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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.

God preserving his word


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
1 hour ago, Hugh_Flower said:

on that note, this entire discussion is just mans babble. It’s up to the Holy Spirit to teach us scripture anyway.

I guess you don't know your Bible then. God gave teachers to the churches to teach and build up the churches.

 

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Ephesians 4:11-15 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Hebrews 5:11-13 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

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You're not understanding what I meant in that post. The Holy Spirit is what teaches us when we read scripture. 

John 14:26 - But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 

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7 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Actually, this discussion is about the BIBLICAL doctrines of inspiration and preservation - how they are Biblically defined, how they relate Biblically to each other, how they relate Biblically to the matter of translation, and how they provide for a divinely authoritative Scriptures for us today.  

This isn't an issue that can be solved through the means of man, it's an issue of conviction and ones faith and trust on God's provision for his people. We have his word now. Why should we doubt future generations or past generations don't or won't have it? Or even other nations?

If we have missionaries sent out with the KJV, and they translate into the language of their residency, should we not have faith that, that is sufficient by the grace of God? Doctrinally, these are issues for local Church bodies, but even inside those churches they will only be proven through the conviction of the Holy Spirit for the individuals.  

I believe God wishes Israel to be righteous, and to testify for him, but instead through GRACE he has used another Witness, us the church. And I don't see how that lens cannot be used to view the dispensation of our Bible. 

Also, to think of it in another way. There is two debates taking place. But they are related.  "Is the KJV wholly sufficient" and "Is there a Bible wholly sufficient". The second question should be answered first. And the answer is undoubtedly yes.

Now, "Is the KJV wholly sufficient" - Yes, to those who show them selves approved. 

"Can we go outside the KJV" - Yes, to those who show them selves approved. 

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 TIMOTHY 2:15.

I would say, any translation done properly, is done by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Anyways, this entire thread is sad and is a perfect example of Modern Christianity. Biting each others heads off for 'heresy'. Church splits over ties and suits. 
None of you actually understood what Sureword is saying, His complaint about the Textus Receptus is because of translations like the MEV, Modern English Version, which if we went by the how the thread dictates, would be proper. However even that Bible is in error. But yes continue to jive and hoorah for tearing another Brothers head off. 

Edited by Hugh_Flower
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7 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

This isn't an issue that can be solved through the means of man, it's an issue of conviction and ones faith and trust on God's provision for his people. We have his word now. Why should we doubt future generations or past generations don't or won't have it? Or even other nations?

If we have missionaries sent out with the KJV, and they translate into the language of their residency, should we not have faith that, that is sufficient by the grace of God? Doctrinally, these are issues for local Church bodies, but even inside those churches they will only be proven through the conviction of the Holy Spirit for the individuals.  

I believe God wishes Israel to be righteous, and to testify for him, but instead through GRACE he has used another Witness, us the church. And I don't see how that lens cannot be used to view the dispensation of our Bible. 

Also, to think of it in another way. There is two debates taking place. But they are related.  "Is the KJV wholly sufficient" and "Is there a Bible wholly sufficient". The second question should be answered first. And the answer is undoubtedly yes.

Now, "Is the KJV wholly sufficient" - Yes, to those who show them selves approved. 

"Can we go outside the KJV" - Yes, to those who show them selves approved. 

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 TIMOTHY 2:15.

I would say, any translation done properly, is done by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Anyways, this entire thread is sad and is a perfect example of Modern Christianity. Biting each others heads off for 'heresy'. Church splits over ties and suits. 
None of you actually understood what Sureword is saying, His complaint about the Textus Receptus is because of translations like the MEV, Modern English Version, which if we went by the how the thread dictates, would be proper. However even that Bible is in error. But yes continue to jive and hoorah for tearing another Brothers head off. 

Thank you, brother.

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6 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

This isn't an issue that can be solved through the means of man, it's an issue of conviction and ones faith and trust on God's provision for his people. 

Actually, NO Biblical doctrine can "be solved" strictly "through the means of man."  Rather, ALL Biblical doctrine requires diligent and careful Bible study (see 2 Timothy 2:15) under the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit (see 1 John 2:27), that can humbly learn from God-given teachers (see Ephesians 4:11-14) and from Spirit-filled edifiers (see Ephesians 4:15-16), and that can graciously, yet earnestly contend for the faith (see Jude 1:3).

6 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

This isn't an issue that can be solved through the means of man, it's an issue of conviction and ones faith and trust on God's provision for his people. We have his word now. Why should we doubt future generations or past generations don't or won't have it? Or even other nations?

