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         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.

Titus


Alan
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I am carefully reading through all information presented before I comment, but one thing I want to ask is that in verse one you quote it as "the faith of God elect" and in my KJV Bibles it reads "the faith of God's elect."  just wondering about the discrepancy.

The discrepancy is a scribal discrepency; and I am the scribe. :laff cry:I will correct it.

Alan

tapperhoney and Standing Firm in Christ,

I could not have explained predestination better. I think we need to thank both of you very much for your posting. :goodpost: 

Leonard Sylvia,

Thank you for bringing out Romans 9:11-13, Galatins 1:15 and Proverbs 16:9

Galatians 1;15, "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace."

Proverbs 16:9, "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps."  :thumb:

Alan

 

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My only comment is that the only "church" in the beginning, was the synagogue.  Records indicate that as late as the 3rd century, there were still (secret) Nazarenes in synagogues dispersed throughout the Roman Empire (attempts were made to identify these "Nazarenes" -"worshippers of the crucified"- by the rabbis).  The only official "meeting places" of the Greeks and Romans were their pagan temples (so that can be ruled out as an ekklesia .  Gradually, there were Gentile "home churches" formed, especially at the end of Acts, where Paul completely forsakes the synagogue and the teaching of the Kingdom (as it doesn't apply to purely Gentiles who have no knowledge of the Old Testament).  Everything changed in the 4th Century, when "Christianity" became the official state religion of Rome, and the doctrine of "replacement" was born, whereby the "Chruch" replaced "Israel" and Israel was forever cut-off (cast-off) from God.  There is absolutely no need to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom in this present dispensation of Grace.  That message of the Kingdom will, however, be preached by Israelites during the Tribulation (in fulfillment of scripture).

Have a nice day, beameup

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beameup,

Thank you for the short history of the beginning of church history. So often folks just think of church as the building and not as the souls of men. There are still places in some countries where there is no church building but a church in someones house. While visiting China I was able to see the situation first hand. In the early Church Age, most of the congregrations did meet in someones house, or, at a meeting place in the country. "And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him. Preaching the kingdom of God, and teachig those things which concern the Lord Jesus, with all confidence, no man forbidding him." Acts 28:30 and 31

We need to be thankful that the Lord has blessed most of us with a building to have preaching services in.

We appreciate your comments and participation. :)

Alan

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The discrepancy is a scribal discrepency; and I am the scribe. :laff cry:I will correct it.

Alan

aha!  okay, glad I wasn't missing something :)

I would say that Paul explained it in Romans 9 that God chose even before that; pay special attention to verse 11;

Romans 9:

10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

yes, God did choose, based on his foreknowledge of what each would do.  He knew that Esau would despise his birthright and so chose to use Jacob to continue the line and fulfill his promise.

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i would say Trapperhoney thy His foreknowledge is His decree. The Greek word election is "eklogē" meaning 

  1. the act of picking out, choosing

    1. of the act of God's free will by which before the foundation of the world he decreed his blessings to certain persons

    2. the decree made from choice by which he determined to bless certain persons through Christ by grace alone

  2. a thing or person chosen

    1. of persons: God's elect (from Strong Greek lexicon)                

My point in all this is to point out that all things are to be God centered. All thing are a result of God's decrees, not of mans doing.

Edited by Leonard Sylvia
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i would say Trapperhoney thy His foreknowledge is His decree. The Greek word election is "eklogē" meaning 

  1. the act of picking out, choosing

    1. of the act of God's free will by which before the foundation of the world he decreed his blessings to certain persons

    2. the decree made from choice by which he determined to bless certain persons through Christ by grace alone

  2. a thing or person chosen

    1. of persons: God's elect (from Strong Greek lexicon)                

My point in all this is to point out that all things are to be God centered. All thing are a result of God's decrees, not of mans doing.

all things are not by God's decree.  If they were, god would not have questioned Eve or Cain...

 

Genesis 3:13 (KJV)
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Genesis 4:10 (KJV)
And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

 

God did not plan for Eve to eat the fruit.  God did not plan for Cain to kill his brother.  But God knew these things would happen.

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all things are not by God's decree.  If they were, god would not have questioned Eve or Cain...

