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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.

Community Vs. Fellowship Or The Same?


nucreature

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

If we are going to do the alcohol thing, may I suggest we start a new thread, or re-open one of the older threads on that subject? Thanks, guys.

Totally agree. However being an IFB, I wonder why we should even discuss it.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I know of IFBs who don't believe the Bible teaches total abstinence and I know of two, possibly three, IFB churches which preach that drinking small amounts of alcohol is biblically acceptable.

 

Some IFB churches and teachings have changed a great deal over the past decade or so.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I know of IFBs who don't believe the Bible teaches total abstinence and I know of two, possibly three, IFB churches which preach that drinking small amounts of alcohol is biblically acceptable.

 

Some IFB churches and teachings have changed a great deal over the past decade or so.

Guess I need to get out more often; however, down here in the bible belt, I don't know of any.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Yes, Scripture is clear the consumption of alcohol is not a sin, drunkeness is. Matter of fact, If you study what the Bible says, not what a denomination teaches, you see that alcohol is a blessing from God. That is our church's teaching on the subject. Charles Finney started the Temperance Movement the mid-late 1800's and up to that point many churches did not have an issue with alcohol. Even in denominations around the world, it's not an issue. In America, it is.

 Funny you bring this up, it was a study in alcohol that started me to question my stance in the IFB. I was trying to prove a co-worker wrong about alcohol and after studying the Word of God, not what my pastor said, to what Scripture says I had to ask what I was following. God or a movement.

I for one would like to know how you arrived at these conclusions? If you care to elaborate, there is a thread "Alcohol: A Bibical case for Abstinance"  which started on 16 Sep 13.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Deacons don't have the "authority". It is led by elders. I beleive that it is more inline with NT teaching
1 Tim 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

If you noticed, the word is used in a plural sense. I have learned that a single authority in a church can be a dangerous thing. A single pastor can have "yes"men as deacons that rubber stamp all of his wishes, or as in the cases I have see, that the pastor fires the deacon who questions his authority.

1 Tim 3:5 is part of the whole chapter that is describing the qualifications of leaders. I don't think it is a verse of laying the foundation of a single pastor role.

The Titus and acts passages are talking of multiple churches - to use singular would be grammatically incorrect but the use of plural does not necessarily mean multiple elders in each church. It could easily mean a single elder in each church - but it is not actually dictating either.
The Timothy passage is also not talking about multiple elders in a single church as it is talking of quals generally.

As to "they who labour in the word and doctrine" does not indicate that there are other elders who labour in different things - it is talking about reward for effort - those worthy of double honour are those who LABOUR in the word and doctrine as distinct from those who are lazy.

Basically, none of these passages are teaching about the number of elders.
There are indications of single and multiple pastors in the Bible.
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I for one would like to know how you arrived at these conclusions? If you care to elaborate, there is a thread "Alcohol: A Bibical case for Abstinance"  which started on 16 Sep 13.

i couldn't locate it, what section might I find it in?

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i couldn't locate it, what section might I find it in?

On the Forum Page go to The Bible and Christianity > Biblical Issues > The Bible

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We must know the Greek word for deacon means servant. By the way the pastor should be the shepherd of the flock. The only authority in the church is Christ himself. Also the "church" is a living organism made up of believers AKA the bride of Christ. (P.S. try reading Song of Solomon from a husband/bride  angle with you being the bride.) As for the alcohol thing, it does good to remember the verses about being a stumbling block to others. We should view ourselves as PR reps. for the greatest person that ever lived. As a general rule I say if you have to ask then you're looking for man's justification for something that you're already under conviction about being wrong. For the new year try listening to that little voice that tells you that the person in line at the grocery store needs to hear about Jesus.....then tell them. Be Jesus' Personal Relations representative this year.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

We must know the Greek word for deacon means servant. By the way the pastor should be the shepherd of the flock. The only authority in the church is Christ himself. Also the "church" is a living organism made up of believers AKA the bride of Christ. (P.S. try reading Song of Solomon from a husband/bride  angle with you being the bride.) As for the alcohol thing, it does good to remember the verses about being a stumbling block to others. We should view ourselves as PR reps. for the greatest person that ever lived. As a general rule I say if you have to ask then you're looking for man's justification for something that you're already under conviction about being wrong. For the new year try listening to that little voice that tells you that the person in line at the grocery store needs to hear about Jesus.....then tell them. Be Jesus' Personal Relations representative this year.

I believe some verses and even doctrines are misrepresented when using the word "church" as far as applying them to either the Bride of Christ or the Local Assembly.

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I believe some verses and even doctrines are misrepresented when using the word "church" as far as applying them to either the Bride of Christ or the Local Assembly.

How so?  I'm just curious as I am still learning this.  Thanks.

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