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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.

Too Early for the Annual Halloween Argume,...er, Discussion Topic?


Ukulelemike
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I don't have any children nor do kids come to my door trick or treating so to me it's of no concern though in the past I'd hand out candy to the kids on the bus. Our county schools don't allow dressing up from staff or students but they have a "trunk or treat" at the school. 

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We personally do not celebrate it. When our son was little, we would pass out candy with tracts to the kids who came to the door. Josh enjoyed handing it out and seeing the costumes. 

Now...we still don't observe. We live in the country, sort of, so we don't get anyone knocking on our door. We do, however, have 2 Sunday School girls who love Halloween. Their mother does, as well, and so they look forward to it. They are, in fact going to be gone the next two weeks to their aunt's house, where they will celebrate with a lot of activities. In a way, that takes it off our shoulders of having to worry about. But...

Here is where my conundrum comes in. I want to teach the girls truth, but do not want to make them feel that they must choose between their mother and me in regards to it. That can be more harmful than just "telling the truth" about its roots. So after prayer, the Lord led me to teach our October lessons around the verse "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." My emphasis was on the fact that there are scary things out there, but we can - and should - trust in the Lord even during those times we are afraid. That makes for a nice segue to the next theme: praising and thanking God.

We do observe Thanksgiving, even though the history of harvest fests is sketchy. Our forefathers held a feast of thanksgiving to God, this is true. Many other countries had harvest fests as well - giving thanks to their god, many times not the God of the Bible. So we will have a pie social on Nov. 1, to begin the celebration of God's goodness. We also collect food to give food boxes to the needy just before Thanksgiving. We are thinking about having a "fall frolic" one Sunday in Nov., which would be a time of games and fun - including a candy hunt.  The "hunt" will probably be for hidden candy...kind of in the idea of the eggs hidden at Easter - which we don't do. 😉 We, instead, on Resurrection Sunday were planning this last year to have a candy scramble but covid hit. We will be doing that this next year, hopefully.

In December, we will spend the time with the girls encouraging them to think about Jesus and why He came. This is the reason we do observe Christmas Day. Yes, we are well versed in the history, so don't need a lecture on it. But in this we rest: we've chosen not to observe the day as the world does (Rom. 14). We worship and celebrate Jesus Christ and uphold Him. We "use" the day to encourage folks to come to church, where they will hear about Christ...which is what is important. I know, some will say that's a compromise, and that's fine if they believe so. We are "convinced in [our] own mind," so we're good. =D

 

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On 10/22/2020 at 3:52 PM, HappyChristian said:

We personally do not celebrate it. When our son was little, we would pass out candy with tracts to the kids who came to the door. Josh enjoyed handing it out and seeing the costumes. 

Now...we still don't observe. We live in the country, sort of, so we don't get anyone knocking on our door. We do, however, have 2 Sunday School girls who love Halloween. Their mother does, as well, and so they look forward to it. They are, in fact going to be gone the next two weeks to their aunt's house, where they will celebrate with a lot of activities. In a way, that takes it off our shoulders of having to worry about. But...

Here is where my conundrum comes in. I want to teach the girls truth, but do not want to make them feel that they must choose between their mother and me in regards to it. That can be more harmful than just "telling the truth" about its roots. So after prayer, the Lord led me to teach our October lessons around the verse "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." My emphasis was on the fact that there are scary things out there, but we can - and should - trust in the Lord even during those times we are afraid. That makes for a nice segue to the next theme: praising and thanking God.   It can be difficult dealing with children in a church if their mother doesn't attend, particularly with such issues as Halloween and Christmas/Santa Claus. I find that if I teach on such doctrines as, say 'Perfect love casteth out fear' and we have no need to fear anything if we trust Christ, it can help them make that jump to understand.

