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         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 17 - Eight Ways The Lord Gets Personal


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
Numbers In The Bible Series
17 - Eight Ways The Lord Gets Personal

Day 17 - Eight Ways The Lord Gets Personal

Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. (Psalm 77:14)

Being saved is having a personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ. To many, this is not understandable - they are merely words. God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. So much so, He has written all about it across the pages of His love letters to us in His Word.

I wondered how many times I would find the phrase, "The Lord is my" in the Bible. To my delight, I discovered that it was used eight different ways. How appropriate is that? Eight is the number of "new beginnings" - how wonderful that our new beginning as born-again Christians is reflected in our personal relationship with Christ! My Pastor stated that everlasting life does not begin at the moment we die and leave this physical body. Everlasting life begins at the moment we are born again. We merely exchange our earthly bodies for a heavenly body at the time of death. This new beginning at the time of salvation had new meaning to me as I meditated on what he preached.

As born-again believers, were are adopted into the family of God and now worship a personal God.

(1) God is my Strength:

(Exodus 15:2) The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

(Psalm 28:7) The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

(Psalm 118:14) The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

There have been so many times in my walk (as I am sure in yours) where I felt as though I could not go on one more minute in my own strength. I felt so weak and discouraged. It is at these times of depression that God ministered to me. It was as if He had sat down beside me and placed His strong arm around me to say He was right there and He would take care of everything. I have relied on the Lord's strength many times. I think of my dear sick friend who battles daily with her physical trials. She battles depression because of it. This friend needs the strength of her God. It reminds me of: And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

(2) God is my Rock:

And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; (2 Samuel 22:2)

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Psalm 18:2)

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:4)

When we build our spiritual foundation upon the Rock, Jesus Christ, we are able to claim these verses, my friend! When you look at today's picture, can you imagine this mountain falling apart? I can't, but I know it is possible. The Lord chose a rock to depict His strength, His stability, His power and might. We can run to this Rock and be protected. There are times when nothing else can do what God can do for us. He knows our frailties, He knows our weaknesses and He pities us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. (Psalm 103:13) He wants us to be able to run to Him and hide in Him. He is not like the rocks of earth which may crumble and fall. His strength is permanent and unwavering. My favorite times in the Word have been those where I have desperately needed a miracle and hid myself in His Word. The miracle I received was not the one I wanted but it was the spiritual one I needed from the Rock of Ages.

(3) He is my Shepherd:

[A Psalm of David.] The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (John 10:14)

In my devotional, Day 6 - The Nine Cares of a Shepherd, the Word taught me just how thoroughly Christ takes care of me. Christ knows His sheep - He knows us by name and each part of us (even down to the number of hairs on our head)! Does this not touch you at the very core of your heart? God, the Creator, knows you by name! Praise His Holy Name! He will guide you, care for you, protect you and love you!

(4) He is my Light:

[A Psalm of David.] The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

When we are saved, God gives us the ability to read and understand His Word. We are no longer stumbling in the dark but we have a new spiritual light within us called the Holy Spirit. He illuminates His Word and reveals to us what He intended for us to learn. Each day the Word is fresh and new. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) It is here that we will see the light of God. He reveals His will to us within the pages of our Bible. The believer who does not spend time in the Word is walking in spiritual darkness and will stumble. The Lord promises to light our way so that we don't have to stumble. When we do, it is because of our unfaithfulness, not God's. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105) and But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (Proverbs 4:18) God is light and promises to shed light on our way so we are not in darkness.

(5) He is my Defence:

But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. (Psalm 94:22)

He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. (Psalm 62:6)

Noah Webster defines defence as:

1. To drive from; to thrust back; hence, to deny; to repel a demand, charge, or accusation; to oppose; to resist; the effect of which is to maintain ones own claims.

God stands ready to oppose all our enemies, including ole slew foot himself. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

(6) He is my Portion:

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. (Lamentations 3:24)

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. (Psalm 73:26)

We have just as much of the Holy Spirit at the time we are saved that we are ever going to get. The key is are we yielded to Him? We grow in Christ and become more like Him because of our yieldedness to the work of the Spirit in our lives. He is our portion - our flesh will fail us but the Holy Spirit is our strength to overcome trial and temptation. He is always with us. Once we are born again, we receive the Holy Spirit of God and the Word says that we are sealed unto the day of redemption. Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. (2 Corinthians 1:22) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30) That's a promise! What a portion of God we have!

(7) He is my God:

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. (Zechariah 13:9)

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (John 20:28)

Can the unsaved claim this verse? How can they personalize their god in this way? They cannot. How can a statue of Buddha be personalized? I have never heard or read of a muslim saying that Allah was a personal god to him. But our God meets our needs in a very intimate and personal way. He knows our every need. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Matthew 6:32)

(8) He is my Helper:

Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me. (Psalm 86:17)

(Hebrews 13:6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. God is our helper, my friend. Many times I have found myself in a situation that I just can't fix. I'm going through a trial such as this at the moment. [To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.] God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) Am I in trouble? No, but my trial is one that I personally cannot fix. There is nothing that I can humanly do which will solve this problem. Can God? Absolutely! I have seen the Lord come to my rescue time and time again. I can rest on my past experiences because He has been faithful in helping me. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (Hebrews 10:23)

I will not waver - I refuse to waver in this area of faith because my God is personal. My personal God is my Strength, my Rock, my Shepherd, my Light, my Defence, my Portion, my God and my Helper! What have I to fear? Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Dear God...
You are our Abba, Father
You know our every need
There is not one thing hidden
To You we humbly plead.

Devotional by Kate Plourde

Edited by Jerry
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