 

Genesis 3:13 (KJV)
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Genesis 4:10 (KJV)
And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

 

God did not plan for Eve to eat the fruit.  God did not plan for Cain to kill his brother.  But God knew these things would happen.

do you mean that God asked Eve or Cain because he didn't know? That Gid had no idea what was going on? That God isn't omniscient?

thats called God being anthropomorphic in dealing with man. For you to assume that God  had to look into the future to learn something or who would get saved is ridiculous, you are essentially saying God had to learn who would get saved. That at some particular time their was something God didn't know, so he had to look into the future. 

Its an "you meant it for evil but God meant it for good" kind of thing. Also Eph 1:11

Also see the Crucifixion for another example.

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Brethren,

Any thoughts or comments on the other sections of Titus 1:3 and 4, such as: The Warmth of Paul or Grace, Mercy, and Peace?

Alan

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the problem we face here is that we as mankind take things to extremes.  for man it has to be one way or another.  in our fallibility we cannot find true balance.  God is a God of Wrath, but he is also a God of Love.  to man, that makes no sense whatsoever.  that is why most men capitalize on God's love and say a loving God won't send someone to hell.  We do not understand how two things that in our fallen nature are direct opposites can be in one being.  God is also a God of justice but also a God of mercy.  We can see in our human courts that those two things rarely work together.  God is a God of balance.  All his attributes work together in harmony.  The argument I hear for "election" -- for God picking and choosing on his whim -- is because God is sovereign.  For man to have free will, it limits God's sovereignty and makes him at the mercy of fallen man.  But God is not limited by man, he is still working his plan, laid out from before the foundation of the world, because of his foreknowledge.  God has chosen to work through man.  He has also chosen to work through men who are willing to serve him.  Man does not limit God, God has chosen to limit himself in what he does and how he does it in order to carry out his plans through willing men.  That is the balance in his nature.  Because God is who He is, only he can operate in perfect balance attributes that man finds contradictory.  In the end we are accountable to God for what we believe and when it is all said and done that is between you and God.

Brethren,

Any thoughts or comments on the other sections of Titus 1:3 and 4, such as: The Warmth of Paul or Grace, Mercy, and Peace?

Alan

I think we should look a little closer at grace, mercy and peace :)

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"I think we should look a little closer at grace, mercy and peace"

That would be a good idea especially since all three these days are often misrepresented by various preachers and churches. Many Christians have their view of these points installed by the media more than by Scripture. Thus they have warped views.

As mentioned above, men tend to go to extremes by over-focusing and over-emphasizing certain aspects of God while limiting or leaving out others.

The biblical meaning of these three is what's important, and what people need to know and understand.

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I did a quick look and this is what I've gleaned so far.  Just in the beginning stages:

Grace

Thayer definition:

2) good will, loving-kindness, favour

2a) of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2 are almost identical with Titus 1:4, but addressed to Timothy

I did a word search for "grace" and the first occurances I found were in reference to Christ --

Luk_2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Joh_1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Joh_1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

Joh_1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

These were the only occurrences I found in the gospels. The rest start in Acts.

Mercy

Thayer Definition:

1) mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them

1a) of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show ones self merciful

1b) of God towards men: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ

1c) the mercy of Christ, whereby at his return to judgment he will bless true Christians with eternal life

i also did a word search for "mercy" it is first mentioed in the Beatitudes, and interestingly there is no mention in Revelation.

Peace

Thayer Definition:

1) a state of national tranquillity

1a) exemption from the rage and havoc of war

2) peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord

3) security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)

4) of the Messiahs peace

4a) the way that leads to peace (salvation)

5) of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is

6) the blessed state of devout and upright men after death

Peace seems to be evenly spread through the New Testament, with only two occurrences in Revelation, in chapters 1 and 6

(as clarification, I only searched in the NT, perhaps shortsighted of me....)

Edited by trapperhoney
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tapperhoney,

I want to thank you from all of us for your research into Grace, Mercy and Peace. All three subjects are worthy of our attention and discussion.

Leonard Sylvia,

No problem.

Brethren,

Any other thoughts?

Alan

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I love the phrase "manifested His Word through preaching".  

 

A trucker, always carries in his cab, a manifest.  It is documents that show what he has inside his trailer.

 

Preaching should always bring to light that precious Word of God.  The one bearing it is more effective if it is evident in his life.

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The following study on Grace, Mercy and Peace is through the request of tapperhoney.

“Grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father”

As one studies the scriptures, we can see the grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father in the Old Testament before the Law and during the Law. Faith in the grace and mercy of God was needed for the salvation of the soul is the same in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament.

Before the Law

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6:8 Noah trusted in the grace and mercy of the LORD for the eternal salvation of his soul and preached repentance to the lost. Noah was a preacher of righteousness. Noah preached that God will punish all sin in hell, and that only by the grace of God can a person escape the damnation that every sinner deserves. Noah preached that only those who will trust in the mercy of God will obtain eternal salvation. Every person from Adam to the last man upon the face of this earth deserves to spend eternity in hell for the just punishment of his sin.

During the Law

The scriptures are very clear that God gave the Law to Moses and to the nation of Israel to show them, and the world, that all of mankind has sinned against the Holiness and Righteousness of God and that the entire world deserves to spend eternity in hell for violating the commandments of God. The commandments of God are just and holy. The Law clearly shows mankind that we cannot keep the Law for righteousness. Therefore, the Law shows us the necessity of a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24 Before the Law, during the Law, and after the law; justification is by faith.

Moses, and every honest and sincere Jew knew that they, in some manner, whether unintentionally or intentionally, violated the Law. The whole reason for the sacrificial law of Leviticus was to provide a sacrifice to the Jews because of their sins.

God gave the Law, the Ten Commandments, to Moses in Exodus 20:1-17. After God gave the Ten Commandments, and after God gave Moses the remainder of the Law in Exodus 20:18-31 through 31:18 we read this amazing statement concerning the mercy and grace of God.

“And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the third generation.”

Exodus 34:5-7

When a person who wants to get saved in the New Testament Age of Grace, they obey “Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” My dear brethren, Romans 10:13 is a quotation from under the Old Testament Law; Joel 2:32. Joel 2:32 is a prophecy that is directly in reference to the 1000 Millennial Reign of Christ. Also, with a slight variation, by the testimony of David.

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of LORD shall be delivered:  for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” Joel 2:32

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” Psalm 18:2 and 3

Peace in the Old Testament

“The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Isiah 45:7

Great Peace in the Old Testament

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165. The Christian is not under the Law for salvation. But, my beloved brethren, we need to love the Law as it brings us to a saving knowledge of Christ and the wonders of His salvation.

“And the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour”

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8 and 9

The eternal salvation of our soul from an eternity in hell, for the just condemnation of our sins, is through faith in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, we have forgiveness of sins and are declared righteous in the sight of God. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Peace in Christ

The Christian has eternal peace with God at the moment of salvation: Romans 8:1 As we walk with Christ, and abide in Christ, we can have peace in the midst of this world of strife, persecution and tribulation. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

Brethren,

 

We will continue our discussion of  the mercy of God, and the of the Lord Jesus, later on in the study of Titus; in Titus 3:4-6

 

I guess I better give all of you an assignment in our study in Titus. Read Titus 3:4-6

 

Alan

I love the phrase "manifested His Word through preaching".  

 

A trucker, always carries in his cab, a manifest.  It is documents that show what he has inside his trailer.

 

Preaching should always bring to light that precious Word of God.  The one bearing it is more effective if it is evident in his life.

Great illustration.  :clap: Thanks!

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I went back and searched for "grace" in the Old Testament, and the first occurrence was Noah finding grace in the eyes of the Lord.  Grace has been there from the foundation of the world.  It is what tempers all other of God's attributes and allows Him to give favor to we humans who fall short every day.  Praise the Lord!

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Alan said

Moses, and every honest and sincere Jew knew that they, in some manner, whether unintentionally or intentionally, violated the Law. The whole reason for the sacrificial law of Leviticus was to provide a sacrifice to the Jews because of their sins.

  Reminds me that about a year ago we had a speaker from Christian Witness To Israel.  He is in contact with many Jews, and one he was speaking with said he thought he would be save by keeping the law. " How sure are you that you keep the law" said Mike.  I am 99% sure I keep the law said the Jew, but Mike replied, "I am 200% sure that you don't keep the law and I think the Post Office will agree with me because when I write to you, you steam the envelope open read my letter, write a reply and put it in the envelope reseal it and write, 'Return to Sender, then post it.'   

