Faithlife Sermons

The Crux of Christianity

Christ Above All; Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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iPhone Killed Them

What are the things that have become obsolete with the introductions and development of cell phones?
Phones attached to the wall w/ cords.
We don’t have a landline here.
Timers for children using the family phone.
Children answering the family phone in a formal way
How many of you remember your childhood phone number?
G-parents had a name for the first 2 numbers: Murray-42305.
How many of you struggle to remember your cell phone # now?
Pay phones
Dialing 411 for a phone number
Calling a phone number to find out what time it was.
Phone books. Yellow pages.
Sara’s mom, God bless her, came into the info age kicking and screaming. Never learned how to use a computer.
She wrote her important phone numbers on a piece of paper and taped it to the back of her flip phone.
It had an address book like all the others. She refused.
AAA trip ticks; paper maps
In Seminary I worked for a delivery service delivering contracts, paperwork, and packages all over DFW in 1 or 2 hours.
I had a spiral bound book that was a map of Dallas County. Mapsco.
My first car when I was 16 was a ‘69 Chevy Chevelle. I had a cassette tape deck in it so I had a brief case that had all my tapes in it.
In college I learned to live and die by my “At-A-Glance” calendar. Assignments, baseball schedule, parties, everything.
That led to me committing to the “Day-Timer” system later.
Alarm clocks. I got rid of ours a few years ago. We had it since we were married.
Wind-up timers in your kitchen
Paper tickets to ball games, concerts, and flights
NAU tickets and D-Back tickets on Stubhub
Airline tickets in my iWallet.
Paper-bound books.
Mostly on my iPad. But I have my Kindle software on my phone so I can read my books here, too.
Publishing. Must be a racket.
If you buy an e-book, it costs as much as the paperback.
My grand kids will never know the pleasure of carrying around a 50-lb book bag or back pack, running to their next class.
Or, hustling to their locker in “D” hall to drop off their math book and pick up their English text and get to their next class in “A” hall before the bell rings, or the tone, or whatever noise gave you nightmares as a kids.
Deposit slips. I deposit my paychecks w/ my phone app now.
And, BoA is recording my CC payments w/ their own iPads now.
I hand-deliver it b/c it’s so big. I don’t want to mail it.
Post-offices may be on their way out.
Pay bills. emails. Texts. Take a picture and send it.
Packages, okay. But personal and business correspondence is going by way of the dinosaur.
All this and probably more becoming obsolete.
B/C our cell phones do it so much better.
Personal security aside, the cloud is so convenient.
All this has happened relatively recently.
I got my first cell phone in ‘95. A brick
Flip phones in the oughts.
Then, my first iPhone in the teens. So, in the last 10 years w/ the development of all these apps everything changed.
The new is here. We will never go back, unless our electric grid is destroyed.
The old is obsolete b/c it never was as good as what we have now. It was good for that time. It was all we had.
When the new came, it made the old obsolete. And the new is so much better.
This is the message of Hebrews 8.
The old was okay. It was all they had. The new is so much better it make the old completely obsolete. Gone. No need to go back.
Though some, still try. They are kicking and screaming while resisting the new. They are the ones who killed Jesus. And, would still today if He came for the first time now.
The new was described, specifically, concisely, in the old. It’s tucked away in a few verses in Jeremiah. In those few verses, the crux of Christianity is described.
It’s would be the new. It’s exactly what we have today.
BTW, do you know what ‘crux’ means?
Literally, it is an abbreviation of crucifixion.
The crux is the central point, the main thing of whatever you are talking about.
This the crux of Christianity. The main point. The most important thing.
It is actually, more than crucifixion.
The crux of Xianity is Who we know, why we know Him, How to we live our lives in light of knowing Him.
And, it’s so much better than the old, the old is completely obsolete now.
So, if anyone asks you what it means t/b a Christian, you can give them your answer, based on these verses today, that are based on a few verses in the OT.
Let’s get into Hebrews 8.


