Shelby G. Floyd

It is good to see all of you and we are glad to have Ken and Polly back today. Reviving the church! That is our topic today. The song we just sung—”Revive Us Again,” goes right along with our theme. In the text of Revelation 3:1-6, Jesus was speaking to the church at Sardis—one of the seven churches in Asia. He said, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1). Jesus said that about Sardis near the end of the first century.

The Church of Christ began about 33 A.D. in the city of Jerusalem. 3000 people became Christians on the first day that the kingdom of God was established (Acts 2:36-47). Afterward it is said, “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, and others went on three evangelistic journeys throughout the Roman Empire. And they established churches all over that empire. Paul even had the desire to go to Spain and other places with the gospel of Christ (Mark 16:15-16). But, by the end of the first century we have the apostle John inspired by the Holy Spirit writing to one of the seven churches located in Asia. He said, “I know your works, you have a great name that you are alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1).

Our lesson today is the need to revive a dead church! “Revive us again, oh Lord.” Sometimes God’s people go to sleep spiritually, and then they end up dying. And the church is a dead church. It is normal for all of us to have a high and a low. But we must be careful, for if we stay on a low, we die spiritually!

This lesson today is from Ezekiel 37. And in this setting God’s people were exiled to Babylon about 580 years before Christ. They went to sleep spiritually in the land of Canaan—the promised land, where they had gone after all their years in slavery while down in Egypt. And because they had strayed away spiritually, God determined to send them to Babylon in bondage! Under Nebuchadnezzar they were removed to Babylon under a cruel king for 70 years! And while there in Babylon they died spiritually and that can happen also to a church. Churches can have a great beginning, a wonderful history, and then end up dying spiritually. That is happening to some congregations today. Churches flourish and then die spiritually. And that is what happened to Israel in Babylon.

Ezekiel said, “The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones” (Ezekiel 37:1). The Lord set Ezekiel down in a valley of dead bones. That is not an adventure any of us would like to take! One of our former elders, my son-in-law, and I took several trips to Civil War battlefield cemeteries—like Manassas one and two. I never have enjoyed going to cemeteries, because it is just a place with a lot of dead bones. I want you to get this picture of what Ezekiel saw in this valley. It is a place of bones—no people, just dead bones. God tells Ezekiel that he is going to put life back into all of these dead bones.


Therefore we also can be asleep, be discouraged, and lose all hope, but God can make us live again. He can put new life into the church. He will do that when we abide by his instruction. In order that the church may be revived and find new life, we need the hand of the Lord to come upon us. The Lord’s hand really means the power of the Lord, because his hand is powerful. So Ezekiel said, “The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.” (Ezekiel 37:1).

We definitely live in a world that is asleep spiritually. We conclude that a church can be in a valley of dry bones. The hand of the Lord came upon Ezekiel, and when God’s hand comes upon us it means his power is upon us, and his power is great. The apostle Paul described the power of the Lord to the church at Ephesus: “and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:19-2 NKJV). If you want to know how powerful God is, well Jesus died on the cross and was buried in a new tomb, but God raised him up and seated him at his right hand. That is how powerful God is!

We read about God’s power in the New Testament as it is applied to the gospel message: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17). His mighty power is also revealed in the letter to the Hebrews: “for the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The word of God is therefore very powerful!


Next we notice that Ezekiel saw the very dry bones in the open valley: “Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know” (Ezekiel 37:2-3). God asked Ezekiel if these bones can live. He answered, “O Lord, you know.” That is a good question. And we ask that question when we lose our loved ones in death. When we bury them in the silent city of the dead, we ask, “O Lord, can these bones live, will we see them again?” We rejoice that he has said, yes they will all live again at the last trumpet sound! (1 Corinthians 15:51-58).

These verses in Ezekiel inspired the writing of a meaningful and inspiring spiritual song. We do not hear this song much anymore, but I looked it up on the Internet and listened to several groups sing it with spirit!

Intro 1
Dem bones Dem bones Dem dry bones
Dem bones Dem bones Dem dry bones
Dem bones Dem bones Dem dry bones,
Hear the word of the Lord.

