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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.

How many Baptist Churches have you been a member of?


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Growing up I attended one Baptist church for over 9 years, from 4th thru 12th grades. After that I went to the church where the Bible college I was attending was. After the President of the college got divorced from his wife, (he was also pastor, then co-pastor of the church the college was in) I left the college and went to another local Baptist church. The last two in this line was in a period of 18 months. Had I known that the pastor and his wife at the second church were "in trouble" I would never have gone to that particular Bible college or church. But, these things were kept out of the eye of the public until it came to a head.

Having helped plant several churches, and revitalizing others, I've been part of many Baptist churches, from IFB, GARBC, Missionary (BMA), to Southern Baptist. 

I was told that the average church member (and some of the statistics I've read over the years have pretty much been in agreement) will attend at least 3 Baptist churches, or churches of any denomination.

So, how many Baptist churches have you attended as a member in your lifetime? 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Before I became a Baptist, I was part of three different Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches (cannot remember if I was a member of them or not, it was so long ago). Right now I am attending the second IFB church that I have been a member of. I found out a few months ago that in January of this year that the one I was part of in Kelowna, BC, since 1998 is now not assembling together. The families have moved on or are attending an IFB church in Vernon, BC. With Covid fallout, we don't have that many people at our church in Abbotsford - but at least it's still solid in preaching, IFB, KJVonly - better than any other alternatives in my city.

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39 minutes ago, PastorMatt said:
  • Growing up: Faith Baptist Church - Dad was Pastor
  • Then Liberty Baptist From High School to college - Dad went into Evangelism
  • Fairhaven Baptist College for 4 years  (College)
  • Lighthouse Baptist Church for 20 years
  • Now Highpoint Baptist Church- Last 6 years

My best friends daughter and son in law went to Fairhaven! 🙂 Great school! Her name before she got married was Naomi Simon. I can't remember what his name is off hand. They live in Pana, IL now and work with my best friend at the church he pastors.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

My childhood church, the church I attended college, church after college, church upon being married, church hubby co-pastored, 4 churches after moving out of state. We've been at our current church about 8 years. Every church we went to we intended to stay at, but different incidents and circumstances made it necessary to move.

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26 minutes ago, trapperhoney said:

My childhood church, the church I attended college, church after college, church upon being married, church hubby co-pastored, 4 churches after moving out of state. We've been at our current church about 8 years. Every church we went to we intended to stay at, but different incidents and circumstances made it necessary to move.

I can totally relate. We truly wanted to stay in a church about 17 years ago, but the church split. After the split, I took on the roll of temporary pulpit filler...after several weeks of being attacked by the deacon who had caused the split in the first place, my wife and I decided to leave the church "Martin Luther" style! I put a notice on the front door after leaving my key on the pulpit. I knew that certain deacon would find it that Wednesday night. He had been attacking me because I was trying to be the peacemaker between the two factions, and I had nearly convinced the side that left to come back. But, this deacon wouldn't allow it. I spoke to the other deacons, and they agreed that he shouldn't be holding the people from coming back, but in such a small church, the deacons all had to agree or there wouldn't be any reconciliation. After being stalked by phone and in person for a week, we left and joined the split. We had been gone when the initial battle started. My wife's mother had passed away and we were in Augusta, GA at the funeral. We walked back into church on Sunday to a raging battle. It was horrible. We've been through at least 27 splits...most of which were somewhat minor. We stayed with most of those churches. In the church we're in now, we've had at least four minor splits in six years, and we're still there. There's no doctrinal reason to leave, and the Lord still wants us there.

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40 minutes ago, BrotherTony said:

. There's no doctrinal reason to leave, and the Lord still wants us there.

That's where we are at the moment. Kind of in a "holding pattern." Doing what we can and waiting to see where the Lord leads.

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When I was 9, the bus picked me up for Sunday School at Open Door Baptist Church in Lynwood, WA. As a result, the pastor (Ken Blue) visited and helped my Dad with assurance of his salvation. We began attending regularly and were there for 3 years. 

We moved to WV, and attended a few churches before settling on one (I can't remember the name), although we weren't there long. Moved back to WA and began attending a Baptist Church that closed down shortly after we moved to Oklahoma (by this time I was 17...).

In OK, we joined a Baptist church and were there until we moved back to WV. There the effort was made to form a church of which we were an integral part. It didn't happen, and then I went to college. The first college was baptistic, but was not Baptist, as was the second. I graduated from a Baptist college that no longer exists. Oh, summers I attended the camp church at Mount Salem Revival Grounds in WV (VERY Baptist).

After graduating, I moved to Belpre, OH, to teach school at First Baptist of Belpre. Then I moved to OH and joined Tri-County Baptist Church (also to teach). I met Randy there, we were married, and then we joined High Street Baptist in Cols, OH (the church where we met was in the process of closing down after some sad issues). From there, we moved to IN for my hubs to go to college. Fairhaven Baptist, where we met PatorMatt and his soon-to-be wife. We were there for 26 years, and then moved out here to WA. We did join a Baptist church upon moving here, but soon there were issues (no pastor...the pastor's wife was virtually the "pastor" - nuff said). So we found and joined Lighthouse Baptist Church in Port Townsend, WA, where my hubs is now the pastor.

