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HALLOWEEN – THE UNTOLD STORY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, December 2, 2001

“…sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is a blockbuster. With record-breaking crowds going to see it, this movie seems destined to become the biggest money-making movie in history.

USA Today gives this report about the film:

The wizardly world inhabited by Harry Potter is such a mysterious and wondrous place that one assumes it was spun completely in the extraordinarily vivid imagination of author J. K. Rowling.

Actually, there’s a high-spirited – and often artfully hidden – storehouse of ancient lore, historical traditions, fairy tales and legends that inform the four Harry Potter books and the movie…

David Colbert [is the] author of “The Magical World of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts” (Lumina Press, 2001)…[He says], Underneath the adventure story, there’s an encyclopedia’s worth of references to literature, myth, art, history [about sorcery]…nearly all of the creatures and their exploits – as well as spells, potions and supernatural explanations of events – have their roots in European folklore, with some references dating back thousands of years.

Linda Harvey, president of Mission America, a Christian non-profit organization…worries that so much information about witchcraft and wizardry could result in an upsurge in occultism (USA Today, November 16, 2001, p. 1E).

That’s precisely what the Bible predicts – an increase in occult activities and sorcery in the final days of the world as we know it. The Bible predicts a great surge of demonic activity in the last days:

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1).

The late Dr. Merrill F. Unger was a long-time professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Dallas Theological Seminary. In his book, Biblical Demonology, Dr. Unger said:

Despite the fact that the Holy Scriptures are not only clear but quite emphatic in their repeated warnings against…latter-day demonic activity, the professing church of the twentieth century to an alarming extent refuses to recognize the existence of supernatural forces. This condition of unbelief can be attributed only to the low level of spiritual life and power in the church (Merrill F. Unger, Ph.D., Th.D., Biblical Demonology, Scripture Press, 1952, p. 201).

Dr. Unger goes on to point out that “ignorant” American missionaries have little impact on heathen cultures because they are spiritually blind to the Biblical reality of demons. Dr. Unger said that many church members “suffer demonic deception…because of sheer ignorance of Satan and his devices. Many shrink away from the subject altogether, insisting that…occupation with Satan and demons is unnecessary and unhealthy. All the while, however, Satan is continually gaining advantage because of [their] ignorance” (ibid., pp. 201-202).

I believe that Dr. Unger was right – and that we need to know about the devil, and demons, and sorcery, and witchcraft today!

I want you to think about three simple points tonight:

1. How you are bewitched by sorcery.

2. What this does to you.

3. Who can deliver you?

I. How you are bewitched by sorcery.

The people of Samaria were under the domination of a sorcerer. The Bible says:

“But there was a certain man, called Simon, who beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria…And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries” (Acts 8:9-11).

Verse nine says that Simon “used sorcery.” Ellicott tells us this literally means that he “was practicing magic” (Charles John Ellicott, Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, volume VII, Zondervan, n.d., p. 48). The Greek word for “sorcery” is “magos.” It means “wizard, sorcerer, a pretender to magic powers, a professor of the arts of witchcraft” (Vine). Our English word “magic” comes from this Greek word.

With these magical powers Simon “bewitched the people of Samaria” (Acts 8:9). The Greek word for “bewitched” means “to astonish, to amaze, to cause one to be beside himself” (Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the New Testament, Zondervan, 1980, p. 279).

Ellicott tells us that this literally means that Simon’s sorcery “threw them into the state of trance or ecstasy; set them beside themselves, or out of their wits” (ibid.).

The young people of America are under the deception of sorcery tonight, just as the young people of Samaria were demonically controlled by Simon the Sorcerer. The American young people are controlled by the sorcery of television. I have become convinced that television is Satan’s main tool for manipulating the minds of college-age students and bringing them into a trance-like state. They are “bewitched” by television, just as the young people of Samaria were “bewitched” by Simon the Sorcerer. And television is a major means for spreading demonic ideas in the last days.

