A Perfect Savior (Perfect Worship), pt. 3 (Matthew 4:8-11)

Intro/Opening: Thomas Brooks, an old puritan writer, once wrote: “All sin strikes at the holiness of God, the glory of God, the nature of God, the being of God, and the law of God.” 

All sin is a frontal attack on the very nature and character of God. All temptation to sin is an attempt to draw us into a battle against God, to usurp and supplant His glory, His authority, His being with our own self-serving agenda.  We cannot understand our very existence apart from the reality of God, and God as Creator, Ruler, Redeemer, and supreme authority in all the universe

All of life and your relationship with God can be said to come down to the issue of worship. Man, created in the image of God, was made to worship - it is essential to your being human. God created man for the purpose of worship.

Contrary to popular belief, worship is not simply what we do when we sing songs or have strong emotions in relation to God or Jesus. It is a whole person and whole life lived in trust and submission to the all glorious God of Creation and redemption manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ. “I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God present your bodies a living an holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom. 12:1). It is to love the Lord your God with “all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mk. 12:30). It is to acknowledge and so live with the understanding that “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).

Worship is all encompassing. All of who we are in response to all of who God has revealed Himself to be: bowing in humble adoration and obedience. 

Because of sin that entered at the Fall of man - specifically the fall of man at the temptation of Satan - man, you and I come into this world naturally bent to worship the wrong things and the wrong person. In Rom. 1:25, Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, puts misplaced worship at the heart of all of man’s rebellion, “For they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” 

You and I have failed in each of the temptations here presented to Jesus. Adam failed, Israel failed, all have failed: “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” This is the backdrop to Matt. 4: our guilt, our sin, our failure in stark contrast to the purity, perfection, sinlessness, holiness and perfect victory of Jesus Christ. 

If you miss this, you miss the whole point of the passage and the majesty of Jesus that shines with blazing glory as the sinless Savior. 

Such is the goal of Matthew:  to present the perfection of Jesus Christ, who alone is the Righteous King, Messiah, Lord, and acceptable sacrifice. 

(1) Person of Christ

(2) Preparation of Christ

(3) Perfection of Christ

     (a) Perfect Submission

     (b) Perfect Trust

     (c) Perfect Worship

READ: Matthew 4:1-11

The Scene (8):

“He took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory” - So Satan embarks on his final assault: 

Now there is no mountain high enough to see all the kingdoms of the world. So, what exactly is going on here? Was He really on mountain, was He still in the wilderness and is given a vision by the Devil? 

Some say He never left the ground of the desert, however, if we take the plain meaning of the text, He was taken to a literal, very high mountain. 

This is not completely unprecedented: 

Ezek. 40:2 the prophet is taken to a high mountain “in the visions of God” and shown the temple that will be in the millennial kingdom. 

Rev. 21:10 John the apostle “is carried … away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shown  … the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.”

Whatever happened it is clear the Devil did take Him to a very high place and by some vision supernaturally cause the glory of the kingdoms of the world to pass before His eyes. Luke 4:5 adds that he did this “in a moment of time”  

Here, in a panoramic view, in an instant, He is made to see the glory of the kingdoms of the world in all their abundant wealth, power, honor, prestige, majestic beauty, art, music, military might, and awe-inspiring grandeur. You can only imagine the impact and the impressive splendor of all the united glory of every kingdom of men, would have in His humanness. 

The Offer (9): 

“All these I will give to You”

“Jesus, all that you just saw and now see I will give to You. You can have them now. You are a King, after all. You did come for a kingdom.” 

Heres the question: Was this a legitimate offer? Does Satan really have the authority to make such a bodacious offer? Isn’t God sovereign over all the nations?

(1) Scripture is very clear that God rules the nations in absolute sovereignty and for His own glory: 

Isaiah 40 “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales … all the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regraded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.” 

Dan. 2:20-21 “Let the Name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings”

4:34-35 “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but HE does according to His will in the host of heaven and the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to HIm, ‘What have you done?’”

