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How pornography affect the church
PORNOGRAPHY (The Secret Sin)
Pornography is one of the most pernicious and vile evils to enter the hearts and minds of mankind. It is not new; in fact it is one of Satan’s most effective tools in bringing both men and women down since the beginning of history.
Though most men and women will not acknowledge this, pornography is very addicting and once the ‘habit’ of viewing it regularly has begun; it is VERY difficult to stop without the power of a repentant heart and the Holy Spirit.
It is a two sided evil that affects both men and women, both perpetrator and victim. It is by far a more serious problem with men, but women are by no means exempt from this demon’s talons.
God meant from the beginning that one man and one woman should come together in marriage, and the act of sexual intimacy should be exercised only within that context. But, as Satan so often does, the ‘counterfeit’ to God’s gift to man – sexual intimacy – was brought to bear in the form of pornography.
In earliest recorded history, we see pornography in the form of sexual gods and goddesses. Often these were merely ‘images’ of pornographic scenes etched in stone, marble, gold or other such materials.
Men and women ‘worshiped’ the gods and goddesses of sex both visually and physically. Priests and priestesses of these false gods were most often merely prostitutes in disguise.
Some of the more well know sexual gods were Inuus, Diana, Eros, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus, Baal, Moleck and list goes on. Every culture has their sex gods and goddesses. King Solomon clearly stated in Ecclesiastes 3 that, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
The purpose of this message is not to recount the history of this evil, but to try to deal with the ‘here and now’ of how this sin affects men and women - both in and outside the Church of Jesus Christ.
As I mentioned earlier, the problem with pornography is primarily a problem for men. I will try to deal with the woman’s issue later in this message.
Forty years ago, men had to sneak around movie reels with pornography on them – they were called ‘smokers’ or ‘stag films’ back then. Then there were the XXX shops, with small ‘booths’ that took quarters for a 3 minute ‘clip’ of a porn movie. Men would leave their workplace at the lunch hour and visit their local Sex shop for a few dollars’ worth of ‘pleasure’ – then innocently go back to work. No one the wiser, right?
Next there came the video market, with easy to purchase and use video cameras and projectors. Video stores began to carry pornographic videos, so it became easier for men to walk in and rent a few porn movies, take them home and wait until late at night (usually after everyone – especially the wife) went to bed and then watch them.
Then pornography hit the jackpot – the Internet. Once the Internet became a ‘commodity’ among households, the purveyors of pornography no longer had to go looking for an audience – the audience came looking for them!!
As the Internet grew, so did the pornography industry, until today, it is the single, largest money generating computer based industry in the world.
The pornography industry is one of the largest money-making businesses the world has ever known. I don’t have the figures, but more money is spent on pornography than on food, clothing and shelter for all persons in the United States combined. That is simply mind-boggling!
According to “Internet Pornography Statistics” - The statistics are truly staggering. According to compiled numbers from respected news and research organizations, every second $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography. Every second 28,258 internet users are viewing pornography. In that same second 372 internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines. Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the U.S. It’s big business. The pornography industry has larger revenues than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple and Netflix combined. 2006 Worldwide Pornography Revenues ballooned to $97 billion. What would it be in 2011?? How much good could be done for the Kingdom of God with even a fraction of that wasted money?
This means several things. First of all, many Christian men are spending God given money and precious family time on a toxic evil. Rather than help feed a hungry child or purchase a Bible for a Bible-starved country, or being responsible and paying bills and putting food on their own tables men will spend money to satisfy their most evil kinds of lust – the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. 1 John 1:16
Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt 6:22-23). Meaning – once you have polluted your eyes – you are in deep, deep trouble.
Jesus also said, “And if your eye causes you to sin, gouges it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, ‘where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.’ (NLT Mark 9:47-48).
Most men don’t realize just how evil pornography is. They think it is just a problem between them and God (Mano y mano). They think, “I know it isn’t right, but I’m really not ‘hurting’ anyone, so as long as no one finds out, it’s really not that bad.” How utterly deceived men are who feel this way. And I will venture a guess that every Christian man who views pornography feels dirty and sinful after they have done so – and will ask God for forgiveness. They will not ‘repent’ (turn from the evil, not to return), but they will ask for forgiveness.
