The Highway to Heaven

By

Shelby G. Floyd

road

One of the favorite figures of speech applied to the church is that of a way, a path, and a road that leads from one place to another.

Do All Religious Roads Lead to Heaven?

Christianity is the definite way over which the redeemed pass from earth to heaven. In a day when highways and roads are so familiar, it is easy for some people to get the idea that there are many ways for one to reach heaven. It is a popular doctrine that we are all going to heaven in different ways. While this is popular, is it the truth?

The Highway of Holiness

 About 700 years before Christ made his advent into the world, the prophet Isaiah, looking through the tele­scope of prophecy, pointed out the way over which every child of God must pass in entering the city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God:

A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray (Isaiah 35: 8 NKJV).

The prophecy of Isaiah found its consummation in Jesus Christ. 

Jesus Is the Only Way

OIP

Jesus, in his sermons during his earthly ministry pointed the people to the only true and living way. He said that he was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no man could come unto the Father ex­cept by him (John 14:4, 6).          

Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby--Pulpit 2017

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

THE PARADISE OF GOD

By

Shelby G. Floyd

2--Paradise

Good morning. It is a beautiful day. We are glad that spring has finally sprung! It is good to see your smiling faces and we have a good number present today. We appreciate you coming out to worship our God on the Lord’s day. How many have been out playing golf already? I see several hands. That is a good thing to do, especially when the weather is really nice.

When my wife passed away recently somebody said that she had gone to paradise. That word paradise stuck in my mind, so I started thinking about paradise and it has been very therapeutic for me to work on this sermon that I am presenting today. And the title of it is The Paradise of God. The word paradise is a Persian word spelled pardes. The Greek word for paradise is paradeisos. Paradise refers to a beautiful garden, a park, orchard, and a pleasure ground. And that word paradise is used in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

I searched the Internet for the best icon that I could find that might represent what paradise might look like and I think the best place that I produced would be the Masters Golf Tournament course down in Augusta, Georgia. It is so beautiful and the only thing it would lack to be paradise as I picture it in the Bible would be some fruit trees and fruit bushes for food. Therefore a photo of the Masters Golf course is the first picture you see today.

This introduces our subject today, The Paradise of God. The word paradise occurs three times in the New Testament, and we are going to look at each one of those and make application to what the Bible says about the departed spirits of those who are the children of God. Paradise is found in Luke 23:43, 2nd Corinthians 12:4, and Revelation 2:7. And we will examine each one of those and make the proper application.

One time Jesus encountered a group of Jewish people called Sadducees and they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe in spirits. When he confronted them he said do you not remember the episode with Moses that took place at the burning bush? When Moses saw the burning bush that was not consumed, he stepped aside to take a closer look at it. And God said take your shoes off for the ground you stand on is holy ground. God said that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus then said that God is the God of the living not the dead. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead a long time as to their earthly body, but they were still alive in another place (Exodus 3:6; Luke 20:38). Continue reading “THE PARADISE OF GOD”

FAITH IS THE VICTORY

By

Shelby G. Floyd

spiritual-victory-overcoming

We thank God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ: 

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4-5). 

The terms “victory” and “overcomes” in this text translate from the Greek word “nike.”  Nike means to be victorious, prevail, conqueror, overcome and win. God wants us to be victorious, not a victim. How do we win?

Victory Through the New Birth

The text above teaches that everyone born of God overcomes the world. So unless we are born again we will not overcome the world. We have the victory through the new birth into God’s family:16098-handsraised-cross-gettyimages-1182778653-ipop Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves his child as well” (1 John 5:1). The people to whom the apostle Peter wrote his first letter had purified their souls in obeying the truth,  having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23). Jesus said we cannot enter the kingdom of God unless we are born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:3-5). The new birth demands water baptism for the forgiveness of sins. The salvation of Noah and seven others by water was the type and sinners are saved today by the antitype which is water baptism for forgiveness of sin:

“who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:20-21 NKJV).

Victory Through Love

Through our love for God and God’s children we have the victory (1 John 5:1).  Jesus declared that all men would know that we are his disciples when we love as he has loved us: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34 ESV).

