Summary: God calls his people to be pure. We cannot succumb to the allure of contemporary culture, approving what is done in society if we will honour the Lord.
“I have made a covenant with my eyes;
how then could I gaze at a virgin?
What would be my portion from God above
and my heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is not calamity for the unrighteous,
and disaster for the workers of iniquity?
Does not he see my ways
and number all my steps?
“If I have walked with falsehood
and my foot has hastened to deceit;
(Let me be weighed in a just balance,
and let God know my integrity!)
if my step has turned aside from the way
and my heart has gone after my eyes,
and if any spot has stuck to my hands,
then let me sow, and another eat,
and let what grows for me be rooted out.
“If my heart has been enticed toward a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbour’s door,
then let my wife grind for another,
and let others bow down on her.
For that would be a heinous crime;
that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;
for that would be a fire that consumes as far as Abaddon,
and it would burn to the root all my increase.”
Job never really understood why it was necessary to experience the pain and the sorrow he was compelled to endure. Despite his multiplied trials, he maintained his integrity, steadfastly insisting that he had not acted arrogantly before God or against his fellowman. The text is the record of his final apologia for the conduct of his life. Here, he identifies three great sins that can trip up any man—lust, deceit and adultery, denying that they had ever been welcomed in his life. I wonder if Job would have continued to maintain his integrity had he lived in this present day when pornography has become so pervasive as to escape notice.
I am deeply concerned for the moral health of the churches of this day. To a dismaying degree, we reflect the prevailing philosophy of the culture in which we are immersed, and we bring into the life of the Body the attitudes we have learned in society. Just as a fish does not realise that it is wet, so we often have difficulty realising that we have become imbued with the attitudes of this dying world, and thus the congregation is hindered in advancing the Faith.
The homily planned for this day is intended to be pointed; due to the subject matter some will be uncomfortable. I believe there has been quite enough preaching that justifies sin, ignoring the fact that Christ came to justify sinners. We pastors have neglected to teach parishioners that Christ redeems us so that we might be seen in the world as a people that are “pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” [see *Philippians 1:10, 11*].
*The Pervasiveness of Pornography* — During the late 60s, youth in the United States began a “free sex” movement which has blossomed into the moral cesspool of modern society. Not so many years ago, pornography was available only in sleazy porn shops. Drug stores did not carry pornographic materials and triple-X movie theatres were confined to skid row. However, that was then and this is now.
As of 2003, there were 420 million pornographic web pages; the number is undoubtedly higher today. Total porn industry revenues for 2006 were $13.3 billion in the United States, and $97 billion worldwide. The pornography industry generates more revenue than that of eight major technology companies combined—Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and Earthlink. Almost one billion pornographic DVDs~/videos were rented in 2005. Unique worldwide users visiting “adult” web sites monthly totalled 72 million people. Indeed, even in conducting a search to discover the number of pastors who admit to viewing pornography ensured that the search engine used returned several ads offering pornography.
Studies show that four in ten pastors admit that they deal unsuccessfully with the temptation to visit porn sites. The figures are worse for church members, and it is not at all clear that viewing pornography is less prevalent among church members than within the general populace. Moreover, it is not just men that view pornography. A growing number of women admit to internet sexual addiction. Seventy percent of women keep their cyber activities secret, and 17% are struggling with pornography addition! Almost 30% of born again adults feel it is morally acceptable to view movies with explicit sexual behaviour, and 57% of pastors say addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue in their congregation.
The lure of pornography sites is powerful, and the sites advertise in inventive ways. Frequently, people looking for information are directed to sites named deceptively. At other times, legitimate web addresses are assumed by Internet pornographers with software to trap the unwary. Of course, anyone who has an Email address will have been inundated with spam, much of which is pornographic or which introduces the unwary to pornography.