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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      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.

Great IFB Men


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I hear the names of John Rice, Bob Jones, James Crumpton, Lee Roberson, Jack Hyles, et. al. held in great esteem and even near reverence.
They were all used of God and that is true.

A recent thread seems to point out something I believe to be another truth. Don't exhalt any created man. The best honor you might give these men,
if you need to, is to tell how God used them for His glory and not hold up their personal lives. Stop putting IFBers and IFB up on a pedestal...
we are just men and we fail. If you look into any personal life you will find chinks in the armor.

Admire the spiritual strengths exhibited in their ministry but, don't admire the man. It's not the man that does anything but rather the Spirit of
God working through him. Marvel at the wonders of the Spirit working through these men but, not the man. At some point these men surrendered
to God and God took His humbled spirit for God's glory not the glory of the man.

So, all of the "oh no I never" "wow I would never have thought" "I can't believe or can hardly believe" stem from misplaced honor resulting in
disappointment.

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I hear the names of John Rice, Bob Jones, James Crumpton, Lee Roberson, Jack Hyles, et. al. held in great esteem and even near reverence.
They were all used of God and that is true.

A recent thread seems to point out something I believe to be another truth. Don't exhalt any created man. The best honor you might give these men,
if you need to, is to tell how God used them for His glory and not hold up their personal lives. Stop putting IFBers and IFB up on a pedestal...
we are just men and we fail. If you look into any personal life you will find chinks in the armor.

Admire the spiritual strengths exhibited in their ministry but, don't admire the man. It's not the man that does anything but rather the Spirit of
God working through him. Marvel at the wonders of the Spirit working through these men but, not the man. At some point these men surrendered
to God and God took His humbled spirit for God's glory not the glory of the man.

So, all of the "oh no I never" "wow I would never have thought" "I can't believe or can hardly believe" stem from misplaced honor resulting in
disappointment.



So true! My hubby and I agreed long ago that the phrase "great men of God" should actually say "men of a great God!"
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And what we tend to forget is that many "great" men and women of God are not famous - simply doing the Lord's will for their lives under the radar.


Absolutely. In fact, our preacher talked about that last night. His message was about humility, something that, sadly, is lacking so much today in every area!
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Yes, absolutely, people do tend to put their "heroes" up on a pedestal. People should not do so and really should only hold the Godhead in such high esteem; but that does not mean that it is fair game to tear those men of God down unfairly or based upon false accusation.

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Scripture tells us we are only to follow men in so much as they themselves are following Christ. Only in those areas any of us truly follow Christ are we worthy of following. The truly great men of God are humble, they don't shine the light upon themselves, they don't call attention to themselves. We are to be fishers of men, not followers of men. If we lift someone up to the point to where we are saying "I'm a follower of ______" instead of saying "I'm a follower of Christ", then we are in sin. This is one of the great dangers in all the different "camps" within IFB. Some in those camps are far too attached to the "camp", or the percieved leader of the "camp", and they give loyalty and attention to them that should go to Christ.

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yes, but how does one discern bet\ween due recognition and praising men? If we say any good at all, we are accused to praising and "worshiping" men, while criticism is running rampant. Most, if not all of us, know that we are to follow God and Him only, but what we then tend to ignore the man who has suffered in His behalf, and willingly given his all to the Lord.. His example can be an encouragement to us also.

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yes, but how does one discern bet\ween due recognition and praising men? If we say any good at all, we are accused to praising and "worshiping" men, while criticism is running rampant. Most, if not all of us, know that we are to follow God and Him only, but what we then tend to ignore the man who has suffered in His behalf, and willingly given his all to the Lord.. His example can be an encouragement to us also.


We certainly shouldn't turn silent regarding great men of God out of fear our statements may be used to attack us. It's our duty to encourage those who are serving God faithfully, such as our pastors, as well as others. If our recognizing of godly men is focused upon the fact they are great men of God because they are following and serving God, then such praise is also upon the God they serve.

It's when we lift up a man as if he himself is above others because he's better than others, has some special walk with God nobody else has, or can have, that he has some sort of special revelation or understanding of the Bible that God hasn't granted to others, and we hold a man up saying that we will support and follow him no matter what, then we are exaulting the man.
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yes, but how does one discern bet\ween due recognition and praising men? If we say any good at all, we are accused to praising and "worshiping" men, while criticism is running rampant. Most, if not all of us, know that we are to follow God and Him only, but what we then tend to ignore the man who has suffered in His behalf, and willingly given his all to the Lord.. His example can be an encouragement to us also.


Marvel at the wonders of the Spirit working through these men but, not the man.

Isaiah 10:15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

So, is there anything wrong with saying..."God used (name) in a mighty way and glorified His (God's) name, through missions, etc." ...I don't think there is but care must be taken not to lift up the instrument God used in place of the work God performed.
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Marvel at the wonders of the Spirit working through these men but, not the man.

Isaiah 10:15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

So, is there anything wrong with saying..."God used (name) in a mighty way and glorified His (God's) name, through missions, etc." ...I don't think there is but care must be taken not to lift up the instrument God used in place of the work God performed.


Agreed!
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Marvel at the wonders of the Spirit working through these men but, not the man.

