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“I have made a covenant with my eyes;
how then could I gaze at a virgin?
What would be my portion from God above
and my heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is not calamity for the unrighteous,
and disaster for the workers of iniquity?
Does not he see my ways
and number all my steps?
“If I have walked with falsehood
and my foot has hastened to deceit;
(Let me be weighed in a just balance,
and let God know my integrity!)
if my step has turned aside from the way
and my heart has gone after my eyes,
and if any spot has stuck to my hands,
then let me sow, and another eat,
and let what grows for me be rooted out.
“If my heart has been enticed toward a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbour’s door,
then let my wife grind for another,
and let others bow down on her.
For that would be a heinous crime;
that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;
for that would be a fire that consumes as far as Abaddon,
and it would burn to the root all my increase.”[1]
Job never really understood why it was necessary to experience the pain and the sorrow he was compelled to endure.
Despite his multiplied trials, he maintained his integrity, steadfastly insisting that he had not acted arrogantly before God or against his fellowman.
The text is the record of his final apologia for the conduct of his life.
Here, he identifies three great sins that can trip up any man—lust, deceit and adultery, denying that they had ever been welcomed in his life.
I wonder if Job would have continued to maintain his integrity had he lived in this present day when pornography has become so pervasive as to escape notice.
I am deeply concerned for the moral health of the churches of this day.
To a dismaying degree, we reflect the prevailing philosophy of the culture in which we are immersed, and we bring into the life of the Body the attitudes we have learned in society.
Just as a fish does not realise that it is wet, so we often have difficulty realising that we have become imbued with the attitudes of this dying world, and thus the congregation is hindered in advancing the Faith.
The homily planned for this day is intended to be pointed; due to the subject matter some will be uncomfortable.
I believe there has been quite enough preaching that justifies sin, ignoring the fact that Christ came to justify sinners.
We pastors have neglected to teach parishioners that Christ redeems us so that we might be seen in the world as a people that are “pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” [see *Philippians 1:10, 11*].
*The Pervasiveness of Pornography* — During the late 60s, youth in the United States began a “free sex” movement which has blossomed into the moral cesspool of modern society.
Not so many years ago, pornography was available only in sleazy porn shops.
Drug stores did not carry pornographic materials and triple-X movie theatres were confined to skid row.
However, that was then and this is now.
As of 2003, there were 420 million pornographic web pages[2]; the number is undoubtedly higher today.
Total porn industry revenues for 2006 were $13.3 billion in the United States, and $97 billion worldwide.[3]
The pornography industry generates more revenue than that of eight major technology companies combined—Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and Earthlink.
Almost one billion pornographic DVDs~/videos were rented in 2005.
Unique worldwide users visiting “adult” web sites monthly totalled 72 million people.[4]
Indeed, even in conducting a search to discover the number of pastors who admit to viewing pornography ensured that the search engine used returned several ads offering pornography.
Studies show that four in ten pastors admit that they deal unsuccessfully with the temptation to visit porn sites.[5]
The figures are worse for church members,[6] and it is not at all clear that viewing pornography is less prevalent among church members than within the general populace.[7]
Moreover, it is not just men that view pornography.
A growing number of women admit to internet sexual addiction.[8]
Seventy percent of women keep their cyber activities secret, and 17% are struggling with pornography addition![9]
Almost 30% of born again adults feel it is morally acceptable to view movies with explicit sexual behaviour,[10] and 57% of pastors say addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue in their congregation.[11]
The lure of pornography sites is powerful, and the sites advertise in inventive ways.
Frequently, people looking for information are directed to sites named deceptively.
At other times, legitimate web addresses are assumed by Internet pornographers with software to trap the unwary.
Of course, anyone who has an Email address will have been inundated with spam, much of which is pornographic or which introduces the unwary to pornography.
Unquestionably, pornography has insinuated itself into the very fabric of modern society.
It would be bad enough were this moral invasion confined to web sites, XXX movie theatres and “adult” bookstores.
However, pornography is far more widely spread than that, and it has become so pervasive that even Christians are no longer disturbed by the prevalence of pornography.
Suggestive lyrics describing sexual promiscuity have long been a feature of contemporary music, and have only grown more ribald with each succeeding generation of musicians.
Graphic sexual content distinguishes even much of “Christian” romance novels!
I am dismayed by the casual attitude expressed by professing Christians who permit themselves—and even demand—to be entertained by what was recognised as sheer pornography only a few years ago.
Movies and television programs no longer hesitate to use sex openly as a means of entertainment; and it seems that the majority of those that do not include lurid sexual content deliberately and blatantly employ suggestive sexual content as a form of entertainment.
As an aside, it is a tragic observation that language has degenerated in concert with the dramatic increase of pornography in the various visual entertainment media.
Churches do not exist in a vacuum—they reflect the culture in which they exist.
Unquestionably, our modern moral degeneration does exert a detrimental effect on the flaccid Christianity of modern life.
Christians do not want to appear unloving, so they silently tolerate the attitudes exhibited by the world about them.
They do not want to judge those who choose to sample sex without commitment, nor do them want to appear to condemn those who live together without being married.
So, they welcome the licentious individuals into membership without calling them to account for their immoral lifestyles.
In fact, contemporary pastors are frequently unwilling to name sin as sin in fear of offending parishioners.
And preachers are too often unwilling to speak out against the prevalence of pornography within their own churches.
The Faith of Christ the Lord is meant to be active, not passively accepting wickedness.
Believers are not to permit themselves to be shaped by culture; the churches of our Lord are responsible to serve as the moral conscience, shaping and defining the culture in which they exist.
Consequently, Christians are called to resist the tide, to go against the flow of culture.
Throughout the Word of God are multiple statements encouraging believers to resist the prevailing climate of wickedness.
Though ancient Christians did not have to contend with the Internet insinuating itself into every aspect of daily life, they did live in a culture that treated women as objects to be used for personal gratification and which condoned every imaginable form of sexual perversion.
Listen to the Word of God to rediscover the will of God as we are equipped to stand with them against the prevailing evil.
“Be imitators of God, as beloved children.
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret” [*Ephesians 5:1-12*].
If sexual immorality is not even to be named among the people of God, then surely reason demands that we conclude that pornography has no place in the life of a believer.
Surely, it is apparent that exposing oneself to such degrading acts cannot make one more righteous or godlier.
Surely, it is apparent that if we accept sexual congress—implied or acted out—as entertainment, we cannot lay claim to being a godly people or holy in the sight of the Lord.
Frankly, Christians should be horrified that such acts are even tolerated in their homes.
To the Colossians, Paul wrote, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” [*Colossians 3:1-8*].
Perhaps you will recall this portion of Paul’s Letter to the Churches of Galatia.
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