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, November 25, 2012

He Paid the Price

(Article for publication week of 11-28- AD 2012)

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His Own blood” (Acts 20:28).

Our text this week is the apostle Paul’s farewell address to the elders of the church at Ephesus. Here is the great duty of the true ministers of Christ- to feed the Lord’s people.

The first thing I want you to notice in our text is the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. The text says that the Church was bought with the blood of God. Now, we know that it was the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal and Coequal Son of God, the God man, Who shed His blood for our redemption. So it is evident that Paul was saying that Christ is and was truly and properly God.

Secondly, notice with me that the redemption made by Christ is spoken of in our text in economic terms. The Church was purchased with the blood of Christ, Who, as I say is clearly God. We have here the language of the marketplace. The atonement secured by Christ was a commercial atonement. There was a price that had to be paid, and the Lord Jesus Christ paid the price. This commercial, or economic aspect of the atonement is shown by other passages which speak of our sins in terms of indebtedness. For instance, our Lord taught us to pray, “forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6:12). We were indebted to God because of our sins. Christ paid our debt that we owed to the justice of God’s law.

Thirdly, please notice the high price of salvation. It took the blood of Christ, that is His death, to save us from our sins. The price of salvation is higher than any man can ever pay. We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, not with silver or gold (I Peter 1:18). Nothing but the blood of Christ can ever wash away our sins. None of our good works can ever pay the price of redemption. Our tears of repentance will not pay, or help pay the debt of sin we owed. Our faith cannot pay the price. Rites and rituals, ordinances nor sacraments (so-called) will ever pay, or help pay the debt we owed. But the precious blood of Christ paid once and for all the debt that all the Church owed.

Fourthly, note well that Christ got what He paid for. He actually purchased His Church. He did not just make a down payment, and leave it to us to pay the rest. A thousand times “No”! Salvation is all of the Lord. It is not a joint effort between Christ and sinners. No! The full price of redemption was paid for every blood bought soul when Christ died on the cross.

Finally, I want to be sure who is meant here by the “church”. Our text has nothing to do with a denomination, or a group of churches, or even a local organized assembly. The “church” here in our text is the whole election of grace. Every heir of promise chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and called by the Holy Spirit is in the “church” of our text. Now, hold your seat and don’t go off on a tangent. I am not suggesting that the organized church is unimportant. I am not suggesting that Christians ought to hold the organized church in contempt. This is one of those ways that some have destroyed their souls by falling into a ditch on either side. There are multitudes who belong to a visible organized church who have no evidence of being saved. Then there are others who maintain that it is superfluous to belong to the church since salvation is in Christ and not the church. Both of these are dangerous errors. It is true that salvation is in Christ, not the church. But it is the duty of all believers to join a local assembly and submit to its doctrines and discipline. Lord willing, we will write on the doctrine of the church one of these days, but now I want you to see that often in the scriptures the “church” refers to all the elect of God. It includes all the Old Testament saints as well as all the New Testament saints. It includes the dying thief who never got baptized, and never joined the visible church. Christ paid the price for all the Father gave Him in the covenant of grace.

Christ paid the price in full. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Death of Christ

(Article for publication week of 11-21- AD 2012)

“As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15).

The reader is invited and encouraged to read the entire tenth chapter of John’s gospel. In this chapter our Lord declares Himself as the Good Shepherd of His sheep. In our text today the Great Shepherd says that He would lay down His life for His sheep.

No one could ever be saved apart from the death of Christ. We were under the sentence of death because of our sins. “The wages of sin is death,” we read in Romans 6:23. God is determined to punish sinners, and death is the only proper punishment for rebellion against God (which is what sin is). Physical and corporeal death is the wages of sin, and ultimately the second death in the lake of fire, that is eternal hell. Christ laid down His life that we would be saved from so great a death and have eternal life.

Now, Christ is the Only Person in God’s universe Who could have died for His sheep. Our text, and verse 18 show Christ to be properly God. The knowledge of the Father and the Son speaks of their relationship and coequality from all eternity. In verse 18, Christ declares something that no ordinary man ever could- that is He has power to lay down His life, and to take it again. This is because He is the God-Man (I Timothy 2:5). This also tells us that Christ died to make an atonement for sin, not just as a martyr for a good cause.

First consider that Christ died a substitutionary death. He died for His sheep. That is He died in their “room and stead” as has been oft repeated down through the history of the Church. Never forget that God will punish the sinner, or He will punish the sinners Substitute. Christ acted as a substitute for His sheep. That is, He eternally assumed all our obligations including our obligation to be punished for our sins. God transferred our guilt to the Shepherd of our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ, and punished Him instead of us.

Next, please note well, that this text plainly shows that Christ made a definite atonement for His people. That is He died for His sheep particularly. This text says that Christ actually and definitely and really made an atonement for His elect people, whom He calls in our text this week “my sheep.” I want you to see that Christ did not die in vain, but accomplished salvation for all for whom He died.

Poor sinner, your only hope is in the death of Christ Please know that if you are trusting in Christ Alone for your whole and sole righteousness, that you are one of His sheep, and that Christ died for you, and did everything necessary for your salvation. Salvation is not by our works in any sense, but by the work of Christ, exclusively. May the Lord bless His dear sheep to believe this wonderful gospel.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Death Abolished by the Work of Christ

(Article for publication week of 11- 14--AD 2012)

“Who (God) hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His Own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Timothy 1:9-10).

