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 405 articles so far, you can find them below.

Just what is a Christian? Pt2

“The Christian’s deliverance” Ephesians 2:4-7.

Stream or download Just what is a Christian? Pt2

Having considered the lost estate in which we as sinners were born, Paul takes us on to consider the change God wrought and how it was God delivered us from such a dreadful condition. The picture Paul paints of the natural man’s spiritual state in verses 1-3 is a dark picture indeed! However, see how the next verse begins!
“But God.” He it is Who makes the difference!
The Christian has had a spiritual resurrection.

Can we ever emphasise this truth sufficiently?
It is the chief of errors for man to believe that he is the author of his own redemption.
It is the chief of errors for it was the first manifestation of man’s sinfulness. “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD,” Genesis 4:3. This offering was in direct disobedience of what it was God required as an expression of faith in His mercy – A LAMB. The labour of man’s hand is considered by many sufficient to save their soul. It is a universal and utterly destructive error!.
This error is the greatest hindrance to conversion. As long as man feels that he controls this matter he will not heed God’s warnings and exhortations. Who will seek unto the doctor who believes himself fit and healthy!
This error is the last to be overcome in the sinner’s heart. This sin keeps the sinner hard and unbowed and defiant. It is built on pride! ‘I am good enough for heaven! It must be overcome before there is a bending of the knee before Christ and a recognising that “Salvation is of the Lord,” as Jonah cried out, Jonah 2:9.
This man must learn and believe before he can be saved.

If it is not of man then it must be of God and that unmerited and undeserved.
1. Love is the foundation of God’s plan of salvation. Love is the spring of all that God undertook to do for His elect. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God,” John 3:16. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins,” 1 John 4:9-10. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life,” Titus 3:4-7.
2. He graciously undertook the work of redemption. Out of His love sprang His free unmerited plan of deliverance. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) . . . For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:5, 8.
Please note the clear setting forth the truth that it was GOD, not man who wrought this work!
3. God’s salvation brings to the believing sinner the wonderful benefits of God’s mercy and grace. His benevolent action toward the sinner sprang from His love and grace. Note what it is the believing sinner enjoys as a result. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in hiskindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” verses 6-7.

I must stress this for how many go, as it were, knocking at the wrong door looking for salvation! “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” verses 5-6. It is THROUGH CHRIST ALONE that we are saved! There is a story told us in 2 Kings 5:1-14, in which a Syrian General, Naaman, who suffered from leprosy is told that there was a man in Israel, Elisha the prophet, who could heal him from his disease. Naaman, like all men, made assumptions regarding the matter and didn’t heed the simple instructions given him. Consequently he turned up at the royal palace with a fortune in gold and silver to pay for his cure. Not until he heeded the instructions and went to Elisha and obeyed his instructions was he healed.

It is to Christ we must go for the saving of our soul, not the church or minister, the saints or any other. I repeat the words of Mary, recorded in John 2:5. “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Peter said on one occasion, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life,” John 6:68.

There you have it listener! Salvation comes to us THROUGH the Lord Jesus ALONE! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God,” 1 Peter 3:18. He purchased salvation for His people on the cross of Calvary.
Again I quote Peter: “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.

Before we leave these words in Ephesians 2:1, please note that Paul speaks in the past tense. He says: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” The wonderful work of regeneration has taken place for them. They are presently ‘alive in Christ’! Their conversion was a past event. They were in Christ. Their sins were forgiven. THEY WERE SAVED!

Paul would have them know that this is what they have, where they are. The phrase “by grace ye are saved” means literally, “by grace ye have been saved.”
God’s grace is conveyed to us through Jesus Christ. You know nothing of God’s grace until you are united to Christ.

Every Christian has a real and vital union with Christ. We were joined to Christ in the covenant of grace before the worlds began but there came a time when experimentally, the Christian was brought into union with Christ and was made spiritually alive.

As the branch partakes of the life of the trunk, even so we are partakers of Christ’s life. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing,” John 15:5. We live off Christ. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,” Galatians 2:20.

If you are not united to Christ the life then you are dead in your sins.

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:6-7.

Not merely made alive but made to share in Christ’s glory. These are the eternal benefits and blessings of faith in Christ. “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,” Rev 3:21.
We are citizens of heaven. “For our conversation (or our citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20. Hannah, the mother of Samuel rejoiced in prayer and said: “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.

Hear John’s word on this matter. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is,” 1 John 3:2.

Dear listener, seek unto Christ for these blessings and be assured of them in time and eternity.

News review for week ending Friday 7th December 2018

“The LORD’S voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it,” Micah 6:9.

