Foreword

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That the Church is exceedingly precious to Christ is beyond all doubt, not only by virtue of the imagery used to convey the intimate relationship between the Bridegroom and His Bride, but because of the price He paid to win her, Eph.5.25. As in the case of that well-known bridegroom of the Old Testament, Boaz, it could similarly be said of Christ that "the man will not be in rest until he hath finished the thing this day" Ruth 3.11. His stated intention to complete the work, in spite of all opposition, is emphasised in the first mention of the Church in the New Testament in Matt.16.18, and in due course He will "present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" Eph.5.27. The young believer is advised graciously to become aware of the unique character of the Church as to its inception; Acts chapter 2; its insertion dispensationally – no mention is made of the Church in the Old Testament; its inclusivity – comprising every believer from the Day of Pentecost until the Rapture; its imagery and its intimacy. With what endearing affection the Lord speaks of "My Church" in Matt.16.18.

In the chapters of this third Assembly Testimony volume much needed teaching on the local church will encourage believers to commit themselves fully to the assembly, as a sound comprehension of the distinctive character of the assembly is a vital prerequisite to whole-hearted commitment thereto. Grasp these most important truths, consider the Scripture references and understand why you are, or ought to be gathered unto the peerless Name of the Lord Jesus, outside the camp, Matt.18.20, Heb.13.13.

Note the similarities and yet the very remarkable differences between the local assembly and "the Church which is His body …" Eph.1.22,23. For example, entry into the Church is by the new birth but entry into the local assembly is by reception. Likewise, none can ever be excommunicated from the Church, but, according to 1 Corinthians chapter 5, those who commit certain sins, must be "put away" from the fellowship of the local assembly.

We are grateful again to the authors for their willingness to contribute so helpfully, in spite of their busyness in other spheres of the Lord’s Work. Our brother Brian Currie’s help in liaising with the authors and the printers and in over-seeing the entire project, is invaluable.

We commend this volume to every young believer, desiring that you would read it carefully and prayerfully and discover the preciousness of "[the] house of God, which is [the] church of the living God, [the] pillar and ground of the truth" 1Tim.3.15.

Roy Reynolds, N. Ireland, March 2008.