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 27, 2015

Anno Domini 2016

(Article for publication week of 12-31- AD 2015)

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).
This week we will turn the calendar to mark the beginning of a new year. As we start the year of 2016 it will be good to remember why we number the year as we do. This will be the two thousand and sixteenth year of the reign of King Jesus. The civilised world, also known as "Christendom" reckons the history of the world from the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. "Christendom" recognises that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true King of the universe. The time before His birth is called "B.C.", i.e, "Before Christ." "A.D." is the abbreviation for "Anno Domini," Latin for "year of our Lord." To be more accurate this is most likely the two thousandth and twenty first year of the Reign of our Lord according to Bishop Ussher's reckoning. Our calendar is probably off by five years. Bishop Ussher's "Annals of the World," first published in 1658 and recently reprinted has been proven to be amazingly accurate. In 1978 astrogeophysicist, Dr. John Eddy, although a proponent of unbiblical  and anti- God evolution made this amazing statement, "However, given some new and unexpected results to the contrary [to the myth of an old universe; columnist's note], and some time for frantic recalculation and theoretical readjustment, I suspect that we could all live with Bishop Ussher's value for the age of the earth and sun [6,020 years, columnist's note]. I don't think we have much in the way of observational evidence in astronomy to conflict with that."! So don't throw away your old copies of the Bible with Bishop Ussher's dates and don't be so quick to accept the lies of unbelieving "scientists" and revisionist "historians" and liberal "theologians."
Not surprisingly, the government controlled education system and its propaganda wing a.k.a the "news media" are doing their best to try to get us to quit using "A.D." and "B.C." to record the history of the world and reckon time. They want us to start using "C.E." (common era) and "B.C.E" (before common era). They hate Christ and everything that reminds them that He is on the Throne and that they will have to face Him in Judgment when they die. Ironically they cannot get away from the historical fact of the advent of Christ into the world because when you say "common era" you still have to acknowledge that the "common era" is dated from the birth of Christ!
So as we enter into this new year let us remember Who our true King is. The Eternal Son of God undertook a great humiliation and became a Man. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the virgin Mary's womb. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the law of God. His obedience is accounted to the record of His people. He died on a cross to put away His people's sins. He went further in His humiliation and was laid in the cold dark grave. But the third day He came forth eternally triumphant over all His foes, and His people's foes. After forty days He ascended back to His rightful throne and the Eternal Father put His crown back on His lovely head. God the Father hath highly exalted Him. People, behold your King! You are now commanded to confess Him and bow to Him as your Lord. Our text says that every tongue "should" confess" and every knee "should" bow. But Romans 14:11 says the Day is coming when every tongue "shall" confess the Lordship of Christ and every knee "shall" bow to Him. You will either bow now in salvation, or you will bow later in damnation! You had better get right with your King.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christ on a Throne, Not in a Manger

(Article for publication week of 12-24- AD 2015)

"The LORD said unto my Lord, 'sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool' " (Psalm 110:1).
We are in that season when "Christendom"  observes the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no Biblical or historical evidence that our Lord was born on the 25th of December, nor is there any Biblical warrant (much less a command) to have a "holy day" to observe the birth of Christ. The Romish organisation headed by the anti-Christ established the 25th of December as a special "mass" to observe the birth of Christ. They picked the 25th of December because the heathens (including our benighted European ancestors) observed this day as the birth of the sun god. Because of its pagan roots, and the fact that it is called a "mass" (the pope teaches that Christ is "offered" in the mass and that the incantations of the "priests" change the bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ), many Christians (including your poor columnist) do not believe we should celebrate this as a "holy day" in the church. Our sincere prayer is that people would celebrate the only true holy day that God has commanded, that is the weekly Sabbath which has been the first day of the week since our Lord's resurrection John 20:19; Acts 20:7). It is most telling of the spiritual condition of our county that people will make more of the "Christ-mass" than the Day that Christ arose from the dead, commanded in the Law (Exodus 20:8-11), and established by God in the creation ordinance (Genesis 2:2-3).
Having said all that, we hasten to add that in the over-ruling Providence of God, many minds will be upon Christ this week. Some will attend Divine Service who have not attended in awhile. Many pastors will preach on the Incarnation this week, and that is always a good thing. Many will attend programs where hymns of praise to Christ will be sung. Handel's Messiah will be performed in many places, and many will attend who never hear the gospel any other time of the year. Many stores (at least in the Bible Belt) still have "Christmas carols" for background music during this season. Many will send and receive "Christmas cards" that will have scriptures on them and other references to the Incarnation and Birth of Christ. The Holy Spirit in His Divine Sovereignty may use such as this to open some elect sinner's heart to believe in Christ to the saving of his or her soul. Others will be left further without excuse and treasure unto themselves greater damnation.
So, my dear kindred, neighbours and friends, I challenge you with my text. I declare unto you that Christ is no longer a babe in a manger, He is a King on His throne! Our Lord quoted our text to the Jews in Matthew 22:44 answering His Own question to one of them, "what think ye of Christ?" That is the question for each of you who have considered the birth of Christ this week- "what think ye of Christ?" Our Lord quoted Psalm 110:1 to declare that He is the Eternal Son of God! "The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool"! This verse is the covenantal language of the Eternal Father with the Eternal Son. The first "LORD" in the text is in all capitals because it is "Jehovah" , or "Yahweh." The second "Lord" is only with the "L" capitalised, because it is the Hebrew "Adonai." Both Jehovah and Adonai properly mean God. So our text is God the Father speaking to God the Son. And listen what the Father says. He says "sit thou at my right hand until all your enemies are crushed under your holy feet." Christ is not in a manger, He is on a throne at the right hand of the Father. He has finished the work of redemption. He undertook a great humiliation and became a Man (the God-Man) to suffer and die as a substitute for His people. Now He is ruling and reigning from His rightful throne. He is your rightful Monarch to Whom you must submit. It is an awful thing to be an enemy of the One Who was a Babe in Bethlehem but Who is now on the throne of the universe.
None can deny (rationally) that there was a Man named Jesus of Nazereth who lived in Palestine about 2,000 years ago. All the historical data prove the Biblical record (although Bible believers don't need it) that Christ was born and lived and died and that God the Father raised Him from the dead the third day. The civilised world dates its calendar from His Birth. The question for you my friend is whether you will bow to Him now and worship Him, or will you be crushed under the feet of His terrible judgment? I urge you to lay down your arms of rebellion and bow to your rightful Monarch, the Lord Jesus Christ, or you will be his eternal footstool.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Have You Entered the Gate of Conversion?