Dr. Kurt Koch said:

Only the future will tell how much harm television has done, particularly to children and young people, whose nervous conditions have not yet been firmly established. Although most people do not realize it, television brings about a weakening of the human will, a disintegration of the mental powers of resistance, and a uniformity of thought. TV also tends to control decision-making and to obscure our powers of judgment. Let us remember the words of Goethe, “The people never notice the devil, even when he has them by the throat.” And he has the people by the throat [today].

(Kurt Koch, Th.D., Occult ABC, Literature Mission, 1983, pp. 246-247).

I am not saying that you have to throw your TV out. I’m saying that you must realize that it is a powerful tool of the Devil – and you must take control of it – or it will take control of you! Television should not be on in anyone’s home for more than four or five hours a week, at most – including videos. Get your news from a newspaper.

Thursday I phoned a teenager in our church who is never affected by the sermons. As he picked up the phone, I could hear the television in the background. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was on the Internet. Here is a young man who is totally bewitched by the sorcery of technology – the Internet and television. If I were his parent, I would throw the TV and the computer out of my house under these conditions! All of the children in that family are unconverted – and all of them are bewitched by television!

Dr. Koch said:

Although most people do not realize it, television brings about a weakening of the human will, a disintegration of the mental powers of resistance, and a uniformity of thought. TV also tends to control decision-making and to obscure the powers of judgment. Let us remember the words of Goethe, “The people never notice the devil, even when he has them by the throat.”

(ibid.).

After I spoke to the first teenager, who has never been converted, I called another one. The second boy left our church and won’t come any more. He is about the same age as the first one – about 18. I phoned his mother. I said, “What is…doing right now?” She said, “He’s in the kitchen.” I said, “But what’s he doing in the house?” She said, “He’s watching television.” Now, I phoned both of these teenagers about 1:30 Thursday afternoon, as I was working on this sermon.

Neither one of these young men ever listened carefully to the sermons. Neither one ever came under converting conviction. Neither one ever showed spiritual insight. They were always walking around like their minds were distracted, their eyes glazed.

One of them went to see the “Harry Potter” movie after I said not to. When Dr. Cagan asked him about it, he said, “It was no big deal.”

You see, after thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of TV are pumped through a brain – nothing seems like a “big deal.”

Bodies are thrown off of mountains. Trains are driven through buildings. Blood is sprayed in front of your face. People take their clothes off and fornicate in bed – right in front of you. And none of it will be a “big deal” to you. No wonder a story about a little boy contacting demons and performing sorcery is “no big deal”! You see, your mind has already been ruined – controlled by demons – through the sorcery of television.

Throw it out! Throw it out! Throw it out! If you can’t cut it to four hours a week – throw it out!

I realize that many evangelical preachers will not agree with me. Like the false prophet Bill Hybels, they have no care for the people and no thought for the honor of Christ.

Hybels is the pastor of the largest church in America. He’s supposed to be a “born again” evangelical. I say he’s a wicked false prophet. It was bad enough when he let Bill Clinton speak in his pulpit a few months ago. But now Hybels has gone even farther. Tom White, director of “The Voice of the Martyrs,” reports that Hybels allowed a Muslim named Faisal Hammouda to speak from his pulpit. This man, Hammouda, said:

“As a matter of fact, we [Muslims], all of us…believe in Jesus. I believe in Jesus. I believe in Mohammed and all the prophets. So our mission here is to introduce people to God. We [Muslims] believe in Jesus more than you do.” (Dr. Tom White, The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter – “Muslims in Our Pulpits” – December, 2001, p. 2).

Dr. White says that Bill Hybels and pastors that let Muslims speak like that in their pulpits “are spitting on the face of Jesus…Jesus is being spit upon in American churches. [Church members] are selling their souls for…deceit.” I agree with him! That kind of preacher is spitting in the face of Jesus Christ!

And a preacher like the false prophet Bill Hybels will never tell young people like you about the danger of television! Of course not! The only important thing to preachers like him is getting a bigger crowd. They do not care for your soul. They do not care that you have been “bewitched” by the “sorcery” of television. They do not care that you are lost, and going to Hell!

When my mother was about to be converted, she turned off her TV. Before that it was on twenty-four hours a day in her room. But when God began to deal with her, she shut it off. Her mind cleared up – and in a few days she was converted. She never watched TV again – until the day she died!

