By John J. Blanchard
July 7, 2012
Good morning, brethren. The title of today’s sermon is “Becoming Inured to the Point of Our Own Detriment.” The first thing I need to do is define the word “inure” because it is not a word commonly used anymore. I looked it up in the American Heritage Dictionary, and the term inure to habituate to something undesirable, especially by prolonged subjugation in order to accustom.
To become inured to something undesirable is to be subjected to it long enough that we actually get used to it and accept it. It is something undesirable that we actually accept. Because we have been subjected to it long enough, we become used to it. It is a bit like the frog in the water. We have all heard the analogy of the frog in the water. The water heats up slowly, so they don’t notice that the temperature is going up until it is too late.
The process of becoming inured is one of the most insidious and destructive evils that we face. Inurement can literally destroy any person, any family, any culture, or any nation. Indeed, all inurement requires is patience because it takes a while. Satan is very, very patient.
A WARNING FOR OUR TIME
The Bible gives us some clear warnings for our time, and I want to read those warnings now. We could go to many, many Scriptures, but I want to focus on II Timothy, so if you would, turn in your Bibles to II Timothy. We will read some warnings that are specifically for the last days. We are looking at II Timothy chapter 3, beginning in verse 1: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…”
In II Timothy 4, verse 1 where Paul is talking to Timothy we read: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
The Church is charged with speaking the truth on these issues that lead to people being inured and becoming proud, blasphemers, unforgiving, unloving, and all those traits that we just read about. These definitely accurately portray the day and age in which we live. People have become more selfish, more hardhearted, more corrupt, and more greedy, and we are charged with teaching them otherwise and not letting false teachings and doctrines influence us otherwise.
We cannot escape the fact that these traits abound in the world. We live in a world that is like that and more so than ever. We see it all the time. There is greed, corruption, and selfishness. It is everywhere. Good journalism and technology have made it possible that every day we can keep updated with the latest scandal. It has been great that we have this transparency. With good journalism and modern technology we can have evil exposed, but there are two sides to that coin. I do bemoan personally the fact that there is no privacy, but I love the fact that the light of truth can now shine on various acts of corruption and greed.
Every day brings us news reports of corruption in politics and corruption in banking. Now we have this latest scandal with the setting of interest rates by influencing Libor which affects people’s debts around the world. We see corruption on Wall Street. We see corruption in corporations. We see gang violence, drug cartels, drug use, welfare fraud, Medicare fraud, drug company fraud, and greedy executives. We could go on. Every day we get doses of this stuff. It is to the point that the transparency has revealed so much that we can feel hopeless. We can feel like what is going on? The world seems to be coming unglued!
The behaviors that we just read about are connected to the situation that we all live in. That means a world full of economic troubles, high unemployment, a foreclosure crisis, spiraling national debt, student loan crisis, and a credit card crisis. We could go on and on with all the ills that we face as a society, and we can tie them to that list of evils or attitudes that are so pervasive around the world. They go together. We know it in our gut that they are connected. But how did we end up here? How did we end up in this situation?
It was a step-by-step process, and it was a step-by-step process of becoming inured. It took a while. It took about a generation, but it worked. Satan laughs. He looks at the condition of the world and the hopelessness that people feel, the anxiety, the stress, the fear, and the illnesses, and he knows that his plan is working. But we know that God is more powerful. We have to understand this process of inurement and how it works.
ABUSE OF FREEDOM
This nation started with something good, and it is turning into something evil, which is what Satan always does. He takes something good and turns it into something bad. In the nation in which we live in, and indeed in most democracies around the world and most countries that care about the people, we have been given more freedom of speech than in the history of mankind. We take all of these freedoms for granted. There is freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, civil rights, the right to bear arms, the rights for this and the rights for that. We could make a list of the new rights they are coming up with all the time. There is the right not to be held too long on a tarmac by an airline. There is the right to health care. There are rights for everything. It has gotten to the point where it is really overdone because freedom is an interesting concept.
Freedom means that we are free to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to take responsibility for our own actions, our own thoughts and our own deeds. In actual fact, the abuse of personal freedom literally ends up destroying the people, the family, and the society that abuses those freedoms and those rights. But it takes time to get a nation, a people, a society, or a culture to become inured to the point where they destroy these freedoms and themselves at the same time. It takes a while.