Is. 10:5 “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation, I send it against a godless nation and commission it aginst the people of My fury to capture booty and to seize plunder, and to tranple them down like mud in the streets … So it will be that when the Lord has completed all HIs work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, ‘I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness” 

Is. 44:28 “It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire’ … Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, to subdue nations before him and to loose the loins of kings; to open doors before him os that gates will not be shut”

God is clearly sovereign over nations, both good and evil. 

(2) Scripture is equally clear that Satan has been given a measure of authority and influence over the nations of this present world: 

John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11 Jesus Himself calls him “the ruler of this world”

2 Cor. 4:4 “god of this world” 

1 John 5:19 “whole world lies in the power of the evil one” 

Eph. 2:2 “prince of the power of the air” 

Eph. 6:12 Satan and his minions are said to be “the rulers … the powers … the world forces of this darkness … spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” 

(3) Scripture presents Satan as the spiritual father of all non-Christians: 

John 8:44 “of your father father the Devil … and you want to do his desires”

2 Tim. 2:25 “escape the snare of Satan, having been held captive by him to do his will”

Eph. 2:2 “the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience”

So, how do these things fit together: 

(1) Satan’s authority is completely and totally under the sovereign direction and authority of God. Satan does nothing apart from God’s express permission or command. As mentioned earlier, “The Devil is God’s Devil,” Satan is God’s servant (Rev. 13:1-7).

(2) In His sovereignty God has granted Satan a measure of control over the this present world and its evil system. 

(3) So, “Yes,” Satan was within his rights (given Him by God) to offer the kingdoms of this world to Christ. It was a legitimate offer. 

The Temptation: 

So, what was the temptation? Was Jesus really so impressed with the glory of the nations that He was drawn to the offer? what is the temptation? 

(1) Surface or immediate lure?   

(a) Did not John the Baptist introduce Him to the nation by saying (3:2) “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”

Frankly, Satan is simply offering Him what was both rightfully His and the very thing that He had come to receive in the first place. The glory and honor of the nations, and homage of the people was rightfully His.

(b) He knew He was the Messiah. He knew all these things were coming to Him; and He knew the OT Scriptures.

Ps. 2 “ask of Me and surely I will give the nations as Your inheritance and the very ends of the earth as Your possession”

Ps. 22:27-28 “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will worship before You. For the kingdom is the LORD’s and He rules over the nations”

Ps. 86:9 “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.”

(c) He knew He was the Son of the Davidic promise, of whom it was said: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:16). 

(d) He also knew the judgment that is to come upon the nations (Is. 24)

(e) It is doubtful whether the temptation lie in the glory and wealth of the kingdoms. The Lord knew He would inherit these, and surely saw the debauchery and sin that lied behind all that glittered and shined in the vision. 

(2) Deeper spiritual deception [heart issue].  

So, what was the real temptation? To gain the kingdoms without the cost of suffering; to go a different way than God’s; to gain by compromise. 

“Come on Jesus, I am only showing You what belongs to You anyway. You are the King, I mean, this is the very reason You came, isn’t it? Why go through the cross? Why suffer to gain what I can give you right now? Come on, take it, let me spare you the pain, shame, suffering of the cross, which is only going to get You to the same spot anyway.”

Satan would use this same temptation repeatedly throughout His ministry. 

(1) Peter: Matt. 16:21-23 “Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to You.’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’”

(2) People: John 6:15

(3) Procession: Matt. 21:1-11

John 8:44 “You are of your father the Devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.”  Because the leadership of the nation was under the influence of Satan they wanted the same thing from their Messiah that Satan is now offering  -  glory without suffering.

The Messiah of Judaism is the Anti-Christ of the Gospels” (Edersheim)

The temptation to avoid suffering was real one.

 Note: the agony of the Savior in the Garden:

Luke 22:40-44 “When He arrived at the place, He said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down an began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’ Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently and HIs sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” 

You think the temptation to avoid suffering wasn’t real. He felt and was going to feel a pain and endure a torture and anguish of soul that you and I will never be able to comprehend. The Lord did not want to endure the cross, it was abhorrent to Him, but His will and worship were totally and completely set on the glory of God. He knew the cross was the path to the crown, and the glory of God.