Verse 1
Toe bone connected to the foot bone
Foot bone connected to the heel bone
Heel bone connected to the ankle bone
Ankle bone connected to the leg bone
Leg bone connected to the knee bone
Knee bone connected to the thigh bone
Thigh bone connected to the hip bone
Hip bone connected to the back bone
Back bone connected to the shoulder bone
Shoulder bone connected to the neck bone
Neck bone connected to the head bone
Hear the word of the Lord.

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around.
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around.
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around.
Now hear the word of the Lord.

God probably smiled when that song was written and sung with spirit. God’s word was so powerful that a song like that written to inspire those who seemed to be without hope! Symbolically it describes that God’s people are brought back to life spiritually as well as the resurrected life at the last day.

Ezekiel went around the valley of dry bones, and he noticed they were very dry, and there was no life in them. But God’s power can make these dry bones live again. Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” God is not asking Ezekiel that question for information. He asked that question to emphasize that only He can bring these dry bones to new life!

What is the application of this for us today? It is that like the church at Sardis, without the power and Spirit of God, the church of today will be a dead church. God does not want a church to be a lifeless body. He wants to breathe new life into the body of Christ! The church will come alive when it hears the word of the Lord.


How was the valley of dry bones ever to live again? They would live again by “hearing the word of the Lord.” “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). “Again he said to me, prophesy to these bones, and say to them, “O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:4). Dry bones must hear the word of the Lord, in order to live again. A church that does not focus on the word of the Lord will die spiritually. God’s people must hear the word of the Lord. The Spirit of Christ comes into the church when we hear, heed, listen to, and apply the word of God. Remember Jesus defeated the devil every time he was tempted by quoting the word of God (Matthew 4:1-11). So the power of the word of the Lord will cause the church to come alive. This is because God’s Spirit dwells in the word. Therefore this applies to the valley of dry bones and to the church! Then God’s people will be a vibrant church serving the Lord.


Then God addressed these dry bones, Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ” (Ezekiel 37:5-6). Remember that Israel is dead while they are in Babylon. They have no life in them. They are discouraged, they have given up all hope, they do not believe they will ever see their homeland again, and they have given up! But God says, “You are like dry bones, but I am going to put flesh on you, sinews on you, and breathe new life into you and you shall live!” They are going to be alive again for the Lord.

This reminds us of when God created Adam out of the dust of the earth. Adam was body, bone, blood, and flesh. But he was not alive until God breathed into him the breath of life: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). Breath in the Hebrew language is ha-ru-ah and is defined breath, wind, life, and spirit. This is equal to the word pneuma and defined spirit in the New Testament.


Ezekiel prophesied as the Lord commanded, “So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them” (Ezekiel 37:7-8).

Can you visualize all of these bones coming together out there in this valley? But they were not alive. They were just a bunch of bones, blood, and flesh bodies. They were not alive because there was no breath in them. The church today needs some spirit and breath and it, instead of a lot of dry bones that have no life in them and not accomplishing anything. So the Lord said to Ezekiel, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.” (Ezekiel 37:9-10).

I think that might also be a picture of the church. The church of Christ can be a great army of the Lord. But a lot of dead bones is not going to accomplish anything. A church where there is no spirit, no breath, no enthusiasm, and no desire to be on fire for the Lord, will that church ever win any victories for Christ? A dead church will never accomplish anything for the Lord! Therefore the hand of the Lord, or the power of the Lord can make a church alive, dynamic, and courageous as the great army of the Lord! The gospel is the power of Christ unto salvation! It can convince, convict, and convert a lost world.


What is the lesson in all of this for us today? When the church comes alive, it will make a great noise. People will know that the church is in the community and that it means business. It will be a great army, going out with the sword of the Spirit to defeat Satan and his minions, and to convert a lost world to Jesus Christ.

That is the application God made to Ezekiel about Israel becoming a great army standing up for the Lord,
Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ ”(Ezekiel 37:11-14).

Did you know that historically, God actually restored these people back to their homeland in Canaan? How did God bring that about? God can work through people and nations to carry out his will. There was a great king who ruled at this time and his name was Cyrus the Great, who ruled the Persian Empire from 600 – 530 BC. He was known as a tolerant and ideal monarch. Cyrus conquered many countries. It was in 587 BC that Cyrus proclaimed to set the captives free to go back to Jerusalem. According to Ezra 1:1-11 he ordered and helped to rebuild the house of the Lord, and restore the furniture that had been taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. (1)

Cyrus was a Persian, which is the country of Iran today. The God of Israel moved Cyrus to give the Emancipation Proclamation to let the Israelite captives go free and to return to their homeland! He let the exiles go free! And so figuratively, they were like a valley of dry bones that came back to life and stood like a great army. God sent them back home!

