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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         33
      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.

Is a home church a biblical church?


PastorMatt
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Well,  a church is group of believers covenanted together to worship and serve Jesus Christ.  Such a church is led by a pastor with one wife and more than one child among other qualifications and this church was not created by any one individual, but was planted by another scriptural New Testament Church.

 

In 1976 a church in Auburndale, Florida planted a church in Fort Pierce, Florida.  For a time the church met at my pastor's home, then they moved into a christian college's spaces and finally bought land and built a traditional church building that has been expanded several times since.

 

So if some lady has a vision to start a church and plays christian rock out by the pool before services which are conducted in her spare bedroom, no, that's not a New Testament Church of the kind that Jesus Christ began during his earthly ministry.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Our latest work, Victory Baptist Church, as our previous works, was started in our home with just me and my wife and children.

Today we have a congregation meeting in a rented building with a Building Fund (most of the funds, over 50 percent cent,  come from our converts and church members, on the field). Hopefully, the church will purchase their own building in a year or so.

At the beginning, a house church is necessary. As time goes on, and souls get saved, it becomes necessary to have a building. We not only have church services in the building, but we have a Bible Institute (very small), also. Therefore, in order for the church to continue to grow in members, and opportunities, to serve the Lord Jesus, a building is necessary, desirable, and of the Lord.

The example of the Temple in the Old Testament is our guide.

At first, the Lord instructed the Jews to build a tent, the Tabernacle, in order to hold worship services. As time progressed David desired a better structure for the Lord and, probably,  clearly saw that a tent structure was inadequate for the crowds of people. God, I repeat, God, felt the same. God, not man, instructed David in the preparation of the Temple building and surrounding court yards, and instructed King Solomon, through the direct teaching of the Holy Spirit, on the design of the Temple.

Furthermore, God, not man, will also instruct the Lord Jesus on the building of the Millennial Temple during His reign: Ezekiel Chapter 40-48 I would not be surprised, due to the world wide reign of the Lord Jesus, that the Millennial Temple will be huge; much more in land size than Solomon's Temple.

Therefore, by the example of God Almighty, a church will of necessity be small in the beginning, and as time goes on, and souls get saved, a larger facility is needed.

In conclusion, initially, meeting in a house, or a small storefront, is often necessary. As time goes on, for the ministry to continue to grow, a building to must be procured.

 

Edited by Alan
grammer added a phrase concerning David
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I think about the descriptions in the first part of Acts and notice that the size of the church at Jerusalem made meeting in anyone's house unlikely.

You can of course, but a church that size? No, they met somewhere else.

And of course the "Home church" movement around today is unbiblical for many reasons.

Where you meet is a side issue. Doctrine is what matters. 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I also wonder about this verse:

1Co 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

Now we all often will say that the church is not the building, but this verse doesn't say "come together AS a church", but IN the church.....

The coming together is the assembling, the word "in" is specifically talking about location.

Is this the way we sometimes use the word church to designate the building that church meets in, and which we sometimes get on people for using the word that way?

But it is only the once, so let's not make too much out of it.

And it does not designate where and what form the "in the church" takes.

Edited by DaveW
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Matt.18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

1 Cor.6:17 "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."

1 Cor.6:19 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"

1 Cor.12:12-14
 "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
 For the body is not one member, but many."

I suppose it all depends on what one believes... what they've been indoctrinated to believe? Or what God's word says?

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  • Members

1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

In the Church...

The Church is not a brick-and-mortar edifice.  It is a living, breathing organism.  God no longer dwells in Temples made with hands, but now dwells in a people.

"When ye come together in the Church" simply means "when ye come together as a Body... because... the Church is a Body. 

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the Body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Christ's Body is not brick and mortar.  It is those who have trusted Him as the propitiation for their sin.

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 A church is not its building; a church is a congregation of believers.

I do not believe the Home church movement is scriptural, although it is, as someone already said, a necessity in the beginning of a new church because of size.

And as someone also pointed out already, the church will outgrow the house, as long as the church is led by a godly Pastor & he is ordained according to Biblical requirements & he is teaching from the KJB & preaching hard against sin & going soul winning regularly. 

I have not encountered a church who did all those things & STILL remained small enough to meet in an average size (2,500 sq. ft. +/-) home after several years.

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  • Moderators

There are some really good points in this thread. I would hold to the view that a church must be properly organized, with a pastor and membership, and as long as it is such, it really doesn't matter where they meet. A 'home church' of the kind where a father is having devotions with his family in their house is not a proper Church.

I could see the first NT churches meeting in houses because they didn't have anywhere else to meet, at first, much like some churches nowadays.

