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, August 30, 2015

The Resurrection of the Body

(Article for publication week of 9-3- 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).
The resurrection of the body is a cardinal doctrine of the Christian Faith, and very much unique to our religion. Many heathens have, and have had some vague notions of "life after death", but generally are and have been ignorant of the resurrection of the body. Believers in Christ have the promise of, not only the immortality of the soul, but also of the resurrection of the body.
First of all, I will make it clear that the human body is precious to the Lord, and especially the bodies of His children. There is nothing intrinsically evil about the human body as certain heathens and pseudo-Christian groups have erroneously taught. When our text speaks of our bodies as being vile, it refers to the frailties to which we are susceptible due to the Fall of Man and of our sin nature, and the difficulties of this present life. Our bodies are subject to disease and distempers, and finally to death, but there is nothing sinful about the human body per se. God made man in His Image, and although He Himself hath not "body parts, or passions," being pure Spirit (John 4:24), yet He formed man in His Image,  body and soul. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the holy Trinity, Who is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, became a Man, with a real human body and soul,  that He might work out a perfect righteousness for His elect people. "The Word was made flesh" (John 1:14). The Eternal Word of God became a Real Man. He lived as a man; He was crucified as a Man; He was laid in the grave as a Man; He arose from the grave as Man; He ascended back to heaven as a Man; He sits now at the right hand of God as a Man (I Timothy 2:5); He will return in glory to judge the world as a Man. Yet, He is infinitely more than a man, for He is the God-Man. Since our Lord took upon Him a real human body we know that the human body is not evil per se, for our Lord was "holy, harmless, undefiled, [and] separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26). Christ died to redeem us completely, including our bodies (Romans 8:23), and His redemptive work will not be complete until we are raised in His likeness (Psalm 17:15). The God of peace is active in the children of God sanctifying us wholly, in body, soul, and spirit (I Thessalonians 5:23). And so we conclude from our creation in the Image of God, the Blessed Humanity of Christ, the redemptive work of Christ, the work of sanctification in us, and God's promise to raise our bodies, that there is nothing evil about the human body in and of itself.
However, the human body is subject to many trials, spiritually and physically. We are subject to physical pain, disease, infirmities and finally to physical death itself. Also, we are subject to many temptations and spiritual weaknesses. Every man is acquainted with physical infirmities, and believers are subject to these and many spiritual trials besides. Though our struggle with sin is primarily spiritual, yet they affect our bodies as well, for the body and soul are so connected that one greatly affects the other. In the Day of the resurrection we shall be set free from all these infirmities because Christ will give us new bodies fashioned after His Own glorified Body.
What shall we say concerning this new body? Why, we hardly know what to say, for it is higher than our human reasoning! But we do know this, we shall be like Him! Not that we shall ever become gods, but we shall be conformed to His Image (Romans 8:29). Christians shall be raised immortal and incorruptible to live with Christ, and worship Him perfectly forever and ever. Amen. (More on our subject next week, God willing.)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Absent From The Body, Present With Christ

 (Article for publication week of 8-27- AD 2015)

