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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.

How Do You Deal With Family and Friends Who Have Asked You NOT To Present The Gospel To Them Again?


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I have witnessed to my birth father and stepmother several times over the years, but they have asked me to NOT present the Gospel to them again unless they bring the subject up. This is an uncomfortable situation for me, as I still try to present the Gospel to them in the way I live my life in front of them anyhow. I don't discuss the Lord with them unless one of them brings the subject up. So, how would YOU handle this situation? 

I will be visiting my birth father and stepmother for a few hours on Friday, and I plan to once again ask my father about his belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. He has brought the subject up several times over the past few months, and this past Sunday morning he called me because he believes he is very close to death. The doctos say he could go at any time. Am I doing the right thing? I feel that the Lord is leading me to speak to him again, as this may be the last time I get to see him and speak to him face to face. 

Thank you in advance for your answers.

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You know your family best. Some need a continual silent and soft approach and others may need a direct to the point reality check but all need it done in love. Praying God will give you wisdom to when and how to minister as he leads you. 

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7 minutes ago, SureWord said:

That's a tough thing to answer. You got to go with how God leads you that's all I can say. 

Thanks, @SureWord. I appreciate that vote of confidence. I truly believe that this is my last opportunity to reach my father, and possibly my stepmother. If they were to come to know Christ, it would be so much easier to reach other members of my family on that side. I watch their lives, see what they post on FB and in other places about their lives, and it breaks my heart. I'm so thankful that the Lord saw fit to have me raised by my mother and adoptive father. Though my adoptive father wasn't perfect by any means, he did make sure that we were in church learning about Jesus Christ. Of course, that didn't happen until I was nearly nine years old, but after he came to know Christ, he tried his best. My birth father said this past Sunday that he was thankful that he hadn't raised me, because he truly believed that I would have ended up like his other children. He doesn't speak to any of his other children now. It truly is a heartbreaking situation. 

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1 minute ago, BrotherTony said:

Thanks, @SureWord. I appreciate that vote of confidence. I truly believe that this is my last opportunity to reach my father, and possibly my stepmother. If they were to come to know Christ, it would be so much easier to reach other members of my family on that side. I watch their lives, see what they post on FB and in other places about their lives, and it breaks my heart. I'm so thankful that the Lord saw fit to have me raised by my mother and adoptive father. Though my adoptive father wasn't perfect by any means, he did make sure that we were in church learning about Jesus Christ. Of course, that didn't happen until I was nearly nine years old, but after he came to know Christ, he tried his best. My birth father said this past Sunday that he was thankful that he hadn't raised me, because he truly believed that I would have ended up like his other children. He doesn't speak to any of his other children now. It truly is a heartbreaking situation. 

How you ever considered having someone else witness to your parents? They may respect someone else. I know my parents still think I'm 12 years old and never listen to anything I say.

Mark 6:4- But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

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1 minute ago, SureWord said:

How you ever considered having someone else witness to your parents? They may respect someone else. I know my parents still think I'm 12 years old and never listen to anything I say.

Mark 6:4- But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

I certainly have tried to have others go to my parents to witness to them. They turned these people away, and on several occasions met them at the gateway to the property with guns and rifles. Pop isn't/wasn't a man most people would want to mess with. He was a marine, and had run for sheriff of Harrison County, Indiana several times. He never won, but people definitely knew who he was. A very rough character. Now, as far as respecting what I say or present, they have no problem with that. They always treat me like an adult...probably because I didn't re-establish communications with my father until I was 23 years old. It had been nearly 9 years since I had talked to him at that time. The only reason I had seen him in the earlier years is because my grandfather was dying and had asked him to find me and bring me to the hospital. My uncle, my dad's older brother, called my grandfather and threatened him, and he got ahold of my adoptive father and told him what was going on. At that time, my adoptive father, who had gone through something similar in his youth, gave me the decision on the matter, and supported me fully in my decision to go and meet my paternal grandfather before he died. We are NOT a close family by any means.

