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, December 28, 2014

Still Not Saved

(Article for publication week of 1-1-2015)
"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20). What an awful condition- not saved! My text exposes at least two categories of my readers. First there are many of you who are not saved, but you think you are. You have had your wounds slightly healed. You made a little profession, or walked an aisle or did something religious, but you have had no saving change worked in you by the Holy Spirit, nor do you have any experimental knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though you are quite comfortable and at peace, you have a false peace and are after, all unsaved. Then there are a few of you who know you are not saved. You have sat under the gospel; you have read the Narrow Way; you have talked of the things of the Lord with your believing friends and relatives; yet you are unsaved. What an awful thing to be unsaved! You are under the power of darkness and outside the kingdom of Christ. If you die today you will be cast down to hell!
Now my dear unsaved reader, I pose a question for you. Why are you not saved? Why do you remain on the road to eternal perdition? Well, it is not because you have not been warned. If this is the first time you have ever read the Narrow Way, you have already read enough to be warned of the wrath to come. Some of you have been reading the Narrow Way a long time and you have been warned over and over. There are few of you who have sat under a faithful ministry (for there are still a few faithful ministers here and there even in this benighted day)and you have been warned of your dangerous situation many times. Most of you cannot say you are unsaved because you have not heard of Christ and His saving power. Nor are you unsaved because of any unwillingness in Christ to save you. The dear Saviour has sweetly proclaimed, "him that cometh to me I will in  no wise cast out," and "come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." Christ is willing to save all who will repent and come to Him by faith. Nor are you unsaved because your case is too hard for the Saviour. He is mighty to save and has saved, and still saves the vilest of the vile. Nor are you unsaved because God's people have not prayed for you. There is some unsaved child out there whose parents wet their pillow with tears for you every night. There are many of you out there that I pray for regularly. The fact is my dear unsaved reader, you are not saved, BECAUSE YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SAVED! You are not saved because you love your sins more than Christ. You are not saved because you are unwilling to renounce your righteousness and receive the imputed righteousness of Christ by faith. You are unsaved because you do not want to be holy. You are unsaved because you love the world and the things of the world and you are unwilling to part with the world. When God casts you down into the everlasting fires of hell where the fire is not quenched and the worm dies not, it will be your own fault! All the blame will lie at your unsaved feet because you have refused Christ and His tender mercies.
Now I have another question for you- will you ever be saved? All I can tell you is that it looks mighty bad for some of you. You had rather hold on to false profession than admit you have been deceiving yourself and the Church all these years. The scriptures do not give us much reason to hope for those who like Felix are waiting for a more convenient day. The scriptures do not give us much reason to hope for those who like Agrippa are "almost persuaded." If you have wasted all the favours already shown to you, why do you suppose that more gospel labour will profit you? Some of you were raised in a Christian home and you have left home unsaved and by your actions have publicly declared against your parents and the Saviour they love. Why do you think you will ever be saved? Well, only the Lord knoweth infallibly if you will ever be saved, but I urge you now to fall on your knees and repent of your sins and cry out to the Saviour and beg Him to save you. He might do it.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Pagan Roots of "Christmas"

(Article for publication week of 12-25- AD 2014)
 "Thus saith the LORD, 'Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work  of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not' " (Jeremiah 10:2-4).

We have shown you in previous articles that Christmas is not Christian, first because it is not even mentioned, much less commanded in the scriptures, and secondly because it is a "mass" of the Popish co-called "church." The Romanists claim that there is a real and propitiatory offering of our Lord in the mass, therefore true Christians should be repulsed by such mockery of our Lord's offering Himself  "once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). This week we shall show you that "Christmas" is entirely pagan in its roots.
First of all, let us consider the observance of the Christ- mass on December 25. Nowhere in scripture do we read of the day, much less the month that our Lord was born. Most learned men, like Bishop Ussher generally agree that our Lord was not born on December 25. So where did men get the idea to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25, if it is not stated in scripture, nor in secular history? The fact is that this date was chosen because the heathens before the advance of "Christendom" celebrated the birth of the sun god three days after the winter solstice. In the pagan Roman Empire the celebration was known as "saturnalia." The wretched practice began in the Babylonian Empire, and similar celebrations involving the worship of the sun were practiced throughout Europe, the mid-east and other places.
This is a good place for us to reflect upon the grace and goodness of God that moved Him to send the gospel to our benighted forefathers. Our European ancestors were as vile a race as any other until the light of the gospel shined upon them. As far as we know (only the LORD knows infallibly) ALL our ancestors before the first century lived and died in spiritual darkness and are in hell now. How thankful we should be that the Lord sent His gospel to us Gentiles! Only a remnant of Gentiles have been saved, but before the first century we have little hope that any of our ancestors were saved. Our ancestors in the British Isles and in Western Europe were all a sorry lot of idolaters. While they knew God by creation and conscience, they became vain in their imaginations and worshipped and served the creation instead of the Creator (Romans 1:18-25).
All over the old pagan Roman Empire the sun was worshipped and December 25 (as the heathens observed that the days were getting longer)  was a day of debauched revelry as our heathen forefathers celebrated the birth of the "sun god." The burning of lights, the cutting down of evergreens, the yule log, the mistletoe were all practiced in the filthy debauchery of the Saturnalia. (You can look this up for yourself in any standard encyclopedia.) With the rise of popery, Constantine-ism and the union of "church" and state (the true church has never been united to the State) these heathen practices were assimilated into the "church" which began to be centered in Rome by the fourth century. So the pope and his followers declared that the saturnalia would continue as an observation of the nativity of Christ and that a special "mass" would be said on December 25. They disobeyed my text in Jeremiah 10 and learned the way of the heathen to get the heathen to "join the church." "Christmas" is not Christian, but is a "demon holiday" rooted in popery and heathendom and should be rejected by believers in Christ.
True Christians delight in the Incarnation of the Saviour every day. "The Word was made flesh" (John 1:14)! As my dear Brother Jeff Pollard once put it, "the Son of God became the Son of Man that sons of men would become sons of God!" But we should reject every man -made form of worship, and every practice that is extra-Biblical. "Learn not the way of the heathen."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Is Christmas Christian?

