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The broken family circle

A message preached in the Lisbellaw Mission September 26th, 2017.
“And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe?” 2 Samuel 18:32.
50th Anniversary Mission, Lisbellaw, 26th September 2017.
Preacher: Rev Ivan Foster Rtr.
My topic is a solemn one. It is that of a family divided by the gospel. It is a most distressing thing to know that a loved one or loved ones are outside of Christ and on the road to a lost eternity.
It is a grief that the Saviour must have known. “For neither did his brethren believe in him,” John 7:5. For a time, the Saviour’s family was divided.
Our text is one in which a father’s expresses concern for his son. Some may think that given what Absalom had done to his father he was not worthy of concern! The love of a parent for a child is often blind to the child’s failures and sins, especially when their eternal wellbeing is under consideration.
David had good reason to be concerned.
1. He was at war with God’s king. David was the Lord’s anointed, the rightful king of Israel. Absalom was in rebellion against him, seeking to remove him from the throne.
This is what every sinner is engaged in! “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree,” Acts 5:30. The reaction of men universally!
2. He was being influenced by a deceitful man. “Ahithophel” 2 Sam 16:23. There is a greater deceiver than Ahithophel! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” Jer 17:9. Worse again: the devil! “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them,” 2 Cor 4:4.
3. He was being followed by a terrible avenger. Joab!
V 15. Ten Avengers. They speak of the 10 commandments of God.
4. His privileges could not spare him. Such was his crime, he could not be spared even though David wished it. “And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom,” 2 Sam 18:5.
1. It was that of a father watching his son heading for destruction. Absalom could not win. This David knew!
2. David knew the end was near for his son. He had watched Absalom travelling toward this dreadful end since his youth. He was vindictive, he was deceitful, he was proud, he was ambitious. Now he had put forth his hand against God’s king and that was fatal!
3. David could do nothing but plead for mercy. Verses 5, 29, 32.
4. David was aware of his own shameful failings. 12:9-12. How important parents, it is to live a holy life for the sake of our children! David had known of the consequences of poor parenting in the lives of Eli and Samuel but had learned nothing!
Absalom had died in active rebellion, pursuing the ambitions of his proud heart. There could only be one answer to his question. “Is the young man Absalom safe?” NO!
How we should labour to see our offspring saved.
Sinner, flee the battlefield you are now on for you cannot win. Rather, everlasting doom will be your portion.
Seek the mercy of the One you are rebelling against for He is merciful. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool,” Isaiah 1:18.

The Parables #7

The Parable of the Sower – Mark 4:1-9.
We come to a new parable today. Let us learn some simple truths from the verses we have read.
1. Please note how the Saviour makes use of the power of the water to magnify His voice.
It is a simple fact that sound travels better over water. (Time we lived beside Lough Erne – Drumcrow East). The Saviour wants men, as many as possible, to hear Him. He approves of our use of modern methods of sending out His Word.
2. Note also He begins and ends the parable with a call to listen!
Verses 3, 9. Same word is repeated. ‘Hearken’, ‘Hear’.
3. Once more, the Saviour uses a very common happening 
to illustrate the gospel.
Nature has been so created to set forth divine truth. How important it must be for us to learn the message of the gospel. There is an echo of the Bible in all of creation.

Resurgence of the deceits of Rome

“So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city,” Genesis 11:8.

Roman Catholicism is at heart, a comparatively modern manifestation of a very old pagan religion. That religion is Babylonianism.

As this age draws to a close, we are going too see Babylonianism rise to heights of earthly glory and power again within the territories it dominated of old.
The city of Babylon will re-emerge and so also will the evil philosophy that has been associated with that city.

Today, Romanism is one of the many daughters of Babylon of old. Indeed, as a daughter she bears the clearest resemblance to the looks and ambitions of her evil mother. We are told in Revelation 17:3-6 of the manifestation of Babylonianism in the last days of this age. God terms this “woman”, (a symbol of a system of religion, i.e. Bride of Christ, Song/Solomon 8:5), as “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

I believe this is a picture of Babylonianism when there has been a gathering of all her ‘children’ under her wings, as it were, and she takes on the full appearance of her wickedness.

There are many false religions in the world today. They are the result, I believe, of the confounding of earth’s original language and the scattering that followed as is set forth in our text.

Stream or download Resurgence of the deceits of Rome

Resisting the dominion of Rome

“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!

And “yet again” the enemy came back to fight!

Stream or download Resisting the dominion of Rome

The Parables #6

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.

Stream or download The Parables #6