Shelby G. Floyd
One thing we have to be really thankful for is the Heartland church family. We are a family. And the church family is made up of a lot of wonderful families. And we are thankful for each family here at Heartland. It is wonderful when we come together each Sunday and we see the love that we have for each other and the smiles on everyone’s face. Everyone expresses how glad they are to see each other, to worship together and to serve the Lord.
We are a family and I was wondering how many of you and your children watched the TV show Family Ties. Many of you have enjoyed that show. It brings many good memories when we recall watching a happy family. The church here is a happy family. And this reminds me of what Paul said to the church at Ephesus:
“For this reason I bow my knees unto the Father for whom the whole family in heaven and earth derives its name” (Ephesians 3: 14-15).
The more I study those verses the more I realize that Paul is talking about the brothers and sisters in Christ both up in heaven and down here on the earth. Paul is talking about our brothers and sisters who have died and have gone on into the next world. They are members of God’s family and those of us still here on the earth in Christ are also members of God’s family. So God’s spiritual family is the archetype of all families both earthly and spiritual. Therefore Paul bowed his knees unto the Father for whom the whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. The church derives its family name from the Father and his blessed son Jesus Christ.
CHRIST’S EARTHLY FAMILY WAS SKEPTICAL OF HIM
Please open your Bible to Mark the third chapter and let us follow along together as we make some observations about the earthly family of Jesus Christ. Let us browse through this chapter and make some observations until we come near the end of the chapter. In the first paragraph Jesus went into the synagogue and healed the man who had a withered hand. He healed him on the Sabbath day. He was condemned by his critics because he had broken the traditions of the Jews in healing a man on the Sabbath day.
Next we observe that when he left the synagogue great crowds followed him. The common people really loved to hear Jesus preach and teach and they followed him because of the good things that he was doing to help people.
Next you will observe about halfway through that chapter that Jesus appointed twelve apostles. He called them apostles because he sent them out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and later under the great commission he would send them out into the entire world. One way to remember the meaning of the word apostle is to pull a penny out of your pocket and remember that it means “one cent”—one sent.
Then Jesus entered a house and so many people were there that he could not even pause to eat a meal. When his earthly family heard this report, they went to do something about it:
“When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, he is out of his mind” (Mark 3:21).
Did you know that during the earthly ministry of Christ his own family did not believe in him as being the Messiah? Many times the same type of thing may happen to some of you. You become a Christian and you are faithful to worship and serve God, but your family might turn against you. The reason that this might take place is because when you become a Christian sometimes you no longer have much in common with those who are not Christians. Jesus grew up in this family and he had a stepfather and a mother along with brothers and sisters. His family thought he was out of his mind because of what he was doing. Their idea was that they were going to take charge of him and bring him back into the real world.
In the next chain of events Jesus healed the man that was possessed of an evil spirit. And his critics were watching. They attributed this miracle to the power of Beelzebub, the Prince of demons. The word Beelzebub means the god of filth. So they attributed the good work of Jesus to the power of the god of filth. Jesus then answered their argument so completely that they were silenced and he moved on in the work that he was doing.
It is at this point that we find Jesus again teaching the word of God with a big crowd all around him. Again his family approaches the place where he is and they sent word to him that they wanted to talk to him:
“Then Jesus mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you’” (Mark 3: 31-32).
Then Jesus asked the question, “Who are my mother and my brothers” (Mark 3: 33)? That is a good question that we want to contemplate today. The point we now wish to make is that during his personal ministry the earthly family of Jesus did not believe in him as the Messiah.
Jesus went back to his hometown. We also love to go back to our hometown—to our roots. Therefore he went back to his hometown accompanied by his disciples. Let us notice another statement from the gospel according to Mark:
Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.
4 But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.
The hometown people were amazed that Jesus showed such wisdom and power. They couldn’t believe that Mary’s son, who was the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon, had achieved such a standing as he was being given in his hometown. The Roman Church teaches that Mary did not have any children after the birth of Christ. But that is patently false, because the text says that Mary had four other sons and at least two daughters. So there were at least seven children in that family. Notice that his family took offense at him. His own brothers and sisters were offended at him. Just as the people of Nazareth were amazed at Jesus, so he was amazed at his own family because of their lack of faith. And as a result he could do only a few miracles in his hometown. Sometimes our biggest critics are those in our own family. And that was the case with Jesus Christ.
THE ACCOUNT OF JOHN THE APOSTLE
Now let us turn to John the seventh chapter and we will notice another statement concerning the lack of faith on the part of the earthly family of Jesus. John wrote his account of the life of Christ about twenty five years after the accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke. He looked at the life of Christ through a different perspective than did the other evangelists:
After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. 2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. 3 Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret [a]when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him.