"We are confident , I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" ( II Corinthians 5:8).
Believers may face death with joy and anticipation because the very moment we close our eyes in death on earth we open them in heaven to behold Christ. Though our bodies will sleep in the grave until the morning of the resurrection, our happy spirits shall go directly to heaven. Our text plainly declares this to be the truth. Our souls shall not die, nor sleep, but go immediately to be with our Dear Saviour. Nor do the Lord's people have to dread spending time in "purgatory" before they go to heaven. (There is no such place as purgatory; it is a popish lie.) When our spirits leave our bodies we shall be with Christ that very moment.
We know this to be true, not because somebody claimed they died and went to heaven and came back to earth. We know this to be a fact not because we had some dream, vision or extraordinary revelation. We know this not because grandma said so. Nor do we know this because of "church tradition." But we know this to be true because God's word says so, and that is a more sure word of prophecy (II Peter 1:19). The very moment we are "absent from the body," we shall be "present with the Lord." Nor is our text an obscure or single text declaring the truth that the Lord's people go immediately to be with Christ at death. The scriptures abound with proofs. I will not try to cite any, but rather encourage the reader to examine for himself Philippians 1:23; Luke 23:43; Luke 16:22; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Hebrews 12:23; and II Samuel 12:23.
Note well, our text teaches us that we are comprised of body and spirit. (We shall not quibble as to whether man is three-part, or two part, but simply emphasize that our text says that we are both physical and spiritual.) We have an outward man and an inner man (II Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 3:16). The inner man, that is our souls, are of the chief concern. Not that the body is to be neglected. The neglect of the body is neither healthy nor holy as some have wrongly supposed. But no matter how well we care for these bodies, they will eventually die (unless we are still alive at our Lord's Second Coming). But our souls shall never die, nor shall they sleep in the dust. Our Lord put the value of the soul in its proper place in Mark 8:37, when He asked "what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" And again in Matthew 10:28 saying, "fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Further, we see also in our text that the body cannot live separated from the soul, but the soul can and does live separated from the body. We know not how the body and soul are joined together, but God Who made us does, and when that cord is broken, we shall most certainly die.
Our text proclaims a greater joy for Christians-- to be present with Christ! If communion with Him is sweet by faith through the Holy Spirit, how much sweeter will be our joy when we see Him face to face! We do not long for heaven for its streets of gold, nor gates of pearl, but we long for heaven because we long to be with Christ! We pine not for kinfolks gone before, but for the real presence of Christ the Redeemer! One of the Puritans remarked he would rather be in hell with Christ, than to be heaven without Him! Indeed heaven would be hell without Christ, and hell would be heaven with Him! Well, we do not have to make such a choice for the Bible declares that the moment we die we shall be in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ, and all the saints who have gone before, and all the holy angels. The presence of Christ is heaven indeed. But this is not the final and best joy for the Lord's people. The final and best joy shall be when our Lord raises our dust and our happy spirits are clothed with our glorified bodies. And (DV) that shall be our message next week.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Devil Destroyed

(Article for publication week of 8-20- AD 2015)

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have no reason to fear death because our Lord Jesus Christ has destroyed the devil, who had the power of death. By His Own death, burial and resurrection our Dear Saviour has triumphed over the devil and made and open spectacle of him (Colossians 2:15).
First let us consider how Christ has destroyed the devil. We know that He has not annihilated him, because he still goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). Nor will the devil ever be annihilated, for he will be consciously tormented in the lake of fire forever along with all the fallen angels and all unsaved people (Revelation 20:10). But Christ has destroyed the devil by making his works null and void. I John 3:8 tells us "for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Christ has saved His people from their fallen state and the bondage of sin of which the devil was the first perpetrator.
Secondly, let us consider in what sense the devil has the power of death. We know that he does not have power to kill any human being at his own leisure. The power of life and death is solely in the hands of our sovereign God (Deuteronomy 32:39). Dear reader, you will not die one second before your appointed time. It is in God that you live and move and have your being. All things are held together by God (Colossians 1:17), including your life. Job chapters one and two make it plain that the devil has to get permission from God before he can turn a tap. As Martin Luther said, "the devil is the devil, but he is God's devil." God created Lucifer (Colossians 1:16)for His own glorious purposes and He uses him just as He pleases. But the devil had the power of death by his part in the fall of man. Our Lord said in John 8:44 that the devil was a "murderer from the beginning." The devil first rebelled against God himself (Isaiah 14:14), and then led man into rebellion. The devil tempted Eve and Adam, and they sinning brought death upon themselves and their posterity (Romans 5:12). The devil still holds power over all unregenerate men so that they are under the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13), and are dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1). So you see the devil has the power of death in leading people into sin that damns and brings death spiritually, physically and eternally, But Christ has destroyed him and his works.
Thirdly, let us see how Christ accomplished this great work. It was by becoming a partaker of flesh and blood. The Lord Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16). As my dear brother in Christ, Elder Jeff Pollard said, "the Son of God became the Son of man that sons of men would become sons of God"! God cannot die, so He became a weak and frail man as we are so that he could die on a Roman cross for sinners like you and me. The Lord Jesus Christ destroyed the devil and his works by his atoning death. So death has no lasting power upon the children of God.
Dear child of God, you have no reason to fear death because Christ has bruised the serpent's head (Genesis 3:15). Satan is a defeated foe. Although he still vexes us and annoys us (as God permits him for His Own purposes), he has no power of death over us. And the day is coming when God will deal him the final blow and put him out of business forever (Romans 16:20). May the Lord grant you peace in believing this precious gospel.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Death Abolished

