Blessing Is Fearing God And Serving
< Matthew 4:1-11 >
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the
devil.And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command
that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man
shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth
of God.’ Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, 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 shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’
Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, ‘You
shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly
high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.And
he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and
worship me. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written,
‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ Then the
devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”
The righteousness of God that saves us from our
sins is that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and that He bled and died
on the Cross to save us from our sins once for all, and that God testified that
He was the Savior. Today’s Scripture passage is about an event that happened
right after the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River.
After Jesus was baptized, He was led by the Spirit
into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And because He was hungry after
having fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, the devil tried to tempt Jesus with
The first temptation of the devil is written in
verse 3: “Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son
of God, command that these stones become bread.’”
How hungry could Jesus have been after fasting
40 days and nights? When Jesus’ body was extremely hungry, the devil tempted
Him with food. “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become
bread. Then you can eat it! Command them to be bread. Then you can live! Aren’t
you hungry to the point of death? If you want to live, you can live that way.
You fasted for 40 days, and you must be starving to death, how much do you want
to eat? But what would be out here in the wilderness? If you are the Son of
God, you can command them to be bread and eat, can’t you? So eat. Eat.”
Obviously the devil was tempting Jesus because
he knew Jesus was the Son of God. But the devil tempted Him with food. In other
words, he was testing Him on His life of flesh. “Rather than dying from hunger,
you should make these stones into bread and live. If you want to live now, you
need bread of the flesh! If you are the Son of God, you can make bread to eat.
You will live then. So, do that. Do that.” He tempted Jesus when He was extremely
hungry as if He would live only if He had bread. However Jesus refuted this
by saying: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds
from the mouth of God.”
Dear fellow Christians, in essence, what do the
body and soul of a person live on? Can a person live eternally on bread for
the flesh? The devil was tempting Jesus with bread for the flesh. Truly, what
should we believe in to live? The Lord said: “It is written, ‘Man shall not
live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,’”
and this is true.
When a person is hungry, he thinks that he has
to eat bread to live, but, in fact, a person’s life is dependant upon the faith
in God’s Word. A person’s life of body and soul depends upon the Word of God.
If God’s Word were not in the world, our spirit and flesh would be destined
to die. God said that our body and soul would live by the faith in the Word
that comes out of God’s mouth, and that is so. Because the written Word of God
is the Truth, our souls can live on the Word of God through our faith. Because
of the Word of God that is food for life, the bodies and souls of yours and
mine can live to their fullness.
God has given His Word to people. Through the
Word, He feeds, forgives sins, and lets people live. The Word of God created
all things in the universe, and permitted everything humans needed in this world.
Also, because there is the Word of God, our souls can receive the remission
of sin once for all through faith. The Word of God is the kind of Word that
thoroughly wipes away all of our sins. Also, God’s Word is the Word of Truth
that leads us to the Light, and therefore only those who believe in it can live.
We also need to believe that we can only live by believing in the Word of God.
This is true. We must know that humans live by believing the written Word of
God rather than living because we have bread for the flesh. Our Lord talked
to us about the Word of God.
As we live in this world, we fall in our own temptation
at times because we are captivated by our own greed. People think that if we
have a certain amount of money, we can live in plenty in this world. Of course,
this is understandable. However, what is it that a person truly lives by? On
what account does a person live? A person can live by believing the written
Word of God. If there were no Word of God, it would not be possible for us to
believe in God or meet God.
A person cannot live by bread of the flesh alone.
Especially, the righteous can live only if they can hear the authentic teachings
on God’s Word. And a person is not made of body alone, but also made of the
soul and spirit as well. Therefore, only if we hear the true Word of God, can
we resolve the problems of the soul as we live. By reading and hearing the Word
of God, our soul and body gain weight and we live in abundance. Only if we hear
the true Word of the forgiveness of sin can we receive the purification of the
sins of our soul. This is why everyone who heard the true Word of God can live
in body and soul by believing in it.
The devil often tempts everyone with words such
as these: “If you are the Son of God, command these stones become bread. Make
these stones into bread and eat them. If you were the Son of God, wouldn’t it
be possible? Hungry, aren’t you? Do it. Do it. If only you have bread, you will
live, won’t you? At any rate, a person would live if he eats three meals a day,
and has enough food in storage for 365 days a year times about 70 or 80 years.
