Peace if possible. Truth at all costs. ~ Martin Luther

“Who Are The Insane?” by Oswald J. Smith [Dead Guy University]

After a lengthy break we return to Dead Guy University. Sundays I post a short classic piece from famous Christians signally used by God down through the history of the church. Today we’ll look to Oswald J. Smith (1889-1986).  

What follows is actually an extract from a longer, quite famous sermon Smith preached called “The Madhouse of the Universe”. It is a stunning read; an evangelistic sermon on the subject of hell. The imagery is vivid and compelling. If you enjoy the following insert, you can download the entire sermon from my download page.

Who Are the Insane?

by Oswald J. Smith

Now who are the insane? That is the important question; and I want to make four suggestions, if I may, so that you can decide whether or not you are insane:

First of all, the man is insane who prepares for the present and not for the future.

You remember the rich fool. He stored up his grain in his barns; he made abundant provision for the present; he felt satisfied that he had all that he needed for the rest of his life, and yet God pronounced him a fool; God called him a lunatic, and told him that that very night his soul would be required of him. Why was he insane? Not because he was wealthy, not because he had worked hard, not because he had saved; but because he had made no preparation for the future. The preparation he made was for the present. He gave no thought to his soul. His only thought was for his body. Hence God pronounced him a lunatic. That man was headed for the asylum – the Madhouse of the Universe.

Second, the man is insane who thinks he can sin and get away with it.

God has said, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” No man can sin and escape punishment. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” That is what God says. “The wages of sin is death.” This again is God’s pronouncement. Hence for a man to think that he can go on sinning and get away with it at last is insanity in itself. That man is a lunatic and is headed for the Madhouse of the Universe. Are you that man? I leave you to answer the question.

Third, the man is insane who rejects God’s plan and manufactures one of his own.

God has provided for man’s salvation. There is no other way of escape. God gave His Son to die on Calvary’s cross and to bear your sins in order that you might not have to bear them. If you reject God’s plan and manufacture one of your own, whether it be one of works or religion, or anything else, you are most assuredly insane. Why not accept the God-provided plan? Why try to invent one of your own?

Fourth, the man is insane who puts off his salvation until his death-bed.

I know the thief was saved on the cross just before he died but may I point out that the other thief was not? Therefore you are taking a terrible chance. I do not believe the thief ever had another chance. Probably the first time he met the Lord Jesus Christ was when he saw Him hanging by his side on the accursed tree. But you have heard the message again and again. Time after time God’s servants have pleaded with you to be reconciled to God and yet you have gone on in your rebellion and rejection, refusing God’s offer of mercy.

You have an idea that you can accept Jesus Christ on your death-bed. I would not take that chance for all the world. It has been my privilege to visit a great many of my parishioners who have passed on into the other life, and I want to bear testimony to the fact that in most cases they were far too weak at the end to even think about making a decision for the Lord Jesus Christ. Many who are dying are kept under drugs; their minds are confused; they cannot think aright. How, then, can they make such a momentous decision?

My friend, any moment you may be cut off. Little did the rich fool think that he would be called to an account that very night. On every side we are surrounded by accidents. In this mechanized world the newspaper is simply filled with reports of accidental deaths. Are you going to take a chance? You are insane if you do; and if you should be cut off without warning, remember- you will go to the Madhouse of the Universe.

These, then, are the men and the women who are insane; and if they are insane now, and if they die in their insanity, what can God do but assign them to His asylum, where all must go who are spiritually insane? It would be impossible for God to allow them to associate with those who are spiritually sane. They would have nothing in common with them. Hence he has to separate them, and the only plan He has is to send them to Gehenna, the place we call hell, where the devil and his angles are to be consigned, there to be eternally separated from those who have accepted Jesus Christ and are therefore sane in the sight of God.


Oswald J. Smith (November 8, 1889 – January 25, 1986) was a Canadian pastor, author, and missions advocate. He founded The People’s Church in Toronto, which grew to be a large congregation under his leadership, known for their missions giving. He also traveled throughout the world and used radio broadcasts to share the gospel message and stimulate missions awareness.

CLICK HERE to download the entire sermon “The Madhouse of the Universe”, of which the above is an extract.