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 189 articles so far, you can find them below.
There is that which would come between us and the Rock Christ Jesus! EARTH! Oh how plain is the picture. Luke puts it this way. “He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock,” Luke 6:48. He dug until he came to the rock! We must come to Christ and not be content with no less!
Perhaps we can illustrate it by looking at the account of the rich young man who came to Christ most earnestly. “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16. He was anxious about a most important manner. However, he was not prepared for the “digging away of the earth” that was required of him by the Lord. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions,” Matthew 19:21-22. He liked the clay that stood between him and the Saviour and eternal life and he decided to he was NOT ready to “dig” it away.
Is that the case with many? I have known men who turned their back on Christ and heaven because of a cigarette! They were not prepared to give up smoking if that was required of a Christian.
Do you understand now just what this digging away of the clay in order to get to the rock means and entails?
Remember Christian in “pilgrim’s Progress”. He closed his ears the cries of friends and family when they try to have him turn back from seeking salvation. He was determined to dig down until he reached the rock!
We are going to look today at one of the best known parables the Saviour taught.
Read Matthew 7:21-29. It is the Parable of the two Builders.
1. We all need a house to shelter us for eternity.
By this house-building picture Christ is showing us just what it means.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” Matthew 7:24.
A Christian is someone who hears and obeys the Word of Christ and thus makes preparation for eternity by building a secure house.
Noah needed an ark and the Israelites needed the blood upon the door posts. These things picture our need of a place of safety. “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,” Isaiah 32:2. We have got to seek shelter in Christ, build a secure house if we are to be safe in eternity!
2. The house must have a right foundation.
It must be a rock. Just what is the ROCK upon which we must build? “That Rock was Christ,” 1 Cor 10:4.
“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust,” Ps 18:2.
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation,” Ps 95:1.
We have to place upon Him all our dependence and trust. We have to attach ourselves to Him by faith.
“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life,” 1 Tim 6:19.
Further to what I said yesterday regarding the purpose of the parable, please note: “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field,” verse 36. The multitude goes away but the disciples desire an explanation.
What a blessing it is to have our hearts and minds opened by God’s Spirit to hear and heed His Word. This is something we should all pray for. “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,” Ps 119:18. Boys and girls, our eyes are inclined to close when we come to God’s Word!
PARABLES ARE CHIEFLY FOUND IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In Numbers 23-24, we find Balaam the false prophet using parables. Job used a parable, 27:1. The psalmists and the prophets Ezekiel, Micah and Habakkuk also refer to parables. But the NT has an abundance of parables for it was a time of unfolding and unveiling.
THAT THE SAVIOUR SHOULD USE PARABLES INDICATES THAT HE WOULD HAVE THE YOUNGEST LEARN FROM HIM
The youngest child who is of age to understand simple words can follow the story of the sower going forth to sow seed. Therefore, by using such simple words He would have you listen and learn from Him.
Time and again the Lord Jesus said: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” Matthew 11:15.
Have you ears to hear?
Every day we hear noises that we pay no heed to. The croaking of a crow as it flies overhead, the noise of a car driving past. A cow mooing in the fields around here.
But there are other noises which we know we must take heed to. The ringing of the bell to end lunch time. We must cease playing and return to class. The teacher as instructions are given, that we must listen to and seek to store away in our minds and memories what is said.
Chiefly we must seek to heed what God says to us in His Word. The Psalmist said; “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” Psalm 119:11. Eliphaz the Temanite, the friend of Job, said: “Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart,” Job 22:22. Jeremiah said: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart,” Jeremiah 15:16. As we take in food and benefit from it, so we should seek to take in God’s Word and grow thereby. Following the birth of the Lord Jesus in Bethlehem and the visit by the shepherds we read: “And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart,” Luke 2:18,-19. Let us all be like Mary.
As we start a new school year it is appropriate that we begin a new study. The difficulty for me in choosing a subject is that there are so many subjects in the Bible worthy of our close attention.
However, I have settled on the topic of the parables of the Lord Jesus.
Let us start by asking the question: 1. WHAT IS A PARABLE?
As a youngster I was taught that a parable is “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” I don’t think any can fault this explanation. The parables of the Lord Jesus set forth heavenly truths using earthly illustrations. The story of the lost sheep shows this to be so.
The Saviour tells us that parables served a two-fold purpose, Matt 13:10-17.
Parables are meant to HIDE the truth from those who will not hear the Word of God but reject it, verses 13-15.
But it is meant to ILLUSTRATE the truth to those who willingly hear God’s Word, verses 16-17.
The unspeakable evil of promoting ‘Transgender Ideology in Schools’
Here is how one newspaper reported a recent controversy about this appalling issue.
“A Christian family is preparing to sue their sons’ Church of England school after boys were allowed to come to class wearing dresses.
Nigel Rowe, 44, and his wife Sally, 42, removed their six-year-old son from the unnamed school after a male classmate was allowed to attend the primary school in a dress.
