THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 8-5-01
LESSON TITLE: SOCIALLY ACCEPTED SINS OF TODAY: PORNOGRAPHY
Good morning! Thanks for joining us this morning in this service of God. The Living Word Program is committed to proclaiming the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
This week we would like to mention another congregation which helps financially to make the Living Word Program possible. The Smith Chapel Church of Christ in Gainesville, Missouri, has been with our work for some time now. It is great to have them as partners in this effort together to the glory of Christ. We really appreciate this fine congregation for their like-desire to see the gospel of Christ taken to the whole world.
Please take advantage of the opportunity this morning to meet with this family of God. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., these brethren will begin with a Bible study and then at 11:15, they will have a morning worship assembly. On Sunday evening at 7:30, they will again come together for a worship service. This congregation also offers a mid-week service at 8:00 each Wednesday evening. I hope you are able to visit with this family of God very soon.
If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister, brother Vic Williams. Their telephone number is: 417-679-3927.
It's now time to join in our songs of praise as we together sing the first hymn of the morning. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms."
(SONG # 1)
Read with me this morning a text found in Job 28, beginning in verse 12! There it says, "But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living. The deep says, 'It is not in me'; And the sea says, 'It is not with me.' It cannot be purchased for gold, Nor can silver be weighed for its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, In precious onyx or sapphire. Neither gold nor crystal can equal it, Nor can it be exchanged for jewelry of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral or quartz, For the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, Nor can it be valued in pure gold. "From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living, And concealed from the birds of the air. Destruction and Death say, 'We have heard a report about it with our ears.' God understands its way, And He knows its place.
Job here is dealing with the great topic of wisdom. Job, a man who knew God and His will and who obeyed it in prosperity and in the face of adversity. Notice what this great man of God summarized wisdom as: He states that true wisdom is hard for mere man to comprehend, because of its great value and worth. Then he goes on to compare it to all the great precious stones of this earth, to show its great value in the eyes of God!
Then the question is asked, "so where does it come from?" The answer is obviously God. The reason that proper wisdom is so great is because it is founded in the Creator Himself!
That's why Paul and other writers spend such a great deal of time talking about the need to have a Godly wisdom. In James 3, and verse 13, we see another great discussion on wisdom There James begins comparing the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God, clearly showing that the only wisdom that will benefit us and which is truly worth having is that of God. So consider today, what type of wisdom are you striving for in this world, Godly or fleshly? Only one will bring true happiness and eternal life!
This morning, we have a guest speaker with us who is the minister for the North National Church of Christ, here in Springfield! It is great to have brother Bill McFarland with us to lead us in our study of the morning.
Today we will continue with our series called, "Socially Accepted Sins of Today!" Our specific topic today is, "Pornography?" So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together brother McFarland will return with our study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "Nothing But The Blood!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Bill McFarland
Bible readers will be familiar with two or three passages that have a common theme that we need to notice today. Remember the story described in 2 Samuel chapter 11. "It was the time of the year when kings normally lead their armies out to defend their territory in the country around Jerusalem, but that year David decided to stay behind and one night he was not able to sleep and he arose from his bed," 2 Samuel 11 and verse 2 says, "and he walked on the flat roof of his castle and as he looked out across from there," the Bible says, "he saw a woman bathing and she was beautiful to behold." That suggesting that he didn't just pay a passing glance but that his attention was grabbed by what he saw and he dwelt on the thought. You'll remember the ugly story that unfolded from there resulting in a man's loss of life and then shame for a whole family and a country.
Another passage along this line is what Jesus said in Matthew 5 and verses 26 and 27. The Lord pointed out that "everyone had heard it said thou shall not commit adultery," but he went on to say that "whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already in his heart." Jesus advised that if such a thing as that were a temptation, one would be better off to pluck out his eye than to enter into life without that one member of his body than still having it to end up in Hell.
And in 1 John 2 and verse 16, John describes the fact that the enemy uses this element of this system that leaves God out which God calls the lust of the eyes. The lust of the eyes has been defined by someone as the love of beauty divorced from the love of goodness. When we begin then to lust after something that we can see, we may be headed to difficulty and to temptation that can bring disaster. That's one of the reasons why it is alarming to see the growing popularity of either the production of or involvement in using pornographic material. There have always been, of course, things like magazines and pictures and films and videos and 900 numbers for telephone users and adult clubs, even though in some ways they might be farthest from adult really. And even now we have added to that list the problem of e-porn or pornography available on the internet. Some of the reports that have been publicized in the news media regarding this problem show the depth of it. We're told that there are some 40,000 sex oriented websites now that are available and there are some 3,000,000 hits per day to these sites. US News and World Report says that in January of the year of the year 2000 some 17 1/2 million surfers visited porn sites from their homes. John Zogby in a recent poll has found that about 1 of 5 Americans will admit to having viewed some such website as this and that would amount to more than 40,000,000 people if you worked it out. Still further, there's a suggestion that much of this is done by children ages 13 through 17. And you can begin to see why we would be concerned. I noticed recently an editorial in the local paper suggesting that it's not something really to be that alarmed about. The reason given was that the average spent per week at such sites as these is only 3 hours. We're told that there are some 200,000 people seriously addicted to this problem. A serious addiction is said to be 11 hours per week viewing this kind of material on the internet.
