March 2020

Audio sermons


KICS assembly talks. Current series of KICS studies: “They were Bright and Shining Lights.”

Featured sermon series: The unsearchable riches of Christ. Studies in the Epistle to the Ephesians

Part 17: After conversion, what then?, Pt4; Part 18: After conversion, what then?, Pt5; Part 19: After conversion, what then?, Pt6; Part 20: After conversion, what then?, Pt7; Part 21The Christian’s past, Pt1; Part 22The Christian’s past, Pt2; Part 23: But God…

 


Martin Luther on the Christian’s duty in a plague

When Martin Luther was asked: “Whether One Should Flee From A Deadly Plague?” he replied as follows:

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.” (Volume 43, Page 132)


“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain,” 

Isaiah 26:20-21.

These words speak, of course, of a future day though we see an application for today. As with the people of Israel, on the night of the first Passover, they were to enter their homes, marked by the blood of the Passover lamb, and shut the doors in order to escape the judgment that would befall Egypt, even so it will be one day, and that very soon I believe, when the Lord will rise in indignation to punish the earth for its sins.

How wise to be aware of and prepared for that day by seeking the shelter of the blood of the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” John 1:29.


The arrogant folly of Westminster

The blind stupidity and the utterly unavailing defiance of God by rebellious sinners that is recorded here will, of course, come to pass and that perhaps not in the too distant future.

However, it has ever been seen in the history of man, though perhaps not quite so blatantly as it will yet be seen. We see a measure of it today in the proposed actions of Boris Johnston’s government regarding changes to the abortion and same sex marriage laws here in Northern Ireland.

Here is a recent newspaper report on the matter as it appeared in the “Belfast Newsletter”, on Wednesday, 25th March 2020. Read more


A reply to Rev Trevor Kirkland’s unjustified attack upon Christians and evangelical denominations who complied with the Government’s ‘social distancing’ requirements and suspended church services, published in a letter to the “Belfast Newsletter.”

It is an excellent response indeed. It will be interesting to see if Mr Kirkland will defy the requirement to stop assembling and endure the consequences!!

“I have no desire to be drawn into a long debate with Rev Kirkland but he has levelled serious charges against thousands of Evangelicals in Northern Ireland without giving any consideration to the fact that brothers and sisters in Christ may have come to a different conclusion to him on the matter of church closures. Read more…


General Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster

Statement on Behalf of the Presbytery’s Executive Committee

The Presbytery’s Executive Committee, meeting on Thursday afternoon, 19th March 2020, to discuss the increasingly serious situation in the UK created by the coronavirus pandemic, decided that all worship services in all Free Presbyterian Churches are to be postponed with immediate effect. This solemn decision was taken with heavy hearts and with great reluctance. However, this decision was necessary for the following reasons.

It is our Christian duty as a Church to uphold the Lord’s clear instruction in Matthew 22:39 that we should love our neighbour as ourselves. Among other issues this injunction means that, in the midst of this deepening health crisis, we must exercise a duty of care toward our own church families, members and adherents. In addition we are to exercise the same duty of care toward society in general. To proclaim the message of God’s love for sinners in both common and saving grace and then fail to act responsibly in taking all necessary measures to protect them in the face of this virus would be sheer hypocrisy. Consequently, the Executive Committee felt that they had no option but to postpone all gatherings for worship on the Lord’s Day and throughout the week.
The Executive Committee were convinced that the necessity for this decision was further underlined by the startling reports being issued by the Department of Health with respect to the advancement of the virus through social contact in public gatherings. On the same day as the Executive Committee met Mr. Robin Swann, Health Minister for Northern Ireland said that “…in the case of an 80% infection rate, the NI death toll could be in the region of 14,000.”
In Romans 13 we are taught by the Spirit of God to obey the civil government He has placed over us. The UK Government in seeking to prevent the spread of the virus has issued a call to various groupings, including churches, to cease public gatherings. The Executive Committee concluded that we have no option but to obey the directive of the powers that be.
The Executive Committee also focused much on the issue of the public testimony of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. The Committee concluded that due to the pandemic nature of the virus it would be totally irresponsible to run the risk of endangering life by the high probability of spreading the virus through church gatherings. If this were to be the result great shame would be brought upon our testimony as part of the body of Christ.