(Article for publication week of 12-18- AD 2014)
"For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14).
Last week we showed you that the Christmas observance is a demon holiday because it has not been commanded by the Lord. The scriptures are completely silent regarding the Christ-mass (its real name). The Second Commandment forbids us to worship God except as He has prescribed. Christmas is completely man-made and is nothing more than will worship (Colossians 2:22-23).
This week we will show you that the very name of "Christmas" (Christ-mass) is repulsive and thoroughly anti-Christian having been instituted by the Romish so-called "church." As we have shown, the observance of the birth of Christ was not commanded by our Lord, nor His Apostles. In fact we do not even know the exact month, much less the day that our Lord was born. December 25 was decreed as a Christ "mass" by the pope of Rome in the fourth century, much too late to be of scriptural authority. It is indeed a mass of the so-called Roman "church" (the followers of the pope are not a church, but the Great Whore of Babylon). No true Christian can ever observe the "mass" for it is anti-Christian and denies the very gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The pope and his followers claim that in the mass there is a real offering of the body and blood of Christ. Moreover they claim that the mass is propitiatory and makes satisfaction for sin. Furthermore they claim that their "priests" can change bread and wine into the real body and blood of Christ by incantations. In case any of you have cozy feelings for the pope and Roman Catholicism, you need to know they have never repealed the Council of Trent, in which they decreed anathema against all who preach justification by faith alone. The Council of Trent further pronounced anathema (eternal damnation) against all who deny the mass to be a real offering of Christ as a propitiation for sin, and the superstition of transubstantiation. (Thank God the pope does not have power to eternally damn anyone.) In other words the Roman Catholic "church" claims that when their priests give their communicants a piece of wafer, and they themselves drink the wine (for they ignorantly deny the people the cup) that the bread and wine is literally changed into the body and blood of Christ. Therefore the mass is anti-Christian for it denies the very gospel of the atonement made by Christ for His people.
Contrary to the Romish lie of the "mass", the scriptures plainly declare that Christ has saved His people by ONE offering, as our text says (see also Hebrews 1:3; 9:28; 10:10; and Matthew 1:21). The Lord Jesus Christ by His atoning, substitutionary, vicarious Death put away all the sins of all His people for all time. His triumphant declaration from the cross was "it is finished!" We are redeemed by the blood of Christ, not by the elements of the Lord's Supper, which are commemorative, not propitiatory. I was once blessed to hear a former Roman Catholic "priest" who was converted to Christianity preach the gospel. It was our text this week  (Hebrews 10:14) that the Lord used to convert him. When the Holy Ghost taught him the truth of Hebrews 10:14, he shouted out, "he doesn't need me, for Christ has done it all!" God saved him and he is now preaching the true gospel.
Christians may have nothing to do with any "masses", including the so-called "Christ-mass." Is Christmas Christian? Absolutely not! Christmas is an idolatrous invention of the Mother of Harlots. It is thoroughly anti-Christian, and as Pastor L. R. Shelton, Sr. so powerfully said, a "demon holiday." Come out from among them, and be ye separate, all you who profess the name of Christ.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas- A Demon Holiday

(Article for publication week of 12-11- AD 2014)
" 'Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate', saith the Lord, 'and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you' " (II Corinthians 6:17). We have entered into that season of the year when the professed church enters into a strange alliance with the world. Instead of separating from the world as we are commanded, the professed church goes right along with the "Christ-mass" (its real name as we shall show). Time was when Baptists and Protestants generally did not observe the "Christ-mass." In fact the observance of the "christ - mass" was forbidden by civil statute in many Christian communities in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. "Christ-mass" is not a Christian observance, but is rather as I say in my title, a "demon holiday", and all the "holy water" in the world will never make the practice Christian.
First of all there is not a single scripture that authorises the observance of Christmas. The Second Commandment forbids us to worship God except as He has commanded. Man- made worship is will worship (Colossians 2:22-23), and is not a matter of indifference, but a great sin before God. I challenge you to search the scriptures and you will see that the Bible is silent on the subject of "Christmas." Neither our Lord nor His Apostles ever commanded us to set aside a "holy" day to observe the day of His birth. The scriptures do not give us the date of His birth, and we can be very certain that if the Church was supposed to have a celebration on that day, the scriptures would have given us that information. Most sound authorities generally agree that Christ was not born on December 25th. Bishop Ussher believed He was born in the Fall, probably September, but even that learned man could not prove absolutely the exact Day of the Birth of Christ. The truth is that God has only commanded us to keep one day holy, and that is the weekly Sabbath (the first day of the week since our Lord's resurrection). It is notable that many people who will break the Sabbath all year long, will insist on having a day off on the 25th of December (and nowadays sometimes the whole week). As our country and state and county has accepted man made "holy days", they have at the same time desecrated the Holy Sabbath.
Some will try to argue that Christians are free to practice anything not specifically forbidden by the scriptures. This reasoning (known as the "normative principle" as opposed to the "regulative principle" as believed by our Protestant and Baptist forefathers) has brought in a flood of iniquity and has turned the church house into a playhouse for the devil and his crowd. This unscriptural reasoning has brought into the "church" house rap music, rock music, dancing, super bowl Sundays and who knows what all. The professing church has everything except the gospel of the Lord Jesus. All of these things, as it has been with the "Christ-mass", have been advocated in the name of attracting people to church and keeping the interest of the "young people." The fact is the Church will always be a boring place for unregenerate people, and adopting unscriptural, or extra-biblical practices only fills the "church" with unregenerate people, which is the case today.
I borrowed my title this week (it is not plagiarism if you cite your source)from the Late L.R. Shelton, Sr. pastor of First Baptist Church of Algiers, Louisiana. He has a well known message entitled "Christmas- A Demon Holiday" that you would do well to hear. The sermon is in print and can be found on the website of Radio Missions. Lord, willing I will have some more on the subject, but let me urge the true people of God to separate from the world, including the so-called "Christ- mass."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Wonderful Name of Jesus