The Bible says woe to those who are the drivers and instigators of inurement. I want to read a couple of Scriptures to back that up. Turn to Isaiah chapter 5 please. We will start in verse 20. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man!”
God says, woe to those who are the drivers of this way of life where evil is called good and good evil. And a lot of times they are people who appear to be very wise. We need freedom of speech and freedom of expression, they might say. We need our rights. We need to be able to do what we want. They make it look like to question that is somehow not only unpatriotic, but it is going against civil rights. They say it is going against the rights of all mankind.
EVIL IMAGINATION OF A FEW
God says this in verse 18 of Isaiah 5: “Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if with a cart rope…”
God is saying woe to those who come up with these ideas, and they draw others along as if they are in a cart. They are pulling them along with a rope and pulling all of us toward inurement, toward accepting these ways of being. Therefore God clearly says, woe to those who instigate and push inurement and sadness to those who allow themselves to become inured. It is sadness to those who allow themselves. You notice I said, “allow themselves.” In a free country, we have to allow these things into our lives.
There are many examples today that we can see that make it look like it is all hopeless, but there are things that can be done.
Let’s look at a few more Scriptures in which God warns people not to get into these things. Turn to Proverbs chapter 1. Read Proverbs 1:8-19.
It is a strong word from God about greed and using it to harm others, and trying to draw people into your scheme to enrich all involved.
Go to Proverbs chapter 17, verse 13: “Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.”
You are not going to win pursuing a course to enrich yourself at the expense of others and by inuring them to evil, so that they help you. In the end, you will lose. The people who follow along get harmed as well.
In I Timothy we already saw that the love of money and greed is part of the problem in most of these things. But let’s go to I Timothy where it is spelled out exactly that way. I Timothy 6, verse 10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
This is basically the same concept that we just read in the Old Testament. It will come around and get us if we are that way, and it harms those people that are led that way. It is very unfortunate that money is a root of much evil. It is the love and the desiring of money that is a weakness for people, and you can also include power. Those of us who allow ourselves to become inured, are part of the problem. If someone has a weakness for money or for power and we go along with it by purchasing their wares, we are part of the problem. By allowing it to happen and by becoming inured to what they have to sell us, we are part of the problem. We are feeding their weakness. They are feeding our weakness. It is a vicious spiral.
What this has led to is a situation in this world where the evil imaginings of a few now flood the world. Technology has made this possible as well. Let’s turn to Luke chapter 6. Christ warns about that. Then we will talk about that for a minute.
Luke chapter 6, verse 43: “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
It’s what’s inside of us in our minds and our hearts that is either good or evil. We all have some of each, but some of us have a particular form of evil that we would love to share with others for profit. It is a human weakness that some people have. They realize that with technology they can use what is in their mind and in their imaginations, and put it together with technology to get into the mind of someone else. If it is titillating enough and interesting enough or funny enough, they will pay you for it. They will pay you for it, so it is a profit motive. It starts a downward spiral where the evil imaginations of just a few people can influence whole countries and can influence the whole world. Of course, Satan is behind that. He loves to inspire all manner of evil. I don’t want to even talk in detail about all the things that are out there. I think we are all pretty much aware of what’s going on out there in the world. They are contrary to God’s law.
Christ said, it’s what’s inside of you that comes out that is bad. It is what we have hidden in our minds and our hearts.
TEACHING OTHERS TO SIN
Let’s turn to Matthew chapter 5. We have done a few sermons of late on God’s law, so I will not go into it in great detail. You could always go back to the sermons on the law—the Ten Commandments—that we have done. Let’s read the conclusion of the whole matter here in Matthew chapter 5, beginning in verse 17: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law [Christ says] or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
This is a very strong warning about thekingdomofGodto come, the Millennium, and eternal life. One must not be breaking the law and teaching others to do so. There is a strong penalty for doing that. Yet the world does it for a profit motive, and it is really only a few that make it possible to reach the many. But it is the many who go along with it that make it worthwhile for the few. We are all in this boat together.
