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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.

Condemned Already


*Light*
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Hello Family of God,

There will always be a debate as to whether a Genuine Believer can stop believing, or if someone who DOES NOT believe IN THEIR HEART can come to believe at some point in their life. The Bible makes it VERY CLEAR that there is Genuine Belief that can never fall away from TRUE FAITH, and a false belief or unbelief that stems from a hardened heart that will NEVER be persuaded of the Gospel Message and Salvation by Grace through TRUE FAITH.


"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is [CONDEMNED ALREADY], because he hath [NOT BELIEVED] in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)


The unbeliever is condemned ALREADY because he "hath not believed" (Grk. hoti me pepisteuken) in the name of the Only Begotten Son of God and His Propitiation for our sins. The Greek verb "believed" is in the [perfect tense], which denotes an action of permanency on the one performing the action; this is the irrevocable and unchanging "heart attitude" and sinful action of the unregenerate, or even as a false convert (Matt. 15:24-30; Rom. 8:9; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 5:17,22-23; 1 Jn. 2:5,16,19). It is [permanent] because this unbeliever is ALREADY CONDEMNED (before he/she actually gets sent there) to an Eternal Hell and Lake of Fire according to Jesus's own words, and the Scripture clearly teaches that Eternal Punishment is just that -- ETERNAL, and cannot be escaped once the sentence is given by God Himself and Christ. There is NO denying what the Word of God clearly teaches as shown. 

"But and [IF THAT EVIL SERVANT SHALL SAY IN HIS HEART], My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 24:48-51)


The parable of the faithful and unfaithful servant gives an illustration of someone who "professes" Jesus as Lord, but in [HIS HEART] reveals an unbelieving attitude that will not be persuaded from that point on; the context also reveals that this servant is [EVIL], and his actions further prove this point (e.g., "he beat his fellow slaves, and he eats and drinks with the drunken"). You either TRULY believe in the Name of the Son of God and the Gospel message, or you DON'T; there is no straddling the fence on this most important issue (cf. Matt. 5:37; Jn. 5:24; 6:51; 14:21; Heb. 11:1; Rev. 21:8).


"Ye are of [your FATHER the devil], and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." (John 8:44-45)

When someone is of their "father", it is implied that they have the SAME "nature" as him, and we see Jesus condemning the Pharisees as having the heart attitude of Satan (i.e., "unrepentant, liars, accusatory, etc."). It is crystal clear that Satan will NEVER repent, and even after being imprisoned in the Bottomless pit for 1,000 years, he is more angrier than ever before -- this is NOT remedial (Rev. 20:1-3;7-10). And if someone has the same nature as their Father (e.g., "the devil"), there's no chance in hell that they will ever repent, and granting them "more time" will not cause them to change their minds. The rich man in the parable of the rich man and the beggar did NOT repent, and he had the audacity to ask if Lazarus can cool off his tongue even after all the torment and neglect the rich man had toward him while alive on Earth. 

"Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because [THEY REPENTED NOT]: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." (Matthew 11:20-21)

"And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet [REPENTED NOT] of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:" (Revelation 9:20)

"And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and [THEY REPENTED NOT] to give him glory." (Revelation 16:9)

There will come a point in time where one will TRULY Believe in the Gospel Message and be saved, or PERMANENTLY reject it (i.e., "in their hearts"), and no amount of preaching can persuade them otherwise. There is the Eschatological Wrath of God poured out in the Great Tribulation, and there is the Wrath of God in Hell to those who will refuse to repent and turn to God and Christ for the Free Gift of Salvation; and in BOTH cases, these [children] of Satan (cf. Jn. 8:44-45; Col. 3:6) will NOT repent, even when God's Wrath is poured out upon them. This is why the Scriptures warn those who hear the voice of God tugging on their hearts NOT to harden their hearts, because tomorrow is not promised to anyone, and no one should lose this opportunity while there is still chance to avoid Hell and the Eternal Lake of Fire (Matt. 23:33; Jn. 1:23; Rom. 2:5; 2 Cor. 6:12; Eph. 4:18; Heb. 3:7-19; Jas. 4:14).

God Bless!

Edited by *Light*
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I forgot to add:

One might beg the question why Tyre and Sidon, or Sodom will not be excusable on Judgment Day if they were not shown the same degree of miracles that were demonstrated and performed in the sight of the unrepentant cities during the time of Jesus' earthly ministry. Scripture says that unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; anything beyond what God chooses to "reveal" to each man or women would nullify the requirement of "saving faith" (Lk. 12:48). Ignorance of the Truth is not an excuse to justify unbelief, and the greater extent of available information given to the unsaved, the greater the severity and degree of the punishment when retribution is given at the Great White Throne when the "dead" are judged according to the Righteousness of God and Christ (Matt. 10:15; 1:22,24; Mk. 6:11; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:29; Rev. 20:11-15).

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