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.
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Ivan has written 194 articles so far, you can find them below.

Bible pictures of Christ, Pt126

Isaiah’s wonderful Picture – Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

Scripture: Isaiah 53:7-12.

This is our final study in this series. It will bring our studies to number 126. The series started in September 2015.

There is no better place to finish than in the verses before us.

1. Here is the substitutionary death of Christ emphasised again.

This is the very heart of the gospel! “For the transgression of my people was he stricken,” V 8. The Saviour died for a specific people. His elect, His sheep. See Rom 8:32; Gal 3:13; Eph 5:2; 1 John 4:10.

2. The character of the Saviour displayed as He suffered.

He was a most uncomplaining Redeemer. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth,” V 7.
I believe this shows the utter willingness of the Lord Jesus to suffer and die for His people. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” Rom 5:6-8.

3. The chief sufferings of the Saviour came from Jehovah.

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, 10.
God punished His dearly beloved Son for the sins of the people He had made His. How wonderful this is!!
Here is how much we are loved.

4. The sufferings of Christ accomplish wonderfully the eternal purpose of God.

Isaiah 53:10-12.
“He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”
“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Note this verse highlights once more. VICTORY, SUFFERING, PRAYER.
Remember the words of the Saviour in Luke 24:25-27. “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself,” Luke 24:25-27.

Click to stream or download, Bible pictures of Christ, Pt126

Bible pictures of Christ, Pt125

Pictures of Christ – 16
Isaiah’s wonderful Picture – Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

Let us stand before this portrait of our Saviour on the cross and lovingly and reverently note what is set before us.

We are more privileged than those who actually stood at Calvary. They did not fully understand what was happening, Luke 24:15-17, but here we have God’s explanation of those dark and sombre events.

A very clear statement. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted,” Isaiah 53:4. He was the sin-bearer smitten of God.

A detailed explanation. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed,” Isaiah 53:5. The sufferings were His. The benefits were ours.

Wounded, bruised, chastised, stripes. His sufferings were severe and many. Mixture of words which denote the great and unknowable pain, the shame, the grief He bore when He became ‘sin for us’.

The benefits we obtained were likewise immeasurable and innumerable.

A telling illustration. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” Isaiah 53:6.

All – There is no exception to the sinfulness of mankind.

Like sheep have gone astray. We habitually, deliberately sinned. We left the paths of God’s law and the fields of obedience.

Turned every one to his own way. Rejected God and became our own gods and kings. Like the Prodigal son we left the ‘Father’s house’ and went into the far country away from His rule and presence.

“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,” Eph 2:2-3.

Where are you today? In the safety of the Saviour’s fold or out on the mountains amidst great danger?

Click to stream or download, Bible pictures of Christ, Pt125

Some further thoughts about Gideon, Pt2

IN HIS DEALINGS WITH GIDEON, GOD SHOWS HIS KINDNESS, PATIENCE AND LOVE

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust,” Psalm 103:13-14. “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth,” Isaiah 42:3.

1. Backsliding leaves us forgetful of God’s past mercies. This the prophet addressed, vvs 8-9.

2. Backsliding leaves us weak and filled with doubt. This good man had a problem with doubts and unbelief! Gideon was slow to recognise the Lord, verses 11-12. So it was in Laodicea, Rev 3:20. Plain Bible preaching seems ‘strange’Notice, it was the Lord Who came, appeared and spoke.

3. Backsliding leaves us full of questioning. Why? Where? Wherewith? These questions denote his ignorance. He does not seem to know the link between sin and judgment. Wherewith? He is limited in His view of God’s power. This is the consequence of sin and backsliding. We have a very diminished view of God.

4. The Lord patiently strengthens his faith. Vs 17, 36-40, 7:9.

THE VICTORY OVER THE MIDIANITES WAS TOTAL

“And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb,” 7:25.

The Midianites are never mentioned again in the OT except in reference to this victory. “Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison,” Psalm 83:9, see verse 6. This Psalm is prophetic and speaks of the events foretold in Psalm 2.