And that is what God can do with the church today. God can make the church stand up like a great army. And we all want the heartland church to stand up and go forward with the Lord. Do we have those today who want to go forward with us as we stand and sing?

(1) If you would like to study the entire timeline of 70 years in Babylon (Jeremiah 25:12), go to this article on the internet:

Copyright © 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved


Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon Sunday morning, February 5, 2023, at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142




Shelby G. Floyd

So good to see all of you on this winter day. Our winter is going by quickly. January is almost gone and soon we will be in February and before we know it spring will be here. We have a good audience today and I thank you for coming out to worship and to hear the word of God.

Many times we hear people say when they have a trauma in their lives, “God why don’t you just speak to me and tell me what to do.” Well that is what I want to talk to you about today, because God has been speaking to mankind since the day he created Adam. This is indicated by the words found in the letter to the Hebrews:

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 NKJV).


For 2500 years, Almighty God spoke to the patriarchs or the fathers who were the head of the family. The fathers were responsible for transmitting God’s instruction to the family. And today we need more fathers who will take charge of the family and instruct the children in the way that God would have them to live and to be in subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord God created Adam and Eve, breathed into their nostrils the breath of life and they became living souls. They were placed in a perfect place, with the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It was paradise. God spoke to Adam and Eve and gave them instructions of what they were to do and not to do. Sadly, they disobeyed God’s instructions and were expelled from the beautiful garden of Eden. Now they are to live in a sin cursed world with many hardships. But God still loved mankind that he had created, and he spoke to the fathers of the families instructing them how to worship and to be pleasing to him in all their ways.

It is evident from a very early example that God had instructed man to offer up animal sacrifice in their worship to God. As we said, God spoke directly to man. At this time and forward for 2500 years there was not a book written with God’s instructions to man. God spoke to man face-to-face in a very direct way.

It was not long after they were expelled from the garden that Adam and Eve had two sons to enter their family—Cain and Abel. Adam was responsible to instruct his sons how to worship God. Therefore God either spoke to Adam directly or to Cain and Abel as full-grown men themselves. At the very beginning of time, we have an example of acceptable worship and also worship that was rejected. Able worshipped God as he was instructed while Cain became a rationalist and worshipped God according to his own dictates. And this is how the Bible describes their worship in relationship to God:

“Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:4-7).

And so here in the opening chapters of the Bible we have an example of God speaking directly to man. And evidently from the example that we have just observed, God had commanded an animal sacrifice in worship to him. We discover a clue to the worship commanded, because when Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden they were naked and God clothed them with the skins of animals: “Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). But where did they get these animal skins? Evidently they were commanded to offer up an animal sacrifice on the altar, and that is how they produced animal skins.

We know that this must be the case because the New Testament describes why God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not the sacrifice of Cain. Therefore, according to the Bible, Abel offered up worship unto God “by faith.” We read that in the book of Hebrews: “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4). So Abel is speaking to us today and he was speaking to the people in the day that the book of Hebrews was written. So Abel offered up his worship “by faith!” But how do we obtain faith? The Bible says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Therefore, God spoke either to Adam or to Cain and Abel as to the kind of sacrifice they were to offer up in worship. Furthermore the Bible says that Abel offered up to God “gifts” in the plural. Therefore this means that not only did he offer up an animal sacrifice, but he also offered up “free will offerings” which were also acceptable. Abel was a keeper of the sheep and so he offered up an animal sacrifice as well as other gifts. Cain was a vegetable farmer. Therefore he simply offered up what came naturally to him. And he disregarded offering up what God had commanded. No doubt God would have accepted his vegetables as well if he had offered up an animal sacrifice by faith!.

What is the lesson that we learn from studying the beginning chapters of the Bible? The main lesson that we learned is that we cannot substitute something else for what God has commanded us to perform! And Cain is an everlasting example of trying to offer up something else as a substitute instead of offering up what God has commanded by faith!