In the Canadian/American culture, a church that meets only in a home is not necessarily taken seriously by the community at large, and may be looked on with suspicion by possible visitors. Even a storefront/meeting room location isn't great (although a lot of our IFB churches meet here by necessity). Rightly or wrongly, a church is not seen to be legitimate unless it meets in a designated 'church building'.

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While I agree that the "home church movement" is either misinformed (ie. during many later years of the Roman Empire Christians met in homes -- they did so due to persecution, arrest and death. Not due to "early church pattern) or hippy, "anti-establishment" attitude, home churches are necessary some places. In North Korea you can't use a building for a church, you can't let the community know you have a Bible, etc.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Yep, as I and I think Pastor J said, the place is irrelevant.

A church can meet in a home or another building. What makes the difference is the doctrine.

The "Home church movement" is a doctrinally incorrect group, but that has nothing to do with meeting in homes and everything to do with their doctrine.

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  • Members

The form of coming together in a public meeting run by a religious organisation is only one way for believers to gather, I believe. In the early gatherings of the believers there were many ways they shared, prayed and were taught. Also there was participation by all.  It seems to me that the lecture type services that have developed over the years have come to mean - legitimate and all else not legitimate. 

Something to bear in mind is that an organisation is actually a `business/charity` and as such they are coming more and more under the control of the governments, requiring them to bow to their worldly values. Eventually the government will shut down those that do not adhere to their demands.

regards, Marilyn. 

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I suppose another question would be that should a church meet in a dedicated building?

When in France some years ago, we met a man who said he followed J N Darby, who when we invited him to come to a church service with us, he gave us a list of scriptures which spoke about the church that met in a home.

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  • Members

Being an outsider, i am reluctant to write anything, but for some reason cannot resist.  This is my first post.  My family tree is full of Anabaptists.  After trying everything else, and being baptized in an independent Christian church, i joined a small Mennonite church but it turned out that Mennonite Church USA is just as far gone as the UCC.  The last church i visited was a New Testament IBC and it seemed right, but we have been trying to relocate as my wife grapples with the idea of retirement.   It is a protracted process. Our future retirement home is located in a town that has an IBC.  So, I have been browsing this website for several weeks.

For over a decade I have been hosting a small group in my home.  This has been a highlight of my life because i love scripture, but i will be the first to admit that it is not really a substitute for church.  I am not a pastor, despite having some relevant online graduate education.  Heck, i would not qualify as an elder since my notion of being hospitable is to open a package of fig newtons or oreos.  On the hand, the folks who developed Victory Bible Study got it right when they said that pastors can ruin the group process.  

Anyway, a couple of posts on an older thread here were made by people who were not able to attend churches regularly due to distance.  At least one asked if it was ok to be satellites linked to a distant church.  That idea was shut down, but it seems like a practical solution to me.  Would it be unwise to suggest it to a pastor?  

 

 

 

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  • Moderators
On 11/10/2019 at 9:13 PM, JimR said:

One asked if it was ok to be satellites linked to a distant church.  That idea was shut down, but it seems like a practical solution to me.  Would it be unwise to suggest it to a pastor? 

The Bible talks about a local church, with pastor(s) deacons, answerable to God. It seems to me that a distant pastor and deacons would be unable to live with, serve and lead a congregation as they are supposed to.  Any satellite churches would then, practically, need their own pastor, etc., and when they have a pastor, they are now a church in their own right and don't need to be a satellite!  That's my thought on the issue, anyways. 

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    • Bro. West

      Seeing it is Christ----mas time and I was answering question on Luke 2:33 concerning Jesus, Mary and Joseph . I thought it would be fitting to display a poem i wrote concerning the matter.
      SCRIPTURAL MARY

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      A HAND MAID OF LOW ESTATE USED HERE ON EARTH
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      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY SO TRUST ME NOT
                                               2
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                                                  4
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      6
      FOR MY SOUL WAS PURCHASED BY GOD UPON THE CROSS
      FOR MY SINS HE DID SUFFER AN UNMEASURABLE COST
      I WILL NOT STEAL HIS GLORY WHO ROSE FROM THE DEAD
      ENDURING SPIT AND THORNS PLACED ON HIS HEAD
      YET, IF YOU WISH TO HONOR ME THEN GIVE ME NONE AT ALL
      BUT TRUST THE LAMB WHO STOOL IN PILATE’S HALL
      CALL NOT ON THIS REDEEMED WOMAN IN YOUR TIME OF FEAR
      FOR I WILL NOT GIVE ANSWER NEITHER WILL I HEAR
      AND WHEN THE BOOKS ARE OPEN AT THE GREAT WHITE THRONE
      I AMEN YOUR DAMNATION THAT TRUST NOT HIM ALONE
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY, O’ SINNER TRUST ME NOT

                       WRITTEN BY BRO. WEST
       
      · 0 replies
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