Two Frightening Bits of Truth
The Great Commission to us:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Introduction: We have just enjoyed watching parents and their children dress up and have a fun time of going house to house gathering goodies. Pennie and I had a great time watching them and treating them with home made goodies.
Others - took the time to use Halloween night as an opportunity, or license if you will, to do reckless un-useful acts like, soap windows, destroy property, even still pumpkins and throw them out into the streets to watch them bust open.
I would like to take the Halloween season to bring your focus on two frightening bits of truth. 1.) An Aroma of Fear and 2.) Horror of Horrors.
Proposition: I would like to propose to you, the Halloween season can be an wonderful opportunity to point people to frightening truths that are found in the word of God, then introduce them to the one who says "Fear not, I am with thee."
Interrogative Sentence: Just what are frightening truths found in Scripture that one can point people to during the Halloween season? Just how can these two truths be overcome?
An Aroma of Fear
God's Sovereignty In Horror Productions
It is that time of the year when writers create horror stories and performers act out scenes that may unsettle people enough to want to check their doors, windows, closets and even take a look under the bed, perhaps even more than once. There is a natural fear of the unseen spiritual world, especially when it is presented with an aroma of fear.
Christians should embrace all opportunities to point people to Jesus Christ, His Father holds Sovereign control over all things. Christians struggle with balancing "...whatever is honorable... whatever is pure, whatever is lovely..." (Philippians 4:8) with being involved with the typical celebrations of Halloween.
Mature Christians have a Biblical understanding of God's Sovereignty. They have a clear vision on how the Lord wants to use them during a season that intrigues people to find pleasure in reading fearful stories, watch horror movies or visit an elaborated haunted house.
God is Sovereign (שָׁלְטָן šoltān) meaning "He has dominion over everything that exist." (Dan. 4:3[3:33]; 4:34; Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). (The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) The Sovereignty of God is "a theological term that refers to the unlimited power of God, who has Sovereign control over the affairs of nature and history. The Bible declares that God is working out His Sovereign plan of redemption for the world and that the conclusion is certain." (Is. 45:9–19; Rom. 8:18–39; (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
In His Sovereignty, God allowed novel writer, Jim Stovall, to write three delightful parables. The Ultimate Gift presented the appreciation of the value of life. The Ultimate Life presented the value of love. Finally, The Ultimate Journey presented life's journey as not about the destination, but traveling it well. Not everything in Mr. Stovall's trilogy are true events, but his writings, which have been and continue to be made into movies, hold truths that enable us to live productive lives. God's Sovereignty allows horror writers and movie makers to present an aroma of fear. The Exorcist, a novel written by William Peter Blatty, was inspired by the 1949 exorcism case of Roland Doe and later made into a movie directed by William Friedkin in 1973. There is the continual debate about the 1977 book, The Amityville Horror, which was also later made into a movie and several sequels, and inspired several spinoffs, such as The Conjuring. Despite the lack of evidence to corroborate much of the original story, it remains one of the most popular haunting accounts in American folklore. Even though both horrific accounts cannot be presented as actual truth, they continue to emit an aroma of fear.
The Bible has at least thirty-five Scriptures which warn of Satan's hold over the unrepentant soul. Jesus talks about a place where those who do not have a relationship with Him will spend eternity, "a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Luke 13:28) This is a factual aroma of fear; escape it by having Christ as personal Savior and Lord!
Horror of Horrors
What Should Really Frighten You
Halloween is the time of the year when many parents participate in a fun time of dressing their children up in costumes, going house to house gathering goodies or attending a wonderful social event of fun, games and healthy socializing. In short, it’s just fun and games. Also, Halloween is a great time for moviemakers and horror-genre writers to release and promote their productions with the purpose of money-making or for a select few because they enjoy doing so. On the darker side, Halloween has been used as a time to worship the Devil, promote acts which harm others, disrespect other's property, or even destroy the lives of the innocent people and animals. Mature Christians see Halloween as an opportunity to point people to Godly truths with sayings such as, "If the Devil offers you a treat, it’s a trick!"
I would propose to you that there is a truth far scarier than any Halloween production which needs addressed more aggressively than more arbitrary religious arguments about how and if Christians should observe Halloween. There is a spiritual truth that should cause you to want lock your doors, check your windows and look under the bed as you lay down for the night. There is an enemy of your soul who is powerfully effective in causing destruction, destroying life and takes full control of the self-will of mankind. He does not have horns and a spiked tail, nor does he dress in a red uniform, carrying a flaming pitchfork; he is a living nightmare of unimaginable proportions.
The Apostle Peter gives a warning, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) In 2 Timothy we read of a frightening truth, "...escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." (2 Timothy 2:26) Again, Scripture tells us there are frightening "...spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)
The Apostle Paul writes to the young pastor Timothy, using the word "captive" (ζωγρέω zōgréō) meaning "to ensnare, seduce, to bring under control, to hold in check, to not allow a person to do what he wants, but able to make him obey his [Satan's] will." In the Bible we read about Judas Iscariot, one of the men who kept close company with Jesus. He was a witness to many of our Lord's miracles and good deeds as well as hearing His teachings. Luke writes, "Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve." (Luke 22:1-6) From that moment on Judas watched for an opportune time to hand Jesus over to His enemies.
If Satan can take Judas captive to do his will, even though Judas witnessed such events Jesus had performed, he can bewitch or intoxicate any unrepentant soul to accomplish his purposes. Dr. David Jeremiah writes, "...My friend, the very thought that it 'could never happen to us' is the step toward our seduction. We need to keep our eyes wide open to the events happening around us..."
Twelve times in the New Testament, Satan is called "the evil one." The horror of horrors, for who has been, who is or who will be taken captive by the devil to obey his will?
Closing: The Bible teaches that mature Christian are not unaware of Satan's schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:5) I close with these truth given to the faithful prophet Isaiah: 41:8-13,
But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring
of Abraham, my friend you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my
servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with
you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will
help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all
who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You
shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them;
those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the LORD
your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am
the one who helps you.”