Sermons by Murray Lean (Page 16)
Leadership is rather topical these days. Prime Ministers, corporate bosses, football coaches …. they seem to come and go with monotonous regularity! But what should we be looking for in a good leader? Our passage today probes this question as we put David’s leadership under the microscope. Certainly he had many admirable qualities and these shine through. But he wasn’t a perfect leader (as we will find out in a few chapters)! Only Jesus, the humble servant-leader, is truly worth following. So don’t be disillusioned when another human leader let’s you down. Just make sure you’re following Jesus.
Life is never as straight forward as we would like it to be. For some people it can be really tough. This was certainly the case for Joseph as a young man – sold as a slave by his brothers, falsely accused by his master’s wife, then thrown into prison. For 13 long years life was a battle and seemed so unfair. But “the Lord was with him” throughout this phase of his life, and though he didn’t realize it at the time, God was training Joseph for what lay ahead. One day, literally, his life was totally turned around as God used him to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. At 30 years of age he became the second most important man in all of Egypt, the man who not only saved the nation from starvation, but many other nations, including his very own family in Israel. Joseph trusted God, and His ways, and His timing, and God was able to use him in a wonderful way. Will we trust God and stand for Him in our day?
The story of David’s life is full of drama – real, believable and sometimes jaw-dropping! What we sometimes don’t realise is that behind the events of his life God is actually shaping a man, preparing him for the day when he would lead his nation politically, militarily and also spiritually. David was not just a good man. He was God’s man! And in today’s message Pastor Murray looks at some specific ways in which David submitted to God’s authority, and how God enabled David to grow personally through these experiences. Issues like knowing what to do in tricky situations, relying on God for protection, waiting patiently for God’s timing, and being prepared to accept God’s justice are common to us all. Jesus perfectly lived under the authority of His Father. Now he invites us to submit to His authority. Let’s be straight: Is Jesus really LORD of your life?
1 Samuel is a story about three men – Samuel, Saul and David – and how God used them in shaping a nation that had lost its way politically, socially and spiritually. It desperately needed godly leadership. In many respects we see parallels in Australia today. In this message the young future king, David, is on the run from an irrational, jealous King Saul. This is the beginning of years of life as a fugitive for David. Life was hard. He made mistakes. He also learned many important lessons along the way. But through it all God was shaping him and preparing him for his future role as the godly king his nation needed. Like David, we also learn to trust God as we face opposition, difficulties and even enemies. And God intentionally uses these times as part of His greater plan for our lives. He also provides the perfect leader for us to follow in David’s descendant, Jesus Christ, who offers to save us from our greatest enemies, sin and death!
To understand the Christian faith we need to understand its core teaching. Today’s message takes to that place. At the very centre we find the one, final, perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the only way sin and guilt can be removed, so we can “draw near” to God. Any other way to God is a fallacy, or at best, only a shadow of this reality. By willingly sacrificing His life for us, Jesus has perfectly fulfilled all God’s demands and promises, removed the curse of all our sins, and opened the way us to have a whole new life under the control of the Holy Spirit. It’s an offer too good to refuse! Is your hope in Jesus Christ? Why not commit your life to Him today?
Complicated and messed-up marriages and families are almost “normal” today. And Christians are definitely not immune. But where does God fit into the complexities of our relationships? The story of Jacob is a fascinating case study showing that things haven’t changed much over the past 3000 years. In unpacking this passage Pastor Murray shows that despite all the deception and sinful choices made by Jacob and his wives, God continued to remain faithful and show grace to them, and fulfil His bigger purposes for Jacob’s life. The same God is wanting to deal with us like that today, especially through the saving work of Jesus, the promised descendant of Jacob himself.
Jews were very familiar with animal sacrifices. Sin required a sacrifice, and mostly this meant the death of an animal, which involved the draining of blood from that animal. The blood was a perpetual reminder of the seriousness of sin and also the cost in dealing with that sin …. the death of an animal substitute. Though animal sacrifices under the Old Covenant have now been replaced in the New Covenant, the cost was even greater …. the death of Jesus Christ as our substitute. In today’s message Pastor Murray points out five important implications that flow to us because of the perfect sacrifice Jesus offered on our behalf.
Most of us, including most Christians, have a limited understanding of the Old Testament sacrificial system. While a detailed understanding of these things may not be essential to the Christian faith, it certainly adds great richness if we do. The fundamentals of God’s great salvation plan were established in that OT system, but they were only ever meant to be temporary. Animal sacrifices and flawed human priests would never be adequate. In today’s message Pastor Murray explains how the old system worked, what it shows us about how we should approach God, why it was insufficient, and how Jesus replaces it by His own death on our behalf.
Sometimes we like holding on to old things. But there are also times when we have to be ruthless and replace old, worn out things that are no longer doing the job. The old priesthood, sacrifices and covenant that God had established with the Israelites at Mt Sinai 1400 years earlier had failed. A whole new way of coming to God was required. The prophet Jeremiah announced around 600BC that a day would come when God would introduce a new covenant, based on grace, in which God would forgive people’s sins, change their hearts, and relate to them personally. Jesus has made this possible. We all need this inward change of heart, and Jesus it offering it to each of us today. Have you experienced this miracle?
Many of us find Hebrews 7 a hard chapter of the Bible to understand. In the terms of Hebrews 5:14, it’s “solid food”! But a little effort is richly rewarded. In this message Pastor Murray works through the passage explaining who Melchizedek is and how God uses him as a model for a whole new way of “drawing near” to Him. No longer do we come to God through a complex system of priests and sacrifices. We come through the one perfect high priest who has offered Himself as the “once for all” sacrifice for sins – Jesus Christ. In every way Jesus is better! He guarantees to “save completely” those who trust in Him. Are you looking for a Saviour? Why not look to Jesus today?