(Article for publication week of 8-13- AD 2015)

"But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (II Timothy 1:10). Our text is found in one of the Apostle Paul's lengthy sentences which he wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Verses 8-11 is one sentence, punctuated with commas, colons and semi-colons. As he often does in his epistles, the apostle breaks forth in praise to our Great God for saving sinners such as he knew himself to be, and such as all the Lord's people feel themselves to be. Paul was captivated by the saving purpose of God treasured up in Christ Jesus from all eternity. Though God ordained our salvation before the world began, Christ must be manifest in perfect Human Flesh to work out the salvation purposed in and through Him from everlasting. One glorious phrase is added descriptively to another as Paul rejoices in the afflictions of the gospel. There is a sweet cordial for the saints in our text as the Apostle to the gentiles declares that Christ has abolished death. Christians can view the monster death and smile since it has been abolished by the Lord Jesus Christ.

First of all, Christ has destroyed death judicially. We miss many blessings in God's word when we fail to see the judicial aspect of our salvation. I can hear some of you saying to yourselves, "what in the world is he talking about? What does he mean by 'judicial' ?" Well, by judicial, I mean that which God has done for His elect, in and through Christ, objectively, and completely outside them as persons. The justifying righteousness of Christ is an act of God's free grace whereby an elect sinners stands legally righteous in God's court without any regard to anything in themselves. Dear believer in Christ, you can be assured that you are eternally justified, even when you do not feel justified. Even though we have many foul backslidings and struggles with sin, we are "not guilty" in God's courtroom. So Christ has abolished death judicially. Though an elect sinner is saved by grace, and Christ has abolished death for him, he must still die physically as lost men do. Though we stand righteous in Christ, we are still connected to Adam by his federal headship, and all in Adam must needs die (Romans 5:12; I Corinthians 15:22). But judicially Christ has abolished death so that it has no lasting claims on us.

Secondly, Christ has abolished death as penal judgment. Believers are chastened as God's children, but judgment was meted out on Christ as our Substitute. God does not deal with His children as criminals. God chastens us in Fatherly displeasure to make us partakers of His holiness (Hebrews 12:10). There is a vast difference in punishment of a criminal, and a father's chastening of His children. The Lord Jesus Christ by His vicarious sufferings, and His active and passive obedience has perfected forever them that are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). When a child of God dies it is not a as penal punishment, but by God's grace is his entrance into that upper and better world with Christ.

Thirdly, Christ has abolished the second death. Revelation 20:6 tells us that the second death has no power on the saved by grace. It has been well said that "he who is born but once must die twice, but he who is born twice will only die once." The second death is the eternal vengeance of God on the unsaved, what the Bible calls the lake of fire. Christ has abolished that second death for His people and the lake of fire has no power upon them.

