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 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!

No comments: