Pornography: The Soul DefiledDr. Erwin W. Lutzer | June 6, 1999
Selected highlights from this sermon
Pornography is everywhere and there are millions enslaved to the desires of sensuality that it enflames.
Jesus challenges us to be different. Can we pursue purity in our marriages? Can we harbor pure hearts, free from lustful thoughts and fantasies? Can we purify our associations, cutting off contact with practices, jobs, and objects which spark the fires of evil within us?
To be free from sexual sin is a painful and thorough process, but when we are eventually living in freedom, thanks to God’s Word and God’s people, it will be worth it!
Well, friends, as you know, we are drowning in a river of sensuality. It’s a story that in principle has happened a million times. A young man discovers his father’s pornography and gets hooked on it as a child. We should not be surprised at that because about seventy percent of all pornography falls into the hands of children. Primary buyers today are teenagers. And he becomes hooked, and even in college the images and the sense of attachment is there.
But this particular man became a Christian, and even though he became a Christian he still struggled. He loved it and hid it simultaneously. Later on when he was married he did not tell his wife about his secret addiction, and when it was discovered they had a very difficult time. She had a very difficult time and it took a long time before they could work through all of the problems that this revelation brought to light. To quote his words exactly he said, “I lived like a double agent for the CIA, leading two different lives. His story could be multiplied many times.
As you know, this is a series of messages titled Seven Snares of the Enemy. We’ve talked about alcoholism and greed and gambling. And today it is pornography. You know, there was a time when pornography was limited to magazines, oftentimes magazines behind the counter. Today it is everywhere. For example, you can rent movies. I was brought up at a time when Christians didn’t even watch movies, and that was at a time when they were very tame and often very family oriented. Today we can not only see those movies, but contemporary ones with all of their risqué behavior, with all of their violence and sensuality. And all that can now be brought into our homes.
I think, for example, of the Internet and virtual pornography shop in your home. I need to tell you that a few years ago we logged onto the Internet, and the night after the connection was made I had a horrific demonic nightmare. In fact, even though I wrote it down, the next day I would not have had to because it is so incredibly vivid. Three evil spirits were pitting me against a wall, and they were saying, “We are going to destroy you in your own home.” Wow! I’ll tell you I woke up the next morning and I knew exactly that God in His grace had allowed this nightmare, because what those spirits, I think, were trying to say, and what God was letting them tell me through this experience was, “Now that you are hooked up to the Internet, with a click of the mouse you could be in that whole world of pornography.” And I’ll tell you that because of that dream, if I’m ever tempted to cross that line and to say, “Well, now, what is there really on the Internet anyway?” I’m reminded that evil spirits would like me to do that to destroy me. And they are destroying some of you, aren’t they?
A young woman who did not have lesbian tendencies began to get into lesbian pornography on the Internet and soon ended up having the experiences of lesbianism. Remember the basic principle (We’re learning about it here as we talk about addictions and snares.) is that whatever we give ourselves to, whatever it is we commit ourselves to, we end up being the servant, and the sin and the addiction becomes the master. So you have the Internet.
Telephone sex! You say, “Well, how in the world do you ever get into that?” Well, it’s very easy. You pick up the telephone and you dial the right number. I spoke to a man who did it one time just out of curiosity—that terrible word curiosity. Hooked because all of the euphoria we talked about in previous messages that accompany addiction was all there, and now the question is, “How do I break the chains that bind me?”
During the Middle Ages there was a man who prided himself in making chains that could not be broken. And one day he ended in prison and looked at the chains on his arms and on his wrists, and he discovered that they had his seal, his sign.
Then there are therapists. I remember counseling a woman who was told by the therapist, “You know, you are hung up on this business of sexuality. What you really need to do is to get it all out of your system.” And he sent her to a movie that was so terrible, so vile, that she vomited on the floor of the theater. And it was there that she actually received some evil spirits that we needed to deal with. Remember this is Satan’s territory.
Somebody told me on Wednesday that he went to even a supposed Christian counselor (I emphasize the word supposed) who told him, “You have to get acquainted with that dark side, and until you become acquainted with that dark side of your life and enter into these worlds, you can’t really have that revelation of self-authentication.” Oh, mercy! That’s like telling a mouse, “You know, in order for you to really understand this business of snares and traps, what you need to do is you need to take some of the cheese from the trap, and then when it snaps you’ll have a full new vista of self-understanding at that moment.”
