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      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Evangelism as the Focus in the Assembly of Believers?


speerjp1
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I wanted to get some other perspectives on what the purpose of the local church's assembly is.

I have recently contended that the church is not for the lost. It is for believers. Believers are to go to the lost in the world and when they get saved they can then begin to attend church.

I am not against lost people visiting a church, but I have become increasingly wary of that being the primary focus of a church's evangelistic efforts.

Anyway, let me know if this strikes a chord and what Bible verses, passages, and principles back up your perspective on this issue.

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There's a similar thread started by Kevin on this issue. The main function of all church members should be soul-winning by being nourished by the Word of God (Matt. 28:19,20; Mk. 16:15; Acts 20:28,32; Eph. 4:12; Col. 1:28; 2 Tim. 4:2). This equips believers in their particular ministry that God has called them to.

Ephesians 4:11-12 - And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Love,
Madeline

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my perspective if they are lost, you don't need to discourage them from coming to church (although, I don't think you really want them cussing around your children either), but you also don't need to tell them that they must come to church. I don't want them to think they have to come to church in order to be saved anyway. Most churches I been (IFB) have invited the lost to their church many times, but it was up to them if they wanted to come. If you leave it to the believers only, well there are plenty of people who thought they were christian who attend to church... and even they need to hear the Gospel.

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I wanted to get some other perspectives on what the purpose of the local church's assembly is.

I have recently contended that the church is not for the lost. It is for believers. Believers are to go to the lost in the world and when they get saved they can then begin to attend church.

I am not against lost people visiting a church, but I have become increasingly wary of that being the primary focus of a church's evangelistic efforts.

Anyway, let me know if this strikes a chord and what Bible verses, passages, and principles back up your perspective on this issue.



A church body meets primarily for edification, fellowship, accountability, and to learn from Gods word collectively. A balanced church will mix evangelism with discipleship. A church that is so focused on winning souls that it spends no time teaching believers how to walk with the Lord is imbalanced but so is a church that focuses on teaching to the point of ignoring the great commission. The mission of the Church is the same as the mission of every Christian. Glorifying God in the world, being a witness for Christ, and teaching other believers the ways of the Lord with our words and lives while all the while seeking to walk more closely with him ourselves.
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I wanted to get some other perspectives on what the purpose of the local church's assembly is.

I have recently contended that the church is not for the lost. It is for believers. Believers are to go to the lost in the world and when they get saved they can then begin to attend church.

I am not against lost people visiting a church, but I have become increasingly wary of that being the primary focus of a church's evangelistic efforts.

Anyway, let me know if this strikes a chord and what Bible verses, passages, and principles back up your perspective on this issue.


It is true the primary purpose of the church is the equip the saints for ministry of Jesus Christ, edifying the body and perfecting the saints. (Ephesians 4:11-13: 11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:)

Having said that. The pastor or whom ever is preaching should always give that gospel message behind the pulpit. We have no idea who is bornagain or lost. A man that has been going to church for years and a member could be lost as a bat in a hail storm or it could be a guest coming to the church building. We are not to negate the gospel under any circumstances whether it be in a church setting or out in the world. Paul actually gives an example of unbeliever in a church setting in 1 Corinthians. (1 Corinthians 14:23-26: 23If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

26How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. )
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I don't think there's any need to always give the gospel during every service. The church is a gathering of Christians, nothing more. If someone who is unsaved wanders in, cool, let's reach out to him, serve him and show him the love of Christ. Then by him seeing Christ in our lives, come to a realization of the Savior.

The church is made up of any and all believers. It is for the Christian and it is for his edification, fellowship, and discipleship. The primary purpose of the church(gathering) is to build up the Christian, ONE of the purposes of the Church(all believers) is to win the lost.

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I don't think there's any need to always give the gospel during every service.


Why not? It is easy for any serious preacher to touch down for a couple of minutes on the Gospel out of a 40-60+ minute sermon. Not every message needs to be a salvation message (ie. as the main theme), but every message can touch down on the Gospel. I think that is one of the primary reasons God blessed Spurgeon's ministry so much - he always preached the Gospel, no matter what the primary theme of his sermon was.
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Wow, a 40 to 60 minute sermon would kill me. lol
If you want to teach salvation every week to Christians, more power to ya. I'm just saying, it's unnecessary and, IMO, distracts from the purpose of the message.

That's the average in both southern baptist and IFB

although there are singing and praying in that 60 minute time slot so some pastor actually spend a little less on preaching.
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Why not? It is easy for any serious preacher to touch down for a couple of minutes on the Gospel out of a 40-60+ minute sermon. Not every message needs to be a salvation message (ie. as the main theme), but every message can touch down on the Gospel. I think that is one of the primary reasons God blessed Spurgeon's ministry so much - he always preached the Gospel, no matter what the primary theme of his sermon was.


Jerry, remember, Kevin is of the reformed, Calvinist, the reformed do not like the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed, nor do they like invitations given. They feel its a waste of time.

And above all, all they want to hear is a sermonette, not a full sermon. They might fall out the window if it got to long.

Ac
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Jerry, remember, Kevin is of the reformed, Calvinist, the reformed do not like the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed, nor do they like invitations given. They feel its a waste of time.

Matthew 6:16-17 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.

And above all, all they want to hear is a sermonette, not a full sermon. They might fall out the window if it got to long.

Matthew 6:16-17 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.
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Thanks for all the responses so far.

It really isn't the same discussion Kevin started. I should have titled it differently, I guess.

I am speaking specifically about evangelism as a part of the actual assembly of believers.