Presbyterian minister: Church must do more for people with HIV

I think if you read this ‘minister’s’ statement you will find that he does not mention ‘God’, ‘Christ’, ‘the Bible’ or ‘sin’. It is strange for a ‘minister’ to speak on any subject without using these words!!!

N.I. bookshop bans DUP members over same sex marriage stance

Given present trends within the DUP, one wonders how long the ‘bookshop’ will feel such a ban necessary!!??

Influential Presbyterian minister Henry Cooke was ‘the father of Ulster Unionism’

All political philosophy has its roots in some form of religious allegiance. It is good to know that ‘Unionism’ was once rooted in the teaching of the Bible!!

Landslide Sinn Fein victory in 1918 Irish election ‘not down to voting reform’

Child cruelty and neglect cases in Northern Ireland up by 350% in five years

The cause?? The legalising of perversion and its impact upon the public’s moral perception. In other words, the ABANDONMENT of the Bible!

Man widely named as ‘Stakeknife’ the Army’s IRA informer guilty of possessing beastiality images

No clearer view of the dark and depraved world of republican terrorists could be given to the public than this!!

Eilis O’Hanlon: Terrorism has always provided the perfect cover for sociopaths like Freddie Scappaticci to perpetrate the basest acts

N.I. war graves attacked by vandals using ‘I.R.A. graffiti’

Brexit: Minister resigns over Theresa May’s ‘naive’ deal

May’s Brexit plan a deal in name only, says minister who quit

Sammy Wilson: Brexit legal advice will prove Theresa May is a liar

Alex Kane: We have no amicable way to settle our Brexit dilemma

‘I have never seen UK and NI in such a mess in over 30 years’

Brexit must not reignite Troubles, says John Kerry

Britain’s Brexit legal advice released amid DUP threats

Brexit deal a ‘stepping stone’ to united Ireland

Political leaders in Dublin see the agreement as a “stepping stone” to a united Ireland – Leading economist and University of Cambridge academic.

‘Brexit is a big opportunity’ Sinn Fein leader says united Ireland referendum is COMING

Theresa May pleads for Brexit deal backing amid constitutional row

Contempt debate launched as DUP demand complete Brexit legal advice

Northern Ireland will never be able to exit this backstop

‘It’s NOT the end of the world’ Mervyn King SLAMS Mark Carney over Brexit analysis

‘It’s as bad as appeasing Hitler’: Ex Bank of England Governor Mervyn King savages Theresa May’s Brexit deal branding it a ‘humiliating submission’

Theresa May suffers three Brexit defeats in Commons

May’s Brexit deal likened to ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ after three Commons defeats

‘Establishment HATES Brexit!’ Tory MP delivers passionate Commons tirade in tense debate

Brexit: Top Tory hints MPs need Irish backstop ‘reassurance’ to back May’s deal

DUP denies breaking deal as party helps inflict huge defeat on PM

?????????????? 🤨

PM’s false promises laid bare – Jim Allister, TUV.

IRELAND’S EU FURY: Dublin set for TAX WAR with Brussels – ‘We have STRONG concerns’

We are really heart-broken about such a prospect!!!!🤣

Irish premier says reopening talks over UK withdrawal deal ‘not feasible’

Boris Johnson: EU makes ‘predatory claim’ on Northern Ireland

Those claims are made on behalf of the Irish Republic!!

Unbelievable that PM would even consider signing this deal: UUP leader, Robin Swann

Stark madness: eight reasons why this deal must be binned

Brexit legal advice reveals ‘central weaknesses’ in the Government’s deal

Suzanne Breen: Unionists united in opposition as Remainers rally around backstop

Nelson McCausland: All across Europe, the old order is changing and the only certainty is uncertainty

DUP MP accused of peddling Brexit fear after claiming ‘backstop’ goes further than anything ‘achieved by the IRA’

This SDLP ‘whinger’, referred to in the article, needs to confront Sinn Fein on the issue since it is already rubbing its hands in glee at the prospects of a united Ireland!!

May indicates MPs could decide if Northern Ireland backstop is triggered

John Humphrys TEARS into Theresa May in heated Brexit clash – ‘you are NOT listening’

EU ON BRINK: Germany unleashes Brexit burden WARNING as migration row erupts

Gibraltar values being British as much as Northern Ireland does

I would agree with the writer that a ‘hard border’ is desirable. The DUP’s objection to it has partly created our problem now!!!

