Helping Students Fight Against Pornography (Beyond Accountability)
Spencer Davis : Summer 2018 : Tuesday AM
Helping Students and Families in Their Fight Against Pornography
One of the biggest problems that students face today is pornography. In this breakout, we looked at practical strategies to help students and families in their fight. We examined the root of the issue and reviewed practical ways to fight that go beyond accessibility and accountability.
Additional passages: Romans 6:5-11, Ephesians 4:17-24, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Proverbs 28:13, 2 Corinthians 7:10
How People Change – Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp
Expulsive Power of a New Affection – Thomas Chalmers
So I’m gonna get started. Again, if I haven’t met you, my name is Spencer and hopefully we get a chance to hang out some this week. That’d be awesome. So this topic is a pretty weighty one to jump right into at 7:45 on a Tuesday morning, but y’all know this, and you’re here because every one of us as youth ministers are dealing with this, with the problem of pornography in our churches, in our youth groups. So let me pray for us and we’ll jump right in. Jesus, thanks for these men and women who are committed to laboring in the Gospel. God, I thank you for the churches they represent, for the local body of believers that these guys work with.
And Lord, I pray that today as we look at your word, and, God, that you would guard what I say and let it be from your Spirit and from your Scripture, I pray that you guard the way these guys listen. And I pray that they would be able to put this in the context of their own local church and just minister in this area. God, I pray that we would look to you more than strategy for our hope. And we love you and need you in this. In your name, I pray, Jesus. Amen. So the problem of porn is so, so destructive, y’all know this. Working at camp, it’s almost like we see an exaggerated version of this, but it’s not exaggerated, we just see a great volume of people that come through. Y’all know we see like 9000 people come through here every year from about 400 different churches, so we hear heart-breaking stories every week. Every week we’re talking to folks whose marriages have been wrecked by porn, whose families are dealing with this. It’s such a destructive problem, and y’all have seen the destruction first hand in your own ministries. But to me, one of the most dangerous things about porn is that, not only is it so destructive, but it’s so common, so it’s easy to take it lightly.
We see it destroy families, but we see it destroy families like every week, so it’s just something everybody deals with. But we know that this is such a huge issue. Y’all don’t need any reminder of the stats, but just to set the stage, I wanna show a few stats just for porn use. This is gonna start out with child stats, and is gonna progress to adult stats. Average age a child first sees internet porn is 11. 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to internet porn by 18. 67% of children, those under 18, admit to clearing their history to hide online activity. 79% of accidental exposures to internet porn among kids take place in the home. Only 3% of porn websites require age verification. Now pause for a second. Y’all know that most people aren’t accessing porn via porn websites anymore. It’s not… Other than PornHub, people are accessing porn via social media, via phone to phone communication, so these stats are a little bit skewed because you realize, yeah, only 3% of porn websites require age verification, but what about Snapchat? But what about this, what about that? So, next, porn sites, even though folks don’t access their porn through them, they get more visitors every month than Netflix, and Amazon, and Twitter, combined. That one is mind-blowing when you realize most folks aren’t accessing it this way.
University of Montreal tried to do a study on porn use in men. Simon Lajeunesse was the leader of this study, he said, “We started our research seeking men in their 20s who had never consumed porn, but we had to stop ’cause we couldn’t find any.” Couldn’t find a guy in his 20s who had not looked at porn. Last stat. 68% of men, and this is adults here, 68% of men and 18% of women view porn at least one time per week. Now, as we read these stats, you should know there is virtually zero difference between churched and non-churched men and women. And these stats, this one in particular is dated, is from 2014. So we believe those stats have bumped up, particularly on the women’s side, a good bit. But again, there’s some of these stats, there’s about a 2% variation between churched and non-churched. So 68% of men in our churches and 18% of women in our churches view porn at least one time per week. An additional 17% of men and 30% of women view porn at least one to two times per month. That means, if you take the two together, 85% of men view porn at least twice a month. Ouch.
