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?

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