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 321 articles so far, you can find them below.
“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him,” Matthew 21:28-32.
I. PLEASE NOTE THE FIRST WORDS OF CHRIST.
“But what think ye?”
1. The Lord Jesus wants us all to think! He wants us to use the faculties with which we were born.
2. He especially want us to think about eternal things. “Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you,” Matthew 21:31.
3. Men do not of themselves think on such things. The mind of the unsaved cannot mount upward to spiritual things of themselves. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him, John 6:44.
“Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me,” John 6:45.
“And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father,” John 6:65.
“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts,” Ps 10:4.
C of I bishop shares view of ‘majority of electorate’ in abortion referendum
This is the voice of ‘Ecumenical Apostasy’ which encouraged the utter rejection of God’s Word on the matter of abortion in the south of Ireland and which would encourage people to engage in the same rebellion here in Northern Ireland. Read the Newsletter report.
Police won’t give same focus to my husband’s murder as that of backpacker Inga, says widow
Political interests have always dominated the activities of the police in Northern Ireland with a blind eye often being turned upon the activities of Sinn Fein/IRA over the many years of their murderous terrorism!!
At Saturday’s Irish referendum results’ announcement in Dublin Castle, Sinn Féin’s Mary-Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill held up a sign saying: “The North is next”.
For many of us, there was a stirring of memories of a time when IRA men have muttered those words to their next intended ‘victim’. “You’re next”!
What McDonald and O’Neill, these two highly lacquered and varnished harpies, female exponents of murdering unwanted babies, are indicating is that the position on abortion that is law in Northern Ireland will be targeted by them and their allies in the “killing babies coalition.” Read more…
NI should not be bullied into ‘accepting abortion on demand’, says Ian Paisley MP
The abortion referendum in the republic of Ireland: ‘INFANTICIDE ENDORSED’
A ‘Belfast Newsletter’ editorial on May 26th, the day following the “YES” vote in the referendum on the repeal of the eighth amendment of the Irish Constitution which limits the circumstances under which an abortion may take place, contained the following statements.
“We are going to have to give the matter a lot of thought in Northern Ireland too. As with many issues, from hospital rationalisation to public sector reform to social matters, Stormont fears hard choices.
The limited push for abortion reform in the last assembly struck me as one that ducked the point: the emphasis was on victims of rape or families dealing with fatal foetal abnormality. But these tragic cases are a tiny fraction of abortions.
The real debate is over abortion on demand, which has barely been discussed at Stormont. Read more…
Irish Referendum decision is a grave threat to the unborn child in Northern Ireland.
Statement from Jim Wells MLA.
‘The outcome of the referendum on the 8th Amendment in the Irish Republic is an extremely worrying development for the protection of the unborn child in Northern Ireland’.
‘Not only has the Republic voted to allow what will be effectively abortion on demand, the size of the Yes majority will give TDs and Senators a mandate to introduce wide ranging, liberal legislation’.
‘It is inevitable that the abortion industry based in Great Britain will set up clinics in border towns and promote their services to Northern Ireland women. It will be much easier to terminate a child’s life if this can be done at a clinic in Dundalk or Letterkenny rather than flying to London or Manchester’.
‘Verified research has shown that the impediment of the Irish Sea has encouraged pregnant women to think again and as a result 100,000 lives have been saved in Northern Ireland’.
‘The referendum decision will mean that Northern Ireland and Malta will remain the only parts of Europe where the unborn child will have a high level of protection’.
‘The ray of hope is that our neighbours in County Donegal voted to protect the unborn child’.
‘Whilst deeply disappointed by yesterday’s vote the Pro Life movement must now redouble its efforts to prevent any change in law in Northern Ireland. I remain totally pledged to all that I can to help them achieve this’.
Changed beyond recognition: Ireland witnesses a second uprising after abortion vote
SDLP leader’s backing for abortion Yes vote ‘is political suicide’
More than that, it is above all rebellion against God and His Law and the endorsing of the murder of the unborn child! Read more.