And then what do we say about television itself, which is becoming more pornographic? A television writer who writes some of those sitcoms said, “You have to get people to laugh at adultery, homosexuality, and incest, because it breaks down their resistance to it.” Everybody agrees that the Jerry Springer show is trash. Actually, it’s worse than trash. Trash is something you can deal with. At least we do where we live week by week in a very systematic way. This is worse.
And it’s not just that. We have someone perverse on radio such as Howard Stern, and that’s only the tip of an iceberg. There’s so much sensuality out there, so much (What shall we say?) perversion, so much destruction. And it’s being funneled right into our homes. And somebody must be watching it according to the ratings or it wouldn’t be on there. Millions are.
Why is it that we should be so concerned about these things? You know that there is a connection between pornography and other vices and crimes (There’s no question about it because what you see you want to act out. And I could give you stories about that but I’ll spare you.) because along with pornography oftentimes there is a cluster of all kinds of other sins, and it may include prostitution or peep shows, or whatever. I mean it comes with a whole range of options, and once you give yourself to that, it’s not up to you to really decide where it’s going to go. It’s out of your hands because remember you are the servant and it becomes the master. Back in 1953 when Hefner began to make pornography mainstream, at that time you did not have somebody’s wife and somebody’s daughter being raped every six minutes in the United States. We have that today. It is not a victimless crime.
And then another reason it’s important is that for those who are occasional users, pornography is more common, and we are more susceptible to it than any other addiction I think. For example, we are not born with the desire for alcohol. That may be acquired. You may have a disposition to it, but you’re not necessarily born with that desire, or a desire for gambling, but sexuality is so much a part of who we are. And today I’m going to be talking primarily about men, and their struggles with pornography, but let’s not be naive. Women also have those struggles. According to Dobson about 50% of Christian men (and I emphasize the word Christian) struggle in some sense at some level with pornography.
Some of us have not had any acquaintance with addictions like drugs and alcohol and gambling. They hold no temptation to us, but we know the temptations of the flesh, don’t we? All of us have seen things that we regret having seen. We know the power of these images, and we struggle. And may I remind you that you don’t have to be a pornography user to have a pornographic mind, because even within our own souls those desires sometimes give way to those expressions?
Peter in the New Testament said these words. He said, “Abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul,” and it is a war. I’ve entitled this message, Pornography: The Soul Defiled, and what a battle it is. And you do know that in a war there’s always one side that seeks to win. One side seeks to dominate and the intention is to fight to the death. You fight to the death. Remember that you’ll never understand addictions unless you realize that they promise all the same things that God promises. We’ve learned that, and take all that information that we gave on the addictive personality last time and you can put it right here with all of its trances and its euphoria and its bondage and its sickness and its sin. Pornography promises like a god, but it pays like the devil.
Now, I want you to take your Bibles and turn with me to Matthew 5. In Matthew 5 Jesus is speaking on what we call The Sermon on the Mount. And he is giving a deeper interpretation of the Law because, you know, the Pharisees of His time recognized that it was wrong to commit adultery. That was one of the commandments. But they limited it to acting out, and Jesus here gives a remarkable statement. And by the time we are finished, I believe that He is going to help us—Jesus is. He’s going to help us find our way out.
Jesus invites us to make three commitments, and I wonder if you would be willing to make those commitments with me today. Three commitments! The first commitment is purity in marriage. He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’” Now the reason that God gave that commandment in the Old Testament is, first of all, because of the stability of the family. God put it in the heart of every little boy and every little girl to have a mommy and daddy who love each other. And that’s the way it is. And so God says for the stability of the family, but also for your own emotional stability because, you see, if you commit adultery, the Bible says in the book of Proverbs, it destroys the soul. I like to use the word defiles, and it degrades.
But there’s another reason also, and it’s the most important, and that is that God hates immorality. The marriage bed is honorable in all and it is undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. And I need to say to those of us who are married that the emphasis here is on the stability of the family—thou shalt not commit adultery. But I have a word also for you singles who have rationalized it and who have conned yourself into believing that you can have a sexual relationship outside of marriage that is meaningful, that is even necessary, and that somehow life, if not God, at least life owes you. But I say to you today from my heart to yours, no matter how you have rationalized it, no matter how you’ve tried to explain it, no matter how you put the best face on it, no matter how you have lived to manage your guilt, because that’s what you have to do, you’ve learned to manage it. The Scripture is very clear that the sexual relationship is within marriage and “Thou shalt not commit immorality.” That’s the first commitment.
