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Pornography: Purity is Possible!
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
Pornography feels like a modern invention–like we discovered it in the ‘70s. Yet many years before Israel would flee to Egypt, prostitution and erotic art was already mainstream. In fact, as every visual art form has developed, there has always been a corresponding use of that media to portray, arouse and stimulate sex.
From all over the world, throughout history, art bears witness to our fascination with, and idolizing of, sex. You can find it in sculpture, in frescoes, in paintings, in wood cuts, in photographs, in books, in magazines, in movies and now on the internet. The erotic is prolific throughout the world. And whether you call it erotica, pornography, art, smut, or adult-themed, it all has the same goal–to stimulate your heart and thoughts toward sexual arousal.
But only in the last couple decades has it changed in scale, access and cost. At no point in the history of the world has so much erotica been produced as now. At no point in the history of the world has so much erotica been made publicly accessible. At no point in the history of the world has so much been distributed for so little monetary cost.
If you own a computer, a tablet, a smart phone or even visit an internet café, you can get more porn than you’ll ever have time to look at. And that’s just the free stuff. And all that free pornography is intended to be a gateway drug towards paid porn. The worldwide pornography industry makes more money than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo and Netflix put together. As the executive director of a biblical counseling group said, “The internet is the crack cocaine of pornography.”
This is a problem worldwide, for every country and for every culture. And it’s not that different within churches. According to a recent study by Covenant Eyes, a Christian internet filtering company, roughly half of all professing Christian men and one-fifth of all professing Christian women would call themselves, “porn addicts.” That’s not that they have viewed some–they would call themselves ADDICTED!
Other reports indicate the problem could be even more extensive. Whatever the exact numbers, porn is an issue today unlike any other. It is so prevalent, that by the time your boys are seniors, we have just begun to assume that they are looking at pornography and masturbating. And for a long time, pornography and masturbation have each been viewed as a man’s sins. But that is no longer the case.
Stories within the Church, and research in the world indicates that pornography is growing in popularity among women, with about one-third of women regularly consuming it. Even more women struggle with masturbation, not requiring pornography, but pursue self-focused fantasy, arousal and satisfaction. Yet women have an even more difficult time admitting it, because it feels even more shameful. A woman feels abnormal and odd, because she is only hearing us talk to men. She begins to think, “There must be something wrong with me, because he’s only talking to men.”
Yet the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has brought the issue to the forefront. It’s the fastest selling paperback of all time, beating Harry Potter, with seventy million copies sold in 37 countries, and a primary audience of women. In fact, the most frequent eBook purchases by women are for erotic fiction. In a Wall Street Journal interview with a Los Angeles mom of three, she acknowledged she had bought a kindle so she could read Fifty Shades. “I was very happy having no one know what I was reading. You blush when you read it.”
There are more people compulsively looking at pornography than ever before. Viewing of porn begins at younger ages than ever before. Viewing of porn occurs with greater frequency than ever before. Google has become sex-education for a generation. Google image search is like Playboy, Hustler and every other magazine in one. If you think your child or your husband has never viewed porn, they are not likely the exception–they are not.
The assumption of our culture is that pornography is harmless. Its consumption and personal masturbation are merely a selfish pleasure, even beneficial to our sexual health. Much like the ancient Greek world, the sex-ification of everything is accepted. And so today, I want to continue our series on Deadly Pressures by digging into what God’s Word says about pornography.
I know that this is a real issue in many homes. This is real to you personally. I know that many of you may feel condemned and hopeless, even by the mention of it. You already feel guilty, and now you expect to get beat up a bit more. I think that you’re going to be surprised by what God’s Word has to say today.
Christian, have you lost hope for change? For many professing Christians who view pornography, that time is usually followed by a tearful resolve to “never do it again.” It’s said in prayer. It’s said out loud. It may even be said to others. Often this resolve is not so much about a convicted conscience, but a satisfied but guilty appetite.
