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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.

Can We Reclaim This Dress Standard?


WVPastor

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

You gave an incomparable scenario lacking in information.

 

In the first, we don't the woman's motivation for what she does (love, duty, pride, etc.). We also don't know what sort of jeans she is wearing or why and how. We don't know the nature of the earrings, jewelry, hair highlights or the motivation behind these.

 

In the second, the action descriptions clearly indicate a woman not conducting herself in accord with Scripture. As to her dress and make-up, we don't know her motivation for these.

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You gave an incomparable scenario lacking in information.

 

In the first, we don't the woman's motivation for what she does (love, duty, pride, etc.). We also don't know what sort of jeans she is wearing or why and how. We don't know the nature of the earrings, jewelry, hair highlights or the motivation behind these.

Her husband likes her in those clothes and likes her to get "dolled up", you know, skinny mom-jeans

 

 

In the second, the action descriptions clearly indicate a woman not conducting herself in accord with Scripture. As to her dress and make-up, we don't know her motivation for these.

This woman thinks she is pleasing God with her dress, but hear heart is angry towards her husband and her children and her bitterness is manifested in how she acts/treats towards them

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Sounds like they both need to spend more time in the Word, draw closer to the Lord, and spend time with their husbands in the Word and prayer together.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Her husband likes her in those clothes and likes her to get "dolled up", you know, skinny mom-jeans


This woman thinks she is pleasing God with her dress, but hear heart is angry towards her husband and her children and her bitterness is manifested in how she acts/treats towards them

One is an abomination, a cross-dresser.
One is ignoring the apparel of women professing godliness...good works.

Anishinaabe

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

So, is a woman more Godly if she respects her husband, takes care of her children, active for Christ in her community but wears jeans, earrings and jewelry, and highlights in her hair?, rather than a woman who argues constantly with her husband, disrespects him and the local assembly of believers and wears long dresses, no make up?

 

I understand what you are saying, Jeffrey.  Unfortunately there are women like you describe in your second sentence, in the church.  I have seen it happen with a couple of women in my church.  Women like this do not allow their husbands to lead the home.  Although, I must say that no one knows what goes on behind closed doors.  Maybe, these women appeared tough b/c their husbands lacked spiritual leadership.  I dunno.  

While I support wearing my Sunday best to church, I have never and will never tell a woman what to wear to service.  However, if they look like a street walker, I will gently let them know they should dress more modestly.  I worked the bus ministry and homeless ministry for 4 years in an IFB church.  Many of the women simply did not have dresses or skirts to wear to church.  A few of them asked me if I could gather nice clothes for them to wear, but many did not.  In that situation, I would be an example for them.  Leading by example is what worked in my situation.

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One is an abomination, a cross-dresser.
One is ignoring the apparel of women professing godliness...good works.

Anishinaabe

I honestly don't believe that women wearing pants in this day and age is cross-dressing. 70 years ago, yes. Today, no. The culture has changed.

Before you say that such changes are a reflection of the times and shouldn't be accommodated, just remember that once upon a time it was the men that wore leggings and short shorts. :wink

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so which of the two women I described is more Godly?

they both sound like sinners :P haha

to be honest... and I may get hit on the head for it... I do think women should be modest... tight jeans/yoga pants are a no go... but to say that girls should never ever wear pants, I dont buy into that much detail.

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I honestly don't believe that women wearing pants in this day and age is cross-dressing. 70 years ago, yes. Today, no. The culture has changed.

Before you say that such changes are a reflection of the times and shouldn't be accommodated, just remember that once upon a time it was the men that wore leggings and short shorts. :wink

Yeah, leggings and a knee length skirt are a man's garment.
Most IFB women wear this outfit.
I'm amazed at how many people think that Jesus wore a dress to His ankles.

But, the parted garment is a sign of authority, and shouldn't be worn by women.

Breeches....the sides of a part.

Anishinabe

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Saylan, again I think you're in error. How can you be a moderator on an IFB website with some of your views? No wonder this place is run amuck.

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Saylan, again I think you're in error. How can you be a moderator on an IFB website with some of your views? No wonder this place is run amuck.

Really???  you are saying "again" and "views" as plural, so I am not referring to what I don't know (the plural).  But OBviously her view on pants is one you disagree with and are using to judge her IFB status.  Her point is clothing styles change and as long as nakedness is covered and don't dress like harlots, you are modest (summary??).  Your view seems to be that you have to dress like ladies did 50 or so years ago to be modest and an IFBIf you personally are not dressing like NT times, you are a hypocrite.  If you ARE dressing the way ladies dressed 50-70 years ago, you have just aknowledged that dress standards do change.  If you believe dress standards change, how can you judge anybody on this issue??  Who says you get to draw the line on what era of clothing is modest or woman's style or acceptable IFB attire?  Take it back 50 years? 100 years?  500 years? 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Your post kind of highlights one of the prOBlems being faced today. No longer is being IFB a matter of the fundamentals, and no longer is "independent" honoured, because in some circles we are entering the land of long lists of rules that one must totally and fully accept and abide by in order to be considered a true IFB.

