Forsaking Satan and worshipping the Lord

Text Matthew 4:10 Time 11 1 09 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
I want us to look this evening at a text found in Matthew 4:10. There we read Jesus said to him (that is to Satan) Away from me Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. 
The verse comes at the end of Matthew’s description of what we usually refer to as “the temptation of Jesus”. Throughout his earthly life Jesus knew temptation, of course. At the end of his account Luke says (4:13) when the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him – not for good but – until an opportune time. 
Having said that, the temptation of Jesus was a particularly testing time of direct temptation in the desert that occurred at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry. Having reached the age of about 30 and being ready to begin his ministry he was baptised by John and the Holy Spirit came on him in anointing power. The first thing the Spirit did was to drive him into the desert where he fasted. Throughout that time Jesus was tempted by the devil or Satan, then at the end of that six week period there were three particularly strong temptations that both Matthew and Luke describe for us. 
Luke, for his own purposes, describes them in a different order to Matthew but the three were: 
1. The temptation to turn stones into bread 
2. The temptation to throw himself off the highest point of the temple 
3. The temptation to bow down to Satan 
In each of the first two temptations Satan begins If you are the Son of God …. This was the issue. Satan was challenging the central question of just who Jesus was. He knew that Jesus is the Son of God but he strongly challenged that idea and wanted to do all he could do to undermine this truth. 
In each case Jesus fought against Satan’s temptation by quoting from Scripture. 
1. When tempted to turn stones into bread he replies It is written Man does not live on bread alone but one very word that comes from the mouth of God 
2. When tempted to throw himself off the highest point of the temple he counters Satan's quotation from Scripture by saying It is also written, do not put the Lord your God to the test. 
3. When tempted to bow down to Satan we come to the words of our text, Away from me Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. 
In each case Jesus replies from the book he most often quotes across the whole of his ministry the book of Deuteronomy. Indeed, the three verses he quotes (6:13, 6:18 and 8:3 all occur in the same range of less than three chapters from that book). 
The temptation of Jesus is a fascinating part of Jesus’s life story. It is full of interest both for what it teaches us about Jesus and his ministry and for the way it instructs us with regard to how we should face temptation too. 
Rather than looking at the temptations, however, I want us to focus this evening just on the text Jesus said to him Away from me Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. 
You will see that what Jesus says can easily be divided into three or four parts. Each part gives us an insight into the character of Jesus the Saviour and also shows us how we should seek to live. And so I want to say three things to you this evening. 
1. Always be ready in Christ to utterly reject Satan and all his evil suggestions 
Jesus's opening words are by way of conclusion here - Away from me Satan! he says. Satan has tempted him a third time now and it is enough. Jesus will have no more of this. 
Satan, of course, means accuser (as does 'devil') and it is the name we most often use to refer to God's greatest foe. Satan is a creature, probably the greatest and most intelligent creature God ever created but one who through pride rebelled against God in his efforts to be equal to him. Since that time he has done all he can to oppose and to undermine God's purposes and plans. Despite this the truth is that Satan can only do what God allows him to do. He is bound by God. It is not a straight fight - the devil on one side and God on the other. Rather it is God using Satan's opposition to further his own ends. 
In this passage we see Jesus and Satan head to head as it were and Satan clearly comes off worst. He is well and truly beaten by the Saviour. We are told (1 John 3:8) that the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. Later on after the sending out of the 70 Jesus says I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Jesus went on to die on the cross. No doubt Satan thought of that as a great victory but in fact it was only his final defeat. Jesus speaks of it being when Satan would be cast out (Jn 12:31). By it he destroyed the one who has the power of death, the devil (Heb 2:4). Col 2;15 says that having disarmed the powers and authorities including the devil) he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 
It is because of Christ's victory over the devil that we too can say Away from me Satan and hope it to have an effect. There is a wonderful promise in Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God it says Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Nobody is promised exemption from the devil's attention. Not even Jesus knew that. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8). However, we can resist if we submit ourselves to Christ. We must give the devil no opportunity but put on the whole armour of God so that we can resist him. Otherwise we will be at his mercy. See Ephesians 6:10-18 
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 
This is how to see Satan flee then in Christ. We must make use of the armour of God. 
