Why To Say No When Lust Says Yes
By: The John Ankerberg Show
August 16, 2014
Message, Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor
The title of the message this evening, if you are taking notes, “Why To Say No When Lust Says Yes.” Why to say no when lust says yes, or how to say no would be a more applicable way to say it. How to say no when lust says yes.
This summer, Kandi and I had the opportunity to go to Florida. How many people like to vacation in Florida? We are from the south, the deep south, so we like to go back to the beach. And in order to get to Florida from here, you go down the interstate for a lengthy period of time through Alabama, and then you have to get off the Interstate where you are used to cruising about 70 miles an hour and then you make this detour, I don’t know why this is, but through back roads, right? And then you go from 70 to 65 to 55 to 45 and believe it or not, there are places…you know what I am talking about…that you are going 35 miles an hour. Now the problem is, if you are going 35 miles an hour, it feels like you are crawling, right? You feel like you could walk faster than you are driving. But the reality is, 35 miles an hour is pretty fast. But what happens is and the reason it feels like you are crawling is you have been in an extended period of time going at break neck speed and now you have been forced to slow down, so it feels like you are going nowhere fast, but you are actually going pretty fast.
It is the same thing that happens when you take your hand from warm water and then it into lukewarm water, it feels like the lukewarm water is cold in comparison. And the reason is because you had your hand in a hotter temperature of water.
What happens to some of us when we are…it happens to all us, when we are exposed to sexual immorality is there is only one way to stop because you can’t just slow down because it feels like you want more. You always want more. You want to fuel this sexual desire that you have. And so the only way to combat sexual immorality, to combat pornography or anything that is unpleasing to God, is to pull over and park. There is no other way to do. We have to reset ourselves through repentance, crying out to a holy God to ask Him for help. Whenever we pollute our minds with ungodly images or intimacy or relationships, what that does is, it shows us and it makes us look at normal relationships as unsatisfying or even insignificant.
And so I know, in here today, there are many of you who are either dealing with pornography now or sexual immorality, you are either married to someone who is dealing with this now, your next-door neighbor is dealing with it and you don’t know about it or a co-worker is dealing with it or you have a family member who is open about it. But the fact of the matter is, we are all dealing with this. And if we are not dealing with it personally, we are dealing with it in this nation. It is a epidemic and that is an understatement as I am about to share with you in just a few moments.
And so what I want to do today is this, I want to give you information, both Biblical and secular to prepare you to diagnose where you are to either (a) avoid this sin which plagues so many people or (b) to eradicate this sin from your life so that you will save your soul, so that you save your soul and your body in the process.
If you have your Bibles, I hope you do, turn with me to I Corinthians Chapter 6, I Corinthians Chapter 6 and Verse 12. As you are turning there, let me read you a quote that I haven’t gotten over this week. It is by a medical doctor who has done a lot of research on the effects of pornography upon people. And he says, “Now because of modern science, we are able to identify that the underlying addiction to pornography is chemically identical to a heroin addiction.” Let me say that again. The underlying addition, the same desire that you have for porn, is chemically similar, identical to a heroin addiction.
So what I am about to say to you, this is no playing or joking matter here. This is a real addiction that we need to address and it effects all of us, whether you are married or single, whether you are divorced or remarried, it effects everyone in here today.
So if you have your Bibles and you are at I Corinthians Chapter 6 Verse 12, say “word.” The Word of the Lord.
“Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is helpful. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be brought under the control of anything. Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will do away with both of them. The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? So should I take a part of Christ’s body and make it part of a prostitute? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that anyone joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For Scripture says, The two will become one flesh. But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Run from sexual immorality! Every sin a person can commit is outside the body. On the contrary, the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
Father, we need Your help this morning or this evening, as we prepare and tackle a very difficult passage of scripture. God, we want to be informed by Your Word and we need Your help, so send Your Spirit, manifest Your presence. God, I am praying now that at the end of this message, people who were currently struggling would respond and say, I need help. I am no longer going to be involved in this activity. Be with me as I preach this message to bring glory and honor to Your Son, Jesus. We ask it in His name, and everyone said, Amen.
