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July 1, 2007 AM

1 JNO 2:16

INTRO: I understand that to consider the subject of pornography in a sermon study I am dealing with a delicate and sensitive subject in a very public way. However, pornography is without a doubt one of the great scourges of our time. The very nature of it can permit it to be a hidden, private thing which makes it very subtle. As private as it may be, however, it is nevertheless damaging in its effects. If statistics are any accurate indication, pornography in one form or another is viewed by an incredible number of men and a growing number of women. The financial returns from the pornography trade are enormous. The growing trend of illegal sexual acts involving both adults and children is almost certainly related to growth in the pornography business.

    1. Visual images are remembered longer/vividly than audio messages
      1. one of the things educators know is that many are visual learners
      2. therefore, much emphasis is given to portraying lessons visually
      3. the growing "power point" phenomenon in business is further proof
    2. So, 1 Jno 2:16 and "the lust of the eyes"
      1. not the lust of the ears (although there is now audio pornography)
      2. Josh 7:21 - notice the connection between seeing, coveting, taking
      3. our eyes are incredible - they can see a wonderful array of beautiful, interesting things ... but the same eyes can also see the lewd, the shameful
    3. We care for and protect our eyes diligently
      1. wear glasses, protective goggles
      2. but are we protective of our eyes in what we permit them to see?
      3. once the image is admitted, it is "saved" on the hard drive, the brain - it "saves" automatically, and there is no "delete" button!
    1. Pornography...
      1. is a combination of two Gr. words meaning "prostitute" & "writing"
      2. visual depiction human body (in uncovered states) or explicit sexual activity
      3. an 8 to 10 billion dollar "industry" - the profit motive causes the growth
    2. It may use a variety of media
      1. historically, drawings on walls, paintings, etc.
      2. magazines, motion pictures, stills, videos, internet
      3. of these, the internet may be the most troublesome to families
    3. Some alarming facts:
      1. Justice Department: 9 of 10 children ages 8 to 16 exposed "online"
      2. 3 to 6 percent of Americans sexually addicted - 20 million people
      3. a leading cause of family breakdown and divorce - affects negatively the intimate relationship between husband and wife - men more aggressive
      4. because stored in the brain to be recalled at any moment, some experts say this addiction is harder to break that heroin addiction
      5. a significant factor in sexual violence - 87% child molesters regular consumers of hardcore pornography
    4. Serious concerns?
      1. pornography is highly addictive ... escalates in frequency & deviancy (Prov 6:27,28)
      2. pornography affects marriage relationship in harmful ways (1 Pet 3:7)
      3. pornography's goal is sexual arousal - lust (1 Cor 7:9 & Mt5:28)
      4. pornography negatively affects godly thinking (Phil 4:8)
      5. pornography profanes God's intention for sexual intimacy (1 Cor 7:1,2)
      6. pornography is a sort of "secret sin" - (Eph 5:11-13)
      7. pornography will take a person away from God (1 Cor 6:18-20)
      8. pornography has no redeeming value ... except to the purveyors of it as they pocket huge sums of money
    1. Job 31:1 - We must make a firm decision about what our eyes may see
      1. this expression in Job speaks of profound decisions relating to life
      2. right now is the time to decide against permitting pornography entry
    2. Prov 23:7 - We must commit to thinking, meditating on the wholesome
      1. no matter how secret your thoughts, they will affect you in open ways
      2. so, Phil 4:8 - "think on these things"
    3. 1 Cor 6:18 - We must stay far away from pornography in any form
      1. "fornication" - roots in the same word as pornography
      2. so addictive and attractive are these that fleeing is the only wise course
    4. Ps 1:1,2 - We must devote ourselves to the word of God
      1. with minds dwelling on God's word and inclined toward His direction...
      2. a well known, recovering addict credited spending much time with the word as a critical step in his recovery

CLOSE: And I am reminded of Mt 26:41. Prayer must be a vital part of our combating this growing plague. Pornography is a very subtle thing which captures its users without a struggle. And it will ruin you spiritually.

Cecil A. Hutson

01 July 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)