(Article for publication week of 12-17- AD 2015)
"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24).
The Reader is invited to compare our text with Matthew 7:13-14. For the past couple of weeks we have been focusing on the main theme of these weekly articles-- the narrow way that leads to heaven, which is only entered by the strait gate. Our Lord in parabolic language illustrates for us true conversion (the strait gate), and true perseverance (the narrow way). In order to get to heaven and immortal glory you must walk in the narrow way for it is the only way to heaven. And there is but one way to get into the narrow way and that is by the strait gate of conversion. Most of you are complete strangers to the truth of my text, for you have never been converted.
Note well that our Lord says that conversion is a difficult thing. The archaic word used in our text, "strait," literally means "difficult." Contrary to popular opinion it is not an easy thing for a sinner to get saved. In your day and mine we have been told that if we will just repeat a prayer after the preacher or "soul winner" we will be saved. We hear reports of young people walking the aisle chewing gum and laughing as they "respond" to the appeal of an evangelist in a "youth revival." Such modern day false evangelism is filling the professed church with lost people. Multitudes are headed for hell so fast they are kicking dust in the devil's face because they have been told that it is easy to be saved. Friend if you had an easy time getting saved, you are not saved, you are only deceived. Salvation, conversion, is simple but it is not easy. I wish you would listen to the words of Christ. He said (not this little country preacher) that it is a difficult gate you must get through if you will be saved. Salvation is simply repenting of your sins and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and a little child can do that if he is regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Conversion, though simple, is so difficult that no one would ever be saved apart from the sovereign grace of God. By nature you love yourself and your sins and it is foreign to your nature to repent. In fact you will never repent unless the Lord Himself grant you repentance (Acts 11:18). Faith in Christ is simple, yet no one will ever believe in Christ to the saving of his soul until the Lord gives him faith (Ephesians 2:8) for saving faith is a gift of God. You cannot come to Christ by your "free" will. Christ has plainly declared in John 6:44, "no man cometh unto me except the Father who sent Me draw him." It is not only difficult to be saved, it is impossible to be saved without the drawing work of God.
Our Lord says something else here about true conversion that is completely foreign to this generation of Mississippians. He commands us to "strive" to enter in the gate of salvation. The word "strive" in our English translation is from the Greek work "agonizomai" from which we get our English word "agony." Our Lord is telling us that if we will be saved we must agonize. Dear reader do you know anything of which I speak? Have you ever been in agony of soul, striving to be saved? Or did you just say a little prayer and walk the aisle and join the church? When it pleases God to call an elect sinner from the darkness of this world into the marvelous light of His Son, He brings that poor sinner into distress of soul. I tell you that real conversion is a painful experience. To be under Holy Spirit conviction is an agonizing experience. To see yourself as spiritually bankrupt without a farthing to pay is a distressing thing. To have you eyes opened to the truth that God is thrice holy and I am so unholy and unclean that I despair of ever being saved is a most disturbing experience. To try to pray and feel like I cannot pray because my heart is so cold and hard and wicked, why this is agony of soul! To want to repent, and not be able to repent, this is soul agony. Dear reader do you know anything of which I write? Have you ever agonized in your soul because of your lost and ruined state? Have you ever lost sleep at night fearing that you were too sinful for a holy and just God to save you?
Now this is a little of what our Lord speaks when he says that true conversion is difficult and painful. But I close with a word of comfort and cheer for the chief of sinners. Christ came to save sinners! If you are in agony of soul because you have felt your lost and ruined state then Christ says to you, "come unto me"! Though you your sins are as scarlet, ye shall be as white as snow by the blood of the Lamb. In the words of John Newton, "I know two things, I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great Saviour. If grace has taught your heart to fear, grace shall also relieve your fears. May the Lord grant you peace in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ this very day is my prayer for each of my readers.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Have You Entered the Narrow Way?

(Article for publication week of December 10, AD 2015)

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).
Dear reader, are you in the narrow way that leads to life, or are you in the broad way that leads to destruction? And if you claim to be in the narrow way, I ask you, "how did you get in?" Did you enter in by the strait (difficult) gate of conversion? I ask you not if you have accepted Jesus, but I ask you, " are you in the narrow way, and did you get in by the strait gate?"
Now, our text makes it plain that not everyone is saved. Regardless of men's vain imaginings, there are but few (comparatively speaking) that are saved. There are few that have been converted and that are in the way of holiness and perseverance that leads to heaven and immortal glory, but there are many that are in the broad way that leads to hell. Now let's bring it home. There are few here in Simpson County that are saved. The vast majority of you are unsaved. Now, those of you who are living immoral lives, we know are unsaved (I Corinthians 6: 9&10). And those of you who are in unbelief, we know you are unsaved (Mark 16:16). Those of you who will not publicly profess the Lord Jesus Christ, we know that you also are unsaved (Matthew 10: 32&33). But there are multitudes of you who have a profession who do not possess Christ and you are also unsaved. Some of you are going to live and die in religion, and still end up in hell. You will find yourself among those of whom our Lord speaks in Matthew 7:21-23. I fear that many of you preachers are in this group. You see the way that leads to hell is broad enough to include the openly profane, the spiritually indifferent, and the lost church member. And the devil doesn't care how he brings you down to hell with him as long as he keeps you away from Christ. Sin is keeping some of you from Christ, and self righteousness is keeping others from Christ, but either way if you are not in Christ, you will be lost forever. Dear reader, I ask you to quit living in a make believe world and wake up to the reality that you are either in the narrow way of salvation, or you are in the broad way of eternal damnation.
Now there are many of you who imagine yourself to be in the narrow way, so now I want to probe the recesses of your soul and ask you plainly, "did you enter in by the strait gate?" Be sure my friend if you have not entered in the strait gate you are not in the narrow way. So what is this "strait" gate. Why, it is the gate of conversion. There must be an entering in to salvation by the one door that only the Triune God can open. That door is Christ Himself as the Great Shepherd sweetly says in John 10:9. True conversion is repenting of your sins and receiving Christ as your Lord and Saviour. It is a turning from your idols to serve the true and living God (I Thessalonians 1:9). It is a surrender of yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to be converted you have to throw down your shotgun that you have pointed at God. Every unconverted sinner, spiritually has his shotgun pointed  at God and refuses to be ruled by Him choosing rather to be a law unto himself and have his own way. Every unconverted sinner is singing the theme of song of hell in his mind, "I did it my way"! That is the reason I know most of you are in reality unsaved because you do not care what God has said in His word, you are determined to do what you want to do instead of what God commands you to do.
I can hear some of you protesting, "I thought salvation was simple"! You are right. Salvation is simply repenting of your sins and believing in Christ and that is so simple a little child can be saved. Salvation is so simple an illiterate person can be saved. Salvation is so simple a retarded person can be saved. But listen friends and neighbours and kindred, simplicity and ease are not the same. Repentance and faith are simple but they are against your fallen nature. You are dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1) and you cannot come to Christ unless God draws you (John 6:44), and you will not come to Christ and be saved because you are natural born rebel (John 5:40). So Christ says the gate that opens to salvation is entered with difficulty, and such difficulty that you will never enter in until the Holy Spirit regenerates you and draws you in.
Dear reader, have you entered in by the strait gate? Some of you have "settled down", but that is not conversion. Some of you have become quite respectable. Some of you have been religious all your life, but you have never entered in at the strait gate. Some of you have embraced Calvinism, but you have not entered in at the strait gate and so when you get to hell you will be as sound as a silver dollar. II Corinthians 13:5 commands us to examine ourselves whether we be in the faith. I beseech you and urge you today to examine yourself if you are really in the narrow way, and if you entered the narrow way by the difficult gate of conversion.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Are You in the Narrow Way?