If you really want to be converted, turn off the sorcerer’s magic box – and get your brain focused on reading the Bible and Christian literature!

False ideas come from television. False religion is pumped through television twenty-four hours a day. The news is distorted to a liberal bias by television. Filth, garbage and smut are constantly on television – on virtually all programs. Your brain is pickled and your judgment is clouded by television. Your heart is made so hard and your brain so soft that you will never be truly converted unless you turn off the sorcerer’s magic box! Turn it off! Throw it out if necessary! Get its influence out of your house!

Remember, I am not against all television, but I don’t believe that it should be on in the home more than four hours a week, at the most – including videos and news. If you find you can’t control it, and you “must” have to have it on more than that, throw it out! Many of the Satanic ideas and sorceries of our time are brought into the living room through TV. Then we wonder why there is such an increase of drug abuse, violence and terrorism. As the old computer saying put it, “Junk in, junk out.” What you put into your brain comes out in your life.

II. What happens to you when you are bewitched by sorcery.

Twice in the Book of Revelation we are told about sorcerers. The English word translated “sorcerers” is from the Greek word “pharmakois.” A. T. Robertson tells us this word is “closely connected with idolatry and magic” (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Broadman Press, 1933, p. 469). Rienecker tells us that the word speaks of “one who mixes and uses drugs which were used either in sorcery or magic practices” (Fritz Rienecker, Linguistic Key to the New Testament, Zondervan, 1980, p. 860). And Bullinger says that the word “pharmakois” describes “one who uses enchantments or practices sorcery” (E. W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, Hollen Street Press Ltd., 1971, p. 719).

This word “sorcerers” appears twice in the Book of Revelation. The first time is in verse eight, where we are told that “sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8). The second time, the word is used in Revelation 22:15,

“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22:15).

They are “without” – outside of Heaven. So, in these two verses, we are told that sorcerers

1. Will be in Hell, Revelation 21:8.

2. Will not be in Heaven, Revelation 22:15.

Those who are under the control of sorcery will be in Hell. Yes, I believe in Hell. Jesus had more to say about Hell than anyone else who spoke in Bible times. Jesus said:

“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Again, Jesus said that on the Day of Judgment,

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

Christ called Hell “everlasting punishment.” He called it “outer darkness,” where there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. He called it “a furnace of fire.” He called it a place “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

In Luke 16:19-31 Christ told us that you will be conscious in Hell. You will have vision. You will have memory. You will be able to feel pain. Jesus used graphic and frightening words to warn us about Hell.

When Jonathan Edwards preached on Hell, people came under deep conviction. Many were in agony for days – until they were converted. But today young people’s minds are so fogged and dissipated by the sorcery of television that they can’t even remember what I preached about a day or two later. How can young people who are so bewitched by sorcery escape from going to Hell?

The Bible says:

“…sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Then, too, those who are bewitched by sorcery cannot go to Heaven. In our Scripture lesson, before the sermon, we read:

“For without [outside of Heaven] are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22:15).

What a terrible thing – to miss Heaven! I was talking last week to a young woman who does much of our printing. Her father died a few weeks ago. He was a Christian. I told her, “Your father wouldn’t come back to earth, even if he could. He wouldn’t want to be here now that he’s in Heaven.” And that’s literally true. Real Christians are bound for a place of such great beauty and glory that it is impossible to describe fully in human words.

“But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16).

But if your mind is caught up in the “Harry Potter” world of the media, the sorcery of television, you will miss Heaven completely.

“For without are dogs, and sorcerers….” (Revelation 22:15).

III. This brings me to the third point of my sermon – who can deliver you?

The young people of the city of Samaria had been bewitched by sorcery for a “long time,” according to Acts 8:11. They had become so used to having their minds and hearts controlled by sorcery that they didn’t know there was any other way to live.

And there are young people like that here tonight. You don’t even know that there’s a better, happier way to live – with Christ – in this church – for all eternity in Heaven! But you don’t know it. You’re not sure. Your mind and heart have been clouded over by the sorcery of the Devil. It’s all unreal to you. That’s why you need Jesus Christ!

