Identifying A New Testament Assembly
Compiled by Lonnie Ford for the Nepali Brethren
Over the past 50 years, I have been privileged to sit under the teaching of men who not only believed and taught about the Lord's New Testament Assembly, but more importantly, lived their lives in harmony with their understanding of this great truth.
As a young man, I was raised in a home centered around the very strong conviction that God works today through local visible assemblies, and that being a living participating member of the Lord's Assembly was of the utmost importance. This had a tremendous impact on my life.
However, as I grew into manhood there were periods of time when I forsook the Assembly of which I was a member.
There were occasions when brethren called or tried to visit me. Although I made every effort to avoid them, a group finally reached me stating that unless I repented and returned to the fellowship, I would be excluded from the Assembly. This was very serious to me for two reasons, first and foremost of which was the example that my father had lived before us all. No one would ever question that he loved the Lord's Assembly dearly, and that he would give his life for it. At that time I did not understand why this was true, but I knew that this witness of my father's love for the assembly had left a deep and lasting impression on me. Secondly, I had been taught from birth that you did not want to ever be separated from the Lord's assembly. To enforce this, I had personally witnessed many brethren who did go away seeing the devastating effect it had on their life and the lives of those around them.
I am thankful to all involved including our Heavenly Father, who impressed these things upon my heart in the early years of my life. For these reasons I returned to the Fellowship of the Lord's Assembly.
However, it was not until years later that I realized that the motivation of my heart in serving the Lord as a member of His assembly was not what it should be. I was continuing as a member, because of the love of my father, rather than a love of my own. So I began a search of the scripture and gathered material from various brethren to enable my ability, by God's grace, to learn all I could about the Lord's Assembly. I took notes of every message I heard, especially of those messages dealing with the Lord's Assembly.
My goal was to learn, just why my father and all these other brethren that I had come to know, loved the assembly so dearly. I believe I can honestly say that I do understand, and that I now serve the Lord out of that same kind of love for Christ and His assembly.
So, wanting to share with you what I have been privileged to glean from all the material that I have collected throughout the years, I have put this study together. It is mostly the work of so many others, my father, Leonard Ford, Bro. Eugene Garner, Bro. Jack Worth, Bro. Ed Sullivan, Bro. Ed Byrd, my uncles Rolla and Sharrel Ford and Bro. Steve Cahill. Also, I acknowledge Bro. Al Larosa for his corrections and input plus others that have read, corrected and helped in this work.
It is my prayer that in sharing some of these things with you, it will be a blessing to you and that it will encourage you to love the Lord's Assembly, which He purchased with His own blood.
Bro. Lonnie Ford