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, July 25, 2009

The Love of the Brethren

(Article for publication week of 7-29-2009 AD)

“We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.” ( I John 3:14).

Since love for the brethren is such an indispensable evidence of the New Birth, we had better be sure we understand what is taught concerning it. And the very first thing we need to understand is what the Bible says about the subject of love.

Most people appear to me to have a very unbiblical view of the subject of love. Most people have an understanding of love that is based on Hollywood rather than the authority of God’s word. What most people call “love’ is not love at all but is rather lust. Once I was rebuking a young man for his sin of fornication and he responded by telling me that after all he “loved” the object of his lust. This is a vivid example of what I am talking about. If you really love someone you will respect their chastity and seek to preserve it.

Then there are others who confuse love with a mere sentimentality. They have a sentimental feeling about something, and they call it love. However, biblical love is far greater than a mere sentimentality.

For a biblical understanding of love, let us turn to Romans 13: 10 where we read, “love is the fulfilling of the law.” True biblical love is to treat people as God has commanded in His law. If you love someone, then you must give them due honour and respect their station as God commands in the fifth commandment. If you will love someone, then you must respect their life and seek to preserve it as God has commanded in the sixth commandment. If you love someone then you must seek the preservation of their chastity as God commands in the seventh commandment. If you love someone then you must respect their property as commanded in the eighth commandment. Biblical love means that you protect a person’s name and reputation as commanded in the ninth commandment. And biblical love commands us to have right intentions in our heart toward others as expressed in the tenth commandment.

So you see, dear ones, biblical love is action, and not merely feelings. Biblical love is active even when feelings are not. We can love those that we may not even like. And so we are commanded to love all men in this way. We are to love our neighbors in this way, our family in this way, and even our enemies in this way. But above all, we are to love the Lord’s people as we see in our text here in I John 3:14, and we will if we are converted people.

Christians are bound to love other Christians for they perceive the same grace that is in themselves is in every other Christian as well. When you know that you are an object of the sovereign grace of God, you are necessarily drawn to those who have been saved by the same grace. When we look at other believers and see the image of Christ on them, we cannot but love them. We cannot but love all those that have been loved by Christ. We cannot but love all those that He died for. If we truly love the Lord’s people, then it is a sure mark of Divine and saving grace. Do you love the brethren?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Because We Love the Brethren

(Article for publication week of 7-22-2009 AD)

“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (I John 3:14).

We come now to consider another indispensable and certain evidence of the new birth, that is love for the Lord’s people. A sinner saved by grace is bound to love other sinners that are saved by grace.

The first thing to which I call your attention is that we may have assurance of our salvation. John says, “we know”. Certain modern day Pharisees teach that no one may have assurance of grace and teach their adherents that all they can do is try to obey the law and “church rules” and do penance and go to confession and a thousand other things and hope, they may one day get out of purgatory. Other false teachers advocate that the best you can do is just “hope” you might be one of God’s elect. On the other hand the proponents of easy believism tell their followers that if they ever “made a decision for Christ” then they need never doubt their salvation. We have known not a few that have imbibed this dangerous doctrine that were living in gross and scandalous sin who had no doubts of their salvation because they had “decided for Christ” or “accepted Jesus”. To all such we give the words of Christ in John 10:27, “my sheep hear my voice and they FOLLOW me.“ The truth is that believers in Christ can have a solid assurance, as our text tells us. We are exhorted in II Peter 1:10 to “give diligence to make our calling and election sure.” II Thessalonians 2:16 tells us we have “a good hope through grace.” We may not be completely delivered from doubts and fears, but we can have a firm assurance of our standing in grace.

Secondly our text speaks of the great drama of salvation. Salvation is passing from “death unto life.” Salvation is nothing less than miraculous. It is so miraculous that its recipients are always amazed that they are Christians. Salvation is a powerful work. It is passing from death unto life. Unconverted persons are like so many walking corpses as dead as a valley of dry bones. (Read Ezekiel 37.) How many suppose themselves Christians who have never had anything happen to them like passing from death unto life. How many we hear who say things like “well I just always loved the Lord” but they can’t relate anything like passing from death unto life. Or how many say they have “accepted Jesus”, but have had no real change in their soul. How many are there who have given some mental assent to the gospel but can relate nothing like passing from death unto life. To all such careless souls we say, “Have you passed from death unto life”?Has salvation come to you in this profound way?

Now my dear ones, if you have passed from death unto life, one way you and others will know it is by your love for others who have passed from death unto life. I will have more on this subject next week, Lord willing.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

That Ye Sin Not

(Article for publication week of 7-15-2009 AD)

My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins; and for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1-2).

