We are continuing our series on challenges that young people face. We have dealt with many challenging topics so far: Peer pressure, keeping Jesus first in our busy lives, worldly philosophies, and sexual temptation. All of these topics are areas that Satan shoots his flaming arrows at young people to try to get them to fall in their spiritual lives. He has been so successful in this world in getting young people to fall into sin and to give up their faith. My hope, through this series, is to give the young people who hear these lessons the tools to be able to face these specific challenges.
Today’s topic is a sensitive one… we are going to zero in on one specific area of sexual temptation - We are going to talk about pornography - what the Bible has to say about lust and sensuality - and how young people can be victorious over temptations to look at it.
More Common Than You Think
More Common Than You Think
Some may ask why this is a subject that is so important to talk about. Some who are older here may even be thinking of times past when pornographic materials were difficult to get. Even in my lifetime, it used to be that you had to go to physically go to some kind of adult bookstore or take a magazine off of the shelf at a gas station to be able to purchase it, and you had to have an ID to prove your age in order to purchase it.
But these days are long gone! It used to be the case that you had to go out of the way to get it before, but nowadays, you have to work hard to keep it away. Technology has made pornographic material easy to get. Just enter a few keywords into google, and you can find something. Just a click of the mouse or just opening up an app on a smart phone can bring up images that you were not expecting to see. Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, etc, etc, etc. There are video services where you can stream movies that contain pornography, which can take you by surprise if you are not paying careful attention to the ratings of the film. Then to top it all off, you have messenger apps in every smart phone that can easily be used to send and receive photos. In text messages - text messages - peers of our young people can take photos of themselves and send them to all of their friends to see instantly, and they can save and send in text messages photos they get off of the internet.
The fact that pornographic material is easily accessible, even for free on the internet, and that it can be easily hidden with a couple mouse clicks, makes it a lot easier to succumb to temptations. When a young person hears their peers talking about things they saw online, or if they are even showing each other pictures they saw on the internet or pictures of themselves, curiosity in young people can drive them to the internet to see what all of the fuss is about…
And it does happen, often! Surveys and studies show that because of the access young people have to this kind of material on the internet, MOST young people view pornography before they are 13, and many are addicted to it by the time they reach 16… (I give you some statistics about this on the back of the bulletin). It is quite possibly the case parents that if you have not talked to your children before or just as they reach the years of puberty that they have already seen pornography either online or from their peers. In our society, it is becoming increasingly more important to speak to our children before they get access to this kind of stuff. That may be uncomfortable for all of us parents, but it needs to be done. Parents need to equip their children with the necessary knowledge about sex, sexual temptation, and pornography BEFORE they get it from the world.
And keep in mind: This problem affects not just the young men, but young women also. Year by year, it is becoming more common that this is an issue for young ladies also.
So with these things said, I would like to cover a few points in our lesson today. I would like to look at some Bible passages we can apply to this area. Then I would like to talk about many of the effects of looking at pornography, and then give some tips on how to stay away from it or to overcome addictions to it.
A Biblical Perspective
A Biblical Perspective
Jesus on lust: "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; 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. " ()
Last week, we talked about how easy we can lower the standard… Jesus is dealing with an example of this here. He talks about what some were saying - the accepted standard of the time, and then he shows how this standard neglected other teachings in the law of God. Their boundary was at committing the physical act of adultery. Jesus shows that the standard God set was much higher. The law of Moses taught about coveting another mans property or his wife also. You cross the line when you lust… The thoughts which proceed the act already cross the line.
This is a great passage to apply to looking at pornography. Lust towards the person you are looking at already crosses the line. The thoughts you have are just as bad as the actions… They may not have the same physical consequences, but spiritually speaking, both the thoughts and the actions compromise purity.
Second, back to a thought from our last lesson
Can anyone say in good conscience that they are seeking holiness and sanctification if they are looking at pornography. Can you say you are fleeing sexual immorality if you are watching sexually immoral behavior be done and it leading to lust?