But now Jesus asks us to go on to make a second commitment that is even much more difficult. Listen to His words: “But I tell you (This is now Matthew 5:28.) that anyone 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. It is better for you to lose one part 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. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” To look lustfully at a woman is to commit adultery.
Now, of course, I need to say that sometimes we may look at a woman and we may admire her beauty. There is such a thing as recognizing a beautiful woman, and that isn’t lustful. That isn’t adulterous. But as all of us as men know, the transition from admiration to lust can oftentimes be very quickly made. And so what Jesus said here is, “If you sexually covet a woman in your heart, you’ve committed adultery with her.”
Well, what does this say about pornography? The whole point of pornography is to stimulate. It is to inflame all of the natural desires that we already struggle with. It is to draw out from us all that which is exaggerated, and with the latest methods of technology and photography to do all that we possibly can to violate the words of Jesus. That’s the whole point.
Now don’t interpret this verse to mean that if you’ve lusted in your heart you might as well commit adultery. I have a friend who did that. That’s a major mistake that we’ll take up in our message next time. That’s not what Jesus is saying, but at the level of sin, and the level of the need of forgiveness, Jesus is saying that if you lust after a woman you’ve committed adultery with her already in your heart. How is it that you have committed adultery with her? She may not be a part of the experience. It’s because the whole idea here is that we look at someone and we are lusting after him or her, and that turns them into an object.
I need to tell you that I have talked to people who have been in this world of pornography, and it is a harsh, cruel, evil, demonically controlled world. It is a world where young women are sold into sexual slavery. It is a world in which young women are conned and seduced into participating. And what it does is it simply makes them objects. You don’t care about their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their desires. Nothing like that matters. All that matters is your own inflamed irrational desire. And Jesus said, “You commit adultery already in your heart when you lust.”
Do you understand now, my friends, why pornography is a slap in the face of Jesus? It’s because Jesus is saying, you know, “Even if you look at a woman lustfully you’ve committed adultery,” and pornography says, “We’re going to take Jesus on and our whole worldview is going to be one in which we lust and desire and covet,” and there’s no end to it. The Bible says in the book of Proverbs, “Like Sheol (that nether underworld) the eyes of a man are never satisfied.”
Well, we all stand condemned with this verse, don’t we? There’s no room here for self-righteousness, no room to say, “Well, you know, I am really somewhat righteous because I am not a user.” Jesus said that it is really a matter of the heart, and He went so deep—so deep.
So the question, of course, is how in the world can we even possibly live in this pornography-drenched world with any sense of living up to the words of Jesus when it’s everywhere, when it’s on billboards, when it’s at work, when it’s the stuff of television? How can we possibly manage? Well, characteristically Jesus doesn’t just leave us there. He tells us what to do. And notice His words.
Now, we’ve talked about two commitments—commitment to purity in marriage and commitment to purity in thoughts. He’s now saying, “You’ll never achieve this, folks, unless you have purity in all of your associations. Look at what He says. Now He says, “If your right eye (He says right eye because what He means is your best eye.) causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” And then as I already read, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut if off and throw it from you because it’s much better for that one part of the body to perish than for your whole body to be tossed into hell.”
Now, I want you to notice that what Jesus does is He takes the two parts of the body that are often used in lusting and sexual desire. The first is the eye. Pornography, of course, depends upon our ability to see the eye. And even though we as men tell women how quickly we can be affected by what we see, I’m still not sure that they fully understand that. But Jesus talks about the eye and He says, “If your eye is causing you to sin…” Now that’s what my translation says. I like the NASV at this point: “If your eye causes you to stumble,” because the noun form of the Greek word actually is skandalon, from which we actually get scandalized. It causes you to be scandalized, and its root means to be caught in a trap.
Many years ago when we were out on the farm we used to try to catch rabbits by digging a deep hole where the rabbit paths were and then putting a deep box there and then covering the whole thing with just a few leaves and a few branches in the hope of catching a rabbit. I’m not sure that we ever did. The rabbits were smarter than we were, but the principle was there.
Jesus is saying, “If you find yourself falling into the pit and your eye is causing it, gouge it out and cast it from you. If that’s your problem, take care of your eye.” And then He uses the hand which is also used. Particularly I think of women who are affected by tender caresses, usually coupled with sweet words, often lying words, but nonetheless Jesus said, “If that’s your problem, cut it off.”