Without genuine repentance, they become like Esau who sold his birthright for stew and then wept over it. And so the cycle of temptation continues. Easy access, biological impulse and the powers of darkness make it seem irresistible and unchangeable. Fake repentance only keeps sin in hiding, with dirty things done in the dark. And genuine Christians, feeling like a bird in a net, are caught, ensnared and hopeless.
Christian, have you lost hope for change? God can change you. I see this in 1 Thessalonians 4–turn there. Paul is writing to a new church–a young church. He loves them. He sees great growth there, and yet they’re not a perfect church. They’re a year old, and they have some growing to do.
“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2).
Now you’re going to see in verse 3 that he’s talking about sex and their own practices, and I what I want you to notice is that they are not perfect at the start. Oftentimes we imagine that good Christians are perfect, and don’t have to fight through such things. What Paul says here is that the Thessalonians were growing and maturing Christians. They weren’t perfect, but they were trying to obey. God was changing them progressively. And Paul calls them to excel still more. What this means for the Christian struggling with porn:
a) You Can Mature Verses 1 to 2
Where you are in your Christian walk is not where you must stay. You will mature. You must mature. We’re called to excel still more. To a young, vibrant, healthy church whose witness is spreading all over the world, Paul says, “Surpass yourself. Go big. Grow even greater. Excel still more.” Just as you are walking and pleasing God, do that more and more.
For those who feel addicted to porn, whether visual or literary–grow more! Your relationship with Jesus is bigger than your struggle with porn. You should be maturing and growing in your love, affection and likeness to Christ.
If the only time you pray fervently–if the only time you’re interested in walking with Jesus is when you want His help to get over the guilt you have from porn, then you don’t understand the relationship that Jesus wants to have with you. When you come to Jesus just for the stuff he gives you, or the things He can do for you, you’re missing the point of coming to Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t exist for our sake, though He graciously serves us in our sin. We exist for Him, because of Him, to worship and serve Him. Wherever you are in your Christian walk and maturity, you are called to push forward–not to be stagnant. You can mature. No matter how stuck you feel, you can change.
And this is Paul’s first counsel towards those tempted by porn–you need to be the kind of person who fights for a close relationship with Jesus more than you fight against pornography. Work harder at looking to Christ, more than you find yourself working to avoid porn. God wants you to mature in all areas of your life, not just this one. if you recklessly pursue Christ in other areas, this one will also experience growth. You cannot look at Jesus and look at porn at the same time. And Paul reminds us that:
b) God Wants You to Grow Verses 1 to 3
It is the will of God for you to change–and change will please Him. “[We taught you] how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification.”
It is the will of God for you to become sanctified–to be more and more conformed to Jesus. When you walk in the way that the Bible teaches, it pleases God. Change in your life will please Him. He wants you to change, and He’s pleased when you grow. So right up front, Paul tells you that you can change, and that God wants you to change.
You see, pornography often results in despair and lack of hope. It most often results in a kind of sham repentance. Immediately after your interaction with pornography is over, you usually, especially at first, feel a kind of revulsion and self-loathing. An adulterer or somebody having premarital sex can at least rationalize that he is “in love”–but they can’t rationalize or explain it away. Nobody writes romance songs about this isolated compulsion to view and masturbate.
Even unbelievers who find pornography pleasant and necessary seem to recognize that it is kind of pitiful and second-rate–they want change. God wants you to change. He wants you to grow. He wants you to experience His plan for sex, not what the world offers.
c) God Wants You to be Sanctified in Your Sexuality Verse 3
When the first Church council met in Jerusalem in Acts 15, they debated whether Gentile Christians should need to follow Jewish Law. Their decision was no–only two things are required. Abstain from idolatry and abstain from sexual immorality. Here, to a young church, Paul says something similar.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” (verse 3)–that’s actually the first of four descriptions of what it means to be sanctified sexually. The will of God is not that you abstain from sex. The will of God is that you be sanctified/holy in your enjoyment of sex.
Many people feel that the God of the Bible is somehow disapproving towards sex. It’s as though it’s something that we discovered behind God’s back and without his approval. Genesis tells a very different story though. The creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 shows us two purposes of sex that fit hand in glove.
