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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.

A Mantle About Your Head


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

After Elijah had just had the greatest victory in his ministry with the slaying of over 400 prophets of Baal, he is frightened to death by one woman.

 

1 Kings 19:1-4 (KJV)
1  And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
2  Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
3  And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.
4  But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

 

Thus Elijah runs for his life.  God at first sends comfort and strength to Elijah in his "pity party" by sending an angel to minister to him.  Giving him much needed sleep and rest, and twice providing food prepared by an angel that he would survive in the strength thereof for 40 days and 40 nights.  

 

BUT at the end of those days, where does God find Elijah?

 

1 Kings 19:9 (KJV

9  And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 


 

He finds Elijah hiding in a cave with his "thumb in his mouth" still wrapped up in his pity party, when Elijah answers God...

 

1 Kings 19:10 (KJV)
10  And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 

 

Elijah is crying to the Lord that "he has worked very hard and has been very jeolous in his work for the children of Israel, and look what it has gotten me.  They throw down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword"  AND now the pity tears really start to flow when he says he is all alone in the world, "I, even I only, am left, and they seek MY life, to take it away."

 

So God puts on a demonstration to remind Elijah who He is, and how He works...

 

1 Kings 19:11-12 (KJV)
11  And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
12  And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

 

And here is Elijah's reaction upon hearing the "still small voice" that he had been listening to throughout his entire ministry.

 

1 Kings 19:13 (KJV)
13  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 

 

Picture that...He in essence did what little children do by sticking their fingers in their ears, turning their backs, and saying na na na...I can't hear you.  

 

So God asks him one last time, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" (remember God never asks a question that He doesn't already know the answer to), to demonstrate the Elijah hasn't changed his heart one bit.

 

Elijah's answer?

 

1 Kings 19:14 (KJV)
14  And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 

 

Exactly, word for word what he said at the beginning in v. 10.  

 

Elijah has been ministered to by angels, he has been coddled for 40 days and 40 nights, he has been reminded of the power of God, and then reminded of how God talks to him, but he is having none of it.

 

So God tells him "Go train your replacement".  

 

1 Kings 19:15-16 (KJV)
15  And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:
16  And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

 

Elijah has been and still IS a great man of God, and I believe could very well be one of the two witnesses in the end times, but he has stopped listening to God's word.  it was time for him to be replaced.

 

I have seen now on this wonderful OB board that some wonderful men of God have simply put their fingers in their ears and have refused or have stopped listening to God's word.  No amount of sharing the word of God with them will turn them.  It may be time to "replace" them if they will no longer listen.

 

Please understand that my spirit is one of reconciliation of a brother, but if they "will not" listen to the word of God any longer, there is nothing more that I or anyone can do for them.  God can and will continue to use them, but no longer in the path they were on before. 

 

Bro. Garry

In His will.  By His power.  For His glory.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I think from now on when I see a thread where a mountain of scripture has been given to refute some heresy, and the person spreading that heresy simply refuses to listen, I will just say "his mantle is about his head" and drop it at that.   :bang:  

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

One mistake that we in IFB church leadership often make, in my OBservation, is equating 'our sharing the Word with someone' from our understanding, with 'God telling them'.
Since we can, and are at times, all capable of mistakes and lying, this is a higher estimation of ourselves than we should have.
This is not to say that you are wrong Brother Garry, this was an excellent thread and point.
This is simply the other side of this coin, that many times the person who thinks he is rebuking heresy, is actually the heretic.
I'm sure there are some on here who would point that finger at me, though I've done nothing but put up Scriptural proof texts for what God's Spirit shows me , and have not once quoted any man.
Still, what I say can be wrong...just like anybody else's words.

Now, I have to go rewrap my mantle, and prepare my successor.

B)

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After Elijah had just had the greatest victory in his ministry with the slaying of over 800 prophets of Baal, he is frightened to death by one woman.

 

1 Kings 19:1-4 (KJV)
 

Bro. Garry

In His will.  By His power.  For His glory.

 

 Not that it is any big point of contention, but it is stated that Elijah slew over 800 prophets of Baal. The Scripture actually says it was 450. In any event, it was a lot.  :)  Thanks for posting Garry

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

 Not that it is any big point of contention, but it is stated that Elijah slew over 800 prophets of Baal. The Scripture actually says it was 450. In any event, it was a lot.  :)  Thanks for posting Garry

Good catch.  Thank you for that.  I was careless and have edited the opening statement to be accurate.  

