Sermons by Murray Lean (Page 16)
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?
In many ways the resurrection of Jesus is the “clincher” that makes the Christian faith credible. The apostle Paul even says that if Christ had NOT been raised then “our faith is futile …. we are still in our sins …. we are lost …. we have no hope ….. and we are to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:17-19). Without the resurrection Christians are “no-hopers”! Yes – so much rides on the resurrection. And we can be confident that Christ really has been raised. But in practical terms, what difference does it make to our everyday lives? Listen in as Pastor Murray shares with us seven good reasons to feel encouraged by this wonderful Easter discovery.
Soon after His birth Jesus was worshipped as “King of the Jews” by wise men from the east. Years later He burst onto the public stage with the message: “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.” The sign above His head as He died read: “The king of the Jews”. A day is coming when He will finally put an end to all evil and be known as “King of kings and Lord of lords”. This King gave His life for you and me. He is more than king of the Jews. He is King and Lord over every one of us. Have you bowed before Him with a thankful heart? Let Him reign in your life today.
Who was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus? Judas ….the Sanhedrin …..Governor Pilate …..the Roman soldiers? Of course, they were involved. But what about Peter …..and the other disciples? And what about us? As we look more closely at Peter’s denial of Jesus we simply can’t avoid the stark truth that we are all far more like Peter than we care to admit. We think our commitment to Christ is stronger than it is. We think that we are better than others. We fail to pray like we should. We cave in when challenged to identify with Christ publicly. That night Peter saw himself as he really was, a sinner in desperate need of the forgiveness that only Jesus could give him. Perhaps for the very first time he understood why Jesus had to die …….it was for him as much as anyone else. Jesus did forgive Peter and made him a new man. What Jesus did for Peter He wants to do for you and me too.
Humility is not a particularly popular virtue today. In fact it’s probably seen as sign of weakness. We are taught to promote ourselves and encouraged to “have a bit of attitude”. So what does Jesus think? In today’s message we see Jesus turning the world’s values upside-down, and in a most dramatic way. To make yourself a slave to someone else seems ludicrous, yet that’s exactly what Jesus has done for us on the cross. In divine humility He took our place in order that we might be washed clean from our sin. How should we respond to this? By now following Christ in serving others.
Surely one of the more bizarre incidents in Jesus’ life happened during the final few days prior to His crucifixion. During a meal with His friends, Mary of Bethany quite unexpectedly anointed Jesus with 300-400mls of the most expensive imported perfume, then wiped His feet with her hair. Why did she do it? What about the expense? How about the waste of money? Through this act of extreme generosity and devotion, Mary challenges the way every Christian ought to respond to Jesus. As we consider all that Christ has done for us, especially His death on the cross, is there anything we should not be willing to gladly give to Him?