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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.

Way Of Life - On Doubting Salvation And Struggling With The Christian Life


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I have heard from many people who doubt their salvation, and I always try to take time to reply to those e-mails in the midst of the deluge of mail that I receive. Recently I received the following. I have removed specific references to people, places, churches, and schools for the sake of anonymity.
________

Dear Bro. Cloud,

I am writing to you to help me clear up some things in my mind. For many years now I have had extreme doubts about my salvation. So much so that it cripples me at times. I am newly married with one toddler. These doubts cause me to shrivel up, and become useless to my husband and baby. I spend many days crying and reading my Bible, and begging God to help me.

The thing is, I have had many professions of faith. About five, and have been scripturally baptized. The last profession I made, I haven't been baptized, because I wasn't sure if God gave me assurance that I was already saved, or if I had just gotten saved. But the last profession is the one that was the most real to my heart. At that time I was in college and a preacher came by to preach in chapel about this very thing. About how he had doubts, and would have many professions and still no peace. He finally realized that he must trust Christ and his shed blood no matter if he was lost or saved.

I knew I had to talk to this preacher, so I went up to him after he preached, and he explained salvation to me that was the most clear I have ever heard. It was exactly what I have been hearing all along, but on that day it made the most sense. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit that was helping me understand? Anyway, he said that regardless if I was lost or saved, I needed to risk my soul on Christ's blood. Trust my most treasured possession to His care. He then showed me in the Bible that only Blood can cleanse away my sins, and I was guilty before God with my sins. When Christ died, rose again, and offered HIS blood on the mercy seat, God was satisfied for the payment of man's sins.

After we talked, I went to my dorm room and thought about all he said. He said a whole lot more, but this is what stuck in my mind. Finally I realized that if God was satisfied with Christ's blood sacrifice for my sins, then I knew I could be too. So I told the Lord just that. That I knew I was a sinner, but I believed that Christ's blood was sufficient to cover my sins, and I trusted Christ to save me by His shed blood. At that moment I had a very still quiet peace, and knew I was accepted as God's Child.
Then why am I doubting? Well, for one thing, there is a link on your web-site to a church where they have testimonies about people who thought they were saved, but were really lost.



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Many good points! I like the one where he talks about asking ten different Christians and you'll get ten different answer. I've noticed that some IFB churches are placing a sinner's physical response as the greatest indicator of their salvation.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

How do you know whether or not you are saved?

 

1. The witness of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:16

2. The presence of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:9

3. The witness of the word of God 1 John 5:9

4. The witness of others 1 John 1:7, 5:8,9

5. The witness within ourselves 1 John 5:10

6. The witness of our own conscience. Romans 2:15

 

What are these witnesses telling you?

 

1 John 5:11-13, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

 

I believe that true salvation brings assurance with it. Nobody is able to give anybody assurance of their salvation. Being tormented with doubts is a very good indication that the person was never saved in the first place. Or maybe the person is just backslidden.

 

Hebrews 6:1 - "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,"

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I believe that true salvation brings assurance with it. Nobody is able to give anybody assurance of their salvation. Being tormented with doubts is a very good indication that the person was never saved in the first place. Or maybe the person is just backslidden.

I think it is very risky to say one may not have salvation in the first place because they have doubts about it.  Maybe those doubts come from attacks from satan.  Or perhaps unsound doctrine, ignorance of scripture and don't know how to put on the full armour of God to protect themselves from the attacks of the enemy.

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How do you know whether or not you are saved?

 

1. The witness of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:16

2. The presence of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:9

3. The witness of the word of God 1 John 5:9

4. The witness of others 1 John 1:7, 5:8,9

5. The witness within ourselves 1 John 5:10

6. The witness of our own conscience. Romans 2:15

 

What are these witnesses telling you?

 

1 John 5:11-13, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

 

I believe that true salvation brings assurance with it. Nobody is able to give anybody assurance of their salvation. Being tormented with doubts is a very good indication that the person was never saved in the first place. Or maybe the person is just backslidden.

 

Hebrews 6:1 - "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,"

When I was saved, I knew I was saved. I could "feel" the difference, I knew something had taken place inside me, I knew the Spirit was there.

 

Yet, like every Christian I've ever spoke to in person, there were some doubts, wondering, worry or concern at some other point. For many this came after hearing some teaching that one can lose salvation, or that one has to do certain things to be saved, or hearing someone say that "if a person were really a saved Christian they wouldn't do this or that".

