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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 missionaries do your church personally supports


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I believe that all biblical Bible preaching churches should support personally at least one or more missionaries. Not sending love offerings to some cloud in the air somewhere, where others make decisions on what to do with those funds. I know independent Baptist churches do support personally missionaries and they come to visit the church, with their reports and fundraising. Other churches like the Southern Baptist church receive funds from many small churches to support missionaries, it sounds good but if you never really know the results of your love offerings, it’s not the same thing.

what do you think?

Bugs Bunny Money GIF by Looney Tunes

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5 minutes ago, E Morales said:

I believe that all biblical Bible preaching churches should support personally at least one or more missionaries. Not sending love offerings to some cloud in the air somewhere, where others make decisions on what to do with those funds. I know independent Baptist churches do support personally missionaries and they come to visit the church, with their reports and fundraising. Other churches like the Southern Baptist church receive funds from many small churches to support missionaries, it sounds good but if you never really know the results of your love offerings, it’s not the same thing.

what do you think?

Bugs Bunny Money GIF by Looney Tunes

I'm in a SBC church now, and we give to the cooperative. We don't choose our missionaries individually, but give the money through the cooperative to send MORE missionaries to the field quicker so that they don't have to spend years gaining support through individual churches. It's sometimes a good thing, and there are many good missionaries that have been sent, but there are some who shouldn't have been sent as well. That being said, I've seen good and bad missionaries sent through IFB churches as well, though the people trying to get to the missionfield have to go to each individual church to raise support. Some of these people wishing to be missionaries are deceptive, sad to say...though most are sincere and want to spread the gospel. I believe the premise of your question is wrong. I'm personally not a fan of the cooperative, but we DO get reports on  how the missionaries the cooperative supports are doing, and what is being preached. 

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3 minutes ago, BrotherTony said:

I'm in a SBC church now, and we give to the cooperative. We don't choose our missionaries individually, but give the money through the cooperative to send MORE missionaries to the field quicker so that they don't have to spend years gaining support through individual churches. It's sometimes a good thing, and there are many good missionaries that have been sent, but there are some who shouldn't have been sent as well. That being said, I've seen good and bad missionaries sent through IFB churches as well, though the people trying to get to the missionfield have to go to each individual church to raise support. Some of these people wishing to be missionaries are deceptive, sad to say...though most are sincere and want to spread the gospel. I believe the premise of your question is wrong. I'm personally not a fan of the cooperative, but we DO get reports on  how the missionaries the cooperative supports are doing, and what is being preached. 

Are these missionary reports shared with the members of the church also? Because  I’ve been in southern Baptist churches where I never hear the results for missionaries support. Just a general report that says your offering is going to a good cause. This is not enough in my opinion.

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11 minutes ago, E Morales said:

Are these missionary reports shared with the members of the church also? Because  I’ve been in southern Baptist churches where I never hear the results for missionaries support. Just a general report that says your offering is going to a good cause. This is not enough in my opinion.

Uh, ya! They have to be...Some people just don't seem to know how the SBC operates...the SBC churches are all INDEPENDENT (autuonomous) churches. They cooperate in missions only, and that through volluntary participation in the cooperation of missions. Each church reports to their members what the missionaries are doing, what they are preaching, and the churches can direct their monies sent to certain missionaries if they desire. Maybe you should study the SBC a bit more before you start casting dispearsions on it. That's one thing that yanks my crank about certain sects of Baptists...they try to make the SBC churches seem like they're joined together at the hip like a denomination...and that is clearly not the case! 

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Yes, we have a batch. 


I agree with BroMatt… less is more. I’ve seen churches in the states that gave $25/month - or even $10/month!! Maybe in 1969 that was worth something, but what a waste of time and resources for missionaries to have to raise support in such miserly increments. 
 

One thing I can’t figure out is why our churches haven’t moved more toward electronic transfers for missions support. We had a couple local missionaries that our church served as the distributor for. Supporters would send Cheques to our church, which had to be mailed, deposited, recut, and mailed again. Electronic would be soooo much quicker for getting funds to missionaries in the field. 

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36 minutes ago, Salyan said:

One thing I can’t figure out is why our churches haven’t moved more toward electronic transfers for missions support. We had a couple local missionaries that our church served as the distributor for. Supporters would send Cheques to our church, which had to be mailed, deposited, recut, and mailed again. Electronic would be soooo much quicker for getting funds to missionaries in the field. 

None of our missionaries yet has asked for electronic transfer, but we do have it set up with our bank to automatically mail the checkouts out every week. Most banks (at least here) do this free of charge.

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There are places in the world where missionaries cannot get or cash checks and there is no such thing as electronic transfers. Far East Russia is such a place. We had two missionary families that went out together. We were their "sending church". The only way to support them was cash. This could prove difficult to impossible. But we were fortunate in that, we had a commercial airline pilot offer to hand deliver our support, whether it be cash or other needful thigs that could not be purchased there.

