Sabtu, 30 Mei 2015

Church, We Must Take This Seriously: Going to War Against Porn

Church, We Must Take This Seriously: Going to War Against Porn

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul makes the statement that sexual immorality should not even be named among those of us that God has set apart for Himself (Ephesians 5:3). The word Paul used in this text was a really broad term that means all forms of sexual immorality, but the fact of the matter is there are different and very specific forms of sexual immorality that have popped up in the culture and therefore affected the church throughout the centuries.
For instance, Paul wrote to the Corinthians about abstaining from sexual immorality, but specifically from prostitutes, because that was the most pervasive sexual issue in their context. Christian believers were continuing to visit prostitutes because that’s what they were used to doing. Through the history of the church, we have constantly needed to be taught about God’s general care for our sexual purity, but we also need to be spoken to specifically about sexually immoral practices we simply don’t think are bad.
If Paul were writing today, we are convinced that one of the primary practices he’d be addressing is the use of pornography.

Pornography and the Church Today

Pornography today is not what pornography was 25 years ago. The pervasive use of pornography, even in the church, has paralleled the growth in access to pornography. Up until the World Wide Web, and subsequently the smartphone, what was limited to a few times a year in a hotel room or a corner section of a convenience store is now in our pocket 24/7. Using pornography is no longer a sin we have to guard against just a couple times a year, but every day of our lives.
It’s worth saying, from everything we can tell, this is a battle that we in the church are not winning, and we are deeply concerned about the impact it’s having on a generation of Christians. While not necessarily visible to all of us, the effects of pornography are real and deep.
Porn places an absolutely incorrect image in our minds of God’s design for sex. What was meant for one man and one woman for a lifetime, as a picture of Christ’s unbreakable covenant with His bride the church, is now reduced to a cheap thrill. What was meant to be the purest expression of selflessly giving oneself to another has been twisted into an act of taking for selfish pleasure. What was meant to be the culmination of pure, undefiled intimacy and knowing has been denigrated to two physical bodies pleasing themselves with the other.
Besides perpetuating a false meaning of sex, and perhaps more importantly, pornography is weighing down a generation of Christians with guilt and hindering many from living fully on mission for God.
Think about it. If you are walking around with the guilt of looking at pornography, are you going to witness to your neighbor? Are you going to lead your family in devotionals, ask your wife about her walk with Jesus, or answer the call to go to the nations?
I think it’s one of Satan’s greatest ploys. If he can get an entire generation walking around completely burdened with the guilt of sexual sin, the last thing in the world they are going to do is go passionately live for the name of Jesus.
All things considered, we believe the pervasive consumption of pornography is the greatest internal threat facing the church today. S

This Means War: 6 Ways to Fight Sexual Immorality

1. Start viewing your fight against sexual sin not as a struggle but as a war. Sexual sin is at war with you and aims to send you to hell (1 Peter 2:11). To treat it as anything less than a mortal enemy is to make a grave mistake.
2. Fight imagery with imagery. When you are tempted to lust after sexual immorality, picture Christ suffering in agony to pay for your sins. The images are virtually incompatible.
3. Believe when God asks you to obey Him in your sexuality, He’s not withholding good from you. He’s actually offering you a greater good. When you’re walking in faithfulness with God, rest assured you are not missing out. He gives fullness of joy in His presence and there is nothing better (Psalm 16:11).
4. View others, including those you’re attracted to and including those in pornography, as eternal beings. When you view porn you not only objectify people—ceasing to see them as God does, as eternal beings made in His image—but you perpetuate an industry that thrives on suppressing people into subhuman roles and even outright enslavement.
5. Ponder the long-term consequences of sin. This is helpful because for all of us, this is the last thing on our mind when our heart is set on something we know will feel good in the moment. Proverbs likens it to carrying burning coals against your chest and expecting to not be burned (Proverbs 6:27).
6. If you are mired in sexual sin, don’t pray for a change in behavior, pray for a change in heart. You can read this article and be moved to purity for any reason—to stop funding a corrupt and exploitative industry, to spare yourself long-term consequences, or even just to alleviate the guilt you’re tired of carrying—and it’s likely that purity won’t last. The truth is if you want to really see a profound movement toward purity in your life, God needs to change your heart.
We know this last point in particular because we saw it in the life of King David. Following perhaps a more egregious sexual sin than anyone of us will ever commit ourselves, he knew the true depth of his offense against God and the true need for God to intervene.
Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.
(Psalm 51:9-12)

Fighting Pornography

Below Matt Carter and Jeff Mangum of The Austin Stone Community Church preaching team address what it means to fight pornography in the church today.

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