 

While I encountered a few times of wondering about the matter, I yet knew deep inside I was saved as I was drawn to the Word, and in my case it was more of an examining myself to make sure I was in the faith, as Peter wrote. Finally a Baptist pastor walked through biblical salvation with me and agreed I was biblically saved and then he went over the doctrine of eternal security with me. I've not had a doubt or concern since then.

 

Many times doubt or concern come from ignorance of Scripture, lack of discipleship, watered down or corrupt preaching. Over the years I've had several Christians just light up and be so happy and relieved when they learned the biblical truth of salvation and eternal security in our Bible study because they had never heard it all put together before, and often had heard or read some false teaching before.

 

We need to be discipling those new to Christ and those immature in Christ.

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I was thinking the same thing when I was reading that! That's what satan likes to do is just put a little thought in your brain and you think more and more about it and finally believe his lies.

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When I was saved, I knew I was saved. I could "feel" the difference, I knew something had taken place inside me, I knew the Spirit was there.

 

Yet, like every Christian I've ever spoke to in person, there were some doubts, wondering, worry or concern at some other point. For many this came after hearing some teaching that one can lose salvation, or that one has to do certain things to be saved, or hearing someone say that "if a person were really a saved Christian they wouldn't do this or that".

 

While I encountered a few times of wondering about the matter, I yet knew deep inside I was saved as I was drawn to the Word, and in my case it was more of an examining myself to make sure I was in the faith, as Peter wrote. Finally a Baptist pastor walked through biblical salvation with me and agreed I was biblically saved and then he went over the doctrine of eternal security with me. I've not had a doubt or concern since then.

 

Many times doubt or concern come from ignorance of Scripture, lack of discipleship, watered down or corrupt preaching. Over the years I've had several Christians just light up and be so happy and relieved when they learned the biblical truth of salvation and eternal security in our Bible study because they had never heard it all put together before, and often had heard or read some false teaching before.

 

We need to be discipling those new to Christ and those immature in Christ.

Awesome!  Coming from the AOG, lack of discipleship and the "loss of salvation" teaching are major points you brought up. Since I started going to IFB, I have been trying to get my family away from false doctrines.  So far I have one sister, brother, daughter and niece.  I am working on another sister and some friends.  It took me a year before I believed KJV was the preserved Word. Some people take longer to come around.  We get stuck in our ways, I guess.

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I'm considered the religious nut in the family now since attending IFB! All my aunts and my mom are offended now because I don't want their books by all the popular Christian writers or I don't want their old copies of Charisma magazine. They think I'm crazy cuz I don't wear pants anymore. I won't go to their Christian concerts with them anymore. or want their old Christian artist CD's. I've said before that I've learned more about the REAL Christianity and the Bible KJV in past almost 2 yrs in IFB than in the past 19yrs. of being saved!

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I'm considered the religious nut in the family now since attending IFB! All my aunts and my mom are offended now because I don't want their books by all the popular Christian writers or I don't want their old copies of Charisma magazine. They think I'm crazy cuz I don't wear pants anymore. I won't go to their Christian concerts with them anymore. or want their old Christian artist CD's. I've said before that I've learned more about the REAL Christianity and the Bible KJV in past almost 2 yrs in IFB than in the past 19yrs. of being saved!

Me too.  I'm still not on board with the pants v. skirts though.  :-)

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I read a few pamphlets/ books on modesty and was easily convicted. Not all women are. Now I can't imagine wearing pants! It is a daily outside expression of an inward change for me. Nobody asked me to or told me I should. I prayed and read a few things. There's only a few other women in my church that don't wear pants.

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I've been saved for 32 years, IFB for nearly 25, and some of my family seems to still wonder when I'm going to stop all this "religious stuff". They aren't interested and they think I take it too seriously. Even those who claim one manner or another of being a Christian say I take the Bible too literally and I shouldn't attend a church that actually preaches the Bible and expects people to live by the Bible.

 

Funny that Charisma magazine was mentioned because this past year I've been able to see that magazine and Christianity Today (which has changed their name to CT :icon_rolleyes: ) and while I've found only a couple articles the entire year worth reading in CT, the Charisma magazine actually had several good articles. I've been shocked to read articles hammering prosperity preachers, those preachers who live a lavish lifestyle, those forced, goofy and fake "things of the Spirit" some are into, and even a great article dealing with children who are born with mental disabilities and the wrongness of those preachers who tell parents if they only had enough faith their child would be healed. Of course there were several not so good articles too, I especially think of those by Joyce Meyer.

 

No, not endorsing the magazine, I just found it interesting that the one magazine I didn't expect to find anything worthwhile in, actually had several good articles this past year.

