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

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

THE CHILDREN OF GOD

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Everyone is born into the kingdom of nature by a natural birth—of and from the womb. Those who become Christians are born into the kingdom of God by a spiritual birth—of and from water and the Spirit (John 3:5). At the last day, those who are faithful, having been born a spiritual birth will be born of and from the grave into the eternal glory of heaven.

BORN OF GOD

The expression “born of God” is used throughout the letter of 1 John:

• Those born of God will not continue to live a life of sin (1 John 2:29; 3:9; 5:18).

• Those who love as God loves will know God and are born of him—for God is love (1 John 4:7).

• Those who by faith and baptism are born of God will be saved (1 John 5:1; Gal. 3:26-27).

• Those who are born of God overcome the world by their faith (1 John 5:4). Continue reading “THE CHILDREN OF GOD”

THE GREAT COMMISSION

By

Shelby G. Floyd

The greatest challenge ever committed to mortal men was couched in the words of the great commission. This commission was given by Jesus Christ to the eleven apostles on a mountain in Galilee. It is great because of the great authority which empowers it and sustains it. Jesus said,

“…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18.)

One of the many pursuits of man has been power and authority, but no one man has ever been able to achieve all the power and authority that there is in the earth. But Jesus has all power and authority not only in the earth, but also in heaven. Therefore, he is preeminently qualified to give a commission that relates both to heaven and to earth, to this life and to the life to come.

Isaiah Prophesied of Christ’s Authority

The power, all of which Jesus claimed to have, both in heaven and earth, is the power of rule or government and is generally translated authority. It is the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed. The power, or rule of government, which Jesus claims on this particular occasion is that which Isaiah predicted seven centuries before Christ claimed it. Speaking of Christ, Isaiah said that the government would be upon his shoulder, and,

“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever” (Isaiah 9:7).

Those Taught Are To Be Baptized

Jesus not only charged his apostles to teach all nations, but also to baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20). The element in which they were baptized is not stated in this passage but can be inferred from reading the scriptures concerning this subject elsewhere. They were to be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

Copyright © 2019 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

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

WHO CAN FORGIVE SINS?

By

Shelby G. Floyd

When Jesus saw the palsied man let down into the room where he was teaching, he said, “My son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). Some sitting nearby were startled and in their hearts thought Jesus was guilty of blasphemy. They asked, “Who can forgive sins but God only” (Mark 2:7)?

WHICH IS EASIER TO SAY?

Christ who knows the hearts of men asked them, “Is it easier to say your sins are forgiven or take up your bed and walk” (Mark 2:9)? The key word is “say.” It is definitely easier to say “your sins are forgiven.” This would be hard to verify because it would be an act that would be inward and invisible. To tell a paralytic to take up his bed and walk would be more difficult, for it could only be certified if in fact he did take up his bed and walk.

ONLY CHRIST HAS THE ABSOLUTE POWER TO FORGIVE SINS

To prove that he had the power on earth to forgive sins, Jesus told the paralytic to take up his bed and go home. This he did before them all. Therefore Christ demonstrated the ultimate purpose of all his miracles, signs and wonders. They were to confirm his identity as “the Son of Man” who also was the “Son of God.” Christ was the Son of Man according to the flesh and the Son of God according to the Spirit (Roman 1:3-4).

The miracles of Christ and the apostles confirm that Jesus was who he claimed to be and that the word of God is immutable:

“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).

Only God has the power to forgive sins. Christ is God in the flesh (John 1:1-3, 14), and forgives sins through his blood (Mt. 26:28; 1:21).

Copyright © 2019 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

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

THE INDWELLING CHRIST

(Ephesians 3:14-21)

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Credit: Google Images

I love the “ancient words” from the word of God and from the song (Ancient Words) that we have just sung. The longer we live and the more we read and study God’s word, the more beautiful they become. It was good to hear the reading of the “ancient words” from Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 3:14-21).

The last time I spoke to you about three weeks ago our lesson was on “The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart.” At that time we pointed out that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, his magicians had something to do with hardening his heart, and the Bible declares over and over again that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. As a result God brought ten plagues upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the last of which was the death of the firstborn sons of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. It was at this point that Pharaoh urged the children of Israel to leave Egypt as rapidly as they could.

From all of this, we learn that the condition of our heart is ultimately up to each one of us. We have the final say as to how receptive our heart will be to the word of God. So today I want to continue that theme on a positive note. Our lesson today is on the indwelling of Christ in our heart. All of us desire to to think, speak and act better than we normally do. But we will never reach the fullness of faith, hope, and love until Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. In that regard I have always loved the Scripture that Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia, when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). So we want Christ to live in our hearts. But how does Christ live in our hearts? He lives in our hearts by faith! Why did he want us to let him live in our hearts? Because he loves us, he died for us and he cleanses us by his precious blood shed on Calvary. Continue reading “THE INDWELLING CHRIST”

“NOT BY FAITH ALONE”

By

Shelby G. Floyd

“The benefits of the gospel come to the person who has faith alone in Christ. The blood of Christ is applied to the sinner upon faith alone in Christ and not at baptism.” –Faith Alone Adherent and Critic

In previous essays we have amply demonstrated that the subject “faith alone” is not a biblical subject and therefore a subject not to be discussed. It has only been discussed so far because certain religious advocates vehemently insist that salvation is predicated on “faith alone!” It has been pointed out that the scriptures teach just the exact opposite. James explicitly states that salvation or justification from sin is “by works” and “not by faith alone.” James teaches the truth: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24 NKJV). Continue reading ““NOT BY FAITH ALONE””

THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST

By

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.

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 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.

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. Christ existed before the creation (John 1:1-4). Christ is the firstborn from the dead. He was not the first to rise from the dead, but the first and the highest rank to rise from the dead. This means he holds the preeminence or highest rank over the church.

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

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Matthew 3:16-17
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
NKJV

As I come before you today I recognize that there is a spirit among us of support, loyalty and joy for the hometown team. And I also believe that it is the case that we have that same loyalty and support and joy for the hometown congregation—the Heartland church of Christ. And that is why you are present today.

A few years ago, I presented the lesson that I am presenting today. And I was surprised that afterward a young man came to me and said, “I need to be baptized—I want to be immersed for the forgiveness of sins.” And I thought that this person was a member of the church already. And I learned a great lesson from this, that in almost every service that we will have like this, there are probably one or more people who need to be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And so we preach on a lot of different subjects, but sometimes we assume that everybody sitting in one of the chairs has been baptized and become Christians. But that is not always the case, and therefore today I want to talk to you about the baptism of Jesus Christ. And I hope that I can make this lesson so simple that even a little child can understand it. That is my goal and that is my purpose in delivering this message. Our comments will cover the entire third chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew. Therefore you are encouraged to open up your Bibles and follow along to make sure that we faithfully present the record of the baptism of Jesus Christ. Continue reading “THE BAPTISM OF JESUS”

Conversion of a Roman Jailor

By

Shelby G. Floyd

On the second evangelistic journey Paul and Silas were shamefully treated in Philippi. They were severely flogged and committed to the jailer who was commanded to keep them safely. This he did by putting them in the inner cell and fastening their feet in the stocks (Acts 16:19-24). Continue reading “Conversion of a Roman Jailor”