Facing Temptation – Part 3
“Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” vs. 10
- Why were Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden? Common answer: for eating the for bidden fruit. The real reason: God did not want them to eat from the tree of life Gen. 3:22-23
- Which kind of Jonah whale swallowed Jonah? Jonah 1:17 that it was a big fish
- Who cut off Samson’s hair? Most common thought was Delilah. The Bible actually tells us a a man did it in Judges 16:19
- There were three wise men or Magi that visited the baby Jesus. Actually the Bible doesn’t mention how many Magi there were only that there were three gifts. Also, they didn’t visit the baby Jesus in the stable but when they were in a house, Matt. 2:11
- Can you name the verse that says “God helps those who help themselves.” Not in the Bible, it was a proverb of Benjamin Franklin’s written in Poor Richard’s Almanac.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
The Faces of The Devil
This is part three of our series on the temptations Christ faced while in the desert with the devil. It is important that we remember that Satan is a real being, created by God as an angel, but choose to go against God and to not submit himself to God’s authority. That being said, it is important to remember that Satan is active and wants to lead people away from God. He made his choice not to follow God and his sole purpose now is to get as many people as possible to make that same decision. He cannot make it for people but he can connive and scheme and tempt people to make that decdsion. We have spent a Sunday and on each temptations and today we look at the third temptation. One of the things that struck me as we have been looking at these temptations is the different faces of the devil. What I mean by that is that even though we can’t hear any inflection or emphasis in this written text, we can kind of feel how Satan takes on a different kind of demeanor in each of the temptations which led me to think about how Satan has been perceived throughout history.
All That Glitters Is Not Gold
We have looked at how Satan uses good and desirable things to tempt us. If he used bad things or things we didn’t like, what good would that do, it wouldn’t really tempt us. But it is important to remember that All That Glitters Is Not Gold. Because it seems appealing and may have a desirable look to it does not mean that it is really worth our time and/or attention and, in fact, may be bad for us.
Ex. Gambling and how the casino is portrayed on commercials. (Show picture)
- Fiction: Satan’s Word Is Truth
In our passage today three untruths about the devil stand out. We’ll look at each of those untruths and what is really real about him. The first fiction is that Satan tries to pretend that his word is truth. Notice what he tries to lure Jesus with in verses 8 and 9:
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you…’” vss.8-9
This is really a pretty sneaky thing Satan is doing here. He not only wants Jesus to believe that he has the power to give these kingdoms to Jesus, but he wants to hit Jesus where it hurts. He knows that Jesus came to die for our sins and rise again so that we can have salvation. The very thing that Jesus came for was people and he is trying to make Jesus take a short cut. This is an outright lie because if Jesus gives in, those very nations, those very people,
then become followers of Satan without a means of salvation.
Fact: Satan Is The Father Of Lies
That leads us to the fact that Satan Is The Father Of Lies. Listen to how Jesus stated it in John8:
“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
It’s not just that he lies but that he is the father of lies implying that all untruth finds its origin with the devil. Jesus is very clear here, there is no truth in Satan. Knowing that should throw red flags up to us that anything we read that is attributed to Satan is a lie.
2. Fiction: Satan Is Worthy Of Praise
A second untruth is that Satan Is Worthy Of Praise. Notice his words to Jesus in verse 9:
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” vs. 9
We just learned that Satan is the father of lies and that is what he speaks; lies. Here we see that what he is trying to lure Jesus into is praise. So here’s how it might be understood a little better. In and of himself, he is not worthy of praise. The only way he gets praise is with false promises and with lies. To praise is to say or write good things about (someone or something): to express approval, or to glorify. To be worthy of something is to deserve it or to have the qualities deserving it. So get this, if you put these two things together, Satan is saying that he is deserving of glory because of his good qualities.
Fact: Satan Is A Prowling Lion
What? The real fact is that Satan does not deserve praise nor does he have qualities that make him worthy of praise, in fact, it is just the opposite. The fact is: Satan Is A Prowling Lion. Let’s look at the reality of who Satan is from 1 Peter 5:8:
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Satan character is not worthy of praise. 1 Peter tells us his character is like a lion walking around looking to devour things; to assert his will, to assert his authority and to destroy. I would even put it to you that we have a great record of his track record of doing just that.
Ex. Eve – he tricked her to destroy her and all people forever.
Job – He tried everything he could to destroy him and ruin his faith and character.
Judas – To betray Christ
We need to beware that Satan is not our friend. Satan is not to be trusted. Satan is not going to do anything to help you or make you better. Just the opposite. His sole purpose is to destroy.
3. Fiction: Satan Has Unlimited Power
And, the third untruth we find in our passage is that Satan Has Unlimited Power. Notice again his words in verse 9:
“All this I will give you…” vs. 9
Now hear this very clearly: Satan does have power. He wants you to believe that he has unlimited power. Many people like to give Satan too much power. It is true that Satan is called “the prince of this world.” Jesus says that in John 12:31. But take note: a prince always is under the authority of a king and we serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Satan may have some power but it’s only the power of a prince. The king ultimately rules and we serve The King. Satan will try to deceive us into believing his power is greater than it really is. He only has the power given him by God. That was evident in situations like Job’s.
Fact: Satan Will Be Bound
The real fact is that Satan’s reign and power will come to an end. In Revelation 20 we see the finality of what Satan will experience; Rev. 20:10:
“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Rev. 20:10
Here we see that real freedom comes for all those who follow God. Satan is bound forever and the power that he did have has now been stripped and he is bound forever. It will be sobering for those who choose to follow him and to realize that the father of lies fooled them and they are bound with him forever.
Finding True Contentment
Those are the factious lies that Satan promotes and the facts of the reality of who he is. Where does that leave us? Really this is where we understand that Jesus went through the same temptations we do and we follow his lead. The result is that we focus our lives on. Notice one more time verse 10:
“Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” vs. 10
Resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7). Christ set the standard for us in the importance of the hard work of standing firm and resisting Satan’s temptations and victory will occur. First, you should say as Jesus did: “Away from me, Satan!” But you can’t just say no to the Devil. You have to act upon it as well. Now here is the real way to get Satan to flee from you: Worship! You and I were created for worship and it is to be something that we do with our lives to combat Satan’s temptations. You can’t worship God and follow Satan at the same time! So the way is to build more worship into life; music, prayer, time in God’s Word, fellowship, etc.
And in the end, Satan will flee but God will be there for you. Verse 11:
“Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” vs. 11
There is one thing that is important to note; with enough time and enough resistance, Satan will leave. We serve a great God, a God that has more power, more authority, more wisdom and more love than we could ever imagine. We serve a God who is worthy of all our praise.