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I was looking at a magazine just the other day it was a subscription I got for free for buying something else. Anyway, it's a very high end home decorating magazine that isn't interesting or anything I like or could ever afford, and I think if I get it I should read it. Then I realized God would rather have me trash the magazine of no positive worth and have me doing something or reading something of worth than wasting my time just to get my money's worth (even though it was free). When I first started attending IFB I watched a soap opera daily, I took care of an elderly lady for a few months and she had it on everyday was how I got watching it. Anyway, after watching for a few months if that, God weaned me off of it showing me I was wasting time and how immoral all the characters and plots were and could be doing better with my time. So not everything happens immediately for everyone and some things just aren't in one person's life as they are in another to be dealt with.

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Really? I didn't know that! I used to love Joyce Meyers also! But now I just see her as a big bully with a weak willed whipped husband.

I Feel sorry for the abuse she had to endure but she never stops mentioning it and wonder if she is truly past it.  I think she's mingled in with the prosperity teachers so I steer clear of that.

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Really? I didn't know that! I used to love Joyce Meyers also! But now I just see her as a big bully with a weak willed whipped husband.

I have an aunt who really likes here. So earlier this year I suffered through reading two of her books my aunt liked and I forced myself to watch a few of her programs. Then I talked with my aunt about the unbiblical things and the questionable things, all in a kind, civil, friendly manner. All to no avail. When we were finished talking my aunt still thinks Joyce is great, still watches her program most every day and still thinks it's helping her grow closer to the Lord. Sigh.

 

This aunt also attends the Baptist church which a few years ago hired a female associate pastor.

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I Feel sorry for the abuse she had to endure but she never stops mentioning it and wonder if she is truly past it.  I think she's mingled in with the prosperity teachers so I steer clear of that.

I noticed that when I read two of her books earlier this year. In both of them she brought up the same stuff and seemed to spend too much time on it.

 

I'm not saying this in a mean way, just the way it is, but her voice, hair and mannerism really creep me out.

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I noticed that when I read two of her books earlier this year. In both of them she brought up the same stuff and seemed to spend too much time on it.

 

I'm not saying this in a mean way, just the way it is, but her voice, hair and mannerism really creep me out.

My husband thinks she looks like the Joker from Batman.  LOL!  He just can't take her seriously.  She mentions her voice and that people don't like it.  

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Eternal Security:

I was saved when I was 5 years old, but never grew SPIRITUALLY.  I was in a good church and went to a good IFB Christian School.  I grew intellectually, but all that good information only made it to my head, not to my heart.  It did not change my life.  Once I got out of high school and on my own some, the Lord did some things to isolate me and work on my heart over some things.  I decided to give my life to the Lord and serve him.  It was not long after that decision that I began to doubt my salvation.  My questions generally centered around a couple of different themes:

Did I say the right thing when I prayed?

Was I sincere?  Did I really mean it?

 

I was really worried, to the point of being paralyzed from serving the Lord - the proverbial "deer caught in the headlights" syndrome.  So I bought a couple of sermons on cassette (yes, that was a few years back!!!) and a couple of sermon booklets on the matter.  The thing that caught my attention in one sermon was this question: "What are you trusting in RIGHT NOW to get you to Heaven?" 

I thought about that for awhile, and I had to say that I was trusting completely in Jesus Christ and what He did for me on Calvary. 

 

Well, if that is what I was trusting, then, ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE I was a saved, born-again Christian.

 

And to me that is what it all boils down to.  What are you trusting in RIGHT NOW to save you, and upon what authority are you trusting that?  Is it just your opinion, or what your preacher told you, or the "prayer" you "prayed?"  If your trust is in anything else than Jesus Christ, based upon the authority of the Holy Bible, then you will continue to have doubts.  We have to learn to take all of the emotion out of these equations, and trust in the Living words of the Living God to give us peace and assurance. 

 

I won't rehash all of the verses on eternal security here, since I am sure most - if not all - of you are familiar with them.  But that knowledge must be transferred from the head to the heart. 

 

Of course, after I went through all of that and received assurance of my salvation, I then had to ask myself if I needed to be rebaptized.  So I prayed about it, in light of the studying and praying I had been doing.  Since I now had transferred the authority of my salvation to faith in Christ based on the Bible, then I had to conclude that what I did as a 5 year old child was legitimate, because as best as I can remember, I was sincere in my profession, and my profession of faith was based upon the Bible.  At that point, I had called upon the Lord out of pure, simple faith in Jesus Christ, according to the word of the Lord.   Since I was baptized following that profession of faith, there was no need to be re-baptized.

 

I gave the short version of the story here, but hopefully it is enough to illustrate the point.

 

In Christ.

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