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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, December 8, 2002

"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 new Harry Potter movie has been running neck to neck in a horse race with the new James Bond film. During its first two weeks, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" was the number one "Holiday" movie, taking in 32.1 million dollars last weekend. gave this review of the movie:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Alfred Burke

Youthful wizard Harry Potter returns to the screen in this, the second film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's wildly popular series of novels for young people. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) return for a second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…However, it isn't long before Harry and company discover something is amiss at Hogwarts: Students are petrified like statues, threats are written in blood on the walls, and a deadly monster is on the loose. It seems that someone has opened the mysterious Chamber of Secrets, letting loose the monster and all its calamitous powers. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out to find the secret chamber and slay the beast, speculation is rife that one of the heirs of Salazar Slytherin, the co-founder of the school, opened the chamber as a warning against the presence of "mudbloods" (magic-users of impure lineage) at the school - and that the culprit may be fellow student Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets featured Richard Harris' second and final appearance as Headmaster Dumbledore; he died less than a month before the film was released in the United States.
      ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Brit Kjos writes,

It's darker and much scarier…Spells, potions, dark arts, psychic writing, magical healing, trance possession, ghostly encounters with the dead…all fit together in Warner Brothers' new Harry Potter movie. And all enter the viewers' virtual experience and mental bank of occult suggestions - whether they realize it or not…This film truly glorifies hideous creatures, egregious [flagrantly bad] acts by young children, imaginings that are far more scary and graphic than any child should be subjected to (or adult for that matter), yet every kid in the audience craves more and more. Young boys in the audience were quoting out-loud the exact words of Dobby, a self-mutilating elf, before he spoke them (Julianne Evans, Christian News, November 25, 2002, p. 1).

But there is a great attraction in magic and the occult for many people today. That's why so many young people are flocking to see the new Harry Potter movie. And I want to bring out several thoughts on the movie this morning.

I. First, a renewed fascination with magic and the occult
is a sign that we are now living in the last days.

Our text says,

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

The Prophecy Study Bible gives this comment on the verse:

"The Spirit speaketh expressly." In clear fashion. Paul strongly emphasizes the message that is to follow about apostasy [came by] direct revelation from the Holy Spirit… "Latter times" in this context refers to the end of the current church age. Paul continues his message with the warning that some within the [churches] will become apostate. The source of their false teaching will come from "seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils [demons]." ( The Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, Tim LaHaye, General Editor, AMG Publishers, 2000, p. 1297, note on I Timothy 4:1).

The note continues by saying that I Timothy 4:1 gives "an apt description of the times in which we live" (ibid.).

There is a renewed fascination with magic, the occult, the Devil, and demons today. This is a sign that we are living very near the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ. As this age draws to a close, millions of people turn away from the God of Scripture, and turn to false gods, the demons of the occult.

People think it is only "harmless fun" to go to a movie like "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." But they are wrong. A movie like that can open you up to the demonic. I once knew a young man who became demon possessed by seeing "The Exorcist." The demons nearly drove him insane. A man once came to Jesus and said:

"Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water…And Jesus rebuked the [demon]; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour" (Matthew 17:15,18).

In some sense every unconverted person is controlled by demon spirits. The Bible speaks of "the prince of the power of the air," the demonic power that works in every unconverted person's heart and mind (ref. Ephesians 4:1). That's why the gospel is very unclear and God is unreal to you. The Bible teaches that demonic powers blind "the minds of them which believe not" (II Corinthians 4:4). A thick cloud of darkness hangs around your mind which keeps the light of God from shining into your soul. It is Satan and his demons who sear your conscience and blind your mind, so you will not come to Christ for salvation. You must recognize that and take an inward stand against the demonic, and pray for God to open your heart, and for Christ to save your soul.

II. Secondly, no one but Jesus Christ can save you from the
Devil and his demons.

That's right, no one but Jesus Christ can save you from being sucked down into the quicksand by Satan and his demons!

That's the reason you shouldn't trust your own mind when it comes to salvation. Your mind and heart are so ruined by Satan, demons, and sin that the Bible says:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).

The person who follows his own heart is a fool, like the lost Jews in the time of Jeremiah who "walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart" (Jeremiah 11:8).

I'm here to tell you this morning that you must turn to Christ to be saved. The Devil is very powerful. The demons are his agents in his Kingdom of Darkness. They are far too strong for you to overcome. Turn to Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can save you!