The Lord opened the door for us and he offered to take the support on a regular basis, since his work put him in Magadan on a rigid schedule. Our missionaries operated that way for five years and established two Independent Baptist Churches. This was only one of the miracles that God performed in support of His work in Far East Russia.

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5 hours ago, BrotherTony said:

Uh, ya! They have to be...Some people just don't seem to know how the SBC operates...the SBC churches are all INDEPENDENT (autuonomous) churches. They cooperate in missions only, and that through volluntary participation in the cooperation of missions. Each church reports to their members what the missionaries are doing, what they are preaching, and the churches can direct their monies sent to certain missionaries if they desire. Maybe you should study the SBC a bit more before you start casting dispearsions on it. That's one thing that yanks my crank about certain sects of Baptists...they try to make the SBC churches seem like they're joined together at the hip like a denomination...and that is clearly not the case! 

I guess we can do a poll asking do your church delivers missionary reports to its members. I’m not talking about financial reports. I’m just talking about knowing who you’re supporting what they’re doing how many people have been led to Christ, and things like that. It’s just very encouraging and even making a person wanna do more when you’re a part of it. I don’t want to hear that the budget this year is $150 million, this does not make cents. I know I spelled  sense wrong. I’d rather hear the $200 I sent help a missionary repair the roof, or the restrooms buy Bibles, or microphones, speakers anything to help.

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41 minutes ago, E Morales said:

I guess we can do a poll asking do your church delivers missionary reports to its members. I’m not talking about financial reports. I’m just talking about knowing who you’re supporting what they’re doing how many people have been led to Christ, and things like that. It’s just very encouraging and even making a person wanna do more when you’re a part of it. I don’t want to hear that the budget this year is $150 million, this does not make cents. I know I spelled  sense wrong. I’d rather hear the $200 I sent help a missionary repair the roof, or the restrooms buy Bibles, or microphones, speakers anything to help.

Ours aren't financial reports. They are reports on converts, activities, etc. Don't know where you got the idea that they''re just financial reports, but, if that's what you believe, you're incorrect.

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7 hours ago, BrotherTony said:

Uh, ya! They have to be...Some people just don't seem to know how the SBC operates...the SBC churches are all INDEPENDENT (autuonomous) churches. They cooperate in missions only, and that through volluntary participation in the cooperation of missions. Each church reports to their members what the missionaries are doing, what they are preaching, and the churches can direct their monies sent to certain missionaries if they desire. Maybe you should study the SBC a bit more before you start casting dispearsions on it. That's one thing that yanks my crank about certain sects of Baptists...they try to make the SBC churches seem like they're joined together at the hip like a denomination...and that is clearly not the case! 

I don't know everything there is to know regarding SBC churches Bro. Tony. But in the matter of missionary support I know that unlike Independent Baptist churches I have been a member of; the SBC, through the IMB, siphon off some of the missionary support for administrative expense, as well as salary for employees and infrastructure, such as, building and office space purchase or rent.

My experience in the churches I have been a member of is that we send our support to the sending church, which in turn sends the whole directly to the missionary. I personally believe that conventions and mission boards are unscriptural.

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4 hours ago, Jim_Alaska said:

I don't know everything there is to know regarding SBC churches Bro. Tony. But in the matter of missionary support I know that unlike Independent Baptist churches I have been a member of; the SBC, through the IMB, siphon off some of the missionary support for administrative expense, as well as salary for employees and infrastructure, such as, building and office space purchase or rent.

My experience in the churches I have been a member of is that we send our support to the sending church, which in turn sends the whole directly to the missionary. I personally believe that conventions and mission boards are unscriptural.

Are they? I don't find anywhere in Scripture where these expenses cannot be used in that fashion. Those who go out under the SBC banner know about these expenses and agree to them. So, that would be between them, the IMB/NAMB and  God. The churches have agreed to these expenses by sending the monies tot these entities to direct the giving to the missionaries. They shouldn't have to do this work for free.  Granted, I don't like the idea of costs being deducted from the monies sent, but there is a price to pay for them. I personally don't like the percentage that goes to them, especially since it's increased over the 21 years since we've been in SBC churches. I've made a point of making this known in the churches we've been in since we joined. Some churches have taken it to heart and sent the monies directly to the missionary instead of to the IMB or the NAMB. 

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22 hours ago, PastorMatt said:

Since we just started missions not too long ago, we currently support 3. and we're adding a 4th and 5th soon.

Each church has it's own philosophy, ours it to support less with more money, then support more with little money. 

Totally agree with your philosophy. It certainly would cost both local churches and missionaries less money in the long run, and also would make furloughs easier. Also makes it easier for your church to actually mentally keep up with your supported missionaries. a lot easier to keep up with 5 missionaries at say 300 a month than 20 missionaries at 75 a month. 

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