I have NO doubts that we possess God's true Word for us now, or that the Lord our God will preserve His true Word for each and every future generation.  He most certainly will because He has promised that He would.  However, this discussion (at least my part in it) is NOT about doubting whether God's Word is available to us now or shall be available for each and every future generation.  Rather, this discussion (at least my part in it) is about the Biblical DOCTRINES of INSPRATION and PRESERVATION (which is precisely what I said in my previous posting).  Indeed, it is about getting those doctrines Biblically correct, and (in my case) about earnestly contending against those who are getting those doctrines incorrect.  For I have been convinced by God the Holy Spirit that these doctrines are quite foundational to our system of belief, and that those who get them incorrect are worthy of ministry separation.

6 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

If we have missionaries sent out with the KJV, and they translate into the language of their residency, should we not have faith that, that is sufficient by the grace of God? 

Whether or not such is "sufficient" really depends upon the quality of the translation, the accuracy of the translation, and whether a translation from the divinely preserved, original language Hebrew and Greek texts was reasonably possible.  So, to answer your question more directly - Not necessarily.

6 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

Doctrinally, these are issues for local Church bodies, but even inside those churches they will only be proven through the conviction of the Holy Spirit for the individuals.  

That is an interesting thought.  However, if doctrinal issues are only ever "for local church bodies," then NO doctrinal discussion should occur outside a given local church body, which means that no doctrinal discussion of any kind should occur within this forum.  Yet this idea seems (from my perspective) to be in contradiction with the instruction of Jude 1:3 (and other passages) that we should "earnestly contend for the faith."  So then, do you have actual Biblical teaching to support your thought above; for I do not wish to disobey the instruction of my Lord without a balancing truth from His own authoritative Word.

6 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

Also, to think of it in another way. There is two debates taking place. But they are related.  "Is the KJV wholly sufficient" and "Is there a Bible wholly sufficient". The second question should be answered first. And the answer is undoubtedly yes.

Now, "Is the KJV wholly sufficient" - Yes, to those who show them selves approved. 

"Can we go outside the KJV" - Yes, to those who show them selves approved. 

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 TIMOTHY 2:15.

Actually, (as per my own part in this thread discussion) there is a bit more than these "two debates taking place."  As I have previously presented, I myself am contending specifically about the Biblical doctrines of inspiration and preservation -

1.   How they are to be Biblically defined?
2.  How they relate Biblically to each other?
3.  How they relate Biblically to the matter of translation?
4.  How they provide for a divinely authoritative Scriptures for us today?  (Which is actually the question that encompasses your "two debate" issues - Is the King James translation wholly sufficient for English speaking people, and can we acceptably "go outside" the King James translation for doctrinal truth?  However, I myself would contend that this fourth question cannot be rightly answered until the first three foundational questions are first answered correctly.)

7 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

Anyways, this entire thread is sad and is a perfect example of Modern Christianity. Biting each others heads off for 'heresy'. Church splits over ties and suits. 

Actually, I myself have made no accusation of heresy against anyone in this thread discussion (although I recognize that another has made such an accusation).  However, I am willing to acknowledge that I am convinced by God the Holy Spirit that the doctrinal position to which Brother SureWord holds is worthy of my ministry separation.  I definitely view BROTHER SureWord as a fellow believer and definitely respect him as such; however, I definitely stand against his doctrinal position on this matter and view it as a significant doctrinal error.

7 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

None of you actually understood what Sureword is saying, 

Actually, I believe that I DO understand Brother SureWord's doctrinal position upon this matter.  

7 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

His complaint about the Textus Receptus is because of translations like the MEV, Modern English Version, which if we went by the how the thread dictates, would be proper. However even that Bible is in error. But yes continue to jive and hoorah for tearing another Brothers head off. 

Actually, this is inaccurate to my doctrinal position on the matter.  My doctrinal position would not accept the Modern English Version as acceptable.  Furthermore, I have NOT "jived" or "hoorahed" for "tearing another Brother's head off."  However, I HAVE earnestly contended against that which I understand as significant doctrinal error; and I HAVE earnestly contended for that which I understand as important doctrinal truth.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
7 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

None of you actually understood what Sureword is saying.

13 minutes ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Actually, I believe that I DO understand Brother SureWord's doctrinal position upon this matter.  

A further note - If I do not understand Brother SureWord's position correctly and have misrepresented it in some manner, I would be more than comfortable for Brother SureWord to walk through my earlier presentation of his position and to point out the specific points of my misunderstanding.

 

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