His brothers were telling him that if he wanted to be a big public speaker that he should go back up to Judea, because a public figure does not act in secret. If a man wants to go into politics and become elected, he doesn’t go off someplace and hide. He goes out and starts holding babies, shaking hands, going on television and making speeches. So basically they are criticizing Jesus and encouraging him to go to the population centers and be in the limelight. They said all of this because the record states, “For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”
I have recounted to you a little bit about the earthly family of Jesus Christ and their lack of faith in him. Eventually, they would all believe in him and would be waiting at their post of duty for the beginning of the church as we read in Acts chapter 1.
THE FAMILY TREE OF SHELBY G. FLOYD
But now, like the apostle Paul who requested of the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 11:16), will you indulge me to boast a little bit about my earthly family tree? Allow me to recount the Shelby G. Floyd family tree?
A few years ago, a retired school teacher in our family, Katherine Floyd, from Harrison, Ohio, spent about ten years running around over the country searching the courthouses for various records to complete the Floyd Family Tree. I’m glad she did that because I would have no interest in completing such a project. When she finished the project she mailed a big book to us with the title, The Descendents of Colonel Matthew Floyd, Loyalist of South Carolina. I have gone through that book and from Colonel Matthew Floyd to my own grandchildren there are ten (now eleven) generations:
THE DESCENDANTS OF COLONEL MATTHEW FLOYD,
LOYALIST OF SOUTH CAROLINA FROM
1. MATTHEW FLOYD 1729-1787
2. ABRAHAM FLOYD 1755-1844
3. MATTHEW FLOYD 1778-1863
4. JAMES L. FLOYD 1825-1865
5. JEROME BONAPARTE FLOYD 1856-1925
6. ALVIN LESLIE FLOYD 1889-1967
7. HOMER ALVIN FLOYD 1911-1962
8. SHELBY G. FLOYD MAY 21, 1937-
9-1 CHERYL A. FLOYD/MCGREW 1960-
10-1 JACQUELINE P. MCGREW/FIGEROA 1988-
11-1 GRAYSON A. FIGUEROA 2014
11-2 JAMESON PAGE FIGUEROA 2017
10-2 GRANT A. MCGREW 1995-
9-2 TERESA G. FLOYD/HUTCHINGS/WHEELER 1963-
10-3 BRITTANEY N. HUTCHINGS/HARTZER 1981-
10-4 KURT J. HUTCHINGS 1984-
11-1 DELANEY G. HUTCHINGS 2011-
11-2 ELLIANA J. HUTCHINGS 2014
10-5 TRENT C. HUTCHINGS 1995-
9-3 DAMON A. FLOYD 1965-
10-6 EVAN B. FLOYD 1993-
10-7 TREVOR J. FLOYD 1996-
Colonel Matthew Floyd
Let me give you a little bit of history about Colonel Matthew Floyd, loyalist of South Carolina, who lived from 1729 until 1787. During the Revolutionary War he was loyal to the King of England—King George. He owned a big plantation down in South Carolina. When the Revolutionary War began, he was arrested down at St. Augustine Florida and had a price on his head. Later he had to flee to Nova Scotia and he lost all of his holdings in South Carolina.
But Abraham Floyd, the second generation of my family tree, was loyal to the thirteen colonies. If you saw the movie The Patriot, it took place in that area of South Carolina, where later the British were defeated at the Battle of Cowpens and then finally Lord Cornwallis surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown. And that was the end of the Revolutionary War. I am glad that my ancestor Abraham Floyd was loyal to the colonies.
In the third generation, Matthew Floyd was a Baptist preacher who preached near Nancy, Kentucky, close to the area where my mother grew up in Monticello, Kentucky. I do not agree with the doctrine that he preached, but God will judge him and all of us according to what we have done in the body (2 Corinthians 5:10).
James L. Floyd
For some time there was a break in the connection of the Floyd Family Tree, until it was discovered that James Floyd was the fourth generation in the family tree.
Jerome Bonaparte Floyd
With this discovery, we were connected to the fifth generation—my great-grandfather, Jerome Bonaparte Floyd, who lived from 1856 until 1925. His nickname was “Bony!” Some say that I look somewhat like him:
Alvin Leslie Floyd
My grandfather, Alvin Leslie Floyd, was the sixth generation in the Floyd family tree. I never did know him, he divorced my grandmother and went off to California for 20 years and nobody knew anything about what he was doing. Shortly after I was married, my grandfather showed up one day. They told me this was my grandfather, but he was like a total stranger to me, for we had never spent any time together either as a child or as an adult. My grandfather had been given to alcoholic drink along with the entire attendant evils associated with it. He changed his life in his latter years and for that I am glad. He re-married and lived his final years near Kings Mountain, Kentucky. I preached his funeral and he is buried near his home. I am thankful that he lived because my physical life came through him.
