CSN Sunday - LightWing Messages - 6/12/2022
From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. “Far be it from You, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to You!”
But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will repay each one according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:21-27 (Berean Study Bible)
In early May, we posted an article from Ray DiLorenzo, entitled: “Leftist insanity - it’s Worse Than you Thought” https://citizensentinelsnetwork.com/editorial/leftist-insanity-its-worse-than-you-thought/
As we consider the activities and behaviors and events in our contemporary world, it does seem that the world has gone mad. At least, some of the people in the world have seemingly lost their minds. Several articles in the public media address this point in one way or another. Certainly, it is crucial in such turbulent times that good people and people of faith, could refrain from going crazy as it could be hazardous to one’s health. It is vital in such a time of tribulation that good people and people of faith keep their heads on straight and their hearts in the right place.
Last Sunday, was Pentecost Sunday, and on that actual historic day, many observing the people of faith who were affected by the Holy Spirit considered them drunk or crazy. Peter addressed it in the second book of Acts. And today, people who consider themselves more rooted in science than in faith will consider believers a bit deluded or crazy. But, who are the truly crazy ones?
We have featured the words of Charles Finney, the great evangelist, here in our postings in the past, and we offer a message focused on this very paradox. Finney was quite instrumental in the Second Great Awakening in America before the American Civil War. He provides a clear perspective in his sermon from 1856, titled, “Moral Insanity.” Readers must beware as it is very
long. I cut some of the notes out, but Finney had a great deal to say about this topic, and he may have gone on longer on such an issue. But, we encourage readers to consider the clarity and relevance of his points for today.
Thus, our LightWing message for today is sincerely dedicated to those who are struggling in such a time as this. Our hope is to help people remember that they are truly God’s children and they need to act accordingly. Once again, we hope our readers enjoy this LightWing message as well as all of the appropriate aggregated messages and videos. Read, absorb and share, and practice what is within you. May God’s blessings flow into and through all of our readers and all of your loved ones today and throughout the rest of this week.
from "The Oberlin Evangelist"
by the Rev. C. G. Finney
September 10, 1856
Text.--Eccl. 9:3: "The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live."
The Bible often ascribes to unconverted men one common heart or disposition. It always makes two classes, and only two, of our race--saints and sinners; the one class converted from their sin and become God's real friends;--the other remaining his unconverted enemies. According to the Bible, therefore, the heart, in all unrenewed men, is the same in its general character. In the days of Noah, God testified "that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thought of his heart was only evil continually." Observe, he speaks of the thought of their heart, as if they had one common heart--all alike in moral character. So by Paul, God testifies that "the carnal mind is enmity against God," testifying thus, not of one man, or of a few men, but of all men of carnal mind. So in our text, the phraseology is expressive:--"the heart of the sons of men is full of evil"--as if the sons of men had but one heart--all in common--and this one heart were "full of evil." You will notice this affirmation is not made of one or two men, nor of some men, merely; but "of the sons of men," as if of them all.
I. What is intended by affirming that "madness is in their heart while they live?"
1. This is not the madness of anger, but of insanity. True, sometimes people are mad with anger; but this is not the sense of our text. The Bible, as well as customary speech, employs this term--"madness," to express insanity. This, we understand to be its sense here.
2. Insanity is of two kinds--one, of the head; the other, of the heart. In the former, the intellect is disordered; in the latter, the will and voluntary powers. Intellectual insanity destroys moral agency. The man, intellectually insane, is not, for the time, a moral agent; moral responsibility is suspended because he cannot know his duty, and cannot choose responsibly as to doing, or not doing it. True, when a man makes himself temporarily insane, as by drunkenness, the courts are obliged to hold him responsible for his acts committed in that state; but the guilt really attaches to the voluntary act which creates the insanity. A man who gets intoxicated by intelligently drinking what he knows is intoxicating, must be held responsible for his acts during the ensuing intoxication. The reason of this is, that he can foresee the danger, and can easily avoid it.
3. The general law is that, while the intellect retains its usual power, so long moral obligation remains unimpaired.
Moral insanity, on the other hand, is will-madness. The man retains his intellectual powers unimpaired, but he sets his heart fully to evil. He refuses to yield to the demands of his conscience. He practically discards the obligations of moral responsibility. He has the powers of free moral agency, but persistently abuses them. He has a reason which affirms obligation, but he refuses obedience to its affirmations.
