Freedom From: Pornography

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Intro

Now, as I was thinking about the topic of pornography, and the cultural moment that we find ourselves in, I was reminded of the popular saying, “the heart wants what it wants!” How many of y’all have heard that a few times before? I feel like it’s pretty common, but do y’all know how that phrase became popular? It was back in 1992, during an interview with Woody Allen, a famous filmmaker and actor. And the subject of the interview…Woody Allen’s notorious affair with a woman named Soon-Yi. Here’s what happened:
“All through the 1980’s, Allen was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Mia Farrow, an actress and model. Before she and Allen had begun dating, Farrow and her then-husband [Andre] had adopted [several children, including a seven-year-old girl from Vietnam, Soon-Yi.] Then she and Woody Allen [when they eventually got together] had a son…Years went by, and Farrow and Allen’s relationship began to deteriorate. One day, she found [innapropriate photos of her daughter, Soon-Yi]. On Allen’s fireplace mantel. The truth came out—Allen and Soon-Yi had been sleeping together. Allen was fifty-six. Soon-Yi was twenty-one…At the very end of the interview, [the interviewer] asked why he did it. Allen paused, then [gave] his iconic line, ‘The heart wants what it wants.’” - from John Mark Comer’s Live no Lies
And that saying, has not only become common in our culture’s vurnacular…but also our belief systems. Our desires, have been given a high position of authority. In a culture where desire is king, dopamine and pleasure become the purpose for our lives. And I want to let you guys see what this has created. Take a look at this on the screen - I think it’s so important for us. This is dopamine culture, and it is the reality we are living in. And look at what happens! We go from participating in culture actively, to mindlessly viewing culture and consuming entertainment, to ultimately seeing both of those things replaced by compulsive and addictive activity.
And though it is not found on this slide, I believe that pornography is the preeminent example of this in our lives, as teenagers and young adults, here tonight. For the sake of clarity, I want to provide you with a definiton of pornography…this comes from re:generation.
“Pornography is any material used for sexual excitement. Pornography can include images, videos, and words that stimulate erotic behavior or feelings. Used by both men and women, pornography often leads to masturbation…” and I would even add, that a detrimental result of pornography isn’t just an addiction to pornography, but to variety. No one person can ever be enough for the porn addict in a dopamine culture. THIS, is a product of…“the heart wants what it wants.”
Maybe you’re here and you don’t sruggle with pornography at all. Maybe you’re tuning out and you’ve decided you’re not gonna listen tonight. I would just invite you to lean in, because not only will the things we talk about relate to far more than just pornography, but I would even say that pornography, is one of THE biggest IDOLS and LIES of our generation. So whether it’s a personal struggle for you or not…you’ll have relationships, and families, and friends at some point in your life who face this. And put simply, if you are a follower of Jesus, this matters. But what do I mean by pornography being one of THE LIES of our generation? Turn with me to Romans chapter 1…we’re gonna pick up in verse 21.
Romans 1:21–25 (CSB)
For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
Therefore God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator”
You need this message tonight because friends, Pornography is one of THE LIES of our generation. As a culture, and here’s what we need to know tonight:
PORNOGRAPHY PROMISES PLEASURE, BUT PRODUCES PAIN. That’s my big idea for tonight. Pornography promises pleasure, but produces pain.
And the way we find freedom from pornography is we…
Abandon the lies & align with Truth.
Apply spiritual CPR. (I’ll explain what I mean by that in a few minutes)

