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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.

Just because someone says....


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

There seem to be some here who are inclined to simply accept what people say as truth without examining it.

For instance, when someone says "I am not a Calvinist" but then the promote the TULIP doctrines, or "the doctribes of grace",then guess what?

They are a Calvinist.

 

When someone says they are "IFB equivalent" but the group they are actually associated with includes charismatics, infant baptisers, baptismal regenerationist, and the doctrinal statement they are signed up to is ecumenical and universal church, then guess what?

They are not IFB equivalent.

 

When some protests that they are not Replacement theologist but say things like "The church is the continuing children of Israel, children of God.", then guess what?

They replace Israel with the church.

 

When a freemason says it is only a social club, he either does not know about the deeper workings or he is lying - but it doesn't change what the organisation is.

 

Now when someone makes these claims that are not true, there are two valid possibilities:

1. They are themselves deceived and do not know or possibly do not understand the truth; or

2. They know exactly what they are doing, which makes them a deceiver themselves.

 

The point is that just because some makes a claim, that does not make their claim true.

Some of the people in such groups actively seek to hide the truth of what they are and what they are associated with, while some of them do not know themselves the truth of what they are involved in - but it does not change the nature of what they are involved in.

The majority of Mormons do not know nor understand the depth of occultic practice that goes on in hidden places of their Temples. This is actively hidden from the average member, and only becomes known once a person is heavily invested in the group.

When they deny certain goings on, they do so with genuine belief in what they say,  but they are still wrong.

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  • Moderators

You're right. Just because someone makes a claim, it does not make their claim true. That also holds true to the claims made in this post. I don't like veiled accusations. 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Valid, relevant, and accurate examples....

If they are wrong examples then by all means correct them.

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Just because someone points out that many masons think they are in a social club and do not realize the deeper aspects of the organization, does not make that person a deceiver or deceived - yet the implications of your statement suggest that. When you start your statement with 'there are some here' it implies that you are making these statements against certain people on this site. By all means, point out fallacious assumptions like those above, but do not start another witch hunt (or should I say, wolf hunt). Like I said, I do not like veiled accusations. 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I think you over-reading my intent, but I am not going to argue.

If it is inappropriate then do whatever you have to.......

 

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There seem to be some here who are inclined to simply accept what people say as truth without examining it.

For instance, when someone says "I am not a Calvinist" but then the promote the TULIP doctrines, or "the doctribes of grace",then guess what?

They are a Calvinist.

 

When someone says they are "IFB equivalent" but the group they are actually associated with includes charismatics, infant baptisers, baptismal regenerationist, and the doctrinal statement they are signed up to is ecumenical and universal church, then guess what?

They are not IFB equivalent.

 

When some protests that they are not Replacement theologist but say things like "The church is the continuing children of Israel, children of God.", then guess what?

They replace Israel with the church.

 

When a freemason says it is only a social club, he either does not know about the deeper workings or he is lying - but it doesn't change what the organisation is.

 

Now when someone makes these claims that are not true, there are two valid possibilities:

1. They are themselves deceived and do not know or possibly do not understand the truth; or

2. They know exactly what they are doing, which makes them a deceiver themselves.

 

The point is that just because some makes a claim, that does not make their claim true.

Some of the people in such groups actively seek to hide the truth of what they are and what they are associated with, while some of them do not know themselves the truth of what they are involved in - but it does not change the nature of what they are involved in.

The majority of Mormons do not know nor understand the depth of occultic practice that goes on in hidden places of their Temples. This is actively hidden from the average member, and only becomes known once a person is heavily invested in the group.

When they deny certain goings on, they do so with genuine belief in what they say,  but they are still wrong.

​I've never been in any Baptist Church that did not teach some form of a Replacement Theology. 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Just because someone points out that many masons think they are in a social club and do not realize the deeper aspects of the organization, does not make that person a deceiver or deceived - yet the implications of your statement suggest that. 

​I read his statement several times and I don't get what you are saying.  He stated that "When a freemason says".  Your reply says "just because someone".  The two don't match.  Dave was stating the freemason himself was making the statement.  And what he said is very true.  The free mason himself is either deceived or a deceiver.   Now if someone that is naive about masons and states that "alot of masons might think they are just in a social club" ...that person might not be deceived or a deceiver, just naive, but the way DaveW's statement reads, he was not talking about that person.  He was talking about the actual mason.  His statement is spot-on about the actual mason.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

As another member pointed out in a different thread, everyone isn't at the same stage of spiritual growth. When the Lord chooses to help someone have more light on a particular topic is something unique between God and each individual.

For instance, I've personally been involved with witnessing to Catholics who came to Christ and immediately recognized their need to separate from the RCC. I've also known of other Catholics who came to Christ yet didn't have any compulsion to leave the RCC for a year or two.

The Spirit moves in one believer to separate himself from his political affiliations, civic groups, clubs or organizations, but doesn't move upon another in the same way at the same time.

It's not always a matter of whether one is living a lie or walking in deception just because they have some connection with a wayward or bad church, group or association; it may simply be a matter of them walking in the limited light they have received at that point.

Hopefully none of us are at the same level of spiritual maturity today as we were ten years ago. Most of us have experienced many big changes in our thinking, associations and overall lives since we first came to Christ and they didn't all happen at the same time.

Since we don't know the heart or mind of another we take a huge leap if we presume to tell another what it is they really think or believe. That's a common tactic of liberals and often plays out like this: a conservative says they don't believe welfare should be expanded so the liberal shouts that what the conservative really means is they don't care about children.

We would all be so much better off spending time in the Word, sharing the Word, seeking to help one another in love than accusing others, name calling, condemning or attacking. Christ says the world will know us by our love one for another. If the world isn't clearly seeing our love for one another, we ourselves are not rightly following Christ.

{So as not to be misunderstood, I want to make it very clear that this post is speaking of all of us (Christians, including myself) and is not directed at any particular individual here or anywhere else}

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

If a person isn't at the spiritual maturity to come to an understanding about the wrong doings of a particular group or church, wouldn't it be safe to say they are being deceived by that particular group or church?  To be deceived is to be misled by a false appearance or statement.  A person might not have the spiritual maturity to see through this false appearance so they continue to "walk in deception" or spiritual immaturity.    

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If a person isn't at the spiritual maturity to come to an understanding about the wrong doings of a particular group or church, wouldn't it be safe to say they are being deceived by that particular group or church?  To be deceived is to be misled by a false appearance or statement.  A person might not have the spiritual maturity to see through this false appearance so they continue to "walk in deception" or spiritual immaturity.    

​Very true, and it is up to those who ARE at a greater place of maturity to gently and lovingly lead them in truth, but also to be patient with them.

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