This captivity is universal; it extends to all the faculties of the sinner's soul. Your mind is Satan's captive you don't understand things spiritual. You are blinded by Satan, and the natural man "receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: because they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Cor.2: 14). Did you ever stop to think that when God made man, He formed the mind of man; He gave man knowledge to guide him in the way of happiness? Did you ever stop to think that the mind is the eye of the soul, by which the individual may see the difference between sin and beauty, and that it was given him to pilot him through all the quicksands of life? But man, being wounded by the deceit of Satan, according to Gen.3:5, fell into the hands of the most dastardly enemy of all the universe, and he has robbed you of the light that God gave you; he has shut you up in utter darkness, and if "the light that is in thee be darkness," oh, what darkness! It is so dark, sinner, until you can't see any way to escape. You are like those men at Lot's house, blinded, groping in darkness and trying to find a door, but you find no way out, do you?
To make it more terrible, sinner, Satan has set up a false light in the mind which, instead of leading your poor captive soul out of darkness, leads you into pits and snares, and turns sweet into bitter, causes you to glory in your own shame and to mind earthly things, according to Phil.3:19. Not only that, but Satan has taken away your tender heart and given you a heart of stone; he's taken away your righteousness and given you filthy rags. And Satan holds you fast in that condition! Yes, everything in the world is colored with that false light that you have, so much so until you look upon the head of that serpent coiled in your bosom with a smile and think it a rosebud! Yes, you'll look upon sin, and think it is a virtue. You'll laugh in the face of Hell, because you sense no danger. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov.14:12; 16:25). That false light shuts out the Sun of Righteousness (Mal.4:2). That false light is so deceiving until multitudes think they are saved, and are rejoicing in that false light, while they are on the road to Hell, but don't know it. They are making merry in their own heart to their own damnation! Oh! may the Lord take hold of your heart and lead it into the love of God! He alone can do it. It is God that "worketh in you both to will and to do of his (own) good pleasure" (Phil.2:13). Yes, Satan has loaded your mind with such heavy chains that you cannot come to Christ at His call. The Lord Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44).
Then, again, Satan holds captive your affections, according to Gen.6:5, "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Then again, our Lord said, "Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). In the first creation man's affections were holy; they were subject to the guidance of the mind and were at the command of the will, but as a captive of Satan your affections have been prostituted. You no longer love God, but only the lusts and desires of your own carnal heart. Your affections are so held captive by Satan and your old depraved nature until they go crawling in the slimy pits of lust, in the channels of covetousness, jealousy, hatred, and malice. Your affections now feed upon things of the earth, and are earthly. You can no more teach a child to love God than you can teach a snake to love man.
We want to notice one or two more things about man's captivity. It is a hard captivity. You are made busy, but you are working to your own ruin. You are constantly kicking against the pricks. You are digging your own grave; you are feeding your own lusts, while you starve your soul. By so doing you are not only damning your own soul, but you are ruining the souls of others you are carrying snares for others. You are weaving your own net of destruction. You are digging the pit into which you will fall, never to rise again. You are kindling the fires of your own Hell. You are gathering together the lusts of your own bosom that will torment you throughout eternity, because Hell will be a place where no passion or lust of the human heart will ever be satisfied (Rom.2:5). My friend, you are destroying your own soul. Listen, friend! Wake up, sinner! You are courting death! Your depraved, unbelieving heart makes you love death, makes you consent to be damned with Satan your conqueror forever and ever. God have mercy upon you!
This is a perpetual captivity. There is no end unless you be ransomed. Satan never releases his captives except they are taken from him by the power of God. Death does not release the captives of Satan, for the grave holds the prisoners, though they will not hear the voice of their conqueror until he meets them in Hell together. Death weds you and Satan together forever. Death, death, death listen to it! binds you to Satan throughout the cycles of eternity. Listen, friend, listen! If you have never listened before, will you listen now? May the fear of God fall upon you!
Now, face this awful condition of your captivity. Remember, it's voluntary: you serve Satan at your will. Satan does not have to drive you; you run at his call; according to Rom.3:15, "Their feet are swift to shed blood." You serve Satan as your master by your own consent and choice. This is the most tragical aspect of it. Sinner, you are a captive of Satan, and you do not want your liberty unless grace changes your heart. You glory in your slavery; you love your captivity. You are well pleased with your condition. When I proclaim liberty to you, you are angry with me and tell me, "Preacher, I love my master; I will not go free. I do not want to go free. I love sin and the pleasures that Satan gives me." As a young girl said the other day, "Ha, ha! I'm having the time of my life now. I'm free to do as I please," and she is drinking sin to its bitter dregs.
In conclusion, let me say, my dear sinner-friend, that you are Satan's captive. May the Holy Spirit convince you that you are Satan's captive. May you be convicted of this great fact that not many are troubled about their state, and may the grace of our God trouble you and let you see the awful condition that you are in. May the grace of God fall upon you. May the great grace of God fall in your home right now and touch your heart, mother touch your heart, father touch your heart, daughter touch your heart, son. Let me say further, that I am talking to you! "Thou art the man;" I'm talking to you! "Thou art the woman;" you are held captive by Satan. You will not believe it, but, my friend, it's you! I know you are blinded; I know Satan has put out your eyes, according to II Cor.4:4. I know the Gospel is hid from your eyes. I know many of you who have made professions of faith have turned to a very religious life, but you are still children of Hell. You are unregenerated. You are children of wrath. You are the captives of Satan, and the "spirit that now worketh" in you is the spirit of Satan (Eph.2:2). Oh, that the grace of God would open your eyes and let you see that you have been stripped of all your righteousness, all your natural goodness, let you see that you have been spoiled of everything in the world that is worthwhile! I wish you would admit that you are Satan's captive, that you have not been made free by Christ. But if God has spoken to your heart, will you listen to His voice, will you bestir yourself that you may be set free? May you remain no longer at ease in your present condition. May the Spirit of the living God so reveal your condition to you that a cry of anguish will arise from your heart, "Lord, save me, or I perish! Lord, deliver me! I am the sinner. Lord, release me from this bondage of sin!" May there come from your heart such a cry.
Will you think with me, oh sinner-friend, along this line? You only have a short time to live, and then you'll be his captive forever in Hell. Bestir yourself! Your life is uncertain. Death has carried many off, and will you be carried to the prison house of Hell, where you will have to bid farewell forever to liberty? "When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us;...he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are" (Luke 13:25).
If you refuse to come now to be delivered from Satan's bondage, you may never be delivered. Now is the time of your liberty. "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Cor.6:2). Listen, friend; remember this great fact, that Christ has paid the ransom price for your deliverance, and liberty and freedom is proclaimed in the Gospel. "Do you mean you are talking to me, Pastor?" I am talking to you, sinner-friend. Christ has paid the ransom for your deliverance.
Listen to our text again, "The LORD hath anointed me...to proclaim (or preach) liberty to the captives" (Isa.61:1).
There's liberty for you, my friend; there is freedom in Christ; and in the name of our blessed Lord I proclaim liberty to you. I cry out to you, captives there is freedom in Christ! There is deliverance in Christ. There is liberty in Christ; He came to set you free. Look, sinner, look! Look to Him. Turn to God from your sins (I Thess.1:9). Turn to Him in your captivity. Turn to Him in your misery. Turn to Him now! He alone will save you. My friend, will you? May the blessings of our Lord rest upon you. May the great grace of Christ rest upon you, friend.