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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.

An Eternity At Dire Risk


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My heart is so very heavy with burden, but I'm thankful that I don't have to bear it alone.  I'm so glad that I can cast all to the Lord, and that there are others joining me in prayer.

For several years now, I've been the assistant to a local museum's curator.  Not long after I started volunteering there, I shared the Gospel with her.  Seemingly, nothing came from that...but thru-out the years I've been trying to say a little here and a little there, and to always live my faith.  Every time I would head to work, I would lift her up in prayer.  Now...it has turned into a very dire situation.  In March she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  She'd already had a 4-way bypass, and she has 7 "old fractures" in her back.  Not long after she was diagnosed with the cancer, she contracted pneumonia.  She'd had one chemotherapy treatment, but was then immediately whisked into the hospital because of the pneumonia.  Hospice is now being discussed.  I've been "storming" Heaven that the Lord would let her live long enough to be saved.  It rather slays me.  A Christless eternity.  Please join me in praying for Dorothy.  She is in a hospital about 80 miles away, and I just can't get down there to visit her as I'd like to, plus having been her assistant....now much responsibility has fallen on me at the museum.  I beg of you to please pray for her very soul; her eternal salvation.

Edited by WellWithMySoul
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Thank you so very, very much for praying for Dorothy and for me too, NN and Alan!  It is a comfort to know that the Lord is being sought to sustain Dorothy's earthly life that she might be saved!  She is finally starting to eat after almost two weeks in the hospital, and because she is showing some improvement it is hoped that they will be able to move her to the hospital here!  By the way, the one thing she used as her "excuse" to hinder her salvation was that she had an uncle who was a Baptist preacher, but was an "hypocrite".  Sigh... Today, another saved gal that loves the Lord is going to go down to visit Dorothy, and she has also requested prayer that she might be able to speak about spiritual things with her.  Thank you again for praying!

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I have prayed that the Lord will give you strength, boldness and determination to go beyond suggestions and present to this person God's glorious offer of salvation.  These are the moments hope burns brightest for both the hearer and the presenter.  May God hear our prayers and comfort you during this time.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Thank you to all who have prayed for Dorothy!  Orval, I also appreciate the encouragement to be more bold to present the Gospel again to her!  Time truly is of essence, and there just isn't time to build anymore of a "rapport" with Dorothy.  She was moved to the hospital up here thankfully, and so I went to visit her a few times...as did the other saved gal.  It was interesting to experience the "closed doors" of time that the other gal and I had with Dorothy.  However, the last time that I went to visit her...I went softly right thru the "door" and told Dorothy that I would love to share my faith with her!!  She was very positive about that, though I'm not sure that she truly understood what I meant.  She replied that I should "Go ahead, I'm faithful!"  I also told her that the other gal shared the same faith as I did.  I wasn't able to say anymore with Dorothy that day, but I certainly called the other gal and told her, "The door is OPEN!"   Since then, Dorothy has been moved back home again, and I presume that she will be starting on the Hospice care.  Please keep praying...  I appreciate it very much, and YOUR prayers could be helping to make the difference in where Dorothy spends eternity!!

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Dorothy is home now, but is on Hospice.  I talked to her on the phone today, and at times she had a little confusion, and she slurred her words a bit.  She is on some heavy duty pain medications, which would explain some of that.  My heart is heavy, except that I have great hope for Thursday.  Thursday -  the other gal, Debbie, will be going to sit with Dorothy for a couple of hours while Dorothy's husband goes to an appointment.  We are both feeling the urgency to speak boldly now.  For those who feel so led, please pray especially for Debbie this Thursday afternoon between about 1:00-3:00 PM PST.  Please pray that the way would be paved without interruptions, that Dorothy and her husband would be receptive to the Gospel, and that Debbie would have all utterance to speak boldly.  It's especially difficult for Debbie because her own mom passed away about 3 yrs. ago from lung cancer.  I told her that I would be praying that she would be led so clearly by the Lord to be focused on Dorothy's need for salvation, that her own grief would not deter her.  I am praying for her to have strength, and also peace as she tries to reach dear Dorothy.  There is so much power in prayer...and though we cannot be gathered together...we can still be praying in His name, and our Lord will hear us.  Thank you for joining me in prayer, and for your compassion.