 (Article for publication week of 12-3- AD 2015)

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).

This week we call you back to the main theme of these weekly articles- pointing sinners to the gate of salvation by which we enter into the road that leads to heaven and eternal life. We do not confine ourselves to evangelistic themes in this column. We write much on the way saved people are supposed to live, and we often address matters of concern in church, family and commonwealth. But our main purpose is to call sinners to repentance and show you the way of salvation that is in Christ Alone. We share the sentiment of the periodical "The Free Grace Broadcaster", edited by our dear friend and brother in Christ, Elder Jeff Pollard, which is to "humble the pride of man, and exalt the glory of Christ." Matthew 7:13-14 is the foundation of our weekly columns, for in this text we have illustrated for us the doctrines of true perseverance and holiness (the only way to heaven), and true conversion, illustrated by the strait (i.e. difficult) gate.
We are thankful for this opportunity to publish the gospel to our friends, relatives and neighbours through our local paper. Quite frequently some of our readers will tell us they read the Narrow Way and appreciate the articles, and my question is always, "well, are you in the narrow way?" Some affirm they are, but if you push for details, they are quite speechless. Others say they "hope" they are. My prayer for each of you is that you may press through the difficult gate into the narrow way and be saved. I have invited some of you to my home so I can tell you how to be saved. And of course you are all welcome to come hear me preach so I can tell you more of these things. But the fact is most of you are not in the narrow way that leads to heaven, you are in the broad way that leads to hell.
Now this is the truth of my text- the vast majority of people, including most Simpson Countians are on the high road to hell. Some of you are close to the gate, but you never have entered in. Some of you have settled down in the City of Morality, and you are quite at ease. God lets you sleep well at night; you have plenty of money in the bank; you have a nice family; you have a respectable name; some of you even attend church, or even belong to the church; but yet you remain unconverted. Some of you made a "decision" when you were in junior high, and you were a "good" boy for a little while, but you soon went back to the world. When you were in high school and college you were a drunk and a fornicator and a general hell raiser, all the while your name was on the "church roll." But then you got a good job, settled down , got married and had children. You got back in church and even got active. When somebody asks you if you are saved you respond quite confidently in the affirmative, but deep down inside where nobody goes but you and God, you feel terribly uneasy. If you are pressed for details about when you were saved, you will reply, "well, I got saved when I was twelve years old back at the old 'home church', but I strayed away and didn't live for the Lord for a long time, but then I did like the prodigal son and came back to the Lord and  now I am serving Him. I can see the faces of scores of you out there that are in this boat. YOU ARE NOT SAVED! You never got through the gate of conversion. You know nothing of Holy Ghost conviction, nor of genuine repentance, nor of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is just a name to you of Someone that you do not know, and my friend, if you do not know Christ by experience, you are not saved, for eternal life is to know Christ, not just to know about Him (John 17:3). I can hear some of you protesting, "Brother Floyd, you are just trying to scare me and make me doubt my salvation." Well, that is a fact for most of you have no salvation to doubt. And I do hope the Holy Spirit will teach you to fear Him Who is able to destroy you both soul and body in hell! Friends and neighbours, are you in the narrow way?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

In Everything Give Thanks

(Article for publication week of 11-26-2015 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 15, 2015

Still Not Saved

(Article for publication week of 11-19-2015)

"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 a 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, November 8, 2015

Christians and the Confederate Flag - Part 3

(Article for publication week of 11-12- AD 2015)

