In October 2011, Apple released iOS5. I was a college student rocking an iPhone 4 and I couldn’t wait to download and install this update. At that point Apple would send out the update in phases, which meant that some people would get the update before other people would. Our school had already preemptively send out an announcement that the internet might be slower that day due to an overloaded network. In other words, everyone with an iPhone will be downloading a massive update, so things will go slower.
This update was huge! This is the update that Apple introduced Siri, a brand new notification center, a big update to iMessage, iCloud, and a ton of other new features. I had read about it and watched Keynote presentation and I couldn’t wait to get this update on my screen! I went to all of my classes with the anticipation that the message would pop across my screen with the invitation to download! Then in the first class of the day, I saw it pop up on my screen and before anyone else, I hit the download button and sat the phone on the edge of my desk so I could watch it during my Old Testament Survey course. It was a great day, I got the update before all of my friends and more importantly before my roommate!
One of the best feelings in the world is getting the new and improved. Like downloading the fresh copy of MLB The Show 21, which dropped earlier this week. Could you imagine if I downloaded The Show 21, just to sit there in my Xbox to never be played and I just kept playing the old 20 version, where the Dodgers aren’t world champions and where the graphics are old and not NextGen. Who in their right mind would do that?
Tonight we’re going to talk about that exact same feeling, except we’re going to be talking about our relationship with Jesus. You might not realize this but with Jesus, you’re benefitting from having the greatest update of all time!
If you look at the Old Testament you’ll see and entirely different expectation from Godly people. This is commonly called the Old Covenant. This was a covenant between God and His creation, in this covenant the Israelites were required to keep God’s law and in return God would protect them and they would be blessed. To atone for the sins of the people, there were daily animal sacrifices. The high priest could only enter the Most Holy Place, where God’s presence was - and even then, the high priest could only do that one time a year.
Today, we live under the New Covenant, where Jesus, our savior is our High Priest, and because of His sacrifice on the cross, our sins are forgiven and we are given access to God our father and our creator.
So let me ask you a question. Are you living in the “Jesus Update”? Or are you still defaulting to the Old Covenant way of living? Now I’m obviously not asking you if you’re still sacrificing bulls to atone for your sin, but I am asking you if you’re trying to find favor with God by the things that you are doing for God. Do you think giving in the offering will pay for your sins? Do you think living you best and most Christian life will pay for your sins? What about doing good deeds or being generous to others?
While all of these things are good things, they’re not enough to cover the cost of our sin. Take a look at 2 Corinthians 3:6,
He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.
In the Old Testament, the people were governed by laws, but as Paul writes here in 2 Corinthians 3:6 the covenant that we live under is “not of written laws, but of the Spirit.” When we accept Jesus as our personal savior, and invite Him into our heart, Jesus moves in and we live by the Spirit. We’re led by the Spirit, and we are at times convicted by the Holy Spirit.
So how do we “Live by the Spirit”? Lets look at our key text today in Hebrews 12:14-24,
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. 16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. 17 You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.
18 You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. 19 For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. 20 They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
Now at first glance, there is a lot to unpack with Paul’s words. In verse 18 Paul compares the Old Covenant to Mount Sinai, in contrast to the New Covenant for which he uses Mount Zion, or the city of the living God.
Verses 18-21, show us the great difficulty of living under the law. While God showed His grace by giving His people a path to righteousness, God was working a plan for the New Covenant, where God Himself would be the bridge, through the messiah, or savior Jesus Christ.
Verses 22-24 show us the New Covenant, which Jesus mediates between God the Father and the people, you and I.
It is because of Jesus, because of His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, that we can approach God as one of His children. This should define how we look at Jesus, it should inspire us to take full advantage of the incredible love that Jesus has for us. Honestly, its easy to forget about Jesus with the busyness of life, but always come back to Jesus, discipline yourself to maintain your walk with Jesus
Keep Coming Back To Jesus!
Take a look at Proverbs 8:17, “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.” You don’t need Dora the Explorer to find Jesus, If you search for Jesus, you will find Him. So let me challenge you, seek Him! Look for Jesus in everything, and if you do, as the Bible promises, you’ll find Him.
Look for God in prayer, in reading your Bible, during praise and worship.