Claims of ‘illegal’ adoption at former Marianvale home in Newry
Eternity will will disclose the full panoply of Rome’s crimes. “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double,” Revelation 18:5-6. Read more.
Pope Francis praised for telling gay man ‘God made you like this’
There is no praise from God for this abominable liar and this his latest monumental lie! “And he (the Lord Jesus) answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,” Matthew 19:4. “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination,” Leviticus 18:22.
To make God the author of such wickedness is the ultimate blasphemy! Read more.
Australian archbishop faces prison over sex abuse cover up
He faces something much more terrible than prison!!! Read more.
PROTEST AGAINST THE DESECRATION OF THE LORD’S DAY,
Report from Rev Paul Hanna
We had a mighty open-air service today at the Mt Merrion entrance of the Kingspan Ulster Rugby stadium.
We were joined by over 30 willing participants from many of our churches from near and far including Revs P. Foster, B. McClung, D. McLaughlin and myself from the Belfast Churches.
We assembled directly opposite the main entrance where we’d a great opportunity to present Christ to the multitudes of people as they passed by.
The couple of thousand special tracts (commissioned by the Government and morals committee for the occasion) were almost entirely used up, and it has to be said afterwards that not one was seen (by this preacher) discarded on the ground.
All four ministers took part, each bringing a short word in the Gospel with much bright singing as well (musical accompaniment provided by one of our very capable College students).
Many thanks to those who supported us in any way.
Some pictures from the protest are below.
Diocese of Dromore confirms PSNI investigate priest
The Rev Foster writes: “…Ben Lowry believes we should all welcome to Northern Ireland (is) one who exceeds all other deceivers. He (Pope Francis) claims to be God on earth!” and “Mr Lowry’s stance is an indication of the gross ignorance that exists on the historic position of the Reformed Church on the teachings of Rome.”
Read more, including Rev. Foster’s follow up letter.
Daughter of top republican waives anonymity in abuse compensation bid
Former Conservative Party chairman Lord Tebbit snubs Sunday services conducted by a gay dean the Tory peer has branded a ‘sodomite’
Lord Tebbit is boycotting the cathedral near him in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
His comments were condemned, with calls for him to be expelled from the party
The 87-year-old Tory grandee is adamant that the canon of St Edmundsbury Cathedral is a ‘sodomite’
Lord Tebbit has provoked outrage by vowing to boycott services conducted by a gay dean the Tory peer has branded a ‘sodomite’.
The former Conservative Party chairman has been attending the cathedral near his home in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, for nine years but has told The Mail on Sunday he will no longer go there when the recently appointed Rev Canon Joe Hawes is officiating. Read more…
In this article, an opponent of Lord Tebbit has said that his Christianity was ‘skin deep’. If that is so, it is still a lot deeper than the ‘Christianity’ of the sodomites who now seem to dominate politics and the main denominations!!
Vineyard Church leader Alan Scott says Mary worship is fine and that he’s ‘all in’ with the Pope
The lead pastor of the Causeway Coast Vineyard church in Coleraine has declared his solidarity with the Pope, saying he is “all in” with that man of sin, and son of perdition.
LOUGHGALL: How the SAS wiped out ‘invincible’ IRA unit in just 10 minutes
London’s treachery toward Ulster’s Unionist people stopped this sort of effective action being taken early in the IRA campaign when hundreds of lives, the injuries of thousands and the sorrow and grief the terrorists caused could have been greatly avoided.
1966 Imprisonment of three ministers – Its Cause, Circumstances and Consequences
(Lurgan Young People’s Fellowship, 4th May 2018)
Thank you for your invitation to speak on the events surrounding the 1966 jailing of three Free Presbyterian minsters. This is the first invitation to speak specifically on this topic that I have received in recent years.
Please note the words of Jeremiah 11:7.