Victory Through Obedience

Genuine love is always joined with obedience, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments” (1 John 5:2 ESV). Obedience to God’s word is not a burden when we love God. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome(1 John 5:3). Human traditions and man-made rules are heavy loads to carry, but the yoke of Christ is light (Matthew 23:4; 11:30).

Victory Over The World

 

Thorns

We have the ultimate victory over death and the world through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5). “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (Revelation 21:7). Nike—We WIN!

Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby 5-24-2020

 

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

MINISTRY

By

Shelby G. Floyd

acts6-2

The New Testament has much to say about dif­ferent ministries.

TAKE MINISTRY SERIOUSLY                                                                                                            

Ministry should be taken seriously. One needs to prepare for any ministry. Christ was thirty years old when he began his ministry (Luke 3:23).

THE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY   

acts-1-17 The apostles took their ministry seriously with the exception of Judas. Peter addressed a group of about 120, and said,

“Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus—he was one of our number and shared in this ministry” (Acts 1:17 NIV).

Then they appointed two men to be considered for the appointment to the ministry of the apostles. They prayed to God the “heart knower” to indicate which of these two men he had chosen to fulfill the vacated ministry of Judas:

Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs. Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:24-26 NIV).

NEW TESTAMENT MINISTRIES

A member of the church told me one time that he did not like the term “ministry!” The term “ministry” is a biblical word that identifies different work and responsibilities.Ministry 1

The Ministry of the Word                                                              Instead of serving tables, the apostles thought it more important for them to continue steadfastly in prayer and “the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:2, 4)

The Ministry to the Saints

Paul in his first letter to the church at Corinth reminded the members of the good work ministry of the house of Stephanas:  “I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints—” (1 Corinthians 16:15).

The Ministry of Reconciliation

2-corinthians-5-18The apostles of Jesus revealed God’s scheme of redemption from sin. Because sin separated sinful humanity from God the gospel ministry of reconciliation was given to the apostles and preachers “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

The Word of Reconciliation

The instrument used in “the ministry of reconciliation” was the word of God and it is called “the word of reconciliation.” “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Fulfill Your Ministry1081337-2tim45

The evangelist is charged to carry out the great commission is to prove his ministry: “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).

Discharge the Duties of Ministry

Each Christian is to discharge the duties of his ministry: “or ministry, let us use it in our ministering” (Romans 12:7). Therefore, “ministry” is biblical and a good word and a good work.

MINISTERING TO THE FAMILY 

One of the ministries of all congregations should be to the family ministry. The family is the backbone of the congregation and the nation. Satan is assaulting the fam­ily relentlessly. Therefore, the church and the members of the family must do everything possible to bring families back to God. This involves marriages that are built upon love to God and one another. Ministering to our family is something every member of the church can be involved. We are all members of a family. This includes God’s family—the church:

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Eph. 3:14-15 NKJV).

Let every member of God’s spiritual family find a ministry and serve God and one another. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NKJV).  The ministry of Christ is our example.

Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby 5-24-2020

 

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

HAS SOMEONE POISIONED YOUR MINDS?

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Acts-14-2

Paul and Barnabas entered the Jewish syna­gogue at Iconium and so spoke that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and “poisoned their minds against the breth­ren” (Acts 14:1-2). Continue reading “HAS SOMEONE POISIONED YOUR MINDS?”

SING A NEW SONG

By

Shelby G. Floyd

1--Sing New

What a beautiful day for all of us to come out to worship God, to sing these beautiful hymns, and to study God’s eternal word. Thank you for coming and we hope that you will enjoy and profit from our study today. I am speaking to you on the topic: “Sing a New Song!” From the 1930s to the present day I have always attended worship. My mom and dad made sure that we were there every time the doors were open, and I have been singing songs written long ago and songs that are new to us today. We like some new songs and old songs. The old songs ties us to the church in the past and the new songs anchor us in the church of the 21st century.