Hebrews 8:1–2 NIV
Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
The preacher is wrapping up a section of his sermon and summarizing what he has said before moving on to the next section.
It is also a major theme of Hebrews, that Jesus is our high priest.
Tense is key in these two verses.
We have a high priest, present tense.
Who sat down at the right hand of God, past tense.
And, who serves in the sanctuary, present tense.
Jesus is our high priest and when He ascended to heaven, he took his place in a seat of honor, at the right hand of God. He is God’s right-hand man. His #1. Spock is that to Kirk. Joseph was that to Pharaoh.
If God steps away for any reason, Jesus is takes the comm.
But, Jesus still has a job for today. He will fill in for God when necessary, but He has his own responsibilities.
When Israel left Egypt, passed thru the Sea, started wandering thru the wilderness; God gave Moses instructions for building a traveling tabernacle.
The tabernacle is the center piece of worship. It was the altar where they sacrificed the animals, it was the holy of holies where God took resided on earth, and it was the main room with their priests performed their responsibilities for the people
Only the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies, to the altar, into the presence of God to make the necessary sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people.
The tabernacle that Moses built, is based on the design of the tabernacle in Heaven.
The real one, in heaven, is eternal. The one Moses built was a facsimile, a representative of the real one, was the basis for the temple they built in Jerusalem, and is gone.
The one the Moses build could not do what we needed to have done for us. It was never intended for that. It always was a representative of what God was going to do for us that would atone for the mess that we create w/ God.
The tabernacle in the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in ad 70 and is long gone.
The state capitol building in LR, AR is a facsimile of the Capitol building in Washington DC.It’s on a hill. It’s smaller. Fewer rooms. But it has the dome and the two wings for the two houses.
Movies have used the state house in AR when filming a story about DC.
Or, like the Ark exhibit in Kentucky. It’s the same size as Noah’s boat, but on stilts in KY. The real one, supposedly ran aground on Mt. Ararat and is still there. No one can get to it b/c of the local civil war between tribal groups.
In the real one, there is still work being done, on our behalf, and it’s being done by Jesus. We know from the last passage that one of activities going on there is Jesus is praying for each one of us, all the time. Interceding to His Father on our behalf.
It’s the work of the high priest in the presence of God and it’s going on today in the tabernacle of heaven.
Jesus isn’t sacrificing animals up there. He was the sacrifice that atoned for our messes.
Remember what atonement means.
If the D-Backs are playing the Dodgers. The Dodgers have 2 runners on base, the batter hits a ball to the outfield and the D-Back outfielder makes an error, messes up, allowing the 2 runners to score. Now, the D-backs are in a deficit to the Dodgers b/c of the mess the outfielder made.
The next time that D-back outfielder comes up to bat, he has a runner on base, and he hits a home run scoring 2 for the good guys.
Now, the score is tied. The deficit was made up. He atoned not just for the error he made, but the deficit he was responsible for when he messed up.
That’s what Jesus did for us. We make the errors causing a deficit to God. We can’t make it up b/c we keep making errors. We make more errors that we can hit home runs to cover.
Jesus, who never made an error in his eternal life, hits that home run, tying the game we have w/ God. We are even. That is what He did at the cross, in his crucifixion.
Now, His work continues as he intercedes on our behalf, reminding God that He already made up for the deficit we just created.
“I covered that one.” “That one too.” “And, that one.”
“Don’t hold that against him. I got that one.”
Constant. He is praying for us and providing for us in ways that enable us to do better tomorrow than we did yesterday.
The old just pointed out what we do wrong. The new points out what Jesus did right and helps us do better.

The New is Better

Hebrews 8:6–7 NIV
But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.
The old covenant, the law, was a promise God made with the ppl of Israel. It was a 2-way deal.
It’s the only covenant God has had w/ ppl that the ppl had responsibility, too.
If the ppl would be faithful and obedient to the law, God would let them stay in the land, he would protect them there and the land would produce so they could eat well there.
The ppl were constantly failing on their side of the deal. They always messed up. The law pointed out every single big and little violation.
Any violation of any little law was a violation of the whole law and a failure to perform their contractual obligation.
Since they couldn’t, and they didn’t, God did what he promised, as well.
The land did not produce. The climate did not perform. Their crops dried up on the vines and their livestock had not water nor grain to keep them healthy.
Their shields went down. Scotty could do nothing when their Enterprise was exposed to enemy tasers and death rays.
As a result, they were forced out of the land. Then it was the Babylonians. Today it’s the Arabs, Iranians, Saudis, and the rest of the Muslim world that wants to occupy it.
It was a bad deal. Not b/c God could not perform his contractual obligation. It was bad b/c the ppl could not.
The new is so much better for so many reasons. But the biggest reason is b/c we, the ppl, have no obligation to perform. All we have to do is believe.
What is it we have to believe?
Jeremiah told Israel what was coming. 4 verses in Jeremiah 31 laid out what Christianity would be like.
Hebrews 8:8-12 quotes these verses and they describe for us the crux of Christianity.

