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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.

How do you get the most out of the bible?


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

So I've grown rather bored of Chronologically reading through the word of God.

I have read through the bible as a whole somewhere around 4 or 5 times, I was thinking recently about how a lot of the New Testament is written to the churches and how it's  specially for the church age, so I figured I need to start really learning and digging so I had an idea:

Read through the same New Testament book every day for a month, and do a different book each month, this way it will take a bout 2 years or so to get through the New Testament., in addition to these I will be working through the Psalms (1 a month) and reading the same Psalm 5 times a day to try and memorize them.

I am thinking about not reading the Old Testament at all so I can really focus on these New Testament books. not sure though, I was also thinking about just reading through the Old Testament Chronologically in the mornings.

 

What are your thoughts?

What methods or ways of reading/studying your bible have you found to be the most helpful?

 

 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

The Lord has led me at different times to read and study the Word in different ways.

There was a year I concentrated on the New Testament, reading through it several times. At another time I read First John every afternoon for a month. On a few occasions I've been led to spend much time in the Psalms. I've read the Proverbs a day each day. I've read through the Bible using yearly plans. I've read through the Bible at other times more than once a year. Sometimes I've concentrated mostly on reading while at other times there is more an emphasis on study or memorization or a combination.

There is no set perfect way, other than to be sure to be in the Word daily.

Spend time in prayer about this and follow the Lord's leading. We need the Holy Ghost guiding and enlightening our reading and study.

If what you mentioned above is how you believe the Holy Ghost is leading, then by all means follow that plan until the Holy Ghost directs you otherwise.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I read a chapter at least 5 times to get a lot out of it and to study with understanding. A lot of people who use the 1 year reading plans rush through the scriptures and may not get a lot of it with their hasty reading. Reading slowly and carefully has helped me. I am not concerned how long it will take me to get through the Bible.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I typically do 5-10 chapters chronologically, a Psalm, and a Proverb for my daily reading and then have a chapter or two that I sit down for more in-depth (usually whatever I'm making a lesson for on Sundays). I'm a big fan of bulk reading combined because it helps me keep contexts and the big picture in mind as well as keep things fresh; but I also believe that you have to get below surface reading on a regular basis as well.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Well I've finally made up my mind. I am abandoning Chronological reading for now. I am going to read the same NT book over and over again for a month and move on to a new book each month. all the time during this I will continue a memorization plan I have been doing through Song of Solomon, I read the same chapter 5 times a time for a month straight, and then I move on to the next chapter. I am on chapter 6 now, once I finish song of Solomon I will begin working through the Psalms using the same method.

 

I felt bad about stopping reading through Chronologically. So to make up for it I am going to listen to the bible chronologically ( i have the complete Alexander Scourby Audio set of the bible) as I drive my car since I do quite a handful of driving. 

 

:)

 

 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

After over 37 years saved, I have read the bible through well over 30 times and felt I was not getting as much out of it anymore.  I wanted to do something that would get me to look much closer not only at the "word of God" but the WORDS of God.  Now I hand write out the entire bible word for word, I am starting my second time through.  This usually spawns multiple "word studies" as I come across curious words often "glossed over" in casual reading. I will then let the bible define its own terms when I do a word study by seeing how many times the word is used throughout the bible and the context in each incident.  I am a big fan of studying the bible "horizontally" rather than "deeper". 

Bro. Garry

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

After over 37 years saved, I have read the bible through well over 30 times and felt I was not getting as much out of it anymore.  I wanted to do something that would get me to look much closer not only at the "word of God" but the WORDS of God.  Now I hand write out the entire bible word for word, I am starting my second time through.  This usually spawns multiple "word studies" as I come across curious words often "glossed over" in casual reading. I will then let the bible define its own terms when I do a word study by seeing how many times the word is used throughout the bible and the context in each incident.  I am a big fan of studying the bible "horizontally" rather than "deeper". 

Bro. Garry

​I did something similar years ago. A pastor encouraged a group of us men (a men's Bible study) to do as kings were commanded and write ourselves a copy of Scripture. He didn't expect us to sit and write out the whole Bible, but to choose a book and do so and see where the Lord would lead from there.

My writing has never been good but now it's atrocious to the point that after awhile I can't even read some of what I write! I've considered perhaps in the future when I get a better computer I may try doing this on the computer. Even then it would take awhile because my fingers won't take as much typing as they once did.