The Bible says:

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5).

That’s what you need. You need to have Christ preached to you – until you are converted! We have heard just about everything else: dramas in church, rap music, contemporary “worship,” possibility thinking, name-it-and-claim-it teaching, Lordship salvation, Brownsville Awakenings, laughing “revivals,” deliverance ministry, Promise Keepers, church growth seminars, preservation of the English in the KJV, choruses on slide projectors, the open theism of Clark Pinnock, TBN charismania, progressive dispensationalism, and the list goes on and on.

Yet none of it affects you young people. The churches are twisting in the wind. Young unchurched college-age people like you are never touched and never reached. Why? Because everything I listed a minute ago is irrelevant. If you don’t already go to church, it has nothing for you and nothing that will help you or get you saved and into church. It won’t even help the church kids get saved and living for God! These methods and ideas are just not adding many young people to our churches.

Young people also need strong fire and Blood gospel sermons about salvation through Christ. And they need pastors who will sit down with them – and listen to them after they preach. Superficial evangelism has not reached our young people. They need quality time with the pastor after hearing a fiery evangelistic sermon. That’s what kids need – and we aren’t going to get them into our churches until we give it to them.

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5).

Young person, that’s exactly what you need. You need to have Christ preached to you. You need to know who Christ is – that He is God in human flesh. You need to know what Christ did – that He never sinned, yet He took your sins in His own body on the Cross, punished in your place, to pay for your sins. You need to know where Christ is – far above this earth, in another dimension, in the “heavenlies” – seated at the right hand of God in a flesh and bone resurrected body. You need to know why Christ is important – because you can only get to Heaven by having your sins washed away by His Blood. You need to know where to find Christ – in and through a local New Testament Baptist church – God’s ordained means for effectively proclaiming Christ so you can be saved.

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5).

My young friend, Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. He is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He is God the Son.

My young friend, Jesus Christ took your sins on the Cross. He died under the weight of your sins. The First Person of the Trinity, God, punished Him. God punished Jesus on the Cross to pay for your sins. That’s called “propitiation.” The wrath and anger of God against sin was poured out on Jesus. God punished Jesus Christ for your sins. That’s what’s called “vicarious atonement” – one person dying in the place of another.

You should go to Hell for your sins – but instead, Jesus went to the Cross for your sins! Jesus put Himself in your place – to pay for your sins! Then Christ rose from the dead. He ascended physically into Heaven, into another dimension. He is alive there right now, seated beside God the Father.

What must you do to be saved from sin and from Hell? The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). The moment you turn from sin and put your full faith in Jesus Christ, you are saved for all time and for all eternity. As Joseph Hart put it:

The moment a sinner believes,
And trusts in his crucified God,
His pardon at once he receives,
Redemption in full through His Blood.

(“The Moment a Sinner Believes” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

But the people of Samaria proved that they believed in Jesus by changing their lives:

“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12).

These people were delivered from sorcery and sin by fully trusting Jesus and proving that they trusted Him by changing the way they lived! That’s not easy. It isn’t easy to go through conversion. You must go through a time of inner struggle, doubt and fear. You must come under such deep conviction of sin that it troubles you continually. You must give up trusting your own mind. You must come to Christ as a helpless, lost soul.

Those young people in Samaria left paganism and were baptized into the local church. They were now in church every time the door was open. That’s New Testament Christianity! And that’s what you need! That’s the only way to become a real Christian – and it’s the only way to cure your loneliness. Why be lonely? Come home – to church! And then come to Jesus Christ, and be saved.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon: Revelation 22:15; Acts 8:5-12.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

“Jesus, Only Jesus” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980)/
"Only Jesus Can Satisfy Your Soul"

THE OUTLINE OF

HALLOWEEN – THE UNTOLD STORY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“…sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

(I Timothy 4:1)

I.   How you are bewitched by sorcery, Acts 8:9-11.

II.  What this does to you, Revelation 21:8; 22:15; Matthew 10:28;
Matthew 25:41; Luke 16:19-31; Hebrews 11:16.

III. Who can deliver you? Acts 8:11, 5; Acts 16:31; Acts 8:12.