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1 hour ago, BrotherTony said:

I have witnessed to my birth father and stepmother several times over the years, but they have asked me to NOT present the Gospel to them again unless they bring the subject up. This is an uncomfortable situation for me, as I still try to present the Gospel to them in the way I live my life in front of them anyhow. I don't discuss the Lord with them unless one of them brings the subject up. So, how would YOU handle this situation? 

I will be visiting my birth father and stepmother for a few hours on Friday, and I plan to once again ask my father about his belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. He has brought the subject up several times over the past few months, and this past Sunday morning he called me because he believes he is very close to death. The doctos say he could go at any time. Am I doing the right thing? I feel that the Lord is leading me to speak to him again, as this may be the last time I get to see him and speak to him face to face. 

Thank you in advance for your answers.

There is always a lot of emotion between family members. Perhaps someone from outside the family would receive a more positive response. Is there a hospital chaplain or someone else that could talk with them?

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2 hours ago, Bouncing Bill said:

There is always a lot of emotion between family members. Perhaps someone from outside the family would receive a more positive response. Is there a hospital chaplain or someone else that could talk with them?

They've had a visit from a friend who's in the ministry, and then someone whom I didn't have any knowledge of. Both of these were met with great resistance at the gateway to the property. See my response above to @SureWord

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3 hours ago, BrotherTony said:

I certainly have tried to have others go to my parents to witness to them. They turned these people away, and on several occasions met them at the gateway to the property with guns and rifles. Pop isn't/wasn't a man most people would want to mess with. He was a marine, and had run for sheriff of Harrison County, Indiana several times. He never won, but people definitely knew who he was. A very rough character. Now, as far as respecting what I say or present, they have no problem with that. They always treat me like an adult...probably because I didn't re-establish communications with my father until I was 23 years old. It had been nearly 9 years since I had talked to him at that time. The only reason I had seen him in the earlier years is because my grandfather was dying and had asked him to find me and bring me to the hospital. My uncle, my dad's older brother, called my grandfather and threatened him, and he got ahold of my adoptive father and told him what was going on. At that time, my adoptive father, who had gone through something similar in his youth, gave me the decision on the matter, and supported me fully in my decision to go and meet my paternal grandfather before he died. We are NOT a close family by any means.

Well, not to sound cold, but you've done what you could, bro. All you can do now is pray for them.

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19 minutes ago, SureWord said:

Well, not to sound cold, but you've done what you could, bro. All you can do now is pray for them.

You didn't sound cold at all. My wife and I both have about come to the conclusion that the Lord is going to have to deal with them in a different way. I just hope it won't be too late. Eternity is long, and I don't want to even consider the possibility of my family going to the devil!

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56 minutes ago, BrotherTony said:

They've had a visit from a friend who's in the ministry, and then someone whom I didn't have any knowledge of. Both of these were met with great resistance at the gateway to the property. See my response above to @SureWord

I am sorry. I know this is a painful situation for you. Please do not feel guilty. You tried and your care. 

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On 7/15/2021 at 9:40 AM, BrotherTony said:

I have witnessed to my birth father and stepmother several times over the years, but they have asked me to NOT present the Gospel to them again unless they bring the subject up. This is an uncomfortable situation for me, as I still try to present the Gospel to them in the way I live my life in front of them anyhow. I don't discuss the Lord with them unless one of them brings the subject up. So, how would YOU handle this situation? 

I will be visiting my birth father and stepmother for a few hours on Friday, and I plan to once again ask my father about his belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. He has brought the subject up several times over the past few months, and this past Sunday morning he called me because he believes he is very close to death. The doctos say he could go at any time. Am I doing the right thing? I feel that the Lord is leading me to speak to him again, as this may be the last time I get to see him and speak to him face to face. 

Thank you in advance for your answers.

Brother Tony like probably most people on here I can certainly relate to your situation.

My father and younger brother both seem to have no interest in salvation whatsoever. When my mother and laws brother died to my surprise my father called me. This is a man who isn't good  at showing emotion or expressing feelings but on this night he was hurt and looking for a reason these terrible things happen.

