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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.

How to address a guest pastor in error?


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

What do you think would be the best way to address a guest pastor that is in error during his preaching?  Would it matter how much of an error it is?  Should he be approached directly or would it be better to speak to my pastor and see what he thinks about it and he can address it with the guest preacher if he feels the situation warrants?

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
54 minutes ago, weary warrior said:

I agree fully with Alan and DaveW. The pastor is the place to go for this. Having said that, however, I will add this. Whenever error is spoken from the pulpit, whither it be a guest speaker or our own pastor, we have a teaching session at home. I set the family down in the living room after the service, get out our Bibles, and study out what was wrong. Even if the subject was correct, but scripture was incorrectly pulled from context and improperly twisted to back up correct doctrine, we point it out and address this at home. I do not allow scripture to be used dishonestly to preach honest truth. The well being of the church falls on the pastor's shoulders, but the well being of my family falls on my shoulders, not that of my pastor. I do not shirk that responsibility.

Double-like.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I thank y'all for your input on this.  I will bring it up to my pastor and go from there.  My wife and I already discussed it at home and she understands what the issue is.

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I remember being on deputation and visiting a church for their missions conference.  The pastor sat us missionaries down privately before the service and explained that he'd  be seated behind us on the stage.  This was so that he could address any errors we made while preaching.  I was a little startled by that, as I'd never experienced that before.  Then, he went on to explain that he'd had a missionary preach one time and his whole message was way off Doctrinally.  The pastor was quite embarrassed and when the man finished preaching the pastor got up and preached to correct the first preaching.  Definitely the right thing to do!  A pastor has a dire responsibility to ensure his congregation know the truth.  I can imagine it was embarrassing for him, but I bet the people respected him for it.

Personally, I've never had to deal with that side of the equation, but I will share a different story as I've had to deal with a church member correcting me.  I won't go into detail on the exact subject matter, but I was preaching one day and a new member disagreed with a very minor point I made (nothing to do with salvation or any other "weighty" matter).  He interrupted my preaching to make his point.  We had a dialogue back and forth which was getting nowhere, with each of us defending our position.  In hindsight I let that go on for too long.  Finally, after about 15 minutes I told him we'd have to agree to disagree and could talk about it more after service, privately.  He backed off, but that was also the last time he ever stepped foot in our church.  He and his family left and never came back.  I called to check on him after a couple of missed visits and he told me it was "too expensive" to come to our church due to the cost of gas.  However, he was telling our church members whom he saw in the store that he was angry and wasn't coming back.  I guess lying is an okay sin, but disagreeing on minor points of the Bible isn't.  Interesting. 

Anyways, I say that to say that as was mentioned prior you should let minor issues slide and deal with them privately as there's a large chance it's an honest mistake (we all make them) and you don't want to embarrass them over it.  Anything large should definitely be handled by the pastor himself.

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Sadly, people who see 'error' in their pastor are also the same who feel it necessary to jump right in and have their say. I usually adopt a regular approach of, If you disagree with me, write it down, and come see me after service, but bring your Bible, I'm not interested in how you 'feeel' about a matter. generally works pretty well, though sometimes there are some who still want to ask questions, or interject their thoughts on a matter-if they are new and have something valid, I usually accept it, but if it goes on too long I will, as said above, end it to talk about later. I may threaten them with getting out late if I can't get through the lesson in a good timely manner.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
On ‎05‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 6:51 PM, Alan said:

Good question.

If it was just a minor error I would probably not mention it. Sometimes while preaching we (me included), say things inadvertently in error, that we may realize ourselves.

If we feel we need to discuss it, sometimes, after services, we may want to approach the speaker, and/or, the pastor and ask for clarification.

If the error is major, see the pastor first. Let the pastor handle it. Maybe the pastor noticed the error and is planning on having the error rectified after services. If the error is major, and needs to be addressed at the moment, it is still the pastors responsibility. If the church needs to be informed, than the pastor is best to handle the way he sees fit.

Normally, after services, in a private setting, is the best time to handle the situation. 

 

Amen! And I might add, ANYTHING that has to do with the church: unity, doctrine, finances, etc. is the pastor's responsibility. Everything should be run by him for approval.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Best idea would be to toss a paper airplane up there with "read me" written on the wing. As he opens it you can detail your disappointment in full and explain that he needs to repent on the spot. 

as he is reading, send another airplane to the piano player, with the same "read me" written on the wing. When she opens it, have written: "as the piano player comes and plays softly" (he/she will know whats up). 

No baptist can resist soft music and a firm rebuke and not make a point to hold an impromptu alter call. 

Glad to be of service. 

Edited by Gorship
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

If it's something minor, I would let it slide. But if it's a serious matter, like preaching Calvinistic doctrine, I would respectfully mention it to the pastor one(1) time. If he doesn't deal with it, and it happens again, quietly leave. I don't believe in causing strife in God's house and would hate to be labeled a trouble maker.

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If it is minor, I would probably let it slide.

If it is major, I'd probably talk to the pastor.

If it is monumental, I'd probably stand up in the middle of the sermon and walk out in complete disagreement. Monumental error is if the preacher says Jesus Christ is not God. 

Edited by BaptistJonStewart
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

We had this happen just recently.  An otherwise very good Pastor that I would consider IFB in every other way has fallen into the error that the "church" has replaced the "jewish nation" and all the promises given to the Jews for all eternity have now been stripped from the Jews and given instead to the church.  I simply pointed out to the pastor that while most in his congregation are rock solid on the correct doctrine concerning this, we have many "baby Christians" and new members who may be confused and within 2 weeks we had a very thorough message solidifying the correct doctrine.  I recommend going to your Pastor.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

If  the guest speaker uses the phrase "touch not God's anointed", and/or  mentions in a mocking tone others who have disagreed with them in the past,  your going to them in private may seem well received and amiable, but you could be mocked or even 'rebuked' from the pulpit later, maybe even by name (if you aren't present); your going to them privately to save them any embarrassment, will not matter as "Matthew 18" won't be considered because it's all about their ego I guess. But that should be no deterrent. Right is still right. 

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