Sermons by Murray Lean (Page 18)
The Bible records many prayers and they come in many different forms. In John 17 we get to listen in to a very personal prayer, prayed by Jesus only a few hours before he went to the cross. No doubt His heart was very heavy. But what is obvious is a very clear awareness that in His death and resurrection He was bringing to completion the mission God had given Him. God the Father and also Jesus the Son would both be glorified through this. But now it was time for the disciples to continue that gospel mission. So Jesus picks up these themes as he prays for Himself, His eleven disciples ….. and indirectly for all of us who live faithfully for Him in the world today.
Confusion …. questions …. doubts …. fears. We all know what these feel like. And that’s the way it was with the disciples of Jesus on the night before He would die on the cross. What would it mean for these men that he was leaving them? So Jesus took the opportunity to reassure them and give them hope. Sure, life would be different (and even difficult), but in a positive way. As we face the uncertainties of our lives, there is one great certainty that we must cling to, and that is Jesus Christ Himself. He takes our questions, doubts and fears and assures us that in Him we can know joy, answers to our prayers, and God’s peace, whatever we may be facing. Are you trusting Him today?
With the news of His imminent death sinking in, Jesus wanted to encourage His disciples, so he spoke to them about the Holy Spirit who would come to them after he had gone. And what a difference the Spirit would make to their lives and ministry! Jesus highlighted two things in particular: His work of convicting unbelievers about their need for salvation in Jesus, and His work of enabling believers to discover more and more of the truth and glory that are found in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is essential in bringing people to faith, and also in keeping them growing in their faith. Those original disciples needed to hear that message. And we do, too!
Most people have a rather shallow understanding of the Easter story eg. Jesus died a cruel, painful, unjust death, somehow this death takes away sin etc. But what does it actually mean? In this passage Jesus tells us himself. We see how His death was the fulfilment of the Old Testament as He personally became the full and final Passover sacrifice, the author of a completely new covenant between God and man, and the suffering, servant Messiah promised 700 years earlier by the prophet Isaiah. Because of this it is now possible to be forgiven and to know God personally. If you’re a Christian, that’s worth celebrating! If you’re not, why don’t you put your faith in Jesus today?
Jesus had a unique way of describing profound ideas in very simple terms, and that’s what we see in today’s passage. Using the common grapevine as a teaching aid, He explained how His disciples were to live, grow and flourish in the years ahead. Even in His physical absence from them, they were to ‘remain’ close to Him and obey His teachings. At times they would be undergo ‘pruning’ by God. But the object was always that their lives would bear fruit …much fruit …even more fruit … fruit that will last. As we stay close to Jesus, the Holy Spirit produces this fruit in our lives in many different ways e.g.. Christlike character, deeds of love, and faithful gospel witness. Is this a picture of your life?
For many Christians the topic of the Holy Spirit is either mysterious or controversial. Some even avoid it altogether. But Jesus saw the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as an indispensable provision for His disciples (then and now) during the period between His first and second comings. Jesus Himself would continue to be with them in the person of the Holy Spirit……. invisible, yet absolutely real. In today’s message Pastor Murray takes us through some of the valuable blessings that come from the presence of the Holy Spirit, who actually lives inside every genuine believer in Jesus Christ. Does He make a difference in your life?
So what do you believe about Jesus? And how seriously should we take Him? There has always been an element of mystery about Jesus, and even after three years with Him the disciples were still confused. But on this final night before being crucified, Jesus took the opportunity to explain once and for all who he really was. Still today the vital question remains: who is the real Jesus? Ultimately, how we answer that question will determine where we spend eternity. Jesus made the claim that night that: “no one comes to the Father (i.e.. God) except through me”. Do you want to spend eternity with God? Then ONLY JESUS can make that possible! You must give Him your life today.
In a world where so often things happen in a random, even chaotic way, it is common to ask: Is anyone in control? But is life random? Do bad things just happen? In today’s message we take a closer look at how Jesus faced up to the looming prospect of being betrayed and denied by two of His closest friends. Yes, these things did happen, and they were low and vicious acts, but they didn’t take Jesus by surprise. He was Lord over the events of that night before going to the cross, and He is still Lord over the circumstances of our lives today. Nothing Judas, Pater or Satan did could derail God’s purposes, and the death and resurrection of Jesus proved that. When Jesus is Lord of our lives He uses even seeming tragedies to achieve His good purposes. He’s in full control!
What would you say to your closest friends if you knew you were going to die the next day? We find out what Jesus said in John’s gospel chapters 13 to 17. Jesus and his 12 disciples are sharing a final meal together and a few hours later he would be betrayed and handed over to the Jewish leaders and then the Romans. But before that, something most unexpected took place. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples …. even Judas! What was this signifying? What does it mean for us? Actually quite a lot! Find out as Pastor Murray explains the deeper implications Jesus was conveying through this humble action, and how every true disciple of Christ today cannot avoid being a servant for His sake.