In this form of insanity, the reason remains unimpaired; but the heart deliberately disobeys.
4. The insanity spoken of in the text is moral, that of the heart. By the heart here, is meant the will--the voluntary power. While the man is intellectually sane, he yet acts as if he were intellectually insane.
II. It is important to point out some of the manifestations of this state of mind.
Since the Bible affirms it to be a fact that sinners are mad in heart, we may naturally expect to see some manifestations of it. It is often striking to see how perfectly the Bible daguerreotypes human character; has it done so in reference to this point? Let us see.
Who are the morally insane?
1. Those who, not being intellectually insane, yet ACT as if they were.
For example, those who are intellectually insane, treat fiction as if it were reality, and reality as if it were fiction. They act as if truth were not truth, and as if falsehood were truth. Every man knows that insane people actually follow the wild dreams of their own fancy, as if they were the most stern reality, and can scarcely be made to feel the force of anything truly real.
So men, in their sins, treat the realities of the spiritual world as if they were not real, but follow the most empty phantoms of this world, as if they were stern realities.
2. They also act as if self were of supreme importance, and everything else of relatively no importance. Suppose you were to see a man acting this out in common life. He goes round, day after day, assuming that he is the Supreme God, and practically insisting that everybody ought to have a supreme regard to his rights, and comparatively little or no regard for other people's rights. Now if you were to see a man saying this and acting it out, would you not account him either a blasphemer or insane?
Observe, now the wonderful fact, that while wicked men talk so sensibly as to show that they know better, yet they act as if all this were true--as if they supposed their own self-interest to be more important than every thing else in the universe, and that God's interests and rights even, are nothing in comparison. Practically, every sinner does this. It is an essential element in all sin. Selfish men never regard the rights of any body else, unless they are in some way linked with their own.
3. If wicked men really believed their own rights and interests to be supreme in the universe, it would prove them intellectually insane, and we should hasten to shut them up in the nearest mad-house; but when they show that they know better, yet act on this groundless assumption, in the face of their better knowledge, we say, with the Bible, that "madness is in their hearts while they live."
Again, see this madness manifested in his relative estimate of time and of eternity. His whole life declares that, in his view, it is by far more important to secure the good of time than the good of eternity. Yet, if a man should reason thus--should argue to prove it, and should soberly assert it--you would know him to be insane, and would help him to the mad-house. But, suppose he does not say this--dares not say it--knows it is not true;--yet constantly acts it out, and lives on the assumption of its truth, what then? Simply this--he is morally mad. Madness is in his heart.
4. Now precisely this is the practice of every one of you who is living in sin. You give the preference to time over eternity, You practically say--O give me the joys of time: why should I trouble myself yet about the trivial matters of eternity?
5. In the same spirit you assume that the body is more than the soul. But if a man were to affirm this and go round trying to prove it, you would know him to be insane. O, if he were a friend of yours, how your heart would break for his sad misfortune--reason lost! But if he knows better, yet practically lives as if it were even so, you only say, he is morally insane--that is all!
Suppose you see a man destroying his own property, not by accident or mistake, but deliberately; injuring his own health, also, as if he had no care for his own interests;--you might bring his case before a judge and sue out a commission of lunacy against him; under which the man's goods should be taken out of his own control, and he be no longer suffered to squander them. Yet, in spiritual things, wicked men will deliberately act against their own dearest interests; having a price put into their hands to get wisdom, they will not use it; having the treasures of heaven placed within their reach, they do not try to secure them; with an infinite wealth of blessedness proffered for the mere acceptance, they will not take it as a gift. Indeed! How plain it is that, if men were to act in temporal things as they do in spiritual, they would be pronounced by everybody insane. Any man would take his oath of it. They would say--Only see; the man acts against his own interests in everything! Who can deny that he is insane? Certainly, sane men never do this!
But, in moral questions, wicked men seem to take the utmost pains to subvert their own interests, and make themselves insolvent forever! O, how they beggar their souls, when they might have the riches of heaven.
