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, March 31, 2013

The Righteous Vexed by the Ungodly

(Article for publication week of 4-3- AD 2013)

“… And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) “ (II Peter 2:7-8).

God’s people are in the world, but they are not of the world. Therefore, as righteous Lot, we are disturbed and tormented by the evil lifestyle of the people of the world. It is good evidence that we are genuinely saved if we are, like Lot, vexed day by day with the filth and degradation all around us. Be sure, it is no virtue to sympathise with evildoers. Romans 12:9 commands us to “abhor evil.” God Himself hates the wicked (Psalm 11:5). Charles Spurgeon once commented, “Sympathy with sin is conspiracy with crime.”

Lot lived in a degraded and debauched culture similar to the one in which we live here in modern day America. The region of the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were given over to the same perversions that are now being openly practiced and embraced and promoted in our own nation. Those degraded people were so notorious for their filthy perversions, that these filthy sins are properly known as “sodomy”. You may be sure that God did not consider the perverts of Sodom and Gomorrah to be “gay.” He despised them so much He killed the whole caboodle of them and sent them straight to hell. (I encourage you to go read the larger passage in II Peter 2:4-10 if you don’t believe me.)

As Lot was vexed day by day by the ungodliness of the wicked sinners of Sodom and Gomorrah, so we who are righteous in America are vexed day by day with the filth all around us. It is sickening to even listen to the news reports of the goings on in the Supreme Court and the State capitols, and so forth. You can be sure, God does not consider perversion to be debatable. He has already pronounced eternal judgment on it. The filthy sinners of Sodom and Gomorrah have been in hell now for four thousand years and they won’t ever get out. And the wicked perverts parading around today in America won’t escape either. Nor, will any who take their side in any fashion.

Lot was the only righteous man in the whole twin metropolis of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the righteous in America are also are a very small minority (the Lord knoweth them that are His). As God delivered just Lot (that is he was justified by the saving grace of God in Christ), so He will deliver the righteous (those saved the same way Lot was) in every generation. The larger passage in II Peter 2 is a warning to the ungodly to repent for the judgment of God is coming, and also a consolation to the righteous who have to live in this ungodly world. God is going to set all things right in His Own way and in His Own good time. God will preserve His people in this low ground of sin and sorrow and at last make us inhabitants of the New Heavens and the New Earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13). God has reserved the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished, but He knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations as He did righteous Lot.

Our message this week is a two edged sword. There is a warning to the ungodly to repent before it is everlastingly too late, and an encouragement to the Lord’s people to trust in God in this dark day in which we live. Dear child of God, I know you are like Lot vexed day by day with the perversion and filth all around us. That is a good sign that you really are saved. Take heart and do not despair, for our God will preserve you and at last destroy the ungodly. May the Lord bless His little flock.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Regeneration Precedes Faith

(Article for publication week of 3-20- AD 2013)

"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13).

For several weeks we have been writing on the doctrine of justification by faith, which is another way of saying justification by grace (Romans 4:16). I have shown you that justifying faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). This week I will labour to teach that regeneration precedes faith. This is a fundamental truth of God's word. Unless we are enabled to see and understand something of the order of God's work of salvation, we will miss much of the gospel and have a flawed understanding of salvation itself. The learned theologian, Dr John Gerstner said that when he came to see that regeneration actually precedes faith, it was the key that began to open the truth of the gospel to him. I pray it will be so for many of you. If we get the order of salvation reversed, we are likely to err at many points. Modern day evangelicalism is fundamentally flawed, and is filling the church houses with spurious converts because most preachers today believe that sinners can regenerate themselves by an act of their own will.

Our text this week makes it clear that true, justifying and saving faith is not produced by man's fallen will, but is produced by the sovereign work of regeneration. I want you to read our text carefully and prayerfully, and if you do, you will see that regeneration (the new birth) precedes faith. Note well that our text says that those who believe in Christ for salvation WERE (emphasis mine) born (past tense). The new birth is antecedent to a sinner believing in Christ. Indeed, no one can or will believe in Christ to the saving of their soul until they are born from above by the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit (see also John 3:3-8). Saving faith is a spiritual exercise, and a sinner dead in trespasses and sins can perform no spiritual actions. Life always precedes action, naturally and spiritually. You must have spiritual life in order to act spiritually, and only the Holy Spirit can give such life.

Notice also in our text this week that saving faith in Christ comes not from man's fallen will, but from God's sovereign will. The text plainly says that those who believe in Christ are those who are born again, not by any power of man, but by the will of God. The text plainly says, "not of the will of man, but of the will of God." Salvation is by free grace, not free will. Salvation is all of the Lord from first to last , in every detail, and at every point. A poor sinner is helpless to save himself, or help save himself. By nature, every person is dead in trespasses and sins, and void of any spiritual capacity whatsoever (Ephesians 2:1). If you will ever be saved, you must be born again by the immediate work of the Holy Spirit. The thing a lost sinner needs above everything else is spiritual life, and only the Holy Spirit can give such life.

Here we have a fundamental difference between carnal professors, and those who truly have Christ. There are multitudes all around us who have been cajoled and coaxed into making a profession of religion, but they have never been regenerated. They have made a "decision" by their own so-called "free will", but they have not been born spiritually by the sovereign will of God as is described in our text this week. There are probably some of you reading this who say you have "accepted " Christ, but have never received Him as a result of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit as described in our text. There are many who have some head knowledge of Christ, the Bible and the gospel, but they have not true saving faith that is produced by the will of God in the new birth. We have multitudes of blind leaders of the blind falling into the ditch and bringing their false converts down with them.