It must be noted that this decision does not mean that we cease to minister as a church, either to our own congregations or to the wider public. The Committee would encourage brethren to pursue every available avenue of ministry. The Lord has given us modern means in terms of the electronic methods that are available to us today – many of which have already been employed by our churches such as Sermon Audio and Facebook. In recognising the direction of matters some brethren are seriously considering the option of drive-in services.

The Executive Committee would also encourage earnest and protracted prayer for a move of God both among His people and among the lost around us. Undoubtedly the Lord is speaking through this pandemic. Many are deeply fearful. We need to pray that their fear of the virus will be translated into a fear of God and eternal ruin. Clearly there is great opportunity evangelise intensely so that sinners will come to know peace with God through Christ.

This decision pertains only to public gatherings of Christ’s Church. It obviously does not preclude family events such as funerals and weddings.

As you will understand this decision includes the cancellation of the Easter Convention meetings.

By way of notice, the Presbytery’s Charity Commission has informed the NICC that, as a denomination, we will not be taking up the matter of registration of our congregations until 3 months after the restrictions relating to the coronavirus are lifted.

This postponement of church gatherings will continue to until the Lord in His sovereign mercy removes the threat of the virus from our land. Let us seek Him earnestly for this also.

Social isolation: A lesson in Biblical separation!

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

‘Social Isolation’ has been defined thus: “Social isolation is a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society.”
The true people of God should not, amidst all the distress that the ‘Coronavirus’ is creating, fail to notice a very clear spiritual lesson which I am sure the Lord would have us learn from this all.

Separation from sin is a very vital element in true religion, though it has been rejected by many in these ‘modern times’!

However, ‘separation’ is taught us from the very commencement of God revealing His Law to His chosen people Israel. The law of separation was to be observed in what they could sow in their fields, what they could eat, what they could wear as well as the company they could keep. Read more


Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey has said a threat has been received of an ‘imminent attack’ against him.

There are few who can play the ‘hypocrite’ like the members of Sinn Fein/IRA!!In the wake of a dissident IRA death threat against the Sinn Fein Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey, a statement from Sinn Fein leader here in Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill, reported in today’s ‘Irish News’, described the threat against Alex Maskey as “an attack on the whole democratic process”.

That is ripe indeed coming from that organisation which endorsed and supported the slaughter of thousands over a 30 year + period and which is still under the direction and control of those who directed that terrorism, the ‘IRA Army Council ! It is not that long ago that the Police Service of Northern Ireland stated that the IRA Army Council still directed Sinn Fein and made the political decisions. See the 8th November 2019 Belfast Telegraph article: “IRA Army Council retains oversight of Sinn Fein, say police. That those supporters of IRA murder should find themselves now targeted by former compatriots is but an example of poetic justice.

The Bible states it thus: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed,” Genesis 9:6; and again: “Then said Jesus unto him, . . . . all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword,” Matthew 26:52. 

The murderers and terrorists of the IRA and their supporters have a harvest awaiting them in eternity, irrespective what may overtake here on earth! “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” Galatians 6:7. – IF

(Irish News, 06 March, 2020.) The Sinn Féin MLA said police visited him yesterday to inform him of the threat. Mr Maskey said: “I note that this threat was received in the week when I announced my intention to use the role of Speaker to represent every side of the Assembly chamber and to engage with every section of our community. This threat will not deter me from those events or continuing such efforts in the future.

“As Speaker of the Assembly, I will be clear that intimidation of any elected representative in our democratic institutions is deplorable whether threats of this nature or vile abuse on social media.  It can only be responded to by continuing to work to take our society forward.”

