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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.

Does a sinner changes heart from loving sin to loving God when he repents and believes?


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We love him, because he first loved us.
(1 John 4:19)
 

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
(Romans 2:4)
 

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
(Galatians 5:6)
 

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4 hours ago, mbkjpreacher said:

We love him, because he first loved us.
(1 John 4:19)
 

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
(Romans 2:4)
 

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
(Galatians 5:6)
 

To answer your header...the Bible says that when a person is converted, they become a new creation, the old things are passed away, and all things become new. If the conversion was genuine, then the person has the Spirit of God living inside of them, and they will start to see their sinful ways differently. Some have an instantaneous change. Others change over a period of time. If you're speaking of "Lordship salvation," I don't see this happen very often. I'm not saying it doesn't happen at all, but the cases are few and far between in my experience.

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57 minutes ago, BrotherTony said:

To answer your header...the Bible says that when a person is converted, they become a new creation, the old things are passed away, and all things become new. If the conversion was genuine, then the person has the Spirit of God living inside of them, and they will start to see their sinful ways differently. Some have an instantaneous change. Others change over a period of time. If you're speaking of "Lordship salvation," I don't see this happen very often. I'm not saying it doesn't happen at all, but the cases are few and far between in my experience.

I am sorry brother but you have missed the point of the question.  My question is at the moment when they repent and believe.   Is it your proposition that when they repent and believe there is hatred for God in their heart and that love for God is felt after they are saved?  Or love and faith goes together at the point of understanding the gospel and  faith?  

This is what I want to clarify, LOVE and FAITH goes together when the sinner believes in Christ or HATRED FOR GOD AND FAITH goes together at the point he believes? 

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10 minutes ago, mbkjpreacher said:

I am sorry brother but you have missed the point of the question.  My question is at the moment when they repent and believe.   Is it your proposition that when they repent and believe there is hatred for God in their heart and that love for God is felt after they are saved?  Or love and faith goes together at the point of understanding the gospel and  faith?  

This is what I want to clarify, LOVE and FAITH goes together when the sinner believes in Christ or HATRED FOR GOD AND FAITH goes together at the point he believes? 

I got the meaning of your question...but there again...love may not be automatic. I would hope it would be, but, it's not always the case. Love usually grows gradually...it's not necessarily a given that it will happen automatically.

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20 hours ago, BrotherTony said:

I got the meaning of your question...but there again...love may not be automatic. I would hope it would be, but, it's not always the case. Love usually grows gradually...it's not necessarily a given that it will happen automatically.

Is it your position that the unsaved person cannot respond in humility and love when he understands the gospel and believes?   Or should he be saved first before he can humble and believe with love?  

How can you explain faith which worketh by love?  

Would a person trust Jesus yet in his heart there is hatred for Him?  

Can't man have the ability to change mind from hatred of the gospel truth to love of the gospel truth prior to salvation?  

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1 hour ago, mbkjpreacher said:

Is it your position that the unsaved person cannot respond in humility and love when he understands the gospel and believes?

Not at all. The person has to respond in humility when they are saved. I've known people who got saved but didn't fully "love" (you might want to explain your definition of love for reference sake) Jesus Christ when they accepted him as savior. They didn't fully understand who he was at that time. Their "love" for him grew over time as they grew.

  Or should he be saved first before he can humble and believe with love? Again, the humble acceptance of Christ as savior, IMHO, is a must. If there is no humility, there is no need for a savior. Admitting one is a sinner and in need of a savior takes humility. Again...read above for love and the growth of it...some may love Christ immediately...others may have some sort of love for him, but not a love that is strong.  

How can you explain faith which worketh by love?  A strong faith will build over time as one grows in their love for the Lord. Faith increases over time. Again, some may have it fully, or near fully immediately. Others will have their faith grow over time (we all do, but some much more than others). 

Would a person trust Jesus yet in his heart there is hatred for Him? I don't believe this is a possiblity. 