Wouldn’t a person live and not die if only he has food?” This is what the devil
The devil tells people this, and many people are
fooled and fall for this. There are people, who fall for this, thinking, “That’s
right. I can live if I only have this.” We are not necessarily talking about
money only, but the thought that we can live if we have a few of the worldly
materials that we want. We think, “I can live and not die even without the Word
However, that is a big miscalculation. In reality,
our body also dies without God’s Word. Truly, a person does not live by bread,
the abundance of worldly material, or the sexual desire that the world can gratify.
This is why we need to listen carefully to what Jesus said, when the devil tempted
Him, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds
from the mouth of God.” The devil tempts us when we have become weak, when
we are starved and hungry, and so our soul is exhausted. He asks people, “You
would live only if you have bread, won’t you?” and confuses them. Many people
consider what they have, and think, “Oh, I have sufficient possessions to sustain
my life! Then, I would live and not die even if I do not hear the Word of God.”
But, fellow Christians, even when the devil tempts
us like that, we do not live by bread alone, but by believing every word that
proceeds from the mouth of God. I hope we keep this in mind. I hope we keep
in mind that we cannot live if we do not have the Word of God.
You can live only if God’s Word is in your heart.
Dear fellow Christians, is this so? Or is it not so? It is so. Don’t forget
the fact that we can live because there is God’s Word. The reason that mankind
has existed until now also is because God’s Word exists. When the gospel of
the water and the Spirit is spread to the end of the world, our Lord will come
back, and when He comes back, He said He would end this world and start a new
world. All these will be completed according to His Word.
Dear fellow Christians, the Word of God is the
Truth. Jesus beat off the first temptation of the devil by saying, “It is
written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds
from the mouth of God.’” When the devil heard this, he was astonished. However,
the devil was not someone who would stop at this.
The Second Temptation
The second temptation appears in verse 5: “Then
the devil took Him up into the holy city, 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 shall give His angels charge over you, and, In their hands they shall bear
you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is
written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
The devil tempted Jesus by taking Him up on the
pinnacle of the temple and told Him to throw Himself down. He turned God’s Word
against him when he said, “For it is written ‘He shall give His angels charge
over you and in their hands, they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot
against a stone.’ Earlier you refused my temptation because you believe in the
written Word, didn’t you? Then, you should do as it is written. You believe
in these words, right? Throw yourself down, and according to the written Word,
God shall give His angels charge over you in their hands, they shall bear you
up, lest you dash your foot against a stone when you throw yourself down. Try
it now.” Then Jesus said, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord
Dear fellow Christians, the devil sometimes tempts
people using the written Word of God. However, Jesus said not to tempt the Lord
our God. The devil said to Jesus, “Surely, you shall not die. Why? That is because
you are the Son of God.” This is true. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Therefore,
He would not have died. Jesus is different from us, the humans. However, the
devil tempts. But the written Word of God says “not to tempt” God. In other
words, we must live by believing the written Word and God rather than tempting
Often, people tempt Jesus. There are too many
times that people tempt God, “I did it like this, but why do God treat me this
way?” But if we just believed in God there would be no need to tempt Him. We
do not have the qualification to tempt Him, and we must not tempt Him. God is
not someone who should receive temptation from us. The reason we are tempted
is because we are dragged by our greed, and it is not because God tempts us
that we are tempted.
Some one might raise an objection against God,
taking Abraham as an example: “What was it all about that God had Abraham offer
his son Isaac? Is this not God tempting Abraham to see whether or not he believed?”
But that was not the case. It is not that God tempted Abraham. Rather, it is
that God permitted the process to show us how surely Abraham had the faith that
truly believes the Word of God in his heart, and how he became the father of
faith by his faith.
Dear fellow Christians, we must believe in the
Word of God. Even though God is not visible to us, we must believe in the written
Word of God as the Word of God that God spoke. We experience by believing in
the Word of God that the Word of God is fulfilled in its entirety. Therefore,
we must believe. If that is how the Word of God is, we must believe it as it
is, and not be swayed regarding our faith in the Word no matter how the circumstances
and situations shake and change.
If that is how the Word of God is, that is the
truth. And if it is not fulfilled as the Word of God says, then the problem
lies on our side. It is because we do not have faith, or our faith is not strong
enough, that is, our faith is shaking, sometimes we seem to have faith, and
sometimes we do not. In short, it is because of the problem of our faith that
it is not fulfilled as the Word says rather than because there is a problem
with the Word of God.
