulpit as the primary focus of the church, and the preaching of the gospel, God’s “power to save” (cf. Rom. 1:16), is no longer the central activity of professed Christians.

This “Social Gospel” has recently devolved from the effecting of social change to simply socializing! Churches today emphasize the “fun” to be had through entertainment and recreational activities offered as an appeal to the community. Catchwords such as “casual”, “contemporary”, and “dynamic” have replaced words such as “reverence”, “devotion” and “sacrifice.”

Dear friend, the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (cf. Phil. 4:7), is not to be found in recreation and entertainment. The Lord’s church is to be involved in the evangelization of the world (Mark 16:15-16), and the edification of its members (Eph. 4:11-16).

Most people are mainly interested in the social things, and choose their church accordingly. However, if you are interested in a sacrificial life of devotion to the Master, and wish to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” we can help. Come visit the West Side church and see for yourself.
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From the Preacher’s Pen: Ultimate Amelioration of Society

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Alexander Campbell believed that as Christians in his generation sought to restore the ancient order of the Christian faith, it would lead to a golden age of God’s blessings in the world at large. The title of his paper, The Millennial Harbinger represented this sentiment.

In the Prospectus issue of the Harbinger, Campbell wrote:

THIS work shall be devoted to the destruction of Sectarianism, Infidelity, and Antichristian doctrine and practice. It shall have for its object the developement, and introduction of that political and religious order of society called THE MILLENNIUM, which will be the consummation of that ultimate amelioration of society proposed in the Christian Scriptures.

Some postulate that it was Campbell’s disillusionment at the lack of progress toward his goal that led him to adopt the innovation of the Missionary Society.

Campbell was misguided in his views. The restoration of the ancient order has no great impact upon society in general, any more than the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom 2,000 years ago led to virtue in the Roman world. What is accomplished, as the sincere gospel is preached to the world at large, is the salvation of good and honest souls. Social change is fine, but the Lord’s focus was never on the here and now, it has always been on eternity. And, that should be the primary focus and directed efforts of His disciples as well.

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In the News: Church Camp?

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The Christian Chronicle is a newspaper that reports on events and activities among institutional churches of Christ. Though it claims not to be, it is also an instrument of digression, often reporting favorably or editorializing upon practices and doctrine without Biblical authority.

One example of this is the editorial in the September 2010 edition of the paper, titled “Church camp: An idea worth exploring” (page 30). The editorial relates the large number of letters that had come in, in response to a the Chronicle’s request that readers share their “favorite church camp memories.”

Continue reading » In the News: Church Camp?

A Disturbing Trend

Recently our church received in the mail an invitation to a beach party for area college students, hosted by the Altamesa Church of Christ, College Ministry. The brochure read:

Activities include: 3 Beach Volleyball courts (bring your own team of 6 people), Tug-of-War, Frisbee Throw, Bocce Ball, and more! Come for fellowship, Devotional, Burgers and Roast Pig! Excellent opportunity to meet new friends for the summer!

The brochure went on to mention that the singing group “The Light” from ACU would be performing, asked for an R.S.V.P. to the Church office, and informed that the church would be charging $8 per person for the event.

Continue reading » A Disturbing Trend

In The News: The Lord’s Church is Distinctive

inthenewsI was recently given a bulletin from a west Texas congregation. The front page of the bulletin had the order of service, including the preacher’s sermon topic for both Sunday services. The morning sermon was titled, “The Lord’s Church is Distinctive.”

The title is certainly true. The Lord’s church is distinctive, different, unique. It is seen in the worship we offer to God, the work that local congregations do in God’s service, and in the emphasis placed on the spiritual above the physical and social.

Continue reading » In The News: The Lord’s Church is Distinctive

In The News: Churches Mix Faith, Football

inthenewsEvery month we get a copy of The Christian Chronicle delivered to our mailing address. It always makes for interesting reading, though it is disconcerting to see how steeped in liberalism many churches have become.

A few weeks ago we wrote an article on the subject of the “social gospel”, noting the fact that the paper was reporting on high school football as a part of the ministry of churches of Christ. I thought the article showed the upper limits of absurdity until I read an article in the October 2007 issue entitled, Churches mix faith, football, by Erik Tryggestad.

Tryggestad reported (favorably) upon various churches that are using football as a means of accomplishing spiritual gains. Note the following examples:

Continue reading » In The News: Churches Mix Faith, Football

In The News: Faith Through Food, Fellowship

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In the September 22, 2007 edition of the Muskogee Phoenix, Assistant City Editor Elizabeth Ridenour wrote about the practice of two area churches, one a Methodist church and one an Episcopal church, of feeding area citizens.

“St. Paul’s [Methodist Church] breakfast is a good opportunity for a variety of people to get together at the church.

“It’s a good time to have fellowship,” said Bob Montgomery, who oversees the program.

Green [Emily, kitchen helper] sees the same benefits. People come for the physical, emotional and/or spiritual benefits they can receive, she said.”

Now, we do not wish to be combative with the kitchen help, but those interviewed about the meals did not seem to be overly concerned about any “spiritual” benefits. Note the following quotes:

Continue reading » In The News: Faith Through Food, Fellowship

In The News: Faith and Football

ImageOn the front page of the September 2007 edition of the Christian Chronicle newspaper, under the heading “Faith and Football” was a picture of high school football players, kneeling with their coaches in prayer, with the following caption beneath:

“Assistant head coach Ken Robinson leads Greater Atlanta Christian School’s varsity team in prayer at a camp at Georgia Tech. The Spartans, who have a 120-39 record since 1994, have advanced to the state playoffs 12 straight seasons. The team made it to the state quarterfinals last year, finishing 11-2.”