"Honour thy father and thy mother:  that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" (Exodus 20:12).
Last week we showed that Christians ought to support and fly the Mississippi Flag and the Confederate Flag which is emblazoned upon its ensign, because our Flag represents resistance to tyranny. Tyranny is a wicked sin. It is a violation of the fifth commandment. "The fifth commandment requires the preserving the honour, and performing the duties belonging to everyone in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals" (Spurgeon's Catechism, Q. and A. #53). The Westminster Larger Catechism elaborates showing us that the fifth commandment includes the honour of lawful authority of parents, church officers and magistrates. The same commandment requires that those in the position of a superior are to use their authority lawfully as commanded by God. When civil rulers become tyrants, and usurp the law, they are to be resisted. See these scriptures: Daniel 3:18; Daniel 6:10; 2 Kings 11:1-21; Acts 5:29. Good Samuel Rutherford worked these things out theologically in a book entitled "Lex Rex"; i.e. "The Law is King." Such works as this had a great impact upon the founding of America. The original thirteen States acted upon the principle that resistance to tyranny is obedience to God when they seceded from Great Britain. Our Southern Fathers acted upon these same principles when they seceded from the tyrannical government in Washington, D.C. and formed the Confederate States of America. That federal government is a thousand times more tyrannical and intrusive than it was in 1860, proving that the South was indeed right. So this is the first reason we should support our old Flag, because it represent opposition to tyranny. By flying our Flag we are telling the wicked government in Washington, D.C. that we oppose your tyrannical edicts like "legalising" baby murder and sodomy.
But the second reason we should support our flag is for the honour of our ancestors. Our Southern Forefathers were honourable people. Note well, that this is a very general statement about the people of the Confederates States of America. I am not suggesting that all our forefathers were Christians-- far from it. What I am saying is that the South was led by Christians. Politically the South was led by Jefferson Davis, a devout Christian. Militarily, the South was led by men like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, two of the most devout Christians that have ever been saved by grace. The South was a bastion of orthodox Christianity, as opposed to the North that was increasingly being influenced by liberalism, "higher criticism," and Unitarianism. During the War the churches and ministers of the South were active in preaching the gospel and promoting piety among the troops. The Lord blessed their labours by sending down a true revival in which upwards of 50,000 Confederate soldiers professed to have found peace and joy in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Great Revival has been well documented in books like "Christ in the Camp" by Pastor J.W. Jones, one of the Baptist preachers who laboured among the Confederate Soldiers. If you will take time to read books like the late Honourable Bob Evans's "The Sixteenth Mississippi Regiment", you will see how the people of the South were a people greatly influenced by the truth of scripture. The South still is known as the "Bible Belt" because of the influence of our forefathers.
Men like my great-great grandfather, Elisha Edwards deserve to be honoured. He is representative to a great degree of the average Confederate soldier. Grandpa Edwards was not a plantation owner, and as far as we know owned no slaves. He was a small farmer like the vast majority of the Confederate soldiers. He joined the Lowery Rifles when he was sixteen years old. He took a mini ball in the stomach at Shiloh, but the Lord spared his life and he went on to fight for the South until the very end. Most of you have ancestors like my great-great-grandfather. They deserve to be honoured because they fought to defend their homeland from a foreign invader. I say to take down our old flag is nothing less than a violation of the fifth commandment that requires us to honour our Fathers and our Mothers. Let us not be guilty of dishonouring our forefathers who left us a great legacy.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Christians and the Confederate Flag - Part 2

(Article for publication week of 11-5- AD 2015)

"...Lift up a standard for the people" (Isaiah 62:10b).
A few weeks ago I heard a report on the radio that a group of preachers and preacherettes had assembled in front of the Governor's mansion to pray. And for what were they praying? Was it for the salvation of the lost? Was it for the latter day glory of the Church? Was it for a great spiritual awakening? Was it for genuine revival? No! They had more urgent matters about which to pray. They met to pray that the Mississippi Flag would come down! As I continued listening to the report I realised why these preachers and preachettes considered the lowering of the Mississippi Flag a more urgent matter of prayer than the conversion of sinners. This motley crew was comprised of Unitarians who deny the Deity of Christ, Episcopalians who have endorsed sodomy, Romanists who know not the gospel, and various other  liberals who only have a "social gospel" which is not the gospel. As I stated in last week's article, one of the reasons that I have felt compelled to write in defence of the Confederate Flag and our State Flag is that many of these liberal preachers and preacherettes have opposed the Flag for professed "religious" reasons. (I am not suggesting that everyone who has opposed our flag is a theological liberal, but I am making a point that many of the ringleaders of the new effort are.) Those who wrap their opposition to our Flag in religious garb should be willing to tell us what their religion is and what scriptures support their position. Your unworthy writer is prepared to give you who are Christians scriptural reasons to support the Mississippi Flag and the Confederate Battle Flag emblazoned in its ensign.
First, Christians should support our Flag for what it represents. The Flag of Mississippi and the Confederate Battle Flag represent opposition to tyranny, a Biblical and Christian Principle. One day we will undertake a series of articles on this subject, but for now the reader is urged to read these passages: Daniel 3:13-18; 6:10-23; II Kings  11: 4-16; Acts 5:29. Believers in the Old Testament and in the New and all down through the history of the Church have understood that resistance to tyranny is obedience unto God. The early Christians refused to call Caeser  "lord" and were fed to the lions. Martin Luther and the Reformers believed they ought to obey God rather than man and began the Reformation. The Founders of America stood on this Biblical foundation. The original thirteen colonies seceded from England because they held to this Biblical principle. And our Southern Fathers seceded from the federal union into which they had voluntarily entered on the very same Biblical Principles held by the Founders of America.
When the Red Republicans (that is what they were called in that day and all you good republicans need to know that your party was founded by people who had Marxist beliefs and wanted a strong central government; Donald Kennedy and Al Benson have written a well documented book , "Red Republicans and Lincoln's Marxists" in which they show the influence of the German Socialists, who were run out of Germany in 1848, on the founding of the Republican Party; the Republican Party has not gotten far from its original Socialist agenda as is evidenced by the reverence that Republicans still give to Lincoln, and by their singing the Unitarian hymn, "the Battle Hymn of the Republic"), seized control of the national government in 1860, our Southern Forefathers who had borne a great train of abuses saw the handwriting on the wall and thirteen of the Southern and Border States tried to peacefully withdraw from the union. The Red Republicans, led by the wily politician and corporate attorney, Abraham Lincoln, then invaded our homeland. After four years of valiant defence of the homeland our Fathers finally admitted defeat (temporarily). Might does not make right, and the Northern Victory over the South only proves that the Providence of our Sovereign God is a great Mystery. The defeat of the South no more "proves" that the North was right any more than the feeding of the Christians to the lions proves that the Roman Empire was right. The tragic result of the Northern Defeat of the South is that we no longer have a Constitutional Republic, but a tyrannical empire. Although our Fathers finally succumbed to superior manpower and money it does not mean that their Cause was not right.
The South, and the whole country has been under a despotic government since 1865. The Federal Government of the United States since the fall of the South and the old Constitution has been increasingly tyrannical under both major parties. The recent ungodly and illegal edict of the Supreme Court in nullifying State Laws defining marriage is a case in point. Now I hope all of you who profess to be Christians will hear me. When we fly our State Flag we are declaring to the Supreme Court and to every other tyrant that we resist your illegal edicts. The reason the Supreme Court is able to issue such ungodly edicts and get away with it is because the Northern Tyrants destroyed the Old Constitution that strictly limited the power of the federal government.
Mississippi should keep her Flag flying as a righteous symbol of opposition to tyrannical acts of this government like the recent ruling on sodomite "marriage" and the infamous Roe vs. Wade which "legalised" baby killing by nullifying State laws. We may not be able at this point to resist the tyrannical federal government as our Fathers did, but we can at least let them know we oppose them and call them the wicked tyrants they are by flying our Old Flag.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Christians and the Confederate Flag

