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.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Seen in Secret, Rewarded Openly

(Article for publication week of April 29, 2009 AD)

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1).

In Matthew 6:1-18 the Lord Jesus Christ teaches us that the practice of righteousness involves three main activities- doing alms, praying, and fasting. Under these three heads we may generally categorize the Christian life. The reader is invited to go and read this passage.

The reading of the entire passage will open to us several vital truths. The first thing we notice is the word “when”. “ ‘When’ thou doest thine alms”; “ ‘When’ thou prayest”; “ ‘When’ ye fast”; When, not if. Our Lord states it as a given that if we are saved we will be doing alms, praying and fasting. If these are not the habit of our lives, we are not saved. Salvation is in Christ Alone, but when one is saved, he will be practicing righteousness.

The second thing we gather from the passage is that Christianity involves positive activity. Sanctification involves putting off the habits of the old life, but also putting on the habits of the new man in Christ (Ephesians 4:22-32). There are a number of people who think they are saved because they quit smoking and chewing. It would certainly be wise to quit all that for the sake of your health, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you got converted. Sanctification is more than leaving off bad habits; it is the positive action of doing righteousness.

The third thing I call to your attention is that hypocrites can and do imitate many Christian actions. Hypocrites can be very generous people. I remember a story about a notorious bootlegger in our Beloved State who used to give large sums from his ill-gotten gains to the Baptist Church. He was a great imitator of Christian giving but he was not a Christian. And hypocrites can say their prayers, and often do. A Christian will and must pray, but a person may go through the exercise of uttering words like prayer and never commune with God. A person may even live an ascetic lifestyle and abstain from tobacco, wine, and tasty food and go on to hell for his trouble. Hypocrites may imitate Christians and fool themselves and others, but they are not fooling God.

Fourthly, we see in the passage that we are to live our lives before God and not men. Thy Father seeth in secret. When we come to know God we realize that he is omniscient. How different would your life be if you lived every moment conscious of the fact that God sees, and hears, and knows everything you do, say and think? How many are snared by the fear of man? Man’s praise is empty. Men will applaud you today and cuss you out tomorrow. What a relief to quit worrying about what men think and live our lives before God, for in reality that is what we are all doing any way.

Finally, I want you to notice that Christians will be rewarded for their good works. As Dr. John Gill so ably pointed out, the reward will be all of God’s grace, but truly a reward. When the Lord says to us “well done”, it will be an open declaration of the grace he put in us and on us. He works in us to both will and do of His good pleasure.

May the Lord bless you all, my dear readers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Let Your Light So Shine

(Article for publication week of 4-22-2009 AD)

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see you good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

We showed you in our last three articles how that the practice of righteousness is a vital and indispensable evidence of a gracious state (I John 2:29; 3:10). We continue that theme with a consideration of these words of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount.

The first thing I call to your attention is that the Lord says here that the Christian is an enlightened person. Believers are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). This is a vivid contrast to what we were by nature. By nature we were under the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13). By the sovereign , irresistible power of the Holy Spirit we have been translated out of that power and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. We have this truth given us in Ephesians 5:8, “for ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.” This is one of the profound ways that scripture contrasts believers from the lost world. We are children of light because the light of God ‘hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6). The light in a Christian is not of his own production, but rather the production of the Triune God. Our light is like the light of the moon; it is reflective. The child of God is a light, but he is the lesser light reflecting the Greater Light of God Who has shined in his heart.

The second thing we note is that the Lord commands us to let our light shine before men “that they may see [our ] good works.” We are not to be ashamed that we belong to Christ. We are to confess Christ before men. Believers are to openly identify with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to do that by the confession of our mouths and the life that we live. If we are Christians then our neighbors and kinfolks ought to know we are Christians.

The third thing we see in our text is the reason for letting our light shine before men. It is that they may glorify God. Christianity is not for the aggrandizing of self; it is for the glory of God. The Christian’s motive for good works is not that men may compliment us, but that they would be provoked to give glory to God.

All the glory for a Christian’s good works goes to our great God Who saved us and called us with an holy calling. Any good works that we are enabled to do is because God worked in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). By nature we had no desire to obey or serve God. Our will was averse to Him. But God in His sovereign pleasure was pleased to give us a new will and beget new desires in us. And since we have been granted new desires of the Lord, we have discovered that we have no ability to obey and serve God as we would. And the Lord in His mercy toward us has been pleased to enable us in some measure to serve Him. All the desire and ability of a Christian to do good works has been of the Lord working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Therefore all the glory belongs to God.

May the Lord deliver us from every man pleasing spirit and cause us to be consumed with His Glory and Pleasure. May the grace of God be in us and on us in such a way as we reflect His goodness and grace. To God alone be the Glory both now and forever. Amen.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Practice of Righteousness - Part III

(Article for publication week 04-15-09 AD)

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (I John 3:10).

In our text this week we have the negative of I John 2:29. There it is positively stated that a Christian will habitually practice righteousness. Here it is negatively stated that a person who does not habitually practice righteousness is not born again, is not saved, and is not a Christian (three ways of Biblically describing the same persons). The habitual practice of righteousness is a necessary and vital and indispensable evidence of the new birth.