Some Christian surveys, among them Christianity Today, estimate that nearly fifty percent of Christian men have a problem with pornography. What is even more mind-boggling is the estimate climbs to fifty-five percent among Evangelical pastors.
I had a serious problem with pornography myself. It began when I was eight years old and I found some 8mm ‘smoker’ films under my father’s bed. I didn’t know what they were – I thought they were family films. So, I hooked up the projector and watched them. Even at that young age, I was mortified. I didn’t know what to think – about my dad, about my mom – about sex! Nobody had even explained the ‘birds and the bees’ to me yet!
This horrible find began an addiction in me that would last through much of my adult life. Try as I might, I simply could not keep away from watching pornography for any real length of time.
I would make promises to the Lord, and do my best to ‘stay away’ from that fire, but I never really won the battle. I’m not sure why – probably because within my heart, I actually liked seeing those images.
Much has happened to me since those earlier years of my life. Today, I am virtually blind, and I can say with all honesty that I would rather stay blind for the rest of my life then to have that plague come back into my life. In a real sense, my eyes have been ‘gouged out’ and I would rather get to heaven blind than to have my eyesight back and fall into this hideous sin-life again.
Now, I do pray that I will get my eyesight back, and I believe that I have been totally delivered from the scourge of pornography. I hate it – and everything that it does to me, my poor wife and all the people in the world who are affected by it.
There is a peculiar problem in the area of pornography with teenage boys and girls and single young and older adults. The apostle Paul wrote (in his singleness) “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.” (NKJV - 1 Cor. 7:1-2) Single people have a few alternatives to giving themselves over to pornography. First, and best, is to stay very close to the Lord, keeping an abiding relationship with Him and relying on the Power of the Holy Spirit to remain pure. Otherwise, they can burn with passion and try to fight this in their own strength. Few are successful here. Second, a single person can seek to marry so as not to deal with the problem of lust alone – as the apostle Paul recommended. Finally, what remains is much less desirable, but often the path taken by Christians today - a teen or single adult can give in to the lure and lust of the flesh and view pornography. Once this starts, it is very difficult to turn away from without sincere repentance and the help of God.
Many men who view pornography are married. Married to a woman to whom they made a vow – a covenant promise - to “Love and cherish”, among other things, until death do they part. The Bible says the “marriage bed is undefiled.” This means God looks on the act of making love within the context of marriage as a good thing. God invented sex, yes for procreation, but also as our deepest expression of the ‘Oneness’ between a husband and a wife.
Every time a man views pornography, he imbeds an image of fairy-tail sex into his brain. Then, he brings these images into his marriage bed with his wife – and the marriage bed becomes defiled. Men will often ‘think’ about what they saw on the pornographic films while ‘making love’ to his wife. Worse still, men will expect their wives to behave like these paid whores. Men will become so self-deceived that they think that ‘real women’ like sex this way. Nothing can be further from the truth. Subconsciously, men will often ‘expect’ their wives to behave in bed like the ‘porn stars’ and to do things that may be abhorrent to the wife. This is a gross evil on the part of the man.
Real women love intimacy and tenderness and love making that is passionate and pure of heart. A wife wants to know that her husband has eyes only for her and is satisfied with her love. All of this is polluted when pornography is introduced into a marriage.