You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, He’s not speaking literally, is He?” No, of course, He’s not speaking literally. You could cut out your right eye and still lust with your left, for example. You could cut off your right hand and still use your left. No, He’s not talking literally. But what Jesus is saying is literally true, isn’t it? It would be better to arrive in heaven with one eye than to be in hell with two eyes. It would be better, you know, to arrive in heaven and have to be left-handed for the rest of your life because your right hand is gone. It would be better to arrive in heaven maimed than to be in hell whole, wouldn’t it?
(Sighs) Do you know what Jesus is saying in the strongest possible language? He’s saying to me and to you, “Do whatever you have to do. Take drastic measures so that you may not keep falling into that deep well of oblivion and moral darkness. Whatever it is, do it.”
One day I was meditating on this passage of Scripture and I began to ask myself a question. The question I began to ask was, “What would it be like actually in the days before anesthetic to have your hand cut off or your eye gouged out?” What would it be like? Well, very profoundly (very profoundly) I concluded, first of all, that it would be very painful, very painful. Just imagine having your hand cut off. Just saw it off. Ouch! Imagine an eye being cut out. Let’s suppose I took someone here sitting near the front and took a knife and just went like this and turned it, and the eye plopped down on their lap. That would hurt, wouldn’t it? (slight laughter) Thank you for your light-hearted affirmation.
And you know, that’s the kind of pain that you would have to go through to be finally free from that secret snare. Did you know that? And by the way, though we’ll talk about this next week, there are some of you who are in relationships that are sinful, and you’ve made such a commitment to that person, and maybe even sexually bonded to them and you say, “I know that this is wrong, but I can’t get out of it.” Like a man I told. I said, “You know, it’s like cutting out your eye. It is like chopping off your arm.” Of course, it hurts. It’s painful, but Jesus says, “Do it. Do it.”
For some of you it may mean changing jobs. If you are a businessman traveling, and you are staying in hotels where you can have all of the movies that you like, and then beyond that there’s that whole shadowy world that you can get involved in because you have anonymity, I’ll tell you something. We need to pray for our business people who live in that world with all of its temptations. It might be best for you to switch jobs, to give it up.
You say, “Oh, I can’t do that. I have a family to support.” Well, tell me, what would you rather do? Would you rather give up your job, or have your right eye cut out and your left hand cut off? What’s your preference? Some of you need to go through that difficult, difficult experience of saying, “This is a part of me but it has to go.”
I remember a college student who said to me, “You know, just gathering together all of my pornographic pictures and throwing them all away…” He said, “It was as if there was a part of me that had been my life.” Yes, of course. Jesus says, “Do it! Do it!”
You know, there’s another part to the pain here, and that is the need for you to share it with someone significant, the need for you to simply say, “Look, I have a problem.” And you share it with someone who is willing to accept you and to affirm you as a human being worthy of being loved, and worthy of God’s love, even though this is a snare into which you have fallen. You know, when Jesus talks about the works of darkness, what He means is the works done in secret. Now, let’s remember, as we talk about these snares, that the thing that fuels them is the hidden shame that causes them.
I have known of many instances when finally, there was some sense of sharing, and we could talk about it, and it would be out in the open. How helpful that is to those who struggle! And Jesus said, “Whatever it takes, just do it!” Yes, it’s painful, but do it!
The second characteristic, as I was meditating on this as this commitment to associations (purity in associations) is that it is thorough. It has to be thorough. Now let’s suppose that you are going for surgery, and you have a cancerous growth, and the doctor says, “Well, you know what we decided to do. We decided to take just three-quarters of it this time, and then leave the other quarter for some other time, because we thought that what we ought to really do is to give you the option of still having a little bit of cancer.” (chuckles) That’s the way we’re always dealing with sin, isn’t it?
I counseled a man one time. I said to him, “Now, let’s just suppose that God were to come and rid you thoroughly and totally of this struggle, this addiction, and you never struggled with it again. It would be gone. Would you be willing to accept that?” And he thought a moment and said, “Well, I think so,” but he said, “I guess I have to tell you honestly I prefer to keep my options open.” And it’s those options, you see, that keep making us fall back into the pit.
