Saturday, September 29, 2007



"Don't you want to be sure you belong to the true church?" Two JWs stood at my door. "I was baptized into Christ," I said, "and I am sure He did not add me to the wrong one."

Since God ADDS THE SAVED to the Lord's church (Acts 2:47), the question is: HOW DO YOU GET INTO CHRIST? "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." Col 2:12

We look at this Son - Jesus the Christ -
and we see the God who cannot be seen.
We look at this Son and we see
God's original purpose in everything created.

John wrote: "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:16-17

"And He said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." John 1:51; compare Jacob's Ladder, Genesis 28:12-22.

Jesus said: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." John 6:37

"Now John answered Him, saying, 'Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.' But Jesus said, 'Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side.'" Mark 9:38-40

Paul established the church at Philippi on his second missionary journey, 50 AD. Now he was imprisoned at Rome as he wrote to the Philippian church. Some opposed him and tried to destroy his influence. But even though he was in prison, he still reached out with Christ. "But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;" Phil 1:12-13

Yet Paul had enemies who hated him more than they loved Christ - if they did love and accept Christ. Note Paul in Gal. 3:1-3. "before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?"

Paul wrote: “The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.” Phil 1:16-18

Johnson's Notes wrote: "Some, indeed, preach Christ even of envy. The motives of all preachers are not pure. Some still preach Christ, full of envy for other preachers, and some from a love of strife. Those envious of Paul were probably Judaizing Christians. See next verse." —People's New Testament

Paul trusted God to be in control of everything, and that He would make good come from difficult times. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee:" Psalm 76:10

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Glorious assurance! And this, it seems, was a "household word," a "known" thing, among believers. Persuaded that He who gave His own Son for them must mean them well in all His Plan, learn thus to take in good part whatever He sends them, however trying to flesh and blood: and to them who are the called, according to His purpose, all things do in His way "work together for good"; for, even when "He hath His way in the whirlwind," they see "His chariot paved with love" See 2 Timothy 1:9-10.

CHRIST IS PREACHED! Philippians 1:15-18

Philip. 1:16-18 (MsgB)
One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. [17] The others, now that I'm out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.
[18] So how am I to respond? I've decided that I really don't care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
And I'm going to keep that celebration going.

Robert Rainey in the UK, writing about 1880.

OF COURSE SOME. How do we fit this in with our idea of the early church??? The truth is, of course, that the early church faced every problem that the church is facing today! Technology does not change the basic problems, which grow out of human relationships.

Robert Rainey says: “Mixture of motive has haunted the work even of those who strove to keep their motives pure. And men in whom lower motive and worse motive had a strong influence have struck into the work alongside of the nobler and purer laborers. So it has pleased God to permit; that even in this sacred field men might be tried and manifested before the judgment of the great day; and that it might be more plain that the effectual blessing and the true increase come from Himself.” See verse 17. [compare 1 Cor. 3:12-15.]

16. THESE DO SO FROM LOVE.. Those who preach Christ with all good will. These viewed Paul’s imprisonment in the light of truth - as a defense of the gospel! Note 2 Cor. 5:13-15. "For the love of Christ compels us."

17. THE OTHERS. Robert Rainey says: “There were, as we all know, in the Church of those days powerful sections of professed believers, who contested Paul’s apostleship, questioned his teaching, and wholly disliked the effects of his work. Perhaps by this time the strain of that conflict had become a little less
severe, but it had not wholly passed away. We call these persons the Judaisers [circumcision party]. They were men who looked to Jesus Christ as the Messiah, who owned the authority of His teaching, and claimed an interest in His promises. But they insisted on linking Christianity to Jewish forms, and rules, and conditions of law-keeping, which were on various grounds dear and sacred to them . . . Possibly there might even be a Christian congregation in the city in which this type prevailed.” Compare Acts 21:20; John 19:15 and notes. They probably preached Christ as King, hoping to stir up the Roman authorities against Paul.

18. IT DOES NOT MATTER. Robert Rainey said: “It is NOT TRUE that the preaching of Christ serves no purpose and yields no fruits, in cases where it is not carried on in the right or the best spirit. . . Now the Apostle, looking at this, is glad of it. He is not glad that any men, professing Christ, give way to evil and unchristian tempers (natures). But he is glad that Christ is preached. There were cases in which he vehemently contended with such persons -when they strove to poison and pervert Christians who had learned the better way. But now he is thinking of the outside world; and it was good that the making known of Christ should gather strength, and volume, and extension. And the Apostle knew that the Lord could bless His own message, imperfectly delivered perhaps, to bring thirsty souls to Himself, and would not fail in His unsearchable wisdom to care for those who came, and to lead them in the ways He thought best.

LET CHRIST BE PREACHED. The converts do not belong to the denominations, but first of all to Christ. Neither is it appointed that the denominations shall permanently hold those whom they bring in; but Christ can hold them, and can order their future in ways we cannot foretell. . . . But God is not tied up to give no success to men acting under wrong motives: at least, if we are not to say He gives the success to them, yet in connection with them He is well able to take success to Himself. Through strange channels He can send blessings to souls, whatever He gives or denies to the unworthy workmen. Souls truly gathered in will soon get beyond their teaching.”

