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.

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