Dear Friend,

I pray that you and your family are all well.

I am sending this letter because I have been unable to see you in person to study with you
concerning the church of our Lord. I do not believe this is a matter that can be put off indefinitely
because of the importance of the issue and its affect upon the eternal destiny of your soul, and
those of your household.

What is written in this letter is written because of the love that I have for you. Friend, I like you and
want you to do what is right in the sight of God. It is difficult in writing to see the tear in the eye,
and the tenderness and cry in the voice that portray the love in the heart. Words written tend to
seem harsher than the same words spoken. However, be assured of the tenderness of my
heart in presenting these words to you.

Please, consider all that is said. Take your Bible and check to see that those things that I have
written are true. If they are not what the Scriptures teach, do not believe it! But, if it is what the
Scriptures teach, believe it and obey it for the sake of your soul If you think that I am wrong,
please show me where, I do not want to be wrong.

The church in the New Testament does not refer to a building. The church is a people. The
church can hear and talk (Matthew 18:17); the church can fear (Acts 5:11); the church can be
persecuted (Acts 8:1); the church can pray (Acts 12:8). A people can do these things, but neither
organization nor a building can.

The church of Christ in the New Testament was the people who were saved. They were those
bought with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28}. They are those who upon their belief are baptized in
order to obtain the remission of sins: Now when they heard this, they wen pricked in their heart,
and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then
Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins... Then they that gladly received bis word were baptized: and the same day
were added unto them about three thousand soul... And the Lord added unto the church daily
such as should be saved. (Acts 2:37384.14.7; Mark 16:16). Being bought with a price they were
God's, and temples or the Holy Spirit (i Corinthians 6:19,20). They were redeemed, not with
corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your
fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest in these
last times for you: (i Peter 1:18-20). The Lord adds the saved to His church.

The church is to be subject to Christ in all things (Ephesians 5:23,24). Jesus is the head of the
church (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,23), not any representative on earth. The church that
belongs to Christ requires a "thus saith the Lord," a scriptural reason for every thing that it says
and does (2 Timothy 3:16,17; i Peter 4:11; 2 John 9; Revelation 22:18,19). The church cannot go
beyond that which is written. If a man teaches something other than the truth he is to be cut off
from the church (Galatians 1:6-10; 2 John 9-11). That means the church will do what Christ has
authorized; no more, no less (Colossians 3:17; Acts 4.7). There must be a "thus saith the Lord"
before the church can act. As the army of Christ, composed of soldiers of Christ, it cannot
advance unless given the command of Christ.

The commands of Christ are found in the New Testament, Jesus took the Old Testament out of
the way, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:124-17; Ephesians 2:14-17,- Galatians 3:1-5, 17-
29; 4:21-5:5; Hebrews 8:1-28; 12:18-29; 1:1-2:4; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18). We are not under the Old
Testament, for Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law;
ye are fallen from grace (Galattans 5:4)-

The conditions for pardon and fellowship are given in the New Testament. Those who receive
pardon and are accepted into the fellowship of the church are: i) those who, having heard the
word of God, have faith (Romans 10:17; 5:I'>J<^}tt5:I6; Hebrews n:6); 2) those whose faith
causes them to repent (Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9); 3) those who confess their fiath in Jesus as the
Son of God (Acts 8:36,37; Romans 10:9,10; Matthew 10:32,33); 4) those who are immersed in
order to obtain the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Galatians 3:26,27; i Peter 3:
21); and, 5) those who remain faithful in obedience, for those who walk disorderly are rejected
Qobn 15:1-6; 2 Peter 2:20-22; Revelation 3:15,16). Any other conditions are commandments
and doctrines of men.

The church is subject to Christ in organization. There is no organization revealed in God's Word
larger than the local congregation. The local congregation is to have a plurality of men who
watch over that congregation who are known as elders, overseers, bishops, and pastors (Acts
14:23; 20:17,28; Titus 1:5-7; Ephesians 4:11). This is not one individual, but a group of
individuals. These men must meet all of the qualifications set forth to serve (i Timothy 3:1-7;
Titus 1:5-9) • There is no record of single pastor over a congregation. The local congregation
also has deacons who meet the qualifications (Philippians 1:1; Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13).
The local congregation also has preachers, or evangelists (Acts 21:8; 2 Timothy 4:1-5). The
church no longer has living apostles or prophets (Acts 1:21-26; Ephesians 2:20).  There is no
separation of clergy and laity, for all are priests unto God (1 Peter 2:5,9).  A congregation can
exist without elders, deacons or a preacher.  But no man has the right to assume the eldership
without the correct credentials.  We cannot make up our own government for the church.