Homer Alvin Floyd
And that brings me to my father, Homer Alvin Floyd, the seventh generation in our family tree. My father was very intelligent and wanted to be a doctor, but he had to quit high school after his freshman year in order to help take care of the family, because my grandfather abandoned the family and was gone for 20 years to California.
Thanks to God and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, my father became a new link in the family genealogy for good. He did not follow in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather before him. He became a Christian because my uncle O. B. Perkins, veteran gospel preacher went to Liberty, Kentucky and preached the gospel. My father was a carpenter by trade and a very good one at that. I never heard him say a bad word in my whole life. If he hit his finger with a hammer, he would say “sugar” instead of the bad word. He was a good man and often I would observe him reading his Bible. He faithfully took his family to the church services all his life. And the preacher where I grew up told me that every time the church would take up money for an orphan home my dad would write out a check to help needy children. He never had a lot of this world’s goods but he had a good name and a good life and created wonderful memories that I shall treasure forever. My father died a relatively young man at the age of 51.
Shelby G. Floyd
That brings me to Shelby G. Floyd, the eighth generation in my family tree. I was born in 1937 and now I am 71 (now 81) years old. I have been preaching the word of God for 48 (now 58) years. Next year about this time my good wife and I will celebrate our 50th (now 59th) wedding anniversary. From the two of us over these past years we now have 17 people in our immediate family, including the children, the grandchildren and their mates. They are all listed in the family tree in the previous chart. There are seventeen of us now in our extended family as of 2008 (Now 20).
THE SPIRITUAL FAMILY TREE
But while the Floyd family tree is very important to me, what we are really interested in is the spiritual family tree of Jesus Christ. But if you have a good earthly family it can also be a part of God’s spiritual family. Good earthly families make good spiritual families. The better the earthly family the better the members will be when they enter the spiritual family—the church. Let us open our Bibles to Mark 3 and we will look at verses 31 through 35:
31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”
33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”
When the mother and brothers of Jesus arrived, they stood outside and sent someone inside to call him. A crowd was sitting around him and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers,” Jesus asked? Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
I remember one time someone asked a brother who he was in fellowship with spiritually? His answer was, “I am in fellowship with whoever walks in the light as Jesus is in the light” (1 John 1: 5-10). Therefore who is it that makes up the spiritual family of Christ? The answer is whoever does God’s will is a mother, brother and sister of Jesus Christ and a child of the heavenly Father.
On another occasion Jesus was teaching a big group of people who were standing around and the Bible declares,
Luke 11: 27-28
27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”
28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Now that is a good statement and I believe most of us would say the same thing about our mother. If we have a good mother we might say, “Blessed is my mother that brought me into this world and nursed me and got me started on the road of life.” But notice how Jesus replied to the woman who made that statement. Jesus was not putting her down, but he was simply saying that there is something more important than bringing a child into the world and nursing that child. Jesus said that what really is more important “Are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Our mothers and fathers brought us into this world and that is a wonderful gift. But a better gift is if our mothers and fathers taught us the word of God and brought us up in the way that we should go (Proverbs 22:6). So today if you have a good family you are really blessed. But if you are a member of a family that is being brought up learning and obeying the word of God you are blessed even more.
Now let us take a look at a statement that is found in the book of Matthew:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
A church family that does not build upon the solid rock foundation of God’s word will dwindle and die. Earthly families that do not grow that family by the cohesive power of the word of God will disintegrate and destroy itself. It happens all the time. While our earthly family is very important to us, the church, the spiritual family of God is superior in every respect.
THE SUPERIORITY OF THE SPIRITUAL FAMILY
Our spiritual family ties are more comprehensive and far-reaching than our earthly family ties. When I was a boy I loved to take a rock and throw it across a body of water and make it skip. When the rock hit the water there would be a rippling circle that would reach all the way across the body of water. That is the nature of the spiritual family—the church. We now have 17 (Now 20) people in the Floyd Family Circle, but think of how many brothers and sisters we have in the spiritual body of Christ. When we visit in Florida and attend the church there, we have many brothers and sisters. When we visit California we have brothers and sisters out there. Where ever we go in the world we have a family in Christ of brothers and sisters. Therefore the spiritual family of Christ is much more comprehensive than our earthly family.
