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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.

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Can someone please explain to me, a Baptist Church has a pastor, he has a assistant pastor, deacons, and the committee, chosen members. When this group gathers together to make a decision for the church to present it to the members. Why is it that they, the leaders are making the decisions, before presenting it to the members of the church. Presenting it to the members for the first time and asking for a vote on the issue, when the decision is already made from up Top.

it’s like me asking everyone what kind of pizza would they like to eat, everybody put their input, but at the end I said, thank you I already ordered pepperoni pizzas. Why ask for a vote in the first place. I see this happening in many churches. They are fooling the members, making them feel like they are part of the decision making, but they are really not. Sad. 😞

GIF by funk

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I'm not familiar with the example you provided. I've never seen the church staff ask for members to vote without first opening it up for discussion. I've even seen the "decision" be changed or altered many times after the church discuses the issue. 

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I have to say @E Morales, I think you're misunderstanding what is happening. I've never heard of a Baptist church doing this, and I KNOW that none of them I've been a part of have. The pastor usually brings things before the deacons and certain others in the church to see if it can be presented to the body as a recommendation. As PastorMatt has stated, then there is usually a time of discussion and recommendations, then a vote on the matter. The discussion period is crucial. The pastor isn't authorized to make the decision on his own, or with the blessings of the deacons and certain members of the church. It simply doesn't work that way.

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Any church business should be presented to the whole congregation before any business meeting concerning it is conducted. It is not fair or ethical for only a few, even if they are staff, to know about and deliberate on things before introducing them to the congregation.

In this scenario the few get plenty of time to talk things over, examine them, take and make suggestions and such. Then it is presented to the congregation, to whom this is all brand new and they have no time to even think about it before having to discuss and vote.

I am talking about important church business, not something as simple as who is going to bring what to a pot luck. For important church business time should be provided for people to think, discuss, and research any important business.

To me, this can be one o the main problems with having things like Deacons and committees and extra staff. Even thought some of these may be needed in a large church, they should not be allowed to "run the show".

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4 hours ago, BrotherTony said:

I have to say @E Morales, I think you're misunderstanding what is happening. I've never heard of a Baptist church doing this, and I KNOW that none of them I've been a part of have. The pastor usually brings things before the deacons and certain others in the church to see if it can be presented to the body as a recommendation. As PastorMatt has stated, then there is usually a time of discussion and recommendations, then a vote on the matter. The discussion period is crucial. The pastor isn't authorized to make the decision on his own, or with the blessings of the deacons and certain members of the church. It simply doesn't work that way.

Everyone that’s in the ministry knows the proper ways and the bylaws, but they seem to twist it to their advantage. Let me say that they are not stealing or doing anything wrong. But by not letting the members not participate. There are those that will read this post and not openly say that they are doing this, because it’s wrong. Hopefully they will follow the bylaws if they are being watched. If the membership start going down, this could be the reason why.

Edited by E Morales
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1 minute ago, E Morales said:

Everyone that’s in the ministry knows the proper ways and the bylaws, but they seem to twist it to their vantage. Let me say that they are not stealing or doing anything wrong. But by not letting the members not participate. There are those that will read this post and not openly say that they are doing this, because it’s wrong. Hopefully they will follow the bylaws if they are being watched. If the membership start going down, this could be the reason why.

I don't believe that is so, @E Morales. You can't lump all preachers in together, just as you cannot lump all Baptist churches in together. If you don't believe these people are doing anything wrong, then why bring this "issue," or what seems to be an issue in your eyes, to the forefront? It seems sort of disingenuous to me. Usually the reason the membership/attendance goes down is because the people have no wish to listen to sound preaching, true doctrine, and pointed talk about sin. Granted, some pastors have become lax in their duty to preach these things. But, I still find the problem usually comes with a church body that is more in love with the world than the Lord.

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1 hour ago, BrotherTony said:

I don't believe that is so, @E Morales. You can't lump all preachers in together, just as you cannot lump all Baptist churches in together. If you don't believe these people are doing anything wrong, then why bring this "issue," or what seems to be an issue in your eyes, to the forefront? It seems sort of disingenuous to me. Usually the reason the membership/attendance goes down is because the people have no wish to listen to sound preaching, true doctrine, and pointed talk about sin. Granted, some pastors have become lax in their duty to preach these things. But, I still find the problem usually comes with a church body that is more in love with the world than the Lord.

