Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 1, No. 9 Page 19 September 1999

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

   By Louis Rushmore

Taking Communion to Shut-Ins

Wouldn't it be good to take the Lord's Supper to the elderly and infirm?  I have assisted with this in my younger days. Or , can we say the Lord understands? Not many congregations do take Communion to infirm today. ~ Thomas Hall, North Little Rock, AR
Five worshipful activities are derived from New Testament passages for the Lord’s church to engage each Lord’s Day.  They are communion, giving, singing, preaching and prayer.  The assembly is described in Scripture as the whole church come together in one place (1 Corinthians 11:18, 20; 14:23).  Whereas giving, singing, preaching and prayer are described in Scripture as occurring ALSO outside the worship assembly, communion is in Scripture confined to the assembly.  For instance, regarding communion, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread . . .” (Acts 20:7).

Further, communion is relatively equal to the other four acts of worship.  The elevation of communion by Catholicism to a Sacrament, I believe, has carried over beyond Catholicism.  Many people have the notion of a heightened importance of communion over the other four acts of worship.  Therefore, well-meaning brethren either request the communion be brought to them when they, due to illness or some other hindrance, are unable to attend the worship assembly, or brethren volunteer to bring communion to those who are unable to participate in the assembly.  It would seem to me that consistency would demand that one bring along the collection plate as well and offer prayer, preaching and singing, too.

There is no biblical prescription of which I am aware for communion to be brought to the elderly or infirm.  The elderly and infirm, as far as I can tell, are under no more obligation to eat the communion than sing, pray, receive preaching and give in the assembly.  In my opinion, we do not have to volunteer to take communion to the elderly and infirm, though we should take it to those who request it for their peace of mind.  However, were I to take communion to the elderly and infirm, the other four acts of worship would receive as much attention.  Especially in light of my singing voice and lack of musical talent, I would take a small number of others with me, too.  This procedure, in fact, would constitute a small assembly for the purpose of worship.

Saved By Faith Alone

"For Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" Romans 10:13  "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."  Romans 3:28 . . . Galatians 1:6-7 . . .  Sir, I pray that you do not pervert the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Salvation Does truly come By Faith Alone by personally praying and receiving Jesus in your life.   I ask that If you are going to quote Gods word, that you study it more and use all the verses concerning Salvation.  Belief brings us Salvation; Active obedience demonstrates that our belief is genuine. I too believe everyone should be Baptized, but only as a profession of Faith to the public and out of obedience to our Lord, but Salvation does not require it.  Works are not a substitute for, but a verification of our faith in Christ.  Sir I do thank you for your time and I pray that you allow God to speak to you more through His Word and to give you understanding.  Faith Alone, Plus Nothing, Minus Nothing.  Please do not deceive people.  May God Help you, Steve Fincher (emphasis added, ler)
First, biblical truth is not ascertained by quoting Scripture in isolation from the passage in which it appears and isolated from the general context of the Bible.  From the paragraph above, it appears that the querist imagines that a verbal acknowledgement of Jesus possesses saving quality.  It is clear that the writer above also affirms the participation of faith in the process of redemption.  However, the very element challenged in the citation above, baptism, is immediately involved in the activity of ‘calling on the name of the Lord’ which procures redemption.  Notice Acts 22:16:  “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”  Baptism is not antagonistic to redemption; it is integral to it.  Baptism is not merely a manifestation of obedience, it is the final act of obedience and at which point God renders forgiveness of sins.  That is precisely why numerous passages declare salvation at baptism.  “. . . Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins . . .” (Acts 2:38).  “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved . . .” (Mark 16:16).  “. . . baptism doth also now save us . . .” (1 Peter 3:21).

Second, nowhere in the Bible does God teach that salvation is procured by “faith alone”!  Nowhere in the Bible does God teach that one becomes a Christian merely by praying!  The closest circumstance to what the querist suggests pertains not to a non-Christian, but to an erring Christian.  In Acts Eight, Simon became a Christian in the same manner as the Samaritans had become Christians.

“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 . . .” (Acts 8:12-13).
Later, Simon sinned and was instructed thus:  “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee” (Acts 8:22).  Hence, a non-Christian’s role in redemption is belief (Romans 10:17), repentance (Luke 13:5), professing Jesus as Christ (Acts 8:37), immersion for remission of sins (Romans 6:3-5; Acts 2:38).

Third, the writer above confuses works of merit pertaining to the law of Moses versus works of obedience relative to the Gospel of Christ.  The reference to “deeds of the law” in Romans 3:28 pertains to the law of Moses.  Works of righteousness of which James wrote in Chapter Two are demonstrations of godly faith.  “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17).  Surely a “dead faith” is inefficient and incapable of procuring redemption.

Fourth, though the querist has confidence in “Faith Alone, Plus Nothing, Minus Nothing,” the Bible does not teach this doctrine.  Actually, the only time the words “faith only” or “faith alone” appear together in Scripture, is to condemn the doctrine espoused by the querist.  “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).

Consequently, it is the “faith alone” or “faith only” doctrine that constitutes a perversion of the Gospel, rather than acknowledgment of the biblical teaching about baptism.  True deception is when one teaches that baptism is not essential to salvation and that instead “faith only” will suffice.  James wrote that the devils have faith only:  “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19).  Friends, a devilish faith is incapable of converting the soul.  Faith (like repenting, confessing Christ and baptism) is merely one of several parts of man’s role in his redemption.  In response to our God-given role, God executes his mercy and grace on our behalf.  Faith alone is rebellion against repenting, confessing Christ and baptism, for which God will not unleash his mercy and grace for us.

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