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, 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.

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