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: Our Obligations Toward Truth

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Our obligations toward truth include: Procuring it, Practicing it, Proclaiming it, Protecting it, and Pleading it.

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Sermon: “And if the blind lead the blind…”

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Sermon by Dennis Scroggins

Truth can be understood, and must be defended, heeded, and obeyed. Too often men look to the unrighteous or ignorant for advice, rather than those who are familiar with and wise in the ways of God.

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The Patternists: “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?”

Elijah Ahab

1 Kings 18 records a conversation between Ahab, the evil king of Israel, and the prophet Elijah. Elijah was a thorn in Ahab’s side. Elijah told Ahab that a drought would afflict the land beacuse of his sin, and it came to pass. The drought was God’s way of chastising Ahab and the nation for their sins. But, Ahab blamed Elijah for the drought, and sought his life.

Elijah ran for his life, and evaded the king for the three years of the drought. God then instructed Elijah to go to Ahab. When they met, Ahab said, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17). Elijah’s response is instructive, “And he answered, ‘I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals'” (vs. 18).

Too often religious people criticize those who stand for truth as being divisive. To contend for a standard, and fidelity to God’s commands brings charges of “judging”, “intolerance” and “sectarianism.” In fact, standing with truth is not the problem. The problem is, as Elijah so eloquently said, with forsaking “the commandments of the Lord.”

Fortunately, Elijah stood tall against the king. His victory over the prophets of Baal led the people of Israel to proclaim, “The Lord, He is God” The Lord, He is God!” (vs. 39).

In the same way, we must stand for truth in the face of those who would lead God’s people astray. Hear and heed the words of Jude, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

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Invitation: What Is Truth?

Image Invitation delivered by: Bob Ward

In John 18, Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” While his question may have been an expression of sarcasm or flippancy, the question itself is valid and needed.

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From the Preacher’s Pen: Conformation, not Vindication

Image“These were more fair- minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

The Bereans were fair-minded. Why? It is because they had the right attitude toward the Scriptures. For us to emulate their example, we must as well.

First, realize that the truth is the truth. That is, it is revealed, absolute and unchanging. While men’s perceptions may vacillate, the truth remains inviolate.

Our approach to truth should be a desire for conformity. We do not go to the Scriptures to rationalize and validate our settled practice or teaching. We use the Scriptures as a standard to which we compare our practice and teaching. If we find the two to be identical, we are vindicated; if we do not, we must change our practice or teaching.

We make a mistake if we go to the Scriptures with settled convictions regarding our practice or teaching. If that is so, and the two do not agree, our tendency will be to twist the Scriptures to our practice rather than to conform our practice to the Scriptures.

The question must be, what do the Scriptures teach? We then compare our own practice and teaching to the light of that divine standard, with the purpose of conforming our practice and teaching to it.

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The Patternists: Contending for the Truth

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Recent forays into blog and Facebook comments have again uncovered the idea that those who have the audacity to point out religious error are uncharitable, un-Christian, stubborn, and bizarre.

Some comments come from people who ridicule the concept of divine inspiration and the veracity of the Bible. Too often, however, those who show such animosity toward a defense of truth are themselves claimed followers of Christ.

To the former we confess no surprise. The idea of contending over a book which is the product of men is nonsensical, and we understand their disdain.

To the latter we defend ourselves with the following words from the pen of Jude:

“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (verse 3).

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The Patternists: Unity VS Truth

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In the introduction to Robert Shank’s book, Life in the Son, William Adams wrote:

“Some will consider that ‘unity’ is more important than truth and that, right or wrong, conformity to tradition and popular opinion is the only wise course. Men so easily become enslaved by a vested interest in the status quo, and many will refuse to venture the risk of honestly searching for truth at the possible expense of comfort.”

His words were a response to Shank’s view of the possibility of apostasy. Though he personally believed Calvin’s doctrine concerning the perseverance of the saints, he was impressed by Shank’s arguments.

He states a valid truth. Many times people believe as they do because “everyone else does,” or because “that is what we’ve always taught!” To such people, Bible teaching that contradicts their traditions is to be rejected simply because it differs from what they hold as precious.

There is no conflict between the unity called for in the Bible, and the pursuit of truth. In fact, True unity can be obtained only as we embrace the truth. Paul pleaded with the Corinthians to “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

May we be fair-minded as the Bereans, who “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

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From the Preacher’s Pen: “You did not tell me the truth”

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Consider the following quote from one preacher:

I would rather have thousands say to me at the judgment, “We heard you preach, and you hurt our feelings,” than have just one lost soul to say, “I heard you preach, but you did not tell me the truth.”

John T. Lewis

I understand the importance of tact in preaching the gospel of our Lord. It does no good to couch truth in terms that are unpalatable to the ears of the lost. If we can speak the truth in a way that will lead the hearer to receive it rather than reject it, we should. However, in all things, the truth must be taught!

It also is important to consider that no matter how the truth is preached, the rebellious will not accept it. When Stephen was stoned to death by an angry mob (cf. Acts 7), the fault was with the hearts of the hearers, not Stephen. For some men, no matter how careful our words, they will be offended. Jesus taught his disciples that as servants, they were not above Him as their Master. Jesus was hated, and sent to the cross. He told them when they went forth to teach His gospel “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).

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The Patternists: Bible Based Unity

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The Bible reveals discord and division to be sinful. When the Corinthians showed themselves to be divided, Paul wrote, “for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3).

There are two ways to avoid discord. The first is commonly practiced by religious groups today. It is through compromise, setting aside doctrinal disagreements in order to get along. This is a tenet of those denominations that count themselves part of the ecumenical movement, a movement dedicated to “universal Christian unity” based on an acceptance of diverse beliefs and practices.

The second way is the Biblical philosophy of unity, based on mutual acceptance of the divine standard, the truth of God’s word. This way is identified clearly in Jesus’ prayer to God, recorded in John 17:20-21, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Our unity must mirror the unity of Jesus and His Father. Jesus stated clearly in John 5:30, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”

As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1:10). This unity in speech, thought and judgment can come only when all agree with and submit to the will of God.

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In the News: Is the Pope Humble?

Image I am sure some who read this would object to the question. They might first object to any question of his humility as absurd. It has, after all, been his most commonly acknowledged attribute, proclaimed by the media which has covered each of his appearances in America. Others might object to the idea we might “judge” the heart of another. Who are we to deem the Pope as being anything other than what he “appears” or “claims” to be.

Of course, the judging of hearts is not appropriate. And, I freely admit that despite the adulation supplied him, his cloistered lifestyle, and his privileged existence, he continues to speak to and show compassion toward those who are poor and destitute.

Continue reading » In the News: Is the Pope Humble?

Sermon: Anatomy of Institutional Apostasy

Image Many denominations have departed from any semblance of Biblical faithfulness. From Heresy to Sectarianism to Denominationalism to full blown Humanism, the process of the institutional apostsy is explained.

Those who are faithful must learn from history, and heed the warnings to remain faithful to the standard, God’s word.

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Sermon: Mercy and Truth Have Met Together

Image Psalm 85:10 expresses an interesting juxtaposition, “mercy and truth have met together.” The lesson explores the concept. Mercy and Truth come together at the redemption of man.

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Sermon: The Power of Love and Truth

Image Contrary to the message that world proclaims, it neither loves men, nor tells men the truth. In contrast, God both loves and proclaims His truth to all men. The power of Love and Truth is to save mankind.

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Sermon: Speaking the Truth Honestly

Image Jesus spoke the truth about Himself, His purpose in coming to the earth, and His Kingdom. He serves as a wonderful example to us. Our words should be accurate, honest and trustworthy!

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Sermon: Religious, Yet Lost

Image The New Testament identifies several individuals who were lost in their sins despite their devotion to God. The four mentioned in this lesson: Saul, Cornelius, the rich young ruler, and the Pharisees. None can be saved until obeying the commands of God!

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