(Article for publication week of 12-4-2014 AD)
"For unto is a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder:  and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). Seven centuries before His Incarnation, the prophet Isaiah declared the coming of Christ. In this verse we have an amazing prophecy that God would be manifest in the flesh.
Our text declares that the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ would be "Wonderful." This is a most appropriate name, for the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the most wonderful Person in the universe. Dear reader, would you agree with that statement? Would you agree that the Lord Jesus Christ is the most wonderful Person in the universe? If you know the Lord Jesus Christ, then I am sure you will agree with that. And if you don't know Him, I pray He might have mercy upon you and that you would come to know Him in experimental salvation.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the most wonderful and unique Person in the universe. There is none other who can compare. He is wonderful because He is the Second Person in the Holy Trinity. Our text declares the Deity of Christ, for Isaiah wrote He is the "mighty God." He is eternally begotten of the Father and is one with Him. Thus the text declares His eternal generation for the Father must needs have a Son to give a Son. And Christ is wonderful because He became incarnate. As dear Joseph Hart wrote, "How it was done we can't discuss, But this we know 'twas done for us." That is the "Word was made flesh" (John 1:14). We see this in the expression, "a child is born." Though He is eternally God, Christ was made a Man. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost in a virgin's womb by the agency and power of the Holy Ghost. Christ is wonderful because He has two natures. He is very God of very God, and very Man of very Man. As the God-Man He executes three offices. He is a Prophet to teach us; He is a Priest to intercede for us; and He is a King to rule over us.
And His name shall be "wonderful" for He has done the most wonderful work that has ever been done, that is the redemption of poor sinners. He created the universe and He governs the universe, but these are small works compared with the salvation of poor sinners. This was a work that could only be performed by the God-Man. Hebrews 1:3 declares that Christ purged our sins "by Himself." No angel could have been our Redeemer. No saint could have been our Redeemer. God the Father did not die for us, nor did God the Holy Spirit. It was God the Son Who died for us and put away our sins as far as the East is from the West. The Blessed Eternal Son of God left His Throne and glory, set aside His crown and came into a sin-cursed world to die for poor sinners such as you and me. As my dear brother in the ministry, Elder Jeff Pollard preached among us on one occasion, "the Son of God became the Son of Man that sons of men might become sons of God"! Now that is wonderful!
This is a name of which believers never get tired of hearing. A believer in Christ will never complain that he has heard all he wants to hear of Jesus. A true believer longs to hear more and more of that wonderful name. As another old hymn says, "more about Jesus would I know"! Yes indeed! His Name is Wonderful!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

God's Unspeakable Gift

(Article for publication week of 11-27- 2014)
"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift" (II Corinthians 9:15).
 What is this "unspeakable gift?" It can be none other than God's Own Eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the previous verses the Apostle had been commending the Christians at Corinth for their liberality, and exciting them to continue. He concludes by reminding us that we will never out give the Lord Himself. God's gifts, and His One Great Gift by whom all blessings natural and spiritual come down to men are so much greater than our giving that it is indeed "unspeakable." Since God has given lavishly to us, we therefore ought to be generous and liberal in our giving.
God gave His Son, first of all in eternity past to be the Covenant Head of His people. This "unspeakable gift" is an eternal gift which had no beginning. As God loved His Own Son, Who is One with Himself, so He loved the people of His choice as being eternally united to their Covenant Head. God gave us the gift of His Dear Son to be our Propitiation as He was foreordained as a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. God gave His Eternally Begotten Son to become the Son of Man that He might live a life of perfect obedience, and die an atoning death that we might be made the very righteousness of God in Him(Romans 5:19b).
It is through this one unspeakable gift that all blessings natural and spiritual come down to men. We owe our very existence to the Lord Jesus Christ, for it was by Him the world was created (Colossians 1:16), and by Him that the world is held together (Colossians 1:17). It is through this One Unspeakable Gift that believers have all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). This Unspeakable Gift is made unto His people "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption", that is everything we need for now and eternity. We are "complete" in this Unspeakable Gift (Colossians 2:10).
Christ is God's unspeakable gift because He is as the Father all glorious. He is Eternal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, thrice holy, just, merciful, longsuffering, good, and gracious. He is of the same essence as the Father, so He is verily God.
Christ is the unspeakable gift of God for He is raised from the dead and seated at His Father's Right Hand pleading the cause of His people. God gave His Son to be the God Man, the only Mediator between Himself and sinful man. He ever lives to make intercession for all those for whom He died.
Truly, God's Gift of His Son is unspeakable. All the sermons that have been preached and all the volumes that have been written trying to proclaim and declare the glories of Christ have come far short of describing the glory which is truly His. Human language is not sufficient to express the wonders and beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. The human mind is not able to fully fathom how wonderful Jesus truly is. But we go on in our feeble way, with stammering tongues trying to tell others how wonderful He is. We go on reading our Bibles and sitting at the feet of men that God has called to preach Christ because we long to know this Dear Saviour more and more. And we always come away with this , "thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!"

Sunday, November 16, 2014

In Everything Give Thanks

(Article for publication week of 11-20-2014 AD)
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Dear reader, do you ever think much about what is the Lord's will for you?  Well, you may know God's will for you without any mystical revelation or dream, for the Holy Scriptures tell us what is the will of God for each of us. Our text tells us it is God's will for you and I to be giving Him thanks in everything. Truly, everyone of us have much for which to be thankful.
First of all, I will point out that thanksgiving presupposes God. Thanksgiving presupposes there is a God to Whom we should be thankful. We do not have to prove the existence of God for every man knows there is a God. The image of God is stamped upon us, and we are inwardly aware that He is there through the conscience He has put in us. His signature is upon all His creation, and everywhere we look He is there. Each of us knows innately that we were created by God and we owe Him our worship and thanksgiving.
Secondly, let us observe that thanksgiving is a happy duty. If you want to be happy, I would urge you to make it your daily and continual business to be always thanking God. Giving thanks will dispel gloom and despair. It has been my observation and personal experience that those who have true joy and peace are those who recognise that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). I guarantee you it will lift your spirits tremendously to simply count your blessings and thank our Great God for every one of them. When we start counting our blessings we always find they are more numerous than we can count, and as we  "praise God from Whom all blessings flow", we think of more and more for which to thank Him.
Thirdly, note well that we are to be thanking God in everything. If you are a believer, the first thing for which  you will generally be thanking God is your salvation. You will be thanking God for loving you with an everlasting love. You will be thanking Christ for His glorious atoning death that put away your sins. You will be thanking God the Father for raising HIs Eternal Son from the grave and seating Him at His Own right hand where He intercedes for us. You will be thanking the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity for regenerating, converting and sanctifying you. But then you will be thanking God for all your natural blessings as well. The believer is well aware that every piece of food and every drop of water is from His Great God.
But some true and tried saint may ask, "how can I give thanks in everything? I know I am blessed above measure, as you have reminded me, but you don't know about all my troubles and sorrows. How can I give thanks in my sufferings?" Well, first of all I will remind you of God's supreme promise in Romans 8:28 to work all things for your eternal good. Secondly, I will present for your consideration that you can thank God it is no worse than it is. And thirdly, I will remind you that it will be better. No matter how bad it gets in this life, that is as bad as it will ever be for a believer. But no matter how good it gets for an unsaved man, that is as good as it will ever be. Therefore, in everything, give thanks.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Another Lesson from Great Faith