John 12:27-28 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour. ‘Father, glorify Your Name.’ There came therefore a voice out of heaven: ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it.’”

Jesus knew there was a cross before a crown. Satan is saying, “Come Jesus, you don’t have to do it, now is Your chance!” - But there is a price … 

The Price: 

“If You will fall down and worship me” 

What would it cost? A switch of allegiance from God the Father to Satan! To gain the kingdom by going Satan’s way rather than God’s way. 

Now the mask is taken off and the true colors of Satan are laid bare: this is what he really and desperately wants with all his being; he wants that one essential and fundamental aspect of our relationship to God that belongs to God alone: Worship. 

(1) This was the cause of Satan’s rebellion and expulsion from heaven. 

(Context, king of Babylon) Is. 14:12-14 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” (cf. Ezek. 28:11-16) 

(2) This is the real heart of the unregenerate of the earth. 

Dan. 3:5 “[of Nebuchadnezzar] To you the command is given, O peoples, nations, and men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. But whoever doe not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast in to the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.”

All men really want this, though they are not so crass to admit it.

(3) This is at the heart of all unregenerate man’s rebellion:

Rom. 1:25 “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature (whether man [humanism], creation [environmentalism], false religion).  rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

(4) This is the very lure that the antiChrist and the beast and the world will fall under at the Tribulation (Rev. 13:1-15 “and the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. I saw one of his heads  as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the best; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?’ … all who dwell on the earth will worship him”;  2 Thess. 2:3-4 (the beast is the) “man of lawlessness … who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called God or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” (aka: “anti-Christ” “the beast” - not Satan, but Satan the power behind). 

Jesus told the woman at the well, “But an hour is coming and now is when the true worshiper will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be HIs worshipers”

Satan wants and seeks the same thing: he wants worshipers who will worship him, but in spirit and deception, lies, iniquity, whatever takes allegiance from God and transfers it to himself. 

This is the battle: *God seeks worshippers; *Satan seeks worshippers = all people worship one or the other. There is no neutral ground where one is waiting to make a decision. You are already making a decision. 

The Response (10):

“Be gone, Satan! You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” -

Again the Lord draws from Deuteronomy: 6:13 “You shall fear the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.” 

The context: Israel soon to enter into the land of Canaan, and the warning is against the lure of the idolatry of the surrounding nations. 

The following verse gives the heart of God’s reaction to such apostasy: “You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.” (14).

God abhors false worship and the defection of His people toward Satan. The offer of Satan is repulsive and offensive to an incalculable degree. It would be gaining the kingdoms, but on Satan’s terms and to his glory. 

Jesus would have no part in it: the command is final and authoritative, “Be gone!”

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you” - Satan gave it his best shot and he was conquered and Jesus shown forth as the Perfect Savior and Perfect Representative of man. In every way where man failed, He prevailed. 

Jesus did come as a king and would receive the worship of men. 

The Magi already did pay this homage to the Lord (2:11).

It is the right response when directed toward God (1 Cor. 14:25; Rev. 4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:4.)

Jesus will receive the kingdoms of the world. He will receive the honor and riches of the nations; the nations of the world will bring their glory to Him in worship (Rev. 21).  

Jesus will return with His saints and holy angels, judge the present world and establish and earthly kingdom for 1,000 years in fulfillment of OT promises, at the end of which Satan will be released for a final rebellion and then immediately judged and cast into the eternal Lake of Fire (Rev. 20). He will then utterly destroy this present creation, judge all men at the Great White throne judgement and cast all who do not belong to Him into the eternal Lake of Fire prepared for Satan and the demons, and usher the believing into the eternal joys of His presence on a new heavens and a new earth in which those made righteous through Christ will worship, serve, enjoy, and honor Him forever. 

But their is a right way to gain it; it is God’s way and it includes suffering. A cross before a crown. Jesus was unwaveringly committed to the glory and honor and worship of God. He had come to do the will of the Father. 

(11) “Then the Devil left HIm; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him” - God did meet His need, but in His own time. Christ won. He took the best Satan could give and He never sinned - this is why it is recored for us in 3 gospels: to show Christ as the worthy sacrifice and the truly righteous King. 