Ten Generations

Therefore from this example we see that God spoke to the fathers from the very beginning. It started with Adam, and continued for the next 1656 years through the prophet Noah! This is called patriarchal rule – God rules through the fathers as the head of the family. This period of Patriarchy continued through 10 generations. They are listed:  Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah (Genesis 5:1-32). By the way Enoch was the seventh from Adam (Jude 14)! This illustrates how the Bible is always truthful and harmonizes in all of its statements. Another interesting note is that during these first 10 generations they lived an average of 858 years! Longevity of life was normal during this period of history. As the years go forward after this period we will see the life span of mankind is greatly shortened!

And it is interesting to note that about the eighth or the ninth generation these descendants of Adam could still have talked with Adam because Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5)! They could have talked to their forefather Adam. They could have asked, “Adam, how was it back there in the garden of Eden?” “Oh, it was wonderful, until your grandmother messed up and God threw us out!” (laughter)! There is no doubt that these 10 generations passed down all of the information they had heard from the previous generations. But since there was not a book with all of that written down, we do not know anything about those first 10 generations until Moses gave the world the Pentateuch – the five books of the Old Testament. How did Moses know what to write about the first 2500 years? God revealed it to him, and he was inspired to preserve the historical record from the beginning of time (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Therefore during this long period of time, God spoke his word to the fathers as the head of the family. These fathers then were like a prophet, priest, and king to their family. Any father could go out and build an altar and offer up sacrifice to God. The Patriarchal fathers ruled the family!


As this period of patriarchy goes forward to the time of Noah, we discover that depravity prevailed over the earth because the wickedness of man was great. Even the intents and thoughts of the heart were continually evil. You would think that the people would be trying to live a godly life at a time when God spoke directly to the fathers of the family. But do you know that by the time of Noah, the 10th generation, the world had become very depraved and wicked! Therefore even when God was speaking directly to the fathers, it was in the heart of the people to do bad things. Therefore by the time we come to the godly man Noah, the word of God declares:

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:5-8 NKJV).

Lamech Prophesied Noah Would Make the Toil From The Soil Better!

Noah’s father, Lamech, lived 182 years. He predicted and prophesied that his son Noah would be a blessing concerning the work and the toil of earning a living from the soil:

And he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed” (Genesis 5:29).

It is my view that the flood cleansed the earth of its wickedness, but it also washed rich topsoil into all of the valleys of the earth. And this made raising food from the earth much easier and richer than it had been from the beginning after the earth was cursed! Therefore Lamech’s prophecy has been fulfilled and yet even today man is blessed in earning a living from the soil!

But God had a work and mission for Noah to do. During the days of Noah, God brought a great flood up on the whole earth. God spoke directly to Noah, and he prepared an ark as God had specified. After the flood had abated, God started mankind out afresh with the godly family of Noah. The apostle Peter in the New Testament describes the flood and how eight souls were saved through the flood water. And then he described how that water baptism as an antitype saves us today! He said that the people,

“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. 21 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).  

Out of all of these people who were living an average of 858 years, there was one man who was trying to do the right thing. And Noah found grace and favor in the eyes of the Lord. The amazing grace of God, how wonderful it is. And so the period of patriarchy continues for 10 more generations from Noah to Abraham: Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah (Genesis 11:10-32). This period of time lasted for about 427 years. During this time, the lifespan of these ten generations was much shorter than the previous ten generations! The average lifespan of these ten fathers was 395 years.


Now, after the passing of ten generations from Noah to Abraham, we have God speaking to Abraham. Abraham lived down in a country called Persia. Today that country is called Iran. Today we have all kinds of trouble with Iran because it is the number one terrorist nation in the world! That is the country where Abraham was dwelling when God said, “Get out of your country and go to a land that I will show you.” Abraham did not quibble, quarrel, or question God. Abraham picked up all of his belongings, his family and he headed toward the land of Canaan—the Promised Land!

As they traveled to the promised land Abraham’s wife circumcised him and called him a bloody husband. Therefore God gave to him and his descendants the rite of circumcision. God placed a physical mark on all of Abraham’s children. It became the physical mark of the body of people called Israel.

Now the Lord had said to Abram:

“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).

We take notice from this promise to Abraham that eventually Abraham and his descendants will be,

  1. A great nation;
  2. Abraham will have a great name and be a blessing; and,
  3. Through Abraham’s descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed! This is a promise of the spiritual blessings that come to all of us by Jesus Christ the ultimate descendent of Abraham! And,
  4. To Abraham and his descendants God also made a great land promise. The land of Canaan was promised to him and his descendants: “Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him” (Genesis 12:7).

