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Trick or treat
October 31, 2011
Rev. Robert Hellmann, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Montrose

Ding-dong. Ding-dong. “Trick or treat! Trick or treat!”

You give the little witches, goblins, ghosts, and Elvis impersonators a dose of candy and they go away. No malicious tricks – only a few harmless treats.

But not all treats are harmless. Some are a front to hide a malicious trick.

Maybe you get an email offering you millions of dollars. Just send them a few hundred dollars first and a fortune is yours. It’s all trick and no treat.

Behind every evil and malicious trick is the devil. He is always busy enticing people to sin by appealing to greed and our sinful nature.

The devil’s worst tricks are those that deal with your relationship with God. The devil offers you a false treat when he says, “Go ahead and sin all you want. It’s no big deal.” The fiendish trick is that sin condemns the sinner to eternal punishment.

Or, he may offer you this false treat: “OK, so you sinned. You can save yourself if you do enough good.” The devilish trick is that no one can pay for their sins by trying to do good.

Many fall victim to this false treat: “Don’t pay any attention to the Bible. It was written a long time ago and has no meaning for us today.” This diabolical trick leads people to reject God’s Word and the salvation it offers.

Some love this false treat: “Ignore Jesus. He was just some teacher and do-gooder who lived 2,000 years ago.” The satanic trick is that by ignoring Jesus, you are rejecting the only way of salvation that God gives you.

You can reject all these demonic tricks and enjoy the real spiritual treats that God offers.

God gives you the treat of his Word, the Bible. In it, God shows you that your most pressing problem is sin. Then, he gives you the solution to your problem – the Gospel of forgiveness through Jesus.

God gives you the treat of His grace. This means that God loves us sinners, even though we don’t deserve His love. God showed this undeserved love by sending Jesus to be our Savior. The holy Son of God paid the penalty for all sins by his suffering and death on the cross.

God gives you the treat of faith. The free gift of salvation comes to you by trusting in Jesus, alone, for salvation.

Avoid the devil’s spiritual tricks. Hear and believe God’s Word. Repent of your sins and gladly receive God’s free gift of salvation. Trust in Jesus alone.

As someone once said: “By Scripture alone, by grace alone, by faith alone.”