Can't man have the ability to change mind from hatred of the gospel truth to love of the gospel truth prior to salvation?  I believe there has to be a certain degree of love for a person to receive Christ.  

 

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Is it your position that the unsaved person cannot respond in humility and love when he understands the gospel and believes?

Quote

Not at all. The person has to respond in humility when they are saved. I've known people who got saved but didn't fully "love" (you might want to explain your definition of love for reference sake) Jesus Christ when they accepted him as savior. They didn't fully understand who he was at that time. Their "love" for him grew over time as they grew.

I do not mean of love as mature love or perfect love ( 1 John 4: 18).  At least there is love or initial love as I John 4: 19 says we love Him because He first loved us.  It is by the understanding of God's love that influences the intellect and moves the emotion to love God, for if a person does not understand the love of God, he would not accept the Lord Jesus. Just like a woman would not accept the love of a man if she does not understand it.  But when her heart seem to melt because of the love of the man, that she respond in love.  And there is a saying that love and trust go together.  Usually when a girl falls in love with a man, she gives so much trust in him that she would even disobey her parents.  How much more is the love of God, understood by the gospel message, that our hearts are moved to believe because of the fact of our condemnation and the fact of God's love so great.  We love him because he first loved us -- This happens at the point of understanding the gospel, which leads to repentance and faith (Romans 2: 4).  If there is no love at the point of faith in Christ, that would only fall to mere belief and profession.  Just as a child won't buy ice cream if he does not love it.  It is true that as faith has to grow to mature so love needs to grow to mature also.  But at least there is initial love when he believes and understood the gospel.  If the idea is that some men love God prior to understanding the gospel, then that idea disagrees with 1 John 4: 19 which states that we love him because he first loved us.  Therefore there is a turning point in man's mind and heart from loving sin to loving God, from unbelief to belief in Christ, and that is repentance of sin.  

 

 

  Or should he be saved first before he can humble and believe with love? Again, the humble acceptance of Christ as savior, IMHO, is a must. If there is no humility, there is no need for a savior. Admitting one is a sinner and in need of a savior takes humility. Again...read above for love and the growth of it...some may love Christ immediately...others may have some sort of love for him, but not a love that is strong.  

Yes true that humility, faith, and love, can be exercised prior to salvation under the Spirit's conviction and the word.  Calvinism teaches that the unregenerate cannot hear, repent, and believe prior to regeneration and that is a different story.  My point is that there is that initial love, a change of mind and heart from loving sin to loving God at the point of understanding the gospel message at the moment he believes.. His knowledge of the truth moves his emotion to trust Christ.  

How can you explain faith which worketh by love?  A strong faith will build over time as one grows in their love for the Lord. Faith increases over time. Again, some may have it fully, or near fully immediately. Others will have their faith grow over time (we all do, but some much more than others). 

For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
(Galatians 5:5-6)
 

If you would look at the context it is not about growing in faith as a Christian but righteousness by faith, and this is about salvation.  So the faith here refers to faith exercised in salvation and that it works by love.  This is related to 1 John 4: 19 we love him because he first loved us.  That means when he exercised faith, there is love in it, not bitterness or hatred.  Though we are not saved by love or humility.  We are saved by faith, yet there is an element of humility and love when we exercised faith in Christ.  

 

 

 

Would a person trust Jesus yet in his heart there is hatred for Him? I don't believe this is a possiblity. 

Right 

Can't man have the ability to change mind from hatred of the gospel truth to love of the gospel truth prior to salvation?  I believe there has to be a certain degree of love for a person to receive Christ.  

Amen, we agree in this position.  

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mb...I think we agree in all positions...you are trying to read into my answers that there is no initial love...It's pretty clear that I've implied that there IS an initial love, otherwise there could be NO decision for Christ. I stated that the love had to grow over time...it can't grow if there is NO initial love. This is one problem I had with the "Missionary Baptists." They deal too much in hypotheticals instead of strictly on the Word of God. There are many good people in the group, but, they are usually trying to read into people's statements what they want. A Biblical group can't survive that way.

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