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What You Need To Know Before Joining Our Church (Part 6)

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17. Closed communion
A. Most churches hold one of three positions on communion.
i. Open or free communion: anyone who professes to be a believer is free to partake.
ii. Close or strict communion: any member of a church of like-faith can partake.
iii. Closed communion: only the members of the local church can partake.
B. Our church practices closed communion for the following reasons.
i. Communion is a local church ordinance.
a. Instruction in the Bible concerning communion is given to local churches, not Christians in general, associations, or denominations.
b. An example of this is Paul's instruction to the local church at Corinth (1Co 1:2 c/w 1Co 11:20-34).
ii. The communion service is a communion of the blood and body of Christ (1Co 10:16).
a. Communion - 1. Sharing or holding in common with others; participation; the condition of things so held, community, combination, union.
b. The bread represents the body of Christ (1Co 10:17).
(i) It represents the physical body of Christ that was broken for us (1Co 11:24).
(ii) It also represents the spiritual body of Christ, which is the membership of the local church (1Co 10:17 c/w 1Co 12:27).
(iii) The members of the local church are represented as one bread and one body and they are partakers of that one bread (1Co 10:17).
(iv) Partaker - 1. One who takes a part or share, a partner, participator, sharer.
(v) Therefore, only the members of a particular local church should partake of communion with their particular local church.
iii. Communion and church discipline are intricately connected and cannot be separated.
a. The bread used for communion was the bread that was used at the Passover which was unleavened bread (Mat 26:17-19 c/w Mat 26:26 c/w Exo 12:8).
b. Leaven represents evil and sin (Mat 16:6,12; Mar 8:15; Luk 12:1; Gal 5:7-9).
c. Since the local church is "one bread and one body" (1Co 10:17), the church should purge out leaven from among them so as to be unleavened (1Co 5:6-8).
(i) This purging of leaven out of the church is done by delivering commonly known sinners out of the church unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1Co 5:1-5).
(ii) Delivering a person unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh is done by "put[ting] away from among yourselves that wicked person" (1Co 5:13).
(iii) Putting away a wicked person from among the church is done by not keeping company with him (1Co 5:9).
(iv) Not keeping company with a person is not eating at the communion table with him (1Co 5:11 c/w 1Co 5:8).
(v) Paul's instruction about not keeping company and eating the Lord's Supper with a commonly known sinner was only in reference to "a brother" (1Co 5:11), not every sinner in the world (1Co 5:10).
(vi) The local church only judges those who are members within their church, not them that are without the membership of their church (1Co 5:12-13).
d. How could a local church withhold communion from a commonly known sinner in their membership, and at the same time serve communion to a stranger off the street, or even to a member of another church of like-faith whom they knew little or nothing about and have no authority over?
C. See sermon series on Communion.
18. Feetwashing
A. Jesus commanded His church to wash each other's feet (Joh 13:13-15).
B. This ordinance was given to the same disciples the same evening immediately following the institution of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper (Joh 13:1-5).
C. It is therefore just as binding on a New Testament church as is communion.
D. See sermon on Feetwashing.
19. Male leadership and speaking in church
A. Only men can hold positions of authority in the church (1Ti 3:1-5; 1Ti 3:8-12; Tit 1:5-6).
B. While women play an important and vital role in the church, they are not to be in positions of authority nor teach in church (1Ti 2:12), nor can they speak in church (1Ti 2:11; 1Co 14:34-35).
C. Women can speak when the church is not assembled for public worship.
D. Women can teach other women and children outside of church (Tit 2:3-5).
20. Rules for church members
A. Hair length
i. Women must have hair long enough to cover their heads, which must at a minimum be long enough to cover the ears and back of the neck (1Co 11:5-6,15).
ii. Men must have short hair which is not long enough to cover the ears and back of the neck (1Co 11:4,7,14).
B. Modest clothing
i. Women should be clothed in modest apparel (1Ti 2:9).
ii. Women's clothing should completely cover from above their breasts (including all cleavage) down to their knees.
iii. Women's clothing should not be so tight as to allow every body contour to be seen which has the same effect as if they had no clothes on (yoga pants, spandex, etc.).
iv. Men's clothing should at a minimum cover from their waists to their knees.
v. These clothing standards should be maintained at all times and in all places outside of the home, including swimming.
vi. See sermons on Modest Clothing.
C. No tattoos after being baptized
i. Tattoos were prohibited under the law of Moses (Lev 19:28).
ii. We are not under the law of Moses today.
iii. The New Testament has nothing to say about tattoos.
iv. As the pastor, I have to make judgment calls in grey areas such as this.
v. I have to maintain a good conscience when doing so (1Ti 1:19).
vi. I cannot in good conscience allow church members to get tattoos after they are baptized.
vii. If a person got a tattoo prior to being baptized (as I myself did), it will not prohibit him from being baptized, nor will he be judged for it by anyone in the church.
D. No getting drunk
i. Drunkenness is a sin for which a man will be excluded from the church if it is commonly known (Gal 5:21).
ii. Such excludable sins must not be tolerated even once (Eph 5:3).
iii. See sermons on Church Discipline.
E. No smoking marijuana
i. Smoking marijuana causes intoxication and therefore falls into the same category as drunkenness.
ii. Therefore, no member of the church shall use marijuana except for medical uses prescribed by a doctor.
iii. See sermon on Marijuana.