Content

POINT 1: ABANDON THE LIES & align with truth.
Romans 1:25 (CSB)
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator
But what is the Truth of God that we so often give up? Or forget, when it comes to pornography? I think there’s like 2 really important ones…
1. that God created sex for our enjoyment in marriage, it was his idea and his design!!
2. God’s intention from the beginning was to be with us and give us complete satisfaction in a relationship with him. The highest level of pleasure in human relationships was always meant to point us back to the eternal pleasures of a relationship God.
And what happens, because we are sinful…is we give up those truths in exchange for the lie that all this pleasure and purpose and satisfaction can be instantaneously accessed whenever we want through 2 dimensional images of hundreds and thousands of different people over time.
But why is pornography the drug of choice for our generation? Here’s some of the main reasons:
Get a natural “high”: The chemical rush can be addictive.
Take control: Pornography provides an opportunity to find selfish pleasure without considering others’ needs or desires.
Escape reality, numb internal pain, feel something, fill a void…
And man I read those things and think, each one of those is built on a lie. The lie that pornography will produce a solution to any one of those reasons.
John Mark Comer says this - “It’s by Spirit and truth that we’re transformed into the image of Jesus, but the reciprocal is also true. It’s by isolation and lies that we’re deformed into the image of the devil.” - JMC; Live No Lies
So, what if we started to exchange the lies of pornography for the Truth of God. Like what if we checked the receipts and realized, hey this isn’t what I was looking for. I need to return this. I’m done. Give me back the Truth. I want to invite you to go ahead and take out your phone and take a picture of this next slide. Here are just a handful of Truths and scriptures that tear down the lies of pornography — take this home and dive into it in your own time with Jesus…and talk about it with your small groups!!
God loves you — John 10:10
Pornography enslaves you — Matthew 5:28, 2 Peter 2:19
Jesus understands your temptation — Hebrews 2:18
Jesus has already paid for your sin — Isaiah 53:5, Romans 8:1
Your body belongs to God — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20…
You are powerless to change on your own, only God can change you — Romans 7:18, Galatians 5:16
You are not alone — 1 corinthians 10:13…
So, we can abandon the lies & align with Truth…
But it’s not going to be easy…it’s gonna take time.
again, JMC says, “giving in to the desires of our flesh does not lead us to freedom and life, as many people assume, but instead to slavery and, in the worst-case scenario, addiction, which is a kind of prolonged suicide by pleasure.” - JMC; Live No Lies
So for those of us who want out of the addiction, to leave behind the prolonged suicide and experience new LIFE in Christ, we need to apply spiritual CPR. That’s my second point tonight, if we want to experience freedom from pornography…
POINT 2: APPLY SPIRITUAL CPR
And CPR is just an acronym, I didn’t come up with it, but I think it’s huge for us tonight: And the acronym is CONFESS, PRAY, AND REMOVE ACCESS.
So firstly, confess.
1 John 1:9 CSB
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So we gotta confess firstly to God. To acknowledge that we have exchanged the Truth of God for a lie, and that we need His healing. The good news is, God knows every thought you’ve ever had, every thing you’ve ever done, so you don’t have to hide ANYTHING. You can and should be as specific as possible.
And this also means that we need to confess in community. To tell other people that we trust about our struggle. To join together in accountability and a commitment to encourage and pray for one another. You’re not alone. Confess it with your small group. Because James 5 says,
James 5:16 CSB
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.
Confession brings healing, and then right away we see the second part of CPR, we need to pray. We need to pray, because the prayers of God’s people are powerful and effective. We can experience real healing if we turn to God and prayer and just be honest about our sin, together.
I love what theologian and Martyr Dietrich Bonheoffer says, “In the presence of a Christian brother [or sister], I can dare to be a sinner.”
We confess to God and to community, and we pray…so that we may be healed. It’s okay to not be okay.
And then lastly, we apply spiritual CPR by REMOVING ACCESS. Many of you have probably heard this before...
Matthew 5:27–30 CSB
“You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Now, before you roll your eyes, I think there’s more to this passage than we often think. In Jesus’ day, the religious leaders of that time, the Pharisees, measured their spiritual maturity based on behavior and outward appearance. They added so many extra boundaries around sin to prevent the action, rather than seeking the transformation of their heart. The point is, Jesus is using hyperbole when he talks about tearing out your eye or cutting off your hand if it causes you to sin. He is, in a sense, making fun of the discipleship of the Pharisees — because here’s what’s true: Freedom does not come simply from harsh boundaries. Just using software and getting a flip phone will not change us…if we just want to change our behavior, WE MIGHT AS WELL JUST CUT OUT OUR EYES. But what we do see, is that boundaries do help us create space for God to transform our hearts and our desires. Removing access to pornography is more like giving our bodies, our minds, and our hearts the time it needs to detoxify from the effects of pornography.
What does this look like? For me - it’s looked like completely removing all search browsers and social medias from my phone. That’s extreme, but Jesus invites us to be extreme about ridding our lives from sin. It might look like software, such as covenant eyes. It could look like leaving your phone outside your bedroom. Whatever it may be, we do need to remove access so that we can detoxify…and create space to let God transform us. If we can spend less time being dominated by dopamine culture, we’ll have more time to pursue the pleasure of a real and thriving relationship with God. We don’t have to fall into this prolonged suicide by fleeting pleasures and distraction...
And if you’ve ever wondered what God wants for your life…what His will is for your life…it’s this. Plain and simple—checkout these verses with me.
1 Thessalonians 4:3–4 CSB
For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
Galatians 5:13 CSB
For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.
We are called to be free, and God’s will for us is to be sanctified, to be transformed into the image of Jesus by Spirit and Truth…ultimately, to be healed, completly. And we can begin tonight, by applying spiritual CPR: confess, pray, and remove access. And you gotta be doing CPR in community, with trusted friends who love Jesus.
Now, as we close tonight, I want to just leave you with this quote:
Read along with me on the screen:“…in the moment of temptation, the raging fire of desire that is your flesh—the desire to make a condescending comment…buy another pair of shoes you don’t need, overeat, overdrink, lust, ignore God, watch Netflix instead of reading your Bible—feels overwhelming and almost irresistible. But those desires are not actually the deepest, truest desires of your heart; they don’t come from the bedrock layer in your soul…My guess, if you go deep enough, you ache for God himself . To live in his love. To yield to his gentle peace. To let your body become a place where his will is done ‘on earth as it is in heaven.” - JMC; Live No Lies
I believe this is true for you tonight. For those of you who have trusted in Jesus Christ, and have decided to follow Him, I believe that you have a deep ache for God Himself.
And here’s how you begin to act on that deep desire for God: I say it in almost every Monday email I send to you and your families… Do something that genuinely makes you love Jesus more every single day. Spend time with Him. Be honest with Him. Get to know Him.
John 17:3 CSB
This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent—Jesus Christ.

Closer

In summary, freedom from pornography comes as you…
Abandon the lies & align with the Truth.
Apply spiritual CPR (confess, pray, repent)
Pornography promises pleasure, but Jesus promises way more.
PRAY PSALM 27:4
Psalm 27:4 CSB
I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking him in his temple.
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