(Article for publication 10-29- AD 2015)

 "Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people" (Isaiah 62:10).
First let us set in context our verse. The context is opening the gates and preparing the highway for the Latter Day Glory of the Church. God's ministers are to hold not their peace, and preach and pray until the Lord shall make His Church a praise in all the earth. They are to remove every stone which hinders the entry of saved sinners into the kingdom. They are to hold up the standard that all may see Christ and His glorious kingdom. The standard that we are to lift up is the word of God. It is the only infallible standard on earth. Having shown you briefly something of the sense of our text, I now wish to hold up the standard of God's word as it pertains to the Confederate Flag, a standard also that needs to be lifted up.
I will confess to you that I am somewhat reticent to write upon this subject. My reticence is not for lack of zeal for my subject. My only reluctance in taking this as my subject is that I would prefer to be writing on the Person and Work of Christ, the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, the electing love of the Father and related themes. The Narrow Way is a gospel column, not a political column, and we hope to always keep that before our readers. However, we have not shied away from writing on political subjects as they relate to the gospel and we have felt compelled to shed forth Biblical light upon subjects related to the commonwealth. The fact is that everything is to be considered in the light of the Word of God. There is no part of life that is isolated from the scriptures. We are to bring every thought captive to the word of God (II Corinthians 10:5). Some liberal preachers and preacherettes  have lambasted the Confederate Flag, and the Mississippi Flag, and one scalawag politician in this state has renounced our flag, very piously saying he is opposed to our flag because of his "religious" convictions. We have to question what this man's religious convictions are. We also solemnly remind him and all of you that you can be as religious as all get out and be as lost as a goose. The fact is that Christ will send multitudes of "religious" people to hell (Matthew 7:21-23). Now, I am not suggesting that everyone who is opposed to our Flag is lost, nor am I suggesting that everyone who loves it is saved- not hardly. What I am declaring is that a "religious conviction" that is based on anything other than "thus saith the scriptures" is not worth a hoot in hell. If people claim they are opposed to our Flag for religious reasons, they need to be ready to tell us what their religion is and whether or not they hold to the scriptures as the infallible word of God. And I am declaring that there is not anything in scripture that is opposed to Our Flag, either by direct command, general principle, or necessary consequence.
Now first of all, let us consider that the Flag itself is a thing indifferent, that is, there is no right or wrong about it per se. Secondly, let me renounce as plainly as I can the practice of flying flags in the meeting house of the Church. The Church is comprised of elect sinners from every nation. The True Church of Christ is not limited to any nation. Let no one suppose because they are "patriotic" that they are a Christian. There are multitudes of "flag waving" republicans and democrats that are going to bust hell wide open because they do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. There are multitudes who have pledged "allegiance" to the flag of the United States who have never pledged allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. (I told you this is a gospel column, and no matter what our subject is we are always demanding that you lay down your arms of rebellion and surrender to the Lordship of God's Eternal Son.) Well, I am sure some of you are wondering, if the Flag is a thing indifferent in and of itself, why take time to write on it or come to its defence? Well , we are running out of space, so the main message will have to wait until next week. But let me say in closing that since the liberals in church and state have renounced the Confederate Flag and the Mississippi Flag, and with much declared "piety", it is incumbent that conservative Bible believers cast out the stones and lift up the standard so that the real issues may be understood. So finally, let me say that our State Flag should continue to fly first of all because of honour to our Fathers and our Mothers. Secondly, our Flag should continue to fly because it represents opposition to tyranny, a Biblical precept. More next week, Deo Volente.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Death of the Righteous

(Article for publication week of 10-22- AD 2015)

"Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!" (Numbers 23:10).
Our message this week is a solemn one indeed, for our text contains truth spoken by  an unsaved man. The words of our text were spoken by the false prophet, Balaam. Balaam was a man who knew much about God, but did not know God. He was a man who understood much truth, yet never received the truth to the saving of his soul. He was a man who preached much truth, as in our text, yet he remained a graceless character. The case of Balaam is a frightening one indeed, and there are many of you that I fear are in the same case. When you first read about Balaam in Numbers chapters 23-25, much of what he says sounds like a true believer. But when we go to the New Testament, all the evidence is that he was lost. I encourage you to go and read these scriptures: Numbers 31:8-16; 2 Peter 2:11-16; Jude 11; and Revelation 2:14. We see by these scriptures that Balaam was not saved. What a tragedy! Balaam understood that the death of the righteous is greatly to be desired, and yet he died unrighteous and has been in hell now for over 3,000 years (as far as we can tell) and won't ever get out (except long enough to stand before the judgment throne of God, and then back down to the lake of fire for eternity). Now dear readers, be warned that knowing about God will not save your soul; you must know God by experience (John 17:3). Knowing the truth will not save you; you must receive the truth, and love it, and walk in it (2 Thessalonians 2:10), if you will be saved. Preaching the truth will not save you, unless you get to know Him Who is truth.
Let us now consider the death of the righteous, and pray that you will die that death, and not die as Balaam, in an unrighteous state. First, we remind you of how delightful the death of the righteous is. The death of the righteous is not the end, but the beginning of a glorious eternity. When the righteous die, they go immediately to be with Christ where He is, in Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8). When the righteous die, it is with the promise of the resurrection of their bodies (Philippians 3:20-21). No wonder Balaam exclaimed, "let me die the death of the righteous"!
But here is where Balaam missed it: if you will die the death of the righteous, you must be righteous. There is nothing but righteousness in the new heavens and the new earth (2 Peter 3:13), and unrighteous people cannot enter in (Revelation 22:11). Now dear reader do you understand that your righteousness is filthy rags in the sight of God? If you will enter into heaven at last, you must have a perfect righteousness. The only way that you may have that righteousness is by imputation. Those who are saved by Christ have His righteousness imputed to them (2 Corinthians 5:21). Dear reader have you received this robe of righteousness by faith alone? If not, then you are not righteous, and you will not die the death of the righteous.
Secondly, if you will die the death of the righteous, you must live the life of the righteous. The scriptures declare over and over,  from Genesis to Revelation that God sanctifies all those whom He justifies, and they will live a holy life. If you imagine that you can live a careless, worldly life and go to heaven when you die, you are greatly deceived my friend. It is only those who walk in the Narrow Way that will have eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14). If you are in the Broad Way, you will be destroyed by the Judge of all the earth. I ask you my friend, are you in the Narrow Way that leads to life? If you are not justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, you will spend eternity where the fire is not quenched and the worm dieth not! I pray the Lord may have mercy upon some of you that you may die the death of the righteous, and not as Balaam who came close to the Kingdom of God, but never got in!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