Isn't that like people we meet who think that God will not judge them because they are a 'good person'?

Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

So many people have heard the twisted, untrue teachings of "God is love" (which they teach as meaning God loves everyone and it's the type of love that will let everyone get away with whatever they do so they can all go to heaven) and the more recent "God of grace" (which they teach much the same as they do the other).

There are many around here who have told me they are better than other people so they believe they will go to heaven. Some add in they have been baptized or are a member of a church or they try to keep the ten commandments (which they don't even know all of them or what each one means).

Then there are always those who seem to think only Hitler, Manson and people like them will be sent to hell.

Try pointing out even one area of their lives or one outstanding sin in their lives to help them see they aren't good as God defines good and they become defensive and accuse us of being judgmental.

I really dislike a popular local Christian Church because most of their pastors over the years have taught salvation by baptism and there are so many around here certain that since one of those pastors told them getting baptized would assure them of heaven, they know they are going to heaven and won't listen to anyone else. :(

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Office of the Pastor

Verse 5-9, “ For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

Paul and Titus had an excellent relationship with one another and with the Lord. Paul saw the need in Crete of a man of God to pastor the local church and to set in order the spiritual needs of the area. The most important spiritual need in the mind of Paul was to make sure that qualified men of God were to be in charge of the local church. It is also of utmost importance to see that the title of elder, bishop and pastor are interchangeable terms for the same office. Please note in verse 5 Paul states, “... and ordain elders in every city...” then in verse 7, in speaking of the same office, Paul states, “... For a bishop...” And, in talking about the offices of the church, Paul in Ephesians 4:11, says “... pastors and teachers.” Please note that Paul said in Ephesians 4:11 “...pastors...” instead of the word bishop or elder for the same office.

The current tradition of having bishops or elders, like the Catholic, Presbyterian, Mormon, and other denominations, over several churches is not of the Lord. It is a tradition of man. It is not a New Testament doctrine or tradition.

And, because the office of the pastor is that of a steward of God over the flock of God, the qualifications of a pastor are very strict. These requirements that a man must meet in order to be a pastor are still in force in these last days.

Titus had already known the qualifications of a pastor from Paul earlier writing in First Timothy 3:1-6, so Paul is now emphasizing some of them and expounding on some others.

In verses 6-9, Paul lists 15 characteristics that the candidate must have before he is ordained as the pastor in the local church. We will try and comment on each one in due order. We must remember that Paul told Titus that the man in question must have these characteristics before he is put in the position of pastor. It is obvious that Paul was more concerned over the characteristics of the man then in filling the position of a pastor. If a man does not meet these qualifications, than he should not be in the ministry.

And, in my estimation, due to the fact that Paul does not give any qualifications for the missionary or evangelist, then it may be safe to assume that the missionary and evangelist must meet these qualifications also. This is due to the fact that they are representing the Lord Jesus Christ in the pulpit of the churches. They also are leading the flock of God in their respective ministries as the pastor is.

The Fifteen Characteristics are:

     1. He must be blameless.

     The definition of blameless is; Free from blame of fault. The man who aspires to be a pastor is an overseer in the church of God and as such, he must be blameless when it comes to the affairs of the church. The man of God needs to be blameless when it comes to his character, dealing in finances, dealing with the world and his family. He must be of utmost integrity.

     2. The Husband of One Wife.

     The office of the pastor is only available to men, not women. And, it is open only to those men who have had only one wife, not divorced, nor a bigamist. Only when a man wife is dead can he remarry and still occupy the office of a pastor.

     The current practice of having women as the pastor of a church, for any reason, is not justified in the scriptures. God can give Godly women many gifts that can be used of the Lord, but being a pastor is not one of those gifts, or calling.

     And, just as important, the current excuse of divorced men, divorced either before or after salvation, as a pastor in the church is not justified in the scriptures. How in the world can a man take care of a local church if he cannot control his actions at home? He cannot.

     3. Having Faithful Children.

     The man of God ought to be able to handle his children to the extent that they are out of control. It does not mean that they are perfect. Furthermore, we must remember, that when a child becomes an adult, and leaves the household, he, or she, is not under the authority of the parents; therefore, the man of God is not held accountable for their actions.

