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 517 articles so far, you can find them below.
We have followed the ‘stepping stones’ that led us across the last 2000 years and brought us to the events at the end of the age.
Now we come to the ‘THEN’ in Matt 25:1. These words, spoken to the disciples some 2000 years ago are especially intended for our consideration for we very near to the end of this age and should therefore think upon the Saviour’s word most carefully.
1. HERE IS ANOTHER SIGN OF THE ‘LAST DAYS?
Here we have the state of the church in the lasts days.
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”
This was not their state at the first. “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom,” verse 1.
Then they were expecting the Bridegroom.
Please note: For those wishing to hear something more about this parable here is a link to the message I preached at the 100th anniversary service of the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony in Newtownabbey FPC, back at the beginning of November 2018.
As we come to chapter 3, we have reached an important division in the book.
Bearing in mind that the book of Ruth is a wonderful illustration of the spiritual advance and growth that should be seen in every believer, we will note the new level to which Ruth ascends in her pilgrimage. She has found grace in the eyes of the Lord and this has been manifested in the providential encounter she had with Boaz and his kindness shown to her, 2:10-14.
But there is more. She is to enter into REST, 3:1.
The gospel is a call to rest, Matthew 11:28-29. The word means a settled state of contentment, Gen 8:9 and comes from the Hebrew word for rest in Gen 8:4, Ex 20:11.
In Matthew 11:28-29 there are two rests. One follows initial faith in Christ the other follows on after submission and obedience to Christ. The rest spoken on in Ruth 3:1 is the rest correspondents to that which is referred to by Christ in verse Matt 11:29. The rest in our passage is akin to the rest of Psalm 95:11. What Canaan was for Israel, the Spirit-filled victorious life is for the New Testament believer.
In the opening verses of the chapter, the way to rest is set before us.
I. RUTH NEEDED INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE SHE COULD ENTER HER REST.
Does not the church stand in need of such instruction today. The concept of a Kinsman-Redeemer would have been unknown in Moab.
1. Gospel rest can be known only by those related to Christ. Boaz was bound under the law to marry Ruth. Deuteronomy 25:5-6. Ruth was related by marriage into the family of Boaz. It is a relationship that would grow and strenghten. Naomi would have her married to Boaz. That is a very good concept of marriage — rest!
We began to consider how that in the chapter 24 there is a series of linked statements which are like a series of pictures of events that will take place within the age between the Saviour’s ascension to heaven and His return from there. It is like turning the pages of a picture book!
The word THEN (25:1) ties this parable into the subject matter and the events related by the Saviour in the previous chapter. There are a number of ‘links’ in the chain of events that lead up to the end of this age that the Saviour highlights.
I am going to liken these verses unto ‘stepping stones’ by which we can cross the ‘river’ of this age from the ascension of Christ to heaven until He returns again in glory!
Please follow in your Bible the links, the ‘stepping stones’ that are to be found in the Saviour’s words.
Verse 6. “The end if not yet.” We have already noted that!
Verse 8. “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Verses 9, 10, 14. Look at the word ‘then.”
Here is a sequence of events that will signal the approach of the end! Notice the verse 14. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” It is only in recent days that this has happened. My speaking to you has been listened in to by people from China, Iran, Turkey, various parts of Russia, the Asian countries and other places where missionaries would not be allowed to enter. They listen in via the internet!That is very significant for the Saviour says that such an thing will happen just before the ‘end’, or the termination of this age come!
We began to note the warning of deception that the Saviour gives in verse 11. It will be a time of increasing deception, 23-26.
Other writers warned of the same deceptions as did the Saviour. 1 Tim 4:1, 2 Tim 3:111; 2 Peter 3:3.
It is that period of time AFTER the world hears the gospel. Verse 14. I think that today more hear the gospel than at anytime in history. People from all over listen int to our little gatherings here in KICS!! Deception and lies are the devil’s response to the gospel! Today, the world is also filled with devil-inspired falsehoods meant to destroy the witness and effectiveness of the gospel! Many believe that what I am teaching you is heresy! So it was with Paul, Acts 24:14.
The word THEN (25:1) ties this parable into the subject matter and the events related by the Saviour in the previous chapter. There are a number of ‘links’ in the chain of events at the end of this age that the Saviour highlights. Please follow in your Bible the links that are to be found in the Saviour’s teaching.