No Heaven Without Holiness

(Article for publication week of 10-15- AD 2015)

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" (Hebrews 12:14).
For over two months now we have been writing on the Death of a Christian, the Intermediate State, The Resurrection of the Body, and the Heaven that awaits the believer who dies in the Lord. We have primarily been addressing Christians, and labouring for their comfort. But now I have a word for you, my unconverted readers. I have a solemn warning for you that unless you are saved by grace, you will not enter into heaven. I have been comforting the saints that when they die, they will die in the Lord and be blessed. But I give now a solemn warning that not everyone who dies goes to heaven. It is written in the word (Revelation 14:13), "blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." But it is equally true that "cursed are the dead which die out of Christ." There is a happy Intermediate State for those who die in the Lord, for to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:8). But there will be an Intermediate State for you who are unsaved as well. You will lift up your eyes in Hell when your soul is absent from the body (Luke 16:23)! There will be a resurrection for you my unsaved Reader. It will be the resurrection of the unjust (Acts 24:15). You will be raised to God's everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2) and be given a body capable of suffering everlasting and conscious punishment in the lake which burns forever with fire and brimstone forever and ever. My text this week plainly declares that you will not see God in heaven and immortal glory unless you are in pursuit of holiness. No holiness-- no heaven! Now you better heed this awful warning; nothing, nor no one that is defiled shall enter into heaven. Unless God makes you a holy person, it will be said of you as it was of Judas Iscariot- "it had been better for that man had he never been born!"
I pray the Lord may use this article to shake some of you to your senses and set you to seeking Christ. How many times I have stood in the funeral home when someone has died with no evidence they were saved. Invariably someone will say, "he (or she) is better off!" What I want to say is, "or you sure of that?" But, I am hated enough as it is and I dread to lose any of the few friends I still may have I suppose, so I just keep silent. Neighbour if your loved one died without holiness, they are not better off! They are infinitely worse off! I can do nothing regarding those already in hell, but I can warn you my dear reader; unless you are following holiness you will miss heaven and be cast into hell where the fire is not quenched and the worm dieth not!
My text is a warning to you who are universalist in your mindset. Not everyone who dies goes to heaven. How many ways can I say it? How many times can I repeat it? Only those who enter into the Narrow Way that leads to life by the gate of conversion shall live in heaven (Matthew 7:13-14). Only those who are saved by grace and given a new nature shall enter into heaven. Our Blessed Lord has warned, "not everyone that saith unto me 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21)".
Perhaps there is one of my readers who is alarmed by this week's message and you are now crying out, "what is holiness? How may I be holy? What is it to follow holiness?" Let us a hear a voice from the past regarding this eternally important issue. "To 'follow' holiness is to live like persons who are devoted to God- to His glory, to His claims upon us, to His Cause in the world. It is to make it evident that we belong to Him. It is to mortify the flesh, with its affections and lusts. It is to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit (II Corinthians 7:1). It is a life task from which there is no discharge while we remain in the body." ( A.W. Pink). Dear Reader, do these words of this faithful preacher from the past describe you? If not, you will not enter into God's heaven. You will be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth forever! There is somebody reading this week that needs to come see me so I can tell you how to be saved and start following holiness. May the Lord open your heart today and draw you to the Saviour.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Lord's Prayer

(Article for publication week of 10-8- AD 2015)

"Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which Thou hast given me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).
Our text is found in the Real Lord's Prayer. The prayer the Lord taught us to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 should actually be called "the Disciple's Prayer", or "The Model Prayer." What we call "The Lord's Prayer" is not a prescribed prayer, per se, but rather an outline of prayer to help us in our prayer life. It is a prayer for us to pray, not a prayer that our Lord Himself needed to pray, or ever did pray. We know this because of one expression- "forgive us our debts" ( or sins, i.e. Luke 11:4). Our Lord Jesus Christ never had to ask for forgiveness of sin, for He was without sin, and could not sin (Hebrews 7:26). The 17th chapter of John is truly "The Lord's Prayer," for here we have the Eternal Son praying to the Eternal Father. Our text is proof of what we call the Doctrine of the Trinity, for here we see the Second Person of the Trinity praying to the First Person of the Trinity. Our Great God is One in Three, and Three in One (I John 5:7) and we see that plainly in this text. John 17 is a death blow to both Arianism and Modalism.
The seventeenth chapter of John is our Lord's High Priestly prayer for His people. Our Great High Priest continues to intercede for all those for whom He died (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). After he died for our sins, He was laid in the grave, but He arose the third Day, and after He had shown Himself alive after many infallible proofs, He ascended back to the right hand of His Father where he continues to plead our cause in the high court of heaven. The Levitical priesthood has been abrogated and there will never be any more need for it. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Person in the universe who is a priest. Any man (or woman) who claims to be a priest is an imposter and should be rejected. There is only one Mediator between God and man, the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2:5). It will thrill your soul (if you are born again) to go and read the 17th chapter of John, and see what wonderful things our Great High Priest prayed for His people.
Now, our text here in John 17:24 tells us one of the glorious things that Christ prayed for His people-- that we may be with Him! Oh! I can hardly contain myself as I write these words! We shall be with Christ when this life is over! That my friends is what heaven and the glory world is all about. As one of the Puritans put it, hell would be heaven if Christ were there! We shall be with Christ to behold His glory. We see that glory now by faith, but the day is coming when faith shall be changed to sight and all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ shall see Him in all His glory. That glory is the same glory as that of the Father, for Christ is indeed one with His Father (John 17:5; 1:14), and is of the same essence as the Father. To see Christ will be to see God, for Christ is both God and Man (John 14:9). (See also II Corinthians 4:6). All the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in the Lord Jesus Christ(Colossians 2:9). So when we are glorified we shall see God as our Lord promised in Matthew 5:8. Dear Reader, do you long to see the Lord Jesus Christ? If you are a child of God I know you do.
Rest assured that God the Father always hears the prayers of His Eternal Son (John 11;42). You can be sure that this is one prayer that will be answered. Not one that God the Father gave to His Son in eternal election shall fail to be with Christ. Christ will not lose any for whom He died. All those whose names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life before the foundation of the world shall surely be with Christ, eternally beholding His glory.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Father's House