Genesis 1–sex is for reproduction, to multiply and fill the earth
Genesis 2–to express and deepen unity, that two would become one
God made sex. It was a part of creation that was declared “very good.” In marriage, God designed for two people to be joined together into one, through vow and sexual consummation of that vow. Physically, emotionally and spiritually they become knitted together. This is God’s good design for sex–it unites and unifies. It’s the most intimate relationship you can have on earth. It’s why they called it “knowing” someone in the Old Testament.
It’s that binding effect of sex that makes the breakdown of a relationship/marriage so painful. It’s not what we were designed for. God wants you to be sanctified in your sexuality–it can be holy and good. And Ephesians 5 says that marriage is meant to reflect something of God’s nature. It is about the relationship that Jesus has to the Church. Human marriage is a reflection of the supreme, heavenly marriage of Christ and His people. God designed sex to convey some of the joy and rapture that will occur between Christ and the Church. It’s a prelude and a picture of pleasures to come.
Pornography destroys this. At the root of viewing pornography is an arrogant heart/a selfish heart. You are saying, “I will have whatever I want. And if I want pictures of naked women, I am going to have it. If I want to fantasize about what sex with someone else is like, nobody will get hurt. I don’t care if God doesn’t want it, and I don’t care if my wife doesn’t like it, and I don’t care if I might lose my job or ministry over it–I am going to look at it.” And in the moment of temptation, in the moment of the sin when you dive in–that’s the statement of your heart.
You see, the problem is not who you’re married to. The problem is not how attractive or unattractive they are to you. The problem is not that you are too lonely. The problem with pornography is that you are arrogant and you need the Gospel of Jesus Christ to shatter your pride and cultivate humility in your heart. God wants your sex to be sanctified. And if the Spirit of God is in you–this is your desire too.
You may feel trapped. You may feel lost and hopeless. It may be years, even decades–but if you’re in Christ, God wants you to grow. He wants you to change. And Paul explicitly states four ways that God wants you to be sexually holy.
a) Abstain from Sexual Immorality–Embrace Biblical Sexual Morality Verse 3
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” (verse 3)–when Paul writes, “abstain from sexual immorality,” he does not mean that you should abstain from all sex, but that there is a certain kind of sex that is moral and pleasing to God. He wants you to embrace a biblical sexual morality, where a husband and wife find sexual pleasure, satisfaction and satiation together with one another.
What is sexually immoral is any sexual arousal, pleasure or satisfaction that comes from someone who is not your spouse (and that includes you)! In other words, God wants your sex life to reflect His design. Have you made a false peace with yourself, where you have said, “I won’t do the things the world does or be as sensual as them, but I will gladly watch them do it for me?”
If there was a couple engaged in sexual activity on a couch in front of you, would you pull up a seat to watch? No, that would be perverse, voyeuristic. So why is it different when people recorded it first, and then you watch? What if a good-looking guy or girl, barely dressed, came up to you on the beach, and said, “Why don’t you sit on your towel right here and stare at me for awhile?” Would you do it? No, that would be creepy. Why is it acceptable, then, when the same images are on your computer screen, or in a catalog or an ad? Have you made a false peace with the world, where you don’t do those things, but you’re happy to watch them? Pornography squarely falls into the category of sexual immorality.
First Corinthians 6:18 to 20 says, “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
Your enjoyment of pornography is a sin against God, a sin against your spouse, and even a sin against your own body. Your participation in, and consumption of, porn is contrary to the will of God, and makes you look just like the world, rather than a child of God. So Paul pleads with you to embrace God’s plan for sex and to abstain from immorality.
b) Live with Self-control Verse 4
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor” (Verses 3 and 4). The ESV is even better—“that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” If you want to be holy/sanctified, learn how to have self-control.
