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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.

Abraham's Divorce? What?! Help Please.


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Did Abram marry Hagar? 

Genesis 16:3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

Genesis 21:10 Wherefore she (Sarah) said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Genesis 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

God became the provider for Hagar and Ismael. Even sending an Angel to help them get started. 

So when Abraham sent Hagar away was that divorce? There was no marriage license back then thus no divorce in our sense. But in their day, back in their time was this the same as a divorce? 

 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

This is not as simple as it seems at first.

Genesis 16

 1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

 3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

 4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.

 6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face

 

You will note here that the child would be considered Sarah's child, and that Hagar is still after this time called Sarah's maid.

In their culture (and this is history now, not Bible) the maids in the household were fair game for "increasing the family". Note this is recorded in the Bible, but not condoned.

In this passage we see an indicator of this. It was certainly the idea behind Sarah's suggestion.

Now I think (and this is my thoughts on the passage) that Abraham and Sarah did not consider Hagar a wife in any way, but God did, hence the use of the term "wife" in vs 3. I think this is God's commentary on the situation.

The whole event was sinful, but it was not the fault of Hagar nor Ishmael, therefore the Lord protected them.

Does that make sense?

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I think one thing that we often miss in  biblical marriage and divorce, is the will of God.

We all hear the vers, "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Well, what if we marry outside of God's will? Does that still apply? Does our deciding to marry, say, an unbeliever, somehow make God agree to it, and now that unbiblical marriage IS what God hath joined together?  Clearly, we know that the Bible says that if a believer is married to an unbelieving spouse, (whether by choice, or one gets saved after mariage), we are to remain together if the unbeliever wants to stay with the believer. BUT, if the unbeliever departs, they are not bound to them, let them leave. Now of course, I would interpret that as, if the unbeliever departs, us not being bound to them, it opens up not just divorce but remarriage. But that is not the question, per se. If a marriage is made OUTSIDE of God's revealed will, is it binding in His eyes?

Clearly, Hagar and Abraham's union was NOT God's will, and He allowed Abraham to send her away, as Sarah wished. Might God send away an unbelieving spouse from a believer's wife, if His will would be hampered by that unbeliever remaining?

Now, this may cause a fight, but my example stems from my own life: I answered a clear call to pastor while married. A year later, i had lost my job, (military), and my wife left me, (an unbeliever, though I didn't know it-thought she was until the day she left, left God, moved in with another man as his wife, and rejected God and his church, and never looked back). At this point I believed I could not be a pastor-however, I have had many good godly preachers and pastors (all IFB) who believe that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. Was God surprised when my wife left? Or was I called in spite of that? Surely she would have hampered the ministry. I was willing to stay with her, but she would not. She divorced me.  I actually began to seek a different life, doubting my suitability to be a pastor, or to look for another ministry, but so much of my life, as hard as I tried to go another way, choices were taken from me, literally forcing me across country where I gained more training and encouragement until I told the Lord I would be where and what He wanted. Very quickly after that I had my prayers answered and was brought back home, bills paid, a free car givine to me from the choir director at the church I was at, (he didn't know I was praying for one), and within a year I was offerred the church I am at now, after a year preaching in a nursing home.

So I believe I am where the Lord wants me, despite being divorced. I know many will disagree, but I don't see that I am breaking the "husband of one wife" issue: I AM the husband of one wife, because I was not bound to the first that left, according to scripture. 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

First I would agree with everything brother DaveW had to say at top (EXCEPT the last 2 sentences, because I would not agree Hagar and Ishmael were "not at fault" as per Gen.21:9).
But I would agree with everything else he said. So rather than repeat it, I will just agree.

In summary: for Gen.16:3 "to be his wife" statement, I believe carries with it a sense that Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham so that Abraham "knew" Hagar (in the Biblical sense of "knew") with the ONE reason being a child was to be procreated. NOT for any other 'marital' reasons.
We don't see a wedding, or vows spoken of... no gifts given, no celebration nor feast, no customary dowery or other arrangements spoken of either. 
The "marriage" spoken of in Gen.16:3 would seem to be ONLY for the one specific reason of procuring an offspring... nothing more than that. And also that it was Sarah's idea!

But I do also see a problem in you (brother "MountainChristian") bringing forth 1 Tim.5:8 and attempting to apply it to Gen.21. 
The reason I would respectfully disagree with this is that 1 Tim.5:8 is grace/church age doctrine which cannot be applied to the old testament.
 

Edited by Ronda
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

My view of it is this...

After all that transpired in regard to Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and including the birth of Isaac...we find this in Genesis 21:12 (which is a verse already pointed out)...

Genesis 21:12
And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Four things I notice in that one verse...

  1. It's God talking.
  2. God referred to Hagar as "thy bondwoman" instead of "thy wife".
  3. God told Abraham to do what Sarah said; which was, to cast Hagar and Ishmael out.
  4. Doing so would remove a "human hindrance and interference" to God's will and plan; which was, that through Isaac "shall thy seed be called"...not through Ishmael.

God was in agreement with casting them out; therefore, there was no wrong done on Abraham's part.

 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
16 hours ago, Ronda said:

But I do also see a problem in you (brother "MountainChristian") bringing forth 1 Tim.5:8 and attempting to apply it to Gen.21. 
The reason I would respectfully disagree with this is that 1 Tim.5:8 is grace/church age doctrine which cannot be applied to the old testament.
 

