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         33
      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 45 - Laodicea, The Lukewarm Church


Jerry
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Numbers In The Bible Series
45 - Laodicea, The Lukewarm Church

Day 45 - Laodicea, The Lukewarm Church

Sis Kate has already tackled several aspects of the seven letters to the churches in this series - I believe this study would fit there as well. It is interesting to note that there are three things Christ says about Himself in the opening part of the letter, and three things He counsels them to buy from Him through faith. The five things they were lacking in are all met by grace in salvation (grace is often pictured by the number five).

Laodicea, The Lukewarm Church

There is much we can glean from the seven letters to the churches in Revelation chapters two and three. They not only cover the broad spectrum of professing Christendom at any given moment (from Christ's perspective), they also show the progression of the church age: starting with Ephesus (the churches in the time of the Apostles, the first century churches), to Laodicea (the end-time lukewarm churches).

Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

It is interesting to note that Laodicea means "the righteousness of the people." No longer are these professing believers trusting in the righteousness of Christ to cover their sins, but in their own self-righteousness!

Here Jesus Christ (who is speaking) identifies Himself in three ways:

1) The Amen – the Messiah and Saviour in whom all the promises of God are fulfilled. Just as we seal our Amen to our prayers (to indicate our agreement and desire for fulfillment), so Christ sets His seal on all the promises and prophecies in Scripture. 2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

2) The faithful and true witness - In an age where many are denying that there is a source of ultimate truth, here Jesus declares Himself the source; when many believe all truth is relative and subjective, here Jesus proclaims Himself as the witness of the truth. What He says in His Word is faithful and true and can be relied on. John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.

3) The beginning of the creation of God - the word beginning here means "first in time, place, order, or rank." Jesus is stating that He is to have first place in our all lives, first place in all of creation. Colossians 1:15-18 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.

Revelation 3:15-16 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.

The true danger in professing Christendom is not the atheist or agnostic who doesn't "believe in God", nor the Satanist or New Ager who is fully against God, nor the true fundamental, Bible-believing Christian (as the media would like to portray), but the lukewarm believer. It is easy to determine where all of the above stand in relation to Jesus Christ and the things of God, but the lukewarm believer is half-in half-out of the world; professing to be saved, but living like the Devil; proclaiming to believe the Bible, but picking and choosing what parts they will accept from it and explaining away the rest; claiming to believe in Christianity, yet denying the fundamentals; claiming to believe that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour, but yoking up with unbelievers of all stripes. That is the danger in Christendom! The true believer won't be sidetracked by what is obviously openly against Christ, will embrace what is faithful to the things of God, but will sometimes be deceived by the counterfeit that is out there. And there are many in the lost world who will detest the lukewarm "Christianity" that they are familiar with, and will perhaps never get saved. Just like we want to spit a lukewarm drink out of our mouths, even so the Lord Himself will spit out these lukewarm professors unless they get right with the Lord.

Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

In Matthew 24:12 we read, And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will wax cold. Sin will cause our love for the Lord and others to grow cold. In Revelation we find that being satisfied with material goods will cause us to be lukewarm. Mark 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. There is the danger of looking to our possessions and prosperity to meet all our needs, yet there is more at stake than just the physical.

Jesus addresses this fallen spiritual state. While I believe the primary picture painted here is that of an unsaved person, I still believe that the true believer can judge their heart and see if they fit in any of these areas. Have we grown lukewarm in our love for the Lord and the things of God?

Wretched - Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? In this chapter of Romans we see the battle that the true believer faces between the sinful nature and the new spiritual nature. Paul states that when he was not able to overcome sin, he was a wretched man. Likewise all the lost are in this state, wretched in God's eyes, unable to overcome the sins they are in bondage to – they do not have the power, nor the spiritual resources to overcome sin. The only solution is to come to Jesus Christ for salvation and walk according to the leading of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8). Apart from Christ, mankind is wretched indeed!

Miserable - 1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. Apart from the hope of eternal life in Christ, there is no hope beyond this life. Believers have the assurance of Heaven and rewards for faithful service, but the lost do not have this hope. Truly they are miserable in the Lord's eyes.

Poor - Luke 12:20-21 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Here is the case of someone that is poor in God's eyes, spiritually bankrupt. The only solution is to turn in faith to Christ and have His perfect righteousness credited to their account. Sin on their account makes them poor indeed!

Blind - John 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. The lost are blind, unable to see their lost condition and their need of a Saviour. (See 2 Corinthians 4:3-4) When we heed the conviction of the Holy Spirit regarding our lost estate, our eyes are opened to understand what the Saviour has done for us and we see our need for Him. Without Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the unsaved are truly blind!