The spiritual family in Christ is much more lasting than is the earthly family. In our earthly family, when we are young we are very close to our brothers and sisters and our cousins, but when we become an adult they go off and start their own families and move all over the country and we lose that closeness. In regards to our earthly family as time moves on we lose some of those relationships. But when we all get to heaven in God’s spiritual family, not even the most intimate earthly relationships such as husband and wife will continue. Jesus said that in the next world, we will neither marry nor be given in marriage but will become as the Angels. That is the reason that we must have good spiritual relationships in this life because that is the relationship and friendship we will have forever.
And in the church—God’s spiritual family will have greater obligations than we do in our earthly families, because our obligations are to God. We answer to him because we will stand before him at the last day. My father started a good thing when he became a Christian. He became a Christian no doubt because my uncle O. B. Perkins, while a young man rode a horse out of Monticello, Kentucky to preach the gospel. He traveled to Liberty, Kentucky in Casey County and my father and his family heard the gospel and were baptized into Christ. My mother, Lena Perkins, sister of O. B. Perkins traveled with him on his preaching tours, and that is how she met my father. What a blessing it is to have a Christian mother and father!
My father started a good thing in our family line. Both my father and mother taught my brother and me the way we should go. And now my wife and I have taught our children the truth of God and all of them have been baptized into Christ and entered the spiritual family-the church. We have seven grandchildren and most of them are now members of the spiritual family. And therefore I say to my children and grandchildren, (now great grandchildren) when I stand before the Almighty in the Day of Judgment, and there are thousands of descendants from my immediate family, it is my hope and prayer that not one will be lost because you have changed the link in the spiritual family tree. All it takes to change the line in the spiritual family tree is for one generation to fall away from God. When a person falls away from God it is very difficult for their descendents to find their way to the spiritual family. Just as my father in one generation changed his family line from living an ungodly life to that of a spiritual life, so in one generation it can be changed in reverse. If that happens a child can leave the church, leave God, make bad choices, and likely all of his descendents will not know the Lord. Let me give you an example of what we are describing.
TWO FAMILIES CONTRASTED
A few years ago in the Gospel Advocate, B. C. Goodpasture gave a contrast between two families from the state of New York, illustrating that biblical training makes a difference in the home. First, we shall relate the story of the family in which there was no biblical training—the Max Jukes family:
“Max Jukes lived in the state of New York. He did not believe in Christian training. He married a girl of like character. From this union they have 1,206 descendants. Three hundred of them died prematurely. One hundred were sent to the penitentiary for an average of 13 years each. One hundred and ninety were public prostitutes. There were 100 drunkards, and the family cost the state $1,200, 000. They made no contribution to society.”
Next, we shall notice, also from the same state of New York, the Jonathan Edwards family:
“He (Edwards) believed in Christian training. He married a girl of like character. From this union they have 729 descendants. Out of this family have come 300 preachers, 65 college professors, 13 university presidents, 60 authors of good books, three United States congressmen and outside of Aaron Burr, a grandson of Edwards, who married a questionable character, the family has not cost the state a single dollar. “‘The difference between the two families: Christian training in youth and heart conversions.’”
—Gospel Advocate, B. C. Goodpasture, January 13, 1972, p. 18
That is quite a contrast. The Jonathan Edwards type family is the kind of family that is going to make a good spiritual family. The Max Jukes kind of family is the kind of family that we see in our neighborhoods that never go to church, never take their children to Sunday school and never read their Bible. Many of them are involved in things that are disgusting and create so many of our social problems today. Let us all determine that our family is going to be like a Jonathan Edwards type family that will contribute something good to society and especially to God’s spiritual family the church.
ENTER GOD’S FAMILY BY THE NEW BIRTH
Now I want to close by just saying that the way to get into the spiritual family is by the new birth. We all entered our physical family by a natural birth of and from the womb. We enter the spiritual family of God by a spiritual birth of and from the water and the Spirit. In the gospel of John we have a conversation between Jesus and a man by the name of Nicodemus:
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
This conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus is a figurative explanation of how one enters the kingdom of heaven or the church. “One is born of water and the Spirit.” “Of the Spirit” is genitive of source. This takes place when the Spirit begets faith in our hearts by the word of God:
1 Peter 1:22-23
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever
“Of water” is a reference to baptism for the forgiveness of sins. This is the command of obedience to the gospel. Christ is the author of eternal salvation unto all them who obey him (Hebrews 5:8-9). A plain and unequivocal statement of the new birth is found in the great commission when Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). This in a nutshell is how one enters the spiritual family of Christ.
Do you want Christ to claim you as a brother or sister? Then remember what he said, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother” (Mark 3:33-35 NKJV). If you want to be in the family of God, then respond to the invitation of Christ, when he said, “Come unto me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” *
*Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon Sunday November 23, 2008, at the Heartland Church of Christ, 2455 Fairview Place, Greenwood, Indiana. Copyright © 2009 2019
Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd