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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.

Needing Some Biblical Insight


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I have recently ran across an issue with our Sunday School classes. I am the Superintendent (that's hebrew for "you do this nOBody else wants to" ) of the Sunday School classes. We have a lady teaching the teens with the oldest ones being 15 which are her 2 sons (twins). The statement was made the other day that we didn't need to have a woman teaching boys over 13 years old. Since then I have inquired about the 13 year old rule.

 

I have asked a few deacons, preachers, and friends. Only a few have a different answer. Most stick to the 13 year old rule. I decided to search out the Bible first and foremost. The issue of the matter is revolved around a woman not assurp authoruty over a man 1 Timothy 2:12.

Their argument is that a boy needs to have a male authority/role model for a teacher. They site Jesus teaching in the temple when He was 12. I have also been told that Jewish "tradition" has a boy becoming a man at the age of 13.

They also site it isn't good to have a woman in the same room with teenage boys without her husband present. It's a temptation. Political correctness of the situation with what goes on today.

I've heard some of it all. I would also like to state that I will be submissive to my pastor should he say we need to seperate them. BUT......

 

Here is what I have found so far.

Exodus 30:14

Exodus 38:26

Leviticus 27:3-5

all throughout Numbers when they were numbered it started at 20 yrs old.

Numbers 32:11

 

It seems to me that a boy doesn't become a man until he is 20 years old.

 

Any input would be helpful.

Thanks,

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  • Lady Administrators

Honestly I think it's more personal opinion than Bible doctrine.

 

My hubby and I believe that the earlier boys receive their biblical training from men the better - and it certainly doesn't hurt girls, either!  But it would be up to each particular church to decide what age that is. Especially with a different number of people available to teach in different churches.

 

In our church, we separate the boys and girls in fourth grade (Sunday School...they still have a woman teacher in school, even for Bible, until Jr. High).  The boys in grades 4-6 have men teachers and workers, while the girls have women.  Their course lessons are geared towards them as well (like the girls will study Esther and Ruth, etc).  Once they hit 7th grade, the boys and girls are back in the same class, and the youth pastor does the teaching.

 

It is my own personal opinion that, having raised a son, it would be best for that lady's sons (and for her) if they had a man teacher.  But not because the woman will be usurping authority.  Those teens have no authority over any woman - and to teach that will cause them prOBlems. I was in a church once where one of the pastors taught the boys that if they didn't have a little bit of rebellion in them when a woman teacher told them to do something (even a school teacher) they weren't going to be strong men.  My Bible still says rebellion is sin, and minors are still in subjection - in every way - to adults.  Because of that teaching, I was disrespected pretty badly by a couple of the boys - both of whom went on to lead messed up lives for quite a while (because they thought they were some real he-men because they could sass their female teachers).  Sad, really.

 

Usurping authority is taking the reins of authority that don't belong to one into one's own hands.  That particular verse was speaking to controlling issues at church...If a man is in ultimate charge (you are superintendent and you answer to the pastor) and has appointed a woman to be a teacher in a class, she is not usurping authority. She is submitting to the spiritual authority who has appointed her as teacher.

 

Even today when my son and I talk, he respects me and listens when I talk to him. Am I in authority over him? No, of course not. He's 27 and married, so no way (and no way would I want to be...we raised him to be the leader in his home, not a follower of mommy)!  But because we never allowed him to believe that I was usurping authority over him (really, that's just silly to think, if we really think it through...) by instructing him even as a teen, he doesn't have a prOBlem with respect.  Just last July he and I spent several hours together discussing spiritual things - and, yes, I did tell him some things the Bible taught. And, no, I didn't usurp authority over him. Basically because he doesn't have spiritual authority over me.  Only my husband and my pastors (in line with what my husband allows) (and BroMatt as relating to OB, again in line with what my hubby allows) do...and that's the same for any woman. That's not rebellion. That's Bible.  God's Word tells us who a woman's authorities are, and it isn't every man that exists.

 

It wouldn't be a bad thing at all to have men teach teen boys. But it's not a usurping authority issue (unless mom gets OBstinate about it and demands that she remain their teacher).  Sorry I haven't cited scripture - because, again, it's all actually personal opinion...

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  • Moderators

Persomally, I believe it would be ideal for a married couple to be teaching a class of mixed teens together. Again, we really don't get much from the Bible, because the youth in those days were generally either taught by their parents, or in Israel, they were prOBably separated-the boys went to synagogue, I don't know that the women did. And of course, Sunday School is a relatively new concept in churches-there wss no such animal more than 200 years ago-=the children attended with their parent, learned from the preacher and from parents, so we don't really have biblical direction.

 

But better safe than sorry in this day and age-a married couple would do well, as they could tag-team, there would be two sets of eyes on the kids, and protection against any kind of assumed or charged improprieties.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Typically the Jews instructed the boys and girls separately. While Scripture doesn't mention ages, when it does address the instructing of male/female, it points to males instructing males and females instructing females.

 

Not only in Hebrew culture but in many around the world, a boy was considered a young man at about age 13. Typically, most often the boy had been primarily instructed by males and the girls by females. This served, and still does in some places, many other important factors other than just biblical instruction.

 

The age of 20 referred to in Scripture wasn't an age appointing when a boy became a man, but seems to indicate the young men were not allowed into battle.

 

Until rather modern history teens were viewed as young men/young women and expected to conduct themselves as such. Many were starting their own families at that age.

 

Many churches have done a disservice to the youth, and to families, by following the worlds guidelines and ways of raising and instructing boys and girls, young men and young women; even older men and women and families in general. This, in part, is why many of the same prOBlems which befalls secular youth, befalls many of our own.

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