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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

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Hello, I'm almost done with Bible college and will soon be ordained later in the year. The question is how do I survive financially while gaining support / deputation. Will love offerings alone support traveling/ essentials like car payment, car insurance, and other basic needs. I have a wife and 3 kids. 

 

Do I need to already be established financially before going out and gaining support or head out and pray the love offerings cover it all? 

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Bro. Allen,

Welcome! Looking forward to some fine fellowship and discussions.

By the voice of experience, most missionaries find it very difficult in their initial deputation experience to live on love offerings. The love offerings typically given to a missionary will not take care of the car insurance, car expenses, family needs, and other household financial obligations that arise in the normal care of taking care of a family.

Unless your home church can help you with your extra financial needs, I would agree with what you mentioned and be more financially established before you start deputation.

Alan

 

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Welcome brother Matt-Allen!

Prayers sent up that the Lord lead, guide, and provide.  Many years ago my uncle started out an IFB pastor right after completing seminary/Bible college. As he did through college, he had a full time job (mining industry) and kept that job until the church was firmly established, at which point he was able to stop working in the mines and devote his full time to the ministry and to outreach in the community . His wife (my aunt) also took on jobs of housecleaning and seamstress for others. I realize times have changed, but many pastors starting out also have to keep full time (or at least part-time) jobs for many years until firmly established. And many pastors wives work full time now even after the church is fully established.
Will continue praying for you as you seek to serve the Lord. 
God Bless!

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Good morning Matt,

Welcome to Online Baptist.  Like many I was bi-vocational for nearly 10 years when I started our church.  I started a cleaning company because that allowed me to have the time off I needed for services and to set my own schedule.  It is not a bad job and can produce a three to five hundred a week if you are diligent.  Homes can be cleaned in the late morning and early afternoons and businesses can be cleaned at night.

Also many states have Baptist fellowships where you can go to their monthly meetings present your field and get booking and or support if you are a local NT church planter.  I did both.  I would probably stay away from the BBF as I am not sure of their direction currently but the GIBC is a very solid group to get into contact with.  If you are not Independent Baptist these groups will not be for you and you will likely get no support from them.  

God's best to you as you prepare and go.

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3 hours ago, Orval said:

Good morning Matt,

Welcome to Online Baptist.  Like many I was bi-vocational for nearly 10 years when I started our church.  I started a cleaning company because that allowed me to have the time off I needed for services and to set my own schedule.  It is not a bad job and can produce a three to five hundred a week if you are diligent.  Homes can be cleaned in the late morning and early afternoons and businesses can be cleaned at night.

Also many states have Baptist fellowships where you can go to their monthly meetings present your field and get booking and or support if you are a local NT church planter.  I did both.  I would probably stay away from the BBF as I am not sure of their direction currently but the GIBC is a very solid group to get into contact with.  If you are not Independent Baptist these groups will not be for you and you will likely get no support from them.  

God's best to you as you prepare and go.

Hey! What's the idea with promoting fellowships if you're an IFB?!

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2 hours ago, Salyan said:

Hey! What's the idea with promoting fellowships if you're an IFB?!

Good afternoon Salyan,

First let me say your statement causes me to ask, what you are talking about?  Is there a law or rule that says you cannot mention BBF or IGBF? 

Secondly, I was simply trying to help Matt with how to raise funds and spoke to that need it is not an indorsement nor is it and advertisement.

Thirdly I would challenge you concerning what Independent Baptist means.  My understanding is that if you are independent you have no organization over you stating you must comply with this or that.  Our churches are self-governing and autonomous which means that should we chose to fellowship with a group of IFB churches we can do so.  We believe in Soul Liberty meaning that while I may disagree with what you do or who you do it with it is ultimately your choice and between you and the Lord.

 

You realize that GIBF means Global Independent Baptist Fellowship a fellowship is not an organization it is a group of churches who affiliate with one another for fellowship.

BBF means Baptist Bible Fellowship neither are organizations in the strictest sense of the word. 

 

If I have violated some rule of the forum please point it out and I will gladly delete the post.  If I have misunderstood your post I ask for your forgiveness but if it just simply that you do not like the post I can do nothing about that. 

 

Please let me know what you want me to do.   

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It's not a forum rule (I don't think); I was simply surprised to see an IFB endorse a fellowship. That's because my definition of Independent is Independent - no fellowships (or organizations). As such, I would never tell someone to seek one out!  Personal opinion, that's all (although a rather strong one).

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26 minutes ago, Salyan said:

It's not a forum rule (I don't think); I was simply surprised to see an IFB endorse a fellowship. That's because my definition of Independent is Independent - no fellowships (or organizations). As such, I would never tell someone to seek one out!  Personal opinion, that's all (although a rather strong one).

I understand what you are saying but I would guess that even if you are independent independent you still choose to fellowship with preachers, schools, churches etc. that are like minded.  How would our colleges survive with out pastors and churches who are like minded supporting those schools and mission organizations?  Even if they do not call themselves a fellowship they still fellowship with one another and together support the schools and the missionaries.  None the less  I appreciate your response and strive to refrain from mentioning the either fellowship on the forum.

Have a great day in Christ. 

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4 hours ago, Orval said:

Good afternoon Salyan,

First let me say your statement causes me to ask, what you are talking about?  Is there a law or rule that says you cannot mention BBF or IGBF? 

Secondly, I was simply trying to help Matt with how to raise funds and spoke to that need it is not an indorsement nor is it and advertisement.

Thirdly I would challenge you concerning what Independent Baptist means.  My understanding is that if you are independent you have no organization over you stating you must comply with this or that.  Our churches are self-governing and autonomous which means that should we chose to fellowship with a group of IFB churches we can do so.  We believe in Soul Liberty meaning that while I may disagree with what you do or who you do it with it is ultimately your choice and between you and the Lord.

 

You realize that GIBF means Global Independent Baptist Fellowship a fellowship is not an organization it is a group of churches who affiliate with one another for fellowship.

BBF means Baptist Bible Fellowship neither are organizations in the strictest sense of the word. 

 

If I have violated some rule of the forum please point it out and I will gladly delete the post.  If I have misunderstood your post I ask for your forgiveness but if it just simply that you do not like the post I can do nothing about that. 

 

Please let me know what you want me to do.   

I used to attend a IFB whose pastor organized and led the FBFI we didn't have any tie other than VERY like doctrines and practice of faith. Oh, and we were all going to the same heaven and spend eternity together in the presence of our Lord Jesus.

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Fellowships and Conventions are organizations. You can't have either one with some sort of organizational structure. Support monies for missionaries are funneled through the organization, that takes organizational structure.

It s not the same as fellow shipping with sister churches, with no organization mixed in. Independent means just that, Independent, of any influence or control outside of each local church.

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Hello Bro. Allen.  I'm a veteran missionary currently serving on the field in Southern Texas.  We completed deputation in 2 years and have been on the field for 9.  If you'd like to talk about the deputation experience, or one opinion (for there are many) on how to prepare for it then feel free to shoot me a note.  I'd even be happy to take the time to talk on the phone if it could be a help to you.  Just send me a message and we can set something up.

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Personally, since I was not going overseas, I didn't do any sort of deputation.

I worked at the job I had, and started as an assistant in a small church.

In my opinion (and that's all it is - my opinion) support should be left to those who are going overseas or at least to places where they are unable to work.

Over time the Lord has provided for us without going on deputation.

You don't mention your intended field but "tentmaking" is not a bad thing.

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