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Summary: This sermon looks at five opening questions about pornography.

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FIVE STARTING QUESTIONS:

1. HOW SUBSTANTIAL A PROBLEM IS PORN IN AMERICA TODAY? Three numbers:

a. Porn is about a $100 billion industry in America, which is 100 times higher than revenues 20 years ago.

- Note that these numbers are just “the porn industry.” That is, the legal, W-2 filing companies.

- How common is the use? One academic said that research on the subject is challenged by the fact that they can’t find enough guys for a control group for their research. In other words, every young man is watching porn.

b. Porn makes more money in America each year than the Hollywood box office. Porn makes more money than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined.

c. In 2017, 36% of Americans said porn was “morally acceptable.” In 2018, 43% said it was. (Gallup, 2018)

- This clearly shows a strong trend in the wrong direction.

- In a Barna survey (2018), more people said that overeating was “usually or always wrong” (58%) than said that viewing pornographic images was wrong (54%). Similarly, among teens and young adults, 56% said that “not recycling” was wrong, but only 32% said “viewing porn” was.

- We tend to dismiss porn as not a substantial issue. “It’s just someone’s choice and it doesn’t harm anything, right?”

- Share the story of the kids playing unsuspectingly with the radioactive waste (“People Attracted to Beautiful but Radioactive Container,” on Preaching Today). There is obviously the attraction to it, but it’s poison.

- This danger is true societally and individually.

- It’s not surprising that something would become such a substantial issue when . . .

a. It’s readily available.

b. Many say it doesn’t seem to hurt anyone.

c. It’s used by most people.

d. Few speak up to say that it’s wrong.

- A first step is taking the problem seriously. A second step is wanting to combat the problem in your own life.

2. IS IT WRONG? Jesus said that “looking lustfully” is adultery.

- Matthew 5:27-30.

- As I just stated, porn is a substantial problem in America today (as well as around the world). But yet many dismiss it as not a big deal. After all, few are talking about it as being a problem. As the stats showed, many don’t consider it wrong.

- That brings the question before us: is looking at porn wrong?

- Looking to the public at large is not a good source for moral knowledge. Instead of that dubious authority, let’s instead ask the greatest moral teacher we know: Jesus. What does Jesus have to say about it?

- Well, Jesus never used the words “porn” or “pornography,” but He did leave us with a teaching in the Sermon on the Mount that clearly speaks to this issue.

- In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus spoke vividly about adultery and lust. He taught that “looking lustfully” on a woman constitutes committing adultery in the heart.

- Let’s stop for a moment and consider what alternate standards that throws out the window:

a. “As long as no one gets hurt, it’s not wrong.”

b. “As long as I don’t physically have an affair, it’s not wrong.”

c. “As long as it doesn’t lead me to abuse or rape woman, it’s not wrong.”

d. “As long as everyone is consenting, it’s not wrong.”

e. “As long as I’m only looking, it’s not wrong.”

- Each of those is far more frequently claimed than Jesus’ standard. And yet that doesn’t change the fact that Jesus’ standard is the correct one. We believe that Jesus had the supreme insight into what’s right and wrong. If that’s true, then His standard is the correct one.

- It’s a tough standard, no doubt. It’s a standard that calls us to a much higher standard than we typically pursue. And yet it’s true.

- It doesn’t matter than few are paying any attention to that standard. Jesus is the Judge.

- It’s striking just how directly this passage speaks to the issue of pornography. Even though there was no Internet back then, the relevance is direct. As a Christian, we may choose to ignore Jesus’ teaching and pursue the sin anyway, but there’s no doubt that we clearly understand what Jesus expects of us.

- Now, at this point, we start throwing out our excuses. “C’mon, Jesus, that’s an overreaction.” “It’s not really that bad.” “Everybody’s doing it so it can’t be that terrible.”

- I want you to notice too things in this passage before you buy into that.

- First, notice that Jesus doesn’t just say, “Looking lustfully is wrong.” That would certainly be enough, but He goes beyond that. He says that looking lustfully is adultery. Adultery!

- Even though we excuse a lot of sins in our culture (including porn), adultery is still a sin that has a little resonance as something that’s deeply wrong. And that’s what Jesus calls this activity. Adultery. Let that sink in for a moment.

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