Paul starts right out in I Corinthians Chapter 6 Verse 12 and he says that everybody was created for a relationship. So, if you are taking notes, you can write down, God created you for a relationship. He created you for relationship. Notice what he says. “Everything is permissible to me.”
Now, on three occasions what Paul does, if you see it in quotes in your Bible, he is quoting the popular sayings of the day. That is what people were saying, I am free in Christ. I can literally do whatever I want to do. I am free to do that. And Paul says, you are free by grace, but all things are not helpful. That word “helpful” there is the word for profitable. In Christ, I am free to do all things, yes, but we don’t take advantage of all things because some things take advantage of us. And as Paul goes on to say, everything is permissible for me, but I will not be brought under the control of anything. He is quoting the prevailing view of the Corinthian church back then. And they were saying that since I am free in Christ, I can indulge in anything. I can take advantage of anything. The Corinthians yielded to the appetites of their bodies. If you had looked at the back of the chariots back then, they would have had this bumper sticker on there, “If it feels good, do it.” Right? That would have been the prevailing view of the church or of the community which had infected the Corinthian church back then.
And I want to submit to you, it is the same attitude that prevails in our culture, in our country today. Wouldn’t you agree? So what he is about to say is, he builds this argument as to who you are in Christ before he tells you what to do because of who you are in Christ.
Here is the sub point of the first one, your identity is in Christ. Yes, you are built for relationship, but you are built for a relationship with Christ. Look at what he says. You are free to serve Christ, Verse 13. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food.” And will destroy both one and the other. He will destroy both of them. “The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.”
Basically what people were saying here is this, they were saying that since the body was going to be destroyed anyway when we die, why not indulge in things we want to do. Now notice what Paul doesn’t say. Paul doesn’t say that since the soul departs from the body at death, you can do whatever you want. Paul believes that there will be a bodily resurrection, that your body will come together with your soul on the last day.
It is funny, my sister called me today and she said, “My pastor is talking about how the dead in Christ will rise first.” I said, I Thessalonians 4. And she said, “What does that mean?” I said, “Well, the body will rise with the soul. The dead will rise first and then believers, I believe will be raptured to be with Christ.” What Paul says is, because of that, don’t waste your body.
I love what one commentator said. He said, “Paul never promises redemption from the body, but he promises redemption of the body.” That is pretty deep. He never promises redemption from the body but redemption of the body. And since the body is going to be resurrected one day, it is not meant for sexual immorality.
Now I am going to tell you about this term in just a moment, but let me just say, that is the Greek word “pornea” where we get the English word, (what?) pornography. Paul explains that the Corinthians are living out of character for them. Christ saved you to be like Him and to look like Him and you are living out of character. Your identity is in Christ.
Secondly, your intimacy should be with Christ. Write it down. Your intimacy should be with Christ. Yes, God created us for intimacy with other people, but first and foremost, He created us for intimacy with Himself. Look at it, Verse 15.
“Do you not know your bodies are members of Christ? So I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never.” Paul says I am not just to live my life for Christ, I am to live before Christ is in me. Christ is dwelling in me. And I should never subject myself to any kind of evil that would jeopardize my relationship with Him. We are called to be holy and set apart.
Look at Verse 16, “Do you not know that he who is joined to the prostitute becomes one body with her? For as it is written, The two will become on flesh.” This is an astonishing argument he uses here. He is talking about pornography, he is talking about prostitution, he is talking about sexual immorality and he goes back to Genesis for his argument. He says, don’t miss this, the two will become one flesh but he…and this is a great argument, don’t miss this…the two will become one flesh but he…and this is a great argument against homosexuality which we will talk about that in just a few weeks. But he says, the two, two different distinct individuals will become one flesh. But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.”