Stats have the ability to kind of bypass our grasp a lot of times unless we can put it in a visual. So if you were to take this room and slice out 85%, you got about this percentage of folks right here that are not viewing porn twice per month. The majority of our churches are viewing porn twice per month. It’s crazy. It’s so common and it’s so destructive. So the question is, why is there not more difference between men and women in the church and men and women outside the church? ‘Cause the Spirit is transformative, the Gospel is transformative, the Lord changes lives, but why aren’t we seeing change? Why are we hardly any different from non-believers? Now, we preach to non-believers, and of course they’re gonna be like, “Okay, why wouldn’t I wanna watch folks have sex? Why wouldn’t I wanna look at sexual images?” But for believers, you have some kids in your youth group that are tormented by this issue, that are really fighting against it, and are just beat down by this. You have some kids in your youth group that are justifying the issue: “Why shouldn’t we sin more so grace could abound?” You have some kids that are victorious. They are very few. Now we’ll look at what does victory look like in this area, ’cause it’s not a clean perfect slate.
What does victory look like? What I wanna do in this breakout, I wanna look at three different areas, and then we’re gonna drill down into the details a little bit, but I gotta move fast. So three different areas, I’m just gonna list them now and we’ll go into detail. Number one, if you’re not already, you should be addressing the issue of porn in your youth group. You should be addressing the issue of porn in your youth group. Number two, if you are addressing the issue, the question is, why isn’t it working? Why aren’t we seeing more difference? Now, for some, and for some churches and for some ministries and some individuals, absolutely, it is working. But stats will say, in general, it’s not. We’re not a lot different.
And we’ll define working in a minute. Number three, how then can we address the issue of porn with students, and with their parents? And there’s a lot of complexities that come with this when we talk about how we’re gonna address the issue of porn with parents who are non-believers, and some parents who are believers, and a lot of complexities there. So I wanna jump right in to number one. Number one, if you’re not already in your youth group, you should be addressing the issue of porn. Please do. The average age a kid sees porn is 11. All of us have kids over 11 in our youth groups, right? So, you heard the stats, they’re not other people, they’re our churches. In our churches, 85% of people are viewing porn one to two times per month, if stats hold true. And the reality is, if we don’t address the issue, who’s gonna? What percentage, think about your youth group parents, what percentage of your parents do you think are talking to their kids about porn? Now think about this; what percentage of your parents do you think are doing a great job with that? What percentage of your parents do you think are having Christ-centered, Holy Spirit empowered, hope-giving talks with their kids about porn? 5% of your parents? Three? It’s very few. So if we’re not addressing the issue, even with our strongest families in the youth group, who’s gonna be addressing that issue? If you’re not already, you need to be.
Point number two, we are addressing the issue, and this is for most of us, yeah, we’re addressing the issue, why isn’t it working? Why isn’t it working when we’re preaching? I think for a lot of us, and this is for me included, for a lot of us, when it comes to the issue of porn, we are skimming the surface, we’re not getting down deep to the root. We often are preaching to the problem when we should be preaching to the heart. We’re preaching to the issue, we’re preaching about the issue, but we’re not preaching to the heart and about the heart. We see a problem and we prescribe a strategy really quick. The issue is we’re not seeing deeply to the real problem, we’re seeing symptoms. If you were here last year, I taught one on how to teach the Bible to students. And what I talked about in teaching was we must teach… We must preach Christ, because if we don’t preach Christ, we’re in danger of addressing symptoms with moral prescriptions rather than seeing and exposing the deep problems and offering the only deep cure, which is Christ, the only hope, which is Christ. We must preach to the heart, which means we have to see deeply past these surface level symptoms. Porn is a symptom, right? So if we’re addressing symptoms with moral prescriptions, it’s gonna look like this, and sometimes you wish it would be this simple. You wanna say to your youth group, “Alright, y’all are looking at porn.” Symptom. “Quit it!” I’m out.
Spencer: And for some guys, really, they need to hear that, right? “Hey, you need to knock it off, you need to quit it.” Some guys just need to hear, “Okay, yep, you’re right.” But if we just preach essentially that message, “Y’all are doing bad, do better,” we’re preaching moralism a lot of times, and without getting to the depth of the problem. The problem is interior, so an exterior solution is not gonna fix it. And we look at a symptom, which is porn, we slap on a moral prescription, which is “quit it”, and we ignore the deep problem, which is sin and misplaced longings and misplaced satisfaction, and we don’t get to the deep cure, which is Christ and walking in the Spirit. And if we’re not careful, we can preach moral issues even in the scriptures, where we say things like, “Hey, Joseph, he resisted temptation. You need to do the same thing. And if David faced his giants, you can do it. Israel, they screwed up a lot, you can do better.” And we preach, “Do better, do better, do better,” when we should be preaching, “Christ is better, Christ is better.” So preach Christ.0:10:47.8 Spencer: Here’s the deal. We preach Christ as primary, and strategy as secondary. That’s key. We preach Christ as primary and strategy as secondary. Because you can’t keep up with strategy, you just can’t. New avenues of porn are popping up everyday, you can’t keep up strategy-wise. You can’t draw someone directions… I heard a guy named Paul Tripp, y’all know him, he gave this illustration I thought was great. He talked about… Is there anybody in here who this is your first time to camp? Okay, great. Great, great, great, great, great. So if I were to say to you, “Hey, can you drive to the grocery store and get me this or that?” Now, Andrews is very easy, because it is a road, basically. [chuckle] But if I were to say, “Can you drive to the grocery store?”, most people would be like, “Uh, maybe, I can probably find my way there.”