Saturday, September 22, 2007



We call for purity in the church. We speak to honor Jesus Christ and promote His Kingdom. But some wage the warfare differently. Some, like those noble Bereans of old, ask rational questions, listen to the Scriptures, draw our attention to error, and preach the truth in love. Others burn with righteous indignation. Like the church at Ephesus they pursue the false apostles (or those they see as false). But, in their frenzy, their first love of Christ is shoved aside. Their candlestick is in danger of being removed.

Amid the confusion of the battlefield the Accuser of the brethren shuttles from side to side, darting back and forth, sowing the bitter seeds of anger and division. Confronting error is biblical. But Paul warned: "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!" Gal 5:14-15 In the war on error it is the Enemy who incites the conflict, supplies the ammunition and benefits from the carnage that follows. Brothers brawl before a watching world, and we are all wounded in the fog of war. Paul wrote: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.' Eph 6:11-12

Throughout history, the church has been helped by righteous causes and harmed by overzealous religious crusades. What is the difference? Here are a few points to consider.

Sees an opportunity
Motivated by Christian love
Gives life
Brings healing
Is about influence and serving
Celebrates freedom
Is passionate and fervent
Unites God's people
Defeats the Enemy
Ends in blessing

Sees a problem
Motivated by fear and panic
Takes life
Brings wounding
Is about control and force
Celebrates force and violence
Is fanatical and extreme
Divides God's people
Empowers the Enemy
Ends in shame

They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested." Rev 15:3-4

The world will continue to change - no matter what we do. The Apostle Paul looked out on a world which could be won for Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ-on-the-Cross & the Resurrection is the power of God to save mankind! Jesus Himself is the Way, the Truth, the Life. John 14:6; 18:37; 1 John 5:20.


R. D. Ice 12/31/2002

As someone wrote: "So many Christians I meet today worry that the sky is falling. They say: 'The world is getting so dark. I just hope Jesus comes back soon.' They are afraid of foreign terrorists on our airplanes, anthrax in our mailboxes or snipers near our Home Depots. They want to evacuate the planet every time the stock market drops, gasoline prices rise or Osama bin Laden issues another one of his cowardly threats via videotape. That's sad - because God did not call us to walk in fear or to run from giants. His command to Joshua was - 'Be strong and of good courage...for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go' (Joshua 1:9)."

Clem Thurman wrote in Gospel Minutes Sept. 27, 2002: "Some folk, faced with the conditions as they are in the world today, are led to believe that 'Christianity has failed.' Even among those who are supposed to be Christians, many are ready to give up on 'the law of the Spirit of life' (Romans 8:2) as a world-changing movement, claiming that the gospel will just not fit the complex issues of our society today."

Paul the apostle looked out on a world which was at least as "bad" as ours. He saw a world which could be won to Christ. But we need to have Paul's attitude toward the POWER of the Gospel of Christ Jesus - Crucified, Risen, Coming Again. Look at 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Acts 4:29-33.

CHARISMA Magazine (2002) spoke of the "darkness invading our world."

The heart of Islam in the USA is Detroit, Michigan, where 300,000 Muslims live now. But some say that 50% to 70% of the Arab-Americans who live in Detroit are "Christian" in some sense.

The heart of Buddhism in the USA is Hollywood, California. "Movie stars have helped make Los Angeles the headquarters of Buddhism in the West." [Coming into Philippi from the west the Dali Lama beams down from a billboard with the message of Peace.]

The heart of Hinduism in the USA is Parma, Ohio, where there is the Shiva Vishnu Hindu Temple.

There is a Hare Krishna Temple just east of Moundsville, WV. rebuilding-its-temple

The heart of Judaism in the USA is New York City, where almost 2 million Jews live.

The heart of New Age religion in the USA is Sedona, Arizona. Despite its tiny size, Sedonia has more than 70 New Age bookstores, astrology centers and healing studios.

The heart of Black Magic in the USA is Miami, Florida. Miami has bustled for decades as the de facto capital of Caribbean and Latin American culture. "Santeria ("way of the saints") blends ancient beliefs of the Yoruba and Bantu people of Western Africa with Iberian Catholicism.

The heart of Atheism in the USA is Madison, Wisconsin. In this leafy Midwest city, people who dislike religion have found a home.

Lift Up Jesus Christ The Light!

"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge (gnosis) of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2Cor 4:6
"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising." Isaiah 60:1-3; Eph. 5:14-16.

God does not take away our freedom to choose Him. He always intended the Gentile to be called also. "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom (the Jews) will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt. 8:10-11. Compare what James said in Acts 15:12-18. "Known to God from eternity are all His works."

A Quotation to Think About

"I realize I am trapped in Romans 7, but that I am to live in Romans 8." Paul also said: "for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life." 2 Cor. 3:6-8

Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34)

Athens was a junkyard of idols!
Paul got angrier and angrier at what he saw!
On Mars Hill, the Areopagus, Paul
spoke his words of truth.
You Athenians take your religion seriously.
I found a shrine to the Unknown God.
And I want to tell you about Him.
God - who made heaven and earth -
doesn't live in shrines and temples.
Nor does He need us to run errands for Him.
From Adam He made the entire human race.
God does not play hide and seek with us.
We all live and move and have our being -
in Him - we can't get away from Him.
This God is now known to you, and He
calls for repentance - a radical life change - and
He has set a Day when He will judge the world.
He has already appointed the Judge,
confirming Him by raising Him from death.