This promise was later repeated to Abraham after his nephew Lot separated from him:

And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. 17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you” (Genesis 13:14-17).

We are still speaking about the time period called patriarchy. How did God speak to Abraham? He spoke face-to-face and mouth-to-mouth. During all of this time we have studied so far, there was not a book with all of God’s communications written down for man to study. We have called this kind of communication patriarchy – father rule! The average lifespan of these patriarchs was only about 153 years. Therefore we have this time period of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel) and his 12 sons—the children of Israel.


This brings us to the time that Jacob and about 75 people came down into Egypt to join Joseph—the Prime minister of Egypt until Moses receives the Law from Sinai! There was not a Bible until Moses gave the law to Israel and also the first five books of the Bible called the Pentateuch. Therefore we have this time period of 430 years from Israel entering Egypt until the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. We are not left in doubt as to this time because Paul reveals the exact time in his letter to the Galatians:

“And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect” (Galatians 3:17).

And this brings us then to the next great time period—the giving of the law to Moses from the top of shaking Mount Sinai until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ! Now through Moses God will communicate his will through a written document – the law of Moses. And this is where our leading character Moses was born and grew up to manhood. After many years of slavery, Moses is the man chosen by God to lead the children of Israel to the land of Canaan – the promised land. Moses and the children of Israel leave Egypt and in 50 days they end up at Mount Sinai. The country of Egypt is mentioned in the Bible more than any other country! It is at Mount Sinai that Moses receives the 10 Commandments from the omnipotent hand of God (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:1-22). There was not a Bible until Moses gave the law to Israel and also the first five books of the Bible called the Pentateuch.

While Moses is up on Mount Sinai the children of Israel worship a golden calf which was a sin against God. Many are punished for their waywardness! Now they have become a great nation of people, perhaps two or three million. They are instructed to build a movable tent of worship called the tabernacle. They are numbered, organized, and ready to march to the promised land! During this time God speaks to the people through the law of Moses and the prophets. This period from Moses until our Lord Jesus Christ covers about 1500 years. After this long period of time the law of Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms were abrogated and nailed to the cross of Calvary. Paul tells us they were blotted out or wiped away at the cross:  “having wiped out the [a]handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).


Now we remind you of what our text said when we started this discourse.

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 Emphasis SGF).

Just before our Lord Jesus Christ ascended back to happen, he reminded his disciples that he had fulfilled all the words which were written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms! (Luke 24:44). And now he gives them their marching orders:

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).

Be sure to listen to and heed all that our Lord Jesus Christ has said to us through his new covenant!

Copyright © 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon January 29, 2023 at the heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142

The Preeminence of Christ Over The Church


Shelby G. Floyd

In Colossians 1:18, the apostle Paul expressed the preeminence that Christ should have over His church when he said,

“And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead: that in all things He might have the preeminence.”

We must give Christ preeminence in all things and especially we must give Him first place of importance in the church.

Christ Is The Head Of The Church

When Paul said He is the head of the church, the word “head” means originator, source, leader and ruler. Christ is the head of the church in the sense that He brought the church into being. He is the originator of the church. Christ is the head of the church in the sense that He is the source of the life of the church.

Christ Is The Ruler Of The Church

Christ is the head of the church in the sense that He is the ruler of the church. He has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He has executive authority: He proposes. He has legislative authority: He disposes. He has judicial authority: He judges. So we must give preeminence to Christ as the head of the church, the originator of the church, and the source of all life in the church, the legislator, the executor and the judge of the church.

Christ Is The Preexisting Beginning

Concerning Christ Paul says, “Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.” The word “beginning” there does not mean that Christ had a beginning. He preexisted before the creation,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind (John 1:1-4 NASB).

Christ Is The Firstborn From The Dead

Christ is the firstborn from the dead: “and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Revelation 1:5). He was not the first to rise from the dead, but this means he holds the preeminence or highest rank over the church. God’s children should always give Jesus Christ first place in our lives, the church, and our worship.

Copyright © 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved


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



Shelby G. Floyd

Our Pilgrim ancestors came to the shores of America in search of freedom to seek and serve God according to their conscience. Others came seeking gold and material wealth. While God has given us all good things to richly enjoy, he wants us to put the spiritual above the material world.

