6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Tenth in a series exploring life crisis, based on the promotional materials provided by Outreach in their "Who Cares" campaign. This message explores the life challenge of lust and pornography.

(Extensive inspiration for the sermons in this series derived from the sermon samples in the "Who Cares" promotional series by Outreach Ministries.)

Children’s Church Dismissal & Disclaimer (for this message we expanded our children’s church through 5th grade. It is a very blunt, and frank sermon dealing with a very sensitive sexual topic)

- If the church doesn’t deal with this issue honestly, where will the Christian teaching on it come from?

For almost every case and struggle with today’s topic, it starts with a seemingly harmless second glance. A scenario similar to when one particular husband and wife were shopping at a mall and a shapely young woman in a short, form-fitting dress strolled by. His eyes followed her. Then, without even looking up from the item she was examining, his wife asked, "Was it worth the trouble you’re in?"

That’s where it starts, but not where it ends. From there it might progress to simply flirting with the opportunity to lust after someone, or to take a glance at pornography. Beginning to walk the tight rope, seeing how close we can come without falling.

There was an affluent, aristocratic woman reviewing resumes from potential chauffeurs to drive her Rolls Royce. She narrowed the applicants to three men and invited them to her palatial home. She escorted each one individually to her driveway and the brick wall beside it. Then she asked, "If you were driving my Rolls, how close do you think you could come to that brick wall without scratching my car?"

The first applicant says, "I can drive within a foot of that wall and not damage your Rolls."

She brought out the second applicant and asked "If you were driving my Rolls, how close do you think you could come to that brick wall without scratching my car?"

He scratches his head and says, "I can drive within six inches of that wall and not damage your car."

She invited the third applicant and asked, "If you were driving my Rolls, how close do you think you could come to that brick wall without scratching my car?"

He did not hesitate. "Ma’am, I do not know how close I could come to the wall without damaging your car, but if I was driving your car, I would stay as far away as possible from the wall so as not to damage your car."

Guess who got the job? You see, many people want to know where the line is between a second glance and lust or an addiction to pornography. But when addressing sexual temptation, the point is not how close one can get to the temptation without getting "scratched" or crossing the line or falling off the ledge, but the issue is staying as far away as possible.

Because it may start with a casual second glance. It may even progress to seeking opportunities to be in locations for lust and pornographic fulfillment. But it won’t even stop there. It’s goal is not to tease you, but to control you. ("Who Cares?" Sermon Starter Video for Lust/Pornography)

Pornography is now big business. According to U.S. News and World Report, the industry grosses an estimated $10 billion per year. General Motors, the world’s largest company, now sells more graphic sex films through its DirectTV subsidiary than does Hustler pornographer Larry Flynt. May make some people rethink their “only buy GM products” conviction.

The no. 2 satellite provider, EchoStar, now makes more money selling sex films than Playboy does with its magazines, cable, and Internet businesses. It is estimated that 60% of all web sites are pornographic, and the United States, one nation under God, is now by far the world’s leading producer of porn, churning out hard-core videos at the astonishing rate of about 150 new titles a week.

And yet there are still those, some of which are good Christian people, who will argue, “It doesn’t hurt to look, does it?”

You tell me. It has been estimated that approximately 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually molested before the age of 18. Seventy-seven percent of those who molested boys and eighty-seven percent of those who molested girls said they were regular users of hardcore pornography.

You may have noticed just a few weeks back in the “Faith and Values” section of the Herald-Leader the following headline (read). In this article, they indicate that 50% of all Christian men, and 20% of Christian women, are addicted to pornography. Beyond that, 57% of pastors polled said that pornography was the most damaging sexual issue affecting congregations today.

So this morning, we are going to get very practical. I’m not interested today in arguing over what is pornography and what is not. Whether the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, or the latest Victoria’s Secret catalogue should be banned from Christian homes. Whether simply “admiring God’s creation” poolside is lust. Attempting to draw with some Biblical authority just where the line is, and having us see how close we can get to walking it. If you want to debate those items with me, we’ll sit down together and do it. But today, we are going to simply get very practical.

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