At Corinth Paul said: "I deliberately kept it
simple - first Jesus and Who He Is; then
Jesus and What He Did. Jesus is the Wisdom
of God Who gives us right thinking,
right living, a clean slate and a fresh start.
God by His Holy Spirit has brought it all
out into the open before you
(1 Corinthians 2:1-10)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


R. D. Ice

[When we look back some years, we are impressed by the faith & power of the Gospel of Christ - Crucified, Risen, Coming again! Some today have pulled the plug on power, Christian love, holy joy, and the fruit of The Spirit. Paul warned: "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." Look back with me to those days of glory.]

It was just before WWII in one of the large cities of the South. Trucks rolled into the inner city and the crew began putting up the Gospel Tent on the vacant lot where the Circus came each year. Loudspeaker vans went through the city streets blaring the congregation singing: “There’s POWER In The BLOOD.” The song leader’s voice could be heard shouting: “Gospel Meeting tonight in the big tent! Everyone come!”

And people did come. A rainbow of ethnic groups. Many of the poor and dispossessed. Some in suits & ties. Old people and young children and those in between. But they came and they filled the Gospel Tent. Finally everyone was seated on the rickety folding-chairs.

“Let’s all sing!” shouted the song-leader. “Everyone join in and sing as loud as you can!” He began singing: “Would you be FREE from the BURDEN of SIN? There’s POWER in the BLOOD!’”

The people sang with enthusiasm! “POWER, POWER, Wonder working POWER, in the BLOOD, of the Lamb, there is POWER, POWER, Wonder working POWER, in the Precious BLOOD of the LAMB!”

They were lifting the VOICE of JOYFUL PRAISE to the Lord. Would the Apostle Paul have done what this tent evangelist was doing? Read what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, and compare Philippians 1:15-18.

Brother Ed, the Evangelist, stood up to speak. “Glory to God!” he shouted. “The Bible says Jesus came so that the world through Him might be saved! I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL! There is POWER in the BLOOD!”

“Let’s have CHURCH!” he shouted. He waved his Bible in the air. “Let's have CHURCH! - Unashamed! With Power! Jesus- Worshipping! Sin-Busting! Devil- Chasing! Bible-Loving! Saving! Renewing! Praising! and With All The Joy The Holy Spirit Provides!!!”

(And I remembered 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”)

Brother Ed continued: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of how Christ died and rose again from the dead! Jesus is a Hero! He rescued us from sin and death. The real Day of Atonement was that Day when Jesus was Nailed to the Cross. The Lamb of God took away the sin of the world! Jesus said that when He was lifted up on the cross, He would draw everyone to Himself. Everyone who believes Jesus was raised from the dead will come to Him!”

Brother Ed said: “I have never heard anyone say, ‘When I studied geography my whole life changed.’ But I do know that when I studied Jesus Christ I was set free from sin! I don’t beat my wife or abuse my children. I am honest and pay my debts. I try to do good to everyone. The love of Christ fills my heart and soul! I want to share this Love with everyone who will listen!”

“Church, let’s have POWER! When God’s people of old prayed - things happened! Elijah prayed and God turned off the rain for three and a half years. Elijah prayed again and the rains came down. Every Christian has the authority to PRAY! Let everyone who is FREE IN CHRIST come to the Foot of the Cross in prayer and praise and let us lift ONE VOICE to our GOD!”

“It is time for a Christian revolution,” he shouted! “We are in the battle for the hearts and souls of mankind! If God crushed Satan beneath the feet of the Christians at Rome [Romans 16:20], HE certainly is able to do the same today if we reach up to Him in prayer. God is saying, ‘By thy faith command thou Me!’ When we believe and then ACT - our God will do what we cannot do!”

Perhaps we do need a more aggressive faith (not an arrogant faith); certainly a more joyous faith. The Tent Evangelists came into an area and practiced “Guerrilla Evangelism.” People would come to a tent service who would not consider going to a “church.” On Pentecost in Acts 2, crowds of people were reached and 3,000 were baptized into Christ that one day. Thousands more flooded into the Kingdom and the Jerusalem Church grew to perhaps 100,000 believers. When these people were scattered by persecution in Acts 8, they took CHRIST with them everywhere they went! Like gasoline poured on a fire, these believers exploded the Gospel of Christ across the First Century world. Certainly God-The-Holy- Spirit was enabling them [Compare Acts 1:8,14].

The Gospel is the POWER of God at work - saving all who believe and obey! The Word of Christ cannot fail! Revelation 7 speaks of the great number of the Saved!

A huge crowd of people,
too many to count them all,
standing in front of
the Throne and the Lamb.
They are from every race
and language, every nation
and tribe, dressed in white,
the sign of Victory!
Who are these? Where do
they come from?
They came through the
terrible persecution.
They’ve washed their robes,
scrubbed them clean
in the blood of the Lamb.
They stand in praise and worship
standing in front of the Throne,
serving Him day and night,
in the Eternal Temple.
The Lamb is in the center of
the Throne. He will shepherd
the people of God, and lead them
to Eternal spring-waters of Life.
No more tears, no sickness,
no sorrow, no persecution,
no death! All is new!
Oh, Yes! I’m on my way!
I’ll soon be there!
Come! Lord Jesus!

God-The-Holy-Spirit is vital to the life of Christ’s church. Note John 7:37-39.

Jesus stood
on the final day of the Feast.
“If anyone thirsts, let him come
to Me and drink.
Rivers of living water
will brim and spill out
of the depths of the one
who believes in Me.”
Jesus said this about
The Holy Spirit Who
would be given when
He - Jesus - was glorified
in the Cross and Resurrection.
God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah!