But here’s what we do with first-time staff members, we give them directions from camp to grocery store and back. And that’s great if their starting point is always camp and their ending point is always grocery store. Let’s say I start them off at my house, it’s only two added turns, but they’re lost, right? You give somebody directions from point A to point B, that’s all they can do. But imagine, I’ve lived here for 18 years, imagine if I could take the map of Andrews that’s in my head, with all the side streets, all the shortcuts, all the neighborhoods, and if I could take that and implant it in your head, then you could get to the grocery store from anywhere; you could find your way there from anywhere. You see where I’m going with this?
When you preach strategy, you can’t keep up. You can’t just give kids directions. “Alright, here’s how to beat porn, you go from point A to point B here.” Well, that sort of strategy, you can’t keep up. What if they bring up a different sort of problem? What about homosexual porn? What about, “I’m sleeping with my girlfriend”? What about this? You can’t keep up with strategy from everywhere, you have to teach them how to walk in the Spirit. You have to preach Christ. You have to zoom out and preach about the beauty of Christ, the ugliness of sin, holiness in general in the life of a believer, saying no to the flesh and yes to the Spirit. This isn’t a strategy level issue, it’s an issue of the Gospel changing hearts. It’s not you did more, it’s Christ did more. So unless our teaching takes things beyond application, beyond the practical to the cross, we’re gonna fall short. We’re gonna come back to this a little more in a minute to define kinda how do we get to the root. But I think most of the time this is why it’s not working, we’re just preaching to the problem. Now, when we talk about why it’s not working.
When we talk about a student who’s walking in victory, we’re not gonna mean a student who’s never tempted, we’re definitely not gonna mean a student that never falls. For a lot of students, fighting is winning. That’s just it, fighting is winning. You’re fighting? You’re good, keep it up, keep it up. Fighting is winning. So working doesn’t mean free from temptation. A person… A student who’s walking in victory is still being tempted, still struggling, always fighting, always looking at Jesus, always hoping in the victory that the Spirit provides. So we’ll come back to the heart. Number three, how should we address this issue? If we’re wanting to preach to the heart, how do we address this issue with parents and students? This is where it gets complex. Before I jump into parents and students, I wanna say on the issue of porn, y’all as youth pastors… There are some senior pastors in the room. As youth pastors, collaborate with your senior pastor on this issue.
Because porn is a church-wide issue, it’s not a teenage issue, right? 85% of grown folks are looking at porn twice a month, right? So how’s your pastor handling this? How are you as a church handling this issue? How are you preaching Christ? Collaborate with your pastor so that when you get an angry parent, that’s like, “Hey, he said masturbation in a session,” the pastor’ll be like, “Oh, absolutely, and I’m gonna say it this Sunday.” Collaborate with your pastor, [chuckle] so that you’re on the same page, so that you’re working together as a team. Your pastor will have your back, you’ll have the pastor’s back, work together as a team. So how do you address the issue of porn with parents? With parents, let’s start there; how do you address the issue of porn with parents? You have a wide range of parents, right? You got parents that might be introducing porn to their kids, to parents that are like, “Oh, my 17-year-old baby, he don’t know what porn is. He don’t. He’s got the purest little heart.” Bullcrap.
