About Ivan Foster

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.

Ivan has written 582 articles so far, you can find them below.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, Part 19

After Conversion . . . . What Then? Pt 6.

Scripture: Eph 1:15-23.

Stream or download The unsearchable riches of Christ, Pt19

How appropriate it is that we find ourselves studying these words on the day that marks the rising of Christ from the dead.

We began our consideration of the last petition of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians on the last occasions I was with you, two weeks ago. We considered the fact that we are sadly ignorant of the power that God exercises on behalf of His people in order to bring about their redemption. Paul is praying that the Ephesians may become more enlightened regarding this glorious topic. May God be pleased to open our eyes also.

I. OUR FAITH IN CHRIST IS THE RESULT OF THE MIGHTY POWER OF GOD
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to (in consequence of) the working of his mighty power, verse 19. See verses 5, 7, 9, 11.

1. Believing in Christ is not the simple matter men say it is. Martin Luther commented on the passage, Col 1:12-13, in the following words. “Faith is no easy matter. . . . Neither is it a mere human work, which I can perform for myself, but it is a divine power in the heart, by which we are new born, and whereby we are able to overcome the mighty power of the devil and death.”
By believing it is an easy matter, men striving against the Holy Spirit, Who would bring them to faith and repentance, believing that they can of themselves work this miracle.

2. This must work humility and praise in Christians. Modern theology tends to rob God of His glory by speaking of “our decision.” It is born out of an ignorance of man’s spiritual condition, 2:1, and of what is involved in regeneration. Regeneration is resurrection. It cannot be wrought by man’s own power., Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil, Jer 13:23.

3. The continuing exercise of faith is wrought of God. When we consider what opposes the believer —his own sinful nature, an unbelieving, sneering world, the power of the arch enemy who exists only to defy and destroy His people — then our continuance in faith must be of God alone, Eph 3:20; 1 Peter 1:3-5. It is God’s power from beginning to the end, Hebs 13:20-21.

After Conversion what then? Pt 5

Scripture: Eph 1:15-23.
The word “what” in verse 19, brings us to the third petition of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians. It is the lengthiest of the petitions. It is a request that the people of God be acquainted with the greatness of God’s power which was put forth on behalf of God’s people.
I. SADLY, WE ARE IGNORANT OF THE EXTENT OF THE POWER GOD’S EXERCISES ON OUR BEHALF
The mightiness of God has gone forth on our behalf. This what God would have us know. What has been experienced by every true believer is no common or small matter. No, we have been the subjects of the efficiency of God’s mighty power. Having considered the calling of which every believe is the subject and the riches of our inheritance, it inevitable that Paul would wish us to know the of the power that is at work in us to accomplish God’s will in us.
The splendor of the inheritance which is ours would tend to create anxieties over whether or not our sinful failures and rebellions will finally deprive us of heaven. The greater the treasure a man carries, the more nervous he is about losing it! But consider: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure, Philippians 2:13. This is the secret of what we are. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Ephesians 3:20. God is working in us to accomplish the ends for which we have been called by His grace.
1. The Christian is the product of God’s power. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek, Romans 1:16. We are God’s workmanship, Eph 2:10, Phil 1:6. We are a new creation, 2 Cor 5:17.
2. Were we to understand this better, how humble we would be. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture, Psalm 100:3. Man can not claim any part in this work. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1.
3. Were we to understand this better, how grateful we would be. John 5:1-9. Here is a picture of each one of us. Unworthy, helpless, afflicted, dying. Here is a picture of sovereign grace at work. Christ spoke to this man only and healed him and that when he was in ignorance of Who Christ was.
4. Were we to understand this better, how happy we would be. We are kept by the power of God, 1 Peter 1:3-5. Do we fear for the creation? Are we fearful of the earth disintegrating or the stars falling? No, for God upholds them. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made, John 1:3. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:3.
This is the happiness of the psalmist, Ps 46; 118:6.