Good idea doing the writing and thinking. I had a university professor who used to stress the educational benefits of that and how it really helps to firmly root things in our minds.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

After I got saved in 1987, just like you all, the word of God became my one and only desire. Every moment I could find through my day, whether at work or home or at someone else's home, my Bible was my constant companion. I read it. I studied it. (by using my trusty dusty Strongs Concordance.) I constantly listened to Evangelist tapes from our revival services we had at our Church and others that we fellowshiped with. (Great times those were!) And I just ate it up. After getting married my wife and I started family devotions together and later with our children. As a family we have read the Bible straight through from Genesis to Revelation 5 times. And besides the 20+ times on my own, we have God's word in us somewhat good. We never rushed through, but I know there were times it seemed repetitive, to myself and my family. When door knocking and street preaching and passing out tracks all over the 3 or 4 counties around us, it was imperative to know God's word as good as we could. People have so many different ideas on what is in the scriptures. They act like they know, but they don't. Anyway, I recommend reading straight through to get the flow of 'why the NT?', and seeing the view from the old gives true value to the new.

[I love the writing out the Bible idea!]

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

After over 37 years saved, I have read the bible through well over 30 times and felt I was not getting as much out of it anymore.  I wanted to do something that would get me to look much closer not only at the "word of God" but the WORDS of God.  Now I hand write out the entire bible word for word, I am starting my second time through.  This usually spawns multiple "word studies" as I come across curious words often "glossed over" in casual reading. I will then let the bible define its own terms when I do a word study by seeing how many times the word is used throughout the bible and the context in each incident.  I am a big fan of studying the bible "horizontally" rather than "deeper". 

Bro. Garry

​Marvelous idea! I might have to try this when I'm all done with school.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

After I got saved in 1987, just like you all, the word of God became my one and only desire. Every moment I could find through my day, whether at work or home or at someone else's home, my Bible was my constant companion. I read it. I studied it. (by using my trusty dusty Strongs Concordance.) I constantly listened to Evangelist tapes from our revival services we had at our Church and others that we fellowshiped with. (Great times those were!) And I just ate it up. After getting married my wife and I started family devotions together and later with our children. As a family we have read the Bible straight through from Genesis to Revelation 5 times. And besides the 20+ times on my own, we have God's word in us somewhat good. We never rushed through, but I know there were times it seemed repetitive, to myself and my family. When door knocking and street preaching and passing out tracks all over the 3 or 4 counties around us, it was imperative to know God's word as good as we could. People have so many different ideas on what is in the scriptures. They act like they know, but they don't. Anyway, I recommend reading straight through to get the flow of 'why the NT?', and seeing the view from the old gives true value to the new.

[I love the writing out the Bible idea!]

​I agree it's very important that we know the overall context and "flow" of Scripture. This is one of the main values of reading the Bible through. Even after we have read the Bible through many times and may move on to other aspects of reading and study, it's good to come back from time to time and read through the Bible to keep the context and flow in perspective. It can be very easy to get caught up in one book, portion, topic or subject and lose sight of the overall picture. It's always very important to know how each part fits into the overall picture.

The year I spent reading the NT several times rather than reading the whole Bible through I still made sure to get at least an overview of the OT through listening to the OT Bible on MP3 and doing a study in Psalms.

My morning reading is mostly a matter of reading through the Bible to have the overall perspective and refresh what I've read before. In the afternoon I focus on reading and studying a book of the Bible or a particular subject or topic. I also try to read from some devotionals through the day which adds more variety to what I'm taking in each day.

The main thing is to be in the Word daily. It's sad how many Christians, even those who have been saved for years or even decades, don't read their Bibles or only occasionally will read a small bit.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I have two separate regimes.

I study according to books for preaching, and I read the current book several times before I start with notes, then read the chapters repeatedly as I begin to take notes in preparation for preaching, continuing to read the book and chapters as I progress through compiling my notes.

I also study by subjects - this is not for preaching but for knowledge and understanding.

I would normally do a word search in my Bible program, listing every verse that mentions the word,  and then adding appropriate associated words in similar fashion.

These studies may result in a message, but this is not done with that in mind.

Of these, the former is done with regularity in order to formulate a preaching series, and the latter is done ad hoc as a subject comes to my attention.

Aside from these two study based regimes I also have a plain reading program where I simply read the books in order. I found I needed this as a simple reading time. I have no intent to gain from this reading, although of course I do. But this is not reading with a particular purpose - it is gentle "let the Lord work on my heart" reading. Some days I "get little out of it" but other days the Lord uses the reading. Other days I initially get little, but the Lord brings it to my mind later for some reason and blesses me with it.

We can get so wrapped up in dedicated study that we forget to allow time and space for the Lord to bless us personally through His Word.

That's me anyway.......

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I like to read through the Bible cover to cover, thoughtfully.  I don't try to get through it in one year, I take my time and even camp out in a passage if the Spirit moves me.  I use thought questions to engage with the passage -- such as is there a promise in this passage?  is there a command in this passage?  is there a warning in this passage?  is there a verse that stands out to me and why?  then I will look at the previous three questions and ask who is this promise/command/warning given to? what was the reason? where did this take place?  when did this take place?  how did it come about, or how did affect them?  why?

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