TWO OTHER REFERENCE TO THIS VICTORY LINKS IT TO CHRIST’S VICTORY OVER ANTICHRIST

Isaiah 9:4, 10:24-27. ‘The Assyrian’ is one the titles of the Antichrist of Rev 13. The victory of the Lord over the Assyrian in Hezekiah’s day pictures for us the future victory over the Antichrist.

1. When the Lord visits His people and blesses them it is always a foretaste of that great and final victory. All past and future victories spring from the cross where the powers of the devil were broken. We presently enjoy the benefits of it but we will yet see the full and final fruit of that glorious event.

2. How confident we may be of God blessing us today when we view the great victory that is on the horizon. It is because of the ultimate overcoming of the devil and his agents at Calvary that we can look to the Lord for a measure of that victory today. As Gideon was given a foretaste of that future victory even so may we experience it.

Click to stream or download, Some further thoughts on Gideon, Pt 2

Some further thoughts on Gideon, Pt1

Scripture: Judges 6-7

Last Lord’s Day morning we were treated to a wonderfully instructive message, preached by Rev Gordon Ferguson and based upon the story of Gideon in the book of Judges.

I personally was much blessed by the message, so much so that I would like to return to those chapters in Judges.

There is an inexhaustible depth to God’s Word and no preacher could ever bring out all the blessings that are in any passage, never mind one so rich as that which deals with the history of Israel in Gideon’s day.

By returning to this passage I am in no way implying any deficiency in Mr Ferguson’s message or preaching but rather seeking to explore a little the wonderful scenes he brought before us here last week.

The wonderful deliverance wrought by God in the days of Gideon began with a little noticed event.

I. THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL BEGAN WITH THE SENDING OF A PROPHET

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel,” Judges 6:7-8.
He is not named, for his name is unimportant, but his message is recorded.

1. There is always a return to the Bible before there is a move of God amongst His people. The Word of God is the “seed” from which all spiritual life springs. “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. As it was us individually, so it is with us collectively. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” John 6:63. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,” James 1:18. “Quicken thou me according to thy word,” Psalm 119:25.
Revival blessing will always be ‘according’ to His word. The Bible holds the key, not man’s notions of religious success and inventions to supposedly stir up interest in the things of God.

2. The message of the prophet is timeless. A reminding of past mercies, of past instructions, present disobedience! It will thus be ever so! It is the old message calling us to the ‘old paths’! “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein,” Jer 6:16.

3. That message is what generated the attitude and actions of Gideon. He treasured the fruit of Israel, hiding it from the enemy. He had listened to the prophet, vv 8, 13. He is echoing the prophet. He was looking for a further display of the great power which had delivered Israel in the past. Here is where the expectation of revival comes from.

Click to stream or download, Some further thoughts on Gideon, Pt 1

Bible pictures of Christ, Pt124

Isaiah’s wonderful Picture – Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

Despite the dreadful truth that, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not,” Isaiah 53:3, we read in the next verse: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted,” Isaiah 53:4.

To “esteem” means ‘to form an estimation of’. Christ was counted of no value. “And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate,” Luke 23:11.

1. The people for whom Christ suffered are the people who despised Him.

Not one of the millions who will get to heaven through the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus will ever be able to say: “I never despised Him, rejected Him. I never hid my face from Him or did not esteem Him.” Paul’s testimony is really the testimony of all believers. “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.

2. The chief sufferings of Christ were at the hands of God.

“Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted,” Isaiah 53:4. The view formed by the people of the Saviour in His sufferings was that He was rejected by God. He was rejected on the cross by His Father but the people were wrong in their thinking of why this happened!

They deemed him a sinful man, unrighteous and therefore rejected by God. But the Saviour’s rejection was because the Father “Made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” 2 Cor 5:21.

On the cross the Father dealt with Christ as He would deal with us sinners. He forsook Christ, He judged Christ, He punished Christ. But was God acting in mercy to us and judging His So rather than us! “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” Romans 5:8.

Click to stream or download, Bible pictures of Christ, Pt124