Thursday, October 25, 2007

Trick or Treat

“Trick or Treat” will be a phrase repeated thousands of times this October 31st by children roaming the neighborhood trying to collect candy at most every house in the community. It is Halloween and everyone knows the tradition. Or Do We?

But how in the world did this practice start and why do people dress up like witches, goblins, and scary creatures? What is with all the pumpkins and harvest theme? Should Christians be opposed to such rituals?

Traditions that develop over time are often difficult to fully explain, but appears that the holiday evolved from an ancient Celtic feast called Samhain. An ancient people called the Druids thought that on this evening the world of evil spirits and the dead would be released to harass the living in this world. To protect themselves the Druids took on disguises and guarded their property by placing lighted gourds with evil faces carved in them around the house.

When Christianity reached this people group instead of forcing them to stop their pagan celebration totally the early Christians sought to replace the ritual with a new one on the same date. All Saints Day was a day that heroes of the faith were honored. The church called for All Saints Day to be celebrated on November 1st hence the evening before was called All Hallows Eve.
The Church succeeded in getting the people to forget the pagan holiday, but in time the people also lost the significance of the religious holiday.

In America today Halloween is mostly a secular day in which both the Christian and pagan influence of this holiday has been mostly forgotten. Halloween has become a day for the children to dress up, collect candy, and have fun. Some older children like to play pranks on their friends. Most churches no longer participate; some have harvest festivals or give away candy.

LABC's response is to encourage and support people that want to have fun and enjoy the gifts that God has graciously given. In addition, we want to mark this day by reminding people that the joys of a Halloween evening are only a shadow of the true joy that awaits those who put their trust in Jesus.

This fun evening will come to an end just as all things in this life are really short lived. Jesus promised a greater and enduring gift. His treat this Halloween is a joy that will always increase and a life that will never end. Jesus said in, John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Fullness of Joy can only be found in Jesus.

Below I have summarized the essential points of the good news of Jesus found in the Holy Bible.

Realize your condition before a Holy God

Everyone has sinned

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23, NKJV)

The penalty for sin is eternal death

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23, NKJV)

Repent of your sin

"I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3, NKJV)

Recognize your solution

Jesus paid the penalty for sin

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21, NKJV)

Jesus triumphed over sin

"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures," (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NKJV)

Receive your savior
"that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10, NKJV)

Rejoice in your salvation
"And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation." (Psalm 35:9, NKJV)

Do you hear the voice of God calling you? Jesus said in John 10:27-30 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.

Ratify your Salvation

Jesus also said, "“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32, NKJV) If you would like to make public your profession of faith please give us a call, send an email or better still stop by next Sunday morning.

Grace be with you,

Wayne Layton
Lyndon Avenue Baptist Church
2624 Lyndon Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37415