Fourthly, Christ has abolished death as a king of terrors. The believer in Christ has no reason to fear death. When he dies he goes immediately to be with Christ (II Corinthians 5:8). Though his body may be buried or burnt up in a fire or blown to pieces by a bomb or fed to a lion, God shall raise up our bodies in the morning of the resurrection. Christ has abolished death and will not leave our bodies in the cold, dark tomb. Christ died to save His people body, soul and spirit and He will have everything that He redeemed (Romans 8:23). God's children can look forward to death because our mighty Saviour has abolished it. Death for a believer is truly a door into heaven itself. May the Lord grant you faith to believe these things and rejoice in them.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Death's Stinger Removed

(Article for publication week of 8-6- AD 2015)

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory" (I Corinthians 15:55)? The fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians is one of the most comforting and encouraging passages in all the Bible. I would encourage you right now to stop what you are doing and read these blessed words. We who are believers in Christ do not have to fear death because our Lord has removed the sting of death, which is sin (verse 56), and has come forth victorious from the tomb when He Himself was resurrected the third day. The grave can have no victory over Christians because Christ came forth from the grave victorious over sin , death, and hell.

Now death is an awful prospect. Every reasonable person views it with more or less anxiety. I realise some have duped themselves into a false peace concerning death. Not a few in our day have embraced atheism and agnosticism and have duped themselves into a stupid peace with death. But deep down inside they know they are just fooling themselves because every man knows in his heart that there is a God in heaven Who has created us and will judge us at the end of our lives (Psalm 19:1-3; Romans 1:20). A great number more have made themselves drunk with false religion and have a sort of peace with death. Like a relative that I tried to talk to recently who declared, "I have made my peace with my god," and then went on to blaspheme the Lord Jesus Christ. At that point I thought of Proverbs 26:4 and left him to himself. Multitudes we fear have made peace with "their god", but their god is not the God of the Bible. I say every rational person is necessarily anxious about death. It is fearful to think of drawing our last breath and entering into eternity. Death is a fearful foe for the strongest among us will find himself no match in that awful moment. When we have stood by the bedside of one that we loved and seen them draw their last breath, Oh!- how helpless we have felt and known ourselves to be. Death proves the ultimate frailness of man for no man can resist when Death wraps its cold, bony fingers around our throats and squeezes the life out of every one of us.

Yet, the believer in Christ can face death with calmness, serenity and even joy because our Lord has removed its sting. The next verse tells us the sting of death is sin. The curse of sin is death, spiritually, bodily and eternally. But our Lord Jesus Christ has removed the curse by His bloody, substitutionary death. We might illustrate our text by a fearful red wasp ( I can write "wasp", but I still pronounce it "wawst"). His sting is very painful, as most of us know by experience. But suppose somebody caught that wasp by his wings and took his hand and extracted the stinger. He would no doubt be stung himself in taking the loathsome thing in his hand. But now the stinger is gone and the wasp cannot sting us. Well, this is what the Lord Jesus Christ did by his death, burial and resurrection. He took hold of the wasp of death and pulled out the stinger. He Himself was stung, but death cannot sting the object's of Christ love for whom He shed His blood and died. Now, let us carry the illustration further. That wasp without a stinger still has a fearful appearance. He still buzzes around us with the same annoying motions and sounds. We are still anxious when he approaches. But though he makes a fearful and annoying sound, he cannot sting us. Well, this is the way believers may view death. We do not naively pretend that it does not annoy us, but we know it cannot hurt us. Our Saviour has removed its sting by His vicarious sufferings!

The Lord's dear children may view the monster death and smile. I think of verse 3 of hymn number 193 in the hymnal upon which I cut my teeth which says, "I view the monster death and smile, for he has lost his sting, though Satan rages all the while I still the triumph sing. My Saviour holds me in His arms and will not let me go; I'm so delighted by His charms, no other good I know"! Death is indeed a monster, but we view him with a smile knowing that he has no power over us. Death has lost its sting because of the atoning work of Christ in paying for our sins by His death. So now the believer in Christ may view death as a friend rather than a foe. Death has no sting for us because we know that when we close our eyes in death on earth, we shall open them at the same moment to view our dear Saviour (II Corinthians 5:8). Death has no sting for us because we know that at the last day Christ will raise up our dust and fashion it into a glorious body like His Own (Philippians 3:21). Christian, view the monster death and smile!