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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 do you minister to atheist?


Madeline
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How do you minister to atheist?

Most atheists I minister to don't care what I have to say. The Gospel bounces off of them like bullets to Superman. If I tell them that God loves them and sent his only Son to die for them, they respond by saying, 'I don't care, I don't believe that!'. Or if I were to ask them if they believe that they will go to heaven when they die, they respond by saying, 'I don't believe in God or Heaven' What am I suppose to do? And I don't want to go force the Gospel on them, they get upset sometimes and this scares me!!!

Love,
Madeline

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  • Baptist Men

I would make it personal to you. Instead of trying to tell them about God, ask if you can share with them your views on God and religion. Then proceed to share the Gospel with them, while always relating it back to yourself. That way, it does not seem threatening. I believe that the Holy Spirit is powerful enough that someone who does not believe in God can hear the Gospel and come under enough conviction to get saved.

However, make sure you do not offend them! (I say this only to reiterate a point you already made.) If they say no, I might ask again, but if the answer does not change then I would leave it alone. It would be much better to leave them so that they would be willing to turn to someone who knows God than to offend them so that they will never turn to God.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

My husband used to be an atheist. He joined Amway (we are not in it anymore), and all they did was talk about God. He didn't like it at first, he just wanted to make money, but the more he listened, the more he realized.

Just carry on to your normal conversation and keep bringing up how good Jesus is to your life and why when the opportuntity knocks.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

And so it is that the Bible doesn't need to prove God--it's evident by nature--and it simply begins "In the beginning God..."!

We know that people who reject this are hardheaded and willfully ignorant (Psalm 14:1, 2 Peter 3:5). Thus, they usually aren't responsive to logic.

Atheism, to say there is no God, is silly. To say there is no God is akin to saying there is no gold in China. Such a statement requires absolute knowledge of everything, which none of us has but God.

If I told you to look at any building, and asked you to prove to me that there is a builder, you would probably say "That's easy! The building is proof that there was a builder." You don't just lay down cement and lights and bricks and glass, and turn around and after a million years, a building will be there. And so creation is proof of a Creator.

It's the same with a painting, like the Mona Lisa. Prove to me a painting has a painter, and you will say the painting itself is proof. Nobody in their right mind would think the Mona Lisa (or something much more complex) appeared by chance, yet the earth and heavens are filled with beauty and art. Art implies an Artist.

Recently, I went with some coworkers to Yosemite National Park, an amazing, breathtaking place. Occasionally as we were hiking, we would come across a few stones that were stacked on top of each other (as sort of mini Stonehenges, if you will). Amidst all the other rocks on the path, we noticed these, and knew instinctively that some man had come put them on top of each other. Just a few stupid little rocks, three or four, on top of each other, and we all knew they were put in order by intelligence. If these rocks need an orderer, what of all the order found in the Universe, from the atomic in level, to the galactic?

Here is a picture from the trip, to show the foolishness of my friends. They recognized the intelligence placing a few rocks together, but do not believe in the God of the Universe, but think everything around us came by chance. Sometimes, you just can't reason with these people and have to pray for conviction of sin, similar to what Jim stated.

sweetness.jpg

Incidentally, they are computer programmers. Of course, the genetic code is vastly more compact and complex, with amazing error checking, than any human code on a computer. I have read that the amount of information in one pinhead of DNA would fill up many miles of DVD's stacked upon each other.

Countless statistics can be used--the anthropic principle is amazing--but in the end, they're just willingly ignorant, as Peter says.

Here's another illustration:

If you put a computer, a robot, a 747 jet, and a worm next to eachother, and you ask any scientist which is the most intricately designed, out of those four, they would all say the worm.

When you study how an eye works, a digestive system works, the intricate details are amazing. So if the computer, robot, and 747 all had creators and designers, what sense does it make to believe the worm came about by luck and chance over time? Doesn't really make sense. Think about it--would all the parts of a 747, placed inside a garage for billions and billions of years, with however many tornadoes as you like, ever become a 747? Of course not! Not only if the computer, robot, and 747 had a creator and designer, the creator and designer of the worm would have to be much greater, and grander, than that of the others.

