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 31, 2014

A Quiet Conversion

(Article for publication week of September 4, AD 2014)
 
"And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things spoken of Paul" (Acts 16:14).
Not every conversion is as dramatic as that of Saul of Tarsus as we wrote about last week. Some of the Lord's people are converted as Lydia was in a very quiet manner. Occasionally the Lord converts children who are raised in Christian homes under strict parents and therefore have been restrained from open and gross sins. They may not be able to relate the profound experience of some others, but they are still saved if they truly repent of their sins, trust in Christ Alone for salvation, and pursue holiness.  We write and preach much on experimental salvation, and cry out against false profession and "easy believism" (and the Lord being our Helper we shall continue so to do), but let none suppose that we mean to belittle true faith wherever it is found. We want none to misunderstand us and to lose assurance because they cannot relate some dramatic experience of their conversion. I repeat, if you truly repent of your sins; if you are trusting in Christ Alone for salvation; if you are pursuing holiness; then you may be assured that you are truly saved. But the fact remains that it is better for us to preach in such a way as to set a true saint to searching than to put a false convert at ease. May the Lord deliver us from both presumption and despair.
The first thing we notice about the conversion of Lydia was that the Lord opened her heart. Now, as I say the scriptures describe this dear saint's conversion in a somewhat quiet way, yet this conversion was still a powerful thing as every conversion is. Dear reader, you cannot open your own heart. Preacher, you cannot open the hearts of any of your hearers. No human power can open the heart of a poor lost sinner. The human heart is bolted by original sin and human depravity. Only the effectual working of God's mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead can open a sinner's heart (Ephesians 1:19-20). Unless the Lord opens your heart dear reader you will continue in unbelief and go on to hell when you die. Those of us who are believers in Christ can claim no good thing in ourselves as to why we believe and others do not. We are believers in Christ for one reason and one reason alone, the Lord opened our hearts.
Lydia's heart being opened by the direct agency of the Holy Spirit, she attended to the gospel that Paul preached. Here is the evidence of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, that one attends to the preaching of the gospel. A child of God loves the gospel of God's sovereign grace. It is food for his hungry soul. He cannot live without it. The gospel is good news to the poor sinner who sees that he is a spiritual bankrupt, for the gospel tells him that the price has been paid in Full by the Eternal Son of God. Lydia was evidently saved for she believed the gospel and the next verse says she submitted to the ordinance of baptism and openly declared herself a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord open many hearts.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Prototypical Conversion

(Article for publication week of 8-28- AD 2014)
 
"And he trembling and astonished said, 'Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?'...." (Acts 9:6).
The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is prototypical of every conversion (I Timothy 1:16). There are some things about the way the way the Apostle Paul (the name by which Saul of Tarsus was known after his conversion) was converted that are a pattern , or model of every conversion. The details and exact experience may differ, but the fundamental change is essentially the same.
First, I will have you note well, that the Lord sought out this old sinner. Saul of Tarsus was not seeking the Lord, but rather he was intent on wiping out Christianity. He hated Christ and His people and was going about to kill the Lord's people. On the day of his conversion, he was headed to Damascus with authority to bind and bring to Jerusalem any of the Lord's disciples that he might find. So it is with each of us without the efficacious grace of God. Not that every lost sinner is actively trying to persecute Christians, but no man has ever sought the Lord until he was first sought of the Lord. In Romans 3:11, the inspired apostle quotes from Psalm 14 and 53, "there is none that seeketh after God." Man is totally depraved and will not seek after God in his natural state. When a poor sinner begins to seek after God, it is because he is being effectually called by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord gave us the blessed promise that all who seek shall surely find (Matthew 7:8), and we are commanded and invited to seek the Lord while he may be found (Isaiah 55:6), but the fact remains that none will seek the Lord in his natural state, and when one begins to seek the Lord, he is being called irresistibly by the Holy Spirit. The scriptures plainly declare this solemn and glorious truth, and the conversion of the Apostle Paul (known as Saul of Tarsus before his conversion) is a clear example of it.
Secondly, we see from the conversion of Saul that there was a saving change in the man. In I Timothy 1:12-16 the Apostle relates what he was like before conversion, and what he was like after conversion. Every sinner saved by grace has a "before" and an "after." Dear reader, do you have a "before" and an "after"? Can you testify of the saving grace of God in your own life experimentally? If not, I fear you are a stranger to the saving work of Christ.
Thirdly, we see from the conversion of Paul that his faith in Christ included absolute surrender to His Lordship. ("Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?") Saving faith is much more than just "accepting Jesus." In fact, you never find that terminology in scripture. Most of you would not be opposed to Christ keeping you out of hell, but you are bound and determined to live your life like you want. Thus you show that you are not saved, you have not been effectually called, and you are not a true believer in Christ. The true believer in Christ has surrendered all to the Lordship of Christ. He has become a devoted (but very imperfect) slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear reader you make an eternally fatal mistake if you suppose that Christ will be your Saviour without being your Lord to rule over you.
Now, none of this is to suggest that every Christian has had as dramatic experience as the Apostle Paul. Indeed, this is one of the reasons we are writing this series on notable examples of saving faith to show that no two converts did or said exactly the same thing. But, every believer has been effectually called by grace and has been truly changed and brought to submission to Christ. Dear reader, have I described you?