God works His miracles for those who truly believe
in God’s Word. However, God said those with shaky faith should not even think
to gain (James 1:7-8). No matter how small our faith is, whether we believe
or not believe is what is important. We must believe and not tempt God. If we
believe in the Word of God, we receive the remission of sin, and it is fulfilled
to us as the Word is. Dear fellow Christians, do you believe? ―Yes.
To you and me, it is the faith that believes in
the Word of God that is important. It is because God sees the heart of a person
rather the outward appearance of a person. God sees whether he really believes,
behaves according to the faith, and lives by the faith. However, it doesn’t
mean that you have to show God your strong faith right now. Even if your faith
is as small as a mustard seed, you have to confess your faith in His Word, saying,
“I believe. My faith lacks, but I believe. I do it because I believe. I wait
Your reply because I believe in You. I follow You because I believe Your Word
of promise.” God sees such stable and firm faith in our hearts. When the devil
tempts you and me, we must fend him off by believing in the written Word.
The Third Temptation
Thirdly, verse 8 tells us: “Again, the devil
took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms
of the world and their glory. And he said to Him ‘all these things I will give
you if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him ‘Away with
you Satan, for it is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him
only you shall serve.’ Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came to Him
and ministered to Him.”
“For it is written: you shall worship the Lord
your God, and Him only you shall serve.” What we, the people, have to do
is only worship God and serve Him. What is needed between God and us? How should
we live before God?
We must fear God, worship Him, believe in, and
follow Him if it is His will, and because God is a God of the Word and He exists
as the Word, by believing in Him, we believe in the Word, and obey Him according
to the Word, and worship Him and follow Him with such faith. This is how we
must live before Him―“You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him
only you shall serve.” This is the duty that you and I and all of mankind
must do in God’s eyes. There is not much else that we, the people, have to do.
There is not much else we need to do throughout our lives other than acknowledging
God, believing in the great God, and obeying, bowing down, believing, following
and serving God the Creator. This is our solemn duty and this is so.
The devil took Jesus up on an exceedingly high
mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. What
is the highest mountain in the world? Mount Everest. The mountain is 8,848 m
high. It is very easy to memorize, isn’t it? Dear fellow Christians, perhaps
the devil showed the world on top of Mount Everest. The devil said to Jesus
that he would give Him all, that as they looked at the world from the top of
the highest mountain, if Jesus would worship him. The devil said that if Jesus
would believe the devil to be God, and serve and obey him, he would give Him
the whole world.
But what did Jesus say? Jesus said: “Away with
you Satan, for it is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him
only you shall serve.’ The One I need to bow down and serve is God the Father
and not you. What I should bow down and serve is not the glory of this world.”
That is what Jesus said.
Bowing down before God and serving God are our
joy, our satisfaction and our all. Worshiping and serving God is everything
to a person. This is what we have to do, there is nothing else to do, and there
is nothing more valuable and nobler than this. Bowing down before God is acknowledging
every word of God, and serving God is acknowledging God Himself. What better
things are there than bowing down before God who made us as His creation? What
better life could there be than that? What better glory could there be than
that? We only worship God humbly. And we thank God for all His blessings and
everything in Him.
What is a blessing to us is that we can worship
God, and God anoints us with heavenly blessings when we bow down before Him,
obey Him, believe in Him and spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Because God is the one who gives everything to us, He is our all. Because He
is our all, because He is everything to those who have been born again, I hope
you know that bowing down before God is a blessing.
Even now, because God is alive, we are joyful
and glad, and we are living, receiving all blessings. Because there is God,
and we have the heart that fears God, we can glorify Him in His blessing.
Did the devil say that he would give everything
if we worship him when he showed all the kingdoms of the world? There are many
magnificent things in this world that we do not know about, we may be captivated
by its splendor momentarily. However, we cannot worship the devil even if there
are many things that could dazzle our eyes.
If the devil tempts us with worldly material and
says he would give us everything in the world if we serve him as God, we must
fend him off with the written Word of God: “Away with you Satan, for it is
written: ‘you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
We must fend him off this way. And in reality, the devil cannot give us
many things. The devil bluffed to Jesus as if he was God and said: “If only
you bow down before me, I will give you all this,” but in reality who is the
owner of everything? It is Jesus.