If you sewed together arms, legs, a body and a head, you might make a “baby.” But without the “spirit” it would not be living. In every generation a Movement arises that seeks to duplicate the New Testament church of the Apostles. They install elders and deacons, and all the known programs of the apostolic church. They set in order baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But without the life-giving Holy Spirit it is just a copy. The church is built for a “habitation of God through the Spirit” [Ephesians 2:22].

Alexander Campbell stressed “head” religion. If we merely impart knowledge of the scriptures and biblical principles, we have not made them “spiritual.” Barton Stone stressed “heart.” The Eunuch went on his way rejoicing. We need both “head” and “heart” in our life in Christ Jesus. It is said of those first Christians: “Praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

No person or institution has the power to produce spirituality in someone. There are no shortcuts. Only God The Holy Spirit does that. We need to stress the “renewing of the Holy Ghost” [Titus 3:5] “which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” The Holy Spirit Himself makes intercession for us [Romans 8:26-28]. Christians are being changed into the “same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord." [2 Corinthians 3:18]

We Christians have been sanctified and we must live holy lives as living sacrifices to God [Romans 12:1-2]. The God who called us is holy, and we are to be holy too in our conversation/ conduct [1 Peter 1:15-16]. We Christians are to shine as lights in this dark world [Matthew 5:16]. Our hearts are to be full of Christian love, holy joy, and all the fruit of the Spirit! [2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7; Galatians 5:22-25; Romans 8:31-38].

We remember You, Lord Jesus,
in the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Meal.
Your body of flesh was nailed
to the cross, Your blood was
poured out for the sins of us.
Your death and resurrection
is the atoning sacrifice for sin.
You are the Scapegoat who
carried away forever the sins
that have been forgiven.
You purged our sins and sat down.
You give us the authority to say
Abba, Father, to God the Almighty.
You make us joint heirs with Yourself.
Oh God, our God, how majestic is
Your Name above all the earth!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Who Were The 120 In The Upper Room

Who were the 120 disciples in Acts 1:13?
Scripture does not contradict Scripture; and we compare Scripture with Scripture to learn truth. When Paul says faith, James says works, and John says love - all are saying the same thing. No contradiction.

The four Gospels give the account of God's act in Christ Jesus to reconcile the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19). These four Gospels quote Jesus and tell Who He Is, What He Has Done, and What He Taught. God the Son became Man and made it possible for all of us - both men and women - to renew our lives in Him (Hebrews 2:14-15). God is beyond our imagination and logic (compare 1 Cor. 2:14). Yet God has spoken to us by His Son. Compare Hebrews 1:1-4. God revealed Himself to us in a way that we can understand.

Luke in his Gospel and in the Book of Acts shows a handful of ordinary men and women who were transformed into a dynamic community by their experience of the Risen Christ. They were the nucleus of the Kingdom of God which came into being with the first coming of Christ (compare Luke 16:16). They - men and women - had been trained by Him in discipleship and charged with the task of spreading the Good News Gospel of how God saves people to the whole world. Very fallible men and women, barely recovered from the shattering blow of the Crucifixion. Yet they were transformed by being convinced that He Arose, and then by the coming of "another Comforter" in Acts 2. The Kingdom of God came with power as Christ promised (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5).

Luke wrote in Acts 1:1-3 "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God . ."

Paul speaks of over 500 eyewitnesses to Jesus raised up from the dead (1 Cor. 15:5-7). Paul himself was an eyewitness, as he points out (1 Cor. 15:8). The events of Matt. 27:52-53 can be taken to imply that He was also seen by the people and the Jewish leaders during the 40 days. (* note: Pentecost means 50 days.)

The Upper Room Prayer Meeting
This was a time of very great excitement! Christ had died and risen to life! HE was now alive forevermore! For forty days He had been with them before He ascended to heaven. They were to wait for the Promise of the Father! Luke 24:53 "And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen."
Perhaps a larger group met in the temple. But this group of 120 is specified as meeting in the upper room.

Acts 1:13-15 "And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)"

Who are these hundred and twenty persons? By looking closely at what is said here and in other places, we may know who they were. These had the common bond of knowing that Jesus had raised from death and was alive forevermore.

The Twelve
We recognize the names of the Twelve Apostles (now eleven with the absence of Judas Iscariot). We would expect them to be present in this gathering.

The Seventy
Also with them were the 70 (Luke 10:1). Each of the 70 would meet the qualifications Peter mentions: "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us..." Among the 70 were Joseph Barsabas and Matthias (who were put forward by the whole group as possible choices). Just these two cast their lots (to take it out of the realm of human action) and the lot fell on Matthias. He became the twelfth Apostle to complete the number. We would expect that those mentioned in Acts 6:5 had been among the 70 (Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicolas), also Barnabas. These were men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.

Further thoughts on the 70.
God told Moses to gather 70 elders of Israel in the tabernacle and He would put His Spirit on them and they would prophesy. They would bear the burden of the people with Moses, to relieve him. Moses said (of Eldad and Medad): "And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" Numbers 11:16-29.

Compare Paul in 1Cor. 14:5. "I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying."