Paul is on a roll here. If he was preaching, you would be what? Amening, right? We don’t “amen” here unfortunately. I would like amens. I don’t know why we don’t amen here. Bro. Tim amens here. It is okay for you to amen here. But Paul would get amens at this point because what he says is, when a believer engages in any kind of sexual activity with another person, they are joined together. You may think the relationship is flippant if you are dating. You may break that relationship off at one point, but you are joined as one sexually, spiritually, emotionally. That is why it is so difficult if you engage in sexual activity with someone and break it off down the road, to get over that person. Why? Because God made you to get together with that person and you did it outside of the confines of marriage. You were joined together temporarily and God says that was meant for you to be joined together permanently.
Paul makes his case from Genesis. He says, “The two will become flesh.” It is the idea of being fused together. It is like taking two parts and super gluing them together. You are fused together as one.
And notice what Paul is doing here. He is not worried about this temporary fling or behavior that someone uses another person as a commodity for sexual gratification. That is not what he is concerned about. He is concerned about you diffusing yourself from Christ and being fused together with a person. You see, it always comes back to the same thing. We can do it God’s way, according to God’s word, or we could do it our way according to the world’s opinion. And we do it our way according to the world’s opinion, there are consequences for our actions. Consequences for our actions.
One commentator said, “Since we are one with Christ and the sex sinner is one with his partner, Christ is placed in an unthinkable position in Paul’s reasoning.” That is a pretty interesting quote. Christ is not personally tainted with sin any more than a sunbeam that shines on garbage is polluted by it. But Christ’s reputation is dirtied because of the association.
You see, when you engage in premarital sex or pornography, what you are doing is, you are dragging Christ through the mud. You are ruining His reputation to a lost world. This gives new meaning to an affair. It gives new meaning to adultery. It gives new meaning to premarital sex or pornographic engagement. You see, when you engage in sexual immorality, you drag the Lord’s name through the mud and you defile your bodies in the process.
So Paul says you were created for more than that. You were created for intimacy with Christ and your identity is with Christ. Yes, you were created for a relationship with another person, but first and foremost, you have to work on your relationship with the Creator, right?
Then he gets into the meat of the argument and that is, Paul says, God designed you. Here it is, for righteousness. He designed us for righteousness. I said this last week and I will say it again next week. Your marriage was never meant to make you happy, it was meant to make you what? Holy. That is radically different than our culture, right? What our culture is saying.
Verse 18. This is the first of two imperative in the text. Paul says, “Run from sexual immorality.” You can circle the first one. I will you the second one in a second. Run is an imperative. It is a command. Run from sexual immorality. Why, Paul? Because every sin a person can commit is outside the body. On the contrary, that is what the world is saying, every sin is outside the body. Paul says, on the contrary, I get to differ. The person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body.
When Paul says “run,” in the language of the New Testament, it is the word where we get “sprint.” It is the word where we get, don’t turn back. It is a headlong run in one direction. What he says is, the body is not meant for sexual immorality. That is the word “pornea” again.
Now what is pornography, Pastor? Pornea is any sexual relationship of any kind with someone other than your spouse. Of any kind, whether it is with a screen or a photo or a person, if it is someone other than your wife or your husband, it is pornography or pornea. When your affection is drawn to a picture or a person, it thwarts a relationship with God, whether you a single or you are married. You see, sexual immorality goes beyond the bonds of prostitution.
There were literally thousands of prostitutes at the cult temple of Aphrodite. And the Corinthians would just go at will up to the mountain, they would engage in prostitution. Now you have to understand, in the cult, these women gave their bodies willingly to the gods to please the people as an opportunity to serve their false gods. So in their mind, they were brain-washed into believing this was a good thing, this was an act of worship. And the men believed they were worshipping by participating in this lewd sexual act. It was so warped and twisted.
And so what Paul says is, I know this is going on in the community, but don’t engage in this. Now we are not far from there. You are thinking, well, that is pretty crazy. We are not far from there. You see, pornography, whether it is with a magazine or a website, is sin. Because what is happening is, it affects our heart. And that is what is at stake here, your affection to the Lord.
