About the Author

Thomas Ray Floyd was born in 1953 in Simpson County, Mississippi, the son of Roy Thomas Floyd and Lina Sue Shows Floyd. Thomas Ray's mother was a member of a Primitive Baptist church, and he cut his teeth on the doctrines of distinguishing grace.

When he was a small boy, his father was converted to Christ and became a member of a Missionary Baptist Church. Thomas Ray joined the church of his father when he was 13 years old, and thought of himself as a Christian. The doctrines of grace that he had heard as a child continued to be precious to him and when he became an adult, he joined a Primitive Baptist Church. When he was 27, Thomas Ray made his first effort to preach the gospel in public and was ordained to the full functions of the ministry in 1985. In 1986 he was convinced under the preaching of Rolfe Barnard (by tapes from Mt. Olive Tape Library), the written sermons of Spurgeon, and the ministry of Elder Zack Guess that he had been a false professor and cried out in agony of soul to the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy and truly save him. And He did! Floyd then began to preach the gospel as he had been taught of the Lord.

Floyd has pastored churches in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee and until recently was pastor of a church plant known as "Particular Baptist Fellowship." He and his wife Brenda presently attend Zion Baptist Church at Polkville, Mississippi, pastored by Elder Glen Hopkins. The pulpit ministry of Zion Baptist Church can be heard at Sermonaudio.com.

Sunday, September 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.