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: Tim Stevens Meeting, Spring 2019

Spring Meeting 2019

1 – Is My Heart Right with Regard to the Future of the Church?

2 – Is My Heart Right with Regard to My Forgiveness?

3 – Is My Heart Right with Regard to My Anger?

4 – Is My Heart Right with Regard to Time?

5 – Is My Heart Right with Regard to My Attitude Toward God’s Word?

6 – Is My Heart Right with Regard to My Influence?

7 – Is My Heart Right with Regard to Humility & Servitude?

8 – Is My Heart Right with Regard to Repentance?

9 – Is My Heart Right with Regard to Persecution & Endurance?

The Patternists: Fear Him

reverence

“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:4-7).

We all have read these words from Jesus, but do we know what they mean? To wit, how does fearing the One who has the ability “to cast into hell” impact your life?

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Reminding You

reminder

Most people enjoy learning new things. Gaining new knowledge is exciting and important. This is certainly so when God’s will is the subject being considered.

What is rare is the mastering of a subject. We are in awe of those individuals who show such a mastery. A philatelist who can discuss the value of an inverted Jenny, or the 1847 issue of the block of 16 Ben Franklins is pretty impressive to those of us who had to look up the term “philatelist” (stamp collector), and have no idea what an inverted Jenny is! Conversely, those of us who know Dirk Nowitzki’s rank on the list of career NBA scorers (6th), and who he last passed to get there (Wilt Chamberlain) may be considered a little crazy. (Note: I didn’t have to look those up).

Familiarity and relative mastery of God’s revealed will is impressive (few make the effort), and important (the subject is impactful of our final standing in eternity). As such it is worthy of our effort to not only learn new things, but to become completely familiar with what we already know. With that in mind, consider Peter’s words:

“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease” (2 Peter 1:12-15).

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The Patternists: When Men Dictate in Religion

Religions

Paul’s letter to the Colossians contains his defense of Christ as the basis of our standing with God. He speaks of Christ’s preeminence (1:15-18). He contends that reconciliation comes through Christ’s sacrifice (1:21-22). As such, he warns “every man” to labor and strive as he did, “according to His working which works in me mightily” (1:28-29). Notice, we are to strive according to His working.

In chapters two and three, he contrasts the salvation which is in Christ with false influences which endanger Christians. For example, he notes in (2:1-10) that human philosophy is deceptive. In Christ “are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (2:3).

He also calls for a rejection of lustful passions in (3:10-11), “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (3:3). Because of this, the Christian is to “put off” (3:8), the sinful inclinations of the flesh.

Our attention is centered in (2:11-23). This section of the text is unfortunately labeled “Not Legalism but Christ” in my NKJV. The label misses the point of what Paul is saying.

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The Gentiles

Peter and Cornelius

It is obvious that the Jews during the first century had no love for other nations. The Gentiles were reviled, dismissed, and disrespected by the Jewish nation.

God had separated to Himself the Jewish nation in preparation for the Messiah’s appearance. As Paul wrote, “the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ” (Galatians 3:23).

The Jews, however, typically took an extreme view of Gentiles as unworthy of God’s mercy and salvation. It took divine intervention (the Holy Spirit “fell upon them”, cf. Acts 11:15) for the Jews to come to grips with the truth, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life” (Acts 11:18).

Paul taught differently, making two points. First, both Jew and Gentile were guilty of sin (cf. Romans 2:1-2) and stood condemned by it. Second, nationality has no bearing on an individuals standing with God, “who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’” (Romans 2:6). “For there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11).

Regardless, the New Testament does speak disparagingly of the Gentiles. Paul wrote the Ephesians, “that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind” (Ephesians 4:17; cf. 1 Peter 4:1-6). This was not a criticism of their nationality, but of their characteristically sinful life. Not all Gentiles fell into this category (cf. Luke 7:1-10; Acts 10:1-4; Romans 2:26-29).

Racism is wrong. Prejudice against others is inexcusable. However, pointing out sinful works is both good and necessary. We will be judged by what we do! (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:9-11).

(Note: Image of Peter preaching to the household of Cornelius. Artist unknown. Wikipedia Commons).

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Sermon: “Speaking to One Another”

Speak to One Another

A discussion about the type of music authorized by God in Christian worship. (With emphasis on the use and definition of the greek term “psallo” in the New Testament).

When Truth Doesn’t Match Conviction

blindfolded

This past week the Mueller report was submitted, and the Attorney General of the United States revealed that the report exonerates the President from the charge of criminal conspiracy to collude with Russia in the 2016 election. For the last two years many leaders in the opposition party were convinced that the President was guilty. Now that the report has been released, recommending no indictments, many continue to believe in his guilt.

The purpose of this article is not politics. I am aware that many want to see the report before making any final decisions, and that others will not be satisfied until they not only see the report, but the mountain of documents upon which it is based. My point is that many will stubbornly hold to their personal conviction regardless of what is actually so. And this tendency is not limited to a particular political party, or even politics itself.

