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Monday, October 31, 2016

Werewolves, Vampires, & Zombies

Galatians 2:19-20
19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

You might be surprised to find out my favorite holiday.  You might think Christmas and Easter are my favorite holidays because I am a preacher.  Those are the most important holidays for Christians and I do like them, but they are also the busiest holidays for a preacher.  My favorite holiday is Halloween.  It doesn’t really require the preacher to work that hard, so I get to have lots of fun with my family.  We get to dress up together and we get candy!
This past Wednesday, we had our Halloween Trunk or Treat at Pleasant Grove.  Between 300-400 people visited our church.  We saw people dressed up as all kinds of characters.  There were werewolves, vampires, zombies and many other characters.  It was all pretend so it was a lot of fun.
            We know that werewolves, vampires, and zombies, are all fictional, but these monsters personify some very real characteristics that hide on the dark side of the human heart.

            Take the legend of the werewolf.  By day, it’s an ordinary person—perhaps even a well-respected member of society.  But when the full moon comes out, a grotesque transformation takes place.  The person changes into a wolf-like beast that roams the streets hunting for victims.  Even if the person doesn’t want to become a beast, they can’t stop it.  Once the full moon comes out, the beast is going to take over—like it or not.
Well it’s just a legend, but the werewolf personifies a real trait in many a human heart.  Because of sin, people—who otherwise are ordinary, good people—have moments when they turn into the most vicious of beasts.  We all have something that brings out the beast in us, though it’s probably not a full moon.  Maybe it’s someone who cuts us off in traffic.  Maybe it’s a competitiveness that drives us to treat people badly.  Maybe it’s someone we know that brings out the worst in us.  Maybe it’s the pursuit of a career that drives us to neglect our family.  It could also be drugs or alcohol.  All of these things have been known to turn ordinary people into terrible beasts who terrorize and destroy lives. 

            And then there is the vampire, the legendary creature of the night.  It hides from the light and pounces on its victims, drinking their blood.  Vampires, in contrast to werewolves, are usually portrayed as intelligent and calculating in their crimes.  They lust after their victims and plot how they will get what they want.  Once they strike, they suck the life out of their unfortunate victims.
            Vampires are just legends, but I’ve known a few people who acted like vampires.  They didn’t drink blood, but—because of sin—they only cared about themselves.  They used people for their own selfish gain.  People like that will suck you dry just so they can have a little more.  They hide in the shadows and lust after what’s not theirs and they will do anything to get what they want.  Their thirst is never sated.  Their exploits never bring lasting joy.  Their hunger drives them mad and there is never any relief.

            And then there are zombies.  Originally, zombies were the imagination of Haitian folklore.  A voodoo master would steal a person’s soul by black magic and force them to work as a mindless, uncomplaining slave.  In recent decades, a new kind of zombie is portrayed in movies and TV shows like—“The Walking Dead”.  In these scenarios, the zombie is the result of a virus.  The virus kills the infected person and then reanimates their corpse—using the corpse to bite or eat the living and transmit the virus to more and more people.
The fictional zombie is a very fitting description for many people I see in our world.  They are only living in the sense that they are breathing and moving around.  They are like “The Walking Dead”.  Sin has destroyed their soul.  Their lives are meaningless.  They spend their time stumbling after things of no eternal value trying to gratify their hunger.  In their rabid, mindless pursuit, they infect others until hoards are wandering aimlessly through the world wreaking havoc and destruction.  All the while, they miss out on the true life that God wants them to have.  And of course, in this apocalyptic nightmare, there are but a few living peopleChristians—who have come alive in Christ and are aware of true life.  Do you want to be truly alive or just the walking dead?

            According to legend, you kill a werewolf with a silver bullet.  You destroy a vampire with a stake through its heart.  You finish off a zombie by shooting it in the head.  However, in real life, there is only one cure if you are a werewolf, a vampire, or a zombie—it is to be crucified with Christ, so you may be raised to a new life with Christ. 
You must become followers of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said in Luke 9:23-24, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.” 
            So which one are you?  Are you a werewolf, a vampire, or a zombie?  The cure for you is here today.  The blood of Jesus Christ shed for your sins can wash you clean.  Repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ to save you and make you new.

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