Also, Bible prophecy is an amazing proof of God that may work with some. You may want to explore that.
Also, it's important not to talk much about the gospel before having given the law, which is necessary to convict them of sin so that the gospel will make sense.

And remember! God has given us ALL a conscience inside of us. Every time we sin, we do it with knowledge that it is against God's law. Use this fact!!!

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Actually that beautiful picture is not only a proof of God, but a proof of the flood. If you fly in an airplane above the mountain ranges you can practically see how the water made rivets and valleys and ran off the face of the earth. Its amazing to me how blind the scientists really are...willfully, because the only other choice is to accept Christ.

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I've got some more suggestions as well.
1) The last thing to do is to get into an intellectual debate. Try not to quote from stuff (like from secular historians) outside the Bible to help your witnessing, and STAY AWAY from philosophical stuff. Many of them are well-skilled in philosophy and such stuff, they will defeat you easily if you do not rely on God's Word alone.

2) 1 point you can tell them: Man, by nature, is a religious being. Even the most remotest tribe will at least worship something, or will be interested in spiritual fulfillment. If it is not religion (very true for the atheist) that they seek, they will seek other things, like philosophy, arts, history and so on. I have never, in my life, heard of a person who has absolutely no interest in any spiritual things. Does that not tell us Man retains in his heart, a knowledge (albeit corrupted) that there a God exists? Tell them then, this God is the Biblical God, the Lord God Almighty.

3) What about life after death? Many atheists will tell you after death, they just go out of existence. But I doubt any of them will feel comfortable about it. Aha! The conscience. The fear, that judgment shall come for them after death. Another evidence of God's existence. Focus on this part, the conscience (as the other brethren here have mentioned). If God does not exist, then morality does not need to exist as well, because human beings will have no one to be responsible to, but themselves. This is why many unsaved people who go on to a life of decadence and evil first reject God.

5) Btw, I find it contradictive they can get upset after hearing the gospel of Christ preached. If they do not believe (and reject) in God or the gospel, they wouldn't feel offended in the first place (because they think it's nonsense). Perhaps it's their conscience being pricked? Hmmm... :)

And, if they threaten to get violent or blackmail you, back away. [it's good if you can find a fellow brethren to help you] You preached the gospel to them: it is now their responsibility to accept or reject it. But at least you have sown seeds of God's Word in them, which, hopefully... will grow and bear fruit aplenty.

May God's blessings and protection be with you, as you preach His news to the lost!

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WOW ltl! You're brilliant!!! You must do a lot of ministering. I typically find the evolutionists the most difficult to deal with. I tried to run away from someone who got violent and he caught me, this scares me. So now I pray for God's protection each time I minister to strangers. I'm going to use those pointers you gave me, thank you ltl!

Love,
Madeline

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Sure thing, Jerry. I just clicked it, but God made it. :mrgreen:

Once I'm home later today, I'll look for the original-resolution version to send you.

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Are you sure you want to witness an atheist forum? It is harsh and they will shred you into pieces. I know several people had a change of view of the bible after being on an atheist forum (they were a young Christian). One of them became a theist evolutionist. You have to have a thick skin, and full knowledge of the bible and bible history, and strong faith and love for Jesus that nothing can cause you to lose your faith. I survived from a atheist forum, and it left some doubts in me for awhile. What didn't kill me made me stronger. Many people who thought they knew Jesus decided to reject him after being in a atheist forums.

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Yes yes! I want to minister on an atheist forum. Anyone who rejects Jesus after being influenced by atheists would have proven to be a false convert. Jesus said that none of his sheep can be removed from him. And I may be young, but am not a young christian. God made you stronger after debating with atheists, and I'm sure he will do the same for me. Yay!!!! :clap:

Love,
Madeline

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Sure they are! We are ALL to serve God and witness to the lost! The men are to lead in churches, but if she wants to witness to the lost, let's encourage her!

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