I did not say all Baptist churches or all preacher have this problem.

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22 minutes ago, E Morales said:

I did not say all Baptist churches or all preacher have this problem.

The way you have your issue worded, it seems like they're all lumped in together. You DID use the word "Everyone," and then when you go to the next part of your statement you only use the word "they." Gives the impression that you mean exactly what you wrote. I was pretty sure you KNEW already that it wasn't all, but I had to make sure! 😉 No offense was meant, and I hope none was taken. By the defensive posturing in your statement, it seems you did, and I'm sorry for that.

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4 minutes ago, BrotherTony said:

The way you have your issue worded, it seems like they're all lumped in together. You DID use the word "Everyone," and then when you go to the next part of your statement you only use the word "they." Gives the impression that you mean exactly what you wrote. I was pretty sure you KNEW already that it wasn't all, but I had to make sure! 😉 No offense was meant, and I hope none was taken. By the defensive posturing in your statement, it seems you did, and I'm sorry for that.

Thanks, my grammar is not the best. But this problem I have presented can be easily fixed. Let the members of the church participate in all mayor decisions.

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5 minutes ago, E Morales said:

Thanks, my grammar is not the best. But this problem I have presented can be easily fixed. Let the members of the church participate in all mayor decisions.

In most of the churches, if not all of them that I've ever been in, this is what they do with two exceptions, I believe. When we were in the Missionary Baptist movement, there were decisions made by one pastor and the deacons without benefit of the congregations input. Sad day that was.

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This is very common in Baptist churches unfortunately. There is the idea that the Pastor is God's man and therefore makes all the decisions because sheep are so dumb that they can't remember to drink water if you don't take them everyday.

Unfortunately I have seen this far more often than I would like.

The correct way is for the Pastor to present his vision,  let the people pray about it and then move forward. Votes are needed for certain things due to legal requirements 

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50 minutes ago, Pastorj said:

This is very common in Baptist churches unfortunately. There is the idea that the Pastor is God's man and therefore makes all the decisions because sheep are so dumb that they can't remember to drink water if you don't take them everyday.

Unfortunately I have seen this far more often than I would like.

The correct way is for the Pastor to present his vision,  let the people pray about it and then move forward. Votes are needed for certain things due to legal requirements 

I believe sharing the vision first, be humble and share your view. Will do you well, not behind the curtains, favoritisms are not welcome, because you like this brown nose person.

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10 hours ago, Pastorj said:

This is very common in Baptist churches unfortunately. There is the idea that the Pastor is God's man and therefore makes all the decisions because sheep are so dumb that they can't remember to drink water if you don't take them everyday.

Unfortunately I have seen this far more often than I would like.

The correct way is for the Pastor to present his vision,  let the people pray about it and then move forward. Votes are needed for certain things due to legal requirements 

Would you say it is more prevalent down south than up north, or about the same?

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I've never experienced this. I know in one church I was a member of the pastor tried to use a little politics among the members during private conversations to get Mr. Money Bags elected as a new deacon but everything still was brought before the whole congregation for a vote. 

His politicking didn't work.

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18 minutes ago, SureWord said:

I've never experienced this. I know in one church I was a member of the pastor tried to use a little politics among the members during private conversations to get Mr. Money Bags elected as a new deacon but everything still was brought before the whole congregation for a vote. 

His politicking didn't work.

Nice 👍 I remember one time we were going to vote on raising the pastors salary, but during the vote he was sitting there. I ask why is he here listening to this? Then I found out that the decision was already made too.  This is my point, why are we voting.

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12 minutes ago, E Morales said:

Nice 👍 I remember one time we were going to vote on raising the pastors salary, but during the vote he was sitting there. I ask why is he here listening to this? Then I found out that the decision was already made too.  This is my point, why are we voting.

In the churches I've been a member of, it's ALWAYS been UNETHICAL for a pastor to stay when people are voting on something like this. And anytime the pastor was present at the beginning of the business meeting on such an item, he was asked politely to leave...in the many churches my wife and I have been in over the years, we have NEVER experienced a pastor sitting through such a vote. I'm not saying this DIDN'T happen where you were/are attending. It's possible, as all churches are different.