How does this temptation come to us? 

(1) It comes by way of a false gospel: all the goodies of salvation without the cost. 

A gospel that offers salvation, grace, and forgiveness with no cost, no repentance, no willingness to give up all to gain Christ. Cheap grace. Easy believism. Just as the Jews created their own self-serving Messiah, so the modern church as invented their own self-serving Jesus. 

This is the opposite of what Jesus called for: 

Luke 9:22-26 “‘The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.’ And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses hi life for my sake, he is i the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and my words, the son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in HIs glory.” 

Coming to Christ, while containing all the riches of grace and heaven, comes at the cost of self-denying repentance: “You must be desperate enough to embrace Christ no matter what the price.” 

This flies in the face of the modern Jesus who is here to serve you, make you feel better about yourself, make you more successful in life - to show only grace and service to you, but with no demands to serve Him. 

“Do not think that i came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her other, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who love father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 10:34-39). 

Jesus Christ calls for nothing less than total commitment and willingness to forsake all to gain Him: repentant faith is the first and fundamental step in worship - no worship unless this has taken place. 

You will only embrace this call when you have come to grips with your sin in light of His absolute holiness and glory - only then will forgiveness and grace in Christ be that precious and valuable. 

Everyone who belongs to Christ will inherit His kingdom with Him! How foolish and vain to chose the empty, vain, deceptive, and passing pleasures of this world, for the eternal weight of glory in Christ. 

(2) Comes in the lure of compromise, practicality, and realism. 

Compromise on truth and integrity to achieve goals: ends justifies the means attitude. These kind of temptation test the condition of your hearts more than the rest. It is most subtle when the ends are good. 

(a) Ministry: “No one will come if you just preach the Bible, or hold up the importance of doctrine.”

This is where much of the contemporary church has fallen. 

“Pay close attention to yourself and your teaching (doctrine), persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1 Tim. 4:16).

(b) Work: “Look, no one gets ahead by being honest all the time, or obeying all the rules - you have to learn to work the system.” 

(c) Relationships: “Sure, I wasn’t completely honest, but it will make them feel better and they will like me and do what I want.” 

You plug in where you may be experiencing this temptation, to compromise in order to gain something you desire, or have rationalized as a need. 

2 Tim 3 “all those who desire to live godly in the present age will suffer”

(3) Comes by way of our natural bent toward self-gratification: worship of self: 

Idolatry - anything that takes the place of our affections and allegiance to Christ. 

Col. 3:5 “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry”

1 Tim. 6:10 “for the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” - covetousness. 

Let me ask you, “How are you being tempted right now? Tempted to compromise on clear biblical principles in your ministry, your relationships, your work, your family in order to take the easy way out? In order to go the way of Satan rather than the way of God?” 


Satan’s temptations, while they may wear a different mask, face us every day and they attack us at the same level: 

Will you live in absolute dependence upon God and His promises? 

Will you live in trust and not presumption regarding His plan for our lives?

Will you worship, serve, and honor Him no matter what the cost? 

Will you live for the eternal, and the Eternal One rather than the passing pleasures and wisdom of the world?

Man has fallen to every temptation Satan here attempts to lure Christ. These temptations are what mark the kingdom of this world: independence from God; love for the self-serving and spectacular, pridefully setting ourselves above God, trying to make Him prove His promises to us, and having misplace worship. 

You know what? You have failed in everyone of these areas in countless ways. So have I. Jesus Christ never failed - His victory is your victory, if you belong to Christ. 

Jesus Christ is:

(1) The only Perfect Savior who is able to stand in our place as a substitute sacrifice to bear the wrath of God for your sin, and grant the perfect righteousness we all need to stand in His presence. 

(2) The Perfect Mediator for sinners  “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16). 

“Hallelujah! What a Savior!” If you are a Christian you stand in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ: worship Him and trust Him completely and do not neglect coming often and regularly to the throne of grace to receive help in time of need. 

If you have not repented of your sin; if you are not a worshipper of Christ, He is calling you through His word right now: “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.”