6. Again, they endeavor to realize manifest impossibilities. For example, they try to make themselves happy in their sins and their selfishness. Yet they know they cannot do it. Ask them, and they will admit the thing is utterly impossible; and yet, despite of this conviction, they keep up the effort perpetually to try--as if they expected by and by to realize a manifest impossibility. Now, in moral things, it may not strike you as specially strange, for it is exceedingly common; but suppose, in matters of the world, you were to see a man doing the same sort of thing, what would you think of him? For example, you see him working hard to build a very long ladder, and you ask him what for? He says--"I am going to scale the moon." You see him expending his labor and his money, with the toil of a life to get up a mammoth ladder with which to scale the moon! Would you not say--he is certainly insane? For, unless he were really insane, he would know it to be an utter impossibility. But, in spiritual things, men are all the time trying to realize a result at least equally impossible--that of being happy in sin--happy with a mutiny among their own constitutional powers, the heart at war against reason and conscience. The pursuit of happiness in sin, is as if a man were seeking to bless himself by mangling his own flesh, digging out his own eyes, knocking in his teeth. Yet men as really know that they cannot obtain happiness in sin and selfishness, as they know they can not ensure health and comfort by mutilating their own flesh, and tearing their own nerves in sunder. Doing thus madly what they know will always defeat and never ensure real happiness, they show themselves to be morally insane.
7. Another manifestation of intellectual insanity, is loss of confidence in one's best friends. Often this is one of the first and most painful evidences of insanity--the poor man will have it that his dearest friends are set to ruin him. By no amount of evidence can he be persuaded to think they are his real friends.
Just so sinners in their madness treat God. While they inwardly know he is their real friend, yet they practically treat him as their worst enemy. By no motives can they be persuaded to confide in him as their friend. In fact, they treat him as if he were the greatest liar in the universe. Wonderful to tell, they practically reverse the regard due respectively to God and to Satan--treating Satan as if he were God, and God as if he were Satan. Satan they believe and obey; God they disown, dishonor, and disobey. How strangely would they reverse the order of things! They would fain enthrone Satan over the universe, giving him the highest seat in heaven; the Almighty and holy God they would send to hell. They do not hesitate to surrender to Satan the place of power over their own hearts which is due to God only.
I have already noticed the fact that insane people treat their best friends as if they were their worst enemies, and that this is often the first proof of insanity. If a husband, he will have it that his dear wife is trying to poison him. I have a case in my recollection--the first case of real insanity I ever saw, and, for that reason, perhaps, it made a strong impression on my mind. I was riding on horseback, and coming near a house, I noticed a chamber window up, and heard a most unearthly cry. As soon as I came near enough to catch the words, I heard a most wild, imploring voice, "Stranger, stranger, come here;--here is the great whore of Babylon; they are trying to kill me, they will kill me." I dismounted; came up to the house, and there I found a man shut up in a cage, and complaining most bitterly of his wife. As I turned towards her I saw she looked sad, as if a load of grief lay heavy on her heart. A tear trembled in her eye. Alas, her dear husband was a maniac! Then I first learned how the insane are wont to regard their best friends.
Now, sinners know better of God and of their other real friends;--and yet they very commonly treat them in precisely this way. Just as if they were to go into the places of public resort and lift up their voices to all bystanders--Hallo, there, all ye--be it known to you--"the Great God is an almighty tyrant!" "He is not fit to be trusted or loved!"
Now, every body knows they treat God thus practically. They regard the service of God--religion--as if it were inconsistent with their real and highest happiness. I have often met with sinners who seemed to think that every attempt to make them Christians is a scheme to take them in and sell them into slavery. They by no means estimate religion as if it came forth from a God of love. Practically, they treat religion as if--embraced--it would be their ruin. Yet, in all this, they act utterly against their own convictions. They know better. If they did not, their guilt would be exceedingly small compared with what it is.
8. Another remarkable manifestation of insanity is, to be greatly excited about trifles, and apathetic about the most important matters in the universe. Suppose you see a man excited about straws and pebbles--taking unwearied pains to gather them into heaps, and store them away as treasures; yet, when a fire breaks out around his dwelling and the village is in flames, he takes no notice of it, and feels no interest; or people may die on every side with the plague, but he heeds it not; --would you not say, he must be insane? But this is precisely true of sinners. They are almost infinitely excited about worldly good--straws and pebbles, compared with God's proffered treasures; but O how apathetic about the most momentous events in the universe! The vast concerns of their souls, scarcely stir up one earnest thought! If they did not know better, you would say --Certainly, their reason is dethroned; but since they do know better, you can not say less than that they are morally insane – "madness is in their heart while they live."