The Crux of Christianity

Hebrews 8:8–12 NIV
But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
People mess up all the time. They could not keep the old covenant. We can’t either. If we lived under that agreement we’d be in no better shape.
The problem w/ the old one was not w/ God. He kept His side of the contractual obligation. The problem is w/ the ppl. We can not keep from messing up.
Every time we mess up, we make an error, we cause a deficit between us and God. And, we can’t make up that deficit b/c as soon as we try to make up for one, we’ve made 10 more errors.
All the old did was point out the errors. It could do nothing to make up for them.
So, we needed a new one that was not like the old one. A new one that has no contractual obligations for the ppl to perform. All we have to do is believe it and we obey it.
Paul wrote this:
Romans 12:1–2 NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Jeremiah wrote that God would put His laws in our minds and write them on our hearts.
Something inside of us has changed. When we believe, the HS performs a work inside us.
He renews out minds. Our mind are made up of our head and heart. What we think and how we feel.
W/ our mind we evaluate every situation. What do I think about it? How do I feel about it?
We determine, is it good or is it bad and how do we respond.
The HS has changed the standard by which we evaluation things. We now evaluate them according to God’s word.
Our will is our chooser.
Once our mind has evaluated the situ, our will choose what our mind determines to be our best option.
Words and actions.
Who, in their right mind, would choose to lose their life? Who would choose to sacrifice who they are to please God or anybody else?
It makes no sense to lose your life in order to gain your life.
But once we give up who we were, Jesus gives us who we are. And, it’s better.
Only a transformed mind would evaluate that to be our best option so that our will then chooses to make that sacrifice.
Then God said thru Jeremiah, and thru this preacher, we will have a closer personal relationship w/ Him.
He will be our God.
We won’t have to teach ppl to know God b/c we know God.
The preacher here did the same thing Paul did in Eph. 1. He used 2 different Greek words to say “Know” God.
The first word, ginosko, means to know God relationally.
It is that close personal relationship.
The second word, oida, means facts about God.
The closer I am to my wife, the more I know about her. When I get to know her character, I know better how she will respond to me and situations we face.
The better I know her personally, then the better I know her factually.
W/ God, there are many that only know about Him. Their assumptions and expectations of him are mostly wrong. They get frustrated w/ Him b/c He does not meet their expectations of Him.
But their expectations are wrong. They are wrong b/c they don’t know God personally.
Our right knowledge of the facts about how God will respond to the situations we face is based on a good, close, personal relationship we have w/ Him.
Then, as a result of the close, personal relationship we have w/ him, we can expect him to forgive our sins.
Because we believe, then our minds are renewed, then we know God, then we know about God, then we are forgiven by God, and we can be close to God.
It is cyclical.
Sinful ppl, who mess up, make errors, creating a deficit between us and God, cannot be close to a holy God unless that deficit is made up for.
And we can’t do it ourselves.
Therefore, here is the crux of Christianity.
People mess up all the time creating a deficit between us and God.
Jesus saves us and serves us.
He saves us on the cross and serves us in the tabernacle.
He makes up for the deficit we create and asks God to take good care of us even though we keep messing up.
The HS fills us and changes us.
He renews our mind so our will can make better choices so we can mess up less.
God forgives us so we can maintain a close, personal relationship w/ Him and receive all the benefits of being close to Him.
The old couldn’t do this. All the old tools and applications we had have been rendered obsolete by our new cell phones just like the old covenant has been rendered obsolete by the new.


Hebrews 8:13 NIV
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
The old is as obsolete as your old phone book and yellow pages.
It’s as obsolete as your old rotary dial phone and pay phones.
It’s as obsolete as the folded maps you may have in your glove box
As obsolete as your 8-tracks and cassettes.
As obsolete as your At-A-Glances and Day Timers
As obsolete as your cameras, flashlights, and compasses.
And who has paper tickets and published books anymore?
The new isn’t just better than all these things. It is all these things in one device. But, it’s even better than they were when they were all the rage.
The new is better b/c it’s a relationship; not rules, rites and rituals.
We mess up all the time and create a deficits w/ God.
Jesus saves us and serves us.
The HS fills us and changes us.
God forgives us we we can have a close personal relationship w/ Him.
That is the crux of Xianity. It was foreshadowed in the old. Then unpacked in the new.
But if anybody asks what it means to be a Christians, this is it.
It is not that we go to church, don’t cuss, drink or chew, or go w/ girls who do.
Christianity is about Who we know, why we know Him, and how we live in light of knowing Him.



Make your relationship w/ God your priority.
A rel w/ Him is a lot like your relationships w/ ppl.
Communication, a quantity of quality time, taking an interest in the things He is interested in.
Make Him a priority. Don’t try to perform for him, relate to Him.


That said, make better choices.
Your mind has been renewed. Your head and your heart are capable of making better evaluations so your will can make better choices.
Recognize you have an enemy that is always trying to get you to not use the resources God has given you to use.
Satan cannot do anything to you that you do not allow.
You cannot mess up God’s plan, you can only mess up your life. But, you don’t have to.
Use all the resources God makes available and make better choices.


Know God and know these facts. If you memorize anything about your faith, memorize this.
We mess up.
Jesus saves us and serves us.
The HS fills us and changes
God forgives us so we can have a close, personal rel w/ him.
This is the gospel. This describes what you believe and what will save anyone who wants to know how to become a Christian.
Have faith. Believe these things.
It was foreshadowed in the old then unpacked in the new.
Christianity is about Who we know, why we can know Him, and how we live in light of knowing Him.
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