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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.

When Does One KNOW When It's Time To Leave The Church They're Attending?


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My wife and I have attended many churches, and I've been lay-preacher for several of them. I have had this question asked of me more times than I care to count. But, it has come up again, not just in the church we are attending in now, but in a couple of churches that are being attended by friends....two of them IFB, one being a Free-Will Baptist church, and one being an SBC church. It's disconcerting hearing some of the answers that people have given for their wanting to leave, and I've recommended to most that they should go and speak with their pastors with their concerns...all but two have agreed to do this. So, when do you believe it's time for a person to seriously consider leaving the church they're in? What conditions should prevail to make them consider such a drastic action?

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Only you can know through prayer.

I've left churches for various reasons but usually it comes down to me backsliding. 

There was one case though where a pastor and a deacon had a meeting with me because he wanted to use me more for various things within the church like teaching Sunday School. I wanted to clear the air first and tell him my position on the KJV. He was shocked and tried talking me out of it. What surprised him even more was the head deacon agreed with me during the meeting. After that I was pretty much put on the back burner. 

What really was the final straw was how the deacon was treated afterwards. He was a man who served faithfully in the church probably as long as the pastor had been alive but the pastor tried to vote him out in favor of a recently born again man who owned a contractors business and the pastor was in the process of building a new palace...er...I mean church building. Fortunately, the old timer won reelection and remained deacon. I left the church after that as did my good friend and evangelist who eventually started his own church.

So, sometimes you'll know the answer when you are ostracized and are no longer part of the church as had happened to me.

My only advice is don't raise a ruckus on the way out. Maybe a letter to the pastor that your are moving on and that's it. 

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If I'm going to leave a church I ALWAYS talk to the pastor first. I'm not one to beat around the bush. I was a lay-preacher for one church and the pastor was in doctrinal error on several things. He had chased several people off because they disagreed with him. He stalked my wife and me where we worked, and he had his father and brother attack me in my place of employment. I wouldn't press charges, and my boss wanted to know why. It was a clear physical attack and the stalking was terroristic in nature. We came home one day to find the pastor standing in our kitchen. He had obtained the key through the previous tenant as they attended the church as well, and he was always checking on her. 

I always have my reasons for leaving typed and in order with Scriptures and a diary of how the Lord had been leading us. I keep a journal anyway. The only time I don't use the journal is if the pastor is clearly going off the deep end, or he's been caught in something illegal or immoral, which several have. We have been through 14 church splits since we've gotten married, four times staying with the original church, and the other 10 going with the split. I hate splits, and I hate moving to a new church. It's time consuming, and it's usually hard on everyone involved, especially if there are friends in both churches. I ALWAYS advise people to go back and talk to their pastors before leaving, and to pray hard, and fast if they can, to obtain an answer from the Lord...not something preconceived in their own hearts already.

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11 minutes ago, BrotherTony said:

If I'm going to leave a church I ALWAYS talk to the pastor first. I'm not one to beat around the bush. I was a lay-preacher for one church and the pastor was in doctrinal error on several things. He had chased several people off because they disagreed with him. He stalked my wife and me where we worked, and he had his father and brother attack me in my place of employment. I wouldn't press charges, and my boss wanted to know why. It was a clear physical attack and the stalking was terroristic in nature. We came home one day to find the pastor standing in our kitchen. He had obtained the key through the previous tenant as they attended the church as well, and he was always checking on her. 

I always have my reasons for leaving typed and in order with Scriptures and a diary of how the Lord had been leading us. I keep a journal anyway. The only time I don't use the journal is if the pastor is clearly going off the deep end, or he's been caught in something illegal or immoral, which several have. We have been through 14 church splits since we've gotten married, four times staying with the original church, and the other 10 going with the split. I hate splits, and I hate moving to a new church. It's time consuming, and it's usually hard on everyone involved, especially if there are friends in both churches. I ALWAYS advise people to go back and talk to their pastors before leaving, and to pray hard, and fast if they can, to obtain an answer from the Lord...not something preconceived in their own hearts already.