The women
Women were also identified to be among the 120. Mary the mother of Jesus is mentioned by name. The wives of the apostles were there (1 Cor. 9:5 "Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?"). Each of the wives was a devout believer in Christ. Part of the number of women would be those mentioned in Luke 8:1-3. "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance." See also Matt. 27:55-56; Luke 23:49,55. We would expect that the sisters of Jesus were also believers by this time, as His brothers had become. Jesus was much more inclusive of the women than were the scribes and Pharisees. The women had accompanied Him as He went through every city and village. The very first person to announce the Risen Christ was Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18).

The brothers of Jesus
The brothers of Jesus are also included in the 120. They had not been believers before the Crucifixion (John 7:3-5). Now they were firm in their faith and devotion to Him. These were: James, Joses, Simon, Judas (Matt. 13:55-56). James the Just was the leader of the Jerusalem Church in Acts 15:13. He is called an apostle in Gal. 1:19, although not one of the Twelve. See also 1 Cor. 9:5. James was the author of the Book of James. Judas was the author of the Book of Jude.

Pentecost Sunday.
Pentecost was a feast which came every year (Exodus 34:22). Jesus had been among His disciples forty days (Acts 1:3), speaking of the things of the kingdom. The day of Pentecost was kept by the Jews also as a festival to commemorate the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. The Jews who had come for Passover had stayed on to celebrate Pentecost. Thus the whole Jewish nation had been witnesses of the Crucifixion of Christ. Now they were witnesses of the Coming of the Holy Ghost.

Johnson's Notes comments: 1. When the day of Pentecost was fully come. The entire period between it and the passover, the waiting period of the disciples, was filled full. Pentecost, one of the three great annual festivals of the Jews, lasted only one day, was on the fiftieth day from the morrow after the passover Sabbath (Lev. 23:15–22). The Savior, crucified on Friday, was in the tomb on the passover Sabbath, and rose on Sunday, the day from whence the count began. The Sunday following would be the eighth day, and the fiftieth day would fall on Sunday, the first day of the eighth week. Hence, the ancient church observed Pentecost on the first day of the week. For fuller discussion, see Meyer, Howson and Milligan on this passage. All agree that Pentecost came on Sunday. Pentecost was the feast of the grain harvest (Exod. 23:16; 34:22, 23), and was also held by the Jews to be the anniversary of the giving of the law. They were all … in one place. Not only the apostles, but the hundred and twenty disciples. They probably had an intimation that the promised day had come." 4. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. All the disciples present. To be filled implies that the human spirit within was overwhelmed by, or immersed in, the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit was not a sprinkling, but an outpouring that overwhelmed the human spirit. Began to speak. This was the "Beginning." See Luke 24:47 and Acts 11:15."

The 120 were certainly there when Joel's prophecy was fulfilled. And since 3,000 were baptized into Christ following Peter's sermon, there had to be a huge crowd of people. Only the temple courts had the space for so many people. All the people spoke both Greek and Hebrew (Aramaic) and so it was a special sign that so many languages were heard. It was the "tower of Babel" in reverse. Certainly evidence that God's Salvation was to be spread abroad over the world.

Peter announced: "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your SONS and your DAUGHTERS shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my SERVANTS and on my HANDMAIDENS I will pour out in those days of my Spirit: and they shall prophesy:" (Acts 2:16-18)

The climax of Joel's prophecy was: "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21). God sent Jesus to be the Savior! "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17). God had promised: "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 8:13).

The Jerusalem Church became a mega-church on that first Sunday. The 120 plus 3,000 more! Certainly the 120 would be leaders and teachers - with the Twelve standing above them all. "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' (note apostles' is plural) doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:42

"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:46-47

It's OK To Let Go

It's OK To Let Go! R.D.Ice 6-04
This is a composite, but it is based on true events which took place in two large metropolitan areas plus some other places. Names are of course changed. I have borrowed ideas from other writings and filtered them through my mind.

Living in the future [adapted from Patrick Mead]
"We are not 'change agents' but 'Jesus followers.' For we do not want to train to fight the last war. We want to fight this one — we want to drive back the borders of Satan's territory. We want to rescue people he has overrun. We want to bring light where darkness rules and we can't do that while trying to live in a storied, fabled, and glorious past. Fighting the last war always leads to disaster in the current war. We should have figured that out just by watching the evening news." [compare Acts 3:18-26; 26:14-20.]

"Through the years, Central Church of Christ [not the real name] in Mytown, PA, gradually declined in attendance, from 200 to 45 or 50. Looking out over her 80-year-old pews, you saw only beloved senior citizens, and they were dwindling fast."
"What to do??? The gates of Hell cannot destroy the Lord's One Spiritual Church. But individual churches can lose their candlestick. After talking about money and trying to raise support, another patch to a leaky roof, and seeking advice from respected brethren, the church hired a young (very young) preacher who knew nothing of the difficulties. He made plans, hired an architect and contractors, built some new classrooms, and added a second Sunday morning service."

"But, as we found out, Central Church had wonderful facilities, but no children left to enjoy them. The day was coming, and could not be postponed. The candle was about to sputter out."

Closing One Door to Open Another. "Turn it around or close it down." My computer has a "refresh" button. It resets to the original default program. But how to do it in this case??? We could imagine the Lord saying, "OK. You did a good job. But the inning is over. It is time to move on and restart anew." It was time to abandon the past and move on to the future to accomplish the Lord's purpose.

