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.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Practice of Righteousness

(Article for publication week of 4-1-2009 AD)

"If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of Him" . (I John 2:29).

For the past three years we have been writing on the New Birth from John 3:1-8. In that passage our Lord told Nicodemus of the Necessity, Mystery and Evidence of the New Birth. Jesus said, "ye must be born again." The New Birth is necessary for salvation, for no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born again. The New Birth is a great mystery that our Lord likens to the movement of the wind. And we may see the evidence of the New Birth for our Lord said, "thou hearest the sound thereof." We have noted in previous articles three vital and indispensable evidences of the New Birth: 1) Faith in Christ (I John 5:1); 2)Repentance (Acts 3:19); and 3) Conversion (I Thessalonians 1:9). These are all evidences of regeneration, not the efficient cause. The New Birth is a sovereign, immediate, irresistible work of the Holy Spirit , not the work of man (John 1:13; John 5:21). It is imperative that we not confuse evidence with cause. But again I emphasize that faith, repentance, and conversion are vital and indispensable evidences. Without these no one has reason to believe they are saved.

This week we come to another vital and indispensable evidence of the New Birth- the practice of righteousness. Our text here in I John 2:29 tells us that if we are born again , righteousness will be the habitual practice of our lives. The person who is born again will be practicing righteousness. Again, I emphasize that we are talking about evidence, not procuring and effecient cause. This is one of the places we must be careful to stay in the narrow limits of God's Word. The truth is very narrow, and we must stay in the narrow way of truth. Works mongers would have it that they may be saved by good works. And antinomians would like to think they may be saved without them. But both of these positions are fatally and eternally wrong.

Some of you have been deluded into thinking you may have heaven without good works. You have been erroneously taught that you will lose your rewards, but still have heaven. But friend, you are not going to lose your rewards, you are going to lose your soul, for you have never been saved, and heaven never was yours. Some of you have been told the only thing you will miss without good works is the "joy of your salvation". But my friend, you are going to lose everything. Some of you have been taught a strange, unscriptural heresy called "time salvation." You have been told you have "eternal salvation" by virtue of Christ's atoning work, and you may earn some optional, conditional "time salvation" by doing good works. But you have not considered seriously Titus 2:14 that says the certain effect of Christ's death is a pure life.

The scriptures clearly teach that good works, the practice of righteousness is absolutely essential to being a Christian. For example Ephesians 2:10 tells us "we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained thatwe should walk in them." Or take Hebrews 5:9, "He became the Author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him." Or consider James 2:20, "faith without works is dead." Or as the Mississppi Baptist Confession of Faith of 1806 puts it in a concise doctrinal statement: "Good works are the fruit of a gracious state and follow after justification."

Be sure you understand that salvation is all of grace without works, but true saving grace inevitably produces good works. Grace is proven by faith, and faith is proven by good works. Dear reader, is righteousness the habitual practice of your life?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Agony of Conversion

(Article for publication week of 3-25-2009 AD)

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).

We have for several weeks been setting forth the truth of conversion. Conversion is the inevitable turning of one of God’s elect who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord illustrates true conversion in Matthew 7:13-14 and Luke 13:24 as a gate that is difficult to get through. It is difficult to get through because sinners are dead in trespasses and sin and can do nothing to save themselves or help save themselves. It is difficult to get through because God’s way of saving sinners by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is averse to our works mongering nature. And it is difficult to get through because there are many false prophets who lead souls astray.

The difficulty of true conversion should not lead you to despair nor to give up any hope of being saved. Rather, you should heed our Lord’s exhortation and “strive” to be converted. Dear reader, if you care for your never dying soul I urge you to get in dead earnest about the salvation of your soul and start striving to enter into the narrow way that leads to life through the narrow way of conversion.

The word “strive’ here in our text is translated from the Greek word “agonizomai”. A good scholar once taught me that our English word “agony” is derived from this word. The idea here is to struggle in agony to be converted. In other words, our Lord is telling us that true conversion is an agonizing struggle.

Have you ever been in agony of soul? Have you ever struggled to find the way of salvation? Do you know anything about striving to get through the difficult gate of conversion? Most professors of our day know nothing of these things. Many of you just walked an aisle and “accepted” Jesus. You never got under Holy Ghost conviction. You don’t “accept” a Lord- you bow down to HIM! If that is all you know of salvation my friend you are still unsaved and on the road to hell. The scriptures say nothing of “accepting” Jesus. Some of you when you were a little child in Sunday school, some well meaning “teacher” asked you if you wanted to go to heaven raise your hand and you did that and they told you, you were saved. But you never struggled to enter into the way of salvation. Some of you learned your catechism (and that is good) and then you were “confirmed” as some call it, but you never have been in agony of soul. Some of you gave some mental assent to the facts of the gospel and you believed with head knowledge, but you never were “pricked in the heart (Acts 2:37). Some of you “joined the church”, but you have never been a seeker of the Lord Jesus Christ. You have never asked until you received. You have never sought until you found. And you never knocked until the door was opened by Christ (Matthew7:7).

