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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.

Day 8 - The Lord's Eight Provisions


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Numbers In The Bible Series
08 - The Lord's Eight Provisions

Day Eight - The Lord's Eight Provisions

Psalm 121, [A Song of degrees.] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (1) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (2) He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.(3) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. (4) The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. (5) The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. (6) The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. (7) The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. (8)

Although I have done a devotional on this Psalm in the past, the Lord laid it on my heart again this morning. As I read through it, I saw it in a different light. I noticed there were eight promises given to us. God is so Good, isn't He? Let's look at the eight promises of Psalm 121.

(1) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. God promises that our help comes from Him. The Creator of heaven and earth is able to help us - He's wanting to help us! I would imagine that my problems are a cinch for the Creator of the universe, wouldn't you? David knew where to go for his help. He encouraged himself and exhorts us to do the same. Are you running to others to solve your problems? Are you running to your spouse to comfort you? Are you running to your friends so they can help you carry your burdens? The Word says that our help comes from God, who made heaven and earth. I believe David knew who his God was and did not need to state that He was the maker of heaven and earth. I think David was telling us that the Creator of all is the One who will help us. This is not just anyone, my friend. This is the only One who is able to help us perfectly and thoroughly!

(2) He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: God is promising us that despite the dangers and trials in our lives, He will not allow us to be moved. The Word has several verses which state that God "will not suffer":

For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (Exodus 12:23) Surely it's not a coincidence that this is the first occurrence of "will not suffer" - the fact that Christ's blood over us preserves us for all eternity.

The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked. (Proverbs 10:3) The born-again believer will never famish spiritually because God has promised to feed us. We have His living Word to eat from. Brother Jerry's devotional yesterday (Day 7 - Fourfold Picture of Water from the Rock), was filled with how God provided for us through the water from the Rock. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13) God is so compassionate that He will never give us more than we can handle.

Our Heavenly Father is the parent who protects His child. He is the Shepherd who watches over His flock and makes sure that we don't slip or go down the wrong path! Our Father will not allow us to be moved spiritually, my friend. The Word does not say maybe - or might - or probably. The Word says that He shall keep us from falling! When we do fall, it is by choice - not because the Father could not stop us.

(3) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Don't you feel comforted by these words? We have a God who never sleeps. He is ever vigilant and always watching out for us! Nothing gets pass the Lord. God has promised that He will never sleep, therefore you are protected while on His watch! My son is joining the Marine Corps. He has collected so many "Marine" sayings. One of his favorites is: "Sleep well tonight, the Marines are on watch!" While I am comforted and truly appreciate that the United States Marine Corps is protecting my dear country, I am all the more comforted because my God never sleeps and nothing will happen to me on His watch which He has not permitted!

(4) The LORD is thy keeper: Jehovah also promises to be our Keeper, my friend! Like the Shepherd, God keeps us securely and faithfully. The Hebrew word for keeper is:

H8104
שׁמר
shâmar
shaw-mar'
A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.

The Lord has placed a hedge of protection around us. He protects us and attends to our needs! Job experienced this hedge of protection from God. See Job 1:10. How can we be afraid of anything that comes our way when we are promised that Jehovah God keeps us?

(5) The LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The temperatures in Northern Virginia have been quite high as of late. I can truly appreciate the need for shade! I absolutely love the way David wrote this verse! His God, Jehovah, provided him with shade during the heat of the day! Spiritually speaking, I believe the Lord is showing us that even at the height of our heated trials and tribulations, He provides us with His protection - His shade. We've all been outside on a hot and humid day. How refreshing it was to stand under a tree's shade, where it was a good 10 degrees cooler! We, too, can find rest, comfort and shade from our trials under the Lord's right hand. I also noticed that although we are sitting in the shade, the heat of the day is still out there. So it is true for our pilgrim's walk. The heat of the trial is still there but the Lord provides us shade (comfort and rest) so we can endure the trial.

(6) The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. Do you notice that this is a complete day? God promises to be in everything in the course of our day. There is not any part of the day for which He is not there to protect us. He's not just there in the afternoons or in the dark of night. Jehovah is there all the time. Matthew 28:20b and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

(7) The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The word "preserve" is used twice here. He preserves us from evil and He preserves our soul. I love the definition that Noah Webster used for the word preserve:

1. To keep or save from injury or destruction; to defend from evil.

God did send me before you to preserve life. Genesis 45.

O Lord, preserve me from the violent man. Psalm 140.

2. To uphold; to sustain.

O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. Psalm 36.

5. To keep or defend from corruption; as, to preserve youth from vice.

The Lord promises to keep us from the evil one but He also promises to keep our souls. Our soul is eternal - God has promises to preserve our soul through eternity! From the moment we are born again, we are promised to be kept by God Himself. Our salvation not only was provided by Him but it rests in His care!

(8) The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. Here is a blessing within a blessing as far as numbers from the Bible are concerned. My Lord preserves me for all eternity from the moment I am saved. Notice how David pointed out three different times in this verse that Jehovah shall preserve us. The Lord God Almighty shall preserve us as we go out - from the beginning of our Christian walk. He shall preserve us until we come in from our Christian walk - when we die. He also shall preserve us throughout eternity! Three times Jehovah preserves us in this one verse. The number for the Trinity, the total Godhead, will preserve those covered under the number eight - those of the new beginning - the born again believer, for all eternity! I surely do not think it is a coincidence that the God (all three of the Godhead took part in my creation - see Genesis 1:26) who created me is involved in preserving me. He played a part in my earthly creation, my new born-again life and my eternal life. Praise the Lord!

Oh Christian, do you not want to jump for joy when you read these promises - these eight provisions? Our perfect Triune God makes promises He will never break.

Doxology
(Thomas Ken)

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Dear God...
I praise You, Three in One
For all You've done for me
You are the One I seek
From now through eternity!

Devotional by Kate Plourde

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