Central sold the building, liquidated all the assets, and gave the money to a church-planting group overseen by a large church in the Midwest. Leadership and planning was to be completely in the hands of the church-planting group. This sort of church-planting had been done in Bay Shore, Long Island, NY, some years ago. Begin something new and fresh, free from the past and with a new identity.

This new church began meeting in a movie theater. Discovery Church of Christ spends no money on building upkeep, and rent is not all that expensive. Some who would not come into a church-building did come to the movie theater church. The bulk of those who came were young, skeptical, and curious. To them the established church was irrelevant, bureaucratic. But these same young people were, however, hungry for truth and starving for a spiritual connection with God.

Things are happening. Our challenge is: How do we connect with a generation starving for God but disillusioned with what little they know of the church? How do we eliminate barriers between a dying world and a living Savior??? Every Sunday morning the lobby of the movie theater is transformed into a meet-and-greet area for the Discovery Church of Christ. Like Paul, we preach Christ Crucified, Risen, Coming Again!

The church went back to basics, not "issues". Sermons focused on the purpose and mission of believers in Christ (the church). We studied fundamental doctrines (the apostles' teaching). We set about to discover and use our spiritual gifts. Evangelism classes and evangelistic methods were taught. A home-cell group was begun - meeting from house to house just like in Acts. In the first six months, Discovery Church of Christ is averaging more than 250 in worship attendance.

Some times a computer must be restarted. It shuts down and then reboots. Central shut down and then restarted in the same community - but with a new identity and a new future. Discovery Church of Christ is just the first phase. Additional seed money left by the Central Church of Christ will be used to start two more new churches in 2007 and 2010.

"Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23 NKJV).

[Note: Mytown, PA, is near a large population center and in a fast growing area. But this fact did not help Central Church of Christ to this point. Something drastic and new was needed. Discovery Church of Christ was that new beginning.]

There is more than one way of doing things. Paul tailored his approach to fit those whom he was trying to reach (1Corinthians 9:19-23). We can do no less. What Central Church did would probably not work in the rural area where I live. But we ourselves are experiencing a time of renewal following a fire in our church-building (and we do have a younger generation coming on). We praise the Lord and ask Him for wisdom and vision for the future.

What can we learn from "Central - Discovery"??? How can we step away from the past and reach out to the future? Paul said: "but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, Ipress toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14).

First, a quotation from Augustine. "Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His providence." And, as we say: "Keep on keeping on!"

1. Why did this work? The gospel is the same. What really changed to make the difference in reaching out to the community? What can we learn from this?

2. It is always our intention to worship God and obey Him! But we might have been more focused on "the building" than on the Lord Jesus. Perhaps we have been trapped by the past. Paul wasn't. Phil. 3:9-11; 1Cor. 9:19-22.

3. Someone said: "Success is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it." Someone also said: "Life is what happens while you are making other plans."

4. We always remember that Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God made the plant grow. Compare Psalm 127:1

5. It is dangerous to allow the recent Past to be an albatross around the neck of the church. We always look back to Jerusalem, which is right, but we also look forward to the future. We are not to allow the world or the Past to squeeze us into its mold. We are to be transformed (Romans 12:1-2).

6. Truth cannot change! But methods may change, and may need to change. Paul was all things to all men, "that I might by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:19-23).

7. When we stand before Him, might He say: "If you knew it would draw the people in to meet Me, why didn't you do it?"

R. D. Ice

God will rock the heavens!
One last shaking, from top to bottom,
from stem to stern, thoroughly
cleaning house, getting rid of
historical and religious junk, so that
the unshakable essentials will stand
clear and uncluttered.

Do you see what we have!
A kingdom which cannot be shaken!
How thankful we must be, and
not only thankful but filled with
love and praise and worship.
Our God is a cleansing fire who
purifies us because He loves us!

We stay on good terms with each other,
held together by bonds of love.
We are not carried away by
material things, by casual sex,
by lust and envy and pride, by
wanting to have our own way, or
by wanting to appear important.

R. D. Ice

John saw the souls of martyrs
under the Altar in heaven,
men and women who had been killed
for their testimony to the Gospel of
Christ's Doing & Dying & Rising again.

How soon, O Lord, how soon?
How long can this world last?
You will come in flaming fire
taking vengeance!

What a Mighty God You are!
oh Holy and True, may Your
will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.

How long, Oh Lord, until You
step in and avenge our murders?
for in killing us,
they have rejected You!

"Take this white robe of victory.
Sit back and wait. It is not yet time,
because thousands and millions
of martyrs will share with you
before I Come Again."

We share with the martyrs.
Our faith and their faith
in Christ Jesus the Lord.
The purpose and will of
God All Powerful must
come to completeness.

R. D. Ice

The End is near! But,
not yet. Many things
must first take place.
Jesus spoke of terrible things:
Nations and Kingdoms will
go to war against each other;
Some will starve to death;
Earthquakes and floods;
Disease, terrorism;

But God will crush Satan
again and again, beneath
the feet of God's People.
God makes us strong by
the Faith which is Christ Jesus.
The Gospel is good news that
HE has overcome the world!

Jesus is the world's Savior!
He Came as flesh & blood,
one of us, tempted on
our human level, yet
never sinning.

The blood of His Sacrifice
washes away our sins;
we can stand before God
accepted in God's Son.

Whatever may come
we need not struggle in
fear and anguish.
Christ is Coming Again!
To receive His People,
to be with Him forever!

Hinderances to Church Growth

(written for IMAGE around 1975?)

