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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.

6.4 Magnitude Earthquake in Hua Lien, Taiwan


Alan
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Last night a major 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the city that our church that we started, Hua Lien, Taiwan. Here is a link:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-07/magnitude-6.4-quake-strikes-north-east-taiwan-hotel-collapses/9403408

The major damage to the buildings seen in the photos are in the north side of Hua Lien; our church, Victory Baptist Church, is located in the southern end of the city.  It is dawn now here on Taiwan and more news will follow. Both Sherry and I are fine.

Alan

 

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Both Sherry and I want to thank all of you for your concern on our behalf and the behalf of the church members here at Victory Baptist Church. We have been able to get a hold of most of our family members and our home church, Gilead Baptist Church, Pastor Reggie Adkins. 

The north section of Hua Lien received the blunt of the earthquake. Some roads are buckled with some buckled side walks. A lot of stores have minor damage with falling items off of shelves and one of the major bridges on the south side of the city is buckled on one side.

Besides physical safety for us, and our church members, God has blessed us in many ways. Our assistant pastor, Bro. Job Gwoh, after finding out all was well with him and his family, took the time out of  his own schedule (Bro. Gwoh is a Dentist with his own office), throughout the day, found out the situation with all of the members of the church. Bro. Gwoh has a pastor's heart: a heart of compassion.

As with most of the folks here in Hua Lien, just about every member of our church has received minor damage from articles falling off shelves, kitchen damage, and being shaken up with the aftershocks. Just a moment ago as I was writing this, another aftershock hit us.

The church has received only minor "shaking" damage. About one third of the furniture was physically moved out of place (including my desk with this computer), numerous household items have fallen off shelves, some minor items destroyed (the iron, some glass from the kitchen), when they hit the floor (all of our floors are tile). A couple of the large bookcases on the second floor (the church has three floors), which has a lot of Sunday school material all fell to the floor. Probably tomorrow we will have it cleaned up.

The most affected member of the church was one of our personal converts, Kang Yue (his English name is Mark), his wife, and young son. They live in an apartment building very near to one of the major buildings that nearly toppled. All of his family is safe and are at a relatives house as their building is too near one of the toppled buildings. 

On a personal note. It has been raining most of the day, a lot of emergency crews are working had. It has been a difficult day for one and all.

Edited by Alan
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10 hours ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

 Li Hau Mah? 

I think it is, "Ni (pronounced "knee"), Hao Mah?

Of course, to a Chinese it is: 你好嗎?

Either way, I am fine.

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Alan...I'm so very thankful that you and your wife and those of your church are all ok.  I've been praying for you all and will continue to pray for you.  The aftermath with a quake that size and with its damage and loss of life can be great.  My heart goes out to all of the precious people of that area, and especially to those that are not saved.  Every time there is a "natural occurrence" such as this, I just pray that those that are saved will be able to grasp hold of each opportunity that arises to further share the Gospel.  It does seem to me that the Lord allows these kinds of events because He is not willing that any should perish and thus over a widespread area people are warned to consider their own demise and their eternity to follow.  As it says in Isaiah 55 God's ways and thoughts are so much higher than we could ever imagine, and beings that He is the creator of this wonderful earth and worthy of being feared, He is certainly over all of these things.  Personally I can see the beauty of His love flooding the earth in each "disaster" that "Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightiest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him" [Deut. 4:35].  We have a small fault-line that runs along the north side of our little valley, and we have experienced a few good "shakings" ourselves.  I'm so grateful that we have such an awesome God that we can trust with all things. 

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10 hours ago, Rebecca said:

Thank you for the update! I’m glad the church members and the church building are all okay. Where you in Hualien during the earthquake?

To fully answer Rebecca's question I must give some personal information that our supporting churches know but I have not (if my memory is working this morning), given here on OnLine Baptist.

At the moment of the initial earthquake we were actually in Taitung. Although we have a small apartment at the church, and live at the church when we are in Hua Lien, we were at our house near Taitung at the moment of the earthquake. The last church we started is in Taitung, Taiwan (south of Hua Lien). Somewhat north of Taitung we have built a house for a permanent residence on Taiwan. The house we own is our "legal residence" here on Taiwan. All of our legal requirements to live on Taiwan has to be done in Taitung.

I would at this time let everyone know a blessing that occurred in our lives at that time.

On Taiwan, a missionary must re-apply, every year,  for a missionary VISA, or a ""Alien Resident Certificate," or "ARC," to legally stay on Taiwan from the "Taiwan Immigration Office." For some time now, we have been in the process of trying to obtain a, "Permanent Alien (or Missionary) Resident Certificate," or, "PARC," from the government of Taiwan. The 'PARC,' is a permanent missionary VISA. With a PARC we are considered a permanent resident on Taiwan and do not have to go through the yearly process of obtaining a missionary VISA. The requirements for the ARC is difficult and the requirements for the PARC is very difficult. As our official residence on Taiwan is in Taitung all of the legal paperwork with the government has to be done in Taitung.

Sherry and I had received an official notice from the government of Taiwan that my PARC had been approved. So, to answer Rebecca's question, Sherry and I were at the Immigration Office in Taitung yesterday morning where they gave me the legal notice that my PARC has been approved.

To us, the obtaining of the PARC is answered prayer and a blessing from God.

After we left the Immigration Office in Taitung we drove to the church in Hua Lien (where we are staying at our apartment at the church), and told Bro. Job Gwoh the good news of the PARC. Job, and his family, were overjoyed as we were. To the folks at church, and to the Chinese that know us, we are a part of their country.  

To me, and to my family, the Apostle Paul's attitude in 1 Corinthians 9:22, explains our motive in not only having our own house on Taiwan, but also obtaining the PARC, "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men,that I might by all means save some." As I explain to our supporting churches on furlough, we are becoming as much Chinese (living, having our own home, obtaining a PARC, etc...), in order to try and lead as many Chinese on Taiwan to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Alan

Edited by Alan
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On 2/7/2018 at 8:35 PM, Alan said:

The most affected member of the church was one of our personal converts, Kang Yue (his English name is Mark), his wife, and young son. They live in an apartment building very near to one of the major buildings that nearly toppled. All of his family is safe and are at a relatives house as their building is too near one of the toppled buildings. 

Today we were able to take some close up photos of the toppled building near Mark's residence. In English, the name of the building is, "The Emerald Levee Gateway to the Clouds Building." Behind the building, is a levee that has numerous parks and is very scenic.

 

5a7c32b69b06b_Earthquakefront.thumb.JPG.1e95172fe90722e0738353b0aeba55e8.JPG

 

Here is a side view. The street we are taking the side view on in on the left side of the photo on the side of the two-story red tiled roof. Sherry is taking the photo and I am standing on the side of the photo.

5a7c355940a64_EarthquakeGatewaytotheCloudsBuilding.thumb.JPG.739fc05924b938b7c2e70306e749a232.JPG

Edited by Alan
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Those pictures your wife took look almost post apocalyptic. It reminds me of the The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (6.9 magnitude) we had here in California. I was in my backyard doing bench presses when the ground began to undulate. The Bay Bridge collapsed resulting in several fatalities, and elsewhere. Even aftershocks can cause significant damage in areas where buildings and houses are poorly built, or old and dilapidated. I'm just glad you and your loved ones are safe and in the Lord's hands.

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