Nigel Dodds: ‘Rather than roadshow, government should listen to MPs’

BREXIT LIVE: Theresa May under pressure to SCRAP vote as shock poll SAVAGES EU exit plan

We need a major public inquiry into the IRA because few of its victims will get justice

Diversity of views not tolerated in Sinn Fein, claims Peadar Toibin

He didn’t object when his political companions, the IRA, were murdering those who held views differing from them. He has only started complaining when his views are no longer acceptable to his former compatriots!!!

Martin McGuinness’ brother ‘to stand for (Peadar Toibin’s) new party’

Dismay but no surprise as McElduff returns to politics: victims campaigner

Sinn Fein must be very short of candidates when they run this evil little wart!!!

Dutch damages to Jews inspires Libya-IRA terror victims

I may have shot Ballymurphy bystander during mad 30 seconds, ex-soldier tells inquest

This ongoing ‘inquiry’ highlights the fact that no one shot during the violent riot, in the opinion of the locals, was guilty of any wrong-doing. This seems to ever be the case with republican ‘insurrection!!!

Soldier’s evidence on Ballymurphy killing deemed ‘most likely’

Ballymurphy inquest: Edward Doherty ‘possibly in throwing stance’

Maybe not such an ‘innocent bystander’!!!

Horror in Belfast as father shot dead in front of children on school run

West Belfast: Victim shot by lone gunman in hi-vis vest

The murder has all the marks of an internecine killing amongst West Belfast republicans. The condemners, among them SF representatives, seem to forget the decades of IRA terror in that area and the votes given to the party that supported the campaign of terror!!

Children who witnessed brutal killing could be at risk of PTSD’

The queue for compensation is forming up already!!!

Unionist fury as Strabane Christmas tree ‘desecrated’ with names of republican prisoners

The ‘heroism’ of those named is as real as is the ‘red-robed figure’ Christmas is all about!!

Northern Ireland sees 40% increase in deaths caused by alcohol since 2001

Irish Catholic Bishops: ‘Don’t force conscientious objectors to participate in abortion’

Why has no Protestant minister spoken out on this matter???

Jonathan Bell secretly recorded meetings with Peter Robinson and BBC’s Stephen Nolan

Emma Little-Pengelly shocked that party leader did not back Cairns over bully claims

Foster accepts some of her sworn RHI evidence may have been wrong

Sinn Féin admits it used public funds to pay ‘super spad’

Ulster’s friends who opposed Home Rule

Lindy McDowell: Looming shadow of anti-Semitism is threatening to engulf all of us

Schools cannot toilet train your children, Ofsted tells parents

Family life having broken down as a result of the departure from the Bible, many present-day parents have little knowledge of how or what to instruct their children in the basics of social behaviour!!

France fuel protests: ‘Yellow vests’ pull out of PM meeting

France fuel protests: PM Philippe suspends fuel tax rise

MACRON BUCKLES: Weak French President CAVES IN as riots and rebels force red-faced u-turn

France protests: Government fears ‘major violence’ in coming days

END OF MACRON: French MPs launch NO CONFIDENCE vote amid nationwide anger and riots

The Parables #87

The Lost Sheep, #11.
Scripture: Luke 15:1-7.

Stream or download The Parables #87

I. Notice what the Lord did in order to find the lost sinner.

1. He had to ‘leave’ the 99. What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? To ‘leave’ is like the setting up of a home. Matt 19:5.

2. Just who are the 99? They are commonly considered other members of His flock, believers in other words. I am not so sure that this is so. Others consider them the ungodly who consider themselves in no need of redemption.

I reject both views.

I believe that we have a picture of the Saviour leaving His Father’s house and those wonderful heavenly, angelic creatures who are sinless and therefore in no need of repentance, in order to come to earth to save His elect.

Consider these verses:- Hebrews 12:2-3; John 17:5, Philippians 2:7. Here is the Saviour leaving behind His glory and the glorious company of Heaven. The angelic hosts are his flock which He has created and loves as well, Col 1:16.

Just what is a Christian? Pt1

Let the Bible Speak Broadcast aired on Radio Star Country, Co. Monaghan.

Stream or download Just what is a Christian? Pt1

Sermon notes.

“The Christian’s Past,” Ephesians 2:1-3
In order to answer the question we must go back to what a Christian was before he became
a Christian!
These first three verses of this chapter reveal the spiritual state of the Ephesians before
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye
walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the
air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 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 2:1-3.
This is the spiritual state of us all by nature. This is the state we were in when we were born
and in which we will remain unless we experience the saving grace of God through the Lord
Jesus Christ.
Here is a very important doctrine. Our eternal salvation depends upon our receiving this


1. The double term used by Paul refers to sin within and without. They were
“dead in trespasses and sins.” This is a reference both to the root and the fruit of sin
within us. We trespass because of the sinful nature that we have. There are trespasses in our
lives because there is sin in our hearts. We must deal with the heart if we are to see a change
in our lives! Mere religious activities cannot do that no more than washing can cure cancer!