“For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice,” Jeremiah 11:7.
The Lord, through His servants, exercises a ministry of protest. Read more…
Ben Lowry, Deputy Editor of the Belfast Newsletter, could not be more wrong when he argues that the so-called ‘Protestant’ church leaders are right in saying that the pope should come to Northern Ireland. (Newsletter, Saturday 5th May.)
How can such men be right when they deny the Bible and the historic doctrines of their respective denominations?
Mr Lowry further argues that because “almost everybody of note ultimately comes to Northern Ireland at some point in their life, from Chinese or American or European leaders, to sports and music stars and business and religious leaders, including the Dalai Lama.” Read more…
Protestant church leaders urge Pope Francis to come north
Such urgings by these men show just how far these three denominations have moved from the Bible and from the fundamentals of their own creeds. Just how do they explain this shift in their theological position in the light of the revelation of God’s immutability in such verses as: “But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end,” Psalm 102:27. “For I am the LORD, I change not,” Malachi 3:6. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever,” Hebrews 13:8. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,” James 1:17.
Modern, mainline denominations have removed themselves far from the unchanging and unchangeable TRUTH of God and are part of the end-time apostasy foretold in God’s Word.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,” 1 Timothy 4:1.
Such behaviour is in keeping with the arrogant claim of the Irish Republic of ‘owning’ Northern Ireland, a claim they supposedly relinquished back in 1999 in an effort to appease Unionists longstanding anger at such political arrogance.
The DUP may complain but what can they expect when they have surrendered all in order to enter power-sharing with Sinn Fein/IRA back in 2007 and, despite all that has happened since, would renew that coalition with the supporters of murder tomorrow if they could!!! Read more…
Lord Kilclooney accused of racism after calling Taoiseach (Leo Varadkar) ‘typical Indian’
The article not only highlighted the folly of Rome and her “saint-making’, but it revealed the Bible-denying apostasy of the Episcopalian Church of Ireland!
The article begins by stating: “The late Jesuit priest Fr John Sullivan, who was raised a Protestant, is to be declared “blessed” at a ceremony which will be attended by both the Church of Ireland and Catholic Archbishops of Dublin. In a year which also marks the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, it is the first ever beatification in Ireland – a major step on the path to sainthood – and will also involve Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The event will take place on May 13th at the Jesuit’s St Francis Xavier Church on Dublin’s Gardiner Street, a short distance from Eccles Street where Fr Sullivan was born in 1861.” Read more…
Two wanted men beaten with iron bars by a gang in south Armagh before being covered in paint
‘Up to 100’ witnessed Mullaghbawn vigilante attack
Those attacked were paedophiles! Those involved in the attack were most likely Sinn Feiners for there are few else living in south Armagh! They were therefore supporters of same sex-marriage and the ongoing plan by the Irish Republic’s government to bring in much more liberal ‘abortion’ laws.
How two-faced are Ireland’s popish political and religious systems! They can put on the false face of so-called liberal socialism and call for an embracing of the community of the sodomite and then beat two of that community to a pulp when they fall into their hands.
They are just like the lawless men of Sodom long ago!
“And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door,” Genesis 19:9.
As evangelical Protestants, we have been campaigning for No in Republic’s 8th referendum
“And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch,” Acts 11:26
Here in our text is the origin of the title which all true believers wear with honour. It can be seen immediately that the name Christian is that used of those who before were referred to as disciples. A disciple is one under instruction, a learner. A disciple of Christ is one who, having met with and obeyed Christ is now under His direction and tutelage.
While that may explain the meaning of the terms what we want to discover is what is a Christian? There is no title more abused and misused today. I believe that it is likely that 99% of those in this world who claim to be Christians are very sadly mistaken! “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” Matthew 7:22-23. I recall the parable of the lost sheep in which one sinner repented while 99 deemed repentance unnecessary! “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance,” Luke 15:7. Please recall that these remained in the wilderness wasteland, verse 4!!