INURED IN ONE GENERATION
It is a strange thing that in the world the weird—the dark imaginings of such a few—have been allowed to affect so many that changes from one generation and the technology available to that generation can affect the downward spiral so profoundly. In the case of our time, it took place so quickly. It took one generation for modern technology to make it possible for the evil imaginations of one or two or just a few people to literally infect millions of people’s minds around the world. It took nearly 500 years to destroy theRoman Empire, but in one generation we have made it so that our society and much of the Western World has become inured to the things that lead us to be greedy, selfish, brutal, blasphemers, hardhearted, unforgiving, unloving and that whole list we just read. The consequences from that we see in the economies around the world and the misery index and people’s sadness around the world who are anxious, worried, and fearful. It is the adults and the corporations of the world who have flooded the minds of our children to make this possible.
I want to go back for a moment to when I was a child. If we go back 50 years ago, we can see what was fed to us as children. We can look at what is going on in the world today, such as the corruption in politics, banking, and Wall Street, Medicare fraud and welfare fraud. We look at all those things, and know the seeds were sown when I was young 50 years ago. What entered the minds of the children a generation ago is manifesting itself today.
Entertainment began by pushing good things. It started out good. This was before my time, but they had the talkies. At first there were silent movies and then the talking movies. Then television came into homes. The air waves were child friendly. They were not perfect programs. Don’t get me wrong. People like to point at every imperfection. Programs like “I Love Lucy” and “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It to Beaver” were all family friendly. The air waves were family friendly. Whether it was radio or TV, there was no foul language allowed. No nudity and perversion was allowed. There was no gross violence. You could safely let your child listen to the radio or watch television, but the process of inurement soon began.
We came into the sexy sixties. There was talk of free love and drugs becoming acceptable. Those ideas and those concepts spread. It happened that television and radio gave way to computers, video games and now smart phones and tablets. These are all conduits for evil imaginations to reach our children and wreak havoc down the road.
We have seen what happened from the sixties and seventies in the results today of broken homes, anxiety, many people on antidepressants, the worry, the fear, the stress, the greed, and the corruption. We see what happened with what was sown into young minds fifty years ago. We can stop and think for a moment, what is the next fifty years going to be like? It is not a pleasant thought.
The air waves and the internet are full of all kinds of sickness, raunch, violence, and perversion. We can point to some good things. There is always a good and a bad, but the bad is so available. Young minds are so susceptible. They are so susceptible to music, television, games, and the Internet. Have we adults and corporations have no shame? Those who are pushing this stuff, have they no shame?
Turn back to Psalms chapter 14, verse 1: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt. They have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call on the Lord? There they are in great fear, for God is with the generation of the righteous. You shame the counsel of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge. Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord brings back the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice andIsraelbe glad.”
CONTRIBUTING TO THEIR DELINQUENCY
We could go look at the Old Testament examples of going into captivity for sin’s sake, but this applies to our day and age as well. Our world is held captive by these forces of inurement that are causing misery around the world. God says, have the wicked no shame? They are doing this to the poor of the world, to the innocent, to the children. Have they no shame? They are doing it for money. But it is a two-sided coin, like I said. Somebody has to support the advertisers. Somebody has to buy the products—the games and all the things that go with the ability to tie into the Internet. This all costs money, and it makes some people very rich. If their weakness is money themselves, we are making it possible. It is that vicious circle again.
Going to Psalm 52, beginning in verse 1: “Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually. Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness. You love all devouring words, you deceitful tongue.”
It goes on to say God will likewise destroy you forever if you keep this up. We know that God is going to turn this thing around, and that is the hopeful part. But in the meantime, we need to recognize what we are doing if we are those pushing it and are those who are making it possible, so that all of us become inured. We need to do something about this because there is no reason we have to let other people’s words into our minds like a razor that is deceitfully destroying us. We can do something about that. We do not have to listen to that kind of music.
I could go into gangster rap, hip hop, and all kinds of garbage that is out there. Rich people are getting richer, and it is not just the stars and the artists who write the lyrics and sing them or act in the comedies on TV or the programs. It is the moguls who make it possible with the money. It is the people who have the skills and technology to put together these films, CDs, DVDs, and music videos. It is the people who can use animation to put perversion from one mind into the other, and then use the internet and the air waves to get it into the minds of our unsuspecting children and into indeed the adults as well. We don’t have to allow it, and that is my point.