Last month police informed Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill that dissident republicans were planning an attack against her and Gerry Kelly. Ms O’Neill said the threat had been issued after they attended a PSNI recruitment event.

Speaking today, Ms O’Neill described the threat against Mr Maskey as “an attack on the whole democratic process”. “He has been a trail blazing public representative and political activist for almost 40 years and has played a leading role in the peace process,” she said. “In his role as Speaker, Alex Maskey acts as a representative of all the parties and MLAs in the Assembly and all sections of the community.”


Pope lifts the lid on the Vatican’s colossal property empire in London

Pope FrancisThis article appeared in the “Daily Telegraph” on 14th March and was shared with me shortly after.  I was sent the full text of the article for I could not access that ‘subscribers only’ newspaper.

It is to be noted that the article begins with a reference to God’s Word, Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25.  It is a quote that should utterly shame every Pope and his entire entourage throughout the centuries of their existence.

It will not, of course.

However, may the Lord be pleased to use it to highlight the true character of popery to those benighted souls who are besotted by its deceits! Read the article.


The territory of the ‘Old Roman Empire’ back in focus once again!!

The Coronavirus outbreak appears to have started in China but it has quickly spread to Europe and seems to have centred upon those lands that once lay at the heart of the old ‘Roman World’!

The ‘Coronavirus Crisis’ is not just a matter of public health but it is, if anything, a much more serious financial catastrophe!

Major business organisations are facing utter ruin, as are smaller ‘high street’ merchants.

The whole population here in the United Kingdom has been placed under restrictions utterly unknown in our history. Even during World War II, there were not such constraints placed upon the citizenry.

The elderly have been told to stay indoors and avoid contact with virtually everyone and that for the foreseeable future. We have never lived through such circumstances before! What has the Bible to say about this? Read more


The Voice of the Cholera

A message preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, August 12, 1866.

In the midst of all the proclamations, announcements and advice-giving since the beginning of the ‘Coronavirus Crisis’, I have yet to see one person in any position of authority in ‘church or state’ mention the One Person Who has absolute control in this matter and Who should be the first to be consulted and heeded!

I am referring of course to the Lord. I was reminded of the sermon preached by C H Spurgeon on this passage and thought that his words, so wonderfully owned by the Lord throughout the one hundred and twenty eight years since he went home to glory, would make better reading than anything I could write.

His message and his application of God’s Word is an indication of how far the land has drifted in the intervening one hundred and fifty four years. Back then, the Lord was the first refuge considered and sought out in a time of crisis. Now, He is not even mentioned! Surely the ‘perilous times’ of 2 Timothy 3:1 have begun amongst us! – IF

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing? Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all? Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it.”— Amos iii. 3— 6.

WE have all felt grieved when reading our bills of mortality to observe the mysterious spread of cholera in our great city. It is high time that it should be made the subject of special prayer, and that the nation should seek unto the Lord for its removal. While as yet there has been but comparatively little of the evil, we should be humbled under it, that we may be spared a greater outbreak.

There are different ways of looking at this disease. Men viewing it from one point of view alone, have frequently despised those who have regarded it under another aspect. Occasionally Christian men express themselves indignantly concerning those who speak of cholera as the product of ascertained and governable causes, to be checked and even prevented by due attention to the laws of health. I have never shared in that indignation. Read more


The rule that some would have others keep but which they refuse to keep themselves!!!

I was recently informed of the criticism of an Officer of Presbytery directed against me in response to my article, Why This Shameful Silence? It was alleged by this brother that I had done wrong in writing this article without first contacting those against whom I had written, since, he claimed, Matthew 18:15-17 requires such action.

This is a cowardly, pathetic misuse of God’s Word. Please read the article ‘Matthew 18 and the public rebuke of sin’. This article highlights the folly of those who appeal to these verses in response to proper criticism they are unable and unwilling to answer!