This is required with food, with your speech, with your time and with your own body sexually. The will of God is that you know how to control your sexual desires. Paul says that God wants your body to be sanctified and holy, that you should use it for honorable things. If you find that you are not able to stop looking at and reading porn, I would ask you to examine the other areas of your life for self-control. Most often, the person who is enslaved to porn also lacks self-control in other areas of life.
If you want to see change in your life, start praying for and seeking to grow in self-control. Start watching your food intake. Start getting exercise. Start watching your money. As you pursue sanctification in other areas, you will find it easier to fight porn too. You may feel alone right now and unable to fight, but God can make you stand. He can keep you from sin. If you’re single, God gave you these passions now to teach you about self-control.
First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” God will enable you to live with self-control—it’s not hopeless or beyond you. God is faithful. God wants your sex to be sanctified–so pursue self-control.
c) Live Differently than Unbelievers Verse 5
All around us, sex is in the air. It’s talked about at work. It’s talked about at school. It’s on our television shows. It’s discussed on the radio. It’s in our music and our movies. It’s on billboards, and it’s next to you at the grocery store. Sexual content has become a bit like water–we are so surrounded by it that we cease to think about it.
The whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And my question to you is–do your sexual habits look the same as the world’s? If Jesus were to return in that most intimate of moments, would you look/sound/act any different than the rest of the world? Paul says that God’s will for us is to live, “not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (verse 5).
Our passions, even our marital passions, should look different than the world’s. Casual sex and pornography is made to look fun and harmless on TV and in movies. But the consequences in real life are emptiness, brokenness and devastation. You see, sexuality is like a post-it note–the more you stick it to different things, the less it’s able to adhere. Over time, sex becomes less relational, more functional and less satisfying as a result.
Pornography ruins the gift of sex that God gives you in marriage–it destroys it. It reduces its goals down to function and self-pleasure. We are to live different than the world around us. If someone were to visit the NSA’s data collection, your web history should look a lot different than your neighbors and classmates. God wants your whole life to be sanctified and lived for Him.
No one on earth may know, but God is watching. You may feel like your actions haven’t hurt anyone, but you are blind and deceived. Paul says that sexual immorality is a sin against others.
d) Realize Your Sin Against Others Verse 6
“And that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter” (verse 6). In a case of adultery or premarital sex, it is easy to find the offended parties. When we talk about pornography and masturbation, the world around us says that no harm is done. Because it happened in private, no one knows. Because you’ve never been found out, no one is hurt. But you are sinning against others, and you are defrauding others.
Pornography invites you to think only about yourself and the selfish pleasures its actors can offer. When you look at porn, you’re not thinking about the damage you’re doing to the actors you’re watching. You’re not thinking about them as persons who’re made in the image and likeness of God. You’re not considering that some of them may have been forced into sex trafficking. You’re not thinking about their parents who surely didn’t dream of this for their children. You’re not thinking about how you could show love for them and pray for them.
When you look at pornography, you’re not thinking about the damage you’re doing to your spouse. You’re not thinking about your children or other family members. When you’re single, you’re not thinking about the imagery and wrong expectations you’re bringing into your marriage bed. You’re not thinking about the pain you could inflict on those who love you in your church. You’re not thinking about what will happen when porn no longer satisfies you. You’re not thinking about grieving the Holy Spirit. You’re not even remembering that God is there with you, in that room. You’re only thinking about yourself. You’re only thinking about yourself.
Pornography is a wholly selfish act–it’s all about you. Your sexual desires eclipse the concerns, needs, and well-being of everyone around you. You’re creating unrealistic expectations for your marriage. You’re fueling ungodly fantasies about others in your mind.
In sexual immorality, you are always sinning against and defrauding others. The lie of pornography is that it’s anonymous. The lie of pornography is that it’s harmless. It’s similar to how Proverbs describes a young man being led towards a whore.
Proverbs 7:21 to 23, “With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him. 22 Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, 23 until an arrow pierces through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it will cost him his life.”
God has called Christians to purity–not sexlessness, but pure and undefiled sex. Whether you’re single or married, whether you’re a guy or a girl, God wants you to be sanctified in your sexuality. And you may have felt bad about it, you may have tried to swear it off before.
