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The Parables #24


We are called upon to endure the presence of sinful men and to seek their good. “But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them,” Matt 13:29. Were we to start uprooting those we considered the wicked we would make mistakes. We would permit “Judas” to stay and likely uproot the “Lots” of this world.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,” Matthew 5:44.
The example of how we treat evil men is given us by the Saviour.“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” Luke 23:34.

As Peter teaches us: “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps,” 1 Peter 2:20-21.

That was the spirit of the apostles. Consider Stephen, who  “Kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep,” Acts 7:60. “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,” Rom 12:17-21. Here is God’s will for us!

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The Parables #23


The instinct of the believer when the  devil’s scheme is discovered. “The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?” Verse 28.

How wrong believers often are about the things of God. Here we find the servants not knowing where the tares came from and then seeking to dispose of them contrary to the mind of their master. How low and humble you and I must ever be!

The activities of the wicked are a vexation to the people of God. “Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood,” Psalm 144:11.

We must be jealous for the work of God but not overly so!

“And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us,” Luke 9:49-50.

“But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!” Numbers 11:26-29.

“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God,” 3 John 1:9-11.

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The Parables #22


It is the Lord Who uncovers the devil’s scheme. Were we not taught by the Lord we would be continually deceived. “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.
But as we see in this verse there is One Who counters the devil’s lies – the Holy Spirit. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come,” John 16:13.

Remember the Saviour’s words to the seven Churches of Asia. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches,” Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22.
Let me give you two examples of the Lord exposing the devil’s deceits. One in the OT and another in the NT.

“And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy. And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain. Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry. He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations,” Ezekiel 8:3-6.

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration,” Rev 17:1-6.

The deceitful of the devil’s schemes are seen in John’s reaction. He was taken up with the earthly glories of this woman and lost sight of her wickedness. So it will ever be with us were it not for the Lord pointing the true nature of sin.

The devil’s schemes continue right until the end of this age.

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The Parables #21


3. The devil is the arch deceiver. Note the various names, evil names, God gives him here in this verse. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him,” Revelation 12:9.

Again, note the warning of God about this evil being, the devil.

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ . . . . . For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works,” 2 Corinthians 11:3, 13-15.

Here is a glimpse into the future of the devil’s evil plans and the defeat to which God shall bring him.

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10.

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Are we nearing the end of the age and how close is Christ’s return?

Preached in Larne FPC on Lord’s Day evening 19th November 2017
By Rev Ivan Foster.

When considering such a question as this we must carefully bear in mind the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:42. “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

Setting a date upon the Lord’s return is utter folly in the light of these words and even more so in the light of Mark 13:32. “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

There are those who use this verse in Mark 13 as an argument against the study of prophecy since, they claim, even the Lord Jesus does not know the day of His return. Therefore it is useless for us to search the Scriptures for indications of when He will return since He would not have been able to give us such information!

I might say that I believe that the verb rendered “knoweth,” in Mark 13:32, sometimes means to make known, or to reveal. The same Greek word translated in Mark 13:32 as “knoweth” is used in 1 Corinthians 2:2. There Paul says: “For I determined not to know” – or to make known, to expound – “any thing  among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” If we use the word in the sense in which it is translated in 1 Corinthians 2:2, then the passage could be read, indeed should bed read,“That day and hour none makes known, neither the angels, nor the Son, but the Father.”

Please note the announcement at the end of the message. You can read an article based on this message here.

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