They intend to educate him at home on the Isle of Wight alongside his eight-year-old brother. The older boy was pulled from the same school – which has a uniform – a year ago when a boy in his class also started wearing dresses. Read more…
High-ranking priest linked to child abuse images recalled from Holy See’s US embassy
“The US state department said it had asked the Vatican to lift the official’s diplomatic immunity on August 21, but the request was denied. For the US state department to make such a request, its lawyers would have needed to be convinced there was reasonable cause for criminal prosecution.”
What an evil system Romanism is!! When will its duped adherents recognise this fact??
It has just been announced that The Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS) of Grand Rapids, USA, of which Dr Joel Beeke is the President, is to launch a research centre for puritans and establish a combined doctoral programme in conjunction with The Theological University of Apeldoorn. The cooperation is based on an initiative by TUA rector Prof. Dr. H. Selderhuis to give more attention to the research of puritanism in Apeldoorn and to seek contact with PRTS.
Dr. Selderhuis is not only the director of the Refo500 Foundation; he is also chairman of the Refo500 Reformation Research Consortium. Read more…
Letter to Lord Mayor of Belfast
An open letter from Rev David McLaughlin of Carryduff Free Presbyterian Church to the Alliance Party regarding the decision of the Alliance Party Lord Mayor of Belfast, a professing atheist, Nuala McAllister, to refuse to have anyone return thanks at her installation dinner. Read more…
Dr Beeke’s ‘Boozy’ Reformation Tour!!
In a recent Facebook posting Joel Beeke said this:
“JOIN US ON THE PRTS REFORMATION TOUR 2018!
I want to extend a very special invitation to you: a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend two weeks with Dr. Michael Haykin, Dr. Ian Hamilton, David Woollin, and me (Dr. Joel Beeke) visiting some of the most amazing places in the world—amazing because of their stunning beauty, but also amazing because of the way God has worked wonderfully throughout history in these locations.”
The Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary tour brochure informs you that on the “Rhine River Reformation Cruise” among the amenities provided are “Mini-Bar (all staterooms except on Haydn Deck)”, the “Panorama-Bar and Lounge” and “Sun Deck with Lido-Bar”.
It obviously is going to be a very ‘spiritual’ experience!! Read more…
Bodies of ‘hundreds’ of children buried in mass grave
How misnamed was the branch of popery that ran the home: The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul!!!
GP probed for giving child, 12, gender-change hormones
Does not this amount to child abuse of the vilest form? What child of 12 knows about the far-reaching consequences of emotions aroused most likely by the counselling of fools!!!!
What madness has gripped this country? It is the direct consequence of rejecting the Bible and the nation casting itself adrift, driven by the winds of depravity and that without the moral compass of God’s truth.
Sam Houston, Ulster-Scot who avenged the Alamo and is revered as ‘Father of Texas’
Sam Houston is one of those with Ulster roots who played such a part in the founding and establishing of the USA. Others included Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone as well as many of those whose signatures are on the 1776 ‘Declaration of Independence’!
TUV Publish Document Spelling Out Dangers of Irish Language Act
This is an important document every loyalist should read! Read it here.
Memorial Service for Gordon Wilson
In an section headed: Notes and Comments in the magazine of The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, August 2017 edition, there appeared the following article.
I have reprinted it because it illustrates the universal creeping departure from the Word of God that may be seen in a denominations which once stood for God and where God’s power rested upon the preaching of His Word.
Let the Free Presbyterian Church beware! Read more…
Victim’s son vows to ‘expose hyprocrisy of Gerry Adams
A welcome exposé but the man’s hypocrisy is common knowledge but sadly, such is today’s society’s moral views, no one really cares!!
It is difficult to understand why this habit is prevalent amongst professing Christian women. I don’t believe that those who practise this habit can find any precedent for it in the behaviour of former generations of godly women.
One wonders how a husband is not perplexed by a wife’s habit of painting her face, when it is usually the case that she paints herself only when preparing to go out to meet others. It surely is obvious that she is not painting her face for him as invariably she is bare-faced in her own home! Why should that be so?
The Lord said this to Israel on one occasion: “Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life,” Jeremiah 4:30.
These words make it clear that “the painting (or rending), of the face” by a woman is the action associated with one desirous of alluring a man. That in itself is enough reason for any chaste woman to abhor utterly such a practice! Read more…
The Future for this Age and the People of God.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come,” 2 Timothy 3:1.
The Word of God makes it clear for us just what will be the character of the final days of this age. It also makes clear, just how we may know that we have entered the last days.
Such a knowledge is sadly beyond the parameters of the average Christian today.
It ought not to be!
Jacob was able to say to his sons: “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days,” Genesis 49:1. But tragically, the vast majority of the sons of Jacob today have no knowledge of the meaning of their progenitor’s words.
But believers should not be in such ignorance. Read more…
Will the real Gerry Adams please stand up?
Police, the intelligence services, journalists and academics all claim Gerry Adams was a senior member of the Provisional IRA. The Sinn Fein president has always denied this. In an extract from his new, unauthorised biography of Adams, Malachi O’Doherty sieves the evidence.