2. Always rely in Christ on what is found in God’s Word to guide and protect you 
The next things Jesus says is For it is written – written, of course, in the Bible. Jesus defeated Satan. How did he do it. In a word he did it by the word. It was with Scripture that he was able to triumph. That should again be a lesson to us. One of our most important weapons in this fight is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 
In order to use it, of course, we have to get to know it. If you don't know the Word then you will not be able to use it very well. Read it every day, try and learn individual verses. Here the word preached. Read books about it. Do everything you can to immerse yourself in the word. 
You also need to call it to mind when you are in the midst of temptation. If you are used to separating out things in your life so that you read the Bible on Sunday or in your quiet time but not at other times then you will not be very good at making the word work for you. We should always be ready to apply the Scriptures what ever the situation. 
Jesus is a master at work here. He has just the right Scripture for just the right situation. We need to be just as astute. Satan tends to attack us in certain areas – he seems to be able to pick out where we are most likely to sin and then work at tripping us up in just that area. We ought to know or own weaknesses or just where Satan is most likely to attack and have our Scriptures ready to hand for just such an eventuality. 
You know how in the Gideon Bibles there is usually a section headed Bible verses- where to find help. There is where to find help when ... and then there are some 32 sections.
So for example when in temptation they draw attention to this passage, to Psalm 1 (and to not walking in the council of the wicked but meditating on the Word, etc) and to 1 Cor 10:12, 13 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. If you face temptation – and who doesn't at some point - then learn these verses so that you are able to quote them when temptation comes on. 
Concentrate on So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! When you think there isn't going to be a temptation and you're tempted to trust in yourself and be over confident. 
Then when temptation comes don't think 'oh no!' and just crumple but say No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. In other words – this is normal, it is to be expected. 
Then quote And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. I won't have to give in to this. God won't expect me to go further than I can. 
Then But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it and start to look for the way out. There is one - you just need to find it! 
May be you tend to be weak in faith and something of a warrior . On that they recommend Joshua 1:6ff Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous, etc. Also the centurion of Matthew 8 (what and example he is) and Hebrews 11 the gallery of the faithful.
Also Luke 12:22-31 
Then Jesus said to his disciples: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 
If you could learn that passage of by heart then you might not be so much of a worrier. 
Or to take one more example someone who loses his tempter easily. This is not in the Gideon Bible but here are 9 good verses for anyone with a problem like that to learn 
Psalm 37:8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil. 
Ephesians 4:26-32 In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. ... Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 
James 1:19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry 
Proverbs 14:17, 29 A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated.... A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. Etc.
See 16.32, 19.11, 19.19, 25.28 
3. Always be committed in Christ to worshipping the true God and only serving him 
The verse that Jesus actually quotes is Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. It is a very simple and basic verse but totally appropriate for the situation. It gives us a third important principle. We have said that we must resist the devil and that we need to get to know God;'s Word and know how to use it against him. Positively we must be entirely committed to worshipping the Lord and serving only him. It is unlikely that the Devil will ever confront us and ask us to bow down to him. Nevertheless that is what he wants. He wants your worship and service. We must not give it to him. He often approaches subtly and tries to draw us off to him in other ways than this most obvious one. We must always resist and worship God alone. 
Again, how can we do that? We must make God the focus of our lives, the sun in our solar system, the one on whom everything focuses. Regular prayer is important as well as reading the Bible. The Lord's Day is important for structuring our week so that we begin each week with him. It is through Jesus Christ that we can do this. Indeed there is no true worshipping God and serving him except through Christ. 
We need to look at our lives regularly and root out any idols and rededicate ourselves to serving the Lord.