About one hundred seventy-five years ago when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in California, it caused the stampede of the Gold Rush. Many found fortunes and spent it all in worldly pursuit. The same thing happened on the Klondike at Dawson City, Canada and on the golden shores of Nome, Alaska in 1898-1900. Today the worship of wealth is called American Greed. Many who have trusted in their gold have been wiped out by an economic crisis. If one does not have God in his life what is left but despair and death?

Jesus taught his disciples to lay up their treasures in heaven where moth and rust does not corrupt and where thieves do not break in and steal. In an old folk song someone had the refrain, “some will rob you with a gun and others will rob you with a pen!” Many have been robbed by the pen of hucksters, greedy bankers and investment brokers. The greed and love of money is as old as man. Paul admonished Timothy to preach about this:

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs….Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs….Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:10, 17-19).

We do not need to be rich to miss heaven. All we must do is covet money and then after our coffers are full, worship it as our idol god. Let us all remember that God is worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox. Jesus taught: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done” (Matthew 16:24-27). If we could become as rich as old King Midas and then be lost forever what would we gain?


Matthew 6:31-34
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Let us put Christ and his kingdom first and God will add the other.

Copyright © 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

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



Shelby G. Floyd

Jesus Christ is the best example that I know of as to the kind of growth that God expects us to make. In Luke 2: 51, 52, when Jesus returned back to his hometown of Nazareth, at the age of 12, the Bible says that he was subject to his parents, and that he increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and men. This is what we call a four-fold development or growth.

Jesus Grew In Wisdom

Jesus increased or grew in wisdom. What is that? Knowledge is one thing, and today we live in an age of knowledge explosion. In fact, they say that knowledge doubles about every ten years, at least the available knowledge. So there is so much to learn and to study today, and we can know very little about any one thing, even if we spend a lifetime studying it.
Jesus increased not only in knowledge but also in wisdom. Wisdom knows how to use the knowledge that you have, it is good judgment or making wise decisions. So Jesus grew intellectually in mind. Today there is an emphasis placed upon going to the university or college and getting a good secular education. Knowledge is good, but it is not only enough to know how to make a living, but we have to learn how to live. So we need to grow intellectually in mind or wisdom, but that is not enough.

Jesus Grew In Stature

Jesus grew in stature. That means that he grew in years or physically in body. You know this is natural. All that we have to do when we come into this world is to eat good food, drink water and exercise and we are going to grow in body. Today, there is an emphasis upon sports, upon recreation and physical fitness. You might go and exercise, lift weights and do all kinds of works to develop your body, but if you have a body that is strong and has grown physically and you have not developed these other areas which we have mentioned, then your growth is not complete, it is one sided. “Bodily exercise profits a little” (1 Timothy 4:8). But man is not a body with a spirit. We are rather a spirit dwelling in a body. The primary nature of man is spiritual rather than physical, even though we dwell in a physical environment.

Jesus Grew Spiritually

Jesus grew intellectually in mind, he grew physically in body, but then the Bible says that he increased in favor with God and with men. That means that he was able to grow spiritually in his soul toward God. That is where re¬ligion comes in. Religion is that system of things that binds man back to God. We have been alienated from God by our sins. The religion of Jesus Christ is de¬signed to reconcile us and unite us back to our maker and creator. So we must grow religiously and spiritually in our souls. Many people today have grown intellectually and physically, but they are mere pygmies when it comes to spiritual growth.

Jesus Grew Socially

But man is also by nature a social person. We are at our best when we work and live in proximity with our fellow human beings. Therefore, Jesus increased in favor with men. That means that he grew morally in heart, in life and in relationship with his fellow man. The story of the Good Samaritan has inspired more people to build hospitals, old folks’ homes and orphan homes than perhaps any other in the Bible. What is the lesson? We have to grow and develop in our relationship with other people. So we are emphasizing that spiritual growth involves growing in our souls and growing in our relationships to our fellow man. And after all, Jesus said those were the greatest commandments of all: to love God supremely and love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:29-31).

Jesus then is our prime example of the kind of growth that every young boy and girl ought to be experiencing from the time they come into this world, mental, physical, spiritual and moral development.