Now what I am about to share with you is literally going to blow you away. The epidemic of pornography in the world today is going to take you aback, and so bear with me as we go through these statistics of what is happening today unbeknownst to many of you as I was oblivious to it as well.
According to the Journal of the Internet Law, in 2005, pornography accounted for 69% of the total Pay Per View purchases; 69%, outpacing sports, outpacing video games and outpacing news. From 2001 to 2007, six years, internet porn went from a one billion dollar a year industry to three billion in six year. Billion with a B. According to Web sense, the porn sites went from 88,000 in 2000 to 1.6 million in 2004. Let me say that again. It went from 88,000 in 2000 to 1.6 million in 2004 and they are probably astronomically different today. In 2002, there were 470 major Hollywood pictures that hit the movies in comparison to over 11,300 hard-core main stream porno films. Think about that. 470 Hollywood movie, 11,300 hard-core porn films hit the market. After an analysis of 400 million web searches from July, 2009 to July, 2010, researchers concluded that 13% of every search that was conducted was for an erotic form of sexuality. 13% of all the searches in a year and the number one word that was used in the search was “youth.” Now that should take you aback. Youth was the number one word associated with erotic sex.
If you think computers are the problem, computers are a thing of the past. It has now moved to the Smartphone. In fact, analysts believe that most of the viewing of porn will come under the platform of a Smartphone After an analysis of one million hits on Google, in the year 2006, they came to realize that one out of every five searches on a Smartphone were for porn. One out of every searches on a Smartphone through Google were for porn.
Teenagers are the ones affected the most by it. In 2012, True Research conducted an online survey of over 2,000 teens ages 13-17 and here is what is happening to your teens: 32% of teens admitted to intentionally accessing nude or pornographic content on line. 13-17 year olds here. Of those, 43% say they look at it every week. 70% of youth between the ages of 15-17 said they have accidentally seen something that was inappropriate in the form of pornography – 70%. Seven out of ten of our teenagers have seen it accidentally.
Across the pond, things are worse. In 2010, 14-16 year olds from the North London secondary schools were surveyed and they found out that nearly one-third of the students, 15-17…14-16, sorry, had viewed sexual images from the time they were ten or under, okay? 14-16 had admitted that they had seen sexual images on line when they were ten years old or younger! One third of them. 81% said that they look at porn on line at their home. 75% said their parents have never talked to them about the problem of it. 75% never heard of the problems of pornography.
What about females? Well, in 2003, one study found that 34% of females had admitted to intentionally accessing internet pornography. There is someone in our church right now who is being counseled, a couple where the wife is addicted to pornography. You don’t hear about this, but this is happening among us.
Christians are not immune to this epidemic. In 2006, a survey reported that 50% of all Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to pornography. You know, men and women are a little different because men are stimulated by images; women are stimulated by words because women are emotional, which is why women get involved in these sex novels, right?
Now one I am going to submit to you right now, which you may not think is a big deal, but it is a big deal, is this series that is come out called “Fifty Shades of Gray.” You have probably heard of it. If you haven’t, there is a movie coming out about it. Let me just say to you simply, if you are reading this as a woman, you are accessing and subjecting yourself to porn. That is pornography.
Well, Robby, what is it about? We never heard of it. Let me give you a synopsis. The book is about submission, bondage, dominance and pseudo-masochism. It gives a skewed view of what love really is and it is based on a character, who is the main character, Christian Gray who has been troubled since he was a child by things that happened in his past. The protagonist in the story, Anastasia Steele says about Christian Gray, he doesn’t even love himself. In fact, that is the reason why he is undeserving of love from anyone else.
Now the movie is coming out, of all times, on Valentines Day. On Valentines Day. And I just want to say something to you as your Pastor, do not subject yourself to this trash! Do not subject yourself. Don’t pay the movie industry to continue making movie like this. Why? Don’t support the system that it promotes. I could have preached the whole sermon on this, but I don’t have time. But we live in a world of sex trafficking, sex crimes and sexual abuse and it is at epidemic levels.