Here is an example of something I've come to find prOBlematic:

A pastor stands before his people and pleads for them to bring the lost into the church. He says things like "the church is their only hope." During church sponsored evangelism efforts in the community, preaching the gospel is discouraged. Confronting folks about their salvation or lack thereof is discouraged. Anything other than simply asking if they attend church anywhere and inviting them to visit one's own church is discouraged.

When lost folks do visit, the church tries to make the lost as comfortable as possible so that they will come more.

It has always been my understanding that the assembly of believers is just that: an assembly of believers. The lost have no function in the church outside of potentially hearing the gospel and being saved by God's good grace. I agree that the gospel should be a part of each service because you don't know who is lost and who is saved.

Any way, I hope this helps to steer the conversation a little more in the direction I intended.

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Thanks for all the responses so far.

It really isn't the same discussion Kevin started. I should have titled it differently, I guess.

I am speaking specifically about evangelism as a part of the actual assembly of believers.

Here is an example of something I've come to find prOBlematic:

A pastor stands before his people and pleads for them to bring the lost into the church. He says things like "the church is their only hope." During church sponsored evangelism efforts in the community, preaching the gospel is discouraged. Confronting folks about their salvation or lack thereof is discouraged. Anything other than simply asking if they attend church anywhere and inviting them to visit one's own church is discouraged.
When lost folks do visit, the church tries to make the lost as comfortable as possible so that they will come more.

It has always been my understanding that the assembly of believers is just that: an assembly of believers. The lost have no function in the church outside of potentially hearing the gospel and being saved by God's good grace. I agree that the gospel should be a part of each service because you don't know who is lost and who is saved.

Any way, I hope this helps to steer the conversation a little more in the direction I intended.


Seems like there is just a lot of imbalance in general in churches. I see the flip side of this too, when a great deal of community evangelism is encouraged and only a few come into the church after they have made a profession...........and of those that do, there are still a percentage that get offended and quickly fall away and appear to be still unsaved. It is sad.

Kevin, I'd rather hear a 40-60 minute sermon with a purpose any day over a 20-minute pep talk. Then again, tell the preacher to throw away the clock.............just preach until the Holy Spirit lets him know he's got the point across. :lol:
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I like things to be short and sweet. I prefer someone to make their point and move on, not saying it again five million different ways. :P
But that's just me.

My pastor usually speaks for about 30 to 40 minutes but he keeps it interesting by encouraging feedback or participation from the congregation or using on-stage illustrations and such. Plus, his style is more of making the Bible come alive and using what the Bible says to make changes in our lives, rather than preaching on standards or yelling at the congregation.

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I like things to be short and sweet. I prefer someone to make their point and move on, not saying it again five million different ways. :P
But that's just me.

My pastor usually speaks for about 30 to 40 minutes but he keeps it interesting by encouraging feedback or participation from the congregation or using on-stage illustrations and such. Plus, his style is more of making the Bible come alive and using what the Bible says to make changes in our lives, rather than preaching on standards or yelling at the congregation.


:lol: Well, you know, the Lord DOES have standards.
BTW, I don't care for the ear-splitting type preaching style either. It distracts me from the points that are trying to be made.
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      Advanced revelation, then...prophecy IS advanced revelation in the context of the apostles.
      I really do not know where you are going with this. The Bible itself has revelations and prophecies and not all revelations are prophecies.
      Paul had things revealed to him that were hid and unknown that the Gentiles would be fellow heirs.
      How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Eph 3:3-9
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      Seeing it is Christ----mas time and I was answering question on Luke 2:33 concerning Jesus, Mary and Joseph . I thought it would be fitting to display a poem i wrote concerning the matter.
      SCRIPTURAL MARY

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      I, AM A DAUGHTER OF ABRAHAM SINNER BY BIRTH
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      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY SO TRUST ME NOT
                                               5
      SO THE GIVER OF LIFE, THE ROCK OF ALL AGES
      GREW UP TO FULFILL THE HOLY PAGES
      HE PREACH WITH AUTHORITY LIKE NONE BEFORE
      PLEASE TRUST HIS WORDS AND NOT THE GREAT WHORE
      HER BLACK ROBE PRIEST FILL THEIR LIPS WITH MY NAME
      WITH BLASPHEMOUS PRAISE, DAMMATION AND SHAME
      THERE ARE NO NAIL PRINTS IN MY HANDS, MY BODY DID NOT ARISE
      NOR, AM A DEMON OF FATIMA FLOATING IN THE SKY
      THERE IS NO DEITY IN MY VEINS FOR ADAM CAME FROM SOD
      FOR I, AM, MOTHER OF THE SON OF MAN NOT THE MOTHER OF GOD
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY, SO TRUST ME NOT
      6
      FOR MY SOUL WAS PURCHASED BY GOD UPON THE CROSS
      FOR MY SINS HE DID SUFFER AN UNMEASURABLE COST
      I WILL NOT STEAL HIS GLORY WHO ROSE FROM THE DEAD
      ENDURING SPIT AND THORNS PLACED ON HIS HEAD
      YET, IF YOU WISH TO HONOR ME THEN GIVE ME NONE AT ALL
      BUT TRUST THE LAMB WHO STOOL IN PILATE’S HALL
      CALL NOT ON THIS REDEEMED WOMAN IN YOUR TIME OF FEAR
      FOR I WILL NOT GIVE ANSWER NEITHER WILL I HEAR
      AND WHEN THE BOOKS ARE OPEN AT THE GREAT WHITE THRONE
      I AMEN YOUR DAMNATION THAT TRUST NOT HIM ALONE
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY, O’ SINNER TRUST ME NOT

                       WRITTEN BY BRO. WEST
       
      · 0 replies
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