I Love Jesus…and Porn????

The title to this blog is not meant to be sensational. It was actually a topic that we covered in our men’s ministry earlier this year in February. We live in a sex-crazed society. It used to be that a person had to go searching for “soft” porn or XXX-rated material. Unfortunately, much of it is readily available today. And we knew that there were men in our church who were its consumers or knew of someone who was. Fully aware of this, we decided to tackle this issue head on. So what follows is a portion of the small group curriculum that I put together for our 1st Saturday gathering.

I Love Jesus…and Porn?

 Talk About It!

Introduction:

Whether you struggle with pornography or not, many, if not all, men will come in contact with some form of it. Here are just a few alarming statistics (Source: http://www.familysafemedia.com) that show the prevalence of pornography in our world just in the last few years:

  • 2006 Worldwide Pornography Revenues – $97.06 Billion
  • 2006 US Porn revenue$13.33 Billion (exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, & NBC$6.2 Billion)
  • Every second – $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography
  • Every second – 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography
  • Every 39 minutes: a new pornographic video is being created in the United States
  • Percentile of Pornography consumers (least to greatest) – 5. 25 to 30 yr olds (10%), 4. 18 to 24 yr olds (14%), 3. 50 and up (17%), 2. 18 and younger (23%), 1. 35 to 49 yr olds (36%)
  • 65% of all men sitting in churches are addicted to pornography

 Group Questions:

 Just so that we are clear on what we are talking about today, what comes to mind when you hear the word pornography?

Here are some other forms of pornography:

1. Video pornography: Internet (live online sessions), Television, DVD/VHS

2. Phone Sex: Adult Hotlines, Sexting (sending sexual images via text messages)

3. Gentlemen’s Clubs (i.e., Strip Clubs, Exotic Dance Clubs)

4. Magazines (Hustler, Playboy, etc.)

5. “Soft” pornography (Movies: Spartacus; Cities: Las Vegas, South Beach, etc.)

6. Prostitution

7. Escort Services (which is nothing but legal prostitution)

Is participating in pornography (whatever the form) really bad? In other words, does pornography really have any negative effects?

According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, prolonged exposure to pornography leads to:

  • An exaggerated perception of sexual activity in society
  • Diminished trust between intimate couples
  • The abandonment of the hope of sexual monogamy
  • Belief that promiscuity is the natural state
  • Belief that abstinence and sexual inactivity are unhealthy
  • Cynicism about love or the need for affection between sexual partners
  • Belief that marriage is sexually confining
  • Lack of attraction to family and child-raising

According to sociologist Jill Manning, the research indicates pornography consumption is associated with the following six trends, among others:

1. Increased marital distress, and risk of separation and divorce

2. Decreased marital intimacy and sexual satisfaction

3. Infidelity

4. Increased appetite for more graphic types of pornography and sexual activity associated with abusive, illegal or unsafe practices

5. Devaluation of monogamy, marriage and child rearing

6. An increasing number of people struggling with compulsive and addictive sexual behavior

Read About It!

So what does God’s Word say about pornography? Is it a sin? Yes, because at its root pornography is all about lust. And the Bible says that lust, which is implied in the terms sexual immorality and impurity (which are identified as works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-20), is a sin.

A. The Definition of Lust

 The Greek word for lust is epiqumia (noun form), meaning, “desire, craving, or longing.” In the Scriptures, epiqumia is used both in a positive and negative sense.

Positive:

– 1 Timothy 3:1 – “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.”

– Hebrews 6:11 – “And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end…”

– Luke 22:15 – “And he said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.’”

– Phil. 1:23 – “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”

– 1 Thessalonians 2:17 – “But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face,”

Negative: (Point out the fact that we can, in a sinful way, lust after, covet, or desire many things – note that lust/desire is in the plural in these passages: 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 John 2:16)

– We can covet/desire other people’s possessions. (Acts 20:33)

– We can desire to be lazy as it relates to work. (Proverbs 21:25).

– We can make up in our minds to want to be rich/wealthy, which can cause us to fall into many senseless and harmful desires. (1 Timothy 6:9)

– We can desire to have or lust after sex outside of God’s will. (1 Thess. 4:3-5 – This will be the focus of our time together today)

According to 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12-20), God desires that we abstain from sexual immorality (Greek: porneia, where we get the word pornography), that is, illicit sexual behavior (which includes pre-marital, extramarital, homosexual sex).

Not only are we to abstain from illicit sexual acts, but also from illicit sexual thoughts.  We see this in Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:27-28.

v  What does it mean to lust?

The verb form is epiqumeo, which means, “to keep the passion turned upon a thing, to set one’s heart upon.”

So when we consider Jesus’ words – those he spoke while on earth and those who he spoke through his Apostles as they were led by the Holy Spirit – concerning lust and sexual immorality (i.e., that we are not to commit acts or lustful thoughts of sexual immorality), there is a whole range of things that now come into view that we are to abstain from:

  • Pornography (soft and hard) – TV/Internet/Magazine/Restaurants (ex., Hooters, Bone Daddy’s, etc.)
  • Strip/Gentlemen’s Clubs
  • Phone Sex (Words that produce images in the mind)/”Sexting”
  • Sexual dancing

B. The Derivation of Lust

Lust comes from or is a product/work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19, cf. Ephesians 4:22 – “old man”).

