I. SALVATION BY GRACE AND GRACE ALONE. EPHESIANS 2:8-10
There are those religions and denominations that claim they believe in salvation by grace. The problem is they add to this. Now I call this adding to God’s Word which we are not to do. Some add sprinkling (which they call baptism but is not) and or church membership and or the Lord’s Supper to make a person’s salvation complete. This is not Biblical. The simple statement is “For by grace are ye saved…” When we add these other things, we have added to the truth and it then becomes untruth and therefore a lie and God hates lies. If any one that calls themselves a church, adds to grace anything for salvation, they cease to be a true church. That makes them a false church.
II. SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER/PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS. EPHESIANS 4:30
What the Holy Spirit seals cannot be unsealed. To be held in the hand of God states preservation and safety. I know some say we can take ourselves out of the hand of God. That would make us more powerful than God and if more powerful than God we become a God unto ourselves. We are sealed unto the “day of redemption.” There is no room left there for losing ones salvation.
III. BAPTISM BY IMMERSION OF SCRIPTURAL CANDIDATE BY SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY. MARK 1:9-11
Being a Dunkard is a wonderful thing. Now you say, what is a Dunkard? Why that is one that gets dunked all the way under the water to show the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:3-5 say we are buried with him. Sprinkling can never represent a burial. So in baptism we are buried just as he was buried and we rise just as He rose in newness of life. There is no way to represent this by sprinkling. Any so-called church that sprinkles, distorts the gospel of Christ. Sprinkling disqualifies a church from being a church approved by God to represent His Son here on this earth.
A scriptural candidate is one that has been saved. After salvation come baptism. Acts 2:41 and many other scriptures. Any church that violates any one of these five proofs does not have authority to baptise.
IV. LORD’S SUPPER FOR THOSE THAT ARE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OBSERVING IT. I CORINTHIANS 5:11-13
The church that is observing the Lord’s Supper must have authority to deny the Supper to people by with drawing fellowship from members that have committed any of the sins listed in verse 11. For a church to not exercise this command is disobedience. To permit those that are not members is a direct contravention of the Word of God and indicates that the church is out of the will of God. This passage proves that the church at Corinth practised closed communion. To take God’s Word and Supper and make it a social event upon the whim of humanistic thinking disqualifies a church from being called a true church.
V. THE CHURCH IS LOCAL ONLY.
There are those that saw that if they wanted to maintain some unscriptural practices that I have listed above, they would have to change the definition of the church. To be able to practice close or open communion these people knew that they would have to have a universal church. Therefore they borrowed a little something from the Catholics. The seven churches of Asia are said to be seven individual and distinct churches. There were 2 New Testament books written to the church at Corinth. Understand that the scripture used to prove a universal church is a passage addressed to a local church and was meant for that church. Misapplication of scripture has brought heresies into the world and this is a gross misapplication of scripture.
I know some say, well now there are a number of other truths that must be applied to see if a church is scriptural. here is my basis for using these five as a criteria of Judgement.
First of all, the church is the Bride of Christ. Jesus determined what His Bride would look like. To change any of these would be to change the Bride. Take away baptism and you would have a one legged Bride. Take away closed communion and you would have a one armed Bride.
Second, a church that believes these five will believe in the virgin birth, the inspiration of scripture, and the depravity of man. A church begins, normally, going wrong in the Lord’s Supper, baptism, or the church being universal and invisible. A church that holds the line on these five things will hold the line on women preachers and many other truths of the Word.