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Strange Things

StrangE

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

Have you ever experienced mistreatment, and asked the question, “Why Me Lord?”

Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested though in the wrong
~ Farther Along

The reality is that Christians do not ultimately belong here. The world is antagonistic towards our faith, and it is inevitable that on occasion their opposition will result in the “fiery trial” to which Peter alludes.

Regardless, we have reason to “rejoice to the extent that [we] partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed [we] may also be glad with exceeding joy” (vs. 13). So, our suffering really is not a strange thing at all, and is a cause for rejoicing!

“…And when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (cf. Acts 5:40-42).

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The Patternists: According to All

according to all

For those who are seeking to please God, it is instructive to do a concordance search of all the times the phrase “according to all” is used in scripture. The phrase occurs on multiple occasions in the Old Testament (in English translations such as the King James, New King James and American Standard versions). The phrase is inclusive of what the “all” encompasses. Often the “all” concerns the commands of God. Consider the example in Joshua.

“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7-9).

True obedience to God requires obedience to all He has commanded. It is not acceptable to pick and choose the commandments we desire to obey, and ignore the rest. Joshua’s admonition came with the promise that if they were faithful in their obedience to all of God’s commands, that they would have “good success.” The Old Testament reveals both the truthfulness of that statement, and the sad end of Israel when God’s commands were not followed.

This object lesson is applicable to men today. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). This is why it is necessary to obey the entire pattern revealed in the scriptures. As Peter said, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).

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Entrusted with the Gospel

Open Bible

“But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

What a blessed privilege enjoyed by Paul and the rest of the apostles! These men were not famous or important people. They were tax collectors and fishermen. When the gospel was first sounded forth from Jerusalem, the Jews who heard the apostles speaking in tongues were shocked! “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?…. Whatever could this mean?” (Acts 2:7,12).

What it meant was that these men were chosen by God to bring the “power of God to salvation” – the gospel – to the world. Paul, as one born out of due time, joined that group of men with this important task. He took it seriously. He determined to please God, not men. He determined to rest in the power of the gospel, rather than seeking approval by flattering words (2:5). He determined to never seek glory, though it would have easy for him to abuse his position of authority (2:6). In short, he accepted the gravity and weight of his appointment, and acted in keeping with that responsibility. “So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us” (2:8).

It is our work to continue that proclamation of the gospel of Christ. Are we exhibiting that same integrity, determination and zeal present among the apostles? If not, why not?

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Statement of Congregational Action (December 23, 2018)

The men of the West Side congregation have determined that, in order to protect the good reputation of the congregation, it is necessary to make public the events of December 19, 2018.  If you wish to read the statement, click on the “continue reading” link below.

Continue reading » Statement of Congregational Action (December 23, 2018)

Raised with Christ

baptism

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).

This passage is rightly understood as an exhortation to focus on spiritual matters to the saving of the soul. Our interest in this article, however, is to the first half of the “if, then” construction in the passage. “If then you were raised with Christ…” Notice also verse 3, “For you died…”

The reference is to baptism. In chapter 2, verse 12 Paul wrote, “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Paul wrote a similar passage to the Romans, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).

The logical conclusion to be found in these words is that baptism plays a part in one being born again. It is not merely a sign of what has been accomplished. It is a step taken to begin a new life, being “raised with Christ.”

Baptism is necessary to salvation. When one is saved, it is then necessary, as a new creature, to “seek those things which are above.” In this short verse, the false doctrines of “faith only” and “once saved always saved” are denied.

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Sermon: Christ, Our Peace

A discussion of the entire context of Ephesians, chapter 2. The sermon establishes the central position of Jesus Christ in our scheme of redemption, and refutes the false dichotomy that salvation by Grace precludes the necessity of obedience.

Sermon: What Can the Righteous Do?

What Can the Righteous Do2

David affirmed in Psalm 11 that in the midst of trial or persecution, the righteous can depend upon God as they place their trust in Him.

Making a Father Happy

Dad and Son

What is it about a son or daughter that makes a father happy? I’m not talking about the day of their birth (everyone rejoices at that). I’m not talking about the fact that they are healthy. I am talking about their character, their behavior, their actions, their accomplishments.

For some fathers it might be that they are competitive. They are successful at sports or some other challenging endeavor. For some it may be aggression. They never back down. Other fathers may rejoice that their child is intelligent, getting good grades, going to college, getting a high paying job. Some are most interested in their physical beauty or stature. They are proud of their beauty queen or good looking son.

For the wise man of Proverbs, it was wisdom and righteousness that made his heart rejoice.

“My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself; Yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak right things” (Proverbs 23:15-16).

Some things are good things to rejoice in, some not so good. Nothing should bring more joy than for a child to show wisdom when it comes to spiritual matters.

When your child shows such wisdom, when he or she speaks right things, do you show them how happy you are? Do they know your heart rejoices?

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