The church is to be subject to Christ in its worship. The church meets upon the first day of the
week, every week, and partakes of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine in the Lord's
Supper (Acts 20:7; Matthew 26:26-30; i Corinthians 11:24). The church as it gathers together
sings without instrumental music and specialized singers (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians ):i6).
The worship also includes prayer (Acts 2:42; 12:5), preaching (Acts 20:7), and a free will
contribution (i Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:6,7). During the assembly the women are to
keep silence u Corinthians 14:3435; i Timothy 2:11-15).

Friend, do the "churches" that you are attending realize and teach that the church is the saved,
and since it is that which Christ shed his blood for, and is the Savior of, you must be a part of the
church to be saved?

Do the "churches" that you are attending teach and practice that Christ is the head or the church,
rejecting all creeds and councils for the church, and accepting the New Testament as their only
creed book?

Friend, do the church that you attend justify their actions from the Old Testament? or do they
abide by the doctrine of Christ?

Do the "churches you attend teach and practice the conditions of pardona nd fellowship that the
apostles revealed by inspiration, or do they have other conditions?

Friend,  do  the  "churches*  you attend have the organization founa in the New Testament? or
do they have a state,    regional    and/or    national organization?

Do the  "churches"  you   attend follow the New Testament plan for worship is partaking of the
Lord's Supper every week, having congregational singing without instrumental music, praying,
preaching the word, and having a free-will contribution?

Ask the preachers if they have a creed book. Ask them if they have a ruling council. Ask the
preachers if they justify their actions by the Old Testament. Ask them what it takes to become a
member of their denomination. Are the answers to these questions the answers which are
given in the New Testament? Are they the church you read about in the New Testament?

When the New Testament refers to churches it refers to local congregations of the same body,
the same church (Romans 16:16; Revelation 1:11). There is only one church, one body of Christ
(Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18; Epbesians 1:22,2); Romans 12:5; i Corinthians 12:12).
Denominations are not all part of "one universal church," they are different churches. That is why
we call them the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Church of God, etc. The word
"churches" does not refer to denominations. The term church is never applied to a
denomination in the New Testament. A denomination is too large to be what is referred to as
the church in the New Testament; it is larger than the local congregation. It is too small to be
what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is smaller than the universal church.
Therefore, the church of Christ in the New Testament, those who are saved, are not in a
denomination.

What we are to do is to be part of the one true church; not the church of our choice, but the
church of God's choice. Religion is not merely a matter of good intentions, but a matter of
obedience to the will of God (Matthew 7:21-29; Hebrews 5:9; i Peter 1:22-25; i Samuel 15:22;
ijohn 1:6,7; ):2i*24; 5-3^ We are not to be a part of the church we like the best, as though we are
picking cars, but of that which is described in the New Testament.

Friend, the apostle Paul in writing to the Corinthians, told them that they could not worship
falsely and still belong to God.  Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what
fellowship has righeousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with
darkness?  and what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part bath he that believetb with an
infidel? and what agreement bath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of God
with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and
walk in themn; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from
among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not toe unclean themg and I will
receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saitb the
Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). The Christian could not worship with the unbeliever and
be doing that which was right. Although Paul was particularly addressing the problem of idol
worship, the principle remains the same for any any unbeliever, or principle remains the same
for any unbeliever, or group of unbelievers.

The apostle John said: We are of God: be that knowetb God bearetb us; he that isnot of God
bearetb not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (ijfohn 4:6). If a man, or
group of men does not listen to the instruction of the inspired apostles as revealed in the New
Testament, he or they are of the spirit of error, they are unbelievers. This includes the plan of
redemption, the organization of the church, and the worship of the church. If it is different than
the New Testament pattern, then they are of the spirit of error. Therefore, for one to be obedient
to God, he must come out from among them and be separate; else he hs separated himself
from God.

Friend, I plead with you to be a part of the congregation of the saved, the church of Christ, by
being born again in the waters of baptism. My prayer is for you to walk in the light of God s word.

With the greatest of affection, I pray that I may also remain

Your Friend
A Letter to
a Friend
321BibleStudy.net