Isaiah 10:15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

So, is there anything wrong with saying..."God used (name) in a mighty way and glorified His (God's) name, through missions, etc." ...I don't think there is but care must be taken not to lift up the instrument God used in place of the work God performed.

:clapping:
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:clapping:


LuAnne,
We IFBers will continue to suffer disappointment if we watch these men fail before our eyes...and so much more as the day of our Saviors reappearing draws near. Therefore it is SOOOO important to keep our eyes on the Lord and in the Word to guard ourselves. Also, we must exhort our brothers and sisters to guard themselves.

Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

There will be some extraordinary events coming to pass. They would have to be nearing the miraculous to come close to seducing us.
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All true, but what one man thinks exalts a preacher may be praise to His God, since it is very basic knowledge that the Lord does the work, and not the man. I am not trying to make a big issue of this, because we believe the same in it, but just wondered if it was directed at anyone in particular since it is common knowledge that it's all of the Lord, and not of man. I have heard people say that some "worship" so-and-so, and put him on a pedestal, but perhaps he simply loves the preacher as well as the Lord of the preacher. If I wee to talk about my preacher, and the great man of God he is, some would no doubt accuse me of exulting him too highly; it is because I think highly of him because I know the Lord uses him greatly.

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LuAnne,
We IFBers will continue to suffer disappointment if we watch these men fail before our eyes...and so much more as the day of our Saviors reappearing draws near. Therefore it is SOOOO important to keep our eyes on the Lord and in the Word to guard ourselves. Also, we must exhort our brothers and sisters to guard themselves.

Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

There will be some extraordinary events coming to pass. They would have to be nearing the miraculous to come close to seducing us.

Amen, and amen! I've known so many who've been hurt due to the fall of a man they've looked up to...because their loyalty was to the man and not to Christ.

irishman - I agree with you, too. I think my preacher is a man whom God has used greatly, and it is because he has been willing to surrender totally and be used. We don't worship him, and if he thought someone did, he would highly discourage it. Problem is, there are people who do, in effect, worship their preacher. I well remember the anecdote one preacher related - how a young fellow needed his shoe tied, so the pastor tied it. As the boy walked away, he said to his mom, "Mom, did you see God tie my shoe?" According to the story, the adult's reaction was to chuckle...and no correction was given to the boy. Could the story be made up? It sure could, but even if it were, it shows the mentality of that preacher. If it really happened, he should have made it clear to the lad that he wasn't God. If it didn't happen, the preacher had bigger problems....

I, too (as well as my hubby) think highly of our pastor because of his willingness to be used of God.
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"just wondered if it was directed at anyone in particular"

No one in particular, I wanted to exhort not reprove or rebuke. I think it's like the sermon we've heard before...we all need to hear it again.


We too have a good pastor and need to hold him up before the Lord in prayer.
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Never forget though that many times those who are used mightily of God are the men and women who are willing to sacrifice the most for Him. This isn't meant to glorify the person, but rather to give an example of what it takes to be used of God.

As far as glory goes, I think all of agree that we'd rather be humbled to get our glory up in Heaven at the Judgment Seat of Christ as our Lord gives us a crown for service, than to receive the cheap praise of men.

Some of the people that will be getting the most rewards in Heaven are little old ladies who pray for the big guns that get all the praise of men.

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Never forget though that many times those who are used mightily of God are the men and women who are willing to sacrifice the most for Him. This isn't meant to glorify the person, but rather to give an example of what it takes to be used of God.

As far as glory goes, I think all of agree that we'd rather be humbled to get our glory up in Heaven at the Judgment Seat of Christ as our Lord gives us a crown for service, than to receive the cheap praise of men.

Some of the people that will be getting the most rewards in Heaven are little old ladies who pray for the big guns that get all the praise of men.


I would give that an Amen.
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All true, but what one man thinks exalts a preacher may be praise to His God, since it is very basic knowledge that the Lord does the work, and not the man. I am not trying to make a big issue of this, because we believe the same in it, but just wondered if it was directed at anyone in particular since it is common knowledge that it's all of the Lord, and not of man. I have heard people say that some "worship" so-and-so, and put him on a pedestal, but perhaps he simply loves the preacher as well as the Lord of the preacher. If I wee to talk about my preacher, and the great man of God he is, some would no doubt accuse me of exulting him too highly; it is because I think highly of him because I know the Lord uses him greatly.


True enough, but I would say it is better to err on the side of caution. One thing to consider is that even if someone is doing right, God is using them, and you and others appreciate it it is easy to accidentally give them a swollen head of pride with profuse complements even if that wasn't your intention and they didn't want to go there either. For me personally, I prefer to give and receive complements and encouragements that are are either very mild or very general. Blow by blow examples of how God used what someone else did, wrote, or said in your life are better without specific names attached most of the time unless there is a particularly good reason for doing so. Pastors in particular seem to have problems with this, on the one hand they get nasty letters or criticisms that are depressing, and on the other hand they get gushing letters about how God used them and profuse praise. The natural "defense" mechanism is to try to ignore the criticism and accept the complements which easily leads to a head swollen with pride; sometimes without the person even realizing it. Most people can get hit with pride pretty easily when complemented, but pastors hear things that can push them that way more often than most. Occupational hazard I suppose.
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