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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.

Really Sad Prayer Request


HappyChristian
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  • Lady Administrators

One of the young ladies who helped in our nursing home ministry in IN during her college years was killed when an oil tanker hit her. She had her oldest son (not quite 3 years old) with her.  She was killed instantly and her son was life-flighted to the hospital. He had two surgeries and is expected to have a full recovery.

She leaves behind that son, a younger boy, her husband, and her parents, siblings, and other family members. She was only 26 years old.

There are things I don't feel comfortable sharing, but this was a real tragedy in a number of ways. Please be praying for the family and the church (her father is the pastor, and her husband is an assistant there). Thank you.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Very sad. It is our hope that the father will have strength to carry on his duties as the assistant pastor of the church. We are glad to hear that Enoch is expected to make a full recovery. Thank you for the photo.

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  • Lady Administrators

One of the nurses had to turn Enoch today. As he turned, she got a hug...and then Grandma B. got one, Dad did, and Grandpa B.  I'm going to try and post a picture of it...what a blessing!

Pastor McGovern, the paternal grandfather, posted this message earlier:  

"[My wife] and I want to say thank you for all the prayer and support for our family and the Bickfords. 
Enoch is doing very well. He still needs prayer and is still in ICU. He is improving each day and we are very thankful to the Lord for his recovery!

It is a miracle he is alive! The Lord had people on scene at the time of the accident to be a help. The first person to stop was a nurse who witnessed what happened. The next vehicle on I95 coming up was an ambulance with paramedics able to help. So within seconds medical personal were on the scene and able to help Enoch. Such a miracle!
Continue to pray for Daniel as he has lost his wife whom he loved dearly! He needs our prayers and support. He is now a single dad with a 10 month old and 2 year old who has been critically injured!"

The group photo is of the paternal family. Daniel, the father, is the one to the left of Enoch. Paternal grandparents to the right. One of Daniel's sisters and her husband in front of him.

The hug photos are Enoch and Dad, and his maternal grandparents.

 

mcgoverns.jpg

hugs dad.jpg

hugs grandma.jpg

hugs grandpa.jpg

hugs.jpg

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  • Lady Administrators

As I said in my first post, there were things I wasn't comfortable with sharing. However, it is now public knowledge (and the family is talking about it), so I decided to share this article. Heidi struggled with depression for many years. And, sadly, it got the better of her. An accidental death is tragedy enough. But when one chooses to take their own life...and tries to take a child with them...I think that ups the tragedy aspect in multiples.

https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/local/i-cannot-understand-this-tragedy-husband-of-heidi-mcgovern-on-losing-wife-injuring-son/97-602569048

The family of Heidi McGovern is speaking out about a pain no family should have to endure.

McGovern ended her own life Thursday evening by stepping in front of a tanker truck on Interstate 95 outside the town of Lincoln. She had been holding her 2-year-old son, Enoch, in her arms.

He was thrown away from the truck, landing in the passing lane of the highway.

The first few people to come to his aid were a nurse, an EMT, and an ambulance returning home from Bangor.

Miraculously, he survived, and is at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in serious condition.

"We look at that like God said to Heidi, 'Okay Heidi, I'll take you, but I'm not done with Enoch,'" said Brenda Bickford, McGovern's mother.

Now, the family is remembering McGovern for more than the tragic way her life came to an end.

"She was the sweetest person," said Daniel McGovern, Heidi's husband, fighting back tears. "That's what most people would say. Just the nicest, sweetest person you ever met."

They say McGovern was smart, artistic, and a perfectionist. She loved her family, parents, sisters, brother, husband, and her children.

"He'd say, 'my favorite sister is Heidi because she doesn't pick on me,'" said Mitchell Bickford, McGovern's father, reciting what her only brother would say. "She never would say an unkind word about anybody."

"Anything she decided she wanted to do, if she did it, it couldn't be done in a better way," said Daniel McGovern.

At some point though, her depression took control, and it caused her to take her own life.

"She was convinced, I mean, definitely we believe wrongly so, but she was convinced she was doing what was the right thing," said Daniel McGovern.

"She was sad but she held it in, had a smile on her face, and just kept it to herself," said Brenda Bickford. "We tried to encourage her and this is how she chose to go and she didn't want Enoch to suffer like her."

"I cannot understand this tragedy, why or how, it's just something I can't wrap my mind around, but we can see that God has a plan for it, a purpose for it," said Daniel McGovern.

The family's faith never wavering even in this time of grief.

McGovern's husband and father are both pastors at a church in Lee, a mere ten miles from the crash site.

"It is difficult, but I always have that peace there that I can rely on and rest on and that strength," said Daniel McGovern.

"We have our crashes definitely and we hug and cry and then the Lord lifts us up," added Brenda Bickford.

The family hasn't decided when or how they will tell McGovern's children about what happened to her, instead choosing to focus on Enoch's physical health.

"Watching him heal is healing our hearts too," said Brenda Bickford.

The family says Enoch's health is improving every day. On Tuesday, he pulled out all of the wires and tubes attached to him and called his blue body cast "blue legs," letting the hospital staff sign it.

The family, first responders, and hospital staff all agree, it's a miracle he's alive.

"He's so young, I doubt he'll remember it," said Daniel McGovern. "At some point, I'm sure we'll have to talk about his mom."

"It'll become a different way of life."

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  • Lady Administrators
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