It was Tozer who said that that part of us that we rescue from the cross (You know, the part that we take from the cross, and the part that we hide), that then becomes the seat of our struggles. Right? And there are many people who want to deal with their problems but leave the roots in the ground. We need to have the opportunity for something to still grow out of this because the thought of “cold turkey” is overwhelming. But it needs to be thorough. Once your eye is out and your arm is off…
I like to tell the story, a true story of a man in Canada who was staying with a doctor. And the doctor had a call and had to leave. And he said, “Help yourself to anything that’s in the fridge.” The man opened the fridge, and there, wrapped in plastic, was a human hand. He told me that he saw that and for some reason he wasn’t hungry anymore. It’s a little too late, you know, when your hand is wrapped in plastic to say, “You know, on second thought, I’m not so sure whether we should have done this.”
At this point I’d like to say what I’ve said before. If you are going to jump across a chasm, remember that it is much better to do it in one long jump than in two short. Sin needs radical surgery. For some of you it may be to get rid of your T.V. You say, “Well, that’s really radical.” Yeah, well what would you rather have? Keep your television set and watch it with one eye? What’s your option here? Jesus is saying, “Whatever needs to be done you have to do it.”
Oh, some of you struggle with cruising. You know all the hot spots in Chicago. You know the ritual that you go through. And some of you, bless you, what you need to do is to finally say, “It’s over.”
Let me say thirdly that it dawned on me that it’s really worthwhile, isn’t it? You know, if you have surgery and even if your eye is cut out, I would rather lose an eye than lose my life. And if you have a hand cut off, and you had a growth or a tumor, you say, “Boy, goodbye to a hand, but thank God I still have my life. It’s worth it.” “Oh, it was painful. I wondered whether or not I was going to live through it but thank God, it was worth it.”
In the very same way, did you know that it’s worth it? It is better to live with unfulfilled desires and be a friend of God and walk with God with a clear conscience than it is to fulfill those desires outside of the will of God and do your own thing.
I think of what Walter Trobisch said: “The task we have to face is the same, whether we are married or single, to live fulfilled lives in light of and in spite of unfulfilled desires,” because you know what happens, don’t you? God begins to become your desire. He fills up the vacuum. He takes away all those false promises that have (What shall we say?) all of that shame and everything else involved. He takes care of that, and therefore, God becomes what we want. And there is an experience in which you say, “God is my all in all.” So it’s worth it. It’s better to live single and frustrated (And when I say that I don’t mean to imply that all singles are frustrated. Many of you are very, very happily adjusted, and you are certainly a lot happier than some married folks, I know.) if that is what is happening than it is somehow to fulfill those frustrations and to simply say, “I have this coming to me, and all of life has passed me by, and I have to get in on some pleasure because I am getting older and look at where this is going.” No, no, no! Jesus said, “It is better.”
You look at that person who has just had surgery. His arm is off and his eye is out. He intended to be a baseball player. He intended to be an airline pilot. He doesn’t have those options anymore. Yes, he has unfulfilled desires, but Jesus said, “It is better.”
You say, “Pastor Lutzer, how do we honestly and truly get out from under the shadows?” A couple of thoughts! First of all, you know you really do have to come to the light. You have to come to the light. One day in Washington, D.C., a man said, “You’re flying to Chicago tonight, and you don’t know my name, and I won’t tell it to you, but I need to talk with you.” And we took a walk around the block using his umbrella because it was raining. He said, “I want you to know that I am a Christian and,” he said, “I spend $400 a month on pornography.” And he said, “Also, I want you to know that nobody knows about it except me and God.” Hmm!
I reminded him that there actually was somebody else that knew. Do you know who I’m talking about? The devil always shows up at things like that. Do you think that man can get out of it alone? No, he’s cried to God a hundred times, and a hundred and one times he goes back. Of course, he has to come out from under the shadows. He needs significant people who can still affirm him as a worthy human being and say, “You know, you’ve fallen into this snare, but we are here to help you.” There is a way out and you can begin to establish those relationships.
And I hope here at The Moody Church that there is a sense of openness in which we can say, “Yeah, hey, we’re struggling.” I kind of pity the man who cannot share his struggles with his wife. “If I see you with one of these magazines again I’m out of here. As a matter of fact, what are you—some kind of pervert?” Those are the exact words of a woman I know, speaking to a husband I know when she discovered his pornography. Just think of what she did. Number one, she took it all personally as an attack against her. And in a sense it was, but in another sense it wasn’t. We’ll leave that on the table, but secondly, all that she does is contribute and add to the shame that he’s already experiencing, the shame that has had him bound. Now the most significant person in his life has just shamed him, and he’s already drowning in it.
