Sermons by Murray Lean (Page 3)

Sermons by Murray Lean (Page 3)

Murray Lean

The Sexual Revolution – relationships without boundaries?

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,…

Religious intolerance – are Christians still relevant?

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 And if they don’t, they are accused of “imposing” their outdated views on modern society.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…

Euthanasia – the next big ethical battle?

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…

Strong words from a loving pastor

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.

A life worth boasting about!

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).

Why does the resurrection matter?

The physical resurrection of Jesus raises all sorts of questions. First of all: Did it happen? And there have been many books written by experts in support of the biblical claims. Today’s message assumes the resurrection as a fact. But the second big question logically follows: Why does it matter? Pastor Murray helpfully spells out five key reasons why, all of which go to the heart of the Christian faith. As the apostle Paul puts it: If Christ has not been raised our faith is futile… we are still in our sins… we are without hope… and we are of all people most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). It really does matter enormously what we believe about the resurrection!

A life that could have been so different (Judas)

What do we make of a guy like Judas? He would have to be one of the most demonised characters in the whole Bible… an example of evil personified! Or is he? In this message Pastor Murray helps us see that in so many ways Judas is a person who is just like us. He was a sinner, who gave in to temptation, then failed Jesus in an act of callous betrayal. But who of us has never been guilty in this way? Judas’s real failure was that he never went to Jesus, even while hanging on the cross, to say “sorry” and ask for His forgiveness, which Jesus would have gladly given. That was the tragedy of his sad life! By the way, is this a moment when you need to say “sorry” for betraying Jesus in some way?

Paul’s heartache

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!

Out with the old, in with the new

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?

Don’t be a fool!

To identify publicly as a Christian can be risky business. For a start, many of our friends and even family, may think we are fools. Generally this is because of the message we believe (about Jesus, his death on the cross, salvation by grace etc.) or the life (and lifestyle) that Christ calls us to live. To many people, these don’t make sense. Why would intelligent, self-sufficient people believe in such a fanciful message about a dying Saviour, and then submit their lives to Him as Lord? But that’s the genius of the Christian gospel! In His wisdom God chooses to use these so-called foolish things to shame those who think they are wise by human standards. Still today the fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

Nearly home!

After 40 years the Israelites were nearly home. The long-awaited land of Canaan, promised 500 years earlier to Abraham, was just across the Jordan River. But first, there was a not-insignificant matter to be resolved concerning the land rights of women who had no brothers. Would they be able to share in the family inheritance? And if they did, what would happen to their land if they married a man from a different tribe? Clearly, sharing in God’s promised land was the ultimate priority for every Israelite. For Christians today our inheritance awaits, promised to us by God, not an earthly inheritance but one that is kept in heaven for us “that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4). Are we just as eager to lay hold of this inheritance as we look to the end of our life’s journey?

The battle for holiness

Jesus told us to love our enemies, so how do we reconcile this with God specifically ordering the Israelites to annihilate other nations, as we have in today’s passage? There is no neat answer to this difficult question. But in this message Pastor Murray meets it head on. One thing we can be sure of is that God has not changed. And his abhorrence of sin means that his coming judgement of our generation is just as certain as it was for people 3500 years ago. The Christian life is an ongoing battle against sin and compromise. Holiness matters to God. Does it matter to you?