Yeah, him stalking the wife if a good reason to leave. 

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1 minute ago, SureWord said:

Yeah, him stalking the wife if a good reason to leave. 

I agree with that! I knew several of the police in town and I had one of them go and give him a stern warning. He stopped just a few weeks before we moved to Tennessee.

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When Does One KNOW When It's Time To Leave The Church They're Attending? When God tells you to. The issue I see is that people use that excuse to leave when they are the ones in the wrong. If God is calling you to move on, be 100% honest with the pastor and leave on great terms. People have left our church and told me one thing, and told others something completely different. Be upfront and willing to listen to the pastor when he talks after he's listen to you. 

This is general and not direct directly at you @BrotherTony

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12 minutes ago, PastorMatt said:

When Does One KNOW When It's Time To Leave The Church They're Attending? When God tells you to. The issue I see is that people use that excuse to leave when they are the ones in the wrong. If God is calling you to move on, be 100% honest with the pastor and leave on great terms. People have left our church and told me one thing, and told others something completely different. Be upfront and willing to listen to the pastor when he talks after he's listen to you. 

This is general and not direct directly at you @BrotherTony

Oh, I understand that.  I would NEVER have taken it that way. LOL  🙂

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I have only left one church, and that was due to blatant dishonesty of the pastor toward me. I may have stayed to work it out, but it was about a very personal and difficult issue I was going through, and his dishonesty made matters worse. Later, I was glad to have left, as I found him to be a very controlling and legalistic pastor, more concerned in some areas with appearances than substance. 

Most who have left the church I pastor have never spoken to me, just left. One family left because we had no programs for their kids: I told him stay and help that happen, but they wanted something already running, so they left. One left because my wife worked, (we had no kids and I didn't have any problem with it) and he felt it was a bad fire example to his kids. Later his wife went to work.

An older couple left because they disagreed with my stand against babbling tongues. Didn't want to discuss it or open the Bible, just, nope, and they were gone. One left because I wasn't willing to have community baseball games to attract kids. And thought I was mismanaging the offerings, (no one gave, there were no offering except what my wife and I gave).

But most never said anything.

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1 hour ago, PastorMatt said:

I will say this, when anyone feels led to leave a church, do not take others with you. These decisions needs to between you and the pastor only. 

That's why if anyone ever says they're leaving "with" or because of our departure, I automatically request they go back to the pastor and speak to him about what is on their mind, letting him know of their concerns. This happened once, and the pastor came and spent several hours with my wife and I. His basic mssion was to thank us for doing so, but, in the long run he ended up talking to us about staying...we did for two more years, and it was a blessing. He left at the end of those two years, and the church merged with another in Augusta.

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I certainly agree -- you leave when God leads you to, and not before. We have been in a church before were we did not agree with the pastor choice the church made. There was some clear error in his teaching when he candidated, but the church had been without a pastor for three years and they were desperate and took the first person who was willing. My husband was on the pulpit committee and tried to warn them, but was ignored. Within a year several people had left over the difference in doctrine, and the church didn't have many people to lose because attendance had dropped sharply over the three years without a pastor. We were inclined to leave as well, but we didn't get the go ahead from God to do so. We stayed, didn't cause trouble, tried to honor the pastor as best we could. But when our Sunday School student moved on we were both given the green light from God to move on. That was three years later. So, sometimes God has a purpose for you being in a church where you don't agree with the pastor, and it's best to wait on His timing.

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On 8/19/2021 at 9:19 AM, Corinne said:

No and no! I Sadly, this type of assemblies are present everywhere. It's almost impossible to find a group where they only trust Christ.

 

In the KJV Bible, what did /does/ Christ say about immersion (baptism) ? 

(not commentaries please - there's virtually no end of commentaries.  Just KJV Scripture.)

Mods or Admin or Thread Starter:  if this is better in a new/different thread, good.  

I think many people might change or wonder if they think they should change churches because of not knowing what Christ Himself Says.   When they know,  I believe there is universal (within the assembly, not the world) harmony as God Planned all along.

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