Think of how different it would have been if she’d have said, “Well, you know, what you do really hurts me, but I want you to know I love you, and you are a worthy human being. You are worthy of my love, and you are worthy of God’s love. Let’s figure out how we can work at this together, because you fell into that snare, and I have my sins too. Let’s work together on being the people that God wants us to be.” Think of how differently their relationship would have ended.
First of all, you have to come to the light. Secondly, of course, and perhaps it should have been my first point, you really do need to know what it is to have a cleansed conscience.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, and though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Oh I say to those of you living years and years and years with secrets, I say to you that the Scripture is very clear. “As far as the east is from the west, so far he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear him, for he knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust.” He knows that these snares are the very things that we willingly fall into unless by His grace He comes to prevent it and help us. He knows that. He is not there to condemn you. He is there to redeem you.
And some of you have never trusted Christ as Savior. You’ve never believed on Him as Savior and transferred your trust to Him, and that’s the beginning point for a relationship not with a (quote) higher power, but a higher power who is God Jehovah who forgives sin. And then what you need to do, and there’s more that could be said, but what you need to do is to have some kind of a plan of attack.
You know, imagine you lived in this city and the enemy comes over the same place in the wall all the time. All the time! You know exactly where he’s coming from, the speed with which he’s coming, and what weapons he’s going to use. And you never build the wall or make it strong in that area. You just say, “Well, you know, the wall is broken down, and there’s nothing I can do.” You have to be ready.
One day a young man came to me, a fine young man, who was (What shall we say?) an occasional user. He never bought… He looked at magazines, and oh, he struggled and promised himself a thousand times. He loved God. He loved the people of God and was being used by the Lord. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we don’t have to be perfect before God uses us? But I said, “Look, why don’t we make a deal. Okay? Here’s the deal. I want you to make a promise to me, and this is what the promise is going to be. I want you to take five verses of Scripture,” and I helped scratch out what the references were. I said, “I want you to take these five verses of Scripture and know them absolutely cold.” Verses like “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Verses like Philippians where it says that “Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are honest, think on these things.” First Peter, you know, “Abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul.” Verses that say, “Be gone, Satan, for it is written, etc.”
And I said, “What I’d like you to do is to memorize these verses cold, and then before you pick up one of those magazines, what I want you to do is to quote all those verses meaningfully. And after you have quoted them once I want you to go and do it again and again and again. This will take you a few minutes but do it five times.
Wouldn’t you know it? A great temptation came to him. A pornographic magazine was wrongly delivered to his mailbox in the apartment building. Now he had it in his hand. There was no one there to see what he would look at. But he had made a promise, and a promise is a promise is a promise. So he began to go through this. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are of good report,” and he went through those verses. And then he started over and he went through them again, and again and again. He told me later that he was able to take the magazine, wrap it up, and rather than give it to the person I guess to whom it was supposed to be delivered, he did throw it away without opening it.
But does that mean that the struggle with pornography is over? No, because there will be another test, but at least he had a plan. The Bible talks about the motions of sin. What do you do when suddenly you feel this sense of saying, “This is what I want to do?” What is your plan?
“Wherewithal shall a young man keep his ways? By taking heed thereto according to his word.”
Well, it’s been a longer message than I planned it to be. This was supposed to be 20 minutes, and I think I could be over that by now.
How would you like to have a martyr’s crown? I’ve often wondered about that. I’ve thought, “You know, I’d like to have a martyr’s crown, but I guess I can’t have one because I live in America where we have freedom of religion.” Isn’t that tough? We have freedom of religion, therefore no martyr’s crown.
You can have a martyr’s crown. The Bible says in the book of Revelation, “Be faithful unto death and I will give thee the crown of life.” And the very same expression occurs in James 1 where it says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he is tried (Assume that he endures it properly), he shall receive the crown of life.”
Of course, it’s a battle because the devil is all wrapped up in this, but Jesus would say, “Whatever the Spirit says to you, just do it.”
Our Father, what a world in which we live! Father, how contaminated we have become. We ask in the name of Jesus today speak a word of hope, of forgiveness and deliverance to Your people and to those who aren’t Your people. Do that, Father, we ask and create within us a desire for purity. Father, we don’t desire it on our own. There’s no desire that comes from us. Purity is something that You give us a desire for, but oh how we long to see You. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” May it be said at Moody Church that its members and attenders and friends behold God. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.