Whew...just a few churches. LOL But we did move all over the country several times. Before I was 9, I went to other churches, some different denominations, but never joined. There was a Baptist church down the street from our house when I was very young (about 6). I remember my sister and I going once, because of the dresses we wore. They were "granny" dresses and I loved them, so I think that is why it's stuck in my mind. We may have gone more than that, but I have no memory of it.

 

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12 hours ago, BrotherTony said:

I can totally relate. We truly wanted to stay in a church about 17 years ago, but the church split. After the split, I took on the roll of temporary pulpit filler...after several weeks of being attacked by the deacon who had caused the split in the first place, my wife and I decided to leave the church "Martin Luther" style! I put a notice on the front door after leaving my key on the pulpit. I knew that certain deacon would find it that Wednesday night. He had been attacking me because I was trying to be the peacemaker between the two factions, and I had nearly convinced the side that left to come back. But, this deacon wouldn't allow it. I spoke to the other deacons, and they agreed that he shouldn't be holding the people from coming back, but in such a small church, the deacons all had to agree or there wouldn't be any reconciliation. After being stalked by phone and in person for a week, we left and joined the split. We had been gone when the initial battle started. My wife's mother had passed away and we were in Augusta, GA at the funeral. We walked back into church on Sunday to a raging battle. It was horrible. We've been through at least 27 splits...most of which were somewhat minor. We stayed with most of those churches. In the church we're in now, we've had at least four minor splits in six years, and we're still there. There's no doctrinal reason to leave, and the Lord still wants us there.

No Deacon or Deacons should ever be given that much authority. Decision making is under the authority of the whole church membership. They are in that position as HELPERS to the pastor, not rulers, not a board of Deacons.

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3 hours ago, Jim_Alaska said:

No Deacon or Deacons should ever be given that much authority. Decision making is under the authority of the whole church membership. They are in that position as HELPERS to the pastor, not rulers, not a board of Deacons.

I totally agree. That was one reason we went with the split in this church after several weeks. I never could understand why many of the deacons had abdicated their responsibility and let the head deacon take away the work of the constitutional rights of the membership. That particular church has had at least six pastors in the last 17 years, and they have gone even further off-course than they were before. The membership grew for a while, but they are now in a slump...part of that may be because of the pandemic.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Member only 2 (1-IFB and the one I attend now IB). Tabernacle Independent Fundamental Baptist, Va. Beach, Va. and Decatur Baptist, Little Hocking, OH.

Attended many but only membership in the two above.

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Brother Tony, This is the first I ever heard of a "head Deacon". The Bible lists the office of Deacon, I don't see anywhere, or justification for a hierarchy of Deacons. This could be and very likely was, the problem with the church you mentioned. No one man should have authority such as this. Even the pastor is to lead, not have authority over the church above pastoral authority. The ultimate authority in matters of church business lies with tis membership, that is the Scriptural way.

I should back off of the subject of deacons, it is pulling the thread off topic. I apologize for this. It seems like I just couldn't let the subject of undue power given to Deacons go.

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12 hours ago, 1Timothy115 said:

Member only 2 (1-IFB and the one I attend now IB). Tabernacle Independent Fundamental Baptist, Va. Beach, Va. and Decatur Baptist, Little Hocking, OH.

Attended many but only membership in the two above.

Did you know Ray Fulayter, John Kerr, Joel Spencer, or any of those who came there from MBBC to teach or administrate the college there?  Good church and college!

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11 hours ago, Jim_Alaska said:

Brother Tony, This is the first I ever heard of a "head Deacon". The Bible lists the office of Deacon, I don't see anywhere, or justification for a hierarchy of Deacons. This could be and very likely was, the problem with the church you mentioned. No one man should have authority such as this. Even the pastor is to lead, not have authority over the church above pastoral authority. The ultimate authority in matters of church business lies with tis membership, that is the Scriptural way.

I should back off of the subject of deacons, it is pulling the thread off topic. I apologize for this. It seems like I just couldn't let the subject of undue power given to Deacons go.

I don't mind the interruptiion to the thread about deacons. In the church where I grew up, and in the church where the Bible college was, they didn't have a "head deacon." But, in many of the IFB and SBC churches I've been in, they have had a "head deacon." I don't think it's so much that the person is the head, but is the one who calls deacons meetings to order and tries to lead the discussion. That in and of itself can be problematic, or so I have witnessed. Yet, in only a handful of churches did the "head deacon" become so out of hand that they truly should have been removed from that office!

Remember, Jim, all these churches are autonomous and can call their deacons whatever they want, or try to place a deacon in the position of being "head." 

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