Biblical Motivation for Change
Paul concludes with a few motivations for you to seek change in this area. I want to plead with you to consider these things before you return to porn. These are some biblical motivations that Paul gives us to encourage change.
a) God is the avenger of wrong Verses 6 and 7
“And that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.”
If you are sinning against others, if you are living like the world around you, if you are unable to control yourself, if you are continually engaging in sexual immorality–Paul warns you that the Creator of the Universe is the avenger in all these things.
He genuinely cares and desires for you to change. He stands by, ready to help you. And if you reject His urging, if you silence Him, He will avenge the wrong done. Did Christ pay the penalty of your sins? If you are in Christ, yes he did. But Galatians 6 also says that you shall reap what you sow—verses 7 and 8, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
So rather than experience discipline or punishment from God, let me plead with you–confess and repent. Not just to God, but confess and repent to others. Maybe this afternoon, you need to have a long, hard conversation with your spouse. Maybe you need to talk to your roommate about your struggles. We intentionally do not have counselors in a room ready for you to talk privately. You need to confess today to people who know you.
Here’s what I know. If you continue to stay silent about it, the chances for you are slim. If your greatest fear is the response of another person, then you do not understand the depths of your sin before God. Fear God, not men. Confess to God and to those you’ve sinned against. The promise of Scripture is clear–Proverbs 28:13, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”
If you want to forsake porn and masturbation, the first step is to confess it. Confess, don’t conceal. If you are in Christ, you do not have to wait until Jesus returns to become free from porn. God can give you victory now. And this afternoon, if you’ve been sinned against and you’re hearing it for the first or fiftieth time–to those who are going to hear a confession today, I want you to remember Hebrews 4:14 to 16. It says that mercy and grace are available in your time of need.
Jesus sympathizes with you in your weakness, your temptations and your anger. Even more than you, He knows what it means to be sinned against. He will show you how to respond without sinning. You will know His care as you draw near to Him. Approach the throne of grace and tell Him all that you’re feeling. Ask for His help, and trust that He’ll give it to you.
You need to know that your spouse’s problem has nothing to do with your appearance—it’s their sin, not yours. Lust wants what it does not have. God commands them to desire and be satisfied by you. So get counsel, get control of your emotions, fight to forgive, confess your own sins, be a loving spouse to them, help them get accountability elsewhere so that it is not corrosive to your marriage. Confess your sin. Do not put God in the role of avenger. I say this because . . .
b) Your Actions are a Rejection of God, Suppressing His Spirit Verse 8
“So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” Porn is an arrogant rejection of God. Men look at porn out of an arrogant desire to see women in a way that God does not allow. Women read porn to seek pleasure, escape and satisfaction in something other than their own marriage. People masturbate in a graphic rejection of God’s plan for their sexuality.
You arrogantly defy and disobey the God who watches over you at all times. You reject the delight of sexual intimacy in marriage, and decide for yourself that there is something better–looking at naked men and women who are not yours. You show an arrogant disregard for God’s call to selfless marital love. You show an arrogant derision for the actors who need to hear the good news of Jesus. You show arrogant disdain for your own children by hiding your sin and inviting the enemy into your home and your marriage. You show arrogant disrespect toward all those who would be scandalized if your sin were known.
Your actions are not rooted in any need you have. You are arrogantly rejecting God, suppressing any work of His Spirit in your life. It is your proud arrogance that leads Paul to say that rejecting the truth about porn and sexual immorality is the same as rejecting God. To the Ephesians, Paul says something similar.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; … 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:1 to 5)
Consuming sex outside of marriage tells lies about Christ, it tells lies about the Church, and makes a complete mockery of the Gospel. When you look at pornography, you are mocking the Gospel. You are watching the violation of the Gospel, you are enjoying the violation of the Gospel, you are being aroused by the Gospel being violated.
