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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.

Cloven tongues like as of fire


E Morales
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2 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

Yes, and I’m saying in the early acts the only baptism they knew of was John’s, not until Paul was saved did the understanding of baptism change.

Can you provide proof tht that was when it changed? Jesus told the disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel and to baptize in the name of the father, son and the Holy Ghost! Something's not right with your statement.

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1 hour ago, BrotherTony said:

Can you provide proof tht that was when it changed? Jesus told the disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel and to baptize in the name of the father, son and the Holy Ghost! Something's not right with your statement.

Acts 10:45 shows they didn’t have the complete understanding of baptism at this time. 

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31 minutes ago, Hugh_Flower said:

Acts 10:45 shows they didn’t have the complete understanding of baptism at this time. 

Seems to me that they didn't have a full understanding of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit onto the Gentiles...I'm pretty sure that they understood baptism...

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4 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

Acts 10:45 shows they didn’t have the complete understanding of baptism at this time. 

This verse has nothing to do with baptism at all. I am afraid that you are so confused by what you believe or have been taught that neither you, or anyone replying to you, can reply without confusion.

Israel does not become The Kingdom of God, as you indicated above. You waffle hopefully between water baptism and what you call national baptism, of which there is no such thing.

This thread has become hopelessly mired down in confusion.How about we try this: Does a person have to be baptized to be saved? A simple yes or no will suffice, no more confusion.

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8 hours ago, wretched said:

The idea that water baptism is unnecessary or meaningless for believers is just as much folly as those whom claim it "in itself" saves. 

I don't think anyone has said or indicated that baptism was unnecessary or meaningless.

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18 hours ago, Jim_Alaska said:

This verse has nothing to do with baptism at all. I am afraid that you are so confused by what you believe or have been taught that neither you, or anyone replying to you, can reply without confusion.

Israel does not become The Kingdom of God, as you indicated above. You waffle hopefully between water baptism and what you call national baptism, of which there is no such thing.

This thread has become hopelessly mired down in confusion.How about we try this: Does a person have to be baptized to be saved? A simple yes or no will suffice, no more confusion.

I was talking about the Kingdom of Heaven not the Kingdom of God.

no. Of course not. 

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Many people, including me, believe the two terms are interchangeable in the New Testament. Can you please clarify the difference you are trying, especially in regards to baptism. You basically (maybe unintentionally) said nothing above.

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6 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

I don’t have time to go through it with you guys, your minds are made up when it comes to this.

The following post is not intended to engage the prior discussion as a whole, but only to engage the idea that minds are already "made up."  When I read that statement above, I thought - That is actually how it works most of the time with doctrinal positions.  For most Biblical doctrine my mind is very firmly "made up" with heart conviction concerning the position that I hold, and it would require someone to provide a very thorough presentation concerning how my position is Biblically inaccurate or concerning how their position is more accurate in order for me to change. As an example for this (employed ONLY as an example, NOT at all as an accusation against anyone) - While Brother Hugh above accused Brother Jerry and Brother Jim of having their minds already "made up" on this matter (about which he is likely quite correct), it is also quite likely that Brother Hugh's own mind is also already "made up" concerning the position that he holds.  As such, it is likely that BOTH sides already have their minds "made up."  Thus in order for change on either side to be possible, it would require a thorough Biblical response from the opposing side; and it would require an honest consideration and examination of that response by the receiving side. Then it would further require the first side to honestly consider and examine any counter response that the receiving side might present.

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12 hours ago, Hugh_Flower said:

You guys are acting like you’ve never heard this said before. I don’t have time to go through it with you guys, your minds are made up when it comes to this.

Yes, of course, my mind is made up on most of my Bible theology already. I am on a board (and on this topic specifically) to debate others on what I believe and already am sure of. It would be very dangerous to get involved in any Biblical debate if you don't know where to stand. Unless someone is searching for truth, asking questions to determine what the Bible says about various aspects of the issue/doctrine, trying to sort it out. However, someone coming on these boards (or anywhere else) presenting a position is not searching for answers, but teaching their own position - rightly or wrongly, therefore giving others the right to respond, especially if they feel the person is off theologically or needs some clarification.

That being said, I truly have no clue about what you are speaking about above. I know what the Bible teaches about baptism - however, I do not know what you are referring to or trying to teach/present here. So on that aspect, my mind is not made up as I am unsure what you are talking about. However, on the issue of salvation/the Gospel and where baptism fits in as a public testimony of our salvation, an identification with Christ's death, burial and resurrection - yes, my mind is made up.

As a related statement - not specifically referring to this thread** - if someone who has been saved for a long while suddenly jumps ship on any major position in the Bible (doctrinal or even basic understanding of what the Bible says in certain places), then there is something wrong. Yes, we finetune our understanding and grow in our knowledge of the Bible, day by day and year by year - but if someone was saved for 20 years and reading/studying their Bible that whole time (for example), then suddenly switched doctrinal stance on a major issue, then something was wrong. Yes, someone can change their understanding on the endtimes for example, (ie. where the rapture fits), if their background clouded or influenced their understanding of that issue. But changing it would also involve a lot of study, and I believe would take the wisdom and conviction of the Holy Spirit as well. However; I find usually when people jump ship - they are going from a sure position to a more liberal one due perhaps to the spiritual influences they have allowed in their lives.

**Stated because recently a relatively new friend who definitely listens to hyper-dispensationalists challenged me to change my position on salvation in other dispensations (which I do not believe is different - how they were to live and the progressive revelation they were given differed - but trusting in the coming Messiah, the substitute who would die for their sins - has been there from the beginning). It would involve me totally turning my back on 29 years of Bible study and receiving a position that I have never seen in the Word of God through all those years. Not going to happen. I might grow in my understanding of certain aspects of each dispensation, for example, but if I did not have a relatively firm grasp on all the Bible by this point in time, then I am in trouble theologically.

Edited by Jerry
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40 minutes ago, Jerry said:

**Stated because recently a relatively new friend who definitely listens to hyper-dispensationalists challenged me to change my position on salvation in other dispensations (which I do not believe is different - how they were to live and the progressive revelation they were given differed - but trusting in the coming Messiah, the substitute who would die for their sins - has been there from the beginning). It would involve me totally turning my back on 29 years of Bible study and receiving a position that I have never seen in the Word of God through all those years. Not going to happen. I might grow in my understanding of certain aspects of each dispensation, for example, but if I did not have a relatively firm grasp on all the Bible by this point in time, then I am in trouble theologically.

Agreed.

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