That was the only chance I've ever had to talk about Jesus with him and his mind was open hoping my faith could make sense of a tragic death. I embraced the moment and shared the Gospel without holding anything back. His heart was being pricked for answers and I tried my best to answer them biblically.

I don't know if that night had any spiritual effect on my father because like I said he just doesn't discuss things like that. He's getting up there in age and pray with all my heart that at some point he has surrendered his life to our Lord and Savior.

While my father would probably fall into the agnostic category my brother and his wife consider themselves Pagan followers of the Norse God Odin. My brothers Facebook profile picture says "I'd rather be a wolf of Odin than a Lamb of God". Despite my brothers beliefs he has never been hostile towards mine but his wife made it very clear to me once that "my Christian God" wasn't welcome in their home. My brother and I hardly see each just from being busy with life but it makes it nearly impossible to talk about the Lord when his wife is there to counteract. My brother has always been my best friend and we were closer than most siblings could imagine so it breaks my heart to not be able to reach him with the Gospel.

My mother used to attend church many years ago but it was a Church of God (Anderson, IN.) congregation that is Wesley- Arminian in theology and do a poor job at presenting the Gospel because their beliefs have slowly allowed progressive and social theology drastically change the message they started out with. I have never seen my mother pray or even read the Bible...not once. She doesn't talk about her faith but when she does her beliefs are not biblical or severely distorted. The problem with talking about the Gospel with her is that she thinks she already knows everything and as long as she's a "good person" heaven awaits.

I wish I could help by giving you advice about talking to your family but I unfortunately have the same problem myself. It's easier for me to walk up to complete stranger and start a conversation to purposely be a able share the Gospel, but my family just refuses to talk about or in mom's case has made up her own view of the bible and not open to other interpretation.

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2 hours ago, Disciple.Luke said:

Brother Tony like probably most people on here I can certainly relate to your situation.

My father and younger brother both seem to have no interest in salvation whatsoever. When my mother and laws brother died to my surprise my father called me. This is a man who isn't good  at showing emotion or expressing feelings but on this night he was hurt and looking for a reason these terrible things happen.

That was the only chance I've ever had to talk about Jesus with him and his mind was open hoping my faith could make sense of a tragic death. I embraced the moment and shared the Gospel without holding anything back. His heart was being pricked for answers and I tried my best to answer them biblically.

I don't know if that night had any spiritual effect on my father because like I said he just doesn't discuss things like that. He's getting up there in age and pray with all my heart that at some point he has surrendered his life to our Lord and Savior.

While my father would probably fall into the agnostic category my brother and his wife consider themselves Pagan followers of the Norse God Odin. My brothers Facebook profile picture says "I'd rather be a wolf of Odin than a Lamb of God". Despite my brothers beliefs he has never been hostile towards mine but his wife made it very clear to me once that "my Christian God" wasn't welcome in their home. My brother and I hardly see each just from being busy with life but it makes it nearly impossible to talk about the Lord when his wife is there to counteract. My brother has always been my best friend and we were closer than most siblings could imagine so it breaks my heart to not be able to reach him with the Gospel.

My mother used to attend church many years ago but it was a Church of God (Anderson, IN.) congregation that is Wesley- Arminian in theology and do a poor job at presenting the Gospel because their beliefs have slowly allowed progressive and social theology drastically change the message they started out with. I have never seen my mother pray or even read the Bible...not once. She doesn't talk about her faith but when she does her beliefs are not biblical or severely distorted. The problem with talking about the Gospel with her is that she thinks she already knows everything and as long as she's a "good person" heaven awaits.

I wish I could help by giving you advice about talking to your family but I unfortunately have the same problem myself. It's easier for me to walk up to complete stranger and start a conversation to purposely be a able share the Gospel, but my family just refuses to talk about or in mom's case has made up her own view of the bible and not open to other interpretation.

I will certainly be praying for you and your witness to your brother's family. 

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