What happens is, if we buy into the idea of Christians supporting an idea of portraying someone skewed in their domination of women or the affliction of pain being something positive or healthy, that is a sin.
Porn affects pastors unfortunately. In 2002, they polled 1351 pastors. 54% of the pastors said that they had viewed internet pornography over the last 12 months. And this will shock you: 30+% said they have looked at pornography over the last month. As we prayed today before I came out to preach this message, we realized the fact that one third of all pastors that will preach today and tomorrow have viewed something inappropriate over the last 30 days. God help us! God help us!
To say that this is an epidemic is an understatement. Now I know what you are saying, this doesn’t affect me, Pastor. I don’t have a problem with it. Bill Perkins said, “If you think you can’t fall into sexual sin, then you are godlier than David, smarter than Solomon and stronger than Samson.”
Now why do we flee sexual immorality? Paul tells us right here. Don’t miss this. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. And I could camp here forever. But let me just share with you what he is saying here. He is saying that sin in the eyes of God is all the same. God doesn’t judge you differently based on different sins. He always judges sin the same. But there are some sins, don’t miss this, that affect the body differently to degree, ramification and consequence. And what he says is, if I am listing sins from one to a million, the number one sin that will ruin your body is sexual sin. He wouldn’t say this but you could say this, it would be better for you to murder someone outside the body than to stain your own body. That is what he would say here. He probably wouldn’t say that. I would say that…take that off the recording. Other sins…I am playing. It is true though, I mean that is kind of how you would think of it.
John Calvin said this, “Other sins do not leave the same filthy stain on our bodies as fornication does.” I will give you a picture of how this works. Guys in my discipleship group, some of them are in here today, know that I like to teach on a white board. Anybody like to teach on a white board? I am always teaching on a white board. Some of our staff do as well.
So one day I am teaching on the white board and I have these dry erase markers. Well, for Rig and Ryder, they think it is a big coloring board. Okay. I guess it is white and they see all these markers. But they leave the caps off the markers. And so a couple of years ago, I went to write and I said, this doesn’t work. I threw that one away. Got the next one. That didn’t work. And so I went to the drawer and I was fumbling through the drawer and I was trying to teach while I was fumbling and I pulled out a marker and I began to draw on the board the lesson. I drew on the board the whole lesson and I said, now let me share with you something else. And I took the eraser and I went to erase the board. And I realized I had drawn on my board with a permanent marker. Okay? Have you ever done that before? Now once the permanent marker goes on there, it is ruined, right? You can’t…I mean, literally, I think we tried to clean it but we never really got it clean.
Viewing pornography is like taking a permanent marker to your soul. Once it is there, you can’t get rod of it. It is like drinking spiritual cyanide for your spirit, right? It is like ingesting spiritual cyanide in your body. And once the images, guys, go in the mind, it is nearly impossible to get them out. It is nearly impossible to get them out.
That is why Paul says, flee from it. Don’t play around with it. Don’t toy with it. Don’t look at it. Flee from it. And then he says, here is why. Why do we flee from immorality, Paul? Because it severs your relationship with God and it sabotages your relationship with others. It severs your relationship with God and it sabotages your relationship with others.
Let me tell you something, single man or woman. The longer you linger with pornography, the harder your marriage is going to be in the future. Do you want to be sure that you are going to struggle in your marriage in the future, continue looking at porn. You are almost destined to fail because you have this skewed view of what relationship is, what love is, what affection is like.
Why don’t we do that? Here is why Paul says we do that. Here is how he ends and I love how he ends on a high note. He says, God created you for relationship. God designed you for righteousness. But God redeemed you for His glory.
He ends on a high note because this is a tough passage, Paul, but look how he ends. Verse 19. “Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary.” I love the Holman. “The sanctuary of the Holy Spirit whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
That is the second imperative in the text. You can circle it. Glorify God. It is a good phrase for you. Flee from sin and follow God. That is a great picture that Paul paints here. And what he does here is he describes the connection with the body in the Old Testament Temple or Sanctuary. Even the pagans understood that the Jews revered the Temple. The Temple was a sacred place. It was a place where God dwelt. The Sanctuary was where the presence and the power of God was. Even the pagans knew that. Only the Levites, the priests, could go into the Temple and only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies. It was set apart and sanctified.
