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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.

communication in a post modern world


Orval
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I was just making a post in another area when this thought hit me, that I feel enslaved by technology.  I want to disconnect everything but find I cannot for fear of being isolated.  does this make sense?  People come to our home when we invite them for dinner or lunch and yet it does not seem that anyone just stops by anymore for the sake of friendship.  When we do get together with family and friends no one actually has discussions, references are to funny utube videos, or a movie, or some recent sporting game mostly they just sit around looking at their phone, texting one another while the person they are texting is in the room.  

 

In the last two years I have not had more that 3 or 4 meaningful conversations with anyone under 30 years of age unless I am teaching and a question comes up.  How is that we can be so "connected" and yet so isolated?  I go to church and (I love our church and pastor and our church family) it seems when the last amen is said everyone over 40 disappears we have a large congregation for a city of twenty thousand.  I get the feeling something is wrong but I can't put my finger on it.  We grow by 20 people per year, we have soul winning and special days, we are often told we are one of the friendliest churches in our area.  Our pastor is a tremendous preacher and teacher and yet with all these positives.  I do not sense the same corporate power of God today I sensed 40 years ago.  

 

I believe that technology is always calling for our attention right now and consequently we never have the time to get alone with God for a couple of hours, to dwell on what God wants to speak to us about one on one, to read the scriptures for an hour instead of reading a couple of verses and a 300 word devotion so we can get back to our friends who never come by to spend an afternoon or evening talking about the Lord.

 

I saw a picture on Facebook a few days ago that kind of summed up todays understanding of God and salvation.  The caption stated "yep I am on my way to heaven, I clicked "like" on a picture and typed Amen!"  I am not sure if people under 40 truly understand what "true fellowship" is?  I am not complaining per se just wondering how old I really am.  I realize I cannot go back 40 years but should I have to go back if we are a New Testament church?

Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Edited by Orval
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

A sign of the times as they say. As Daniel 12:4 says...people are definitely running to and fro, and knowledge has definitely increased.

As much as I enjoy Linux operating systems...from configuration to creating themes to building my own systems...I often find myself sick of it too and have to step away. 

I remember as a teenager, I could drive over to the next town, and I might meet another car on the way. Now...even in this rural area, it's a seemingly constant flow of cars. People are always on the move and have no time for anything truly meaningful. Though technology has opened the world to people, people have withdrawn into their own little technology cocoons...they are now living for technology instead of living life. 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I often wondered if technology will be done away with during the Millennial reign of Christ on Earth. I don't find any indication from scripture that buildings and such will be destroyed after Christ's return. Of course the destruction during the Tribulation will be massive for a great many reasons. Just how the Kingdom will be administered in terms of technology and the like is not addressed in the Bible -- and reasonably so inasmuch as none of the present day technologies people are wondering about were even contemplated when the Bible was written (God, of course, knows all things, but it would have been highly inappropriate to put information about such things in writings originally given to people who had no clue what they were).

It does seem to be the case that all of the nations of the world during the Millennium will be required to come to the capital, Jerusalem, to represent their peoples at the festivals (Zech. 14:16-19). How that would be possible from a place such New Zealand, for example, using only pre-industrial age technology is hard to see. It might not even be possible to get to Jerusalem from, say Chile, in a year's journey, let alone come three times a year, without some of the transportation technologies we have today. We will have to wait and see. But we do know that we believers in the Church will share the reign of Christ, so we will be part of His administration during the Millennium (Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12; 1 Pet. 4:13; Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21). And the role we will play individually will be greater or lesser based upon the job we are doing for our Lord here and now in growing, progressing and producing for Him.
     
And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. (Luke 19:17)

God Bless!

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I think we will go back to using horses, would like to anyway.  NNs comments are spot on about the affects of technology on our lives.  The kids growing up nowadays immersed in it have no idea how deficient it has made them.  Indeed, they are deceived and think they are ready for anything, after taking their anxiety medicine and getting likes on Facebook.

In the days before hand held computers with phones in them, we used to actually memorize dozens of phone numbers and addresses.  A man could look at a map and drive their and remember his kin's phone number.  The memory of the people before that time was even more superior, for they had knowledge and ability passed down through books and their families on how to use the land around them for healing, diet, built their own homes and had a work ethic that is difficult to find these days.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I'm probably one of the few people on this planet who doesn't have a cell phone; except for perhaps those who live in "third world" countries. I live in a modest home (a cottage) with nothing more than a gas stove, bathroom, small fridge, and a couch which I sleep on. I praise the Lord for my home because it's a major step up from being homeless at one time.

God Bless!

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I do have a cell phone Dan. Friends and family bugged me to get one for emergencies since I live very remote from anyone. This phone is for when I am driving, in case of an emergency. I never turn it on unless I have an emergency. It is a flip phone, no smart phones for me.

I am continually amazed at the world I see today. No one can even look at where they are walking, they all have their heads down, immersed in their own little phone world.

Don't get me wrong, a cell phone can be a good thing....FOR TALKING. But anyone, and I mean anyone I see, are always stuck to their phone 24/7. They can't even eat without being glued to their phone. No one calls anyone on their cell phone, everything is text, even if they are sitting next to the person they are texting.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Passerby's not paying attention to the street because they're on their "smart" phone is truly a "dumb" thing to do. Someone in Hawaii actually died because of this sort of mistake; and another woman fell into a manhole while texting on her smart phone. For all I know . . . Satan is probably doing most of his dirty work while most people are looking down on their phones.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Unfortunately, I had to get a smartphone about 7 years ago.  The salesperson went over all of the bells and whistles for about 45 minutes and then asked me if I had any questions.  I said, "Yeah.  How do you make a phone call?"

There's a great book by Nicholas Carr called, "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains."  He talks bout how technology is changing the way that we process information, how we communicate with each other and things of that sort.  Neil Postman has also written about the dangers of technology and its effects.  They have plenty of videos talking about the subjects on YouTube, if you don't have the patience for a book. 😉

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