Ms. Ronda if I made you stumble I'm very sorry and I sincerely apologize. 

The reason I added Paul's teaching, was v11 "And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son." Abraham was rich but at how little he gave Hagar, "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar,....." that had to hurt. Abraham lived under looking forward grace, as we live under looking back grace. The law wasn't given until Moses.

Then there is Jesus adding Abraham to his day, and that is a day of grace. John 1:17......:grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

I can see now my mind was too focused on Hagar being called a wife. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NN, the Holy Ghost calls Hagar his wife in verse v3, then God calls her a bondwoman in v12 because she is both. Slave and wife. Does that sound wrong?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brother Mike thanks for baring you soul. I know this subject is painful for you, I could hear it in your words.

 

 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
1 hour ago, MountainChristian said:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NN, the Holy Ghost calls Hagar his wife in verse v3, then God calls her a bondwoman in v12 because she is both. Slave and wife. Does that sound wrong?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MC,

My answer is speculation, so take it as such.

When I read the "wife" part, I read it as that was something Sarai (Sarah) was doing...not what God was doing. SHE gave Hagar to be Abram's wife. Yes, the Holy Ghost inspired Moses to include the account in scripture, but that doesn't mean the action was God's action or choosing.

As I read over the account, when God and the angel of the LORD are personally speaking, I don't see God or the angel of the LORD refer to Hagar as Abram's wife. Rather, they refer to her as "Sarai's maid" and "bondwoman"...but never as Abram's wife.

In fact, when Hagar fled in Genesis 16, the angel of the LORD told her to return to...her mistress (Sarai)...he didn't say to return to her husband (Abram). She was still viewed as Sarai's maid/bondwoman by God.

As always, I could be wrong...that's how I see it though.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Great question! 

 

I believe part of the answer is found in the words “what God hath joined together”.  It is quite clear that this joining with Hagar was not ok with God but allowed.  On the other hand, God did not allow for Sarah to be known by another and acted to stop it.  Sarah enlisted Abraham in her plot for children by referring to ancient customs clearly practiced through most of the Old Testament ie. Jacob and his four wives.  Historically the wealthy were always able to have more wives because they had the where withal to provide for their families (think David and Solomon here).

The answer to the question asking if this were divorce is no.  Divorce specifically called for a writing of a bill of divorcement (charges brought against) (Deut. 24:1-4) and was to be issued by the spouse and not the spouses other wife and involved no less than sixty days .  It does not seem Abraham had any fault with Hagar for it grieved him to send them away.   Secondly if there were sexual impropriety then the man could not bring an accusation against the woman because he would impugn the woman’s character making it impossible to divorce her.  (Deut. 22:13-21)

Neither of these were evident indicating Hagar was a bondmaid and not a wife or that as a bondmaid she could be sent away with nothing but Abraham decided to show kindness and let her take her son with her.  (Ex. 21:11)

The story is likely included not just as a historical account but as Galatians suggests it is a contrast between using our own efforts to accomplish Gods will and waiting for God to fulfill his promises in His time.  The flesh and the impulses of the flesh are available at the same time the opportunity to wait for the promise.  But if you are going to trust God then you must say no to the contrivances of the flesh.  You cannot have the fruit of the flesh and live by faith at the same time.

 

I say again it was not a divorce, do we cling to the fruit of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit.  The allegory is clear.

 

  

Edited by Orval
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
7 hours ago, MountainChristian said:

Ms. Ronda if I made you stumble I'm very sorry and I sincerely apologize. 

The reason I added Paul's teaching, was v11 "And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son." Abraham was rich but at how little he gave Hagar, "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar,....." that had to hurt. Abraham lived under looking forward grace, as we live under looking back grace. The law wasn't given until Moses.

Then there is Jesus adding Abraham to his day, and that is a day of grace. John 1:17......:grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

I can see now my mind was too focused on Hagar being called a wife. 

Brother "MountainChristian", I'm sorry if I didn't communicate the point I was attempting to make clear enough... While I DO understand that Abraham and Sarah were not under Mosaic law, I fail to see how either Abraham nor Sarah could have been aware of 1 Tim.5:8?  Please show me where either Sarah or Abraham KNEW of 1 Tim.5:8 doctrine? And if they had no knowledge of that scripture (not to be written until millennia later) so then, how could it be applied to either Abraham or Sarah? Thank you.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
9 hours ago, Ronda said:

Brother "MountainChristian", I'm sorry if I didn't communicate the point I was attempting to make clear enough... While I DO understand that Abraham and Sarah were not under Mosaic law, I fail to see how either Abraham nor Sarah could have been aware of 1 Tim.5:8?  Please show me where either Sarah or Abraham KNEW ofdoctrine? And if they had no knowledge of that scripture (not to be written until millennia later) so then, how could it be applied to either Abraham or Sarah? Thank you.

I don't think Abraham was aware of 1 Tim.5:8 in a written way on paper, but that in his heart that is how he felt. I can not prove this. Maybe I'm projecting a goodness on Abraham he did not have. Paul said the Gentiles was without the law (written on paper) but in their hearts obeyed. 

Feel free to reject that part of why Abraham was grieved. 

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    • By beameup
      By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:8-10
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