I am going to give you three things that a Christian is.
I. A CHRISTIAN IS NO LONGER WHAT HE USED TO BE
What the Christian used to be many still are. “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” Ephesians 2:3. This gives us the likeness of what the believer used to be like. “He was a child of wrath even as others.” He was a sinner under condemnation of God’s holy law for his breaking of it repeatedly.
But he has been changed, wonderfully changed since then.
1. No one is more aware of this change than himself. “He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see,” John 9:25.
Paul’s testimony: “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities,” Acts 26:9-11.
What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought
Since Jesus came into my heart!
I have light in my soul which so long I had sought
Since Jesus came into my heart!
2. This change has been seen by others also. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” 2 Cor 5:17. It would hardly amount to much if others did not see it. “But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men,” Matthew 9:8.
3. Above all, there is a change in God’s eyes.
No longer condemned but forgiven. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” Rom 8:1.
No longer an enemy by wicked works but reconciled. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled,” Colossians 1:21.
No longer a stranger but a citizen of heaven. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God,” Ephesians 2:19.
No longer afar off but made nigh. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ,” Ephesians 2:13.
No longer unclean but washed. “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God,” 1 Corinthians 6:11.
II. A CHRISTIAN IS SOMEONE WHO IS NO LONGER TRAVELLING THE ROAD HE USED TO
There has been a complete turn about, a change of direction. That is the meaning of “repentance”!
1. He is travelling in the opposite direction. He is moving against the stream of this world. He finds himself in contradiction to the views, ideas, delights, pleasures and ambitions of this world. He can no longer agree with those with whom he formerly sped down the road of sin. “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you,” 1 Peter 4:1-4.
2. He is travelling to a different destination. Not for him the city of destruction. Now he is going to the Celestial city. Abraham, “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God,” Hebrews 11:10.
3. He is travelling in new company. There is a people which are called his people, his own company. “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts,” Psalm 119:63. “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them,” Acts 4:23. “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God,” Ruth 1:16.
Here is where the Christian now feels at home.
III. A CHRISTIAN IS ONE WHO HAS ETERNAL RICHES WHERE ONCE HE HAD NOTHING BUT POVERTY
1. How poor the unsaved man is. “But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God,” Psalm 40:17. Spiritually we are only beggars!
2. The discovery of such riches is through the gospel. “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me,” Acts 26:17-18.
3. Such riches are not subject to decay or loss. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” 1 Peter 1:3-5.
4. He has a title and an estate to go with his riches. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together,” Romans 8:16-17. “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins,” Colossians 1:12-14.
A crown. “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. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away,” 1 Peter 5:4.
A Throne. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne,” Revelation 3:21. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years,” Revelation 20:4.
Do you meet this description? Do you have grounds for calling yourself a Christian.
“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,”
As a people we revere the Bible. It is given a prominent place in our services and in our lives. We preach its doctrines and contend for its truths. We seek to live by its precepts.
The word BIBLE comes from a Greek word BIBLOS = The BOOK. This is the BOOK for us.
My text is one suited to this subject. Please consider its teaching.
I. THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD.
Here is why we revere the Bible. It is the Book of God. Let me tell you some things about this Bible.
1. It is the record of God’s law. “I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing,” Hosea 8:12. God’s moral law for all men in all ages is found in the Bible and in the Bible ALONE. It must govern our views, our thoughts, our words and our actions.
The anarchy of today stems from the abandonment of God’s Word in pulpit, pew and parliaments.
2. It was given by the Holy Spirit. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” 2 Peter 1:21. The penmen were mere humans but the One Who ‘moved’ (carried) them to write the Holy Scriptures was the Third Person of the Trinity – God the Holy Ghost. It is God’s production.
