Summary: This is the 5th sermon in the series "A Time To". This sermon also has a Halloween section and a voting section.
Series: A Time To¡K (Haggai) [#5]
A TIME TO BE RECOGNIZED
God¡¦s promise to Zerubbabel was that the promised Davidic King would come from his family line. He would be like God¡¦s signet ring. Jesus is God¡¦s signet ring. Jesus came to show us who God is. Jesus is God in the flesh.
A signet ring was used to seal letters. The wearer of the ring would place the ring in hot wax and then would press it on the letter to seal it. This did two things: 1) It sealed the letter; (2) It identified the sender.
Some people would try to say that this means God chose who was going to be saved and who wasn¡¦t; but 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is patiently waiting for that last person to come to Christ. He is waiting because He wants all to be saved and not perish.
Ephesians 1:13 tells us that once we accept the gift of salvation that we are then sealed by the Holy Spirit, which is a guarantee of our eternal salvation.
[Chris St. Clair II] God¡¦s Reputation [Acts 9:10-12]
God¡¦s Chosen Choosing (Halloween)
As we have discussed this morning, as God¡¦s chosen people we put God¡¦s reputation to this world on the line each day.
Today is the most popular holiday of the year in the United States. How should God¡¦s chosen react to this holiday? What is the holiday all about?
The Celtic festival of Samhain is probably the source of the present-day Halloween celebration. The Celts new year began on November 1. A festival that began the previous evening honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. It naturally became associated with human death. The Celts believed that Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for this evening. On the evening of the festival, the Druids, who were the priests and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their fires. The Druids built a huge new year¡¦s bonfire of oak branches, which they considered sacred. They burned animals, crops, and human beings as sacrifices. Then each family relit its fire from the new year¡¦s fire. During the celebration, people sometimes wore costumes made of animal heads and skins. They told fortunes about the coming year by examining the remains of the animals that had been sacrificed.
Many of the customs of the Celts survived even after the people became Christians. During the 800¡¦s, the church established All Saints¡¦ Day on November 1. They made the old pagan customs part of this Christian holy day. The Catholic Church later began to honor the dead on November 2. This day became known as All Soul¡¦s Day. The Catholics believed that you could pray the dead out of purgatory.
The Jack-o-Lantern originated with an Irishman named Jack who loved to play pranks on the Devil. Legend is that he was made to wander the world carrying a lantern to show him the way, going to neither heaven nor hell. Hollowed out pumpkins with candles lighted inside were supposed to scare evil spirits away.
The Irish initiated ¡§Trick-or-treating¡¨ when farmers would go from house to house to collect food for the village. Costumes went from children dressing up like martyrs in celebration of All Saints Day to the modern day costumes of witches, etc¡K
The Devil delights in deceiving God¡¦s children. What may seem harmless can be very dangerous in the hands of Satan. This may sound radical but where do you draw the line? By the way this is why our church has a Fall Festival.
Supplies Needed: One large pumpkin with the facial features cut out. When you cut out the features save them because you will need them during this object lesson. You will also need to save some of the slime and seeds from the inside. You will also need a candle.
[Kim St.Clair will do the object lesson and then Shawn will read the story about Albert while Kim puts the pieces of the pumpkin in and out at the appropriate time.]
Could I have my volunteer come up here? [Have the volunteer put their hand into the bowl filled with seeds and pulp.] How does that feel? What words would you use to describe it? Do you think that¡¦s like you? It says in the Bible that we are all sinners and that sound pretty bad to me. This pumpkin does have bad stuff inside. The pumpkin is like us in that we can¡¦t get the bad stuff out- someone has to come along and do it for us. I can¡¦t get rid of my sins on my own, but God has told us in His work that if we will confess our sins to Him, He will take them away and make us clean. When we ask Jesus to come into lives and take our sins away he does it and in the Bible it says that Jesus is the Light of the world so when He comes to live in our lives- light comes into our lives. [Now light the candle.]