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By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & DevotionalsClosed Communion
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."
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.
I am new to this forum, and I specifically came here to see the IFB views about Divorce, Re-Marriage, Adultery and Ministry. I am an IFB and have wrestled for years about this topic, because of my desire to be in the ministry. I can say that this has been a subject of great debate since the 1st century and, knowing that God is not the author of confusion, I can only conclude that Satan has used this to divide churches and create sects that do not glorify God. One thing is clear to me; "The husband of one wife" means what it says. A one woman man, committed to the one he is married to, whatever the situation, be it death or divorce...BUT, I must continue!
First of all, I would like to say that we are not under the Law in the sense that our flesh must perform all that is written or perform sacrifices to atone for the wrong we have done, but Grace did not abolish it: on the contrary, Grace fulfilled it all in Christ. We are new creatures in Him which is a great miracle in itself. But being a new creature does not mean that anything goes in the church. Nothing in the Law itself gave the commandment "Thou shalt not Divorce". Moses allowed it only because of the hardness of men's hearts. But, the Law did say "Thou shalt not commit Adultery". Jesus went on to teach that even if you look on a woman to lust after her, you have committed adultery with her in your heart. Is the issue here really Divorce, or is it Adultery? If the issue is Divorce, then I am convicted that the issue is settled. But, if the issue is Adultery, then no man has the right to be a Pastor or Deacon under Jesus' definition of Adultery. Now, there is no man in the ministry who would admit to this secret sin, and any man that would say that he has never committed adultery is a lier. But, Jesus Himself linked the two together. Adultery and Divorce go hand in hand. Not that both the husband and wife committed it, but someone in the relationship did and Divorce was the outcome. But the two are also separated in some cases. The lack of Adultery is not listed as a requirement for being a Pastor or Deacon, but Divorce is. Why? Also, to be a Pastor or Deacon one must be blameless! Who of you that fill the pulpit is blameless? The answer of course is NO ONE! So, what are we to do?
It is unfortunate that today sex is everywhere. The clothing that men and women wear in the secular world is unbelievable, to say the least. We would have to wear blindfolds to keep from looking a second time. So, I believe that for this debate, everything must be simplified because I believe Jesus made it simple. Divorce is Adultery. You just can't get around it. I have tried, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit will not allow it! ANYONE who Divorces his wife SAVE FOR THE CAUSE OF FORNICATION, causes her to commit adultery (Matt 5:32, Matt 19:9). Now, we can slice it, dice it, filet it, and beat it to death, but, Divorce is Divorce, and if you have divorced, there is NO scripture that will support a man being a Pastor or Deacon. I have tried to get around it, but have always been convicted to the contrary. I believe the following to be the reason.
First of all, there are still those men that are available for ministry that God has CALLED to be Pastors and Deacons, (although this too is waning in this present evil world). Men who are married to their first and only wife. The reason for this requirement is first, for those exact men, and second, because of the world. If we do begin to fill the offices of Pastors and Deacons with Divorced men, then it will erode marriage (more and more Pastors or their wives will be tempted to Divorce), it will diminish the offices, and it will bring controversy and contempt from the World. Remember; Rom 14:21 "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." Therefor, I will not allow myself to do a great disservice to the church or the Kingdom of Heaven by allowing myself to be ordained as a Pastor of Deacon. Can I still preach? Yes. Can I still serve in the mission field? Yes. I can do any other thing but fill these offices FORMALLY. I have been disqualified. Also, I believe that those in these offices have a responsibility to not, through action or inaction, create an environment that seemingly makes Divorce an unpardonable sin. Use those whom God has given to you to use the gifts the Spirit of God has given them. Don't be guilty of quenching the Holy Spirit in someone's life.
I also must remind the reader that if men were to regard the requirements of 1 Tim 3:2,12, and Tit 1.6, then I fear there would be no Pastors or Deacons. So, the argument could be made that our standards have become relaxed in filling these offices.
So, I exhort everyone that reads this to do the Word, preach the Word, quench not the Spirit, love the brethren, don't do anything that will cause a Brother or Sister to stumble and above all else, love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your spirit. AMEN
When Jesus says the only way you can divorce your wife and it be permitted, is if she commits fornication (either before or during betrothal, I suppose), is it a situation where the woman would be married to the person she had relations with, in God’s eyes (relations=marriage?) or was it not something that had to be done, but would be permissible for other reasons?
Basically, what if the woman was truly repentant of her past actions and truly loved and wanted to be a good wife to the man. Would the man have to not be with her, to be in God’s will, because by God’s law, it would be forbidden, or is it something you can choose to do, if you decide that you can’t trust her or it was shameful in appearance or something?
Also, is a marriage only legitimate if one of them is saved? I think I’ve heard that, but wanted clarification.
I hope my question makes sense!
By That Guy
Hello, I'm new here. Literally 10 minutes new. I'll just jump right into the reason I signed up, and decided to post. I'm hoping there's hope for guys like me. I got married before I was saved, and divorced before I was saved, and that was 17 or 18 years ago. I'm older, but by no means old (40), and have a lot of life left in me if The Lord permits me to live a long life, or doesn't come back first. Everything I've seen says I cannot remarry, and since my original wife was unsaved, and is now remarried there's no hope of reconcilliation.
Some Christians do go on to marry again regardless, but it doesn't look like that's something that God's going to permit. Feeling pretty hopeless about life. What's a guy to do? Any thoughts? Did I just mess up, and that's the end of that?
By Nick S
I've actually been raised a Southern Baptist but I hope you don't mind me posting here.
I've just found out that my parents might be getting a divorce, my father doesn't abuse my mother and hasn't cheated on her, though he has shown physical violence toward other members of my family.
I have no idea what to think - My dad is away on business and I don't even know if he's coming home again or not. If you could please send your prayers to my mom and dad I would really appreciate it, that they might find a way to reconcile their differences and work together to fix their marriage.
I'm so confused and don't know what to think about any of this. Sorry for the rambling.
Many thanks, and God bless,
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