For Paul to say that your body…now he is talking plural here, the entire body of Christ…your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit would have blown their minds back then. What he is saying is basically this, it is not your possession. When God set you free from something, He didn’t set you free to go do what you want…watch this…you went from being enslaved from one thing to being enslaved to another thing. You see the better word here, the Holman gets it right, is slave. It is not servant. You see, a servant had rights and opinions and ideas. A slave had none of that. You see a slave could be sold at any time. A slave could be traded at any time. A slave could even be killed if the master wanted the slave killed.
And what Paul says is this: you were bought with a price. It is the idea of one slave exchanging masters for another slave. When you came to Christ…don’t miss this…you were set free by God’s grace. Aren’t you glad? From sin, but you are now enslaved to serve Christ. You have lost the right to do whatever you want with your own body. You have lost the right. We have lost the right to do that. Why? Because Christ has set us free. So take care of the body. That is what he is saying.
Now we have a great staff here at Brainerd. We have a great custodial staff. They keep this place clean. They touch up the walls. They vacuum the buildings. We even have volunteers that come on Sunday morning. They pick up the trash after you leave Saturday night. They will pick up the trash after you leave. They will pick up the bulletins off the seats. We go to great lengths to keep this place clean. But sadly, when it comes to our Temple, our own sanctuary, sometimes we turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to our own bodies.
What Paul says is, your body is infinitely greater than a church building. Infinitely greater. You are a vessel of righteousness, set apart as holy. God owns the deed to your body. Did you know that? You have lost the right to do what you want with yourself. And Jesus didn’t buy it with just walking in a room and placing money down on the table and saying, I want him for a thousand. I will take her for a thousand. He didn’t do it that way. He didn’t even walk in and trade something that He had. He didn’t even sell something that He owned. When Jesus Christ paid for your freedom, don’t miss this, He paid for it with His life! His body! And every time you and I engage in sexual immorality, guess what happens? We diminish and minimize the price that was paid through the death, the burial and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Friends, you were saved for something or you are never just saved from something, you are always saved for something. Not just from something, you are saved for something. It gives new meaning to defilement, right? It gives new meaning to redemption.
But Robby, we want to know what to do. We really want to know what to do. We don’t know how to battle because we are battling. We are in this flesh. He separated us from the sin penalty, but we still are under sin’s power in a sense because we are in the world and we are influenced by the enemy. So how do we do this?
Let me give you a picture. When I was learning how to drive, I took Driver’s Ed. Kandi and I were talking about this the other day. In Driver’s Ed, if you remember, they would teach you that when you are approaching the Interstate…now, no one does this, particularly not in Chattanooga, but no one does this. They would never do this in New Orleans, but I know they don’t do it here. When you get to about a mile or a mile and a half from the exit, you are supposed to turn on (what?) the turn signal. Now what we did in New Orleans, we never turned on the turn signal because if I turned on the turn signal, I couldn’t sneak in on you, so I never did that and I apologize in advance if I cut you off. I just was trained in New Orleans on the speedway via 10. But anyway, but you are supposed to turn on the signal, right, about a half mile out. And then you get into the turning lane which to your left is dotted white lines, right? These dotted white lines. And then if you notice, there is a break from the dotted white lines to the solid white line and that is called the point of no return. Now once you get past the dotted to the solid, you are supposed to get off the Interstate. You cannot get on, back on again. Even if you made a mistake, even if you feel like you have to change directions, you cannot get back on. You have to get off. You are forced to get off the Interstate, right?