David said in Psalms 40:3, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.” So even David in the long ago enjoyed singing a new song that God had put in his heart and in his mouth! All of us here at Heartland enjoy good congregational singing. We sing some of the old songs and we sing some of the new songs. And we need to sing some new songs because our experiences today are not the experiences that our parents and grandparents had many years ago. It requires patience and practice to sing a new song. Once we learn the lyrics and the melody in our minds, the song is not that difficult to sing, and you did a great job in singing all these hymns today. Continue reading “SING A NEW SONG”

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

By

Shelby G. Floyd

It Is Well With My Soul

Dear family, and brothers and sisters in Christ, I feel your love and your strength this morning. It means a lot and we thank God for the wonderful life that Sarah lived. She said even recently, “I’m not afraid to die!” I noticed that we put the little plaque up here and that was one of the last things she bought: “I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I do know who holds tomorrow.”

I wanted to speak to you today about the song that we just sang: “It is well with my soul.” All of us face our last appointment on earth. The Bible says, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,  so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:27-28, NKJV). I would to God that all of us as we face that day could say “It is well with my soul.” But I could also turn that into a question: “Is it well with my soul?” We all need to ask, is it well with my soul?

There are several different ideas about “the assurance of salvation!” Some people say, “once youLost or Saved are saved you always are saved, no matter what you do, you will be saved and go to heaven. But then on the other hand a lot of people do not know from one day to the next, if they were to die if they would go to heaven. Now it seems to me both of those views are extreme. I would not want to live not knowing and not having any assurance from one day to the next, if the Lord would take me that I could go to heaven! Most of us want some confidence and some assurance that heaven would be our eternal home were we to die.

1-john-5-13

Now I want us to home in on one verse that was read from our text in first John five and verse 13. Open your Bibles to that verse or read it on the screen. John the apostle is writing this verse and he lived probably longer than any of the apostles, probably to the end of the 1st century. And he says,

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13).

He affirms that you can know that you have eternal life! How can we know John? I am writing these things to you so you can know that you have eternal life. Therefore all we must do is to read what John wrote and find out if we are doing and living and serving God in the way that he wrote. Then we can say, “I know I have eternal life.” Are you ready then? Continue reading “IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL”

THE SIN OF NEUTRALITY NO. II

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Good morning on this beautiful sunshiny Sunday! We have about 30 of our young people away at Gatlinburg. They will be on their way home soon so please pray that they will have a safe journey. We still have a good number for our worship today. Last week Mitch used peanut butter as an illustration, and I took one of his jars of peanut butter to restore my stash in the office. But he doesn’t hold that against me because he came in this morning and bought me this gift of the full armor of God soldier for my office. He got one for himself and one for me. I thank him and we appreciate each other, and we love each other and support each other.

THE SIN OF NEUTRALITY

Three weeks ago I spoke to you about Deborah and Barack. Let me briefly summarize that story. The  story of Deborah and Barak in the book of Judges was about 1250 years before Christ. During this period  the children of Israel were going through a cycle they would repeat several times in Judges. Israel would have peace and prosperity for 20, 30 or 40 years. Then they would get puffed up with pride and disobey God. Then God would punish them by one of the Canaanite nations who would overpower them and basically make their life miserable. They would suffer until it was unbearable and then they would cry out for God to help them. He then would raise up a judge that would deliver them and again they would prosper. Continue reading “THE SIN OF NEUTRALITY NO. II”

ARISE AND BE BAPTIZED

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By

Shelby G. Floyd

There are only three aspects of baptism:

The Subject of Baptism

All accountable people are subjects to be baptized. There is not one who is good. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The Action of Bap­tism

The proper action of baptism (Greek, baptidzo) is by immersion, dipping, submerging, or plunging the accountable person in water. The Greek verb “bapto” (See Luke 16:24) is translated “dip.” The rich man who was lost wanted Lazarus to “dip” his finger in water and cool his tongue!

The Purpose of Baptism

“For the forgiveness of sin” is the purpose for which an accountable person is to be baptized. This article will develop this third aspect of baptism. In brief, sinners need to be baptized to be saved from past sins and to be inducted into Christ where all spiritual blessing are to be found.

When Paul gave an account of his own baptism, he re­lated that the preacher Ananias said, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16 ESV). If Paul was saved before his baptism, then he was saved while still in his sins. And if Paul were saved by his faith only, then he had no sins to wash away. Also it would have been foolish for the preacher Ananias to tell him to rise and wash away his sins! But Jesus said baptism was to be saved from sin:

“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned (Mk. 16:15-16 ESV).