9. The conduct of impenitent men is the perfection of irrationality. When you see it as it is, you will get a more just and vivid idea of irrationality than you can get from any other source. You see this in the ends to which they devote themselves, and in the means which they employ to secure them. All is utterly unreasonable. An end madly chosen --sought by means madly devised; --this is the life-history of the masses who reject God. If this were the result of wrong intellectual judgments, we should say at once that the race have gone mad.
Bedlam itself affords no higher evidence of intellectual insanity than every sinner does of moral. You may go to Columbus, and visit every room occupied by the inmates of the Lunatic Asylum; you cannot find one insane person who gives higher evidence of intellectual insanity than every sinner does of moral. If Bedlam itself furnishes evidence that its Bedlamites are crazy, intellectually; so does every sinner that he is mad, morally.
Sinners act as if they were afraid they should be saved. Often they seem to be trying to make their salvation as difficult as possible. For example, They all know what Christ has said about the danger of riches and the difficulty of saving rich men. They have read from His lips --"How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God." "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." This they know, and yet how many of them are in mad haste to be rich! For this end, some are ready to sacrifice their conscience --some their health– all seem ready, deliberately, to sacrifice their souls! How could they more certainly ensure their own damnation!
Thus they regard damnation as if it were salvation, and salvation as if it were damnation. They rush upon damnation as if it were heaven, and flee salvation as if it were hell.
Is this exaggeration? No; this is only the simple truth. Sinners press down the way to hell as if it were the chief good of their existence, and shun the way to heaven as if it were the consummation of evil. Sinner, this is your own moral state. The picture gives only the naked facts of the case, without exaggeration.
III. This moral insanity is a state of unmingled wickedness.
1. The special feature of it which makes it a guilty state, is that it is altogether voluntary. It results not from the loss of reason, but from the abuse of reason. The will persists in acting against reason and conscience. Despite the affirmations of reason, and reckless the admonitions of conscience, the sinner presses on in his career of rebellion against God and goodness. In such voluntary wickedness, must there not be intrinsic guilt?
2. Besides, this action is oftentimes deliberate. The man sins in his cool, deliberate moments, as well as in his excited moments. If he sins most overtly and boldly in his excited moments he does not repent and change his position towards God in his deliberate moments, but virtually endorses then the hasty purposes of his more excited hours. This heightens his guilt.
Again, his purposes of sin are obstinate and unyielding. In ten thousand ways, God is bringing influences to bear on his mind to change his purposes--but usually in vain. This career of sin is in violation of all his obligations. Who does not know this? The sinner never acts from right motives--never yields to the sway of a sense of obligation--never practically recognizes his obligation to love his neighbor as himself, or to honor the Lord his God.
3. It is a total rejection of both God's law and gospel. The law he will not obey; the gospel of pardon he will not accept. He seems determined to brave the Omnipotence of Jehovah, and dare his vengeance. Is he not mad upon his idols? Is it saying too much when the Bible affirms--"Madness is in their heart while they live?"
Charles G. Finney was a legendary evangelist and one of the leaders of the Second Great Awakening that took place in America from 1790 – 1840. In 1835, Charles Finney agreed to become a professor at Oberlin Collegiate Institute (known as Oberlin College after 1850), with the agreement that he could continue to preach in New York, where he was from. In 1851, the professor became the second president of the college. To refresh reader’s memories, Oberlin College became the first college in the United States to admit women and blacks as students in addition to white men. In fact, Oberlin is the oldest co-educational college in the United States.
Finney was a firm believer that Christians needed to work to build the Kingdom of God on earth. He believed the truly faithful would be able to usher in the Millennium by eliminating the “great and sore evils” of the world, which he identified in fiery fashion. If one reads the sermons Finney preached in his time, perceptive individuals can see his words also apply in such a time as this. The words he shared then could be shared across America today, which again is in a time of tense divisiveness, and void of true moral leadership for the most part.
(Description from Tim Taylor - Kingdom League international)
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