     4. Not Self-willed.

     As a disciple of the Lord Jesus, the pastor needs to crucify the flesh and do God will, not his own will. The Lord Jesus is our prime example of this characteristic. The whole duty of the Lord Jesus was to do the will of His Father, including dying on the cross of Calvary for our sins.

     Even as Christians, a lot of times we do not want to do God will, but we want to do our own will. The duty of the pastor requires him to do God’s will, not his.

     5. Not Soon Angry.

           We must keep in mind that the man of God, as the Lord Jesus, can have righteous indignation and Paul clearly states, “not soon angry.”

     If a man is quick to get into verbal arguments, fistfights, blowing of steam too quickly, or he has other fits of anger, perhaps he should hold off getting in the ministry. Patience is not only a virtue for the pastor, it is a requirement. We need to remember 2 Timothy 2:24, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.”

     Proverbs 16:32, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. King Solomon goes on to say, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9

     6. Not Given to Wine.

     The wine here is an obvious reference to alcoholic beverages. The man who desires to be in the ministry is not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages at all, except in the case of genuine medical aliments. And, as a note in our day and age, even this exception is generally taken away due to the availability of modern medicine.

    7. No Striker.

     This goes beyond just getting angry with someone, it is letting your anger get the best of you and actually hitting, or striking, a person. If a man is in the habit of getting violent in his emotions than he is not qualified for the ministry.

     8. Not Given to Filthy Lucre.

      Covetous is idolatry, Colossians 3:5. The motive for serving the Lord as a pastor, evangelist or missionary, must be pure. Covetousness was one of the sins of the Pharisees, (Luke 16:14), and God does not want it to defile the pastor. The man of God, in any position in the ministry, must love God, not mammon, Luke 16:13.

     One of the saddest things to say is that some men are in the ministry for the love of money, and or religious recognition. Those who, in their hearts, are in the ministry for money are like Balaam, (see Numbers 22-24). “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.” 2 Peter 2:15

The motive for the serving the Lord must be one out of a heart of love and devotion. If it is not, than the man does not have any business in being in the ministry.

     9. Lover of Hospitality.

     As the Lord Jesus loved all men, so should the pastor love all people. The pastor needs to be friendly to others, whether or not they are church members, or Christians.

     As you follow the life of the Lord Jesus in the gospels, you start to notice some things. Such as, He had meals in believers’ homes and in the homes of the Pharisees and scribes. He went to lost men where they were. He visited the lepers in their colonies; He went to poor people’s homes and those of the rich. He spent nights in the disciples homes and in gardens. He preached in poor hovels and in kings’ palaces. The Lord Jesus was friendly and hospitable to people. We also need to friendly and hospitable as much as possible.

     10. Lover of Good Men.

     Since we need to be hospitable to all men in order to show them the love of Christ it is obvious here that Paul is referring to personal fellowship that we all have with our close friends. When it comes to close friendship, or fellowship, we need to seek out those men who love the Lord and have good testimonies. Our companions that we select are an indication of our own characteristics.

Proverbs 13:20 “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

     King David said, “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.” Psalms 119:63

     11. Sober.

     The original meaning of sober was not only to not to be drunken with liquor, but, to be: (1) unhurried; calm, (2) marked by sedate or gravely or earnestly thoughtful character or demeanor.

     Brethren, this characteristic should be true to all of us, not only to the man of God who desires to be a pastor. Every Christian should have the calm assurance that God is on His throne in heaven and has everything under His control. The saint that is close to God does not have much of the anxiety that marks the lost man with no hope and like the foolish individual who thinks that life is just one pleasure trip. We need to be sober-minded in this world that is going mad with delusions.

     12. Just.

     The meaning of just is: (1) Conforming to spiritual law; righteous especially before God. (1) Righteous or equitable in action or judgment; impartial; hence, as of punishments, merited.

     The man who is interested in the office of a pastor must be just. He must be just in the sight of God and in the sight of man.

     In order to be just before God he must be saved. This justification for all is through the redeeming power of the Lord Jesus Christ. All who come to Christ as a sinner, seeking His forgiveness, is justified, or just, in the sight of God.

    A study of the Book of Romans, and Galatians, will explain this doctrine more thoroughly. Briefly stated, Paul wrote in Romans 3:34, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Our justification is in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

     Now, Paul is not only talking about being justified in Christ, he is talking being just in the sight of man, being blameless, in his actions towards others. Being a man of God, the pastor needs to seek the face of God and have God develop His characteristics in him.

