Thursday, July 3, 2008

#2 - Matthew 4:10

"You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve."

This response, by Jesus, is in the same context as the first post. He's being tempted by Satan. In this case, he's specifically being tempted to worship Satan. Jesus' response is pretty straightforward.

To remind us of post #1, notice that Jesus uses God's word to respond to all three of the temptations in the passage. We must live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Anyway, look at Jesus' response here:
You shall
- worship the Lord your God
- him only shall you serve

Oh, that we would obey this command! How often we give ourselves to idols. In John 4, Jesus tells us the kind of worshippers that God is seeking... "those who worship in spirit and in truth." So our worship of only God must be in spirit (from our hearts... in other words sincerely, not just participating in a church service) and in truth. Not to keep harping on #1, but what does that mean? Jesus prays in John 17:17, "Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth." So our worship must be sincere and consistent with God's word.

A quick comment about the importance of doctrine and worship. One of Jesus' indictments of the Pharisees was Matthew 15:8-9, "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." Correct doctrine in incredibly important. The Pharisees worship was in vain. Imagine coming before the Lord, which Matthew 7 says many will do, and finding out that your worship was meaningless. Why was theirs meaningless? Doctrine. They didn't believe and obey the truth. Church, study. Don't just assume that doctrine is something that is just for pastors to know. It is crucial for our worship.

Another comment on worship: Romans 12:1 gives us a picture of our spiritual act of worship. Paul says, "present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Now this could be a long post, but to comment quickly... a sacrifice is something that is surrendered at a cost (often life); holy means to be set apart; and we're called to be acceptable to God. This verse screams holiness. If we're going to worship God in a way that pleases him, we must resist sin and live for him (him only shall you serve).

Isn't that what Jesus is doing in Matthew 4? I love this because in this passage he's not preaching to others, he's preaching to himself. Yes, the kingdoms of this world are tempting. Power and influence are tempting. Food is tempting. But "you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve." When tempted Jesus reminded himself (and Satan) of this command. We as the church should do the same.

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