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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         33
      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.

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ThePilgrim

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1 Corinthians 16:13

 

Stand up. Load up the jail cells. 3 squares and free cable tv ain't soooo bad....well at least the 3 free meals anyway.  

 

Come Get ME!!!!!!!

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Carl, the challenge to the bathroom bill is based upon the fact that there were more than the required number for a petition.  There were many thousands handed in, and those that were not legitimate were discounted. Even at that, that left a few hundred more than the required amount. The rub came in, though, when the city attorney through out ALL of the signatures, and thus the referendum was shot down. Illegally, I might add. The city secretary (I'm not sure of her actual title) who is responsible for counting and approving the signatures did so.  The city attorney had no legal right, nor any business, coming in and tossing them, thus effectively saying the people of the city had no right to vote on whether or not to allow transgenders in opposite sex bathrooms.


Thanks HC, yeah I've read the reporting on this story too. The city attorney has claimed that even though there were just enough individual signatures, not enough of the pages had valid counter-signatures. Whatever peoples' conjecture (including yours) on whether that's true and/or whether it was legal of the attorney to check, the courts will in course rule on whether due process was followed and what decision should be allowed. My own personal view is that if the rules are clear and they still have the pages of signatures then someone independent should be able to establish exactly how many valid signatures there are and both sides ought to seek and honour that final figure. But instead it sounds like it's turned into a legal wrangle about whether the secretary's first decision should stand even if he/she got the counting wrong. Shame.

 

Of course the mayor isn't claiming she's going after them politically...who in their right mind would claim that?


The article you cited said that the mayor was claiming in her tweet that pastors who bring politics into their sermons are 'fair game' for prosecution, since according to her they are doing something illegal.

The article: "It took fewer than 140 characters for Parker to show her lack of understanding of the law. She appears to think that pastors and churches cannot be involved politically, and that if pastors or churches dare to discuss political topics from the pulpit, they’re violating the law and subject to prosecution."

To me, interpreting her tweet that way doesn't make any sense because why would she try to justify the subpoenas as being about prosecuting pastors when that's factually and OBjectively not why the subpoenas have been issued?

You: "Where did she mention the court case in her tweet? She was defiantly stating that she has the right to demand their sermons if she deems what they say to be political speech. You might argue that I don't know her state of mind when she said it, but, really - her wording is pretty OBviously thumbing her nose..."

You're saying here that the mayor is stating that she's issued the subpoenas because she believes she has a right to demand sermons if they contain political content. But a subpoena is issued in specific circumstances (a court case) for a specific purpose (gather evidence for said court case). And she's responding to questions about the subpoenas. So if she says that she's issued those subpoenas for any other reason than defending the lawsuit that's being brought against the council, then she's basically admitting to abusing the court process. As you said yourself, who in their right mind would do that?

 

Carl, I realize you don't live in America, but please know this: our freedoms and liberties have been under attack for many years. God-haters are trying to remove Him from every aspect of life.  And, sadly, too many Christians are going along with the idea that Christians should stay out of certain areas (completely backward of how this country was founded).


What have general trends got to do with ascertaining the facts in a specific case? Regardless of motive, things happened or did not happen and things were said or were not said. I've already acknowledged that all sorts of underhand stuff may be going on and prOBably is going on. I'm just rejecting the version of the actual events that says the council is openly prosecuting some pastors for political speech and boasting about it in tweets and the like. We shouldn't need to look to motive to establish whether that is what is happening.
 

I'm sorry, but the subpoenas don't have to center in a lawsuit whereby the politics or not of pastors is involved...all that is necessary is for them to demand them, in the name of the particular lawsuit here (bathroom bill) as a way to control.


Well I've already answered this argument in post 47 by trying to explain that maybe we interpret the word in different ways. I've always thought that 'unconstitutional' is a word used when people are trying to do things by official means that are against the constitution, rather than doing something illegal. For example, if a council issued rules/bylaws/whatever that authorised the police to arrest people for promoting a political party, that would be called unconstitutional. But if a councillor paid police constables backhanders to go to peoples' houses at night in ski masks and give them a kicking for promoting a political party, that wouldn't be called 'unconstitutional'.

By the same token, if the council were openly prosecuting pastors for political speech and issuing subpoenas to seize their sermons for that purpose, it would be unconstitutional. But if they were issuing subpoenas purportedly for another purpose--to collect evidence to defend themselves against a lawsuit--but really they were doing it intimidate people or exercise control over them, then that would be a plain old abuse of process (I think legal people call it 'vexatious').

 

Happy to be corrected on that...
 

For what reason, other than scrutiny and attempt at control, did the subpoena state that all sermons that mentioned the mayor must be given?  That has nothing to do with the bill. For what reason did the subpoenas state that all sermons that mentioned homosexuality must be given?


My contention isn't about what their *real* motives are, but rather what they are purporting to do. Some are claiming that they are directly and openly seizing the sermons in order to prosecute the pastors for political speech.
 

You may think that it is relevant, but it isn't.  Now, even though I still think it would be wrong, had the subpoenas only requested communication which actually mentioned the petitions, perhaps things would be fine.  In fact, here is what a law professor had to say:


I've never claimed that the sermons are relevant (how would I know?), although I've said that personally I don't see how anything above a simple recount of the signatures is needed. But I have tried to explain the reasons the lawyers have given. If you read the press you would think that because these pastors are not 'named' in the suit (whatever that means) that nothing they have done or said could possibly be relevant, as if the only link they have to the case is that they happen to reside in Houston. The reality is that the pastors were involved in organising the petition and/or collecting names. The defence lawyers have said that because of this, and because they were doing most all of it in church, that what they were doing in church has become relevant to the case. Certainly it sounds to me like what the subpoenas are demanding still goes way too far (prOBably for all the reasons you say), but if the pastors were involved in the petition then legally whether what they've done/said is relevant to the case will be down to specifics that neither you nor I know about, not broad-brush statements about whether they were 'named' in the suit or whether they happen to be pastors. Both parties can argue against subpoenas, just like they can OBject to dodgy lines of questioning in court (or I imagine they can).

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I think a big issue here is, speaking as a pastor, if I was to talk about a subject such as this bathroom bill, it wouldn't be in a sermon, per se, but maybe during announcements, or at a set-apart time during the service. Now, my sermon might be taught to bring the issue to light from a biblical perspective, but it prOBably wouldn't touch on the actual subject in the lesson, or in my notes. In such things, I know what I want to say, and generally don't have it written anywhere.

 

Now, when I teach a lesson that has to do with voting, I will teach a sermon on doing all things for the Lord-I don't lift one condiate above another in a sermon, but teach that, just as in all other walks of life, we each must look at the candidates, what they believe, how they vote, their records, etc, and pray about who to vote for, which person I could vote for, then stand before the Lord one day and give an account for it. That's why last time I could not, in all honesty before the Lord, vote for the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, because I disagreed with him in many areas, and saw his plan was to do just what OBama was planning to do, just in different ways.

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