Last week we emphatically stated that the practice of righteousness is dictated by the commands of God’s Word, not worldly philosophy or our own feelings (Matthew 15:9). Now we shall take up some of the things that the word of God clearly commands. And the very first thing that we are clearly commanded in scripture is to worship God. The first great command is to love God with all our being (Matthew 22:37). In the Decalogue, God states in the first commandment that we are to worship Him exclusively. In the second commandment we are commanded to worship God only as He has prescribed. One of God’s holy purposes in saving us is so that we might become His true worshippers (John 4:23). Our main business in heaven will be to eternally worship God (Revelation 5). The very beginning of the practice of righteousness is the worship of God. If you are not a worshipper of God, you simply are not saved.

When a person is regenerated by the Holy Spirit that person automatically becomes a worshipper of God. In Acts chapter nine we have the account of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Paul tells us in I Timothy 1:16 that his conversion is a prototype of every conversion. The first thing we notice in Acts 9:6 is Saul (later known as Paul) crying out “Lord , what will Thou have me to do?” He was becoming a worshipper of the true God. Later on in Acts 9:11 we read of Saul , “behold, he prayeth.” the Lord had sought out Paul and brought him by sovereign grace to become one of his true worshippers. Now, all this is very significant for all of us, especially for professors of religion. Paul had been a very religious person all his life (Philippians 3:5). But he had never truly worshipped God until he was savingly changed from nature to grace. No doubt, Paul as a good Jew had said many prayers since his childhood, but now by sovereign grace he truly prays. Do you see it? Being religious is not the same thing as worshipping God. My friend you can be as religious as all get out, and never worship God! Oh! That you could be made by Divine Grace to see that and feel that and know that! I am getting excited as I write it! It is such an eternally important point. Everybody that is religious is not a worshipper of God.

And now I have to tell you this: if you are not worshipping God’s Son, you are not worshipping God. “All men should honour the Son, as they honour the Father.” (John 5:23). Only Christians are truly worshipping God. If you have not come to the Father through his Son, you are not a worshipper of God, and you are not practicing righteousness. I don’t care how religious you are , or how many pretended good works you have, you are not practicing righteousness if you are not worshipping God the way he has prescribed, and that is through His Son. There are many great humanitarians who are already in hell because they refused to bow the knee to Christ. And my good , nice, religious, humanitarian friend, you will soon be in hell yourself, unless you bow the knee to King Jesus. I am glad you are a nice person. That makes it easier for me to get along with you in this life. It makes it easier for your kinfolks and neighbors to live with you. But unless you start the practice of true worship by bowing down to the Lord Jesus Christ, you are going to split hell wide open. May God spare you before it is too late.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Practice of Righteousness-Part II

(Article for publication week of 4-8-2009 AD)

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

Last week we set before you the practice of righteousness as a vital and indispensable evidence of regeneration. Unless you are habitually practicing righteousness, you are not born again and you are not saved. And I repeat emphatically that we are talking about evidence of salvation, not the cause. As others have put it so well, good works are a good evidence of salvation, but a rotten basis for salvation.

As in every other aspect of Christian faith and practice, we must be careful to stay in the narrow way of truth. The truth is as narrow as a razor’s edge, and for that reason multitudes fall over a cliff on either side to the eternal destruction of their souls. The practice of righteousness must be defined by the truth of God’s word, not by your vain imagination. How many times have we heard certain unbelievers described as a person “who would give you the shirt off his back.” Or how many times we have heard of other unbelievers described as “a good old boy.” My friends , there are multitudes of “good old boys” who “gave the shirt off their backs” in hell right now, and many of you are headed there also. Some of you think because you gave a dollar to the Red Cross or wrote a check to the church that you are practicing righteousness. Some of you think because you are a liberal do-gooder that you must be a Christian. But as we shall see the Biblical practice of righteousness is far different than humanitarianism.

The first thing we need to see about the practice of righteousness is that it must be what God has commanded in His inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative, sufficient word. In Matthew 15:9 our Lord Jesus Christ said, ”in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Now to those of you who claim to be Christians, and suppose to be practicing righteousness, I direct a question. Are you doing what God commanded in His word (and that is the only way we know what God commanded), or, are you doing what you imagined to be righteousness? Are your good works such as you have warrant from scripture, or are they such as you learned from sociology? I tell you , you had better be sure. It will do us well to bring every idea and belief and practice we have to the measuring line of the scripture and see if it lines up. Proverbs 14:12 says “there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the ways thereof are the ways of death.” You need to ask yourself if your beliefs come from the scriptures , or from some other source. The majority of you actually believe a pack of lies rather than the scripture. The vast majority of you have been brainwashed in the government “schools”. You believe in "humanitarianism", "socialism", "evolutionism" and everything except the word of God. You have been trained in a system that by its very nature is anti-Christian. And many of you have been duped by false prophets in “church” and state. The majority of you have a world view based on what you heard on the television or the radio, and it is vastly different from a biblical world view. I repeat, good works are only what God has commanded in His word.

The practice of righteousness is not optional. It is absolutely necessary for salvation. Search the scriptures so you will know what the biblical practice of righteousness is.