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, September 28, 2014

Surprising Faith

(Article for publication week of 10-2- AD 2014)
 
"When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, 'Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel' " (Matthew 8:11) (The reader is encouraged to read the whole lesson in Matthew 8:5-13 and the parallel passage found in Luke 7:1-10.)
Though some of the Lord's people are of "little faith" (Matthew 8:26), and sometimes plagued by doubts and fears (Mark 9:24), they are not like the unsaved who are of "no faith" (II Thessalonians 3:2). Faith in Christ is saving, though it be little and mixed with doubts and fears, for we are saved not by the greatness of our faith, but by the greatness of the Dear Saviour. Yet, to be of "great faith" is better. To be of great faith is to be delivered from doubts and fears, and to be increased in faith to a full assurance in grace. All of us who believe in Christ ought to be praying to the Lord to "increase our faith" (Luke 17:5).
Now our Lord said of the Roman centurion that he was of great faith. In fact our Lord said He had not found such great faith in Israel (in the days of His flesh). So the first thing I want to point out is that this faith was found in a surprising place. Great faith was found in a gentile, not in an Israelite. God often surprises us by His sovereign grace. Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8) and He is free to grant it to whomsoever He is pleased. None of us have believed in Christ because we were smarter than another sinner. In fact there are many unbelievers who are smarter than we (in intellect and intelligence). But we were not saved by "amazing intelligence", but by "amazing grace"! The only reason a sinner ever believes in Christ is because God regenerates that sinner and grants him repentance and faith. God passed by many Israelites and granted faith to this old gentile dog. And it pleased the Lord to work His grace effectually in the centurion so that he was one of great faith. This great faith was in a surprising character.
The granting of faith to the gentiles ought to be of special delight to my readers, for most of us are gentiles. Practically everybody in Simpson County is a gentile. Most of us are descended from Africans and Europeans, that is gentiles. Have you ever stopped to think that as far as we know all of our ancestors in Europe and Africa before the first century lived and died without the gospel and are now in hell. (I say "as far as we know", for only God knows infallibly.) For four thousand years the world was by and large destitute of the Truth except for God's elect in Israel. But then it pleased God to send His Son into the world and commission His Church to take the gospel to the whole world and so the gospel finally came to our ancestors in Europe and Africa and a few of them believed and were saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. How thankful we are that though the gospel was to "the Jew first", it is also to us gentile dogs. We gentiles who have been saved like the centurion feel just as he did that we are not worthy for the Lord Jesus Christ to come into our house. But thank the Lord for His surprising grace that moved Him so to do!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Great Faith

(Article for publication week of 9-25- AD 2014)

 
 "When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, 'Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel' " (Mathew 8:10). Readers are invited and encouraged to get your Bible and read the whole lesson from Matthew  8:5- Matthew 8:13 for we plan several articles from this passage.)
We learn from this passage that God's people may attain unto "great faith." We showed you in the two previous articles that not a few of the Lord's saints are of "little faith" (Matthew 8:26), and sometimes have their faith mixed with unbelief (Mark 9:24), yet they are not as the unregenerate who "have not faith" (II Thessalonians 3:2).
In the lesson at hand a Roman centurion comes to the Lord Jesus Christ and begs him to heal his slave who was at home sick. When the Lord readily agreed, the centurion replied , "I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only and my servant shall be healed"! And the lesson happily concludes in the thirteenth verse as the Lord Jesus Christ pronounced the man's slave healed and so he was.
Now we note first of all the humble spirit in the Roman centurion. He did not feel worthy that the Lord Jesus Christ should grace his home with His holy Presence. I cannot but contrast this man's spirit with that of the average religionist of our day. Now, you are not that surprised by the pride of worldly people (although we should still despise it), but the cockiness of today's church members is disgusting, and I fear reveals unregenerate hearts. Most professors of religion today believe they are equal to any man, including the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-Man. But not so with this one of "great faith." He knew his place and was willing to remain in his place. Dear reader, if you are not of an humble spirit, you have no reason to suppose that you are of great faith, and it is to be feared that you are among those of "no faith." The grace of God humbles a man so that he does not feel himself worthy of any of the Lord's mercies. The grace of God humbles a man that he does not feel himself worthy to be among the saints of God. Dear reader, have you ever like the centurion of Great Faith cried out, "Lord I am not worthy"? Read the lesson again and see the humble spirit of this one that our Lord declared to be of "great faith."
Secondly, we note that the Roman centurion had absolute confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. As he himself was a man of authority having soldiers and slaves under his authority, he recognised a like authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, but infinitely superior to his own. He perceived that the Lord Jesus Christ had authority over himself and his slave and the disease which disabled him. Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is verily God, has authority over every germ and virus in the world. He has authority over the wind and the waves. He directs all atomic activity so there is not a misplaced atom in the universe, nor any undirected atomic activity. The centurion said, "Lord, you don't have to actually go where my sick slave is; all you have to do is say the word, and he will instantly be healed." And so he was at the Lord's word.
Here is "great faith" on display. May the Lord increase "little faith, and dispel unbelief in us that we may attain unto "great faith. And may He be gracious to the lost and gift them with faith.