No, he don’t. Your sweet baby’s looking at porn in the basement. So you got a wide range. So let me give you a couple of things. Before you preach on porn, before you preach on porn, prep the parents. If you wanna step into a hornet’s nest, start talking about these issues without prepping the parents. You’re gonna get a lot of emails, a lot of phone calls. So first prep the parents. So number one, tell them what you’re gonna tell their kids. Tell parents what you’re gonna tell their kids. Talk about terms, tell them exactly what you’re gonna tell their kids. Talk about the heart, talk about… Emphasize how you’re gonna emphasize grace in this. Tell them what exactly you’re gonna tell their kids. Second point… We have five points for talking to parents. Second point, tell them why you’re gonna tell their kids this; why are you gonna tell their kids this. This is where porn stats are effective, they’re not particularly effective for students. No student is gonna see porn sites get more visitors than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter, and be like, “Dear Jesus, I’m done!” They’re gonna be like, “Huh.” That’s not gonna stop anybody, right?0:16:26.0 Spencer: But for parents, it may be eyeopening, and be like, “Oh my gosh!” So sometimes these stats are effective for parents. So tell them why you’re gonna tell their students. The average age a kid accesses porn is 11. Ask the parents, “How many of y’all have kids over 11?” How many of you in your youth groups have people over 11? Everybody. So what percentage chance are the kids in your youth group looking at porn? 100%. Almost, statistically, almost every kid in our youth group has seen or is seeing porn on a regular basis. Statistically. You would have to have a very large youth group statistically to have one kid that’s not. And here’s what’s interesting, here’s another thing you can tell the parents on why you’re gonna tell the kids this, what’s interesting is there’s a Swiss study done a year ago that says that 40% of parents incorrectly believe that their kids haven’t been exposed to porn. What that means is 93% of kids have seen it, but only 60% of parents believe it’s possible. Ain’t it crazy? Parents are oblivious to it. They think, “Oh, yeah, other people’s kids, but not my baby.”
Yes, your baby. Because remember, the people that are oblivious are in that 85% of people that are viewing porn one to two times per month. That’s crazy. “Oh, I’m looking at it, but I’m… They don’t even know what it is yet.” They do. So tell them why you’re gonna tell them. Because it is a huge problem, and parents in general, in general, a lot of parents believe it’s impossible. So, prep the parents. Number one, tell them what you’re gonna tell them. Number two, tell them why you’re gonna tell them. Number three, talk about the heart. Talk about the heart versus road blocks. Because if you have believing parents in your youth group, when you tell them that their kids are looking at porn, when you tell them statistically that their kids are looking at porn, believing parents are going to attack. But do you know where they’re gonna attack? Technology, that’s where they’re going. Believing parents, they wanna do something about the issue, and they’re like, “Oh no! Oh, I gotta help them out.”
“I’ll tell you how I’m gonna help out, I’m gonna put some road blocks in place, I’m gonna put some measures in place to ensure that they won’t be able to do that. I’m gonna help them out.” And this is great. But what parents want and the reality are totally different. Alright, so I’m gonna show a couple of videos that show, man, a parent gets Covenant Eyes for their kid, or a parent gets Ad Blocker Plus for their kid, they get a program for their kid, and here’s what they expect as far as road blocks goes, alright? So we have two different videos showing the expectations versus the reality. So kid’s looking at porn here, parent puts up a road block and says, “No more porn,” here’s what they’re expecting. Boom! Crash and burn. “No more porn, I’m out.” You go to college. Now, here’s the reality, alright? They put in this road block. We’re following this car right here. Alright, so look at all the cars stopped on the left. This car sees a road block, boom!
You know who roadblocks stop? People who wanna stop, people who wanna follow the rules. You think that your kid can’t get around an ad blocker? You think your kid can’t get around Covenant Eyes? You can’t keep up with technology. Alright, parents, you got an ad blocker in, what’s your solution for Hey Siri? What’s your solution for Alexa? What’s your solution for Snapchat? What’s your solution for the girl at school who’s sending pictures? What’s your solution for all that? The reality is, this is not a technology level problem, it’s a heart level problem, so when you’re talking to parents, explain that. We’re not gonna attack and have victory on tech or strategy, we need to get deeper to the root because a kid that wants to view it is gonna bypass those roadblocks. They’re gonna be suggestions.
Now, roadblocks are crucial for kids that wanna walk in the Spirit, they’re crucial. They keep kids who really want to walk in Christ, they keep a kid out of there. Accountability keeps a kid out of there, but that’s only if their heart wants to, right? So for parents, of course, we need to speak metaphorically and say, “Man, you gotta keep the junk food off the low shelf.” Yeah, absolutely. Don’t make it easy for them and provide good meals for them. Provide the good and hold back the bad. But if a kid, if the heart hasn’t been changed, they’re gonna find a way around that and access it anyways. So teach them about the heart and teach them about roadblocks.
