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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.

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TheSword

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I don't often do prayer requests for myself, but could sure use some today. I had been concerned about my pastor and some things happening/not happening in our church for a little while now. Last night I learned some new things that both confirmed my concerns and threw gas on the fire. Our pastor is conducting business in ways that are borderline illegal and absolutely unethical. Several members and our assistant pastor have already left over the last few months, but I've been trying to hold my finger in the dam. I cannot, in good conscience, remain where I am.

I'm distraught over leaving my teaching ministry and starting over.

I'm grieved for the church family and friends that remain and that I'll leave behind.

I'm dismayed about moving my son away from his friends.

I'm distressed about trying to find another church.

I could just really use a hug from God today...

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I am so sorry to hear that it appears Satan has gotten the advantage over another Pastor.  I really hate Satan.  I will be praying for you and your church family.  Your church isn't set up to where you can simply vote out a pastor and seek another?  I know if heaven forbid Satan got the advantage over my Pastor, we would first contact his Pastor and home church to see if he could be restored, and if not, then we would be forced to fire our Pastor and seek another.  

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 It is our joy to pray with you in this matter and to give you comfort and prayer. 

Will be praying for you that God will give you special guidence, wisdom, courage, and comfort. "I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place." Psalm 118:5

2belikeJesus has some good advice in this matter. If the issue is very unethical his advice is the first step, after prayer and godly wisdom from the other men of God in the community, the second step may be an appropriate civil authority and/or seek the advice of a Christian attorney. Romans 13:4

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I am so sorry to hear that it appears Satan has gotten the advantage over another Pastor.  I really hate Satan.  I will be praying for you and your church family.  Your church isn't set up to where you can simply vote out a pastor and seek another?  I know if heaven forbid Satan got the advantage over my Pastor, we would first contact his Pastor and home church to see if he could be restored, and if not, then we would be forced to fire our Pastor and seek another.  

​Unfortunately, not really. He's the planting pastor and apparently has set the church constitution up in a way that vests him with all of the final authority on just about everything. It's only been recently that I've see how weak and powerless the executive/deacon board is to do anything if they wanted to. I'm certain there's a mechanism to remove him as pastor, but he's done well enough at concealing his actions that it would almost impossible to get enough of the congregation behind it. There just aren't enough influential personalities with a backbone. I've come to realize how personality-driven the core of the congregation is.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

How sad. Praying for you and your church. I've been there too unfortunately. Keep us updated please. Has he been confronted by anyone yet? Just curious, but how big is the church body?

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

How sad. Praying for you and your church. I've been there too unfortunately. Keep us updated please. Has he been confronted by anyone yet? Just curious, but how big is the church body?

​A few people, yes. Most of them have already left the church. Since the issues have been going on over the last year and a half or so, it's been a couple at a time as people find out what has happened rather than a mass exodus. He's done a remarkably good job and keeping most people in the dark on things. For example....

About 18 months ago a man in our church was accused of raping a 9 yr old neighbor girl and was under investigation. He went to the pastor and said he wanted to tell the church about it and felt he should step out of the children's ministry roles he was involved in. He said he was innocent so the pastor wouldn't let him do that and told him to keep everything quiet. A few months later he told the school administrator/assistant pastor (we have a K-6 Christian Academy) to hire him as the PE teacher, but told him not to do a background check because something might come up. Fast forward another 6-8 months, the guy gets arrest, the administrator bails him out and things go back to normal...swept under the rug. It only came out because our other assistant pastor found out and let the parents know. Only then was the guy removed from contact with children. Most people in the church still have no knowledge of any of this.

I wish I could say that this is the whole story, which is really more than enough, but sadly it's just the tip of the iceberg. I only know because I saw some things wrong and asked the assistant pastor who is packing up to take a ministry across the country.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I am saddened by this post.  Over the last several years this type of thing has happened many times in many churches.  Satan found a foothold and the weakness of one person will cost the entire congregation.  Jesus did give an example of a similar situation in Matthew 18: "15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

Have you spoken to him openly about the problems? If he has not heard and repented of his ways, have you then brought 2 or more church members/elders/deacons to again confront him? And if he has not heard and repented of his ways yet again, have you then told the entire congregation what is going on?  I would hate to see an entire congregation fall apart or be left without knowing what is going on.  If the congregation knows and willfully allows the sinful actions to continue, woe unto them!  But if they are unaware of the problems, how will they know they are following and trusting an evil individual who is obviously not led of the Lord?  

The area I live in used to have a wonderful independent Baptist pastor, but once he passed away (went to the Lord) the church was taken over by a man who doesn't even know the bible and is more concerned with "feel good" sermons, and music programs.  He has never given an altar call (for salvation) that I know of.  He preaches from a new version of he bible (not the King James) and has "contemporary" music now. The entire area suffers for it because there is no-one willing to take his place and lead to flock in God's word and direction.  He has changed the independent status to that of the "Southern Baptist convention" which will not even bring up end time prophecy, let alone the real issues of the day.   I know this type of thing is happening all over the USA right now and there are countless souls lost because no-one is there to lead, teach, preach and bring them to the Lord, nor to lead the saved ones who need direction in witnessing the Lord to others.  

I'm sorry my post is so long, but this hits home for me, and I must ask you to prayerfully reconsider not just leaving and abandoning the church.  I ask you to consider if you or another bible-learned saved man would consider staying and ousting this evil person to help save the church and the community?  It may not be what you had planned on doing, but it may be what God is calling you to do. I will be praying for you and the entire congregation of this church.

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