3. It is eternal. “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you,” 1 Peter 1:25.
What changes a lifetime brings! What changes we have seen in the affairs of the nation. Men whose words gripped and thrilled the populace have passed away and their words are forgotten. But not the Word of God! That which gave hope to the prophets, the apostles and the reformers gives hope and comfort to poor sinners still today.
4. In hearing and reading it there is a blessing. “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it,” Luke 11:28. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand,” Revelation 1:3. Some books please some people while providing nothing for others. But this BOOK is one with universal appealand blessing for all who will believe its simple truths. It provides a blessing, oh such a blessing to all of every tribe and nation, who embrace by faith its sweet and precious doctrines.
5. Every word is true. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth,” John 17:17. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16. Men have sought since sin made its entrance to find an error, a contradiction, a lie in the Bible. Hallelujah, man has utterly failed!
Books that prove to be false soon fall in popularity. The Bible remains at the top of the ‘Best Sellers List.’
Were it a fraud and a deceit that would not be the case
6. It is God’s means of giving life. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls,” James 1:21. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever,” 1 Peter 1:23. What life it produces! What a change is wrought through the influence! “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
7. It is the Book which shall judge men. “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust,” John 5:45. Men will be judged by the Law that God gave by Moses, which is expounded and applied throughout the Bible, one day. Whether or not we believed its message will determine our eternal destination.
Hear Christ’s invitation. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28.
Heed the Bible’s message of salvation today.
II. FOR THE BIBLE TO BENEFIT US IT MUST GAIN ENTRANCE TO OUR HEARTS.
Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20. Only the seed that entered into the good ground bore fruit. The benefits of the Gospel are for those who receive it into their hearts.
1. The Word has to be received. “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost,” 1 Thess 1:6. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God,” 1 Thess 2:13.
The word ‘received’ means ‘to take hold of, to grasp with the hand’. Make sure you get a hold of God’s Word by faith tonight.
2. It must be received no matter what the consequences or pressures are . The Thessalonicans received the Word of God amidst much affliction. But receive it they did to the saving of their souls. The devil will try to steal, man will persecute,and the world will allure all with the purpose of robbing you of eternal life by hindering you receiving, believing God’s Word.
3. It is received by believing the message. The old definition of ‘Faith’ stands true: “Faith is just believing what God says He will do.”
The words ‘receive’ and ‘believe’ are interchangeably, John 1: 11-12. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” To receive the Lord Jesus as your Saviour is to believe what the Bible says about Him. John 9:35-38.
III. THE BENEFITS THE BIBLE BRINGS TO THOSE WHO RECEIVE ITS MESSAGE.
GIVETH – ‘Light’, ‘Understanding’. This principle is true of believers and unbelievers. The Christian must continue to give entrance to God’s Word.
1. There is a coming of light. Light is “given.” What a light has come into those nations which have received the Bible! The course of human history is a record of the benefits that the light of God’s Word has brought with it. It is given to the “simple”. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting (turning back) the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple,” Ps 19:7.
2. We gain an understanding of God. We know little about God through nature though great and wonderful is it record! It is the Bible alone which reveals God for it is His self-portrait. “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not,” John 1:10-11. The Saviour said: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” John 14:9.
The Lord Jesus is the revelation of the Father. He is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,” Hebrews 1:3.
Christ is God “manifest in the flesh.” (1 Timothy 3:16).
3. We gain an understanding of ourselves.“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. That picture of man’s corrupt heart is given us ONLY in the Bible. The philosophies of men regarding the curing of mankind’s ills are based upon a false diagnosis. Man is not seen for what he truly is. Only the Bible gives that picture and men generally reject its wisdom. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man,” Matthew 15:19-20.
This diagnosis is one men do not wish to receive and thereby they miss God’s cure for sin.
4. We gain an understanding of salvation. The Bible points us to Christ. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them,” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. Salvation is not found in a church or in a creed but it is found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12. Paul said: “But we preach Christ crucified,” 1 Corinthians 1:23.
That is the message of the Bible. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name,” John 20:30-31.