(Article for publication week of  11-13-2014 AD)
"For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one,' Go', and he goeth; and to another,' Come', and he cometh; and to my servant , 'Do this,' and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, 'I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel' " (Luke 7:9-10).
We return this week to our lesson we have been considering for several weeks concerning the Roman centurion, who the Lord declared was of "great faith." We have opened several doctrinal and practical lessons in this account which is given in Luke 7:1-10 and Matthew 8:5-13. We have shown that this man's faith was marked by profound humility and absolute trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. We had also shown that this faith was found in a surprising character, first in that the man was a soldier and secondly in that he was a gentile. We have also shown from these passages that we can serve the Lord in any lawful calling, and then we used the occasion to show from the scriptures something of what a lawful calling is. Now we come to make another practical point which is evident from these passages, and the point is this- the scriptures nowhere teach the man made philosophy of equality.
Our Lord was not an egalitarian. Note well, in the lesson at hand the Lord Jesus Christ recognised that the centurion was a man under authority, and he was a man with authority over others. This man of great faith was an officer in the Roman army, and the Lord recognises this as being righteous by His holy approbation. The man also had servants ("doulos"in the Greek, of which we hope to write later). If our Lord had been an egalitarian, or a guru who had come to teach equality, this would have been the place for Him to command the Roman Centurion to resign his commission, get out of the Roman Army, and free his domestic servants. On the other hand, our Lord commended this dear brother to us as an example of "great faith."
Now, dear readers, note well, the Bible nowhere teaches the vain philosophy of egalitarianism. In fact Lucifer was the first advocate of equality when he said "I will be like the Most High' (Isaiah 14:14).After Lucifer lost his first estate by this rebellion, he then tempted Eve with a promise of equality , when he said to her, "ye shall be as gods"(Genesis 3:5). Every egalitarian movement, including abolitionism, feminism, civil rights-ism, and now the sodomite rights movement is based on this Satanic lie of equality. Current policy in government, the media and the education system is generally based on this lie of equality.
Conversely, inequality is a self evident fact and a reality which the scriptures embrace and regulate and with which they teach us to be content . For example, the fifth commandment , "honour thy father and thy mother", teaches us not only to obey our parents, but also to respect all lawful authority, to be diligent and humble in our own authority, and to be content to stay in our place. Our Baptist forefathers taught us in our catechism (like the one endorsed by the old Charleston Association), in question and answer 69, "What is required by the fifth commandment?" Answer prescribed, "The fifth commandment requires the preserving the honour, and performing the duties belonging to every one in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, and equals." The Westminster Larger Catechism goes into further details as to the duties of superiors to inferiors, inferiors to superiors, and equals to equals.
Dear readers, be not deceived by the devilsh and anti-Biblical and anti- God lie of equality.




Monday, November 3, 2014

The Aged Women Likewise

(Article for publication week of 11-6- AD 2104)
"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of  be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:3-5).
In the Book of Titus we  are taught to adorn the gospel by a holy life. In Titus chapter two every age and class is addressed. Men and women , young and old, masters and slaves are addressed. We are taught to know our place and calling and serve the Lord where He has put us. The inspired writer instructs the aged women to teach the younger women in the holy art of wifehood and motherhood. The reason they are to teach these things is that the Word of God be not blasphemed. The unholy lives of professed Christians cause the Word to be blasphemed. Christians are called upon to live radically different from the unsaved world. A holy life adorns the doctrine of the gospel.
The teaching that aged women are commanded to is strictly private. God's word in other places forbids women to be public teachers or (especially) preachers. For example we read in I Corinthians 14:34, "let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." Again, in I Timothy 2: 11-12 we read, "let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." Again in I Timothy 3:1 we read, "if a MAN desire the office of a bishop , HE desireth a good work." And then we go on and read in verse 2 that the bishop (a.k.a.  elder, overseer, pastor, minister, presbyter, etc) must be the HUSBAND of one wife. God has forbidden that women should ever be public teachers or ministers of the Word. The ministry is no place for a woman, or a sissy. It is a man's work and only a man who is a man in a every sense of the word is qualified for the hard work of preaching. A preacher must be a man physically, mentally, psychologically, and in his general demeanour. Furthermore, the only men that God has ever authorised to teach publicly are those men that He has gifted and qualified for the work, and who have been approved by the church as "apt to teach" ( I Timothy 3:2), and who have the Biblical qualifications of a preacher (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
But the women in the church are to be teachers of good things. Younger women are to be keepers at home and to be teaching their own children. The aged women are to be teaching the younger women to be faithful wives and mothers. Again, we know that this teaching is strictly in a private setting because of the texts preciously cited which clearly limit public preaching and teaching to men. Also, note well, that women are not to be teachers of doctrine, but they are to be teachers of practical godliness to their daughters and daughters- in - law, etc. They are to be teaching these things in their own homes, not in the church. Many marriages could possibly be saved by older women teaching their daughters to love and obey their husbands and to love their children.
The aged women can teach these things by knowing the word themselves and privately proclaiming it to the younger women. They can teach best by example. Some aged woman may be reading this week who was not converted until later in life. You can teach by warning the younger women to avoid your mistakes. And I am sure many are reading who are lost. May the Lord have mercy, and save you before it is too late.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Woman's Calling

(Article for publication week of 10-30- AD 2014)

"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:3-5).
For the past several weeks we have been writing on Great Faith as seen in the Roman Centurion in Matthew 8: 5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. This prompted us to make a practical point that a believer can honour the Lord in any lawful calling, and then we showed that a lawful calling is that which God has commanded by specific command or approbation, that which is in accord with God's moral law, and that which is glorifying to God and useful to our fellow man. This week we are compelled to write on one of the most needful, yet most neglected subjects in the scriptures, that is a woman's calling.
The scriptures plainly declare that a woman's calling is to be a wife and mother. She is to be a "keeper at home." We had a preacher who is proficient in New Testament Greek preach in our church a while back and he told us that in the Greek what this actually means is that a woman is to be a keeper at home! Women are not called to be construction workers,  doctors, lawyers, preachers, soldiers, engineers, nor politicians, nor anything except what my text says, to be keepers at home. Dear reader, if you try to argue with this you are not arguing with me, you are trying to argue against God Who has plainly said in His Inspired Infallible Word that women are to be keepers at home. But it is an argument in futility, for God will not be argued with.
Our communities and the whole country is coming apart at the seams, mainly because the family is coming apart at the seams. One of the main reasons for the disintegration of the family is the forsaking of the home by the women. I am old enough to remember when the Universal Plant opened up at Weathersby and the women of this county began to go into the workforce in droves. The very next year the suits for divorce in the Chancery Court doubled statistically. If you don't believe me, go to the courthouse and check the records.
The Biblical calling of being a keeper at home is the highest calling a woman can pursue. The woman who leaves her God ordained domain is not taking a step up, but a step down. God ordained this in the creation when He made Woman to be a suitable helper to Man (Genesis 2:18). God commanded man to be fruitful and multiply and take dominion of the earth. For this he must needs have a suitable helper. God has ordained Woman to bear children and for children to be raised up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. The bringing forth of God's elect into the world is the first and chief reason for the marriage state. Dear ladies, you will never have a higher calling than that.
The happiest and most contented women that I know are those who understand and obey my text to be keepers at home. The woman who is a "daughter of Sarah" (I Peter 3:6), and is a suitable helper to her husband in his earthly calling, and a mother of children and a faithful keeper at home will do more positive and long range good for the kingdom of Christ than we will ever know in this life. "The Day will declare it."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Lawful Calling

