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 447 articles so far, you can find them below.
“And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim,” 2 Samuel 5:22.
The struggles of Israel against her enemies and the tactics of the enemies against Israel provide us with much needed instruction and guidance as we battle with the enemies of God. The devil never sleeps nor does he change his tactics. That is a great benefit to us if we but to take heed of this truth.
Today we are recalling the wonderful mercy of God to our forefathers and the victory given to them over the evil system of Romanism back some 500 years ago. We face the same enemy today, the exact same enemy today!
Note the words “yet again” in our text. Previously, God had given David a great victory over the Philistines. 2 Samuel 5:19-21. God swept away the forces of the Philistines as a mighty dam bursting sweeps all before it!
A house built on a right foundation will serve us well.
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock,” Matthew 7:25.
You know boys and girls, there is a flood coming to this earth! It is that judgment we will all face at the end of our lives. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” Hebrews 9:27.
What a joy to live in the knowledge that it is well with our souls!
The story of the sad loss Mr Horatio Stafford experienced is well known. He was a prominent American lawyer and Presbyterian church elder who penned the Christian hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”, following a family tragedy in which his four daughters died aboard the S. S. Ville du Havre on a transatlantic voyage.
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Paul states the wonderful peace and assurance that belongs to the Christian in 2 Corinthians 5:1.
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Sadly, there are those who reject the Saviour’s words of instruction and what an eternity awaits them!
“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand,” Matt 7:26.
This man tried to built on another foundation but the sand proved to be no foundation at all. “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matt 7:27.
Boys and girls one and all, “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ,” 1 Cor 3:11.
The Parables #5, There are many storms for us to face.
(Read Isaiah 28:14-22.)
1. Boys and girls I cannot emphasise strongly enough that in life we will face many storms. This the Bible warns us of as none other can. “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full,” Mark 4:37. These disciples were in the will of the Lord and He was with them yet they encountered a storm! “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God,” Acts 14:22.
2. For the unsaved, there is the storm of God’s judgment awaiting them. “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble,” Job 14:1. The word trouble carries the idea of storms but for the unsaved a stormy life will end in a great storm. “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place,” Isaiah 28:17. The false refuges, the house built on sand, will be swept away in God’s judgment. Oh beware!
There is that which would come between us and the Rock Christ Jesus! EARTH! Oh how plain is the picture. Luke puts it this way. “He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock,” Luke 6:48. He dug until he came to the rock! We must come to Christ and not be content with no less!
Perhaps we can illustrate it by looking at the account of the rich young man who came to Christ most earnestly. “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16. He was anxious about a most important manner. However, he was not prepared for the “digging away of the earth” that was required of him by the Lord. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions,” Matthew 19:21-22. He liked the clay that stood between him and the Saviour and eternal life and he decided to he was NOT ready to “dig” it away.
Is that the case with many? I have known men who turned their back on Christ and heaven because of a cigarette! They were not prepared to give up smoking if that was required of a Christian.
Do you understand now just what this digging away of the clay in order to get to the rock means and entails?
Remember Christian in “pilgrim’s Progress”. He closed his ears the cries of friends and family when they try to have him turn back from seeking salvation. He was determined to dig down until he reached the rock!
We are going to look today at one of the best known parables the Saviour taught.
Read Matthew 7:21-29. It is the Parable of the two Builders.
1. We all need a house to shelter us for eternity.
By this house-building picture Christ is showing us just what it means.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” Matthew 7:24.
A Christian is someone who hears and obeys the Word of Christ and thus makes preparation for eternity by building a secure house.
Noah needed an ark and the Israelites needed the blood upon the door posts. These things picture our need of a place of safety. “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,” Isaiah 32:2. We have got to seek shelter in Christ, build a secure house if we are to be safe in eternity!
2. The house must have a right foundation.
It must be a rock. Just what is the ROCK upon which we must build? “That Rock was Christ,” 1 Cor 10:4.
“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust,” Ps 18:2.
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation,” Ps 95:1.
We have to place upon Him all our dependence and trust. We have to attach ourselves to Him by faith.
“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life,” 1 Tim 6:19.