C. The Deceitfulness concerning Lust (Eph. 4:22)

LIE #1 – Lusting is just a part of who we are as men.

Wrong! To the Christian, lusting is a part of your OLD man, your old way of living, your sinful man. We are NEW men in Jesus! (cf. Eph. 4:24)

LIE #2 – I can’t help but to lust.

Wrong! Turn to Romans 6:6-7, 12. We are no longer slaves to sin (lust). Lust doesn’t control us.  It is no longer our master. We are no longer helpless. We will come back to this point later.

LIE #3 – Looking (deliberately) won’t hurt.

Wrong! Ask King David if looking didn’t hurt him.  Ask Eve if looking didn’t hurt her.  The longer that we look the more likely we are to lust.

All of these lies come from the Father of Lies (John 8:44), the Deceiver (Rev. 12:9) himself, Satan. If lust is our opponent, then Satan is his coach/corner man. We need to be aware of the tactics, schemes, tricks, and lies that he employs against us.

Think About It!

In addition to this, we want to give you a small window to see inside the harsh, demeaning, and dark realities of the lives of the women (and men) who are in the pornography industries (whether they chose to be or were forced into it). Prayerfully, this too will help you to stay away from porn and pray for the women (and men) who are entrapped in this world.

One male pornographic performer said: “Every professional in the porn-world has herpes, male or female.”

Dr. Sharon Mitchell confirms the STD prevalence in an interview with Court TV, in which she states: “66% of porn performers have Herpes, 12-28% have sexually transmitted diseases, and 7% have HIV.”

Porn actress Erin admits, “the drugs we binged on were Ecstasy, Cocaine, Marijuana, Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and alcohol.”

Tanya, says, “Guys are punching you in the face. You get ripped. Your insides can come out of you. It’s never ending. You’re viewed as an object—not as a human with a spirit. People do drugs because they can’t deal with the way they’re being treated.”

In 2004, Dr. Mary Anne Layden reported before a Senate subcommittee: “Once [the pornography actresses] are in the industry they have high rates of substance abuse, typically alcohol and cocaine, depression, borderline personality disorder. . . . The experience I find most common among the performers is that they have to be drunk, high or dissociated in order to go to work. Their work environment is particularly toxic. . . . The terrible work life of the pornography performer is often followed by an equally terrible home life. They have an increased risk of sexually transmitted disease including HIV, domestic violence and have about a 25% chance of making a marriage that lasts as long as 3 years.

In 1997, Eric Schlosser reported, “The highest-paid performers, the actresses with exclusive contracts, earn between $80,000 and $100,000 a year for doing about 20 sex scenes and making a dozen or so personal appearances. Only a handful of actresses—perhaps 10 to 15—are signed to such contracts. Other leading stars are paid roughly $1,000 per scene. The vast majority of porn actresses are ‘B girls,’ who earn about $300 a scene. They typically try to do two scenes a day, four or five times a week. At the moment, there is an oversupply of women in Southern California hoping to enter the porn industry. Overtime is a thing of the past, and some newcomers will work for $150 a scene.

Be About It!

How do we fight against or overcome lust, which is the root of pornography?

A. Focus on the Gospel

We need to stay focused on the realities that the Gospel has brought to bear in our lives. Romans 6 tells us that because we believe in Jesus our old self has been crucified or put to death (vs. 3-6).  In Christ, we have been freed from the controlling power of sin, which includes lust (vs. 7, 17-18). Because Jesus died to sin, we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (vs. 9-11). We also see this truth in Galatians 5:24.

B. Follow the Holy Spirit

John 15:26, 16:13 and Galatians 5:16, 25

What this means is that we need to submit ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.  When the Holy Spirit tells (speaks to our hearts, puts something on our minds, internal leading) to stay away from something or someone, we need to listen and obey.

Galatians 5:16 and 25 tells us that we need to continuously keep in step with Holy Spirit.  To keep in step with the Spirit means to obey God’s Word.  It means to live holy lives.  It means, according to Colossians 3, that we need to put to death or rid ourselves of sinful behavior and begin to live or practice those things that are line with being God’s holy people, like being compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, etc. (vs. 5-14).

C. Confess Your Sin of Lust (1 John 1:9)

1 John 1:9 tells us that we need to confess our sins to God.  The wonderful thing about this is that God says that if we do that, then He will forgive and cleanse (or purify) us from all unrighteousness.

D. Avoid Sexually Stimulating Situations

According to Romans 13:14, we don’t need to make provisions for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

What are some ways to not make provisions for the flesh to gratify its desires/lusts as it relates to sexual immorality?

1. Block channels that show rated-R, XXX movies that come on at a certain time of night

2. Install Internet porn blocking web software on your computer

3. Don’t go to the strip club

4. Don’t dance with women in sexual ways

5. Stay away from the magazine racks in stores

6. Be careful who you accept as a friend on Facebook

7. Find a hobby that doesn’t involve watching Television shows (besides ESPN)

E. Understand You are in a Fight!

 We are fighting against the flesh (1 Pet. 2:11) and Satan (Eph. 6:10-12). So you have to wake up and be aware of this sin and its temptations. You need to keep your guard up at all times.

A Verse To Rehearse

 Galatians 5:24

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

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Posted on August 8, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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