Summary: Should Christians participate in Halloween activities? This sermon answers that question.

Trick or Treat!

Ephesians 5:1-17

1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;

4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

14Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead,

And Christ will give you light."

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

This Thursday will be Halloween.

When I was growing up,

my friends and I went trick or treating every Halloween.

I remember things like:

Halloween costumes, Jack-O-Lanterns, and Spookhouses.

Of course, there were the usual Halloween pranks.

I didn't do those things, but most of my friends did.

Soaping windows and turning over out-houses.

One time, I soaped a neighbor's window,

but I felt so guilty about it that I went back

and washed it off before they got home.

I grew up with many of the same things you grew up with.

There was Casper the Friendly Ghost,

and Frankenstein and Dracula.

I used to watch those Tales From the Crypt movies.

When I got older, along came movies like:

Rosemary's Baby, Friday the 13th, Poltergeist,

The Amityville Horror, Halloween, The Exorcist,

and A Nightmare On Elm Street.

Dungeons & Dragons and Oui Ji boards became popular.

Each Halloween has brought us something more sinister

and blatantly satanic.

Where did Halloween come from?

The Halloween customs the world observes on October 31st

had their beginnings a long time ago.

The origins and traditions can be traced back thousands of years

to the days of the ancient Celts and their priests,

the Druids of ancient Gaul and Britain.

We know very little about the Druids,

but we do know that they had an elaborate religious organization.

The Druids believed that witches, demons, and spirits of the dead

roamed the earth on the eve of November 1st.

Bonfires were lit to drive away the bad spirits.

The great bonfires served another purpose as well.

On this night, sacrifices were offered by the Druid priests

to their "Lord of Death (Samana)."

The celebration was called "The Feast of Samhain."

The Druids would carefully watch

the writhing of the victims in the fire

which were sometimes animals and sometimes humans.

From their death agonies,

they would foretell the future of the village.

The local householders then each took a portion of the fire

to their own fireplaces

for good luck and good crops in the new year.

To protect themselves from the mean tricks of these spirits

like killing livestock,

the Druids offered them good things to eat

sometimes food, sometimes female children.

The Druids also disguised themselves

in order that the spirits would think the Druids

belonged to their own evil company,

and therefore, not bring any harm to the Druids.

They also carried "jack-o-lanterns," a turnip or potato

with a fearful, demonic face carved into it,

to intimidate the demons around them.

And, therefore, this "tradition" is carried over today as Halloween.

It is celebrated by dressing up in costumes,

going trick or treating, wearing masks,

and carrying jack-o-lanterns.

Much later, the Roman Catholic Church set aside November 1st

to honor all the saints who had no special days of their own.

This was known as All Saints' Day,

and was preceded by All Hallows' Eve

derived from the word "hallowed" or "holy evening".

Eventually, the two festivals

the old pagan customs and the Roman Catholic feast day

were combined,

and All Hallows' Eve was shortened to Halloween.

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