This blessed BOOK is the key to life. Obey it and it will reward you well. May you heed its call to Christ today!
Josiah’s reaction to the reading of the Law: A lesson for today
“And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king’s, saying, Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book,”
2 Chronicles 34:19-21.
The events of this chapter took place just a few years after the beginning of Jeremiah’s ministry. I have no doubt that what Josiah initiated by way of reforms was a direct result of the early preaching of Jeremiah. “For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images,” 2 Chronicles 34:3.
It was the influence of Jeremiah’s early preaching that prompted this desire to launch a programme of reforms.
We must note in the light of our text that:
I. A GOOD MAN MAY BE UNAWARE OF THE DEPTHS OF APOSTASY AROUND HIM
1. There can be no doubt that Josiah was a good man. From a very early age he showed evidence of grace. “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images,” 34:2-3.
And yet the revelation of the sins of the land and the anger of God was a shock to him! He rent his clothes! Gen 37:34.
2. The natural heart cannot see how wicked the world is without the aid of God. A hidden Bible means only one thing: IGNORANCE! The devil, the world and the human heart are a trinity of deceit for which we are no match. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.
* David was deceived by his own heart. “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man,” 2 Samuel 12:7.
* Ezekiel the prophet required God’s teaching. Eze 8:1-3, 6-12, 13-18.
3. This will certainly be so in the last days. Rev 17:1-2, 8. Even the saints of God will fail to see the wickedness. ‘Wondered’ Matt 8:10. Be it understood that you Christian are not wholly aware of todays’s sins.
II. THE SOURCE OF ENLIGHTENMENT IS THE BIBLE
“When the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.”
1. The great need of the hour is the rediscovery of the plain preaching of God’s Word. I mean expository preaching where the plain meaning of God’s Word is set before the people. Nehemiah 8:1-8. “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading,” Nehemiah 8:8.
There is too much topical preaching without any reference to the context of the verse selected. Such preaching may very often make little or no reference to the contextual setting in which the verse is found! This leads to what it is God is specifically saying in the passage being missed.
2. Such preaching, blessed by the Holy Spirit, produces a spiritual awareness amongst God’s people.
1 John 2:20-21, 27. Having been taught the truth and enjoying the ministrations of the Holy Ghost there is an awareness amongst them, a strengthens all the powers and faculties of the soul of the issues that faced them.
3. Paul is an example of such spiritual awareness. Acts 13:9-11.
III. JOSIAH INDICATES FOR US THE REACTION REQUIRED
1. An understanding of the state of the nation as seen by God will bring distress and alarm amongst God’s people. That is not how it is today! “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jer 5:31.
Perfectly content to sit amidst the apostasy and do not wish to be disturbed!! Isaiah 30:9-11; 2 Tim 4:3-4. (“latitudinarianism” – B W Newton.)
2. Brokenness of heart. Verse 27. Josiah wept! That is what caused Christ to weep over Jerusalem, Luke 19:41-44. “Known” = “Perceive.”
3. A seeking of God for what should be done. “Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah,” 34:21. We need instruction and it is plainly given us. Verses 29-33.
IV. GOD’S RESPONSE TO JOSIAH
1. There was a staying of judgment for the sake of Josiah’s prayer. Verses 27-28.
2. A reviving of the remnant took place. 35:18. May we hunger as did Josiah that we may see a breath of old-time religion amongst us.
3. When the judgment came, there was a people who had understanding of the times and knew what to do. It was about 45-46 years later that Jerusalem was overrun by the Babylonians. An opportunity was given to the obedient to instruct their offspring and prepare them to submit to God’s Word and the judgment that was coming. Those who obeyed lived. Jer 37:7-9, 16-17, 38:14-17. The prophet was able to inform of what was coming and what they should do. He called a for an acknowledgement of their sin and a humble submission unto God and a trusting in His mercy.
Therein is the very essence of the gospel message:— Submission and Trust!