DON’T LET OTHERS CONTROL US
We do not have to tune in. We do not have to turn on the button. We do not have to buy the software or buy the game. We do not have to let our children play them or listen to them or watch them. Whatever became of the parents in control of the household? So many parents do not seem to have the gumption to say, this will not exist under this roof.
Here is what amazes me. I hear, yes, we can gain control. There are certain aspects of which we have gained control, and we seem to have almost overdone it when it comes to our own children. I look at the laws in the last few years about child safety. I am going to read just a few here: mandatory child safety seats. You must have the proper seat. It has to be turned around. It has to be buckled in just right, or it is a criminal offense. They won’t even let your child, in most cases, out of the hospital until you prove you have the right seat for that baby. That is how much concern they have for the safety of little children.
In some cities you must wear a helmet if your child is riding a bike, and they are pushing it everywhere. Some places you actually have to. Looking at games now, knee pads are required. Elbow pads are required. Goggles are required. They are constantly teaching us about sunscreen. Don’t leave your children in a warm car. Children must wear their seat belts once they are beyond the age of riding in a car seat. There is law after law. There are lead paint poisoning warnings and taking care of your children regarding this or that. Make sure they get pure baby food. We don’t want any adulteration in the food. Everything is covered to keep their bodies healthy and safe.
Ironically, the filth and perversion that we allow into the baby has no limit! Does it make sense to make a child sick on the inside and healthy on the outside? I don’t get it! Are not their brains as important as their skulls? Is not their heart—their emotion—as important as their elbows and their knees? I just don’t get it! We have become inured to the point where we allow games of incredible violence and perversion, and music of incredible perversion and often violent and degrading to women and sometimes to children. We allow these things to be purchased. There are little rules about mommy or daddy having to be there or someone over 18, but it is also available on the Internet and on television that it is uncontrollable. Little children and young children do not have the character and the strength to resist.
I ask you, as a society, are we nuts? Have we gone crazy? We protect our children from every physical thing and allow all of these incredible harms that cause anxiety, fear, violence, and broken homes down the road, and even a worse economic crash! In forty years or so from now when this generation is in control and in power, what is the world going to be like? Fortunately, we know that Christ is coming back well ahead of that, but I could go on with example after example.
We are concerned about childhood obesity and diabetes. Take away the gadgets and turn off the buttons. Tell them to go outside and play in the clean air instead of the dirty air waves, and they will become more fit. There will be less obesity.
More people are starting to realize the benefits of pure water, good food, a balanced diet, and exercise, but stopping the destruction of the minds of the young people I think is where we have to start. If we want to get a control over all of these things and make the world’s economy good in the future, we have to control all of these forces of inurement.
Galatians chapter 6 has something interesting. Go to Galatians chapter 6, verse 6: “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.”
To share good things is the job of the Christian Church.
Verse 7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
God is not mocked. We will reap what we sow.
FREE TO FIGHT INUREMENT
Today when we look at the economy, the state of people, the state of homes and families, and where the Western World is headed, we realize that we have not sown very well in the past. We are reaping what we sow, but we can learn from these things. God’s Spirit is certainly more powerful than the spirit that causes inurement. We can fix this, and that’s why we are told right here not to give up hope and not to grow weary. Continue to teach, because God will at the right moment open the minds of the world. I believe we are right at that point. Then they will be able to fight the powers that cause inurement. They will be able to look at their children who they want to care for lovingly physically and say, I don’t have to let these evils into the mind of my baby, of my child, or my young adult. I am in control of this. God has given me the authority to protect them in every way.
We can do something about this, and we can make sure that in the next forty or fifty years the harvest we reap will be wonderful. I believe it will be. I believe the Millennium will be here, and we will have a great and wonderful world for children to grow up in. I believe God is about to use technology, transparency, and His Holy Spirit to help us fight the powers of inurement. We can help those with a weakness and a lust for money and power by denying them the money and power that feeds their weakness. Thereby we will also protect those who are weak among us from the evils that would inure us to the sins that cause all the problems we see around the world.
We must make a choice for us and for our children. The choice is very, very clear. We are free to fight inurement, or we are free to become inured. What are you going to do about it?