Job said to his accusers, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman? For what are the allotment of God from above, and the inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is it not destruction for the wicked, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? Does He not see my ways,” (NKJV Job 31:1-4)
Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, wrote, “Drink water from your own well—share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers. Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman? For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.” (NLT Prov. 5:15-23)
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (NKJV Matt 5:27-28)
Jesus is saying that the very act of looking upon a woman and thinking about having sex with her is tantamount to committing the act of adultery. We may think we are not actually ‘doing’ anything wrong by simply viewing pornography, but that is not the way that Jesus looks at it. I prefer His interpretation rather than my own (or someone else’s) lame reasoning.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” God says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (NKJV 1 Cor. 6:13-20)
Most men think that the women they are watching on the screen either one, enjoy what they are doing or two, are getting paid very well for their ‘services.’ While this may be true for a tiny fraction of the women seen in pornographic films, the vast majority of these women are actually slaves being forced to perform these lewd acts so that the men who control them can make all the money. In many countries of the world, including Russia (particularly), China, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Mexico, Brazil to name a few, young girls, (not even ‘women’ yet) are literally kidnapped and forced many times at gun-point to ‘star’ in pornographic videos. Others are drugged and become addicted, thus using their ‘services’ in exchange for their next ‘fix’ of drugs. For some women, their families are threatened with death or torture if the young girls do not comply. Many of these girls are only 11-14 years old – but made up to look older. There is a giant ‘slave trade’ that finances much of this business. Many of these young girls end up being killed by their slave-masters after their usefulness has expired. Men, think of your daughter or your wife being caught up in this web of iniquity. Understanding that Christian men are some of the pornography world’s best customers!
Men think they can keep this sin a secret, but God says, “And be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)
When a wife or a girlfriend or fiancé finds out that ‘her’ man has looked at pornography longingly, she is demeaned, broken, violated and literally ‘stabbed in the heart’ by the man she loves. She feels worthless, ugly, insufficient, used and abused, cheated on and abandoned. No woman can compete with the highly-paid, or labor-forced, drop-dead gorgeous women who ‘star in pornography films. Thus, the woman in the man’s life feels empty and, hurt and eventually – very angry.
“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body* and live in holiness and honor — not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.” (NLT - 1 Thes 4:3-5)
Now we come to the woman’s side of this sinful world. There are a ‘few’ women who actually think that being a ‘porn star’ is a glamorous occupation. There are VERY few of these types of women. Many more go to New York or Hollywood with the dream of being an actress and find the ‘starting price’ is working as a porn star ‘for a while.’ The problem is – the ‘while’ never ends, and before they know it, they have been caught up in the web of lies, drugs and wickedness. I don’t really want to address these women here. Theirs is a unique problem.
Rather, I would like to address the Christian women who watch pornography in an effort to ‘appease’ their husbands or boyfriends. There are not many of these types of ‘Christian’ ladies – and the ones who do such things are guilty of the same things as men as described above.
A much more subtle problem can exist among Christian women that can exacerbate men giving them their ‘needed excuse’ to view pornography.
Women can use their bodies as a tool to get what they want – or to ‘punish’ their husband for any number of reasons. If a Christian woman feels she is being ‘neglected’ emotionally, she often shuts down sexually with her husband, feeling that since he is not meeting my needs, neither will I meet his. This can go on for long periods of time.
A husband who is deprived of sexual intimacy will often look for an outlet for his passions – and that will most often come in the form of viewing pornography.
A woman may also lose interest in sexual intimacy, and therefore not want to engage in it with her husband, no matter what he may be feeling. Again – being ‘deprived’, the husband will look for another outlet for his passions.
Women can also lose interest in taking care of themselves physically. The ‘beautiful’ wife that so-and-so married now looks like a harried old maid when her husband comes home from work. She makes no effort to look pleasing or appealing to her husband – as she once tried very hard to do. This is a ‘cold shower’ to a man coming home from a long day at work.
There is much that a woman can do to make herself physically and sexually appealing to her husband. But this takes WORK. And usually there is little desire to do this – especially if a wife is feeling neglected by her husband. But that does not give her an excuse to ‘deny’ intimacy or make it difficult. Husbands hate to beg their wives for sexual intimacy. Often, husbands ‘try’ to send out signals of their need, and may attempt to put together what they consider a romantic evening which may not be at all what the wife is in need of at that particular time.
Nevertheless, she should consider her husband’s physical needs ahead of her own needs – for the moment. She should later express her own needs to her husband and pray that God will cause him to reciprocate in meeting the emotional needs of his wife.