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43 minutes ago, BrotherTony said:

In the churches I've been a member of, it's ALWAYS been UNETHICAL for a pastor to stay when people are voting on something like this. And anytime the pastor was present at the beginning of the business meeting on such an item, he was asked politely to leave...in the many churches my wife and I have been in over the years, we have NEVER experienced a pastor sitting through such a vote. I'm not saying this DIDN'T happen where you were/are attending. It's possible, as all churches are different.

Yes sir, I guess for another topic, I can add all those pastors that knows what members are tithing, but this would be for another subject.

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In our church, we basically know what's going to be on the agenda of any given meeting. My husband meets with the men the week prior to our all-church meeting, to discuss the financial report and any other issues (like taking on missionaries). Then, when it is presented to the church, the men's recommendations are mentioned. Discussion is held, and we vote. Majority takes the vote (only one time do I remember not having a unanimous vote). That is the way our constitution states for us to hold meetings, so that's the way we do it.

The members of our church have given my husband a certain latitude in decision making (certain amount of $ he can spend without the church voting on it, for example). But he is very, very careful to be responsible and transparent about things and not be a bossy-pants.  My husband usually does leave the meeting during discussion of his salary (or gifts that the members have discussed wanting to give him). Three years ago, the members voted to raise his salary every January, but due to covid ravaging our membership (no, nobody has gotten it...but we've lost a good number of folks due to the fear of it), he told the church he would rather not receive a raise this year.  Members discussed it and agreed to not raising his salary - but it was the church's decision. Under his suggestion, yes, but we decided, not him.  Same with the car the church bought him - he went on record that he didn't want the church to do so, and he abstained from the vote. But the church bought it anyway (it's actually the church's car, bought for him to use, so if God moved him on the car would go back to the church)

He does make the decisions as to what happens in the pulpit, what kind of music we sing, etc. Because that is the pastor's job...but, again, his duties and responsibilities are clear in our constitution. 

 

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2 hours ago, HappyChristian said:

In our church, we basically know what's going to be on the agenda of any given meeting. My husband meets with the men the week prior to our all-church meeting, to discuss the financial report and any other issues (like taking on missionaries). Then, when it is presented to the church, the men's recommendations are mentioned. Discussion is held, and we vote. Majority takes the vote (only one time do I remember not having a unanimous vote). That is the way our constitution states for us to hold meetings, so that's the way we do it.

The members of our church have given my husband a certain latitude in decision making (certain amount of $ he can spend without the church voting on it, for example). But he is very, very careful to be responsible and transparent about things and not be a bossy-pants.  My husband usually does leave the meeting during discussion of his salary (or gifts that the members have discussed wanting to give him). Three years ago, the members voted to raise his salary every January, but due to covid ravaging our membership (no, nobody has gotten it...but we've lost a good number of folks due to the fear of it), he told the church he would rather not receive a raise this year.  Members discussed it and agreed to not raising his salary - but it was the church's decision. Under his suggestion, yes, but we decided, not him.  Same with the car the church bought him - he went on record that he didn't want the church to do so, and he abstained from the vote. But the church bought it anyway (it's actually the church's car, bought for him to use, so if God moved him on the car would go back to the church)

He does make the decisions as to what happens in the pulpit, what kind of music we sing, etc. Because that is the pastor's job...but, again, his duties and responsibilities are clear in our constitution. 

 

Thank you for replying and I am happy everything is working well in your church with your husband leading by example. But I personally do not believe that the churches should not be in the pastor or pastors, financially controlled. let me explain, a church should not be paying to the pastors rent, house or light bill, telephone bill, taxes, cell phone, anything that you and I as a normal person would pay as a citizen.  I believe that the church which is the members, should not pay for anything at all, for the Pastor but let me say this also, the pastor is worthy of his wages and should be paid very well for what he does. Not the church paying his personal bills. If the pastor is getting paid well, the church does not need to pay for all the other things and more that I mentioned above.

Gifts are welcome like a car, that you mentioned or a well deserved vacation trip with his family. 
 

I would love my job to pay me minimum wage, and that they would pay all and everything else for me. But this will be breaking the law by not paying Taxes.

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