 

In some IFB churches we see the women all dressed like Mrs. Ingles in her long, plain dress while in the IFB church on the other side of town the women dress like June Cleaver. Well, the "Ingles church" finds the "June church" to be immodest because the length of the June dresses are not as long as the length of the Ingles dresses. Thus the Ingles church declares the June church to not really be IFB.

 

There are similar arguments among some IFBs regarding hair length (on men as well as women), the color of shirts men are allowed to wear, whether a church podium is wood or some other material, acceptable ties, proper shoes for women, the wide variety of disparity regarding music and songs, etc.

 

Are all of these really matters which determines whether one is an IFB or not?

 

We seem to be becoming entangled in so many things we are losing our focus, which should be upon Christ, doing what He has called us to do, pursuing personal holiness, letting our light shine as a witness and example to others, being in much prayer, sharing the Gospel, making disciples, training up the next generation in Christ...

 

Yes, we need to tend to many other matters, but they shouldn't be the priority and they don't need to be points of contention, and many (perhaps most) don't need to be matters of separation. They certainly shouldn't be matters looked at to determine whether one is or isn't saved or an IFB.

 

In all this we should also remember that just as individual Christians are not all at the same maturity level, the Lord isn't dealing with each of us about the exact same things at the exact same time, that's also true of individual churches. We need to leave room for the Lord to work, not only in our own church, but in other churches as well. If our church, or another, has an issue that needs attention, the Lord will raise that matter with each church in His timing.

 

The Lord may be dealing with one church on missionary matters rather than what color shirt the men wear or the dress style of the women. Yet in another church it may be the Lord is dealing with them on matters of dress even while another church the Lord is directing their attention to matters pertaining to use of building funds, etc.

 

There will be no perfection in this life. We won't be perfect, our own church won't be perfect, no other church will be perfect.

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^^^^^  That is the beauty of being IFB.  My personal pet peeve, is that the dress standard is always focused on women.  The women in my church always dress modestly.  However, the men look like slOBs some of the time.  Women wear dresses or skirts to Wednesday night Bible studies, yet some of the men wear jeans and a t-shirt?  How hard is it for a man to wear a pair of khakis, a nice button down shirt and a tie to Bible study?

I live in in the land of Muslims.  I look at the Shi'ite Muslim women dressed in their black burkas, with only their eyes showing and their husbands look like they just rolled out of bed, with holes in their jeans and t-shirts.  Down in Amish Country the Mennonite women wear dresses to their ankles, have their hair in a bonnet, with white soaks and tennis shoes on, while their husbands look like some of the sloppy IFB men and the Muslim men.

Why is it that these threads are always focused on women's attire?  I am certain that many OB members think I am a liberal woman as my hair is just past shoulder length.  I wear lipstick, too.  Oh, my!  Well, if the barn door needs painting, then paint it.  I wear very little makeup, and the makeup I do wear is Mary Kay, as she was a born again Christian.  Anyhoo, if you knew my hubby, you would know that this is so far from the truth.  He is a stubborn Hungarian man that stays true to his convictions.  I have never been the spiritual leader of my home.  I wouldn't even want the jOB.  Truth being, I have had my hair long and it is all over the place.  It takes hours to groom.  Conviction is key here.  I try not to take the inventory of other people - that one is for you, SFIC  :)  I have enough to work on in my own life than to be concerned about what other women wear.  We answer to Jesus Christ, our husbands - if we are married, and I also answer to my pastor and his wife.      

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I've never been in an IFB church where the men dressed poorly but I've seen it in other churches. It's a bad testimony and it opens the door for others to follow.

 

Male or female, we should dress respectful and decently. If a nice pair of blue jeans is all one owns, fine, but if a man owns nicer clothing he should take the time to put that on for church.

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I've never been in an IFB church where the men dressed poorly but I've seen it in other churches. It's a bad testimony and it opens the door for others to follow.

 

Male or female, we should dress respectful and decently. If a nice pair of blue jeans is all one owns, fine, but if a man owns nicer clothing he should take the time to put that on for church.

 

Sadly, these few men have been saved for years John.  One man, bless his heart, works about 12 hours a day.  He comes into the Lutheran Church where we have our services, and immediately changes in the bathroom, into suitable clothing for Bible Study and prayer.  

Believe me, these few men have nicer clothing to wear.  I have seen it.  I want to talk with my FIL - Deacon - about it, but I don't want to overstep my bounds.  My husband believes it is between them and the Lord, and won't say a word.  I have to respect what he is saying.  My FIL and my pastor, along with many other men are dressed appropriately.  I don't understand how they don't get the hint, especially since they are seasoned Christians.  *shrugs*

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I've never been in an IFB church where the men dressed poorly but I've seen it in other churches. It's a bad testimony and it opens the door for others to follow.

 

Male or female, we should dress respectful and decently. If a nice pair of blue jeans is all one owns, fine, but if a man owns nicer clothing he should take the time to put that on for church.

:goodpost::amen::amen::amen:

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