You see neighbors and friends, true conversion, Bible salvation is an agonizing struggle. The scriptural record is that those who get converted get into distress of soul. Those converted in Acts 2 were pricked in the heart. They felt spiritual pain. Saul of Tarsus cried out in Acts 9, “Lord what will you have me do?” The jailor in Acts sixteen cried out “what must I do to be saved?” The woman that found forgiveness of sins in Luke 7:38-50 lay at Jesus’ feet and wept. Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46) cried out “Son of David, have mercy upon me. The poor publican in Luke 18 smote on his breast in agony crying “have mercy on me, a sinner”!

It is a painful thing when the Lord shows you the corruption of your nature. It is a painful thing to see that you have no righteousness of your own. It is a painful thing to know that hell gapes its jaws for you. It is an agonizing struggle to be converted to Christ. But poor sinner, there is balm in Gilead for your wounds. Christ can comfort your broken heart. Come to Christ and be healed.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Many Saved

(Article for publication week of 3-18-2009 AD)

“After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying,’ Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.’ “ (Revelation 7:9-10).

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John is permitted to look into heaven and see the redeemed family of God worshipping Christ the Lamb Who died for us. One of the things we see in heaven is that their will be many people there. We see from this that there will be many people finally saved.

Although there are few saved , comparatively speaking (Matthew 7:14; Luke 12:32: Romans 11:5), the Lord will finally have a great multitude for His Own in heaven. Typically, in any community or generation there are very few that are actually saved. But when all the elect of God are finally gathered together in heaven with Christ, it will be a number that no man can number. In our day here in Simpson County, we find very few that give evidence of being truly saved, but when we are gathered together with all the saints from all the ages from all the nations, it will be an innumerable host. The Christian in his pilgrimage to the Celestial City , finds very few Faithfuls and Hopefuls to pilgrimage with him, but when he crosses the River of Death and takes his seat in the heavenly Choir, there will be a multitude of voices joined together in praise and worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is a wonder of God’s amazing grace that any would be saved. Man is so depraved, and the way is so narrow, and the gate is so difficult to enter, it is indeed a wonder that any would be saved. If God had not made a Covenant of Grace, and chosen a people for salvation and given them to His Son to save, why there would have never been any saved. If Christ had not died for our sins, heaven would have been inhabited by the Holy Trinity and the elect angels and all mankind would spend eternity in hell with the devil and the other fallen angels. And that would not have been a bad thing! God is in no need of any of His creatures. He is fully content with Himself. If God had never created any angels or men, He would have been completely happy with Himself forever. But for His glory he created angels and men. And by His grace, He redeemed a multitude of sinners to worship Him in heaven forever!

Now look again at our text in Revelation 7. The text tells us that there will be many in heaven and that those in heaven will be worshipping the Lamb Who died for them. Jesus said in Matthew 26:28 that he shed His blood “for many for the remission of sins”. This is the only way that any will be saved, by the blood of Christ which was shed for the remission of sin. The Lord Jesus Christ bled and died for the salvation of many. He died for all the Father gave Him (John 6:37). He died for all that believe in Him (John 3:16). No one who believes in Christ shall be disappointed. His blood has availed for you dear believer. The blood of Christ has washed away all your sins. There is not a charge that can be brought against you for Christ has fully satisfied all the claims of God’s law against you. There is no condemnation to them that believe in Christ. That great multitude that John saw in Revelation 7 will include you if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. That multitude will include every believer from Abel to the last heir of promise in the last generation. When all those that Christ died for from every nation and from every generation are gathered together in heaven, it will be a great number that no man can number. There will finally be many saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Alone.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Few Saved

(Article for publication week of 3-11-2009 AD)

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14).

We have noted in previous articles the urgency and difficulty of true conversion as taught by our Lord in the latter part of the Sermon on the Mount. The next thing that we wish to show you is that our Lord said that true conversion is a very rare thing. The Bible tells us that only a few will be saved. The vast majority of the human race will spend eternity in eternal hell where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Our text tells us that there are few who enter the difficult gate of conversion (repentance of sin and faith in Christ) and persevere in true holiness and finally arrive at the Celestial City. “FEW there be that find it.” But this is not the only place in the Bible where we are told that there are few saved. Our Lord said in Luke 12:32, “Fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” The Lord’s people are a LITTLE flock. Again, in Romans 11:5 we read, “there is a REMNANT according to the election of grace.” A remnant is, of course a smaller part of a larger whole. There are few that are truly saved.

