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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.

Quotations Anyone?


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I have noticed that when I hear something that I should walk away from, if I decide to keep my mouth shut instead of opening it, I don't find my foot in it! 

Martha Louise Lanius in speaking to a group of ladies at her home church several years ago!

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"Now, the blessed fact is that God is not silent and has never been silent, but is speaking in his universe."                                      ~ A. W. Tozer

Brings to mind a couple scriptures from the Psalms.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." [Psalms 19:1]

"The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory." [Psalms 97:6]

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 The reason why men do not look to the Church today is that she has destroyed her own influence by compromise. ~ G. Campbell Morgan (B. 1863- D. 1945)

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A different perspective:
“Ask any person who was chronically ill or disabled before the pandemic how life changed for them during the pandemic and we can’t say it changed as much as the average “healthy” person’s life did. We were already used to being at home. We were already painfully adjusted to missing events. Eventually, you stop missing certain things and accept the home life because you have to adapt to your new normal or you will go insane with grief from your life’s lost possibilities. My husband and I had hoped that healthy, mobile Americans would look beyond themselves and protect others while protecting themselves. There was also the vague hope that they would better understand the limited lives of their fellow ill or disabled Americans. Instead, we realized a new cold, hard truth: Most Americans wouldn’t know how to survive being hindered by illness or disability. They can’t adapt to inconvenience.
— Christine Skirbunt-Kozabo, Virginia”
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On 5/3/2021 at 7:14 PM, Bouncing Bill said:
A different perspective:
“Ask any person who was chronically ill or disabled before the pandemic how life changed for them during the pandemic and we can’t say it changed as much as the average “healthy” person’s life did. We were already used to being at home. We were already painfully adjusted to missing events. Eventually, you stop missing certain things and accept the home life because you have to adapt to your new normal or you will go insane with grief from your life’s lost possibilities. My husband and I had hoped that healthy, mobile Americans would look beyond themselves and protect others while protecting themselves. There was also the vague hope that they would better understand the limited lives of their fellow ill or disabled Americans. Instead, we realized a new cold, hard truth: Most Americans wouldn’t know how to survive being hindered by illness or disability. They can’t adapt to inconvenience.
— Christine Skirbunt-Kozabo, Virginia”

Different indeed. "Most Americans wouldn’t know how to survive being hindered by illness or disability." This story reminds me of Joni Eareckson Tada. Have you ever heard story of Joni's life or heard her sing, Alone Yet Not Alone? You know her husband had to help her breath so that she could sing that song. There are two ways to come out of disability, either bitterness or beauty. Many Americans are depending on someone other than Jesus Christ.

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9 hours ago, 1Timothy115 said:

Different indeed. "Most Americans wouldn’t know how to survive being hindered by illness or disability." This story reminds me of Joni Eareckson Tada. Have you ever heard story of Joni's life or heard her sing, Alone Yet Not Alone? You know her husband had to help her breath so that she could sing that song. There are two ways to come out of disability, either bitterness or beauty. Many Americans are depending on someone other than Jesus Christ.

I know that my wife and I depend daily upon Jesus Christ to help us through the day. Being disabled isn't something fun, believe me. I've been disabled since May of 1997, but fought being placed on SS disability until they forced me to apply for it in April of 2000. My wife should be on disability, but, she, like me, is one who is fighting going on disability. She soon have to go on it anyhow. The accident she was in in 2015 nearly took her life, broke her back, most of her ribs, punctured her heart, aorta, kidney, liver and busted her spleen. She was revived 3x from the time she was extracted from the car to the time where she finally arrived by life-flight at Vanderbilt Trauma. Every night when she is laying down to go to sleep she nearly screams because of the pain, and many (most) nights she has to get up and come out to the living room to sleep in the recliner. She doesn't sleep well, and her ribs never healed quite right. She's got two titanium rods and eight screws in her thorax holding most of it together, and they had to cauterize her spleen to stop from having to remove totally. She's trying to hold out until she's at least 62 to retire, but it seems like disability is going to be the option soon. This still hasn't persuaded her to take the vaccination, though many have tried to "shame" her into it. We don't shame people into NOT taking it, and all we ask is that they give us the same respect. Of course, we don't get much of that. But, that's between the one who's doing the shaming and God. I'll let them answer and Him judge. 

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"Now, Reader, I have told my dream to thee;
See if thou canst interpret it to me,
Or to thyself, or neighbor; but take heed
Of misinterpreting; for that, instead of doing good,
will but thyself abuse:"                         J. Bunyan

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"As the King can never die, so His grace can never fail."
                                                                               C. H. Spurgeon

Dabid dia charis.

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Meanings are expressed in words, but it is one of the misfortunes of life that words tend to persist long after their meanings have departed, with the result that thoughtless men and women believe they have the reality because they have the word for it. That’s where we are now. ~ Aiden W. Tozer

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"The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope, all these things are but parts of God's method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter."            C.H. Spurgeon

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"The plain truth is, within the space of our lifetimes, much of what Americans once almost universally abhorred has been packaged, perfumed, gift-wrapped, and sold to us as though it had great value. By skillfully playing on our deeply felt national values of fairness, generosity, and tolerance, these marketers have persuaded us to embrace as enlightened and noble that which all previous generations since America’s founding regarded as grossly self-destructive -– in a word, evil.”

David Kupelian -The Marketing of Evil

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“Even the mob engaged in pillage and murder is not the disorganized thing it appears to be. Somewhere behind the violence is a leader whose ideas it is simply putting into effect."
                                                                                                            Aiden W. Tozer

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Any government that would demand more of its citizens than they were able to pay would soon dry up all tribute at its roots and bring upon itself sure destruction. ~ A. W. Tozer

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