(Article for publication week of 10-1- Ad 2015)

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2).
The scriptures do not give us many explicit details about what heaven is exactly like. However, it tell us enough for a believer to often long to be there! Whether there are literally mansions in heaven or not should not be our main concern. The point is that heaven is a city whose Builder and Maker is God, with true foundations, eternal in the heavens. If things like mansions, streets of gold and gates of pearl are metaphorical, then the reality is much greater, for the reality is always greater than the metaphor.
The first thing our text tells us is that Christ Himself has made all the preparations necessary for His people to live in heaven with Him. In our text our Lord was telling His disciples that He would go to prepare a place for them (and us). By this statement we may understand that Christ would go to the cross to suffer as our Sin-bearer to save us from our sins. We could never enter into heaven as the sinners that we are by nature. Our Great God is too holy to allow sin in His holy presence. Our sins must be taken away. This Christ did by His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 4:25; I Corinthians 15:3-4). Christ prepared heaven for us by shedding His blood to redeem us from all iniquity. He arose from the grave victorious over sin, hell and the grave and now sits at the right hand of His Father interceding for those for whom He died (Romans 8:34). In other words, Christ prepares a place for us by all that he does for us as our Prophet, Priest and King. Mark this down child of God, there is nothing you do to help Christ prepare heaven for you. Christ Himself has accomplished the whole work by Himself.
Secondly, the text tells us that there will be many finally saved and live in heaven. There are many mansions in heaven because there are many saved by Christ to finally dwell there. In Revelation 19:1 John saw "much people in heaven." Romans 8:29 tells us that God has predestinated His elect to be conformed to the image of Christ that He might be "the firstborn among many brethren." Our Lord proclaimed in Matthew 8:11 when He observed saving faith is a gentile that "many will come from the east and the west, and shall sit down in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Hebrews 9:28 says that "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." When Christ gave His disciples the cup of wine at the first communion service in Matthew 26:28 he said that cup of wine represented His blood "which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Christ died for a number that no man can number out of all the nations of the earth. This is a glorious truth that we may contemplate with joy- that there will be many finally saved and live in the Father's house. Every one for whom Christ died shall be in heaven without the loss of one. Everyone that the Father gave to His Son in the covenant of grace shall be in heaven. Everyone that is called effectually by the Holy Spirit shall live in heaven. Everyone who trusts in Christ Alone for salvation shall be in heaven.
But finally, let us take note of the fact that heaven is called the "Father's house." This tells us that heaven is the real home of the children of God. As the poet has written, "heaven is my Fatherland, heaven is my home." God's people are pilgrims and strangers in this low ground of sin and sorrow. This world is not our home. What a glorious day it will be when we arrive in our true and lasting home, the Father's house.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Blessing of Dying in Christ

(Article for publication week of 9-24- AD 2015)

"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them" (Revelation 14:13).
Although death is an enemy of man (I Corinthians 15:26), the death of a Christian is said in our text to be a blessed thing. Believers may view the monster Death and smile, for he has lost his sting (I Corinthians 15:55-57).
First of all, the children of God are blessed for they die in the Lord. They are in saving union with the Lord Jesus Christ because God the Father chose them in His Son by eternal and sovereign election before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).They are in Christ vitally and experimentally by regeneration (II Corinthians 5:17). We have assurance that we are in Christ by faith, and nothing can separate us from His eternal love (Romans 8:38-39). Death itself cannot separate a child of God from His Surety and Head.
Secondly, it is a blessing to die in Christ because Christ has already abolished death judicially ( II Timothy 1:10). Christ has redeemed us from the dreaded curse (Galatians 3:13). Death has no lasting claim upon those who are redeemed by the Saviour of sinners. Our Lord's death satisfied Divine Justice forever so that by imputation our sorry record was made right in God's court. Not only that but the active obedience of Christ is imputed to us so that God considers us has having kept the law ourselves. It is a blessing to die in Christ because we are at peace with God through the justifying Righteousness of His Eternal and Co-equal Son. Christ has abolished death judicially and when the appointed time comes He will put the enemy out of business for good (I Corinthians 15:26 previously cited).
Thirdly, the believer is blessed when he dies in the Lord because Christ will be with him when he crosses the river of death. He has promised "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5). He has promised us "when thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the waters they shall not overflow thee" (Isaiah 43:2). Let us not fear to go anywhere as long as Christ is with us. His grace is sufficient for all things, including the moment of death.
Fourthly, it is a blessing to die in the Lord because at the moment of death a believer is immediately in the presence of Christ in paradise. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:8). This is the great desire of the Lord's people, to be with Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us. We see Him now by faith, but when we lay this body down our happy spirits shall fly away to be with Him. The moment we close our eyes in death on earth, we will open them to behold the God- Man! Our bodies shall sleep in the dust, but our souls shall neither die nor sleep but go directly to heaven where the spirits of just men made perfect are already (Hebrews 12:23).
Fifthly, those who die in the Lord are blessed because their bodies shall be raised again (Philippians 3:20-21; I Corinthians 15:52; John 6:39; I Thessalonians 4:13-18). When the Lord is pleased to come again at the end of the world He shall raise up all the bodies of those for whom He died. (He will also raise up the unsaved, but that is for another article sometime.) The resurrection will be a glorious display of the omniscience of God. Think about it; God knows the whereabouts of the remains of all the millions who have been saved by grace and died in Him. Our great God knows all things. What a glorious God! The resurrection will also be a glorious display of His omnipotence. The same Power that created the universe will raise up the remains of our dead bodies. Blessed indeed are those who die in the Lord!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Our Resurrection Bodies

