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, 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.