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

From Where Do Wars Come?


James wrote, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1). Commentators differ on what “wars” James refers to — big ones, or little ones. However, the motivation for is typically the same — Lust!

Selfish desire is at the root of most strife, whether disputes between nations, or petty squabbles among individuals. James wrote, “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war” (4:2).

One nation covets the land or resources that are owned by another. One ruler wants riches he sees beyond the borders of his own land. Lust and covetousness is the root of war!

The same is true in religion. Wars have been fought because of sectarian jealousies. The continual war between Jews and Muslims is fueled in part by claims made on the old city of Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount. Each faction covets the same plot of land.

Strife was caused in Corinth because each faction wanted exalted status (1 Corinthians 1:10-15). Conflict existed between two women in Philippi, presumably for the similar reasons (Philippians 4:2). Paul’s remedy? “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3).

Selfish desires bring war and conflict. Humility brings unity and expressions of love and peace.

In the News: The Colorado City Murders

Image Last week a mentally unbalanced man named Robert Dear killed three people in Colorado City, Colorado. The location of the attack was a Planned Parenthood clinic.

The statement above contains one assumption, that the man was mentally unbalanced. It is admittedly an assumption, but there are a number of facts that seem to bear out the assessment. First, there is the deranged look of the man in his booking photos. Second, there is the characterization of the man’s interaction with police which was described in numerous press reports as incoherent ramblings. Finally there are the descriptions of witnesses of a man who was a loner, a recluse who lived by himself in an isolated shack without plumbing or electricity. In many ways, he seems reminiscent of the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski.

Continue reading » In the News: The Colorado City Murders

Sermon: Bitter Words

ImageThe sermon describes the cause of, and the destructive nature of bitter words we might say to those we love, such as spouses and children.


Powerpoint Slides

Sermon: Anger and Wrath

Anger and WrathThe lesson examines a number of scriptures that emphasize the importance of controlling ones anger, and the dangers and sins associated with anger and wrath.


Powerpoint Slides

From the Preacher’s Pen: God Hates the Sower of Discord


Among the seven things the Lord hates, as recorded in Proverbs 6:16-19, is “…one who sows discord among brethren.” The word hate is a strong one, a word that many do not want to attribute to God. But, it is accurate. It is defined as we use the term today, and is also translated in the American Standard Version using the term “detest.”

It is important to consider what our text reveals — that God is extremely unhappy with anyone who sows discord. While God counsels patience with many who are guilty of sin, there is little forbearance shown for this class of sinner. The apostle Paul exhorted Titus, “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:9-11).

Strife is antithetical to Christian unity. It has no place among those who profess to follow the “Prince of Peace” (cf. Isaiah 9:6). Instead, may we emulate the example of Abraham. Because of his and his nephew Lot’s possessions, the land was not sufficient to support them both. As a result, there “was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock” (Genesis 13:7). This was untenable to Abraham. His plea to his nephew is touching, and a worthy example to us: “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren (8). Abraham’s willingness to accommodate and sacrifice is an attitude worthy of imitation, and will help secure for us God’s love and acceptance.

Stan signature

Mining the Scriptures: 3 John 9-12


Can you imagine the audacity of a man who would seek to exalt himself against an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ? That is exactly what Diotrephes did, as he sought preeminence in a local congregation, and refused to accept John and his companions.

This note, which explains the tactics of Diotrephes, serves as an object lesson to Christians today. The man lied maliciously about John. Further, he compelled others to do his bidding, and put them out of the church if they were unwilling to go along with his agenda.

The lesson, concisely put in a quotation most commonly attributed to Edmund Burke, is that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” God’s word tells us what to do with men such as Diotrephes (cf. Tit. 3:10).

In contrast, John calls upon his readers to imitate good rather than evil. Where Diotrephes is shown to be an example of evil, John puts forth Demetrius as an example of good. He had a good reputation, one that was valid because he was obedient to truth. For this, he received the commendation of the great apostle.


ImageA couple of years ago I sought to admonish a brother in Christ for mistreating another brother. The man thought his brother was teaching error, and in his interaction with the man, acted in an inappropriate manner. When I pointed out the mistreatment, this brother was very cavalier in his treatment of his fellow Christian. Here is an exact quote from his pen:

“When the apostles dealt with error, they did not consider what the errorists felt about fairness. … I try to act in such a way to ensure fairness to truth, whether those who oppose me deem that as fair or not.”

Continue reading » Fomenting

Mining The Scriptures: Titus 3:9-11



Titus 3:9-11

In our text the apostle Paul counsels his charge to avoid divisiveness. He obviously makes a distinction between contending for the faith, and being contentious. While one difference may be attitude or demeanor in the midst of controversy, in this case Paul refers to the content which brings about the division.

“Foolish disputes, geneologies, contentions, and strivings about the law” are named as “unprofitable and useless” by the apostle. Whatever these things are, Titus was not to engage in any dispute about them. Some things we are not to fight about!

What things? Simply put, silly stuff of no consequence that serves no purpose other than to create fussing and fighting among Christians. When men seek to promote and elevate their opinions and speculations to the level of faith, they are guilty of causing strife.

Paul says such men are “self-condemned.” We are not to be patient with such individuals. What they do is obviously wrong, and after the “first and second admonition”, they are to be rejected from the fellowship of God’s people.

Sermon: Pitfalls !

Pitfalls are traps set by Satan, that are not always immediately evident. Satan makes his enticements seem sometimes innocent, and always enticings. We must be on Guard, because:

  • Strong Drink is a Pitfall
  • Dancing is a Pitfall
  • Evil Companionship is a Pitfall
  • Fault Finding is a Pitfall

Sermon PowerPoint: Click Here .

Sermon Audio: Click Here .

Sermon: Sowing Discord

Congregations are to be made up of brethren who love one another. As such, those who foment strife and sow discord must be dealt with, and if necessary, marked and avoided.

Sermon Audio: Click Here .