     Moses said, “Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deuteronomy 32: 3 & 4. “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” 2 Samuel 3:3.

    13. Holy.

    God is Holy. His Book is Holy. The office of a pastor is a holy office. Therefore, the man who desires to be a pastor must be holy. This is not a suggestion; it is a commandment. 1 Peter 1:15 & 16 says, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

     Leviticus 19:1 & 2 says, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.”

     God wants His men, yea, and all His saints, to be holy. Holiness is a separation from the world to God.   Ecclesiastes 5:1 says, “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.”

     14. Temperate.

   The definition of temperate is: (1) Moderate; not excessive; as: (a) Moderate in the indulgence of the appetites or passions. (b) self-controlled; restrained.

   The man who desires to be in the ministry needs to have self-control in this actions, zeal, appetite, and desires. He needs to have his spirit, and bodily desires, in control. “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” 1 Corinthians 14:32. Paul also said in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “But I keep under my body, and bring it under subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

     15. Faithful to the Word.

     The pastor, yea every man of God, is required to be faithful to the word of God.

     “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1 and 2 A steward in God’s work is required to be faithful to the word of God; it is not a suggestion. If a man is not faithful to the word of God then he should not be in the ministry. Please take note that Paul said this to the Corinthian church with Sosthenes, (1 Corinthians 1:1), as an Apostle and a missionary. Therefore, he is requiring all those in official capacities in the church to be faithful to the word of God.

     And, please take note, that when a man is faithful to the word of God, he is then able to convince others, though sound doctrine, the things of God. The fruit of faithful studying the scriptures is the knowledge of sound doctrine. If a man claims to be a man of God, but does not know, nor does he teach sound doctrine, then, in my estimation, he is not a man of God and should not be in the ministry in any capacity.

     God gave us the scriptures in order for us to know sound doctrine.

     The Authorized Version of the Bible of 1611 is the preserved word of God. The newer versions of the scriptures, starting from the Revised Version of 1881, are perversions of the word of God. They are corrupt texts.

     The Word of God is, “...faithful...” God also preserved it for time immortal. We can depend on the written word of God being faithful. “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psalm 12: 6 & 7

Conclusion of the Fifteen Characteristics

In conclusion, the qualifications for a pastor are very rigid. The reason why so many churches are going liberal, Charismatic, denominational, and having other spiritual problems, is due to the man who is leading them. They are false ministers of the gospel.

Paul warned the Corinthian church, and all the saints of God, that we should not be surprised when we see these false pastors. Satan is against the work of God and he will counterfeit everything that God has in order to deceive the lost and to confuse the saints. Paul said, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

The end of the false ministers, apostles, pastors, evangelist, missionary, is judgment. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon them- selves swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1

The end of the true minister, apostle, pastor, evangelist, missionary, is a reward by the Lord Jesus Christ. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:4

 

Edited by Alan
addded a hyphen to Self-willed Aug. 20, 2016
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    • Razor

      “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
      ― Mark Twain
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    • Razor

      “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
      ― Mark Twain
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      Psalms 139 Psalm 139:9-10
      9. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10. even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy righthand shall hold me. 
       
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    • Bro. West  »  Pastor Scott Markle

      Advanced revelation, then...prophecy IS advanced revelation in the context of the apostles.
      I really do not know where you are going with this. The Bible itself has revelations and prophecies and not all revelations are prophecies.
      Paul had things revealed to him that were hid and unknown that the Gentiles would be fellow heirs.
      How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Eph 3:3-9
      And I do not mean this as a Hyper-dispensationalist would, for there were people in Christ before Paul (Rom. 16:7). This is not prophecy for there are none concerning the Church age in the O.T..
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        I just read your comment and you bypassed what I wrote concerning book arrangement, chapters being added and verse numberings and such. There is no scripture support for these either, should we reject these?
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    • Bro. West

      Seeing it is Christ----mas time and I was answering question on Luke 2:33 concerning Jesus, Mary and Joseph . I thought it would be fitting to display a poem i wrote concerning the matter.
      SCRIPTURAL MARY

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      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY, SO TRUST ME NOT
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      6
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      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY, O’ SINNER TRUST ME NOT

                       WRITTEN BY BRO. WEST
       
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