Number four, teach parents… And this seems like pie in the sky kind of thinking like, “Oh yeah, man, I wish I had a parent who would have a conversation with their kids.” Teach parents how to have two kinds of conversation with their kids, teach them how to have proactive conversations with their kids about porn. This means pre-porn conversations, this means the only… Their conversations about sex with their kids, it can’t just be limited to that one birds and bees conversation they had when the kid was eight. They need to be having proactive conversations about sex. You realize if you have believing parents, they can minister, obviously. They can minister to their kids in a way that you never could. They’re gonna sit around one night watching a movie and a sex scene is gonna come on, and their actions are going to preach, their kids are watching, “We’re gonna watch this, we’re just gonna watch this happen?”
Or if their parents turn it off, man, what a sermon that preaches. But imagine if the parents turned it off and had a proactive conversation that said, “Now we’re not gonna watch this, and let me explain why.” Can you imagine how far that would go? Because then when the kid’s on the internet and the image pops up, the kid would be able to turn it off and explain to himself why, because it’s been example. So teach parents to have proactive conversations, they’re in the best possible scenario to do this. Take the time, teach parents how to preach Christ and depot for the issue. Realizing as our friend Jeff Martin says that dependency trumps strategy. Dependency trumps strategy.
Alright. Number five, so teach them… The second kind of conversation we need to teach parents how to have, teach them how to have reactive conversations. Teach parents how to respond when they catch their kids looking at porn. Teach them how to have reactive conversations. Teach them to listen patiently. Teach them to understand the situation precisely, how many times, what sort of porn, what context, what venue? Teach them about correction versus punishment. Teach them how to do a heart evaluation on their kid. Teach them how to tell their child, “I’ve got your back. You’re still my kid. You still belong.” They’re not pushing away their kid, they’re not condemning their kid. Teach parents to load up some grace because it’s gonna happen again and then again, and it’s gonna happen again, and they’re gonna have to love like Christ loves.
Some final parent thoughts. Some people I know are thinking, “Dude, it’d be great if I had one parent in my youth group that would do this.” Yeah, you’re right. It would be, it would be great. And if we had parents that did this, you all would be out of a job, right? If all parents were discipling their kids in the home, then you would be a church member somewhere, and that would be awesome. The reality is, you don’t have a lot of parents who do this. Maybe you collaborating with the pastor, maybe you can shepherd some parents into this, maybe you can. That’s the hope. We know that we do have a wide range of parents, and you’re gonna have to think about those complexities as you minister.
Now, as we talk about how to teach our students about porn, how to teach our students about porn, we have taught a billion different breakouts on this. Please go back and access those. But what I wanna talk about is, we do need to talk about things like accountability, we do. We do need to talk about accountability, but you can’t stop there, ’cause most accountability looks like one 15-year-old kid confessing to another 15-year-old kid, “Hey man, did you look at porn this week?” “Uh-huh, did you?” “Mm-hmm.” “Alright, let’s do better next week.” Alright, alright. “See you next week.” Next week, “Hey man. Did you look at porn this week?” “Mm-hmm.” [chuckle]
Alright, we gotta teach about accountability, ’cause this really does keep believing kids who want to be free, this does keep them from looking. They realize, “Oh man, I’ve gotta tell this guy.” So we do need to preach accountability, but we do need to go beyond it. This is a traffic cone, it’ll stop the kids that want to stop. We do need to talk about accessibility, we do need to talk about technology, we do need to talk about putting in roadblocks. We have multiple breakouts to talk about digital blockers and taking things to the Stone Age and avoid what you can, resist what you can, and fill your mind with Scripture, but these things are talking about symptoms, these things are talking about branches. We need to get to the root, ’cause this is not a strategy or a tech level problem or even a knowledge level problem, this is a heart level problem, right?
We’re gonna talk about roadblocks when we talk to students, but we have to get to the root. When we talk about the root, we’re talking about desires. Does a student want to be free from this or do they want to co-exist with this? When we talk about desires, this isn’t something that you can cook up on your own. If you’re a believer, the Holy Spirit is changing our desires, right? So a believing kid is gonna start to have his heart renewed, especially if they’re in the Scripture, they’re gonna start to have their heart renewed to where they start wanting what Christ wants, to where they’re not gonna wanna co-exist with this or they’re not gonna wanna manage it. But when we get to a student, we gotta ask, “Do you want to be free? Do you wanna be free to the point where you’re willing to do whatever it takes to be free?” Because the Spirit… When we talk about Galatians chapter five, we talk about Ephesians chapter four, we talk about Romans chapter six.
