Summary: A message about the reality of the evil spirit world and how to battle it.
NOTE: This is an adaptation of David Rigg's message "Don't Be Another Red Baron" with a different outline and emphasis.
Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-17
Today is Halloween. Tomorrow is All Saints Day. Today is a day about ghosts and goblins and death and everything that the world says is scarey. Now I want to say right off that I am not opposed to kids going out trick or treating for Halloween. The Pagans use Christian holidays so there's no real good reason why we can't use theirs. And this is a pagan event. You need to know that.
But like the video we just watched suggested, the little boys and girls that will dress up and come to our door this evening are just that – they are little boys and girls - and we have the opportunity to let our light shine when they come to the door, by greeting them warmly and giving them a treat.
Because, like our text says, we don't wrestle with flesh and blood but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
How do we wrestle against these things. Isn't Halloween all about surviving haunted houses and goolish figures and hidden corpses that might jump out at us at any time? Halloween is about being afraid. So Halloween is so much about what Christianity is NOT, that I want to suggest a few things this morning just by way of devotional more than a sermon per se.
Halloween evolved from a Celtic holiday – the Celtic new year when harmless pranks were carried out against a neighbor. It was the time that it was felt the veil between the dead and the living was the thinest so people would build bon fires and wear masks to keep the dead in the realm of the dead. The tradition came to the States during the Ireland potato famine and before long the idea of pranks turned into vandalism and people started giving children and young adults treats in order to keep them from pulling pranks – it wasn't long then before the children started going from door to door with the phrase trick or treat.
For me, Halloween means watching “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” Ron and I caught the tale end of it Friday night. I haven't seen it for years but in the program, Charlie Brown's dog “Snoopy” pretends to be a World War I fighter pilot. He hops on top of his dog house pretending that it's his Sopwith Camel airplane. Then Snoopy goes out to battle the infamous Red Baron.
Did you know that there really was a Red Baron?
Manfred Albrecht von Richthofen was a German fighter pilot known as “The Red Baron” because he flew a distinctive red Fokker three-winged aircraft. He was the most successful flying ace of World War I, officially credited with 80 confirmed air combat victories.
Now I'm going to be like Paul Harvey and tell you the REST of the story at the end of this message. That was like the “teaser” to keep you listening to this station.
There are three things I want to share with you this morning that are very simple. Because I want to take advantage of this day falling on a Sunday, to get across this very important part of what the Bible says about flesh and blood, and about the spiritual world.
Too many times, we as Christians, and non-Christian as well, think that we are doing battle with other people. But the Bible is very clear about it. The Bible says we are NOT doing battle with flesh and blood, other people – we are battling evil authorities in the unseen world. We're battling mighty powers in this dark world. We're battling evil spirits in heavenly places.
Does that make it clear enough that there is a demonic world – there is a spiritual realm of darkness which you and a fight every day? I don't believe in a demon behind every bush, but we'd be foolish to think that there aren't some demons behind some bushes. And we need to fight against them.
So how do we do that battle?
Four things. Get up, dress up, speak up, Wake Up.
Look what the Bible says in verse 11. “Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil.”
The Bible says we are to “stand firm” against all the devil's strategies or schemes.
The devil has all kinds of schemes to keep us from standing firm. To make us wonder, to cast doubt on ourselves and others. To cast doubt on the very nature and God-hood of Jesus. The devil will feed us lies every day about everything that is good and truthful and the Bible says we are to stand firm against all of those things. Stand firm – get up. Don't believe those lies. Don't listen to them. The devil will take every situation of your life that God intends for good and he will turn it around to try to get you down, to try to defeat you. GET UP!!