(Article for publication week of 9-17- AD 2015)
"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself" (Philippians 3:20-21).
In the last several articles we have been dealing with the subject of the death of a Christian, the intermediate state of the Christian's soul, and the resurrection of the body. This week we want to show a little of the Christian's body after it is raised from the dead. The scriptures do not give us much specific details on the subject, but enough for us to know that it will be a vast improvement of our present condition. Our resurrected bodies will be like the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. This present body is said in our text to be "vile", not because there is anything in the human body that is evil per se, but rather it is vile because of our fallen and sinful nature, and the many infirmities that result from it. The Lord Jesus Christ died and was buried and was raised the third day to save His people from their sins, and His redemptive work includes and will be complete with the resurrection of our bodies.
The first thing that we immediately see in the scriptures is that our resurrection bodies will be completely glorified in such a way as we shall no more be plagued with sin, nor the tendency to sin, nor the temptation to sin. Believers on earth have been given a new nature that loves Christ and hates sin, and so we are always striving not to sin (I John 2:1), but yet coming short all the time (Romans 3:23; 7:14-25). We are presently being sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit, but we have not reached sinless perfection in this present state (although some vainly imagine they have). Saints in heaven have reached sinless perfection (Hebrews 12:23). They are much happier than we who are still on earth, though not safer, for all the Lord's sheep on earth as well as those in heaven are safe in His sovereign Hand (John 10:27-30). At the Last Day when the Lord shall awaken the bodies of His people that are sleeping in the dust of the earth, our vile bodies that were subject to indwelling sin shall be raised incorruptible (I Corinthians 15:53) and we shall be like our Lord Jesus Christ (I John 3:2). This will be the fruition of God's eternal purpose to glorify us in our whole person and conform us to the Image of His Eternal Son (Romans 8:28-30).
The next thing that we see about our resurrection bodies is that they shall be able to worship Christ in perfection. I shall not try to cite passages here, but would invite you all to read the Book of Revelation with this in view. The Book of Revelation is the "revelation of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:1). Next time you read the Book of Revelation note well all that it says about Christ and the activity of the saints in heaven. I think you will begin to see what I mean that in our resurrection bodies we will be able to worship Christ in perfection. In this present time state our worship is very imperfect, but in glory, we shall see Christ as He is and worship Him in perfection and give Him His glory that He is due.
Thirdly, I want to emphasize that our resurrection bodies will be these very same bodies. Job says in Job 19:26-27, "and though my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and not another." We shall see God with these same eyes. Our bodies shall be changed, not exchanged.
Fourthly, although our resurrected bodies will be these very same bodies, they will be drastically changed. Now I do not claim to know all about this, but I think we can say with confidence that our resurrected bodies will be similar in nature to our Lord's resurrected body. Our text here in Philippians 3:20-21 says that our bodies will be fashioned like that of our Lord's. The accounts of our Lord's activities on earth between His resurrection and His ascension indicate that our resurrected bodies will have capabilities beyond our present state. For example John 20:26 tells us that Jesus entered the upper room without opening the door, and Acts 1:9 tells us that he ascended to heaven unaided by mechanical device. More next week, Lord willing. Until then may the Lord keep you by His grace and smile upon you.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Redemption Complete

(Article for publication week of 9-10- AD 2015)

"And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (John 6:39).
Our text this week is chock full of theology. We have the blessed doctrine of the Trinity in our text; we have the Eternal Son-ship of Christ; we have the incarnation of Christ; we have the doctrine of election; we have the doctrine of the saints' final perseverance; and we have the glorious doctrine of the resurrection of the body. Our text takes us back into eternity past when God gave His elect to His Son and appointed Him to be their federal Head and Surety, and carries us into eternity future when the saved by grace shall be finally and eternally glorified. God's redemptive purpose shall be complete when our bodies are raised up from the grave and rejoined to our happy souls and so shall we ever be with Christ.
Christ's redemption of His people includes the redemption of their bodies. Christ died to save us in our complete person. He died to save us, body and soul. In Romans 8:23 we read, "we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body." Christ will lose nothing for which He died (read our text again), and that includes our physical bodies. As Man fell in his whole person, so he must be redeemed in his whole person.
Our text reminds us that we are not only saved from the penalty, power, and pollution of sin, but that we shall finally be saved from the very presence of sin. In other words, we need to see not only what we have been saved from, but what we have been saved to. (I realise you are not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, but I couldn't think of a better way to say it; besides I find where the learned men who translated the scriptures into our Mother Tongue often relaxed that rule, as did other learned men in the 17th and 18th centuries.) We have been saved from eternal misery, and saved to eternal happiness which will be enjoyed in our whole person when our bodies are raised.
The resurrection of our bodies will restore completely the Image of God that was marred by the Fall of Man. God created man in His Image (Genesis 1:26). That is, when God looked at His creature Man, He saw a reflection of Himself. When man fell, the Image was shattered. When God looks at Man now, He still sees His Image, but it is greatly distorted. We may illustrate it like this- when you look into a mirror, you see your image. If the mirror falls on the floor and is shattered, you can still see your reflection, but it is a distorted and grotesque reflection. God gave a people to His Son to restore them to His Image. By His atoning death, and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, God's Image is being restored in God's elect. This redemptive work will culminate in the raising of our bodies when all the foreknown of God shall be glorified (Romans 8:29-30). Christ will surely raise up everyone for whom He shed His precious blood and they shall be perfectly and eternally  conformed to His Image. He shall change our vile bodies in the Day of the Resurrection and fashion them to be like His glorious body that we may be forever free from sin and able to perfectly glorify and enjoy Him forever. Christ shall lose nothing for which He died, but shall raise it up at the last day.