About Me

Mendenhall, Mississippi, United States
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. 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 10, 2014

The Dying Thief

 (Article for publication week of 8-14- AD 2014)
 
"And he said unto Jesus, 'Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom" (Luke 23:42).
Here we have another notable example of saving faith found in the conversion of the Dying Thief. This is the only account we have in the scriptures of one converted in the final hour. Dear old Samuel Medley commented on this text, "the scriptures give us one instance of a malefactor converted at the eleventh hour that none may despair, and only one that none may presume."
Reading the other gospel accounts, we know that there were two thieves crucified with our Lord. The prophet Isaiah had prophesied, "he made his grave with the wicked" (Isaiah 53:9) , and "he was numbered with the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12). We also ascertain from the other gospels that both these thieves railed on our Lord, initially. But, Luke includes this glorious testimony that one of the thieves was changed from nature to grace in his final hour. There are indeed none so sinful that Christ cannot save.
The conversion of the Dying Thief proves that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Alone. If the Dying Thief would be saved, it would have to be by sovereign grace alone. It was too late for the poor wretch to amend his ways or attempt moral reform. It was too late to learn the catechism. It was too late for the man to be baptised. It was too late for this despicable sinner to "do penance" (so-called). If salvation were in any way depending  upon the dying thief's works or merits or efforts, he must be damned forever. But glory be to God, He justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5)!
The Dying Thief knew two things which are indispensable for salvation: he knew he was a sinner, and He knew that Christ was able to save. Note well this man was in no way trying to justify himself. He acknowledged that he was being punished justly (Luke 23:41). He also perceived that Christ was sinless and impeccable ("this Man hath done nothing amiss"). He also acknowledged the Lordship of Christ ("Lord remember me"). All these things are evidences that the man was truly changed by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.
Now, let us see how he expressed his faith in Christ. He simply pleaded, "Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." I want you to notice that there are no two conversions the same as far as what sinners said, or how they prayed. You don't have to try to put words into people's mouths when they are truly converted. Indeed, if you have to try to coach or coax people into making a profession of faith, they are not saved. (And preachers who try to do that show that they don't understand the gospel themselves, and probably are not truly converted.)
Poor sinner, salvation is not in your prayer, but it is in the Dear Saviour. Though you feel all your attempts at praying to be but chattering words, if in the sincerity of your heart you are crying out to the Saviour, "remember me", you may rest assured you will be with Christ in Paradise. As William Cowper expressed it in poetry, "The dying thief rejoiced to see that Fountain in his day. And there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away." Poor sinner, plunge now by faith into that fountain opened for sin and uncleanness and be washed as white as snow today.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

This Man Was Justified

(Article for publication week of 8-7- AD 2014)

 
"And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, 'God be merciful to me a sinner'. I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 18:13-14).
Here we have another notable example of saving faith. You will remember that we wrote several articles on the principle acts of faith (receiving Christ, coming to Christ, feeding on Christ, resting in Christ, and looking to Christ). Now we are considering some notable accounts of saving faith. The first one we considered was the woman in Luke 7:36-52. Now we come to the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.
The first thing we notice about this parable is that we find faith in an unlikely character, a publican, that is a tax collector, generally a very scurvy lot. The publicans were the Roman Empire's equivalent of the IRS. (Christians are obliged to pay tribute to whom it is due, and often to those to whom it is not due because they bear the sword, that is force of arms, as we read in Romans 13, but we do not defend the collectors of unjust taxes and we continue to lawfully petition for redress of these grievances.) Our Lord takes a repentant publican as an example of a saved sinner. Faith is often found in very surprising characters. Be sure if a wretched tax collector can find mercy with the Lord, there is no sinner too sinful for Him to save.
Secondly, this is a good place to point out that justification was the same under the Old Testament as under the New Testament. Our parable takes place under the Old Dispensation as two sinners go up to the temple to pray. God has never had but one way of saving sinners, and that is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ Alone (see also Hebrews 11 and Romans 4).
Thirdly, we note well that saving faith is always accompanied by a humble spirit and a broken heart. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:17). The proud Pharisee boasted of his self righteousness (Luke 18: 11-12), but the poor publican would not even so much as look to heaven, but only smote upon his breast and cried to God for mercy. He knew he was a great sinner, but he prayed to the great Saviour Who delighteth in mercy (Micah 7:18), and is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4). Dear reader, are you like the Pharisee, or like the publican? Be honest now; you can't fool the Lord.
Finally, I tell you again that there is no prescribed prayer for a sinner to pray to get saved. This is one of the main reasons we are doing this short series on notable examples of saving faith. I want you to see that as we read the scriptures we find no two sinners who said the same thing, or did the same thing. All conversions have in common repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but never suppose that you can be saved by repeating a prayer after the preacher, Sunday School teacher, or church worker. Preacher, if you have to coach your supposed converts that is all they will ever be is your converts, but they are not the Lord's.
Poor seeking sinner, if you don't know how to pray, just cry to God for mercy and it may be found in Him Who delights in mercy, and is rich in mercy.