(Article for publication week of 10-23- AD 2014)
"And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick , and ready to die.....When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, 'I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel" (Luke 7:1,10).
We come now to consider another practical point from the centurion, who the Lord said was of "great faith." We showed you in the previous two articles that the military is a lawful calling (for a man, not a woman), and that a Christian can serve the Lord and be of "great faith" in any lawful calling. This week, I want to consider from the scriptures, what is a "lawful" calling.
First of all, by a "lawful calling", I mean not any and every profession that may be allowed by the laws of the State, but rather I mean lawful as God has commanded (by explicit command or approbation)in His word. That is, I mean by a lawful calling a trade, occupation or business that is in accord with the moral law of God  given in the Ten Commandments. This is the sense of the Westminster Larger Catechism question and answer 141 where we are taught one of the duties required by the eighth commandment is a "lawful calling." It is obvious that if a man is not engaged in a lawful calling, he is likely to try to provide for himself and his dependents by stealing. The procuring of wealth by any unlawful means is a violation of the eighth commandment and amounts to theft.
So, we need to consider what is a lawful calling. We may learn what is a lawful calling first of all by some things specifically commanded by God. For example, we read in Genesis 2, that there was not a "a man to till the ground," and so God created Adam and commanded him to dress and keep the Garden of Eden. So we see that farming is a lawful calling as it was specifically commanded by God. Then in the same chapter of Genesis, God commanded Adam to classify the animal kingdom. God commanded Adam to be a zoologist, that is a scientist. When the Eternal Son of God became Incarnate as the Son of Man, He followed the trade of a carpenter. I think we see here God's blessing on the building trades in a most wonderful manner by having His Son be a carpenter until such time as He should begin His preaching ministry. God has plainly blessed and commanded manual labour in I Thessalonians 4:11. But then the Eternal Son of God, who was made flesh, when He began to be about thirty years of age began His earthly ministry of preaching. Someone has astutely observed that God only had one begotten (eternally) Son, and He made Him a preacher. Thus we see God's high  estimation of preaching. Those who have a low view of the gospel ministry are not looking at things as God does, or they would have a high estimation of preaching. These are a few things the scriptures plainly say are lawful by God's specific command.
Then we see some things that we know are lawful by God's approbation. We have noted one in our text we have been studying in Luke 7:1-10, that is the calling of a soldier. Our Lord did not command the centurion to try to get out of the Roman army. John the Baptist told the soldiers who were converted under his preaching, "do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages," but he did not exhort them to get out of the army.
Pursuing a lawful calling is a serious consideration. It is a sin to be idle, for God has plainly said that any who will not work should not eat (II Thessalonians 3:10). I think we can see in the examples we have given that the principles of God's Law require us to pursue a calling that is glorifying unto Him and useful to our fellow man.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Practical Lesson from Great Faith

(Article for publication week of 10-16- AD 2014)

"For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, 'Go', and he goeth; and to another, 'Come', and he cometh; and to my servant, 'Do this', and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned Him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, 'I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel' " (Luke 7:8-9).
We have been considering for several weeks now the subject of "great faith" from our passage here in Luke 7:1-10, and its parallel in Matthew 8:5-13. We noted first the humble spirit found in the centurion and his absolute confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. We further noted this great faith was found in a surprising character; it was surprising first for it was found in a gentile "dog" (the name the Jews called our forefathers), and it was surprising secondly for it was found in a soldier. We also used this lesson to show that our Lord never condemned men serving in the military, nor does He ever require us to become pacifists to be His followers. The military is a lawful calling (for a man, not a woman), but is a spiritually dangerous calling for it subjects a man to many dangerous temptations. One of the Puritans, Richard Baxter said that keeping a bar is a lawful calling, but a dangerous one (spiritually). So a man needs to be careful and prayerful about joining the military (especially the U.S. military which is being used as mercenaries in unjust, undeclared, unconstitutional wars to promote the New World Order).
But , I repeat that the military is a lawful calling and many Christians have been faithful soldiers, like Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart, and tens of thousands of our Southern Forefathers who joined the Confederate Army to resist the Yankee invasion of our Homeland. In fact one of the greatest Revivals God has ever sent down from heaven was in the Confederate Armies as recorded by Pastor J. William Jones in his book, "Christ in the Camp."
So, now I make an important and critical point from the Roman Centurion whom Christ called "great faith." The point is this: you do not have to be a preacher to serve the Lord. The Lord called His Own disciples, who were preachers and apostles, "little faith" , but he called this Gentile Soldier, "Great Faith." You can serve the Lord and be of Great Faith in any lawful calling. Dear ladies, you can be of great faith and serve the Lord in your calling as a Wife and Mother (Titus (2:4-5; I Timothy 5:14, e.g.). In fact, there is no higher calling than that of Wife and Mother, and I pity and scorn the feminists she- devils who deny it and try to enter into a man's calling. I thank God for women like my own dear wife who gave up a lucrative career as a physician to devote herself to her high calling of wifehood and motherhood.
I repeat, the Lord did not command the Roman Centurion to get out of the Roman army, nor did John the Baptist (read Luke 3:14), not do any of the inspired scriptures in either Testament. The scriptural injunction to each of is "let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called" (I Corinthians 7:20). If you are in a lawful calling when God saves you, remain in that calling and be faithful to God and man until the Lord directs your path another way. As old Brethren used to pray (some few still do), "Lord choose our changes." Every lawful calling is a place where God uses His people. Being a carpenter or farmer or homemaker is just as useful and honouring unto the Lord as being a public preacher of the word. Let us all be faithful where the Lord has put us (if in a lawful calling).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Great Faith in a Surprising Place

