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: Reverence in Worship

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The Psalmist (Psalm 89:7) calls for fear and reverence in the assemblies of the Saints. The lesson emphasizes the benefits of joy, gladness, quietness and orderliness in attaining this ideal.

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Sermon: God’s Pattern For Our Whole Life

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God is our Creator, and deserves our respect and obedience. His revealed will impacts us in every aspect of our lives.

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Sermon: The Christian’s Responsibility to God

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The most important of our responsibilities is toward the eternal God of Heaven, our creator and the author of our redemption. We should worship, fear, obey & love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.

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Instrumental Music – A matter of tradition?

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Lesson 6 of 9, Fall 2016 Gospel Meeting. Speaker: Jeremiah Cox.

Why do churches of Christ not use mechanical instruments of music in worship? Is it merely our tradition? No, it is divine tradition, a matter of how God authorizes the church to worship Him.

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The Importance of Assembling

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When God created man, he made him to be a social being. Throughout history, men have typically gathered together in communities. In fact, the institution of marriage was established by God as He determined “It is not good that man should be alone.” So, God said, “I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:28).

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The Patternists: The Way of the Fool

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“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15).

Perhaps we live in a foolish culture, but it is typical of the religious individual today to do what “is right in his own eyes.” We have been told time and again of the confidence the fool has that “God is pleased with what I do.”

Men justify immodesty because “God created me this way, and there is nothing wrong with celebrating the beauty of our bodies.” This despite the fact that the Holy Spirit reveals that to “uncover the thigh” constitutes a nakedness that is shameful to expose (cf. Isaiah 47:2-3).

Men justify willful worship, because “God gave me this gift, and so it is pleasing to Him for me to use it.” This despite the fact that the Lord said that such worship is vain and iniquitous (cf. Matthew 7:21-23; 15:9).

Men justify the existence of denominations (division) because “God doesn’t care which church you are a member of, or what they teach, so long as you love Him.” This despite the fact that Jesus prayed to His Father, “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” (John 17:21; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:10).

We could go on and on with examples of such foolishness. Truly the wise man “heeds counsel” especially the Divine counsel of God’s word.

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FB: Worship the Lord

Worship the Lord

In the 29th Psalm, we have a beautiful description of the power of the voice of the Lord. Consider the following sentiments:

The Voice of the Lord

  • “is over the waters” (3)
  • is powerful” (4)
  • “is full of majesty” (4)
  • “breaks the cedars” (5)
  • “splinters the cedars of Lebanon” (5)
  • “divides the flames of fire” (7)
  • “shakes the wilderness” (8)
  • “makes the deer give birth” (9)
  • “strips the forests bare” (9)

This description is given within the context of a call to worship Him. “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (2). Because of who God is, because of His character, wisdom, power and position, He is due (or worthy) honor.

He requires His worshippers to be holy. “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16). May each “purify your hearts” (James 4:8), and “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”

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The Patternists: By Faith Abel…

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In Hebrews 11:4 the writer notes, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.”

A simple question, answered in the text: Why did God accept Abel’s sacrifice, but did not respect the one offered by Cain? There is no inherent significance in the fact that Abel’s sacrifice was an animal sacrifice, where Cain’s was a vegetable sacrifice, as both types have pleased God (cf. Leviticus 22:7; 23:10-11). The simple answer? Abel’s sacrifice was offered “by faith.” This means that Abel’s sacrifice followed the instructions given by God, where Cain’s did not.

God does not arbitrarily decide which sacrifices He will “respect” (Genesis 4:3-5). “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Service of any type can be successfully offered to God only if it is service that He has authorized.

The next time someone tells you that “I know God is pleased with my service/worship/sacrifice”, consider Abel. And then ask him for the scripture that proves his service/worship/sacrifice is authorized by God.

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The Patternists: “God is NOT the author of confusion”

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In 1 Corinthians 14:33, the apostle Paul wrote, “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” These words were written at the end of Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians for their failure to conduct an acceptable worship assembly.

In verse 26 he commanded, “Let all things be done for edification.” When teaching is done one person speaks and the others listen, resulting in edification. In the early church, the acts of prophesy and tongue speaking was to bring edification, and the same pattern was to be followed. One person speaks, the others listen, that they may be edified. A cacaphony of voices produces confusion, a lone voice speaking the word of God brings growth.

Many denominations, pursuing emotional gratification, equate spontaneous and multiple eruptions with edification. In this text Paul reveals the two are antithetical to one another. As he concluded, “If anyone think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant” (vs. 37-38).

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Sermon: The Lord’s Day

Image A discussion of the significance of the first day of the week in the New Covenant.

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A Criticism of Our Worship

ImageYesterday evening I had an opportunity to join in worship with the saints at the Elm Street congregation in El Reno, Oklahoma. This fine congregation met in the final night of our gospel meeting, singing beautiful songs of praise to God, offering up sincere petitions in prayer, and kindly listening to my final effort to share a message from God’s word as our week together concluded.

My final plea was based on the text of Philippians 2:

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (vs. 9-11).

I noted that God has given all authority to Jesus Christ, and that at the judgment all will bow down before Him. I further pled with those present to ensure that they acknowledge His Lordship now, before it is too late.

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Sermon: Worshipping God in Spirit

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John 4:24 tells us that worship must be done in spirit and in truth. Brantley supplies 5 practical suggestions to enable us to worship God properly “in spirit.”

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The Patternists: Worship in “spirit and truth”

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In John 4:24 Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The context reveals that the only acceptable worship is that offered in accord with God’s will. That is why Jesus endorsed the worship of the Jews (in Jerusalem), rather than the worship of the Samaritans.

The text also indicates that under the dispensation of Christ, the location of worship is of no consequence. The idea that God is limited to a particular place (Jerusalem, a mountain) is debunked by Jesus. This is because God is Spirit.

This truth requires that acceptable worship be offered in “spirit.” The worshipper must be engaged – it is an act of adoration to God, which comes from a sincere, reverent, and fully committed heart.

The worship of Israel was condemned by God during the time of Amos. They said, “When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade wheat?” (8:5). They weren’t interested in worship, they were only going through the motions. Though the form of worship was in accord with God’s will, the proper spirit was not present.

We are right in demanding that worship to God follow the form revealed and regulated by His will. We must be equally adamant that those who worship Him be fully engaged, with devotion and love for their God.

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Sermon: Praise the Lord!

Image Psalm 111 states that God’s works are great, honorable, glorious, true, just, enduring and upright. He is truly worthy of praise, and those who are righteous will have pleasure in the works of God.

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From the Preacher’s Pen: Busy, But Blessed!

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This past week we had a wonderful opportunity to hear God’s word preached each evening. Those who took advantage of these opportunities were encouraged and edified. They also became tired!

The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes wrote, “The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh” (12:11-12).

We were admonished and edified, both by the preaching, and by the songs and prayers that were offered up to God. Concerning the purpose of singing, Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

So, we are thankful for opportunities like these, to grow and to encourage each other.

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