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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
      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."


      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:


      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.”


      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?


      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.

My personal life

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I have been feeling this pull lately to change my life to be more appropriate for a follower of the Lord and have been browsing the bible. One verse I came along is 1 Timothy 2:9. "In like manner also, that the woman adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing." I have very long hair and find that braiding my hair is convenient and helpful in doing daily activities and work. Is this wrong? or is it more on fancy braids that are meant to be showy? I don't wear gold, pearls, jewelry, or costly clothing. I'm not braiding my hair to be pretty, just being practical. Another thing that has been bothering me is my personal relationship. My boyfriend and I have been together for 4.5 years, have two children and live together in every way possible. We are married in everyway but having the government legalize it. Is this a problem? We live together, share our money, share responsibility of the kids, we both work but me only part time so I stay home with the kids most of the time. He provides for us almost completely; he could if I didn't work. I choose to work to make it a little easier on him and give me a little time away from the family. I only work 3 days a week and that is when the kids go to see grandma. So what do you think about a simply braid and my relationship 

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Some will take Scriptures like "not braiding the hair" & the other negatives of 1 Peter 3:3 & make them into commands, after all, long hair is Scriptural. The positives of v.4 are more important.  1 Cor. 11:1-16 presents a challenge to interpreters. Modest dress & hair style are appropriate for Christian women. 

And I would recommend legal marriage. You are clearly fully committed to each other. Then there can be no criticism, & you will be a godly example in this perverse age. Far too many live together, have children, & then separate with resultant problems, especially for the children, & especially if their parents take on new partners.

May God guide you. As you draw near to him, you will be drawn nearer to each other. 


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I would add something, as well.

  Concerning the hair, it is 'broided', a slight difference from 'braided.'  Broided does, indeed, mean braided, but it is a more extensive, fancy way of doing it.   Think:


The word does refer to a basket weave, as well as a braid. Excessiveness. Having done a study on the issue of hair, when I was researching a thesis on the headcovering, I found that, areound the time Paul dealt with hair and covering in 1Cor 11, women in the Roman and Greek cultures were leaving behind covering their heads, and thus, found they wanted to do something with their hair. So some of the wealthier women began to have contests to see who could have the most ornate, excessive hairstyles. This is where the broiding and plaiting warnings come from. Sometimes they would take 8-10 hours working on their hair, and would not wash it for months, to preserve it, even making special neck holders for when they slept, so their hair would not touch the bed. It was excessive and attention-drawing, and this was what Paul was trying to warn about. A woman can have an attractive hairstyle, and can wear jewelry and even a little make-up just fine, but it is excessiveness that Paul sought to teach against, because that is an aspect of modesty.

As for marriage, I agree with Covenanter. However, do you know that, if you have a Bible with a record of marriage in the front, you can use that in place of a license. Have the pastor/officiant, bride, groom and witnesses sign it, take it to the courthouse and have them copy it and record it, and it is a legal, binding document.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

depending on state laws you may already be married.  some states have "common law' marriage which means if someone lives together long enough the state recognizes them as married.  even if you are legally married, I would advise going through a proper church ceremony to set a good example for your children.  you haven't mentioned if your boyfriend claims to be Christian.  as you seek to live your life more in line with God's word that may cause problems with him if he has no desire to do the same.  Not mentioning this to discourage you, but it is something you need to recognize and pray about.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

You hit the nail on the head, trapperhoney, he says he's a Christian but he doesn't live his life like it. 1 Corinthians 7:12 "To the others I say (I, myself, not the Lord): if a Christian man has a wife who is an unbeliever and she agrees to go on living with him, he must not divorce her." I love him completely but he isn't big on the actual marriage in today's society. His belief is that we are already married in every way possible, why do we need the paper to prove it. 

I can understand his feelings and see the truth in it, because it really us true. There really wouldn't be much difference between us know and us married except having it blessed by the Lord and legalized for the world to accept. I'm torn though. I really want to honor the Lord and I know being with a man outside marriage is a no no, but I also know I love my man and am not willing to give him up either.  

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

One thing you have to consider in this is what your marriage/non-marriage says to unbelieving world and young people who can be influenced by your situation. Truly, it's not about a piece of paper, tax benefits, a ring, or even a ceremony. Rather, it is about making a public commitment to one another and entering into a lifelong covenant not just with each other, but with God. Marriage is not about how you live, it is about commitment and it's a reflection of God's character.

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  • Advanced Member

Once upon a time, back in 1958, we were students helping a local church in visiting & tracting. One of our number expressed concern that many of the families in the slum area were not married. 

With this in mind, I asked the Vicar about whether a formal, legal marriage was Biblical, & whether faithful living together was what marriage was all about.

I made a bad mistake - Ann was with me - and what followed was a very serious rebuke & lecture as if I were proposing our cohabitation, rather than commenting on the folk in his parish. 


In this day & age, many youngsters, & not so young are cohabiting, & diverse sex couples join in "marriage" on the basis of love, as if sexual love were all-important. And after a while they move on, often leaving children & other consequences including STD, emotional problems in favour of a new temporary relationship. The emphasis must be on a permanent relationship, not an emotion that can pass when other emotions, & the "boredom" of living with one who finds life a struggle, & sex doesn't add significantly to the pleasure of life. 

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