There’s power to fight sin. There’s power. Romans chapter 6, “If we’ve been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be reunited with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” That is reality from the Scripture. Look at what he says. “One who has died has been set free from sin.” Now if we have died with Christ, we believe we’ll also live with Him. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again. Death no longer has dominion over Him. There’s our hope. For the death he died, he died to sin once and for all, but the life He lives, He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Verse 12, preach this to students, “Let not sin therefore.” Was therefore therefore? In light of what he just said. Death has no dominion over Christ, so therefore in light of that, in light of the fact that Christ lives inside of you. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies.” Don’t let it be king. Don’t let it snap and you say, “Yes, sir.” “Don’t let sin therefore reign in your mortal body to make you obey its passions. Don’t present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and are members to God as instruments for righteousness, for sin will have no dominion over you since you’re not under the law, but under grace.” You don’t have to be enslaved to this. Death has no dominion over Christ, sin has no dominion over you. Students hear that, but in reality, a lot of them don’t want to be free.
If you limit access from porn without addressing the heart, a lot of times we’re creating dry drunks. You take a drunk, you lock him up in jail, we’ve limited access, but when he comes out of jail, you know what he’s gonna do? If the problem, if the root of the issue hasn’t been solved, he’s going right back to the bottle. If we limit access, but we don’t get to the root of the issue, we have a dry drunk in our youth group who’s yearning for this, whose desire is for porn, not for Christ. So our desires have to change. This is the root that we need real heart and desire change that only comes from the Holy Spirit, that only comes from Christ.
Ephesians 4 talks about this. It says, “That’s not the way you learn in Christ, assuming that you’ve heard about Him and were taught in Him as the truth is in Jesus to put off your old self… ” We preach this a lot, “To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires and put on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” That’s the way we preach it a lot. Put off the old and put on the new, but we forget the phrase that pays in the middle which is, “And be renewed in the spirit of your minds, in the bent of your minds, in your mindset, in the way that you think.” To put off the old and put on the new, something’s gotta change in our minds and our desires and that only happens through the Spirit. That only happens through the Spirit.
So think back to the map illustration. We’re teaching a kid how to walk in Christ, how to pursue the Lord, how to get to the root, which is his desires that are messed up. This is not a tech level problem. So when we start wanting to do what the Scripture wants us to do, our minds are starting to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. So running out of time. Let me highlight without going into… Just write down these verses. Let me highlight a couple things that you must talk about when you’re talking about porn, four things. First thing, we gotta talk about Godly sorrow versus worldly sorrow. Everybody’s sorry they got caught. 2 Corinthians 7:10, “For Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” What are you sorry about? Consequence of getting caught, loss of trust, loss of freedom, loss of family or a relationship with God? Godly grief produces repentance, so preach Godly sorrow versus worldly sorrow.
Number two. Preach not just confessing sin, but forsaking it. Proverbs 28:13, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes will obtain mercy.” Many confess, few forsake. You must put off the hold. We must be renewed in the spirit of our minds, but we’re still called to put off the old. There’s a difference. We hear students all the time that are like, “Man, I’m struggling with porn.” And I always ask, “Are you really or are you just looking at porn?” There’s a difference between struggling, between fighting and just looking at it. Put off the old. Are you fighting to put off the old? And when you talk about not just confessing but forsaking, is your forsaking short-term and rewards-based like, “I’m gonna do this so I can get access to my laptop again?” or is it long-term and Christ-centered? Remember for a lot of students fighting is winning.
Number three, the third thing that I think is the most important thing we need to preach when we’re preaching on porn is we need to preach hope. We need to preach hope in Christ, hope in Christ. 1 Corinthians 6, “Paint them a picture.” 1 Corinthian 6:9-11, “Do you not know the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindler will inherit the Kingdom of God.” That is terrible news because everybody’s in that. Everybody’s out on the first one, “Neither the sexually immoral.” Are you past puberty? You’re out. “Neither the sexually immoral.”