The Christian Chronicle calls itself: “An International Newspaper for Churches of Christ.” You may ask yourself, what does football have to do with Churches of Christ? Good question! The answer, of course, is nothing at all. But, that has not stopped those who wish to change the mission of the Lord’s church from securing the spiritual welfare of men, to securing their social welfare. This is the mistake of the social gospel concept. It trivializes the purpose of the Lord’s church.

Continue reading » In The News: Faith and Football

In The News: A Famine of the Word of God

inthenewsCecil May is the President of Faulkner University, and holds meetings in institutional (liberal) churches throughout the nation. He has some conservative inclinations, and from time to time in his bulletin, Preacher Talk, complains about the direction that institutional churches are heading in attitudes and worship. The following recently came from his pen.

“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land — not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord’” (Amos 8:11). While Amos was not talking about us or today, his words fit.

Many changes taking place today indicate a decline in appreciation for preaching.

Contemporary services typically focus on “praise and worship” and down-play preaching. Instead of two sermons on Sundays, Sunday night preaching is replaced by small group meetings. (These are not wrong in themselves and are often beneficial, but they do replace preaching.)

In the preaching that remains, popular demands are requiring shorter and shorter sermons. Film clips from television programs or movies replace significant parts of the sermons. Drama is deemed more effective than preaching. Preaching designed to make us feel good replaces preaching to convict and call to repentance.

The Bible still says, “How shall they hear without someone preaching” (Romans 10:14) and “It pleased God by the folly of what we preach to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

Cecil May, Jr.
Preacher Talk, Vol. 23, No. 1, pg. 2

Analysis:

When the movie The Passion of the Christ came out I wrote an article for the River Oaks News mentioning the furor surrounding the movie. (You may remember that certain representatives of the Jewish community took exception to the movie’s premise that the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. I guess they would not appreciate Peter’s statement, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36).

Regardless, in the article I mentioned that I had no desire to go see the movie. I had the New Testament itself, and felt no need to see the dramatization of the words I had read. The editor of the paper and others in the office had watched the movie, were very moved by it, and were convinced that it would bring some to Christ. So, she feared some would be offended by my words, and declined to run the article.

The attitude is typical. But, the idea that we need to spice up and dramatize the words of God (if you carefully think about it) is rather insulting to the Spirit of grace. While emotion certainly has its place in the lives of Christians, it should be noted that the types of emotional responses which lead to true zeal, ardor and love come as a result of edification. And edification is the byproduct of preaching and teaching.

Churches that are interested in truly lighting a fire under members would do well to remember that a movie, play or skit may cause someone to walk out the door sad, happy, or angry (depending upon the purpose of the dramatics); but the preaching of the gospel of our Lord (if heeded) will lead to lifetime commitments and zeal. “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). As always, God’s way is the best way!

In The News: The Social Gospel

inthenewsA recent Google search (News division) of the word church resulted in the find of the following headlines:

Church to Participate in Christmas Open House
Building on the success of last year’s event, Sutter Creek Methodist Church is planning to provide a festive and religious dimension to the festivities. (Sacramento Ledger Dispatch)

Durham Church Plans Fair Trade Bazaar
All sales will assist in improving the quality of life for people half a world away. (Seacoastonline.com)

Church To Hold Holiday Tea
Mark your calendar and call for your reservations for the annual Holiday Victorian Tea and Boutique to be held at the Presbyterian Church in Garden City. (Garden City News)

Yummm! Annual Pie Social and Church Fair set for Dec. 1,2
On the second floor in the Education Wing, a Kid’s Fair is held offering kids the chance to play a game, do a craft or get their nails painted.
Tewksbury Advocate

Church Leaders Plan To Build Family Center
Two long-time city churches have merged and will build a multimillion-dollar family center on U.S. 19 that is expected to draw new parishioners from throughout Pinellas County. (Pinellas Park Beacon)

Ham and Beans on the Menu at Church Supper
The Union Congregational Church of Madbury will sponsor a ham and bean supper on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Madbury Town Hall. (Seacoastonline.com)

Contrast the preceding activities: Open house, Bazaar, Tea, Pie Social, Family Center and Church Supper, with the actions of the first century church. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). While the first century Christians enjoyed each others company, it was an individual thing, as Christians broke bread “from house to house.”

In fact, Paul admonished the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11, “Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?…” (vs. 20-22a).

The church of the Lord is not a social club. It’s purpose is to save the world through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. While it is fine and dandy for Christians to participate in Pie Socials and Holiday Teas, such things are not the work of our Lord’s church. No soul was ever saved by a Family Center. Preach the Word! It is the gospel that saves!

In The News: Choosing My Religion

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An article in the Tuesday, August 15th issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram carried the above title, with the subtitle: “Shopping around for a family church—when the parents aren’t regular attendees—can be intimidating, but experts say it’s never too late to start keeping the faith.” The author of the article, Gaile Robinson, related a cub scout field trip that sent herself and her son to a Catholic mission, with a group of other little boys. The site of a larger than life cross with the Christ figure upon it, with the crown of thorns complete with painted blood, led to an awed silence among the boys, but caused her son to ask, “Whoa, what happened to that guy?”

Continue reading » In The News: Choosing My Religion