Sermon for Lent 1 – 2.26.23

+ Lent 1 – February 26th, 2023 +

Series A: Genesis 3:1-21; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA


“Not Today, Satan”


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


The season of Lent that we are now in calls us to do something which is considered by many to be unpopular, politically incorrect, even extreme. In Lent we talk about sin.


In Scripture, sin is missing the mark, like an archer who aims but misses the bullseye. Sin is falling short, like a hiker who falls in the creek he tried to jump over. Sin is a trespass, a crossing the line. In Scripture sin is a weight, a burden, darkness, sickness, corruption, the wages of sin is death.


Today’s Scripture readings remind us of another way God’s Word reveals our sin. Sin is incurvatus in se – that’s Latin for “turned, curved inward.” Self-absorbed. Self-serving. Self-loving.


In Genesis the Serpent, Satan, tempted Adam and Eve, “Did God really say?” They knew what God said. But that’s what the devil does. He lies. And he turned Adam and Eve inward upon themselves, their eyes, ears, desires, and hunger. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise.


In Matthew 4, Satan tempts Jesus like he did Adam and Eve, to fall short, miss the mark, trespass, and curve inward on himself. To serve himself only. To be like Satan, consumed with selfishness.


But for your sake, Jesus doesn’t take the bait. He doesn’t fall. He doesn’t give in. For you, Jesus overcomes temptation in your place.


The first temptation is aimed at Jesus himself. Jesus has been fasting forty days. Satan tempts Him to curve inward. “You’re hungry. It’s been a long 40 days. Go ahead. Treat yourself.” “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 


Satan tempts Jesus to use His divine power to serve Himself. Notice he doesn’t deny that Jesus is the Son of God or even that he has power; the question is how will he use it – for himself or others? The devil tries to twist Jesus into the wrong kind of Son, one turned inward upon himself. One who possesses divine authority but will use that selfishly.


The devil tempts us the same way. When we’re weak. Alone. Tired. Hungry. Unsatisfied. So often temptations to sin are not about what is obviously bad for us, but what appears at first to be good, but is deadly on the inside. The poison apple in snow white. The devil in a blue dress. Satan tempts us to misuse God’s good gifts selfishly, to turn inward on our desires.


Jesus, however, came selflessly, to give his life and death in the greatest act of self-sacrifice and do it for you. Jesus lives life by denying Himself in order that He might give all He has for you.


The second temptation is aimed at Jesus’ trust of God the Father. Can he really trust the Father’s word and will? How about just a short, little test… a brake check before the downhill. “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you.’

Where Satan’s first temptation assumes Jesus has power as the Son of God, his second temptation assumes that as the Son of God, God’s power is there to protect Jesus. The devil’s trap is set: to see whether Jesus will turn inward upon himself or outward to trust the Father’s word and promise.


Again, the devil tempts us the same way. He hurls temptations our way with the same word…”If.”

“If you really were a Christian God would protect you from things like sickness and sadness. If you were really a Christian you wouldn’t sin the way you do so often. If you just had enough faith God would hear your prayers. Remember. Satan’s name means deceiver. That’s what Satan does. He’s a liar, and the father of lies. In the garden. In the wilderness. And in our lives.


Jesus stands firm for you. “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 


Jesus the Son of God trusts the Father’s word and will perfectly…for you. Jesus knows where the Father’s will leads – to his bloody death on the cross. And he knows that the Father will be with him through the betrayal, mockery, lies, agony, his crucifixion, death, burial, and rest in the tomb. Every step of the way, Jesus endured obeyed the Father’s will for you.


When it comes to God’s love for you in Jesus, there are no “ifs,” no “maybes.” Only yes. So, when Satan or your sinful flesh tempts you to doubt or despair that and turn you inward to trust in yourself or something else – you need look no further than the cross. That’s where Jesus threw himself down on the hand grenade of our sin. Where he turned towards you in -selfless, self-giving, sacrificial love to save you from Satan’s temptations and from all sin.


In the third and final temptation, Satan tempts Jesus to turn aside from his total, self-giving, self-sacrificing service of his death on the cross and to be the lord of the nations in a self-serving way.

 “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 


This third temptation reveals that everyone worships. Everyone has something or someone they fear, love, and trust in. Everyone has a god(s). Satan tempts us to fear, love and trust in the false trinity of me, myself, and I.


“Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”


Jesus speaks his word and the devil departs. Jesus speaks his word and your sins – all of them – depart. Jesus speaks his word and you are washed and cleansed and baptized and given the shield of faith that can douse all the devil’s fiery arrows. Jesus speaks his word and he gives you his body and blood as food and drink in this wilderness of temptation that we live in. Be gone Satan, and all of your lies with you. Not today! For us fights the Valiant One, Jesus Christ the crucified and risen one.


This is why Jesus went into the wilderness, to overcome the all devil’s temptations for you, just as he went to the cross to defeat and die for all your sins. If in sin we have missed the mark, in Jesus, the arrow – or nails rather – land straight in the bullseye of his hands pierced for you. If in sin we have fallen short of God’s glory, Jesus justifies you, by crossing the chasm of sin and death for you. If in sin we have trespassed, it is Christ who walks in God’s word and will perfectly for you. And if in sin we are curved in on ourselves, Jesus life and death is given to you selflessly and in humble, sacrificial service to save, rescue, and redeem you from all sin.


This is why we talk about sin in the season of Lent. Not to wallow in the mud, but to see sin for what it is, and to see Christ Jesus who rescues from and forgives all our sin. Yes, our sin is great. But, Jesus’ victory over sin and death and Satan in the wilderness and on the cross is far greater.


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

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Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

By appointment only June and July


2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
(253) 922-6977
(253) 922-6977