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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.

Starting on a new adventure


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

That little church needed a leader and the Lord brought them one, Randy!  Praise the Lord.  Now only Randy and the Lord know if he was brought there to Shepherd the church or to get it ready for a Shepherd.

Thanks for sharing!  Now, what about those babies we've been praying for?

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  • 1 month later...
  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I love reading how God works.  It is so exciting.  My prayers are with you and your husband that God's will be done and the Lord be glorified in the process and results.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • Lady Administrators

One of the things that a couple of the men on the search committee have been ignoring is that Randy told them he believes God would have him start as interim pastor. It's a long reason, but in a nutshell they've been without a pastor for a number of years and he believes God would have him approach it in this manner as a protection for them. He has spoken to both our former pastor and the church's founding pastor and both are in agreement with him.

One of the men is concerned that Randy will decide not to become the permanent pastor if he begins as interim. The concern is not necessary, but, again, they've been without a pastor for so long it is understandable. Randy had wanted a longer period of interim and the committee only wanted a month. =D  Well, after time spent in prayer, 90 days was agreed upon. So, on Sunday they will vote (well, we, since I'm a member ;) ) for him as interim with the understanding that in 90 days it will be revisited. This will give them the opportunity to discover if they really want Randy's leadership and teaching/preaching. I believe they will, but I do see much wisdom in how Randy is approaching this.

Continued prayer is appreciated. We will be hitting the ground running - or, rather, running a bit faster than we've already begun.

We designed a church brochure that is mostly a tract, because there isn't a lot of information for the church just yet, other than service times, location, and the ladies' lunch/men's prayer breakfast. We had them printed professionally (and the members were thrilled at the quality of the job done). We ordered 200 of them. Randy has begun a visitation program, and we've been using them. Most Saturdays he takes out one of the men and I take out one of the women for an hour in the morning, and then we each take another out in the afternoon, working on training them. We are almost at the point where two of the ladies are ready to take a silent partner out themselves! Yay! Anyway, we only have 10 left! 

We've not had any visitors as a result of our going out, nor have we seen anyone saved yet. But! We have several who are interested and want us to come back.  Hubs is in the process of teaching how to disciple now.

There is no set Sunday School class because there are no children who attend. (But there was a really good visit this past Saturday - with twins!).  There have been kids once in a while, but there isn't a curriculum. And so one of my jobs right now is to create a curriculum. Thankfully, I have the curriculum our former church created. While we can't use it as is (it's for individual grades, and we won't likely need that for a while), it is a good jumping off point for me. I have the first 7 weeks mostly done.

I will begin one-on-one teaching of a young lady who is struggling to understand a good bit of Scripture. Hubs is going to have me meet with her during Sunday School - I would appreciate prayer for wisdom to know exactly how to approach this and teach her.

And I have to work on piano...I took lessons for a number of years, but have never gotten to the point where I can play well. But now I have to. We have a piano player, but she is elderly and has health issues. Prayer regarding that would be very greatly appreciated (in all honestly, I'd love to see a song leader whose wife is a pianist join the church!).

Hubs will still need to work because the church is small. He will be pulled in a number of directions, with working, pastoring, and taking care of the property here.  I'm not going to be seeing much of him, as he's going to be spending a lot of time studying. So, our lives are definitely in the process of changing. Big time.

Thanks for the prayer.

 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

This is great news for you, and I think for that church.

Working a job on the side is hard but most of us have had to do it.

We still use an introduction tracts that is mostly evangelistic. 

Our is an a4 trifold that has a cover panel, 4 panels of witness, and the last panel is dot points of what we believe, and location and times.

This is our main "invitation tract", but I have a number of "witnessing tracts" that we use individually.

My daughter plays piano for us and she is good, but there are still a few hymns she can't play or struggles with - we still song them, just without accompaniment. Don't be afraid to do that - it can be great.

In fact we normally sing Amazing Grace accapella even though my daughter can play it.

But it is great to have the choice. Keep working at it.

Such a blessing to read this.

Thanks!