Let me take you back to Genesis. When Eve was in the Garden, the serpent himself started to lead her to the place of no return. She looked at the fruit. She lingered around the tree. She lingered. And then she longed for the fruit. And at that point, it was the point of no return. She could not turn back from that point. Friends, come in real close. If you linger too long, you begin to long and when you long, it is the point of no return. So we don’t attack sin when we are longing. That is too late. We have to do preventative measures now in order to protect ourselves then.
So let me give you two protective measures of how to say to lust and yes to God. Here is how. I want to give you some real-world practical advice. If you are struggling with this, take notes. If not, take notes, you will. If you are breathing, you are going to struggle with it. Okay, I don’t care if you are a man or a woman.
One of the things we have got to realize is that sin enters through the eye gate. That is what messed Eve up. Most sin enters through the eye gate. So she looked, she lingered and then she longed. Here is the first one, taking a page from Paul here. Simply flee sexual immorality. Now what does that mean for you. Write it down. That means if you are engaged in any kind of pornographic immoral behavior, sexting, texting, chatting online, connecting with old girlfriends or boyfriends, any kind of immoral, unappropriate behavior, inappropriate behavior, end it now. Why? Because you cannot live for God and look at porn, period! Let me say that again. You cannot live for God and look at porn, period! Don’t fool yourself. You just can’t do it. Why? Because porn is idolatry. It is idolatry and it is adultery.
Let me tell you why it is idolatry. Because any time you worship something that is carved, created or fabricated, whether it is a picture or a person, it is idolatry. And Paul said in Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor give thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened,” watch this, “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped created things or images made to look like mortal man, birds or animals or reptiles.” So when you are looking at a picture on a screen or lusting at a person in person, it is idolatry because your affection is not for God or your spouse.
It is also adultery. Jesus made this connection for us and basically what Jesus was saying was that if you have affection for someone or some thing other than God or your spouse, it is adultery. You see, when your vertical relationship is out of whack, it affects all the horizontal relationships around you.
Flee sexual immorality! Let me give you the second one. In other to flee sexual immorality and prevent sexual immorality from entering, you need to guard your heart. Guard your heart above all else. Kandi’s life verse, for it affects everything you do. Heart is mind. Let me give you a good Psalm. Psalm 101 Verse 3. “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” So what do you do? If you have a lust problem? Ruthlessly eliminate this problem now. It is easier to put out a flicker than to extinguish a flame. Let me say that again. Some of you missed it. It is easier for you to put out a flicker, a little flicker of lust than it is to put out a roaring flame or a fire or a forest fire. If you don’t believe me, ask Chris Fryar, he will tell you, right? It is easier to combat it now than it is over time.
Now deal with uncontrolled lust now. How do you do that? Let me give you a couple of ways. The first way is this: admit you have a problem. Admit you have a problem. The first step, and nobody gets here because they don’t want to admit it. I don’t have a problem, everybody else has a problem but I don’t have a problem. You have to admit you have a problem.
Secondly, confess your sin to God. Your sin is not just against your spouse if you are married, not against your future spouse if you are single, it is against God. When David sinned against God in Psalm 51 he said what? You and you alone…against You have I sinned, right? God, I have sinned against you. Ask God for mercy if you are dealing with this now. Don’t forget this. Your sin may run deep, but God’s grace is deeper. Your sin may run deep. It may affect so many different areas of your life, but God’s grace is greater.
Next, pray for God’s strength. Ask God for a filling of His Holy Spirit. You need help. We all need help, but in this area, you are going to need a lot of help.
The next thing is, you need to set up an accountability group. You will never battle and see victory over sin alone. You just won’t do it. So set up an accountability group. Find some people in your life. Come to Celebrate Recovery which is a great ministry we have here where people are struggling with sin, just like all of us, but they have seen victory. And you need to be around people like that.
Here is a rule of thumb. If something has to be done in secret, it is probably sin. Write that one down. It is a good one. If something has to be done in secret, it is probably sin. So if you are hiding something from someone, I don’t know if it is sin or not, Pastor, I am hiding it. It is probably sin.
