Ivan Foster is a recently retired minister in the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. Until November 2009 he was minister of Kilskeery Free Presbyterian Church. He continues to preach and write as the Lord gives opportunity. Website:
Ivan has written 207 articles so far, you can find them below.
We have another wonderful picture presented to us for our instruction and edification. How abundantly does nature illustrate the gospel.Please note the words: “Another parable put he forth unto them,” verse 24. These words were spoken for the benefit of His disciples. The Lord is speaking to His people here in this passage. Please be sure to hear and heed what He says.
I. HERE IS A PICTURE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
1. Few give any thought to this kingdom! In 1596 Andrew Melville, the successor to John Knox, made a famous speech in which he reminded the King James VI that ‘there are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland.’ As well as King James ‘There is Christ Jesus, the King of the Church, whose subject James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head, but a member.’ James VI paid little heed to Melville’s words as is the habit of most professing Christian inhabitants of this earth!
The existence and the activities of God’s kingdom are as real as that of the UK, the USA, Russia etc.
Preached In Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church, Sunday October 16th, 2017.
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle,” 2 Thessalonians 2:15.
Jude was pressed in his soul to warn of the infiltration of the ranks of the Apostolic Church by those he called ‘creepers’! “There are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ,” Jude 1:4.
From its inception, the embodiment of Ecumenism, the World Council of Churches, made its objective clear.
The goal of the World Council was plainly stated at its convening Assembly in August 1948. Former General Secretary of the WCC, W.A. Visser ‘t Hooft, stated the sentiments of the ecumenists gathered for that historic occasion:
“Our name indicates our weakness and our shame before God, for there can be and there is finally only one Church of Christ on earth. Our plurality is a deep anomaly. But our name indicates also that we are aware of that situation, that we do not accept it passively, THAT WE WOULD MOVE FORWARD TOWARDS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE ONE HOLY CHURCH” (The Genesis and Formation of the World Council of Churches, P. 66).
In 1948 a Lutheran delegate stated that the purpose of the World Council of Churches was to reverse the Reformation.
“The Common Declaration by Pope Paul VI and the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey”, In which they said that their meeting “marks a new stage in the development of fraternal relations, based upon Christian charity, and of sincere efforts to remove the causes of conflict and to re-establish unity.” (1966).
Oct. 6, 2016. VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and Anglican Primate Archbishop Justin Welby have signed a joint-declaration emphasising that while topics such as homosexuality and the ordination of women still constitute points of division, they are committed to working together in their pursuit of full unity.
The WCC and its associated churches has been pursuing that purpose ever since 1948 and that with much success amongst its member churches. A recent statement, posted in July of this year, indicates that.
The World Communion of Reformed Churches has formally joined an ecumenical statement with Roman Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists aiming to overcome divisions between Protestants and Roman Catholics from the time of the Protestant Reformation.
“Today is a historic day,” said Jerry Pillay, president of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), at a ceremony on 5 July in the eastern German town of Wittenburg, where Martin Luther lived and worked. “The documents we are signing today are significant and symbolic of the road we are to travel.”
What a work of God the Reformation was and how hard the devil and his agents are working to overthrow it!
Out text, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, teaches us the very opposite to that which the Ecumenists are engaged in.
“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred,” Mark 4:20. Note that as there were three types of bad ground so there are three types of good ground.
1. What makes good ground?
Three features: “Hear”, “Receive”, “Bring forth”. You can see the progress of growth here.
“Hear” – first use in NT. “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him,” Matthew 2:3. Hearing followed by reaction.
“Receive” – akin to “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet,” Matthew 10:14. Door shut in the face of!
“Bring forth fruit”: Here is what it means. “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God,” Cols 1:10.
2. This how to have a successful, fruitful Christian life.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” Galatians 5:22.
3. Note the different degrees of fruitfulness.
“Some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” Paul speaks “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Cors 15:10. Notice Paul takes no honour for his labours. All Christians do not attain to the same level of fruitfulness. Not every stalk of barley brings forth the same number of kernels. Some more than others.
“Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” 1 Cor 3:8. Read 1 Cor 12:6-11.
All we are asked to do is our best. “And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord,” Matthew 25:20-23.
Faithfulness is rewarded and not really the amount done! “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing,” 2 Timothy 4:8.
What happens after the sowing of the seed is the vital matter. When I finished preaching what you do with God’s and what becomes of it will decide your eternity.
Thorns stopped the seed becoming fruitful. Where did thorns come from?
There were no thorns in God’s original creation. “And unto Adam he (God) said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field,” Genesis 3:17-18.
Man’s sin was followed by God’s judgment and the growth of thorns. These thorns represent “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things,” Mark 4:19. “Cares” means distractions. Notice riches are “deceitful.” These are the things which kill of that which springs up in shallow soil. Such soil will support thorns!