Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Halloween is now over. The pumpkins are beginning to rot along with the kid's teeth from eating all of the candy. For those of you who visit this site from other countries (yes there are a few) and may not know what Halloween is, let me quickly explain it to you. Halloween is celebrated on October 31. It is an opportunity for kids to dress up in costumes or disguises and walk from house to house, knocking on peoples front door. When the homeowner opens the door the kids say "Trick or Treat!" and the owner of the house usually gives the kids a few pieces of candy. The kids say "thank you" and move on to the next house. I have wondered, on occasion, what would happen if a group of kids walked up to my house and said "Trick or Treat!" and I whipped out a deck of cards and did a couple of magic tricks, or I made a coin disappear right before their eyes, closed the door and turn the lights out. What would they think? Would they feel cheated? They did ask for a Trick OR Treat and I gave them one of the things they asked for - a trick. Most of these kids assume they will get a treat but that is not what they ask for. Why don't they just say "Treat!" or "Give me some candy mister!" Assumptions are sometimes harmless like in the Trick or Treat example but some assumptions can have dire consequences. 

I wonder how many people assume that when they die they will go to heaven when in reality they will not. How many wrongly assume that they have done enough or been nice enough or given away enough to get in. Have you ever been to a funeral when the pastor said "here lies an unrepentant sinner, an adulterer, a liar and a thief most likely busting the gates of hell wide open!" I doubt you have heard that and you probably never will. It seems that everyone lying in a coffin at the front of a church or funeral home was a good person, was a great father or loving mother. I have often wondered if a pastor has ever met with the family of the deceased and could not find anyone who said something good about them. I believe that we want to think that everyone is a good person. We do not like the thought of Aunt Sally not going to heaven or the thought of Grandpa Jim not looking down on us from a fluffy cloud. However the Bible teaches quite the opposite, the Bible teaches that some people will not go to heaven when they die. Many people will stand before God one day and expect to hear "Welcome in to heaven" and will be shocked when they hear "Away from me, I never knew you."
Matthew 7: 21-23 - 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
In other words they showed up expecting one thing and got something else. The people in these verses did some amazing things. I am not sure about you but I have never prophesied, or driven out a demon, and I have never performed a miracle. In my earlier example when the kids said Trick or Treat they got a harmless magic trick but according to this verse people are sent into a Godless eternity. Has God tried to trick us on this idea of heaven and hell and what we need to go to get to one and avoid the other? No, the Bible offers hope and assurance for everyone. There are no tricks with God. He has made his plan of salvation very clear.
John 3: 16, 17 - 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 
John 14: 1 - 6 - 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Romans 6: 23 - 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 1: 20 - 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
You don't have to be like the kids knocking on the door saying "Trick or Treat!" expecting one thing but in the end getting something else. The evidence is plain, the Word is clear, the decision is yours. 

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