(Article for publication week of 10-9-2014 AD)
"When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, 'verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel' " (Matthew 8: 10). We have been considering the Roman centurion as an example of "great faith." The whole account is found in Matthew 8:5-13, and Luke also records this incident in Luke 7:1-10. We noted in the two previous articles of the Narrow Way that this man's faith was marked by humility and complete confidence and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. We also noted that this faith was found in an unlikely and surprising  character, a Gentile.
Now, let us note well that this faith is also surprising in that it is found in a soldier. Our Lord found greater faith in this Gentile Roman than He did in the Israel of His day, including (apparently) His Own disciples. This was  surprising, but equally surprising that it would be found in a professional military man. Saving faith is always a rare thing (Matthew 7:13-14), but it is especially rare in the military. Soldiers are more noted for their drunkenness, profanity, gambling and whore-mongering than for faith in Christ and a holy life. There are of course notable exceptions, like Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson who were men noted for piety and led their men in the worship of Christ as well as in battle. Another notable exception would be Oliver Cromwell who led the Parliamentarian Army in the English Civil War. The Roman Centurion is an example of God's sovereign grace that often surprises us. God sometimes saves the most unlikely characters (in our eyes at least).
Our lesson is a good place to point out that our Lord never commanded us to be pacifists. If it were a sin to be a soldier, this would have been a good place for our Lord to rebuke the centurion and command him to resign his commission. By our Lord's silence concerning the man's earthly station, He gives His approbation of men serving in the military. Not only was our Lord silent regarding the man being a soldier, but He commended him for his faith which was "great." Another example of a military man who was saved by grace and became a Christian was Cornelius in Acts 10. Peter baptised him, but did not command him to seek to get out of the Roman army. Many other scriptures (in both Testaments) and examples of Godly men who were warriors could be cited, along with the text before us show us that the scriptures do not require pacifism.
But, I must also point out that while the military may be a lawful calling, it is a dangerous one. I mean it is dangerous spiritually, for the military life exposes a man to many temptations. Our Lord taught us to pray for deliverance from temptation, not to run headlong into it. It is one thing to join the army when your home is invaded as our Southern Forefathers did, but it is quite another to join the army as a mercenary to fight in unjust, unconstitutional, undeclared wars on other continents. When I have been asked , I have advised and urged the young men with whom I have been associated to stay out of the military. And I will continue so to do. Being in the military is a spiritually dangerous life (though lawful) in the best of situations. But the fact is that the US military has not been engaged in a lawful war (at least) since the Second World War. That was the last war that was constitutionally declared and the politicians who were and are active and passive in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans and innocent civilians abroad will give an account at the Day of Judgment to receive in their bodies the just recompense of their reward. I hope the congressman from this district is reading.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Surprising Faith

(Article for publication week of 10-2- AD 2014)
"When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, 'Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel' " (Matthew 8:11) (The reader is encouraged to read the whole lesson in Matthew 8:5-13 and the parallel passage found in Luke 7:1-10.)
Though some of the Lord's people are of "little faith" (Matthew 8:26), and sometimes plagued by doubts and fears (Mark 9:24), they are not like the unsaved who are of "no faith" (II Thessalonians 3:2). Faith in Christ is saving, though it be little and mixed with doubts and fears, for we are saved not by the greatness of our faith, but by the greatness of the Dear Saviour. Yet, to be of "great faith" is better. To be of great faith is to be delivered from doubts and fears, and to be increased in faith to a full assurance in grace. All of us who believe in Christ ought to be praying to the Lord to "increase our faith" (Luke 17:5).
Now our Lord said of the Roman centurion that he was of great faith. In fact our Lord said He had not found such great faith in Israel (in the days of His flesh). So the first thing I want to point out is that this faith was found in a surprising place. Great faith was found in a gentile, not in an Israelite. God often surprises us by His sovereign grace. Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8) and He is free to grant it to whomsoever He is pleased. None of us have believed in Christ because we were smarter than another sinner. In fact there are many unbelievers who are smarter than we (in intellect and intelligence). But we were not saved by "amazing intelligence", but by "amazing grace"! The only reason a sinner ever believes in Christ is because God regenerates that sinner and grants him repentance and faith. God passed by many Israelites and granted faith to this old gentile dog. And it pleased the Lord to work His grace effectually in the centurion so that he was one of great faith. This great faith was in a surprising character.
The granting of faith to the gentiles ought to be of special delight to my readers, for most of us are gentiles. Practically everybody in Simpson County is a gentile. Most of us are descended from Africans and Europeans, that is gentiles. Have you ever stopped to think that as far as we know all of our ancestors in Europe and Africa before the first century lived and died without the gospel and are now in hell. (I say "as far as we know", for only God knows infallibly.) For four thousand years the world was by and large destitute of the Truth except for God's elect in Israel. But then it pleased God to send His Son into the world and commission His Church to take the gospel to the whole world and so the gospel finally came to our ancestors in Europe and Africa and a few of them believed and were saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. How thankful we are that though the gospel was to "the Jew first", it is also to us gentile dogs. We gentiles who have been saved like the centurion feel just as he did that we are not worthy for the Lord Jesus Christ to come into our house. But thank the Lord for His surprising grace that moved Him so to do!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Great Faith

(Article for publication week of 9-25- AD 2014)

 "When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, 'Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel' " (Mathew 8:10). Readers are invited and encouraged to get your Bible and read the whole lesson from Matthew  8:5- Matthew 8:13 for we plan several articles from this passage.)
We learn from this passage that God's people may attain unto "great faith." We showed you in the two previous articles that not a few of the Lord's saints are of "little faith" (Matthew 8:26), and sometimes have their faith mixed with unbelief (Mark 9:24), yet they are not as the unregenerate who "have not faith" (II Thessalonians 3:2).
In the lesson at hand a Roman centurion comes to the Lord Jesus Christ and begs him to heal his slave who was at home sick. When the Lord readily agreed, the centurion replied , "I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only and my servant shall be healed"! And the lesson happily concludes in the thirteenth verse as the Lord Jesus Christ pronounced the man's slave healed and so he was.
Now we note first of all the humble spirit in the Roman centurion. He did not feel worthy that the Lord Jesus Christ should grace his home with His holy Presence. I cannot but contrast this man's spirit with that of the average religionist of our day. Now, you are not that surprised by the pride of worldly people (although we should still despise it), but the cockiness of today's church members is disgusting, and I fear reveals unregenerate hearts. Most professors of religion today believe they are equal to any man, including the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-Man. But not so with this one of "great faith." He knew his place and was willing to remain in his place. Dear reader, if you are not of an humble spirit, you have no reason to suppose that you are of great faith, and it is to be feared that you are among those of "no faith." The grace of God humbles a man so that he does not feel himself worthy of any of the Lord's mercies. The grace of God humbles a man that he does not feel himself worthy to be among the saints of God. Dear reader, have you ever like the centurion of Great Faith cried out, "Lord I am not worthy"? Read the lesson again and see the humble spirit of this one that our Lord declared to be of "great faith."
Secondly, we note that the Roman centurion had absolute confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. As he himself was a man of authority having soldiers and slaves under his authority, he recognised a like authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, but infinitely superior to his own. He perceived that the Lord Jesus Christ had authority over himself and his slave and the disease which disabled him. Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is verily God, has authority over every germ and virus in the world. He has authority over the wind and the waves. He directs all atomic activity so there is not a misplaced atom in the universe, nor any undirected atomic activity. The centurion said, "Lord, you don't have to actually go where my sick slave is; all you have to do is say the word, and he will instantly be healed." And so he was at the Lord's word.
Here is "great faith" on display. May the Lord increase "little faith, and dispel unbelief in us that we may attain unto "great faith. And may He be gracious to the lost and gift them with faith.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Encouragement for Little-Faith