Guys, let me tell you what helped me to deal with lust in my own life. Bounce the eyes! The greatest technique I can teach you. Girls, you could use it, too. Bounce your eyes. Every Man’s Battle was a book I read years ago and what the book says is basically this. Here is the cliff notes version. The first time is a look. The second time is a linger. The third time is lust. Okay? So you don’t even have to get to two, just start with one. You can’t help but look at a woman or a pop up or something else, but you can help how you respond to that. So you can look once, that is fine. Bounce your eyes. Another way to say it is, just dribble your eyes like you dribble the basketball, right? Because it is nearly impossible to remove these filthy images from your mind once they have entered your mind.
Here is a third one. Set up perimeters in your house. Parents, listen to me. If you think your kids are not exposed to this, you are fooling yourselves. You need to be proactive with this, so lets set up parameters. Look in your bulletin. We have tons of information to help you. If you have kids with ipads, set up Kirby which is a system that monitors them. If you have television, set up parental controls. If you have your own computer, set up Covenant Eyes. All of our staff have this on their computers. Do not leave this to chance. This will take you out.
Finally, here is the one that I think will help the most. You need to fill your heart with the Word. You need to fill your heart with the Word. As soon as you are attacked…what did Jesus do when Jesus was battling the enemy? He was quoting Scripture. You need to fill your mind and your heart and saturate your life with the Word. Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden your Word in my heart so that I might not sin against You.”
And then finally, just a caveat, START NOW. Listen to me, start now. Run, sprint, don’t look back. How do you flee sexual immorality? Never reconnect with an old boyfriend or girlfriend on Facebook if you are married, for any reason. For any reason. If you are friends with some old girlfriends from the past, go home tonight and defriend them all, all of them. There is no need for you to be friends with an old person, an old friend from Facebook, an old girlfriend from Facebook, period! Okay. That is the first thing.
If you are texting someone other than your wife at the office, before the office, at home, on the weekends, late at night, STOP IT! Stop it! It is not pleasing to the Lord. It is a recipe for disaster. There is no need to do that. Never ride to lunch in the car with a woman or man of the opposite sex that is not your wife, for any reason. Don’t go…I can’t tell you how many times, Paul and I travel. Thank God, I always travel with someone. If someone calls me to book an event, I say I can come but I have someone who travels with me. Why do I do that? Because I am protecting myself, right?
But Paul and I will go. It is amazing how many people in restaurants and lounges are hanging out for business gatherings after they have worked for the day on a business trip with people other than their wives or their husbands. Don’t do that! Well, Robby, everybody else is doing that. I know, Paul thought the same thing. That is why he said, flee sexual immorality.
If you are reading raunchy, sexy novels, throw them away! Don’t fill your mind with garbage.
Here is the final one. If you own a computer, you should never have a computer or a phone or an ipad without accountability software on it, period. Jesus talked about immorality. In fact, He talked about it in the Sermon on the Mount. I don’t know if you know this. He addressed it in the Sermon on the Mount. Here is what He said, Matthew 5 Verse 29. “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away, for it is better for you to lose one of your body parts than for the whole body to be thrown in hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut if off and throw it away, for it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than your whole body to be thrown in hell.” What is at stake here is your soul. So if your computer causes you to sin, let me just be frank with you, get rid of the computer. If your phone causes you to sin, then you have to borrow the phone or find a pay phone. It is better for you to save your soul, Jesus says, than to be separated for eternity.
Let me encourage you today. There is hope for you. I love you. That is why I am preaching this to you. I love you so much that I want the best for you. And there is mercy for you if you call out to God today. Don’t wait. Don’t say this is something we can put off. Cry out to the Lord today. Ask God for forgiveness for prostituting your body to the world. And run to the Lord and say, God, cleanse me of all unrighteousness. I don’t want to try to live for You and lust after the world. Would you do that today? As we bow our heads, would you do that, as you begin to pray to the Lord. If you are struggling with something, if you know someone who is struggling with something, ask God right now for a filling of the Holy Spirit, knowing that God cannot fill if there is garbage and immorality in your life.