2. The degree of their sinfulness. How spiritually diseased are we? There is no life —
we are dead in sins. There are three deaths in the New Testament which illustrate this
doctrine. Luke 8:51-55. “For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she
lay a dying,” verse 42. This is a 12-year old girl who has just died.
Then in Luke 7:11-12 we read: “And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city
called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came
nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his
mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.” This is a young
male adult that is dead and on the way to the grave yard.
Again, in John 11:39-44 we read of Lazarus who was dead for three days and already in the
All were dead but there was a differing degree of corruption. All men are equally dead in sin
but some more subject to its corruption than others.

3. Sin within produces death without. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth
forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death, James 1:15. The death within
brings forth the harvest of death in our lives. The human heart can only bring forth this
fruit. That is why we need a new heart. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit
will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give
you an heart of flesh,” Ezekiel 36:26. This is the ‘New Birth’ of which the Bible speaks. This
is the ‘quickening’ which Paul says the Ephesians had experienced. “And you hath he
quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins,” Ephesians 2:1.
That is the need of every one of us today. The Lord Jesus said that “Except a man be born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” John 3:3. There is no heaven without that
‘quickening’ which the Ephesians to whom Paul is writing experienced.

II. Being dead in sin, meant that the Ephesians were, before conversion, slaves
of sin!

Listen to how Paul describes their former state. “Wherein in time past ye walked according
to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that
now worketh in the children of disobedience: 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 2:2-3.
There are a few terms there that need a little explaining.

1. The unconverted man walks in step with the world. Its habits, its pleasures, its
appetites and lustings. Drug use is universal today yet but a few years ago most had never
heard of those substances which are commonly used today! It is so universal that even
school children indulge in this craze. The unconverted man walks in step with the world and
not with God or His law!
Paul says: “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.” the word conversation there means
‘the lifestyle we adopted!’ WE WERE ALL engaged in such behaviour, even Paul before his
conversion. He said of himself: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me,
for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer,
and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ
Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the
world to save sinners; of whom I am chief,” 1 Timothy 1:12-15. Without the saving grace of
God this how we all behave!

2. But please note also that the unconverted man’s walk is not only sinful but
he walks ‘according to the prince of the power of the air.’ No person likes to hear
this. They may accept that they sin ‘a little’ but they will object to being told that they are
under the power and influence of the devil! But that is the teaching of the Bible.
Furthermore it is demonstrated daily before our eyes! The devil is called by the Lord Jesus “a
murderer . . . . and a liar,” John 8:44. He is the father of both. There are very few who do
not support murder in one form or another. From political murders to the abortion of the
unborn there are multitudes who have given support to such. What of lies? We see the
evidence of the influence of the devil all around us in every sphere of society! That was the
state of the members of the Ephesian Church before they were rescued by the grace of

3. But look again, and there is something much more alarming stated here by
the apostle. Paul says that while the Ephesians were in this state of sin they
“were by nature the children of wrath,” verse 3. That means they were subject to
the wrath of God, walking under its deep shadow continually! Few give any thought to this,
chiefly because the judgment of God has all but been erased from the pulpit. It is not
fashionable to tell men and women that there is a hell and it is to that dreadful place sinners
who reject Christ and His gospel are going for all eternity!
But no matter how unpopular and unfashionable it is today to preach such a doctrine Paul
preached. It And, it must be said, so did the Saviour Himself ! Here are some of His words
on the matter. “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into
Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes,
being in torments,” Luke 16:22-23.
Dare any deny what Christ so plainly taught?


Being “children of disobedience” we became “children of wrath.”

1. Note that we are by nature children of wrath. The phrase means “by birth.” We
were born sinners under the wrath of God. This is the result of Adam’s transgression. We
have inherited his sinful nature and the condemnation under which his fall brought all his

2. A right understanding of this truth will cause the sinner to see his need of
Christ. Christ is not an accessory without which we can get along very successfully. No,
being under God’s wrath we need a Redeemer Who can deliver us from that wrath.


3. It explains why Christ suffered at the cross. He endured what His people
deserved to endure. The sufferings of Christ were more than that which was visible to man.
He bore the wrath of God for His people. Reject Him and you will bear that wrath
throughout eternity.