God says, “I have given you this great picture of Christ and the Church,” and you watch that portrait be defaced and violated and mocked, and you enjoy it all the while. God says, “The purity of the sexual relationship points you to the purity of the love the Savior has for you.” And you say, “Right now I need a different kind of salvation from a different savior–a more satisfying kind, and one Christ did not supply at the cross. I need salvation only this god can provide.”
Confess your sin. Don’t reject God. Don’t suppress His Spirit’s work in your life. God wants you to know that there is forgiveness available if you confess and repent. The same Gospel that you have mocked offers you forgiveness, even for this sin.
c) Have you considered amputation? Matthew 5:27 to 30
You see, pornography desecrates the one thing in all of creation that God values above all. Pornography mocks Christ’s faithful, compassionate love for His bridge. And so I know that God wants you to consider His warning—it’s in 1 John 3. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning, (and viewing porn, and masturbating). No one who keeps on habitually sinning has either seen him or known him.
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him. You will not keep on habitually sinning if you have been born of God. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning–no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him (1 John 3:6,8-10).
God’s Word is amazingly clear on this. So if you are viewing porn and failing to see change, here is what I want to ask you–do you love pornography enough to go to Hell for it? Matthew 5:27 to 30 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.”
Jesus says that it’s better to amputate part of your body than to go into Hell. This is written in an era without anesthesia. Strong drink and a rag to bite is all you had. Jesus says that plucking out an eye or cutting of a hand now is better than all of you eventually being cast into Hell. How much do you love pornography? What does it have to cost you before you’ll stop?
Some of you may need filters and reporting software installed. Others of you may need to give up your car and take a van pool to work. It may be necessary for you to give up your computers, phones and the internet all together. And you’re thinking, “John, that’s crazy talk! It’s like you’re telling me to stop eating or breathing–I can’t do that, I need those things.”
Is it easier to cut off your own hand or to cut through a cable? Do you think that Jesus was not serious in his warning? Do you really think that holiness comes without any radical measures–just by moderate living?! You may consider it impossible to exist without our computers, tablet devices, smartphones, or TVs. It’s not impossible—it’s only inconvenient. The honest truth is that you don’t need any electronic device, but you do need to be holy. The inconvenience will be worth the gain in holiness. So confess, amputate, and last . . .
d) Depend on God, Who Can Change You 1 Corinthians 6
We talked about this already, but I want to make sure you get it. Radical measures by you are required! But without God working in your heart, they are all for nothing. People hooked on porn fail to change, even when they want to, because they believe lies. They believe that nothing besides porn will ever make them happy. They believe that God is blind to, or accepting of, what they’re doing. They believe that they are stuck and beyond help, thinking that change is not possible.
They might know their problem is wrong, and even believe that God has something better. But they also believe that there is more pleasure and joy in looking than in not looking. The battle to be free is a battle to find a deeper joy (Psalm 16:11). Learn to depend on, and delight in, God above all else. He can change you. Trust and pursue Him, more than your heart even wants to. Believe in the promises of His Word for you. For once, take seriously His commands. God can change you! If he can change the Corinthians, he can change anyone!
First Corinthians 6:9 to 11 says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
Change is possible! There are men and women all around you who are each guilty of something that Paul just called unrighteous. Yet by God’s grace, they have found freedom from those sins. Depend on God. Pray to Him, thank Him for His grace in your life, and beg Him to change you. Not for your well-being, but for His glory! And then obey what He commands. Do what He asks you to do. Confess, amputate and prayerfully depend on God.
Now, as we near the end, let me talk to parents for just a second. If you think that your junior high or high school child has never viewed porn, please know that the odds are very high that you are wrong. They are not likely the exception. Please talk to them–not aggressively, but with grace. Ask what they know. Ask what they’ve done. Shower them with grace and love. Don’t judge. Don’t condemn. Love them. Help them. Communicate care and concern. You can’t control their heart, so pray hard. Then pray harder! Come alongside them, and pray for God who is in ultimate control.
If you want to know about filters, blocks and reporting tools, I’m planning to put some of that info on the blog this afternoon.