R. D. Ice

“If it is so obvious that the Church is dying fast, how come God doesn't work a miracle or two to shake things up?”

In less than an hour, I was sitting at my old wooden desk reading about a Person who wanted to give me eternal life. For years the Gospels had gone in one ear and out the other as they were read during church. Yet now, as I read each living word, the person of Jesus was coming alive.

Finally, at the end of the Gospel of John, I looked up at the clock on the wall: 2:45 AM. Leaning back in my chair, I closed my eyes and tried to hold back tears that were welling up. Turning out the light, I sat in a sea of darknend tranquility. And in a whisper I began to pray.

"God, it's been so long since I've really talked with You. I'm sorry. Yet somehow it's all different tonight. All my life I've felt that You were high and holy and unreachable; that's why I gave up on You. And now I see that all my life You've been waiting for me to realize how much You loved me. Oh, Jesus, I want Your love...I will come unto You. Please help me, Jesus..."

And I wept - like I hadn't done since a little child.

About a week and a half later, I drove home and found my father sitting down. He had just gotten home from the bank where he was a custodian and had been too tired to take off his blue uniform.

"What have you got there," he asked, as I walked into the dining room.


"The books under your arm. What are you reading these days?”

That was surely the signal. "Let me show you." It was a thick paperback Bible - The New American Standard - that I had purchased the day before.

"The Bible?” Fanning the pages quickly, he handed it back like it was a hot 'potato. "What do you want with this?"

"Well, all I can say is, I've been studying it for the past month. And it's opened up a whole new world to me."

"Eh, the Bible is full of contradictions," Dad replied.

"Well, I haven't found any so far," I said, as I held out the Bible to him. "But here, show me one."

Dad turned away from my outstretched hand.

Pulling a piece of paper from my Bible, I said, "Listen to me, Dad. This is a statement about church growth. ‘We earnestly and specifically urge all Christians to learn by frequently reading the Bible. We must again be a people of the Book. Not only that but it also is becoming increasingly clear that many of our church people have no real commitment to a living, risen Jesus Christ. They have never received Him into their hearts as a Personal Savior.’"

"Received Him? A personal Savior? What are you talking about?" Dad asked. In my zeal I was getting a little ahead of myself as well as Dad.

"I'm talking about the fact that just because you are part of a church, that doesn't make you a Christian."

"What?" Dad said. "I'm a member of the Lord's church."

"So was Billie Sol Estes and that other man," I said.

"But I've been baptized," Father retorted, "and I eat the Lord's Supper every week."

"So did they!" See Dad, some are members of the church outwardly simply because they have never decided not to be. They go through the motions of taking the Lord's Supper each week and get nothing out of it. God isn't real to them. Attending church, praying, even reading the Bible are all boring if you don't know God personally, and there is only one way you can know Him personally - and that’s through His Son, Jesus Christ."

"Since when did you get so religious?" Dad snapped.

"I haven't gotten religious," I pleaded. "I just found Jesus. I made a commitment to Him as my Savior almost a month ago, and He's transforming my life. He's my Savior and He's given me the gift of eternal life."

There! It was said! But my father didn't understand one word of it. Worse, I could tell by his lips twitching that he was about to blow his stack.

To calm us both down, I went to the refrigerator for a couple bowls of chocolate-chip ice-cream, his favorite. But it was too late. His words followed me into the kitchen.

"Look, young man, I'm almost 60 years old. No 20 year old punk is going to tell me about my religion, understand!"

"But Dad, look in your own Bible. Just check out. . Dad . . Dad!" And the front door terminated another family discussion.

After I settled down, I began to think things over. Dad thought I was leaving the Lord. I was sure he did not understand what he thought he believed. A number of we young people really love our Lord and we can’t be satisfied with anything less that giving our all to Him! That led us to question everything. We questioned all that we had been taught and carefully tried to match things up with what the Bible actually said.

Many of the rules were inevitably rejected after being questioned. But since our relationship with God had been based solely on our relationship with the Church and our ability to obey its rules, then rejection of the Church rules mean rejection of God. We could not understand.

Everybody was so uptight about all the kids who had turned off the Church, the steady increase of preachers who quit, the millions who had become inactive and given up their faith.

The fact was we hadn't given up our faith at all- we had never understood it! What we gave up was our allegiance to what we had understood as only a noble, venerable, superstructure called the Church of Christ Church. The question I felt like standing up and shouting was: What happened to Jesus Christ in this superstructure? What happened to the Church's original commission - to proclaim the Gospel to everyone that they may have eternal life and that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only answer to man's deepest needs?

Unless the Church quickly recovers its God-given mission, the present specter of the defection of frustrated members abandoning a once-august, fortress Church would accelerate, until what we were experiencing would seem mild compared with the earthquake to come.

We were a people starving for a heartwarming, personal faith, a vital experience with Jesus Christ. Yet who would listen to me - a 20 year old kid?


Churches in general, must
deal with three generations
among their followers.

Builders - born before 1946
Boomers - born 1946 - 1964
X-ers born 1964 - 1983

Can they work together?
in worship style?
in budget priorities?
Bible translations?
Small groups style?

Sing traditional hymns?
Contemporary songs?
Subdued and quiet?
Loud and boisterous?

What is “reverent?”
What is “informal?”
Celebrative? “Joyful?”

In Michigan two Churches,
One “African-American”
One “white middle class”
Became one in diversity
Two points of view and
Two lifestyles, but
Were “one” Church.