We do observe Thanksgiving, even though the history of harvest fests is sketchy. Our forefathers held a feast of thanksgiving to God, this is true. Many other countries had harvest fests as well - giving thanks to their god, many times not the God of the Bible. So we will have a pie social on Nov. 1, to begin the celebration of God's goodness. We also collect food to give food boxes to the needy just before Thanksgiving. We are thinking about having a "fall frolic" one Sunday in Nov., which would be a time of games and fun - including a candy hunt.  The "hunt" will probably be for hidden candy...kind of in the idea of the eggs hidden at Easter - which we don't do. 😉 We, instead, on Resurrection Sunday were planning this last year to have a candy scramble but covid hit. We will be doing that this next year, hopefully. I have read about those who reject Thanksgiving, believing it is related to the pagan harvest festivals, but knowing that the Pilgrims were strict separatists and that they would have rejected any known association with such festivals, I can only believe, especially from their own writings, that this was directly associated with the biblical concept of giving praise and thanksgiving unto God for His goodness.  The connection to pagan festivals, I believe, is used by groups like the JW's as justification to reject it.

In December, we will spend the time with the girls encouraging them to think about Jesus and why He came. This is the reason we do observe Christmas Day. Yes, we are well versed in the history, so don't need a lecture on it. But in this we rest: we've chosen not to observe the day as the world does (Rom. 14). We worship and celebrate Jesus Christ and uphold Him. We "use" the day to encourage folks to come to church, where they will hear about Christ...which is what is important. I know, some will say that's a compromise, and that's fine if they believe so. We are "convinced in [our] own mind," so we're good. =D

 

 

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7 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

 

I agree with you about Thanksgiving...my only reason for bringing up the history of harvest fests - times of thanking the harvest gods - was that there can be something "wrong" with anything we do.  We don't want to observe halloween because of its history, but then someone will ding us for celebrating Christmas since there is sketchy history with that also. I honestly don't think there's any way to "spiritualize" halloween, nor any way to actually observe it to the Lord. Although there is the fact that we have to live amongst people, and if kids come to the door, tracts can be handed out with the candy. 

 

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Halloween is an evil day and no Christian should participate in anyway. I am shocked at how many "good Churches" do Trunk or Treat. If you look at every aspect of this day, there is nothing holy about it.

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11 hours ago, Pastorj said:

Halloween is an evil day and no Christian should participate in anyway. I am shocked at how many "good Churches" do Trunk or Treat. If you look at every aspect of this day, there is nothing holy about it.

We are doign trunk or treat had 600 kids last year expecting 1000 tonight, and many of them have been now saved and attending our services!

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On 10/29/2020 at 11:50 AM, Pastorj said:

The ends do not justify the means. Find another way to lead them to Christ, but participating in the Devils holiday is wrong for churches and all Christians

WE had 47470 attend and receive tracts and bibles!

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7 hours ago, SureWord said:

47,470 kids attend?

I mistyped, "Only" was 4770, but still,a large outreach!

4 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

I find that a bit difficult to believe, but even so, what we save them WITH must be holy and sanctified, or we are just continuing to show them that its okay, as long as "its for Jesus". 

was a typo, final count came out to be 4770!

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9 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

I find that a bit difficult to believe, but even so, what we save them WITH must be holy and sanctified, or we are just continuing to show them that its okay, as long as "its for Jesus". 

I have mixed feelings about it. If they were truly saved are we going to criticize it? Sure, it might not be the most scripural approach but if it led to the furtherance of the gospel I'd be slow to judge.

My older brother was saved during a martial arts exhibition where the instructor preached the gospel afterwards. Many of the super separated sanctified brethren see martial arts as evil associated with heathenism.  If this never had happened I probably would never have been saved since a seed was planted from a bible study I attended with him and his wife.

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17 hours ago, SureWord said:

I have mixed feelings about it. If they were truly saved are we going to criticize it? Sure, it might not be the most scripural approach but if it led to the furtherance of the gospel I'd be slow to judge.

My older brother was saved during a martial arts exhibition where the instructor preached the gospel afterwards. Many of the super separated sanctified brethren see martial arts as evil associated with heathenism.  If this never had happened I probably would never have been saved since a seed was planted from a bible study I attended with him and his wife.

The Lord can speak through the mouth of an ass, but that doesn't mean it is what we ought to seek to. God used a woman to judge Israel, but that is not His ultimate plan. Jesus said the rocks themselves would cry out, if His disciples didn't, but that doesn't mean we ought to be seeking to the rocks for God's word. My point being, God CAN use whatever He chooses to use that some might be saved, but that doesn't mean we ought to be using unsanctified and unholy activities and entertainments to spread the gospel. We ought to seek to be holy and sanctified in all thigs we do for Him.

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