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Excellent post, Gary. I like what you have written, and I fully agree.

 

But it got me thinking....

 

I know how utterly rung out, used up and completely alone and unworthy I feel sometimes after just preaching one message. I look at Elijah's ministry and how he was on the run for his life for years...

 

the hard preaching for years,...

 

the horrible confrontation with 450 opposing prophets with no support, "amen" or back-up, for the entire day...

 

the prayer that brought fire from heaven,...

 

the literal, bloody bodily execution of 450 men,...

 

the race down off the mountain...

 

and then the immediate death threat at the time of his greatest triumph. I shudder to think what Elijah was feeling inside. Sometimes I look at that passage and see the beautiful grace of God to an old warrior who has been completely, totally used up in battle. The only warrior in the history of mankind who earned a triumphant entry into glory in his own, personal chariot of fire.

 

Now, I'm not being contentious, My Friend. Like I said, I think you are right on the money. I just wanted to add a little to what you so ably addressed, and share some of the thoughts that this powerful passage brings to me. :th_tiphat:

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I don't mean to sidetrack the thread, but I'd like to ask about this...

 

I've always assumed (I know, that's what you get for assuming!)...anyway, I've always assumed that Elijah slew all of the false prophets that he sent for...

 

1 Kings 18:19
Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table.

 

So, there were 850 total...450 of Baal and 400 of the groves.

 

I know that when Elijah slew them, the Bible says that he slew the prophets of Baal, and the emphasis of the account is on the prophets of Baal; however, we also see this...

 

1 Kings 19:1-2

1   And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
2   Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.

 

I guess that I "assumed" that since the prophets of the groves ate at Jezebel's table (1 Kings 18:19), and she became so angry that he had slain "all the prophets", then he must have slain the prophets of the groves too. Plus, since this was a contest to see who the real God was, I would again "assume" that he would have done away with all opposing prophets.

 

Do you assume that I assume too much?   :nuts:

 

I know...just let the Bible say what it says.  :hide:

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I think (and therefore I get into trouble) that possibly the "prophets of the groves" are prophets of the other false gods that Israel worshiped meeting in groves of trees on hilltops. They are listed separately. These might include Ashtoreth, Tammuz and Molech. It reads to me like Elijah called them as well, as you point out in I Kings 18:19, but they didn't come. Only Baal's prophets show up.

 

But that's just my own assumption, and I'm hiding under the chair right next to you :th_popout:

 

:hide::hide:

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

The Holy Spirit has been beating me up all day today after what you posted Weary Warrior.  I should never have come across in my thread as belittling or disrespectful to an incredible man of God.  If the Lord himself had not already said that no prophet was better than John the Baptist,  then I might have called him the greatest.  To characterize him in any way as a childish "thumb sucking" weak man mired in his own pity party was entirely uncalled for.  Elijah certainly was not a weak man, though that was undeniably, and completely understandably, his weakest moment.  My entire goal was to point out that he indeed had "stopped" listening to God and refused to listen any longer, and at that point, his full usefulness to God on this earth at that time was over.  I still believe Elijah, since he never died, may very well be one of the two witnesses in the tribulation (a possible interesting discussion on another thread).

 

I pray that Elijah will forgive me.  He could sure be a rough character, and I sure wouldn't want to be on his bad side.  

 

Bro. Garry

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The Holy Spirit has been beating me up all day today after what you posted Weary Warrior.  I should never have come across in my thread as belittling or disrespectful to an incredible man of God.  If the Lord himself had not already said that no prophet was better than John the Baptist,  then I might have called him the greatest.  To characterize him in any way as a childish "thumb sucking" weak man mired in his own pity party was entirely uncalled for.  Elijah certainly was not a weak man, though that was undeniably, and completely understandably, his weakest moment.  My entire goal was to point out that he indeed had "stopped" listening to God and refused to listen any longer, and at that point, his full usefulness to God on this earth at that time was over.  I still believe Elijah, since he never died, may very well be one of the two witnesses in the tribulation (a possible interesting discussion on another thread).

 

I pray that Elijah will forgive me.  He could sure be a rough character, and I sure wouldn't want to be on his bad side.  

 

Bro. Garry

 

Bro. Gary, I was in no way whatsoever speaking against your post. I apologize very much if it came across like that. I was simply expanding on the thought of Elijah and that time. I did not take your post as belittling or disrespectful in any way, and I'm pretty sure Elijah wasn't cross either. :)

 

All of your points were good and viable. I don't think you should be hard on yourself, Brother.

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