Naked - Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. Sin makes us ashamed before God. Like Adam and Eve fleeing from the presence of God in the Garden of Eden after they sinned (Genesis 3:6-10), even so sin today will cause us to be ashamed in His presence. (See Proverbs 30:12) We need the blood of Christ and the robe of His righteousness to cover our sins. Without it, we would be naked indeed!

Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Gold tried in the fire - faith. This is what will make us rich in the eyes of the Lord. The gold is our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our reliance upon Him for salvation, and our trust in Him during the trials we will face in this life. The fire is what tries that gold to make it pure, to make it precious in the eyes of God.

1 Peter 1:7-8 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Job 23:10 But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

White raiment - This is the righteousness of Christ that is credited (imputed) to our account when we turn from our own self-righteousness, and receive His righteousness, believing that He paid the full penalty that our sin deserved when He died upon the cross for us. His resurrection three days later was proof that the payment was satisfactory to God the Father. It is only when we are clothed with this white raiment that the nakedness of our sin is removed completely.

Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Romans 4:23-25 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Eyes anointed with eyesalve - Receive spiritual sight. Turn to the Lord in faith and He will open your eyes. His Holy Spirit will indwell you and will enable you to understand the Word of God, which He inspired. 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (See also 1 John 2:20, 27)

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

He rebukes us and disciplines us because of His great love for us. If He did not care, He would let us go on our own way to destruction without warning us and pleading with us. Be zealous and repent - here is the heat! Zealous means “to be hot, have warmth of feeling for.” We are to repent of our sins (turn from them in our heart, which will result in an outward turning) and to be zealous for the Lord. While sin will cool our love for the Lord, meditating and musing on the Word of God will make it burn hotter. Psalm 39:3 My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue. (See also Jeremiah 20:9)

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.

"He uses all proper means to awaken sinners, and to cause them to open to him: he calls by his word, he knocks by the impulses of his Spirit upon their conscience." - Matthew Henry.

Behold, Jesus is standing at the door of your heart and He wants to come in. If you are lost and do not know Him as your Saviour, He wants to come and dwell in your heart through faith. He wants to come into your life and save you. (See Ephesians 3:17) If you are saved, He wants to fellowship with you.

Are you maintaining that fellowship, that daily walk and communion with the Lord, or have you grown lukewarm? Why not heed His knock, hear His voice, and open the door today?

Revelation 3:21-22 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

A promise to the true believer. It is our faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, our faith in His shed blood and finished work on Calvary that gives us the victory in this life. (See 1 John 5:4-5) Do you have that victory?

Heed what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches - and to you!

Written August 28th, 2004
Jerry Bouey

Edited by Jerry
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    • Razor

      “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
      ― Mark Twain
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    • Razor

      “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
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      Psalms 139 Psalm 139:9-10
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    • Bro. West  »  Pastor Scott Markle

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      BUT JOSEPH MY HUSBAND WAS WARNED IN A DREAM
      SO WE FLED INTO EGYPT BECAUSE OF HIS SCHEME
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY SO TRUST ME NOT
                                               5
      SO THE GIVER OF LIFE, THE ROCK OF ALL AGES
      GREW UP TO FULFILL THE HOLY PAGES
      HE PREACH WITH AUTHORITY LIKE NONE BEFORE
      PLEASE TRUST HIS WORDS AND NOT THE GREAT WHORE
      HER BLACK ROBE PRIEST FILL THEIR LIPS WITH MY NAME
      WITH BLASPHEMOUS PRAISE, DAMMATION AND SHAME
      THERE ARE NO NAIL PRINTS IN MY HANDS, MY BODY DID NOT ARISE
      NOR, AM A DEMON OF FATIMA FLOATING IN THE SKY
      THERE IS NO DEITY IN MY VEINS FOR ADAM CAME FROM SOD
      FOR I, AM, MOTHER OF THE SON OF MAN NOT THE MOTHER OF GOD
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY, SO TRUST ME NOT
      6
      FOR MY SOUL WAS PURCHASED BY GOD UPON THE CROSS
      FOR MY SINS HE DID SUFFER AN UNMEASURABLE COST
      I WILL NOT STEAL HIS GLORY WHO ROSE FROM THE DEAD
      ENDURING SPIT AND THORNS PLACED ON HIS HEAD
      YET, IF YOU WISH TO HONOR ME THEN GIVE ME NONE AT ALL
      BUT TRUST THE LAMB WHO STOOL IN PILATE’S HALL
      CALL NOT ON THIS REDEEMED WOMAN IN YOUR TIME OF FEAR
      FOR I WILL NOT GIVE ANSWER NEITHER WILL I HEAR
      AND WHEN THE BOOKS ARE OPEN AT THE GREAT WHITE THRONE
      I AMEN YOUR DAMNATION THAT TRUST NOT HIM ALONE
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY, O’ SINNER TRUST ME NOT

                       WRITTEN BY BRO. WEST
       
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