None of these will inherit the Kingdom of God, but then preach the hope of Verse 11. “And such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Preach hope to them. “Such were some of you.” Porn is not your identity anymore, Christ is. So from that identity, look to Jesus. Have your mind renewed by looking at the Scripture. Don’t get a strategy from point A to point B, but have your mind transformed by Christ so you can find your way wherever you are. Jesus died to forgive you for and set you free from porn is not just forgiveness in the past and heaven in the future, there’s a now aspect too, so when you preach, preach forgiveness for sure. Preach to them how, man, our sins are east to west, they’re under the ocean, they’re under foot, they’re gone, they’re disappeared like a mist. Preach all of those verses, we are forgiven, we’re forgiven, we’re forgiven, but then preach verses that say we’re transformed as well, and then paint them a picture how transformation is gonna look.
‘Cause a lot of times we ask and believe with forgiveness, but then we expect the transformations is all up to us, when the transformation is the power, the Spirit as well. Final thing, the fourth thing is when we preach about porn, don’t just preach about porn, preach the whole counsel, preach the whole counsel, preach about Christ, remember we don’t just limit the access to junk food, we give them healthy good food as well. I won’t go into this, but Thomas Chalmers wrote an essay called “The explosive power of a new affection”, and I love it. Even the title is thick. The explosive power of a new affection, explosive is like a power to be able to push out. The explosive power of a new affection. John Piper talks about this when he says he deals with a lot of guys who are dealing with the issue of porn and sexual sin, and he gives the illustration, what if you’re talking to a guy and he’s like, “Man, I can’t stop sleeping with my girlfriend, I just can’t.”
“And when I get in the in the moment and there is nothing I can do to stop.” And he says, “Okay, well, imagine this, imagine you’re in a tent with your girlfriend and a grizzly bear comes up, can you stop now?” “Yes, I can.” Because you had a stronger desire that pushed out that weaker desire, your desire to live pushed out that desire to get with that girl. And that’s what Thomas Chalmers is talking about here. The Explosive Power of a New Affection. You need a new stronger desire for Christ that’s stronger than your weak desire to look at images of sex on the screen. You need a stronger desire to preach the goodness of Christ, not just the badness of porn. Preach about the goodness of sex. Watch out, this is sacred ground, it’s not dirty ground, it’s sacred ground. Preach about the goodness of sex, focus on the big picture, developing students who study the Word of God, whose minds are being renewed so that they’re walking in the Spirit day-by-day, focus on the big picture and then zoom in as necessary. If you only give them porn fighting directions without a love for Christ, a dependency on the Spirit, a Christ centered identity, they’ll be back in your office again and again and again.
Bring it back to the Gospel, back to grace, teach them that your victory won’t come from your discipline alone, it won’t come without your discipline, but it won’t come from discipline alone. The last thing I’ll say and we’ll be done, I have to say this, because statistically, many of you are struggling porn as well. Statistically, and I say to you, brothers and sisters, fight, fight for purity. Fight for holiness. Statistically, many of you are struggling with this as well, and your purity matters, your holiness matters. I’m not talking about for ministries’ sake, I’m not talking about students’ sake. I’m talking about relationship with Christ sake. Your purity matters, and students will see you fight for purity, they’ll see you fight for holiness, and they’ll catch that good infection, don’t let them catch at a good infection for Georgia football instead, let them see a passion for holiness in you.
You don’t have to pull out all the nastiness from your past, they can see you fight for holiness today, they can see you turn off that song on the radio. Let them see you fight for holiness. But we do this for our relationship with Christ first, so make sure we’re personally demonstrating an example in dependence on God, so preach an example, love, forgiveness, grace, hope, toughness, discipline, and the body of Christ. I’m gonna close us, I’m gonna pray. This is a conversation we can continue this week though, and should. There’s youth pastors around you, and I would encourage you to network while you’re here. The funny thing about being at camp is that I know so many of you all, but you all don’t know each other, and there’s some good folks in this room and you all should get to know each other and talk about, “Man, how do you preach on this issue?” ‘Cause there are solid people in this room you need to network with, so please do that and I’d love to continue this conversation this week. Let me pray for us, Jesus, thanks for these men and women, and God, I pray that you would give them and me a passion for you.
God, I pray that we would have a passion for holiness, God I pray that in the areas of fighting sin, that we would not look to works, we’d look to fruit, that we’d walk in the Spirit rather than walking in our own works, God. I pray the we’d example and live this first and that we’d preach it to students that we preach it to parents. God I thank you for these men and women who are laboring week in week out of dealing with tough family situations, tough teenage situations, tough personal situations, God and I pray that this week would be a catalyst for real change and Lord we love you, in your name we pray. Amen.
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