Copyright © 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

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



Shelby G. Floyd

In the gospel according to Luke, Jesus resolutely determined to go to Jerusalem to face the suffering, humiliation, crucifixion, resurrection, and his ascension back to his heavenly Father in heaven.

He Steadfastly Set His Face

The biblical writer Luke in his account of the life of Christ described it like this: “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51 NKJV). In Luke 9:53 his proposed journey to Jerusalem is expressed by similar words: “…His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.”

The expression “set his face” is found in several of the newer translations and in many of them it is not found. In fairness, in some of them where this expression is not found, it is found and explained in a footnote. In some they do not even have footnote that this expression is found in the Greek text in which the New Testament was written.

Why am I writing about this? The point I am trying to make is that this expression “set his face” is found in the original Greek language in which the New Testament was written on our behalf. That language is: “autos to prosopon autou esterixen,” literally “he resolutely set the face.” (Luke 9:51). Because many of the translations simply say, “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem,” this does not fairly represent the language of the original text. To “set the face” is a figure of speech that is very expressive of how “resolute” he really was!

Why was he so resolute that he set his face to go to Jerusalem? It was because he was swamped for time – his time would soon be over to live upon the earth. His time on earth was expiring soon and then he would be received up after his trial, cruel mistreatment, crucifixion on the cross, burial in a new tomb, and then raised from the dead on the third day. He then would later appear to his apostles and disciples and give them the great commission to go into all the world and to preach the gospel to all people (Matthew 28:18-20). Then he would be received up into heavenly glory to be with his Heavenly Father:

“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11 NKJV).


Every Bible student recognizes the statement in Isaiah chapter 53 as referring to the Messianic Savior. He describes in great detail the humiliation, suffering and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we have in the book of Isaiah another great statement that describes the same event that Jesus went through as revealed in Isaiah 53– and that is Isaiah 50:5-9:

The Lord God has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.
6 I gave My back to those who struck Me,
And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
7 “For the Lord God will help Me;
Therefore I will not be disgraced;
Therefore I have set My face like a flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.
8 He is near who justifies Me;
Who will contend with Me?
Let us stand together.
Who is [a]My adversary?
Let him come near Me.
9 Surely the Lord God will help Me;
Who is he who will condemn Me?
Indeed they will all grow old like a garment;
The moth will eat them up. (Emphasis sgf).

Therefore, the prophecy of Isaiah 50:7 adds another dimension as to how Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. He was so determined and so resolute that his face was set “like a flint!” That simply means that his determination to carry out God’s will was like a rock. Nothing could stop him from carrying out his God-given commission to be the Savior of the world.

Therefore when you read the word of God, make sure that whatever translation you are using, it expresses the entire thought as found in the original language–“the jot and the title!” The common people today, as they have always been, are leery of people changing the word of God as they are changing a lot of other things also. The devil is hard at work trying to change the United States Constitution, the education system, the moral standards, and the landmarks and institutions that have stood us in good ways for over 200 years as a nation. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the devil is also at work trying to change the word of God. And that is the only thing that can defeat him. Remember when Satan tempted Jesus, he refuted him and drove him away by quoting the word of God, saying, “it is written!” (Matthew 4:1-11). Friends, “set your face like a flint” to live out the Christian life!

Copyright © 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved


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



Shelby G. Floyd

Previous to the American Revolution, England was burdened with debt from all the wars they had been fighting in Europe. They levied taxes on the Colonies on all documents—The Stamp Acts and of course The Tea Tax that was so onerous to the Colonies.

During this period England would not allow the Colonies to print the Bible. They had to be imported from England—another way to raise revenue for the Mother country. When the Colonies declared Independence, and engaged the British in the Revolutionary war, England refused to export any Bibles to America. Since the Pilgrims, Puritans, and the Colonists based many of their governing principles and their manner of life on the Bible, this famine of the word of God would not stand.

To remedy this need for the word of God, Robert Aitken, a printer in Philadelphia printed and published the New Testament in 1777. Then in early 1781 he petitioned Congress to publish the entire Bible.

Congress gave Robert Aitken approval to print the entire Bible and he printed this approval in the “Bible of the Revolution” as it known today. The Congressional approval reads:

“Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aiken, as subservient to the interests of religion, as well an instance of the progress of arts in this country, and they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper. Cha. Thomson, Secy.”

