Sermons by Murray Lean (Page 16)
For many people belief in God is an abstract, intellectual idea. They are happy to tick a box on a census form and identify themselves as ‘Christian’, but there is no genuine relationship. There is ‘heart experience’ and no life change. In today’s message we meet a woman whose experience of God in her life was deep and real, and it overflowed into the way she viewed every detail of life. It is wrong for us to domesticate God and expect Him conform to our limited human worldview. But when we come to appreciate how great and wonderful he really is, then our relationship with Him will be fresh and living, and Hannah’s joy will be ours, too.
Does God care about the present state of the world with all its evil? Does He care about the drought affecting 70% of Queensland? Does He care about the battles we may be facing right now? For 200 years Israel had been in decline – politically, militarily, socially, morally and spiritually – and it seemed that God had abandoned the nation. They desperately needed a godly leader. Enter …. an insignificant man called Elkanah and his childless wife, Hannah. Through the heartfelt prayer of this humble woman, God showed that He did care, by giving them a son, Samuel. He would restore hope to the nation and point the way to Jesus Christ.
What do you make of miracles? Do they happen? If so, why do they happen? And what do miracles tell us about God? In an age of science and rationalism these are big questions. Yet the Bible is full of supernatural events, and they are especially apparent in the ministry of Jesus. In today’s message Pastor Murray takes us to perhaps the most spectacular of all Jesus’ miracles – the raising of Lazarus from the dead. As with all His miracles, His purpose was to force people to recognise who He really is, the divine Son of God, who has power over life and death. His claim was extraordinary: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies.” Jesus promises LIFE now, beyond death, and forever to all those who put their faith in Him. Do you believe this? Listen to this challenging message. It may just change your life!
Sooner or later every single one of us has to face a medical crisis in one form or another. It could be someone close to us. It could be ourselves. No matter how robust our health or strong our faith, we will all one day die (unless Jesus should return before then). The medical profession will do its best to keep us going, but will always eventually have to concede defeat. So how can we develop a perspective on these things that is both true to life and true to the Christian faith? In today’s message, Pastor Murray unpacks this question by looking at how Jesus coped with the illness and death of His close friend, Lazarus. What seemed to be a hopeless tragedy had an extraordinary turnaround as Jesus offered Himself as the ultimate healer of every disease and the absolute guarantor of life forever beyond the grave.
Someone said there are only two types of people in this world: sinners who admit it and sinners who don’t. Whatever our lives look like, the one great certainty is that we all ‘fall short of God’s glory’ and we all need God’s forgiveness. But do we realise that? It’s very possible to have a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude like the Pharisee in the story, and miss the overflowing joy that comes when we appreciate how much we owe to Jesus for His mercy to us. Instead, let’s be like the ‘sinful’ woman. She knew how undeserving she was. But she had experienced the love, acceptance and forgiveness of Jesus and nothing could stifle her gratitude.
By nature most of us are followers. Just look at the number of Twitter and Facebook ‘followers’ some celebrities have these days. Whether it’s fashion, lifestyle, secrets of success, or even religion, we have an intuitive desire to copy others. So who are you following? Have you considered Jesus? In today’s passage Jesus presents Himself as the good shepherd who loves, leads, cares for, protects and even dies for His sheep. He offers them life ‘to the full’. Can there be a better life than the one Jesus wants to give us? Why not respond to His personal call and start following Him today?
It’s extremely difficult for someone who has never been blind to understand what it must be like to receive the gift of sight. A world of darkness is suddenly transformed into a world of colour, faces and light! And that’s what happened when Jesus miraculously healed a congenitally blind man. Why was he born blind? Only God knows. But we do know that Jesus performed an even greater miracle soon after, which had an even more profound impact upon this man’s life. Listen in as Pastor Murray unpacks this passage and shows how Jesus backs up His claim to be “the light of the world”, giving spiritual sight to everyone who believes in Him.
For most people Jesus is either irrelevant or simply an option in the spectrum of religious gurus. And He has always had His share of knockers. It’s always been that way, as today’s passage makes clear. But in these verses we see Jesus engaging His opponents in a full-on debate. Firstly He points out some truths that every one of us needs to know about ourselves. Amazing how the truth sometimes hurts! But He then spells out some truths that we need to know about Jesus. These truths are essential to a proper understanding of the Christian faith, and if we believe them, as Jesus put it, they will ‘set you free’. What an offer!
Many Christians find praying a struggle, and the disciples of Jesus , so it seems, were in the same boat. But they weren’t quite prepared for the parable Jesus taught them in Luke 11 (and a related parable in Luke 18). When praying for specific needs we must pray with real conviction ……. boldly, stubbornly, even desperately! These are the kind of prayers God loves to hear and answer. Yet so often we give up too easily, and often this reflects a weak view of God and the gospel. So why do we have to keep on wrestling with God in our prayers? Listen in as Pastor Murray challenges us in this hard-hitting messag
There is very little shame these days when it comes to sexual immorality. Promiscuity is taken for granted as a legitimate lifestyle choice. But how should Christians react? In today’s message Pastor Murray addresses this question as he unpacks the story of Jesus’ encounter with an adulterous woman. Rather than throw the legal book at her, as the religious ‘police’ wanted, Jesus chose to forgive her. Even though totally undeserving, she heard those amazing words of Jesus: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more”. That’s grace! Have you responded to that grace personally? If so, are you passing it on to others?
Jesus has always been a controversial figure. And even today the opinions about Him are many, varied, and often strongly held. But before we jump to any conclusions about Him we should at least try to understand His message. In today’s passage we hear that message as Jesus calls people who are thirsty to: “Come to me and drink”. Not because they are physically thirsty but spiritually thirsty. People who have tried and failed to satisfy themselves with the material, personal and social “stuff” that life offers. Jesus offers to fill that “God-shaped vacuum” inside the human heart which only He can fill. He knows our deepest needs and kindly offers to meet them if we will sincerely “believe” in Him. This is a wonderful life-transforming invitation, almost too good to be true, and He is still offering it to us today. Perhaps there is “something missing” in your life. Have you considered Jesus?