(Article for publication week of 9-18- AD 2014)
"And he saith unto them, 'why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?'..." (Matthew 8:26a). Note well, the Lord spoke these words to His Own disciples. We learn from this passage that true believers may be of "little faith". Faith in Christ saves, though it may be little and feeble and mixed with unbelief.
It is not our faith which actually saves us, but Christ the Object of our faith. Whenever the scriptures speak of being saved "by faith", the theological idea is that we are saved by the Object of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ. Theologically, faith is the instrument or channel by which the saving benefits of Christ come to us. Thus the precise language of scripture is that we are saved by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:25, e.g.). It is good for your soul to keep in mind that it is not your faith that actually and vitally saves, but it is the Saviour Who saves.
Now true saving, or justifying faith, is not marked by its degree or strength, but by its Grand Object, which I repeat for emphasis is the Lord Jesus Christ. To have faith in Christ (though it be small, weak and feeble) is the evidence of a gracious state, for no man has faith by nature (II Thessalonians 3:2). Faith is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8) and it is the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) and it follows after regeneration (John 1:13). So for Christ to call His disciples "little faith" is both a gentle rebuke, but also a sweet cordial, for he does not despise their faith, though small. You see, our Lord did not denounce them as being of "no faith", but rather rebukes them for being of "little faith."
Is it not comforting to read in this text how our Lord deals with us as little children? Though this is a rebuke, it is issued with gentleness and tenderness and compassion. The Lord does not cast away His children when they are feeble in their faith. Though our faith is often weak, He forever remains a Great Saviour, and that is where our salvation lies.
Observe further that though the disciples' faith was little, it did not prevent the Lord from saving them from the storm. They cried, "Lord save us: we perish"! The Lord heard their prayer though it was uttered  in little faith. How many times has the Lord heard our cries though they were feeble and weak? Poor sinner, here is your encouragement to believe in Christ though your faith be small. Here is your holy incentive to lay hold on eternal life in Christ though it be with a weak and trembling hand of faith.
Dear Child of Grace, do not despair if you are of "little faith." Christ does not despise you, nor your faith, so neither should you. But I will encourage you to cry to the Giver of every good gift to increase your faith and help you to be of "great faith."  Christ does not despise you for being of little faith, but He is pleased with great faith and is able to increase your faith. May he help us to grow in grace and in Knowledge of Himself.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lord Help My Unbelief

(Article for publication week of 9-11- AD 2014)

"And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, 'Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief.' " (Mark 9:24)

Here we have a marvelous account of our Lord casting a foul spirit out of a youngster, for whom the father pled. When the Lord told the anxious father that his son would be healed if he believed, the man cried, "Lord I believe; help Thou mine unbelief"!

We learn from this passage that true faith is often mixed with doubts and fears. None of a Christian's graces are perfected in this life, including faith. True believers are not cock-sure like false professors. True believers struggle with remaining corruptions within themselves, including the awful sin of unbelief. The believer in Christ looks forward to the Great Day of the Resurrection when he will be perfected in glorification in soul and body. Then he will be perfected. As long as we are in this flesh we will struggle with sin, including unbelief as the dear saint in our text this week.

Now, believers have no doubt as to Christ (although the world and the devil will tempt us so to do), but our doubts are concerning ourselves. We often doubt as to the genuineness of our  faith. After all, the Lord often exposed many who claimed to believe as imposters. And we know that at the Final Judgment many who profess to believe in Christ will be cast into hell. Sometimes dear children of God fear that they have deceived themselves and the Church and are not truly saved. Now again, false professors seldom have such doubts and fears. They will tell you quick ,"I know I am saved." So I want to comfort the struggling child of God who is painfully aware of the corruption within himself. If you are trusting in Christ alone for salvation you are truly saved, though your faith be mixed with unbelief. Faith in Christ will save even if it is mixed with doubts and fears.

But note well, a true child of God hates the sin remaining in him, including (maybe I ought to say 'especially') the sin of unbelief. As the man in our lesson this week, we cry out in tears when we detect unbelief mixed with our faith. A child of God is always repenting of his prayers, and praying over his repentance. The children of God have a strange course. Though their faith is mixed with doubts and fears, they keep on trusting in Christ, and doubting themselves.

What should we do in such a case? First of all keep trusting Christ and keep clinging to Him by faith. Never think of giving up your hope though it be small and mixed with unbelief. Cry out to the Lord to increase your faith. He Himself has said though it be small as a mustard seed, it will move mountains, if it be true faith. Secondly, despise the sin of unbelief. Resist it and cry to Christ for help to be rid of it. That is what the man in our lesson did.

Finally, we can rejoice that Christ does not despise us nor reject us when are guilty of unbelief. The man's son was healed though the father's faith was imperfect. And we may learn from this that saving faith mixed with unbelief still joins us to Christ. May the Lord help our unbelief.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Quiet Conversion

