DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

                 Index

 
Customs, Superstitions And Witchcraft
 

Introduction

a. Freedom in Christ

Galatians 5:1,13
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.

b. Don't be enslaved

Colossians 2:8-10, 16-17
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.


Cultural Customs : Traditional ways of doing things, that are matters of personal preference and have no biblical basis. Examples : dowry, rubbing garlic on people's dress before marriage, food you eat, bindi dots, wedding customs, dress.....

Superstitions : Practices that involve supernatural "good luck" without biblical basis. Examples : bangles on wrist of baby = no vomiting, black strings around waist = no worms, necklace = protect internal organs.

Witchcraft : Using the power of satan or any other power other than God for spiritual benefit.

I. Cultural Customs

Eating food sacrificed to idols.

1 Corinthians 8:4-8
4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one.
5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"),
6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.
8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.


a. Don't worry

Idols are nothing, meaningless (v4). Bindi dot is a sticky piece of cloth. People are very issue oriented - don't argue with people. We're no worse if vegetarian or non-vegeterian.

b. Don't judge

Romans 14:1-5
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
2 One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
4 Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.


One man's faith allows him to eat anything (v2). There's nothing special about a particular day, eg. Christmas, Easter, etc..

We tend to judge people by their customs which is wrong. Keep your advice to yourself - example : Rakhi viz tying string around wrist of brother or close friend.

c. Don't tempt

Romans 14:13-16,19-21
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.
15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.
16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.
21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.


1. If a brother / sister has personal conviction about something. We need to be very sensitive (Vegetarian / Non-Vegetarian)

Don't force a Christian to do something against their conscience.

2. Don't tempt people in the world to look down on us. If offered in sacrifice, don't eat it. Example : food offered in certain religious festivals.

d. Don't sin

Romans 14:22-23
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.


1. First deal with matters of opinion.

2. Make sure what you feel is not sin - Example. sleeping with your girl friend before marriage, no dowry in Christian marriage, dowry is based strictly on greed.

1 Timothy 6:9-10
9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.


Others examples - not discipling children, men respecting women.

e. Don't compromise

Romans 14:22-23
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.


1. If you have strong feeling against something, don't do it. Example Celebrating Christmas

2. Help people work through their concerns and problems.

Review

1. God has given us limits - wrong to wound someone's conscience on to directly sin.

2. Free to do whatever we want but with wisdom.

II. Superstitions / Practices

a. Don't worry

When bracelet cuts off the hand of a child

b. Don't judge

Example : sweeping your house after turning lights on, hand itching for money, dog crying, seeing black cat, breaking a mirror.

c. Don't trust in idolatry

Example : bracelet to ward off evil spirits. If trusting in something other than God to save you, you're sinning. No object can bring you closer to God.

III. Witchcraft

1 Samuel 28:5-15
5 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart.
6 He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.
7 Saul then said to his attendants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her." "There is one in Endor," they said.
8 So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. "Consult a spirit for me," he said, "and bring up for me the one I name."
9 But the woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?"
10 Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As surely as the LORD lives, you will not be punished for this."
11 Then the woman asked, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" "Bring up Samuel," he said.
12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!"
13 The king said to her, "Don't be afraid. What do you see?" The woman said, "I see a spirit coming up out of the ground."
14 "What does he look like?" he asked. "An old man wearing a robe is coming up," she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
15 Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" "I am in great distress," Saul said. "The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do."


Using any spiritual power other than God's for spiritual benefit. Witchcraft does work. (vs. superstitions which don't). Example : priests making potions, astrology, palm reading, weelee boards, curses, spells, chants. All done secretly because we know they are evil. Christian can't be harmed by a curse.

a. Don't fear

1 John 4:2-4
2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.


b. Avoid it

Galatians 5:19-21
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.


Witchcraft is sin. Therefore, avoid it.