Paul was not saved before his baptism. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul of Tarsus (Paul) on the road to Damascus. Saul’s purpose for going there was to persecute and imprison the Christians in that city (Acts 9:1-6). Ananias, the preacher went to the house where Saul (Paul) was staying. He stated that he would receive the Holy Spirit, and immediately he received his sight. Then Ananias taught him about baptism, “and he arose and was baptized” (Acts 9:18 NKJV). And we also learn from Paul’s own account of his conversion, that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision (Acts 26:19).

Baptism-Acts-22-16-e1552635517336

Later in Paul’s career as an apostle to the Gentiles, he plainly taught baptism to those at Rome:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin (Romans 6:1-6 NKJV).

Paul could relate to his own teaching on baptism. Because in water baptism he died to sin, he buried the dead sinner, and resurrected the new person in Christ. Paul and every baptized believer should be dedicated to living the new life in Christ (Romans 6:5-14).

Paul was a strict, zealous persecutor of the church and he thought he was doing the right thing. But he was lost without Christ. But when he did what Christ commanded him to do by the preaching of the gos­pel, he was saved like every­one else then and like all are today.

Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

shelby-5-24-2020-1                                                                            

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142




THE WASHING OF REGENERATION AND RENEWAL

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Preach The Word 2

Is salvation from sin all God’s part? Do sinful people have a part in their salvation? Or is salvation from sin something that both God and sinful mankind have a part? Let us seek the biblical answer by searching the living oracles together.

SINFUL PEOPLE NEED SALVATION

First we notice why salvation is needed by humans.  In verse three Paul describes the way people lived without God:  “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3 NKJV). That is not a pretty picture and deep down most people would not like to live like that. Sin is universal, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Therefore, every person is accountable for their attitude and actions and need salvation from sin.

HOW GOD SAVES SINFUL PEOPLE

Near the close of Paul’s brief letter to the young preacher Titus, he penned these words:

4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3: 4-7 NKJV).

Take note that we sinful people could not be saved without the love, kindness, mercy, and grace of God making it possible. “According to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). The big part of being saved is God’s part! Nevertheless, man has a part in his salvation from sin.  The main words in our text is “He saved us.” (Titus 3:5). God does the saving, not us. But God saved us “through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

Most biblical scholars agree that “the washing of regeneration” and “renewing of the Holy Spirit” refers to water baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit. For instance, on Pentecost when Peter preaching the first recorded sermon, his audience asked what they should do to escape the consequences of their sins. The plain answer was: “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

GOD’S LOVE IS THE BASIS OF SALVATION

Lost sinful man was without hope until the kindness, love, mercy, and grace of God appeared to man in the person of Jesus Christ. If man is to be saved or pardoned from his sins, God must save him. When the Christ was born it was stated that his name would be JESUS—Savior, “for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). God’s part in the salvation of man is the large part: “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…” (Titus 3:4-5). While no work of man’s righteousness can be the basis of salvation, this does not mean that man has no part in his salvation.

Someone made the ridiculous statement that salvation is “by grace alone, by faith alone, to God alone be the glory!” If salvation is by any one of these alone, it excludes the others. Salvation “by faith alone,” as taught by the followers of John Calvin is “the doctrine of devils.” According to James the devils have “faith only” and are lost: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19-20). Furthermore, James teaches just the opposite of the “faith only” followers of Calvin. After illustrating that Abraham, the father of the faithful was justified by his works growing out of his faith when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar, he declared, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24). Salvation from sin is “not by faith only.” I prefer James over Calvin and demons! 

THE WASHING OF REGENERATION

But our friends of the “faith only” persuasion see everything through the prism of Calvinism. Usually when they quote Titus they stop with the words “he saved us,” and then suppress the last part of the sentence: “…but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

Our discussion is not about whether God saves us—he clearly does. The question is how does God save us? What is the modus operandi—the mode of operation. Paul clearly states that “He (God our Savior) saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5).                                  

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby 5-24-2020

 

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142