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, August 1, 2009

The Brethren

(Article for publication week of 8-5-2009 AD)

Occasionally, some of our readers ask for past articles. If any of you ever want to go back and read any of those past articles we can make them available to you, or you can find them on the Internet at matthewsevenfourteen.blogspot.com. Now to our subject.

We have been considering for several months now the evidences of the new birth, or regeneration. Some of these are faith in Christ, repentance from sin, the practice of righteousness, no habitual sinning, and the love of the brethren. We read in I John 3: 14, “we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.”

The "brethren" are all of those who have been saved by grace. In Matthew 12:50 our Lord Jesus Christ said, “for whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” On this occasion our Lord’s natural mother and siblings had come to see Him. Our Lord ‘s response was that His true family are those who obey Him. Thus we learn that the disobedient are not the children of God. In Hebrews 5:9 we read, “He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that OBEY Him.” We are not saved BY our obedience, but it is the certain result of being saved. If you are not living in obedience to Christ, you are not saved.

Christ loves His brethren. They were predestinated to be conformed to His Image (Romans 8:29). Christ agreed in the everlasting covenant that he would be their Surety (Hebrews 7:22). He partook of our nature that He might be our High Priest and make reconciliation for our sins (Hebrews 2:17). He died for His brethren and was raised from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:25). Christ has taken His brethren into eternal and saving union with Himself. He has sanctified us, set us apart for His holy use and made us partakers of His Own holiness. If Christ loves His brethren, then we must love then also.

Christ is not ashamed of His brethren (Hebrew 2:11). Is that not an amazing thing? Christ is not ashamed of His elect. In and of ourselves we have much for which to be ashamed. When we think of our sins, what shame it brings to us. But Christ died for our sins and they are all taken away. He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. He purged our sins by Himself. He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Christ is not ashamed to call us “brethren” for we were chosen in Him in eternity, our sins have been erased from our record by His atoning death, and His Holy Spirit has applied His saving work to us.

In short, the “brethren" are all those that have been, are, or ever will be gathered into the kingdom of Christ. The brethren are all those who believe in Christ for their salvation. The brethren are all those who love Christ and give evidence of it by obedience to Him. The brethren are all the elect family of God from every “kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9). We know we are saved if we love the brethren.

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