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My dinner is ready, but I'm just so thrilled...that I had to come online first to let all know that this afternoon....the Lord was indeed with Debbie!!!!  She called to let me know that the Lord gave her a tremendous boldness and strength and she didn't mince words with Dorothy about salvation!  Dorothy had, had some pain med and so was a bit out of it, but it was made plain to her that there is only one way to Heaven...and that's thru the Lord Jesus Christ!  She said that she believes that Jesus died on the cross for her sins, but then she would ramble off to something else.  However, EVERY single time....Dorothy herself would return to the subject of God and Jesus.  Debbie doesn't know how much actually pierced thru to Dorothy's heart, but we both know Heb. 4:12....and that the Word "speaks for itself"; it stands alone, and needs no help from us (and morphine can't even deter the power of God's Word).  I'm just so amazed at how the Lord answered all of the prayers....YOUR prayers....that Debbie would have that boldness.  Dorothy cried a few times, so we know that perhaps combined with the Gospel that I had shared with her some time ago, coupled with Debbie's bold conversation today...that the Lord is working!!  Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow!  Please keep praying, dear OLB people, that both Dorothy and her husband would truly realize their need for the Saviour.  O how exciting it is to see the Spirit working!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Update:  this morning my husband and I went out to Billy and Dorothy's house.  An Hospice fellow and friend of ours, my husband, and Billy were going to fall a huge oak tree on their property.  Hospice as well as the rest of us have been quite concerned about Billy, and so falling this tree was a way of distraction and a break for Billy to get out of the house for awhile.  I sat with Dorothy.  The cancer is rapidly ravaging her body.  I sat there next to her for about an hour and a half.  She talked with me just for about 5 minutes, and then she fell asleep.  My heart is breaking for her.  I watched her labored breathing.  I looked at her face.  She looks so frail.  Indeed, she is.  I felt so helpless and powerless for I couldn't even speak to her of my Saviour, but I prayed.  I prayed and prayed.  Tears hovered.  O how the Lord Jesus does not want Dorothy to perish.  He loves her so.  Even though she is not totally aware, she is scared.  This is a grief that is so heartbreakingly powerful; so unlike that of grieving for a loved one that is Heavenbound.  Dorothy had sent me a card before she was hospitalized the first time, and she had signed it...."Forever Friends".  Tears.  I cannot see her heart, but from the outside...there is no evidence that she has seen her need for the Saviour.  I so much pray even if by "the skin of her teeth or as by fire", that she would be saved...so that indeed, we could be "forever friends".  Hospice "guesstimates" that Dorothy will pass on within the next couple of weeks.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Yesterday, I went out to sit with Dorothy for about two and a half hours.  I had prayed and prayed in advance that I would know and be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and the wisdom and discernment as to what to say and what not to.  Once again and with sadness, the doors were still closed to speak of spiritual things with her.  How can that be?  I so much desire that Dorothy would be saved!  I am reminded yet again that the Lord loves her much, much more than I and is not willing that she perish.  His thoughts and ways are also much higher than mine...and His timing and His way...are crucial.  He is omniscient and I am very fallibly limited...so even though I was so greatly saddened that I didn't get to speak of spiritual things with Dorothy...I continue to entrust her to Him.  Prayer is so very powerful, and to pray for a lost soul is immense.  Aww, but for dear Dorothy and Billy to be snatched from the clutches of the evil one is greatly desired for, and sought through much prayer.  I appreciate your prayers for her, and in His name...they carry a lot of "weight". 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

We went out to see Dorothy on Thursday.  The time was so close.  I leaned over her for over 20 minutes soothing her brow, took my fingers and ever so gently "brushed" her hair, and whispered closely into her ear.  I whispered to her several times.  I spoke of my love for her, and I spoke of the love of Jesus.  It was extraordinary how every time I said the name "Jesus"....she would make a soft groaning noise and try to open her eyes.  I took note of it, and repeated it every few minutes.  One time I leaned back after whispering of Jesus' love for her, and I noticed a huge tear under only one eye.  That in itself is amazing!  She was so dehydrated and emaciated; how was she even able to have a tear?  A long while later, I whispered to her one last time and gave her a soft kiss on her temple, and told her goodbye.

This morning, Dorothy passed away into her eternity.  My heart is heavy with grief because I don't know if she ever called out to the Saviour with her need for salvation.  She had heard the Word...the Gospel very clearly.  She's gone now, but her husband and family are still here and ever so needy for the Lord. 

I greatly appreciate all of your prayers for Dorothy.  Her appointed day arrived, and she is where she is.  I just pray that the Lord would grant me a real love for others such that I  speak of the precious Saviour more often and indeed, more boldly.  Time is of essence.  May we all not just speak of the glorious gift that He has given, but prove it with and by our very lives..."Let your light so shine before men, that they might see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven"  (Matt. 5:16).  Thank you all again for praying.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
49 minutes ago, WellWithMySoul said:

We went out to see Dorothy on Thursday.  The time was so close.  I leaned over her for over 20 minutes soothing her brow, took my fingers and ever so gently "brushed" her hair, and whispered closely into her ear.  I whispered to her several times.  I spoke of my love for her, and I spoke of the love of Jesus.  It was extraordinary how every time I said the name "Jesus"....she would make a soft groaning noise and try to open her eyes.  I took note of it, and repeated it every few minutes.  One time I leaned back after whispering of Jesus' love for her, and I noticed a huge tear under only one eye.  That in itself is amazing!  She was so dehydrated and emaciated; how was she even able to have a tear?  A long while later, I whispered to her one last time and gave her a soft kiss on her temple, and told her goodbye.

This morning, Dorothy passed away into her eternity.  My heart is heavy with grief because I don't know if she ever called out to the Saviour with her need for salvation.  She had heard the Word...the Gospel very clearly.  She's gone now, but her husband and family are still here and ever so needy for the Lord. 

I greatly appreciate all of your prayers for Dorothy.  Her appointed day arrived, and she is where she is.  I just pray that the Lord would grant me a real love for others such that I  speak of the precious Saviour more often and indeed, more boldly.  Time is of essence.  May we all not just speak of the glorious gift that He has given, but prove it with and by our very lives..."Let your light so shine before men, that they might see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven"  (Matt. 5:16).  Thank you all again for praying.

Thank you for all that you did for Dorothy. This account has held a special place in my heart, and I'll continue praying for her family. May the Lord bless you.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Thank you for informing us about the time that you were able to spend with Dorothy before here passing into eternity. May the Lord bless you for your efforts and compassion towards Dorothy and those who need to hear about the Lord Jesus. 

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