Sermons by Murray Lean
Learning how to live under pressure, especially when it involves the testing of our faith, is essential to our progress in the Christian life. In today’s passage we take a closer look at how suffering is related to the gospel, and how God wants to use it to help us grow in holiness. Jesus is the Messiah, the ’Suffering Servant’, who shed His precious blood to redeem us and make us children of God. Understanding the greatness of this salvation gives us the confidence and hope that whatever we may face in this life, the best is still yet to come …. and it’s worth waiting for.
The book of 1 Peter is making a comeback today. It’s original readers felt like ‘exiles’ or ‘foreigners’ in the world of the early church. And that’s the way more and more Christians are starting to feel these days. Somehow we don’t really fit as the world around us becomes more secular. But the reality is that we are different and we don’t fit. This world is not our true home and we aren’t meant to belong here. So how do we cope with this tension, especially when trials come and our faith is tested? In this message, Pastor Murray urges us to see how God wants to use these times to prepare us for the glorious ‘inheritance’ that awaits all who truly belong to Christ. (1 Peter 1:1-9)
The journey from ‘becoming friends’ to being married is an extremely important time of finding out about each other and testing the relationship. What you discover along the way (about your friend and about yourself!) can be quite confronting. But this is meant to be a time of personal spiritual growth as well as working out whether you’re ready for marriage. In this talk Pastor Murray deals head on with some of the practicalities of choosing a life partner. Whether you’re married, engaged, dating or looking forward to that prospect, there’s plenty of food for thought here about the type of spouse God wants all of us to be. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
For the past 50 years a sexual revolution has been taking place. We can blame the “pill” or many other factors, but the result has been the virtually complete disconnection of sex from marriage in modern western society. Today anything is OK. What started with some cheeky pushing of moral boundaries in movies and magazines has been turbocharged with the arrival of internet porn over the past 20 years. This “normalising” of sexual freedom presents a huge challenge to Christians,…
With secular humanism steadily gaining ascendancy in Australia today, Christians are being told to keep their faith private. And if they don’t, they are accused of “imposing” their outdated views on modern society. How did this happen? What does this mean for the place of Christians and the church in an increasingly pagan society? And how should we respond in the face of this opposition? In this message Pastor Murray reminds us firstly, that we should not be surprised by…
With the same-sex marriage debate settled, ideological and political forces in Australia are now being focused on the issue of euthanasia. Euthanasia has been legalised in countries like Holland and Belgium for many years, and is legal in a number of states in the USA. But it moved much closer to home in November 2017 when it became legal in Victoria. Obviously there is great emotion around this issue, but what are the key factors in the discussion and how…
No parent likes having to confront a misbehaving child. It tests and puts at risk the whole relationship, and especially so when the child is an adult. But real love is “tough love”! And that’s what Paul has been showing towards the Corinthian believers throughout this letter. In today’s passage Paul brings it all to a close as he issues a stern warning and a passionate appeal for them to check their hearts and prepare themselves for his upcoming visit. He desperately wanted to avoid a showdown, but he was ready for one if the situation required it. The troubles in the Corinthian church could be similar in your church or mine. But thank God for courageous, godly leaders like Paul. The nominal church urgently needs them today.
Humility does not come naturally to most people, especially in today’s culture. But Christians who boast are a contradiction. Or are they? In today’s message we see Paul struggling with this tricky question as he defends himself against his opponents. But God “helped” him from becoming proud by giving him a thorn in the flesh – a messenger of Satan – a constant, painful reminder of his tendency to pride. But even then, God’s grace is always sufficient, and God’s power is always greater than his weakness. As Christians we have only one reason to boast, and that is in Jesus Christ and His cross (Galatians 6:14).
Who’d be an apostle? In today’s passage Paul passionately appeals to the Corinthians not to fall for the deception of his opponents in the Corinthian church. They were teaching a false gospel using methods to discredit Paul that were clearly malicious. He ends by exposing them as “deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ”, calls them servants of Satan, and pronounces their final judgement by God. This is some of the strongest language used in any of Paul’s writings. He doesn’t do this to protect his own reputation. He is motivated entirely out of love for them, that they won’t be led astray from Christ. O that church leaders today would be as concerned for their people!
Without question Jesus was an enigma to most people of His day, and especially so to the religious types. He annoyed them, confused them, frustrated them, and angered them. He simply didn’t fit their boxes. And when He and His disciples seemed to have time to party and enjoy themselves, it was time for them to confront Him. In today’s passage Pastor Murray unpacks this encounter, showing that Jesus’ mission was not to revamp or patch up the laws of Moses, but to replace them with something totally new and better – salvation by grace – and all the freedom and joy that this would bring! This would be a whole new way of relating to God, and Jesus Himself is the key. Have you found this life in Jesus?