One indispensable evidence of a gracious state is that we do not sin as a habit and general course of life (I John 3:9). To such John writes seriously that we sin not. This is a command that a Christian takes seriously. If you are not taking John’s command not to sin seriously, then I doubt very seriously if you are born again. So our text gives us the goal of every heaven born soul, that is not to sin. Dear reader, have you made it your goal and purpose in life to live above sin? If not, I fear for your eternal state.

But not only does John give us the goal of the Christian, not to sin, he also gives us the reality of the Christian life, “if any man sin”. This is the reality that every believer faces that when he would do good, evil is present with him (Romans 7:21). “In many things we offend all” (James 3:2). We are always missing the mark and coming short of the glory of God. We have a plague in our heart that is continually breaking out.

In the face of this reality John gives us the remedy for sinners, Jesus Christ the Righteous. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. Jesus Christ is the sinner’s remedy for his sins in two ways according to our text.

First the Lord Jesus Christ is the sinner’s Substitute. He is the propitiation for our sins. Propitiation is a word that came into use, as I am told by scholars (I am not a scholar myself, but have studied enough to know a scholar), through William Tyndale’s translation of the scriptures into English. It means that the wrath of God has been appeased by the expiation Christ made for believers when he died on the cross. Christ has fully discharged all the debts His people owed to a holy God. For every one that believes in Christ, the just wrath of God has been turned away by the offering of Christ once for all. But if you are not joined to Christ dear friend, you are as Jonathan Edwards put it, a “sinner in the hands of an angry God.”

Secondly, Christ is the believer’s remedy for sin as our Advocate with the Father. If you had to go before the Judge, would you not want a capable advocate? Well, Christ is such an advocate for His people. We have an Advocate who is the Judge’s Son! And he has already paid our fine! The Lord Jesus intercedes in heaven for all those for whom He died (Romans 8:34). Right now in the Court of heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ is reminding His Father that he died for old wretched sinners like Thomas Ray Floyd. And not for me only, but for all who will repent of their sins and believe in Him. Christ is able, willing and ready to advocate for the vilest offender who truly believes. And that my friends is the gospel truth.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Killing Sin

(Article for publication week of 7-8-2009 AD)

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:13).

Since Christians still have to contend with indwelling sin (Romans 7:17), we are instructed to mortify, or put to death the remaining corruption within us. As one of old commented on this text, “you will either be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” If you are serious about your eternal soul, you had better get busy mortifying sin.

No person will ever get serious about mortifying sin until they have come to hate sin. Christians hate sin in themselves more than in anyone else. We hate sin because it is an offence to the Thrice Holy God Whom we have come to love. We hate sin because it will be punished in hell. And we hate sin because of all the grief it has brought to ourselves and those we love. But most of all, we hate sin because the Dear Saviour hung on the cross to atone for our sins.

Sin is not something to be petted, but rather to be hated and to be put to death. Our Lord told us that we must be so committed to mortifying sin that we must be willing to part with right eyes and right hands if they lead us to sin (Matthew 5:29-30). As William Cowper expressed it so well in a hymn, “The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be, help me to tear it from its throne, and worship only Thee.”

Now please note with me what we are to do about the corruption within us. We are to mortify it- kill it- put it to death. The text does not tell us to “let go and let God”. No! it says mortify it! It does not say to pray through for a second work of grace or anything like that. We must roll up our sleeves and fight against sin. We find the same truth in Colossians 3:5, “mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth”. This is an exhortation that we ignore to the peril of our souls.

Mortifying sin is like hoeing Bermuda grass in the field. You never can completely kill it, you just have to keep hoeing and working. That is the way sin is. It is so rooted in us that every time we think we are making some progress, it shows itself in another place. Putting sin to death is the lifelong work of a believer. I have heard old, experienced saints express that they are still battling against sin in themselves. And my own experience and the scriptures confirm it.

Thankfully, the text does not leave us helpless. “If ye through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body.” There it is, the help of the Holy Spirit is given to believers to mortify sin. The Holy Spirit does not do it for us, but He helps us in the hard work of mortifying sin. The Holy Spirit indwells all the Lord’s people (John 14:17), and “leads “ them (Romans 8:14). The Holy Spirit continues the good work of grace that he began in regeneration (Philippians 1:6). He is carrying on the good work of sanctification in God’s people. He guides us into the truth of God’s word and illuminates the scriptures that He inspired. We must mortify sin, but the Holy Spirit helps us. And He is a very able and strong Helper indeed.

I pray the Holy Spirit will be your Helper my dear readers, for as our text teaches us, if we are not killing sin, sin will be killing us.