Our great country was founded and rooted in the English Bible. And the church of the Lord Jesus Christ that was established in America was also founded and rooted in the English Bible. Many of the problems of the country and the church can be traced to an apostasy from the word of God. Let us return to “the old paths!”

Thus says the Lord:

“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16 NKJV).

America, let all of us make America greater by reading the English Bible and “walk in it” every day of 2023!

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



Shelby G. Floyd

The sole goal of most people today is how much profit they can accumulate of this world’s goods and riches.

Jesus taught that we should value our soul over everything else in this world: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul’” (Matthew 16:26)? According to Christ there is no profit if one could gain the whole world (which is impossible), and then end up losing one’s soul.

What is the soul of man that Jesus is talking about? The word “soul” is translated from the Greek word psuche. This word literally refers to our “breath of life” without which we would be dead. By extension it refers to “the (human) soul in so far as it is constituted that by the right use of the aids offered it by God it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life” (Thayer, p. 677). An example of this use is in the book of Hebrews where the overseers watch out for the souls in the congregation: “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17 NKJV).

In many passages of scripture the soul refers to that part of man distinguished from the body which is not dissolved by death. In this sense Jesus warned, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28, NIV). The term “hell” is from the Greek geenne, and pronounced Gehenna—the place of everlasting punishment!”

Each person had better wake up and take care of the soul. Our soul will live forever. Our soul will have no end and is either destined for eternal joy or woe.

The soul of man cost God the price of the life and blood of his unique Son: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV).

God has revealed his plan of salvation to redeem the soul of man from the ravages of Satan and sin. Sinner friend, take the time to learn the conditions of salvation and act thereupon in obedience. Trust and obey!

Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

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



Shelby G. Floyd

Good morning. We are glad to see all of you and thank you to our visitors who have come our way. We hope that you will feel welcome and will come back and be with us again.

About three weeks ago I spoke to you on “Wholehearted Religion,” and we pointed out at that time that there are Bad Hearts, Good Hearts and Obedient Hearts. Today we want to continue our discussion of Wholehearted Religion. When God rejected King Saul, the first King of Israel, he was looking for a new king and David had a lot of brothers. And they marched each brother in front of Samuel and God said no, he is not the one. Finally they came to David who was the youngest of all of the boys and God chose him. Then God said to Samuel, “The Lord sees not as man sees for the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

And so today we want to talk about wholehearted religion. We must admit that there is a lot of halfhearted religion today! I do not believe that we will make it to heaven if we serve God in a half-hearted way. Therefore we are talking about serving God with all of our heart—with the complete heart! And the word heart, translated from the Greek word kardia is found 156 times in the New Testament. God wants us to serve him from the very center of our being. He wants us to serve him with our EGO and with our ID—with our conscious and with our subconscious heart. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-6 and said, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (Mark 12:29-30 NKJV). So today we are exploring what is wholehearted religion. It is serving God with your entire being.


What is the Bible heart? We have before you on the screen a chart that shows you what is the Bible Heart! The Bible heart is the Seat of the Intellect! The Bible Heart is the Seat of our Emotions. The Bible Heart is made up of my thinking process, my emotional nature, and the Bible heart is the Seat of my Willpower–what we choose and determine to do in life. And in the last place, the Bible heart is the Seat of our Conscience. Now we plan to discuss each one of those areas of the Bible heart and if we serve God with all four areas of the Bible Heart, then that is what I would call “Wholehearted Religion!”

Religion is that which binds us back to God because we been separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). So we want to be bound back to God with “wholehearted religion!” Therefore let us examine “THE EXERCISES OF THE BIBLE HEART.” Continue reading “WHOLEHEARTED RELIGION NO. 2”



Shelby G. Floyd

While Paul was at Corinth on his second evangelistic journey, “… many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized” (Acts 18: 8). Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching and testifying that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:5). This account of the conversion of the Corinthians is in harmony with all the other conversions in Acts of apostles.

Before Jesus left the earth, his last instructions to the apostles were to, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).

Later when Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthian church, he stated that he was thankful he had not personally baptized a great number of people. This was because he did not want anybody to say that he had baptized them into his name:

“I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that
you were baptized in my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:14-17).

We are to be baptized into the name of Christ for the forgiveness of sins: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Mt. 28:18-20).

Therefore, we can be called Christians and honor him who died for us (Acts 11:26).

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