(Article for publication week of September 4, AD 2014)
"And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things spoken of Paul" (Acts 16:14).
 Not every conversion is as dramatic as that of Saul of Tarsus as we wrote about last week. Some of the Lord's people are converted as Lydia was in a very quiet manner. Occasionally the Lord converts children who are raised in Christian homes under strict parents and therefore have been restrained from open and gross sins. They may not be able to relate the profound experience of some others, but they are still saved if they truly repent of their sins, trust in Christ Alone for salvation, and pursue holiness.  We write and preach much on experimental salvation, and cry out against false profession and "easy believism" (and the Lord being our Helper we shall continue so to do), but let none suppose that we mean to belittle true faith wherever it is found. We want none to misunderstand us and to lose assurance because they cannot relate some dramatic experience of their conversion. I repeat, if you truly repent of your sins; if you are trusting in Christ Alone for salvation; if you are pursuing holiness; then you may be assured that you are truly saved. But the fact remains that it is better for us to preach in such a way as to set a true saint to searching than to put a false convert at ease. May the Lord deliver us from both presumption and despair.
The first thing we notice about the conversion of Lydia was that the Lord opened her heart. Now, as I say the scriptures describe this dear saint's conversion in a somewhat quiet way, yet this conversion was still a powerful thing as every conversion is. Dear reader, you cannot open your own heart. Preacher, you cannot open the hearts of any of your hearers. No human power can open the heart of a poor lost sinner. The human heart is bolted by original sin and human depravity. Only the effectual working of God's mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead can open a sinner's heart (Ephesians 1:19-20). Unless the Lord opens your heart dear reader you will continue in unbelief and go on to hell when you die. Those of us who are believers in Christ can claim no good thing in ourselves as to why we believe and others do not. We are believers in Christ for one reason and one reason alone, the Lord opened our hearts.
Lydia's heart being opened by the direct agency of the Holy Spirit, she attended to the gospel that Paul preached. Here is the evidence of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, that one attends to the preaching of the gospel. A child of God loves the gospel of God's sovereign grace. It is food for his hungry soul. He cannot live without it. The gospel is good news to the poor sinner who sees that he is a spiritual bankrupt, for the gospel tells him that the price has been paid in Full by the Eternal Son of God. Lydia was evidently saved for she believed the gospel and the next verse says she submitted to the ordinance of baptism and openly declared herself a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord open many hearts.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Prototypical Conversion

(Article for publication week of 8-28- AD 2014)

"And he trembling and astonished said, 'Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?'...." (Acts 9:6).

The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is prototypical of every conversion (I Timothy 1:16). There are some things about the way the way the Apostle Paul (the name by which Saul of Tarsus was known after his conversion) was converted that are a pattern , or model of every conversion. The details and exact experience may differ, but the fundamental change is essentially the same.
First, I will have you note well, that the Lord sought out this old sinner. Saul of Tarsus was not seeking the Lord, but rather he was intent on wiping out Christianity. He hated Christ and His people and was going about to kill the Lord's people. On the day of his conversion, he was headed to Damascus with authority to bind and bring to Jerusalem any of the Lord's disciples that he might find. So it is with each of us without the efficacious grace of God. Not that every lost sinner is actively trying to persecute Christians, but no man has ever sought the Lord until he was first sought of the Lord. In Romans 3:11, the inspired apostle quotes from Psalm 14 and 53, "there is none that seeketh after God." Man is totally depraved and will not seek after God in his natural state. When a poor sinner begins to seek after God, it is because he is being effectually called by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord gave us the blessed promise that all who seek shall surely find (Matthew 7:8), and we are commanded and invited to seek the Lord while he may be found (Isaiah 55:6), but the fact remains that none will seek the Lord in his natural state, and when one begins to seek the Lord, he is being called irresistibly by the Holy Spirit. The scriptures plainly declare this solemn and glorious truth, and the conversion of the Apostle Paul (known as Saul of Tarsus before his conversion) is a clear example of it.
Secondly, we see from the conversion of Saul that there was a saving change in the man. In I Timothy 1:12-16 the Apostle relates what he was like before conversion, and what he was like after conversion. Every sinner saved by grace has a "before" and an "after." Dear reader, do you have a "before" and an "after"? Can you testify of the saving grace of God in your own life experimentally? If not, I fear you are a stranger to the saving work of Christ.
Thirdly, we see from the conversion of Paul that his faith in Christ included absolute surrender to His Lordship. ("Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?") Saving faith is much more than just "accepting Jesus." In fact, you never find that terminology in scripture. Most of you would not be opposed to Christ keeping you out of hell, but you are bound and determined to live your life like you want. Thus you show that you are not saved, you have not been effectually called, and you are not a true believer in Christ. The true believer in Christ has surrendered all to the Lordship of Christ. He has become a devoted (but very imperfect) slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear reader you make an eternally fatal mistake if you suppose that Christ will be your Saviour without being your Lord to rule over you.
Now, none of this is to suggest that every Christian has had as dramatic experience as the Apostle Paul. Indeed, this is one of the reasons we are writing this series on notable examples of saving faith to show that no two converts did or said exactly the same thing. But, every believer has been effectually called by grace and has been truly changed and brought to submission to Christ. Dear reader, have I described you?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Dying Thief

(Article for publication week of 8-14- AD 2014)

"And he said unto Jesus, 'Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom" (Luke 23:42).

Here we have another notable example of saving faith found in the conversion of the Dying Thief. This is the only account we have in the scriptures of one converted in the final hour. Dear old Samuel Medley commented on this text, "the scriptures give us one instance of a malefactor converted at the eleventh hour that none may despair, and only one that none may presume."
Reading the other gospel accounts, we know that there were two thieves crucified with our Lord. The prophet Isaiah had prophesied, "he made his grave with the wicked" (Isaiah 53:9) , and "he was numbered with the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12). We also ascertain from the other gospels that both these thieves railed on our Lord, initially. But, Luke includes this glorious testimony that one of the thieves was changed from nature to grace in his final hour. There are indeed none so sinful that Christ cannot save.
The conversion of the Dying Thief proves that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Alone. If the Dying Thief would be saved, it would have to be by sovereign grace alone. It was too late for the poor wretch to amend his ways or attempt moral reform. It was too late to learn the catechism. It was too late for the man to be baptised. It was too late for this despicable sinner to "do penance" (so-called). If salvation were in any way depending  upon the dying thief's works or merits or efforts, he must be damned forever. But glory be to God, He justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5)!
The Dying Thief knew two things which are indispensable for salvation: he knew he was a sinner, and He knew that Christ was able to save. Note well this man was in no way trying to justify himself. He acknowledged that he was being punished justly (Luke 23:41). He also perceived that Christ was sinless and impeccable ("this Man hath done nothing amiss"). He also acknowledged the Lordship of Christ ("Lord remember me"). All these things are evidences that the man was truly changed by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.
Now, let us see how he expressed his faith in Christ. He simply pleaded, "Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." I want you to notice that there are no two conversions the same as far as what sinners said, or how they prayed. You don't have to try to put words into people's mouths when they are truly converted. Indeed, if you have to try to coach or coax people into making a profession of faith, they are not saved. (And preachers who try to do that show that they don't understand the gospel themselves, and probably are not truly converted.)
Poor sinner, salvation is not in your prayer, but it is in the Dear Saviour. Though you feel all your attempts at praying to be but chattering words, if in the sincerity of your heart you are crying out to the Saviour, "remember me", you may rest assured you will be with Christ in Paradise. As William Cowper expressed it in poetry, "The dying thief rejoiced to see that Fountain in his day. And there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away." Poor sinner, plunge now by faith into that fountain opened for sin and uncleanness and be washed as white as snow today