Then you have Biblical teaching on the topic of sensuality or lasciviousness.
"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality (fornication), impurity, sensuality," ()
The first three seem to be talking about sins that are sexual in nature. I would like to focus on the third word for a moment - sensuality/lasciviousness - do you know what that is talking about? It is talking about things that can lead to lust - things that appeal to your senses and arouse sexual desire.
Included would be things like body movements or some forms of dancing that can arouse sexual desire - wearing immodest clothing would fall under the umbrella of sensual behavior. Pornography does the same. The main purpose men and women look at pornography is because it arouses some kind of sexual desire. It is meant to stimulate the flesh.
Sensuality is a work of the flesh that Paul says, if we practice these things (or things like them), we will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Effects of Pornography Use
Effects of Pornography Use
First, addiction… Whenever you think of addictions, the first things you may think of are tobacco, drugs, or alcohol. But pornography is just as addictive. It can enslave you - It can become your master. It may begin with just a little bit of curiosity, but it can spiral out of control in just a few months to become an addiction that takes a lot of time to work your way out of.
Second, looking at pornography changes how you look at the opposite sex… We talked about this some last week… They are looked at as means to an end. As just another thing you can use to get the pleasure you want… I have worked in places where you hear men talk about women like they are a car… Just a thing to gawk over… Instead of a valuable soul who is made in God’s image who is worthy of dignity, respect, and honor. Pornography perverts how you look at people…
And it affects your relationships… This is one that we often do not think about… Pornography addiction can make it more difficult to have relationships with the opposite sex. Pornography addiction is known to DESTROY marriages… of younger and older people…
Then you have the problem that you just cannot erase the images once you see them… Even when you don’t want to see them, they can come back to haunt you when you least expect it… It is near impossible to just forget things like this…
Then you have the fear, guilt, and shame that can come as you are trying to hide what you are doing and as others find out about the things you are looking at…
Then you have the spiritual consequences. The spiritual consequences are the worst.
 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire.  Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. (CSBBible)
Pornography can kill your relationship with God.
First, let’s look at . There are two points of application I would like to take from this verse.
 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (CSBBible)
Two points of application:
First, seek fulfillment and purpose in Someone/something greater. Even before the temptation comes this needs to be the case. Pursue things that are good, pure, and holy. Try to be useful to the Master. Make sure you have less opportunities to be tempted. And if you are alone, and the temptation comes to look at something you shouldn’t, go do something productive. Go somewhere where people are. Go to a coffee shop and read your Bible. Go to a friends house or go spend some time with your parents or grandparents. There is always somewhere you can go to get your mind off of impure things… The more spiritually focused the better.
Second, get help. Get accountability. Paul says here to flee youthful lusts and to pursue good things with others who are doing the same. Don’t think you can overcome this sin alone! Find someone to help you with your sin. Find someone you can call or text when you are being tempted. And find someone who is not just as stuck int he sin as you are. Find someone who is seeking the Lord with a pure heart.
Third, make radical changes to stop looking at pornography. Right after Jesus talks about lust, he says, “ 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. (CSBBible)”
Be radical in removing things from your life that are causing you to sin. Cut off your access to pornography. Do not keep computers, electronic tablets, cell phones, etc where you can be alone with them, and whatever devices you have, get someone to install programs that can block you from getting to things you shouldn’t see. It is better to not have them with you then to use them to sin against God. If keeping them in another room away from you doesn’t help, then get rid of them. You don’t need them if they are going to send you to hell. This may be difficult for us to do, and what we are willing to give up will show how resolved we are to get out of this sin. You must be willing to give up whatever is necessary to seek purity and holiness.
Finally, memorize passages of scripture dealing with lust and purity. Fill your mind with good things - with God’s word, which is able to equip you in the fight and strengthen you whenever you are being tempted in this way.