Many of you have the idea that most everybody is saved. Sadly, when I go to a funeral or funeral home, I hear everybody talking like everybody is saved. How many people I hear say at the funeral home, “well he (or she) is ‘better off.” But my friends, if your relative that died was not one of the few spoken of in my text, they are not better off, for they are now in hell and will never get out. Most preachers preach at funerals like they are Universalists. I made up my mind a long time ago that if I do not have clear and Biblical evidence that a person was saved, I would not say at the funeral that they are in heaven. I imagine that is the reason I do not get asked to preach many funerals anymore. Most people want the preacher to get up at their mama’s funeral and preach her into heaven whether she was a holy person or not. But neighbor, no preacher can preach your loved one into heaven if they were not savingly joined to Christ. And if you die without Christ, no preacher can preach you into heaven.

Now, I want you to just stop and consider that it is a miracle of God’s Sovereign Grace that any are saved. Were it not for God’s electing grace there would be none saved. The whole human race (that includes you) is doomed and damned in our federal head Adam. When Adam fell, he and his whole posterity became sinners. We are fallen sinners; we are natural sinners; we are practicing sinners. “The soul that sinneth it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). You and I and your grandmother and your grandfather and the whole human race deserve eternal death because we are sinners. If God had left the whole human race in sin and sent the whole world to hell, He would still be thrice holy and just. God is not obligated to save any sinner. My friend, God is not obligated to you. If He leaves you in your sin and sends you to hell, He will be a good and just and holy God. So, those of us who have been saved by grace know that it is all of God’s mercy that we have been spared the awful wrath of God. Praise God for His sovereign Grace that rescued a remnant of the human race. Praise God that He sent His Son to die for His little flock and they shall be saved. Praise God that He draws His people to the strait gate and sweetly forces them in.

Now dear reader, the question for you is, are you one of the few? Be sure if you are not in the narrow way the leads to life you will go to hell with the vast majority of the human race. And be sure the only way you will ever get into the narrow way is through the gate of conversion. Any that tries to come another way is a thief and a robber. Are you one of the few? Only if you are saved by the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Flee to Him poor sinner. He is able and willing to save the chief of sinners.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A True Man of God

(Article for publication week of 3-4-2009 AD)

“This is a true saying, ‘ If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.’ “(I Timothy 3:1).

We continue this week in our biblical description of a true man of God. If we are thoroughly acquainted with the genuine, we will be able to recognize the counterfeit. We have shown that a true minister of Christ is a man that is a converted man (John 21:15-17). He is a man that is called and sent by the Lord (Jeremiah 3:15; I Corinthians 9:16; I Timothy 1:12). And he is a man that feeds the Lord’s people with the Word of God (Acts 20:27-28; II Timothy 4:2). And now we come to emphasize that he must be a MAN of God.

Our text this week says “if a MAN desire the office of a bishop“. (Note well that a bishop is synonymous with an elder or pastor. The reader is invited to compare with Acts 20:17,28; Titus 1:5,7; I Peter 5:1; I Timothy 4:14). True ministers of the gospel must be MEN. God’s word forbids a woman to be in the ministry, to teach publicly, to hold office or to have any authority outside her own home. I Corinthians 14:34 clearly says , “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” I Timothy 2:12 says, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Churches that have women preachers, teachers or officers are in gross violation of scripture and indicate that they do not care what the Bible says. Women are to teach their own children and older women are to teach younger women in private, but the office of pastor-teacher is closed to women. I thank the Lord for the few Godly women I know who are content with their place as wives and mothers and keepers at home. Such women are (like true ministers) “one of a thousand”, and I pray the Lord may increase their tribe.

All through the Bible, Old and New Testaments, we see that public ministry and office is limited to men. In the Old Testament, which is written for our learning, the Lord only allowed MEN of the tribe of Levi to be in the priest’s office. All the Old Testament prophets were MEN. The forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist was a “man sent from God.” The first New testament preachers that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself called into the ministry were all men (the twelve apostles).

The scriptural qualification for a minister is that he must be the “husband of one wife” (I Timothy 3:2). It is quite clear that a woman cannot be the husband of one wife. By clear command, example, and precedent, a true minister must be a MAN.

A true minister of Christ must be a man in every sense of the word. He must be a man physically, mentally, emotionally and in his general demeanor. The Christian ministry is no place for sissies. We have had too many of those I am afraid. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the Manly pattern for ministers. Our Lord was a preacher Himself, and he was our ideal of masculinity. The Lord Jesus Christ was not a longhaired, limp-wristed sissy. He was a carpenter by trade before they had power tools. He generally walked everywhere He went. He once took a whip and took on several men at once. And you see men like John the Baptist and the fishermen that our Lord called into the ministry as men who were strong and masculine. The soft wimps who act more like girls than men that are frequently found in the “ministry’ are a disgrace to their profession. Preachers, I call on you to “quit yourselves like MEN.” May the Lord give us real men in the ministry.