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I am sure your husband knows what he is doing in seeking an interim first.  It also sounds like you are excited also. All of us hope the best for you, Randy, and the folks at the church. It is going to be exciting to hear how God uses you two to help the church grow in souls saved and taught.

May the Lord bless you all.

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  • Administrators

Thanks for the update LuAnne. This is certainly  blessing to hear. I am impressed by randy's wisdom in this matter of starting as interim pastor. After all, not one knows Randy's call better than he does. His decision also shows wisdom because he is very knowledgeable regarding this church. I am sure that in the next 90 days God will make His will known to both Randy and the church.

Continuing in earnest prayer for both of you in this time of seeking God's will in this matter.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

We're supposed to judge, according to the scriptures!  How else can we be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine?

 

Congratulations!  Those folks sure took their sweet time, I knew it all along!  Now clean house and bring in the sheep! 

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  • Lady Administrators
10 hours ago, swathdiver said:

We're supposed to judge, according to the scriptures!  How else can we be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine?

 

Congratulations!  Those folks sure took their sweet time, I knew it all along!  Now clean house and bring in the sheep! 

Yes, but sadly far too many people - even Christians (and the mother of this young lady is not a Christian...although the young lady professed, I'm not convinced she is saved due to some things I can't go into) - do not understand anything about what the Bible actually teaches about judging.  It's an easy out for folks who want to do just whatever they please. 

Thanks, swath. Randy is actually pleased that they took the time they did (although we were pretty sure all along, too). Because they've been without a pastor for so long, they wanted to rush into calling him, but he wanted them to take it slower, pray about it, and get counsel. I don't know if they sought counsel, but they did slow down and pray more about it. As it is, one of the men thinks the church is moving too fast - but I think his big issue is he doesn't want to go out soulwinning. =D But that's ok...my hubs has a LONG list of things to be teaching them, and as he teaches and the Holy Spirit convicts, things will change. 

He's thinking about starting on prayer on Wednesday nights.  What they've been doing is reading through the Old Testament and answering questions during the week, and then going over the answers on Wed. night and then having prayer time. I've enjoyed the reading - and I love answering questions - and we finished Jeremiah for this coming Wed. But they need some teaching, so things will change after that. And we're going to have a list of requests, rather than everyone just rattling off requests. Far too many of the folks like to give nitty-gritty details, and then other folks interrupt and ask questions and then conversations get going that are not in any way related to prayer requests. What should be a 10-minute time period extends sometimes to an hour...

Yes, it has been confusion. But that's to be expected without a shepherd. Hubs is going to begin an actual Bible study (as I said, probably on prayer to begin), and then we will break up into groups (to start, just two - men, and ladies) so that things will be less chaotic. 

We are thankful that this core of folks have been determined to keep this church going. God's definitely going to bless them for their steadfastness. I think He's begun that by having my hubs become their pastor (not one bit of bias there, you understand =D ).

 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

With a shepherd in the house now that young lady has a good chance of getting saved now and discipled properly; and her mother too!

Remember, the wise in heart receive commandments, the fools make a mock of sin.

The lost love to reference Matthew 7:1 while ignoring verse 2 and the rest of scripture on judging others.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Administrators
On 7/2/2017 at 10:53 PM, HappyChristian said:

Well, the vote was held. And it was unanimous - in favor. So my husband is now pastor of our church. I'm not sure either of us has really wrapped our heads around that, but it's sinking in....

Please do be in prayer for wisdom for him. There are a few negative things he needs to do almost right away. I say negative because it involves stopping things that have gone on that aren't right  but have become accepted. He's very patient and will explain things thoroughly, but I know some people will be hurt. 

The young lady I was going to be meeting with will not be meeting with me. She decided that I was judging her when I told her she needed to be consistent in attending if we were going to do this. I'm still waiting on a call from her mother, who also feels I was judging her.  The young lady has said she won't be back. I'm sorry to hear that, but the Lord can work on her heart.

 

That is great to hear about the new position. Trish and I will be praying for you guys. Your husband looks the same since we last seen you guys. :)

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