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 281 articles so far, you can find them below.
God has a lot to say about the nations that were in the old Roman Empire; and in 2012 a series of meetings were held considering many such countries, so that particular thought should be given to what the Bible tells us of the future. This booklet has been added to that series of messages. The reason why the Lord has told us so much is because He would have us to understand His purpose for the earth.
We continue to examine this word “REST” which the Saviour uses to describe what those who serve Him enjoy.
Rest is found in bearing Christ’s yoke. He is there alongside us. “For we are labourers together with God,” 1 Corinthians 3:9.
God’s vineyard is a place of rich reward.
“The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it,” Pro 10:22. “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory,” 1 Samuel 2:8.
IMMEDIATE REWARDS HERE ON EARTH. John 15:11; 16:20, 22; Acts 8:8, 13:52, 15:3; 1 Peter 1:8. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,” Romans 14:17.
Having looked at the truth that God’s vineyard is a place of work and labour, we come now to the truth that:
SERVING GOD IS NOT A WEARISOME THING!
1. God’s vineyard is a place of joy.“Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased,” Psalm 4:7.
“And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease,” Isaiah 16:10. Both these verses link joy with labour in the vineyard.
Service for Christ is a blessed thing! Oh! what a kind and gentle Master the Saviour is!
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30.
It is like heavenly rest, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them,” Revelation 14:13.
IV. WHAT IT WAS THE FATHER WISHED HIS SONS TO DO (Continued).
“Son, go work to day in my vineyard,” Matthew 21:28.
We continue where we left off on Tuesday past. We considered how that a vineyard is special place, specially chosen for its richness of soil, sunshine and sheltered.
Now let us continue to consider:
1. God’s vineyard is His Church and it is there we are called to work. “Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill,” Isa 5:1. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman,” John 15:1.
As Adam was placed in a garden to till it so Christians have the keeping of God’ vineyard. “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it,” Genesis 2:15. Man was meant to work. Idleness leads to sin. This is an age when men are paid to be idle. Here is danger. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters,” Ezekiel 16:49.
Labourers are needed. “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest,” Luke 10:2.
Help rendered to God’s elect is counted as an act of love toward Christ. Matt 25:34-40. “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” Matthew 25:40.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ,” Gal 6:2. Every kindness to a fellow Christian is an act of love toward the Saviour.
2. It is a place of much labour. From the beginning of the year until the harvest, the vineyard is a place of labour.
It is a full-time work. God has much work for men to do. To serve in the garden and to watch over it. There is employment for all, no matter what your talents and abilities are.
It is not so in this world. Many can find no work for they are not qualified.
3. We are privileged to labour amongst a glorious workforce. First of God is a fellow-labourer. “For we are labourers together with God,” 1 Corinthians 3:9. As well as that we may count the most wonderful human beings who ever lived as companions. From Adam, Abel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, David, the great prophets, the apostles, the Reformers, the great revivalists etc. All our counted as our fellows!
The last time I was with you we were considering how that there is not one sinner in heaven which sought God before He sought them. “He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters,” Ps 18:16. “For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell,” Ps 86:13. “Salvation is of the LORD,” Jonah 2:9. “We love him, because he first loved us,” 1 John 4:19.
WHAT IT WAS THE FATHER WISHED HIS SONS TO DO.
“Son, go work to day in my vineyard,” Matthew 21:28.
God has a vineyard. It is His Kingdom. “The kingdom of God,” verse 31.
1. A vineyard is special place. It is the choicest ground, so situated to provide much sunshine and shelter. It is carefully and loving watched over. It is well protected. “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth,” Deut 7:6.
“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers,” 1 Pet 3:12.