About the Author

Thomas Ray Floyd was born in 1953 in Simpson County, Mississippi, the son of Roy Thomas Floyd and Lina Sue Shows Floyd. Thomas Ray's mother was a member of a Primitive Baptist church, and he cut his teeth on the doctrines of distinguishing grace.

When he was a small boy, his father was converted to Christ and became a member of a Missionary Baptist Church. Thomas Ray joined the church of his father when he was 13 years old, and thought of himself as a Christian. The doctrines of grace that he had heard as a child continued to be precious to him and when he became an adult, he joined a Primitive Baptist Church. When he was 27, Thomas Ray made his first effort to preach the gospel in public and was ordained to the full functions of the ministry in 1985. In 1986 he was convinced under the preaching of Rolfe Barnard (by tapes from Mt. Olive Tape Library), the written sermons of Spurgeon, and the ministry of Elder Zack Guess that he had been a false professor and cried out in agony of soul to the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy and truly save him. And He did! Floyd then began to preach the gospel as he had been taught of the Lord.

Floyd has pastored churches in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee and until recently was pastor of a church plant known as "Particular Baptist Fellowship." He and his wife Brenda presently attend Zion Baptist Church at Polkville, Mississippi, pastored by Elder Glen Hopkins. The pulpit ministry of Zion Baptist Church can be heard at Sermonaudio.com.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Resurrection of the Body

(Article for publication week of 9-3- AD 2015)

"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself " (Philippians 3:20-21).
The resurrection of the body is a cardinal doctrine of the Christian Faith, and very much unique to our religion. Many heathens have, and have had some vague notions of "life after death", but generally are and have been ignorant of the resurrection of the body. Believers in Christ have the promise of, not only the immortality of the soul, but also of the resurrection of the body.
First of all, I will make it clear that the human body is precious to the Lord, and especially the bodies of His children. There is nothing intrinsically evil about the human body as certain heathens and pseudo-Christian groups have erroneously taught. When our text speaks of our bodies as being vile, it refers to the frailties to which we are susceptible due to the Fall of Man and of our sin nature, and the difficulties of this present life. Our bodies are subject to disease and distempers, and finally to death, but there is nothing sinful about the human body per se. God made man in His Image, and although He Himself hath not "body parts, or passions," being pure Spirit (John 4:24), yet He formed man in His Image,  body and soul. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the holy Trinity, Who is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, became a Man, with a real human body and soul,  that He might work out a perfect righteousness for His elect people. "The Word was made flesh" (John 1:14). The Eternal Word of God became a Real Man. He lived as a man; He was crucified as a Man; He was laid in the grave as a Man; He arose from the grave as Man; He ascended back to heaven as a Man; He sits now at the right hand of God as a Man (I Timothy 2:5); He will return in glory to judge the world as a Man. Yet, He is infinitely more than a man, for He is the God-Man. Since our Lord took upon Him a real human body we know that the human body is not evil per se, for our Lord was "holy, harmless, undefiled, [and] separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26). Christ died to redeem us completely, including our bodies (Romans 8:23), and His redemptive work will not be complete until we are raised in His likeness (Psalm 17:15). The God of peace is active in the children of God sanctifying us wholly, in body, soul, and spirit (I Thessalonians 5:23). And so we conclude from our creation in the Image of God, the Blessed Humanity of Christ, the redemptive work of Christ, the work of sanctification in us, and God's promise to raise our bodies, that there is nothing evil about the human body in and of itself.
However, the human body is subject to many trials, spiritually and physically. We are subject to physical pain, disease, infirmities and finally to physical death itself. Also, we are subject to many temptations and spiritual weaknesses. Every man is acquainted with physical infirmities, and believers are subject to these and many spiritual trials besides. Though our struggle with sin is primarily spiritual, yet they affect our bodies as well, for the body and soul are so connected that one greatly affects the other. In the Day of the resurrection we shall be set free from all these infirmities because Christ will give us new bodies fashioned after His Own glorified Body.
What shall we say concerning this new body? Why, we hardly know what to say, for it is higher than our human reasoning! But we do know this, we shall be like Him! Not that we shall ever become gods, but we shall be conformed to His Image (Romans 8:29). Christians shall be raised immortal and incorruptible to live with Christ, and worship Him perfectly forever and ever. Amen. (More on our subject next week, God willing.)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Absent From The Body, Present With Christ

 (Article for publication week of 8-27- AD 2015)

"We are confident , I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" ( II Corinthians 5:8).
Believers may face death with joy and anticipation because the very moment we close our eyes in death on earth we open them in heaven to behold Christ. Though our bodies will sleep in the grave until the morning of the resurrection, our happy spirits shall go directly to heaven. Our text plainly declares this to be the truth. Our souls shall not die, nor sleep, but go immediately to be with our Dear Saviour. Nor do the Lord's people have to dread spending time in "purgatory" before they go to heaven. (There is no such place as purgatory; it is a popish lie.) When our spirits leave our bodies we shall be with Christ that very moment.
We know this to be true, not because somebody claimed they died and went to heaven and came back to earth. We know this to be a fact not because we had some dream, vision or extraordinary revelation. We know this not because grandma said so. Nor do we know this because of "church tradition." But we know this to be true because God's word says so, and that is a more sure word of prophecy (II Peter 1:19). The very moment we are "absent from the body," we shall be "present with the Lord." Nor is our text an obscure or single text declaring the truth that the Lord's people go immediately to be with Christ at death. The scriptures abound with proofs. I will not try to cite any, but rather encourage the reader to examine for himself Philippians 1:23; Luke 23:43; Luke 16:22; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Hebrews 12:23; and II Samuel 12:23.
Note well, our text teaches us that we are comprised of body and spirit. (We shall not quibble as to whether man is three-part, or two part, but simply emphasize that our text says that we are both physical and spiritual.) We have an outward man and an inner man (II Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 3:16). The inner man, that is our souls, are of the chief concern. Not that the body is to be neglected. The neglect of the body is neither healthy nor holy as some have wrongly supposed. But no matter how well we care for these bodies, they will eventually die (unless we are still alive at our Lord's Second Coming). But our souls shall never die, nor shall they sleep in the dust. Our Lord put the value of the soul in its proper place in Mark 8:37, when He asked "what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" And again in Matthew 10:28 saying, "fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Further, we see also in our text that the body cannot live separated from the soul, but the soul can and does live separated from the body. We know not how the body and soul are joined together, but God Who made us does, and when that cord is broken, we shall most certainly die.
Our text proclaims a greater joy for Christians-- to be present with Christ! If communion with Him is sweet by faith through the Holy Spirit, how much sweeter will be our joy when we see Him face to face! We do not long for heaven for its streets of gold, nor gates of pearl, but we long for heaven because we long to be with Christ! We pine not for kinfolks gone before, but for the real presence of Christ the Redeemer! One of the Puritans remarked he would rather be in hell with Christ, than to be heaven without Him! Indeed heaven would be hell without Christ, and hell would be heaven with Him! Well, we do not have to make such a choice for the Bible declares that the moment we die we shall be in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ, and all the saints who have gone before, and all the holy angels. The presence of Christ is heaven indeed. But this is not the final and best joy for the Lord's people. The final and best joy shall be when our Lord raises our dust and our happy spirits are clothed with our glorified bodies. And (DV) that shall be our message next week.