Paul wrote (in his singleness) “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (NKJV - 1 Cor. 7:1-5)
Men can have the ‘urge’ for sexual intimacy at the most unusual times – sometimes these are very inconvenient times for the wife. However, a woman should learn to expect this, and “in her heart” be ready “in season and out of season.” She should be willing to submit herself to her husband even if it is an inconvenient time. Sometimes this may be impossible or impractical so she should let him know that and make plans for intimacy later – but not too much later. Another ‘cold bath’ for a husband is when he has this ‘expectation’ of the reward (at the ‘right time), and then the wife changes her mind – or ‘gets a headache’. There were many times when my wife submitted to me sexually when she really did have a headache – that is truly laying your life down for another. She wanted to satisfy my desires even though she did not feel well. I should have been more considerate of her – and sometimes I was, but not always. Men are basically selfish creatures when it comes to sexual intimacy. A loving wife can even ‘anticipate’ these ‘odd times’ and ‘surprise him by doing something totally out of her normal character. One time my wife did this for me. It was on Valentine’s Day and what a surprise it was. I won’t go into details but let’s just say, she desired to keep the excitement in our marriage and she succeeded. I will never forget that day.
Women, get to know your husband and learn how to be creative with him without the use of pornography. God has given you the tools you need to satisfy your husband if you would learn to put him first in your life.
There are many things that a wife can do to satisfy her man. The most important of all these things is to pray, pray, pray and communicate regularly how you are (both) feeling. Regular, open and frank communications is one of the best remedies for a troubled marriage – and it is also one of the best ‘vitamins’ for a healthy marriage to stay that way.
A husband who has a real problem with pornography cannot deal with it alone. Though the wife’s natural (and justified) tendency is to be angry and draw further away from her husband, if she wants her marriage to last, she must try to help him. Working together, with the Lord, (and sometimes with a Christian counselor), this enormous problem can be overcome. At this point some of you may be ‘elbowing each other, thinking, if your spouse changes you would change as well. The blame-game begins - “If you have no concern for my needs, then I won’t be concerned about yours,” or “I wouldn’t have done this if you didn’t act like that.” It’s like a catch 22 syndrome, “I’ll change if you’ll change.” If this is the case, both husband and wife need to stop and get on your knees together and ask the Lord for a fresh start.
Satan wants nothing more than to divide what God has brought together. Do not let the enemy have the victory in your life. We must overcome temptation and sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. And together, a husband and wife can defeat this hideous enemy.
If Satan cannot have the ‘grand prize’ – your soul, he is quite satisfied to take second prize – your effectiveness for the Kingdom of God – his great enemy. If Satan can render you unfruitful or unprofitable to the Glory of God, he has won a victory of sorts. And any man or woman who has a problem with pornography will lack the fullness of power that God wants to bring through the Christian’s life. That life will be unable to bring to bear the victorious witness of a clean heart.
The apostle Paul writes about his own struggle with Sin in Rom. 7, “So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate….So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway….I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” (NLT Rom 7:14-8:2)
May the Lord give us the victory over sin as we abide in Him, for He is all our sufficiency. The answer to the problem is to constantly abide in the Vine. Without Christ, we can do nothing. Without the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are as weak as milk-toast. So, put on the whole armor (Eph. 6:10-18) of God and stand ready to do battle with the enemy – and be victorious rather than live a defeated life as a slave to sin.
If this sin or lifestyle has plagued you and you would like to get rid of it – and cleanse your heart, pray this prayer with me to the Lord.
“Dear Jesus, I am a weak vessel and I have sinned against you and my wife (or husband). Please forgive me and ‘Create in me a clean heart, Oh God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’ (Ps. 51:10). I repent of this sin in my life and I want to make a covenant with my eyes not to look upon any woman (or man) with lust in my heart, but only to have eyes for the wife (or husband) of my youth. I cannot do this alone, Lord, and I ask you to give me the power of the Holy Spirit in my life to be victorious in this area. Please help me, Oh God, I pray in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen!”
If you prayed that prayer, I would strongly encourage you to seek a Bible teaching fellowship and some Godly support that can help you be accountable and victorious. May the Lord continue to bless you as you seek Him and desire to walk in His ways.
Pastor Tony Marinelli
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