They worshipped One Lord
In their different styles,
then "White"
As they praised
God in heaven.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Jesus Follower

Are You A Christ-Follower?
[”and such were some of you “ 1 Cor. 6:11]

Beth (not her name) wrote: “When my husband spoke at a Lectureship, Norman (not his name) approached him and asked if he could talk. In a short time, my husband learned that Norman had been a practicing homosexual for years and was now suffering from AIDS. In further conversations, he found out that Norman's mother was a Christian and had been praying that he would come to Christ before he died. He did.”

“Never was a man more radically changed. He told my husband that he didn't know if he could change his orientation, but he knew he could change his behavior.”

“Norman became part of our family. He came to a Bible study in our home each week and sang the songs with the vigor of a man who knew he soon would be meeting the One he sang about. He soaked in Scripture as if it were his last drink of water before entering a long desert journey.”

“How we as Christians react to those who claim a homosexual lifestyle may have eternal consequences. Paul helps us figure out how to represent the grace and truth of Jesus in those situations.” [adapted by R.D.]

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor 6:11

A God Who Loves And Forgives
[Psalm 122:6-9; Eph. 2:19-22; Hebrews 8:8-12]

Oh God, our God! You said in Hebrews:
They'll get to know Me by being kindly forgiven,
with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.
We're no longer wandering exiles.
This kingdom of faith is now our home country.
We're no longer strangers or outsiders.
Brick by brick, stone by stone,
with Christ Jesus as the Cornerstone
that holds all the parts together.
We see it taking shape day after day—
a holy temple built by God,
all of us built into it, a temple
where God lives through His Spirit!

Pray for Jerusalem's peace!
Prosperity to all you Jerusalem-lovers!
Friendly insiders, get along!
Hostile outsiders, keep your distance!
For the sake of my family and friends,
I say it again: live in peace!
For the sake of the house of our God,
Oh God, I'll do my very best for you.

The New Jerusalem
[Revelation 21:1-7]
I saw Holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven,
as ready for God as a bride for her husband.
I heard a voice thunder from the Throne:
"Look! Look! God has moved, making His home
with men and women!
They're His people, He's their God.
He'll wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death is gone for good—tears gone,
crying gone, pain gone—
all the first order of things gone."
Then He said, "It's happened. I'm A to Z.
I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion.
From Water-of-Life I give freely to the thirsty."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The King James translators

The King James Translators Were Christians

We believe that the Translators of the Version of 1611 were Christians.
Since we agree that the KJV translators were Christians, the borders of the kingdom are broader than some have said. Salvation makes you a member of the Lord's Church. Acts 2:47. And the Lord kinows who His people are. We believe that now is the time for the Lord's People to aggressively advance the Gospel message that "He who believes in the Son has eternal life, and he who does not believe the Son will not see life..." John 3:36

A. Campbell also believed they were Christians. He accepted the KJV as the inspired word of God. His argument with them was based on the changes in the English language since their work. Campbell wrote: "We have, IN WRITING, all the Hebrew and Greek that is necessary to perpetuate to the end of time, all the ideas which the Spirit of God had communicated to the world; and these languages, being dead, have long since ceased to change. The meaning of the words used by the sacred penman is fixed and immutable; which it could not have been, had these languages continued to be spoken."

"But this constant mutation in a living language, will probably render new translations, or corrections of old translations, necessary every two or three hundred years. For although the English tongue may have changed less during the last two hundred years, than it ever did in the same lapse of time before: yet the changes which have taken place since the reign of James I., do now render a new translation necessary. For if the King's translators had given a translation every way faithful and correct, in the language then spoken in Britain; the changes in the English language which have since been introduced, would render that translation, in many instances, incorrect. The truth of this assumption will appear from a few specifications:--" Campbell goes on to specify such phrases as: "We do ye to wit" - understandable at the time as "We cause you to know." [This was the thinking behind the New King James Version and why some obsolete words were replaced.]

The KJV translators (or revisers) lived in a different time and a different culture. Their personal world-view was "gloomy" due to the world in which they lived. They wrote and spoke in the language of Tyndale, 16th Century. Tyndale's translation of 1526 inspired the great translations to follow, including the Great Bible of 1539, the Geneva Bible of 1560, the Bishop's Bible of 1568 (and others).

King James wanted a "standard" "official" Translation to be used by all the English churches. He instructed: "The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishop's Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit."

The original KJV 1611 was published in Old English Black Letters, and included the Books of the Apocrypha. It also contained an introduction by the Translators, and a justification for their work. They said: "We are so far off from condemning any of their labors that travailed before us in this kind, either in this land or beyond sea, either in King Henry's time, or King Edward's...or Queen Elizabeth's of ever renowned memory, that we acknowledge them to have been raised up of God, for the building and furnishing of his Church, and that they deserve to be had of us and of posterity in everlasting remembrance." You can read about this online at: and

Campbell's Living Oracles New Testament was widely used by churches of Christ in the years before the War Between The States. It was based on work done by George Campbell, Philip Doddridge,and James MacKnight and revised slightly by A. Campbell. The Living Oracles spoke the language of the educated Scotch-Irish in the early 1800s. You can read Campbell's Living Oracles New Testament:

Many Churches of Christ today use a variety of Versions. NKJV, NIV, RSV, GNB, etc. God speaks all languages.