Surely it would take a multitude of articles and sermons to draw out all the wealth of this text. The text tells us that salvation is indeed all by God’s sovereign grace who chose His people in Christ before the foundation of the world and made all the arrangements necessary to bring them to eternal glory. But I wish to focus our attention this week primarily on the expression in verse 10 “Who hath abolished death.”

Christ has abolished death for His people. The curse of Adam brought upon all his posterity the sting of death (Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12). But God Who is rich in mercy, had purposed from all eternity that His Eternal and Coequal Son should bear the awful curse for His elect people and abolish death for them. Thus our text tells us that in time Christ was manifest, that is He became a Man to redeem us from the curse of the law and all its evil effects. All the sins of all God’s people were transferred to Christ and He suffered as the Just Substitute to satisfy the just requirement of God’s law. Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day for our justification (Romans 4:25; I Corinthians 15:1-4). Thus He arose triumphant over the devil, sin, hell and the grave. So our text says that Christ “abolished death.”

First of all Christ has removed the sting of death for us. Death is indeed a monster. We are naturally afraid of death, for it appears to be an awful and final thing. Unbelievers certainly should fear death, for it will usher them into their awful eternal state. But believers have no need to fear death, for Christ has abolished all its evil effect. For believers death is the door that opens to heaven and immortal glory. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord we read in the fifth chapter of II Corinthians. As soon as believer closes his eyes in death, he is with Christ in paradise (Luke 23:43).

Secondly, Christ has abolished the Second Death for His people. Eternal hell is described in Revelation as the “second death.” The finally impenitent are doomed to eternal death. That is they are fixed in a state of conscious suffering forever. Thus to die outside of Christ is to spend eternity facing God as your eternal Judge and Executioner. Truly it can be said of everyone who is outside of Christ as our Lord said of Judas Iscariot, it would have been better if they had not been born. But Christ has abolished the second death for His people. It has no power over us. Again, Christ died for our sins. He fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the law of God, and no one can lay any charge to the elect of God.

Thirdly, Christ has abolished death for the believer because He will raise up our bodies at the final day I Corinthians 15:52; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; John 6:39). Though our bodies must see corruption and return to dust, the Lord will gather up that dust and raise it up in a new body fashioned like unto our Lord. Our omniscient God knows where every atomic particle is, and regardless of how long our bodies have slept in the dust, it will be no hard thing for our omnipotent God to re-gather every particle of our formerly sin cursed bodies and raise them up incorruptible.

As one hymn writer so ably expressed it, “I face the monster death and smile”! Dear believer in Christ, you have no reason to fear death because all its evil has been abolished by Christ and He has taken away its sting. May the Lord bless His dear people to be delivered from all fear of death.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Believer's Sins Forgotten

(Article for publication week of 11-7- AD 2012)

"And I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31: 34). Oh! What a glorious declaration by God Himself! He declares that He will not remember His people's sins.

First of all we need to see that this is a judicial statement. It is something that God wills, or purposes. We know that God is omniscient, and that He does not literally forget anything. All things are naked and open before His all-seeing eyes. God makes this declaration because He has eternally justified His people and not one charge can ever be brought against them (Romans 8:33). Christ has taken away our sins by His atoning death. Christ was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25). So, you see this is a judicial declaration that God makes when He says He will not remember the believer's sins against him as far as the justice of His law. And this is a vital Biblical concept in which the believer will be greatly blessed. There are so many blessings and comforts you will miss if you do not see the judicial aspect of your salvation. And there are many things in the word of God you will not understand without a clear grasp that justifification is a judicial act of God.

In my fellowship with the Lord's people through the years I have seen there are three things in particular that often disturb their peace and comfort. First of all many are concerned because of the enormity of their sins before they were converted. Some believers have been saved from particularly degraded sins. Now we know that there is no sin that is so small that it does not deserve eternal damnation, but we need always remember there are no sins so great they will not be forgiven those who truly repent. So dear child of God who has been saved from terrible and gross sins, let not your conscience be troubled because the blood of Christ has washed away all your sins forever.

Secondly, believers are often distressed by their sins since conversion. The child of God has been given them a new nature that loves the Lord and hates sin, and his great desire is that he would never sin again. His spirit is willing, but his flesh is weak. He is always repenting and sorrowing for his sins and learning from our Lord's Model Prayer, "forgive me my sins". The believer in Christ can draw comfort from our Lord's declaration that he has willed not to remember his sins. Be sure the death of Christ has taken away all your sins, past, present and future.

Thirdly, we know many of the Lord's people (including your poor writer) who are often troubled in their spirits about the day of judgment. Will the Lord bring up our sins against us at the final Day? After all the Bible says some sober things regarding the Day of Judgment. "we shall all give an account", and "we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Your poor writer does not claim to have all the answers, but I draw my comfort from this week's text, "I will remember their sins no more." Justification is an eternal , immanent act of God's free grace, not a work that a sinner performs. Whatever the scripures may say about our final accounting before God, we can rest in the work of Christ and the judicial declaration that God has made. Whatever the Bible may say about God's gracious rewarding of His people in the day of judgment, He will never bring our sins up against us, for He judicially does not remember them. They have been expunged from His record . As a hymnwriter expressed it:

"Bold shall I stand in that great day
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
While through Thy blood absolved I am
From sins tremendous curse and shame."