The order of salvation is that the Holy Spirit regenerates an elect sinner by His sovereign power, and then that sinner comes to Christ by faith. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3), nor enter in (John 3:5). May the blessed Holy Spirit Who moves like the wind, regenerate many of you, and give you the gift of saving faith and draw you to the dear Saviour of sinners.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Necessity of Faith

(Article for publication week of 3-13- AD 2013)

“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).

We showed you in our last two articles that faith is a gift of God and that it is the channel, or conduit through which the grace of God is brought to a sinner trusting in Christ alone for salvation. Properly speaking, a believer is not justified by his own act of believing, but rather by Christ Alone, the proper Object of a believer’s faith. Salvation is all of the Lord. Everything necessary for justification is furnished by the Lord.

That being said, I now want to emphasize that no one is saved by his own act of believing, but no one is saved apart from a real and living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Even a cursory reading of the Bible makes it clear that no one has ever been saved apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and no one ever will be or can be saved apart from such justifying faith. Some of you dispensationalists may inquire, “but what about the Old Testament saints?” If you will go read the fourth chapter of Romans and the eleventh chapter of Hebrews you will see that the Old Testament saints believed in the same Saviour as New Testament saints. The Old Testament saints believed in the Christ Who was coming, and New Testament saints believe in the Christ Who has come, but we all believe in the same Christ for salvation. Again, the two chapters I just cited make it clear that all believers are saved the same way. Some of you universalists will inquire, “well, what about those who never heard the gospel?” Your argument is with our Lord, not me, for He plainly says here that all who will not believe in Him are doomed and damned forever. Our Lord says here in our text in John 8:24 that you will either die in your sins, or you will die believing in Him. There are no two ways about it.

Salvation is promised to all who will cease from their rebellion, and repent of their sins, and trust in Christ Alone. But there is only a fearful looking of judgment and fiery indignation to those who will not believe in Christ. Mark it down friends and neighbors, no one can be saved who will not believe in Christ. The poor deluded Moslems are damned unless they turn to Christ. The unbelieving Jews are damned unless they believe in Christ. The Deists are all damned unless they believe in Christ. The secular humanists are all damned unless they believe in Christ. The Unitarians are all damned unless they believe in Christ. The liberal churchmen who deny the atonement of Christ are all damned unless they will repent and believe in Christ. All the cultists who deny the proper Deity of Christ and the satisfaction He made for sin are all doomed and damned unless they repent and believe in the Christ of the Bible. All the works mongers who are trying to add their own works to Christ’s are all damned unless they trust in Christ Alone. And you my dear reader, will certainly be damned forever except you believe in Christ for your eternal salvation.

Let our Lord’s warning sound in your ears and awake you from your slumber of death. “If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that beleiveth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). The unbelieving shall be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 21:8). May the Lord give you the gift of faith so that you may believe in Christ for the eternal salvation of your never dying soul.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Channel of Faith

(Article for publication week of 3-6- AD 2013)

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

There is only one way that the grace of God comes to a sinner, and that is through the channel of faith. The grace of God only flows through one channel, and that is the channel of faith. My friend, there is only one way for you to receive the grace of God, and that is by believing in the Son of God.

You cannot receive the grace of God by working for it. Our text makes that plain, does it not? It plainly says, "not of works." Grace and works are two different things completely. As it says in Romans 11:6, "if by grace, then is it no more of works", and vice versa. To receive something by works is to receive what is rightfully yours because you have earned it, whereas, to receive something by grace is to receive it as a free gift, unearned. So it is with faith in Christ. To receive the grace of God in Christ by faith is to disavow your own worthiness and goodness, and to simply receive a free gift. Faith is an empty hand that receives the free gift of salvation. I repeat, faith is the one and only channel through which the grace of God flows to sinners.

Note well, the distinction in our text between the prepositions "by" and "through". A believer is saved "by" grace", but it is through" faith. Thus we see that faith is not the procuring cause of salvation, but rather grace is the procuring cause. Thus we see that a sinner is saved by grace. But then it is through faith. You see the same idea in Romans 3:25 where we read that God has set forth Christ "to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood." You see a believer's faith will not appease the wrath of God (propitiation), only the death of Christ can. But we receive the benefit of propitiation through faith. Again, faith is the channel through which the grace of God in Christ Jesus flows to the child of God.

We see this principle also in Philippians 1:19 where Paul says, "this shall turn to my salvation, through your prayers." The prayers of the saints are used by God in accomplishing His will. That is, prayer is a channel, or conduit, or instrument through which God accomplishes His will, but it is He Himself Who does the work. It is the same idea in our text here in Ephesians 2:8-9 where salvation is said to be by grace, through faith. Faith itself does not save. It is God's grace treasured up in His Son that actually saves. But God has fixed it so that this saving grace flows to you through faith alone.

Now, note well, that faith is the exclusive channel through which saving grace in Christ flows, but it is a channel opened by God Himself. Our text says that saving faith is a gift of God. No one can, or will believe in Christ for salvation unless and until God Himself grants the gift of faith. Thus we see that salvation is indeed all of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). Everything necessary for an elect sinner's justification is furnished by God Himself. God supplies everything, the sinner supplies nothing. Indeed, you have nothing whatsoever you can offer the Lord to help Him save you. If you think your faith is somehow you doing your part to help save yourself, then you do not understand justification at all. True saving faith in Christ Alone for salvation claims no merit or power of its own. It simply looks to Christ for a sinner's whole and sole righteousness. Faith, again, is simply an empty hand that receives the gift of God's free and sovereign grace. May the Lord grant you the gift of faith to receive His grace for your salvation today.