Often those who refer to this verse when attempting to fault those who rightly condemn sin are heard condemning the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Methodist, Presbyterian and Church of Ireland ministers for their public utterances which are contrary to God’ Word. The question must be asked: “Do they first contact those they criticise before issuing their condemnations?” Read more


Stormont can amend abortion and same-sex marriage laws

We have been informed of this through a letter from the Clerk of the Free Presbyterian Presbytery, Rev John Greer. If what the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland told the Free Presbyterian Delegation is true, that is good news indeed.

I use the little word ‘if’ for the simple reason Secretaries of State in the past past have proved deceitful.

However, we trust that this time the truth is being told.

That being so, we wait with prayerful interest on the DUP Free Presbyterian members of the Stormont Assembly putting down an appropriate motion before the Assembly.

One of those who organised the meeting with the Secretary of State is Lord Morrow, an elder in our Dungannon congregation. He would doubtless have the support of  Mr Mervyn Storey, elder in our Ballymoney congregation and Mr Thomas Buchanan, an elder in Castlederg congregation. Between them they should be able to present a pertinent proposal before the Stormont Assembly.

We wait with interest for this to happen. Click here to see the letter as it appeared in the Newsletter.


What moves men to side with murderers and rebels against the Saviour??

A lesson for the Free Presbyterian Church from the Jews’ choice of Barabbas.

“Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them,” Mark 15:6-11

Both Pilate, the Roman Governor and Herod had found no fault in the Saviour. “And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: no, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. I will therefore chastise him, and release him,” Luke 23:13-16. Read more


Please use the following links to listen to the conference messages.

Lord’s Day: 7.00 pm – Mr Stephen Toms “Differences Between Interpretation and Application of Prophetic Scripture”

Monday: 8.00 pm – Rev Ivan Foster “The Great Importance of Events in the Last Days” (Daniel 7)

Tuesday: 8.00 pm – Mr Stephen Toms “The Arising of False Christs and False Prophets in the Last Days”

Wednesday: 8.00 pm – Rev Ivan Foster “The Vital Information given us of Events in the Last Days” (Daniel 7)

Thursday: 8.00 pm – Mr Stephen Toms “The Religion of the Final Confederation of Nations”

Friday: 8.00 pm – Rev Ivan Foster “The Glorious Inevitability of Christ’s Victory in the Last Days” (Daniel 7)


Worship is impossible where there is an outstanding allegation of wrong doing

Some thoughts on Matthew 5:23-24 by Rev. Andy Foster

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

The words of the Saviour recorded here are part of His exposition of the meaning and application of the sixth commandment. In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, the Saviour is enlarging upon the permanent relevance of the Moral Law, summarized in the ten commandments, to the citizens of His kingdom i.e. all His people. Read more


The Burning Bush turns 50 this month

Over the years, we have made friends and established contacts in many, many countries. It is ever a source of amazement to me that from out of the somewhat isolated west of Ulster, there has gone out a witness almost, it can be said, to the ends of the earth. The reports I get from the website contacts indicate that we have readers throughout the five continents. China, Iran, Turkey, and many, many other unlikely countries have those who frequently visit and download from “The Burning Bush” website.

I must say that was never envisaged when we began the witness. But we can but praise the Lord for His blessing upon the efforts made for “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain,” Psalm 127:1. Read more….


Why this shameful silence??

“And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? and they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; and answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things,” Luke 14:16.

The silent response to the Saviour’s challenges stands as a lasting monument to the wicked opposition by these men to Him. They were against Him but could not fault what He was saying or doing.

Such must surely qualify as an utterly shameful and cowardly position to adopt.

Sadly, we see a situation developing before us in the Free Presbyterian Church which bears some resemblance to this scene in Luke’s gospel. Read more


Further follow-up on Ballymoney protest

Here are two pictures taken of two articles in the ‘Coleraine Chronicle’. The first is of a report which appeared two weeks ago and the second is of a letter which appeared last week. May good come of both publications. Click on the images below to read.