Jesus Is All We Need!

Hebrews 9: 1-15

Have you ever realized that the members of the early Christian church never read
the New Testament?
And that included the disciples.
They didn't have the New Testament.
Their Bible was the Old Testament.

Jesus sat down with His disciples following His resurrection to teach them
what the Scriptures actually said about Him, and it was from the Old Testament
that He taught them.
On the Road to Emmaus, Jesus listened to two of His followers talking of that tragedy
of recent days.
He assured them that these events were not tragedies.

Rather, these events were foretold in the Scripture: " And beginning with Moses
and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself
in all the Scriptures
." (Luke 24:27)
Later, when the two followers of Jesus had rejoined the others in Jerusalem,
Jesus appeared to the eleven, and gave them a long session of Bible study during
which time He taught them from all three major divisions of Old Testament Scripture:
"… The law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms…"
(Luke 24:44)

Jesus took their Bible, the Hebrew Old Testament, and " opened their minds
to understand the Scripture
." (Luke 24:45)
He gave the Old Testament to them as a new book with new meaning.
At long last, they were able to grasp the significance of everything which had happened to Jesus,
and to see how it fit into God's great plan of the ages as it had been foretold in the very Scriptures
which they had always had with them.

It's important to keep all this in mind as we study in the Book of Hebrews,
lest we miss the importance of the Old Testament references which appear in chapter nine.
A tent in the wilderness and the rituals perform there may have seen as pretty dry reading
until you recall data regarding them which was included in those Scriptures of which Jesus said,
" It is these that bear witness of Me." (John 5: 39)
So, these antiquities should excite our interest for they have something to do with Jesus.

From the scene and substance of Christ's ministry in chapter 8, the writer of Hebrews
moves on to deal with the sacrificial nature and sufficiency of Christ's ministry.
And from all this the writer of Hebrews concludes that Jesus is all you need.

Try to imagine the quandary of these Hebrew Christians.
The temple had been laid out by God.
The Old Testament law had been written by God.
The sacrifices had been prescribed by God.
Now were they to turn their backs on the only God-given religion on earth and surrender
themselves completely to Jesus whom their leaders called an impostor?

By throwing their traditions to the wind, weren't they giving up more than they gained?
If those ceremonial cleansings and ritual sacrifices had value in the past,
didn't they still have merit?
And, if they stopped doing all these worthwhile things, how were they to handle the problem
of a nagging conscience plagued with guilt over good deeds left undone?
They felt that they were between a rock and a hard place.

Some of them solved the problem by what some might call the old-time approach.
In other words what was good enough for my parents was good enough for me.
Now they were goaded by sub-Christian guilt over supposed sins of omission -- the good deeds
of ritual cleansing and sacrifice left undone -- these new followers of Jesus
shifted into a high gear program of religious activity designed to make certain
they pleased God and were acceptable to Him.

Some might think how naive they were, but is there any perceptible difference in motivation
between their ritual washings, their dietary precautions and what we do in an equally
misguided contemporary Christian's continual and ceaseless activity designed to help gain
a sense of acceptance before God?
None at all!
Christ plus anything equals heresy!

Though we have a lot of learning and growing to do after our salvation experience,
nothing can add to what Jesus has done as a means of salvation.
Jesus plus anything just isn't possible.

Yet there are many Christians today who fall for the same old con job.
You blow it with God in some area of your life, and a short time later, Satan whispers
in your ear, " You're not worthy of all God has done for you.
Especially after what you have just done or left undone.
So, you had better get busy and do something to square accounts, otherwise you'll never
be sure that God approves of you
."

Now if you buy the devil's drivel, you will begin a feverish campaign designed
to improve your situation.
You will want to rack up Brownie points with God, and to strengthen your standing in His sight.
For a while, you may be a Super Saint.
But in the process, you'll wear yourself out to a frazzle by going to meetings;
serving on committees; doing everything that you're asked to do in the church hoping
to win the affection, approval, and acceptance of God.
You may be doing all the right things, but you will be doing them for the wrong reason.
As a result, you end up frustrated, joyous, and uncertain.

As one lady said to her pastor, " I don't know what's wrong with me.
I do all I can to serve the Lord, and I still feel guilty.
Then, I feel guilty about feeling guilty
."

Precisely!
It is discouraging to see all this tremendous effort dismissed as " dead works."
It is also discouraging to learn that such effort, as a means of earning a another
spiritual merit badge, just doesn't register with God.
He's simply isn't impressed by our feverish effort.

So, Jesus is all we need!

Sermon Adapted