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

Christ came into this world to crush the head of the serpent, as God promised in Genesis 3:15. But Christ did not bruise Satan's head with physical force when He came. Instead He was born in a cow stall, in a barn, on the first Christmas. He grew up as a carpenter. He lived as a man on the earth. They nailed Him to a cross for preaching the truth. He died to pay for our sins. On the third day, He arose from the dead. He ascended back to Heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God. You can come to Christ and He will deliver you from Satan, and forgive your sins, and save your soul - for all time and all eternity.  Why be lost?  Come home - to Jesus Christ!

Jesus said:

"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

Why is Jesus the only Saviour? It's because He is the only one with Blood that can wash away your sins! Jesus said:

"This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28).

You must come to Jesus and have your sins washed away by His Blood. That is the only possible way to get into Heaven! Come to Christ! He is the Saviour!  Come home to Jesus Christ!

III. Thirdly, there are some very practical things you must do
if you want to find salvation through Christ.

People have a tendency to make coming to Christ all "fuzzy" and unclear. Many preachers never tell people the clear-cut things they need to do if they hope to be converted.

Now the first thing is to come back here to church! That's why we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church!" If you do that - and keep doing it every Sunday, there's a fairly good chance you will get saved. But if you don't come back here to church, there is little hope for your salvation. Get into the "groove," and be here every Sunday - no matter what happens! Be here for the Christmas banquet, the Sunday night before Christmas! And be sure to be here on Christmas Eve - the night before Christmas! Don't miss that Christmas Eve service - the night before Christmas.  We will celebrate the Lord's Supper.  We will have a meal.  We will sing Christmas carols.  I will preach a special Christmas sermon.  Don't miss it!  You simply must be in those meetings, and hear those sermons, or you will not be converted.

As I said, the Devil is very powerful. He is the leader of a vast army of demons. The Bible speaks of "the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). The Scriptures tell us that Satan has a kingdom, including his subjects, the demons (Matthew 12:26-27). Demons are the Devil's agents in his kingdom of spiritual darkness. And the kingdom of Satan is very strong and very large. We must never underestimate the power and greatness of Satan's empire.

And remember that the Devil will do everything possible to keep you from being here on Christmas Eve - the night before Christmas. He may use your lost friends to try to pull you away from church on the night of Christ's birthday. Satan may use your lost parents to pull you away from church that night. Jesus said, "A man's foes [enemies] shall be they of his own household" (Matthew 10:36).

"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37).

Invite your parents to come with you the night before Christmas. If they won't come, leave them behind and come yourself, for a couple of hours. Don't let anything keep you away from Christ's birthday party!

Now, that's a very practical, clear-cut thing you can do - if you are serious about becoming a real Christian. Be here on Christmas Eve - the night before Christmas - for Christ's birthday party. Don't let anything in the world keep you from being here!

Jesus said:

"Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12).

The Devil will do everything he can to get you to forget about what I said this morning. Don't let him do it! Put Christ back into Christmas! Be here for Jesus' birthday party on Christmas Eve - the night before Christmas!

Don't wish me "Merry Xmas" nor "Happy Holiday,"
Put Christ back into Christmas on this blessed Holy Day.
Put Christ back into Christmas, Like on that silent night
When the star of Bethlehem gave way to new born Light.
Let all the world give glory to Christ, the King of Kings;
Let children hear the story of love our Saviour brings.
Put Christ back into Christmas, while shepherds watch and pray,
As angels sing the glory of Our Lord on Christmas Day!
      ("Put Christ Back Into Christmas")

Put Christ back into Christmas! Be at the banquet on Sunday evening, December 22nd! And also be at the Christmas Eve service on Tuesday night, December 24th! Do it! Do it! Do it!

Yes, there is a Devil! There are real demons, horrible, dark, and weird. Yes, Harry Potter's dark world is a reality. And the demons want your blood! The demons want your soul - in Hell! The only means of escape is Jesus Christ! Come home - to church! Come home - to Christ!

Coming home, coming home, Never more to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love, Lord, I'm coming home.
     ("Lord, I'm Coming Home" by William J. Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921).


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Deuteronomy 18:10-12.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Put Christ Back Into Christmas"



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"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).

I.   A renewed fascination with magic and the occult is a sign
that we are now living in the last days, Matthew 17:15,18;
Ephesians 4:1; II Corinthians 4:4.

II.  No one but Jesus Christ can save you from the Devil and his
demons, Jeremiah 17:9; Jeremiah 11:8; Acts 4:12;
Genesis 3:15; John 14:6; Matthew 26:28.

III. There are some very practical things you must do if you want
to find salvation through Christ, Matthew 25:41;
Matthew 12:26-27; Matthew 10:36-37; Luke 8:12.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."