Dear fellow Christians, to whom belongs everything
in the universe? It is you, the righteous. To whom belongs everything in the
universe? It is the sons of God. This is why God called us the ones who would
inherit Heaven. He calls those who are born again the ones who will inherit
Heaven. This universe is the heir’s, then whose is it? It belongs to the righteous.
However, the devil says: “Bow down before me,
if you don’t believe in God, but believe in me and follow me, I will give you
everything in the world.” This is a method that the devil often uses. The devil
once thwarted me that way as well. It is a method that he used to use on me
as well even before I believed in Jesus. By the way, the devil was knocked out
in the third round.
Dear fellow Christians, how should we live in
God’s eyes? We need to live a life that worships God, and only serve Him throughout
life. God forgave our sins, all the sins by the water and blood, wiped us clean
and made us His children, and gave us the blessing that we can worship God and
serve God. We must thank God who gave us the blessing of salvation, and worship
Him by faith and serve Him throughout life.
Carefully consider the Word of God that wiped
our sins clean. The Lord wiped us clean by taking on all of our sins through
His baptism, being crucified on the Cross and receiving judgment on the sins
for us. The Lord gave us the blessing that we can worship God and serve God
by wiping us clean and neat with water and blood and taking us as the people
What kind of temptation is pressing on you and
me? How do you fend off these temptations? Jesus gave us the correct answer
through the three temptations He experienced in today’s Scripture passage. He
had fended off the devil’s temptations with His faith in the Word of God. If
we understand this answer, and live our lives, believing in it, we can also
fend off these temptations. Although worshiping God is a blessing, we do not
know it very well.
Dear fellow Christians, do you think it is better
to be served than to serve Him unconditionally? But, it is a very good thing
that you and I are serving God. Dear fellow Christians, worshiping God is a
great blessing. It is a great blessing that we worship someone who is at a very
high position. Is it so or is it not so? It is so. At any rate, we have to serve
somebody in this world, and cannot live without serving anyone. If we do not
serve God, we serve the devil. Surely. If we do not serve the devil, we serve
people. In any case, we have to decide whose servant we will become. Dear fellow
Christians, under this circumstance, is it not a great blessing that we serve
God? However, because we live without knowing this, Jesus received the third
temptation and told us the correct answer: “You shall worship the Lord your
God, and Him only you shall serve.”
Dear fellow Christians, we must believe in the
Word of God. As we hear the Word of God we think: “Oh! Jesus told us the correct
answers, and living this way is right, as I worship God, it is righteous to
worship if it is the Word of God. Even though I am sometimes like a moron, an
idiot, a fool, and an imbecile, I am someone who has received a huge blessing.
I thought I should live to my heart’s content without being restricted by anyone,
saying ‘it is my life’, but that was not it. Now I know it is strange to live
that way. It is righteous to attend the Lord as my Master and live as the servant
of God.” We must comprehend the truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit
and have faith that believes and live by being blessed. Although sometimes we
look a little stupid when we look at ourselves, but in reality the fact that
you and I can worship God and serve God-you must know that this is a great
privilege and a righteous way of life to you.
I wonder what I would be serving if I have not
been serving God now. Surely, I would be serving the gods of this land, which
could give me the pleasures of flesh. I would be drinking and eating everyday,
worrying about how to live, and serving the gods of this land. Every kind of
beverage might be my god. I would be living, holding onto these things.
Dear fellow Christians, Jesus had us be born again,
and told us what kind of life we should live and what kind of faith is the true
correct faith. Although we are lacking and weak, we are not what we were before.
I hope you thank the Lord who gave us the blessing that we can be saved, acknowledge
God and worship God. You have a thankful heart to the Lord, do you not? Yes.
It truly is a blessing that we are greatly thankful for.
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Jesus gave us this faith by fending
off all three temptations: Believing that a man lives by the Word
of God. Believing that we must not tempt God. Believing that it
is righteous to worship God and serve the Lord throughout life.
God gave us the faith that it is a great blessing. We must have
faith and live as we worship and serve God throughout life.
This is how we must live. Dear fellow Christians,
do you believe? ―Yes. ― Do you believe that this is righteous? ―Yes.
― We must believe in our hearts that this is the righteous way of life.
What a blessing is this that we, the righteous,
can worship God even though we fall short? How big of a blessing is this that
we have the God of the Word? We give thanksgiving before God. God gave all of
us this righteous faith, and we hope that God gives everyone in the world this
righteous faith. I hope that the souls of yours and mine receive constant blessing
from God by believing in the Word of God.