Sermons

Summary: A study of Jesus' final rebuff of the temptations He faced after His baptism. He exulted in the worship of the Father. Just so, if we will be successful at rebuffing the tempter, it will be because we resort to the Living God, worshipping Him only.

“Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God

and him only shall you serve.’” [1]

We know how to worship; we have the act down pat. Worship is a Psalm, an invocation, two hymns, prayer, two more hymns, a sermon and a closing hymn. Simple! Right? But, what if what we call “worship” isn’t actually worship? What if what we are doing is for us? What if what we are doing is meant to make us comfortable? Will it be worship in that case?

In an article published on a ministry site I frequent, Sam Storms referenced a Matt Redman song, “Here for You,” to raise the question of whether we are insulting God in worship. [2] The lyrics in that song are:

Let our praise be Your welcome

Let our songs be a sign

We are here for You, we are here for You

[3]

Storms raised the question of what is meant when we say, “We are here for You.” Does this mean we are present to provide a service for the Lord? Does God need something that we must provide? Are we doing something that God cannot provide for Himself? Among too many of the professed saints of the Living God, we are unclear about what we are doing in worship.

Alternatively, we could mean that we are present so that God can meet us. Redman makes this evident when he writes:

Let Your breath come from heaven

Fill our hearts with Your life

We are here for You, we are here for You

[4]

It is God who infuses us with breath, and not vice versa. It is God who fills our hearts with His life; we don’t give life to God. The difference in the two concepts is the difference between worship and ritual. It is not reasonable to speak of all ritual as worship.

The message today is a call for the people of God to think through the issue of worship, asking what we are doing when we worship. Are we moving through something we call worship in an automatic fashion? Or are we truly engaged with the Living God?

THE SETTING OF THE MESSAGE — We are no doubt familiar with the temptation our Master faced. To ensure that each of us is on the same page, let’s look again at the account of Jesus’ temptation after His baptism. We read in the Word, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written,

‘“Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

“Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

‘“He will command his angels concerning you,”

and

‘“On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

“Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

‘“You shall worship the Lord your God

and him only shall you serve.”’

“Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him” [MATTHEW 4:1-11].

It is important to realise that our Lord did experience temptations that mirror what you and I experience. There was nothing in these temptations that are recorded that we do not face. Refresh your memories by recalling what is written in the Letter to Hebrew Christians. “Since … the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” [HEBREWS 2:14-18].

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