There are different ways in which people have explained or perhaps rationalized why this would be a pressing problem today. Some would suggest that this is a victimless thing. It's something that someone can engage in without anybody being hurt. Others suggest that since it's done in the privacy of one's own home, then it's secret and no one knows about it except the person involved. There even some who have even suggested that they use it as aid to their marriage or to their lives. Things like this suggest even further that we're needing to pay some attention to answering this problem and informing people about it.
Those who believe scripture simply cannot merely remain silent about something like this for two reasons. One because scripture deals with it and gives us some instruction about it. And two because we're instructed to love people and to try to make a difference for good in this world. Because of that we're convinced that there's some things that everybody ought to know about the problem of pornography. Let me mention a few of those this morning.
One is that pornography is something that disregards the Biblical injunction to not fill our hearts and our minds with things that are impure. Surely we know that the Bible is concerned about who we really are. Therefore, it's concerned with our hearts and our minds. Jesus taught in Mark chapter 7 in verses 20 through 23 that the heart is the place for those things that defile a man originate. Evil thoughts and impurities and adulteries and so forth really begin with how a person thinks. "Now if that's the case, if you and I were to fill our hearts and our minds with the works of the flesh, things like adulteries and fornications and passions and lasciviousness and so forth," Galatians 5 and verse 19 says, "then we are bound to see these things coming out or growing out in our lives." Galatians 6 and verse 8 suggests that "if we sow to things like that then we are going to reap corruption in our lives."
A second problem with these materials is that they tend to dehumanize someone. They make merchandise of somebody somewhere and they take away from individuals their dignity and their nobility as human beings. To engage in activities like this would be to treat men and women or boys and girls as mere objects to be used for selfish gratification, to be used without any thought about what that does to a person or without any thought of what this is going to do in a person's life. Remember pornography and activities associated with it always have victims. The victims may be the user himself and the course that he is going to chart for his own life, or the family which ends up being torn apart, or the one's who are used or seduced, or assaulted in one way or another are dehumanized by this kind of involvement.
Third, pornography is a problem because it defiles the individual who makes use of it. Dwarfing him as a person and leaving him less than he was. Friends, remember that once something enters the mind through the eye, it's there forever. Our minds and our hearts are not like blank tapes or something that we can record something on and then go back and erase it. Once I take something into my mind through my eyes, it's going to be a part of me and it will be lodged in my memory. That's one reason why Peter said in 1 Peter 2 and verse 11 that "fleshly lusts war against the soul." Here is something that begins to eat away at an individual's person. It begins to shrivel his personality and to cause him to withdraw from real life. It begins to make him dwell on the lower, seedier, defiling things of life and it can't help but to have an impact on him in other ways as he goes along.
A fourth thing that we all need to bear in mind about this kind of activity is that it drags a person ever downward until it finally enslaves them to the gutter. The process that goes on in an individual's life by using many of these materials has been researched by psychologists. I read one recently who suggested that there are four steps than can develop from this kind of involvement. The first is addiction. Somebody begins to be caught in a habit which he has trouble putting down and then there's escalation where it becomes more and more a part of his life and something that he begins to be dependent on and to look forward to more and more. And then there's desensitization where the conscience is seared and where something that once was thought to be bad or dirty or wrong now no longer sets off alarms. It's taken for granted. It begins to seem possible and normal. And then the fourth step is acting out where the person does harm to himself or to someone else. Peter mentioned in 2 Peter 2 and verse 14 "those who having eyes full of adultery that cannot cease from sin become a terrible influence on other people as well as a harmful thing to themselves." You and I do not want to begin something that we cannot cease, something that can take us into bondage, something that can light a fire which will consume a person's being.
Another problem with this is that it's destructive to healthy and innocent relationships with other people, especially in marriage. When a person begins to use some of these kinds of materials as substitutes for having to open up and to be sensitive and to know somebody else and to give of themselves and to risk of themselves and when that person begins to withdraw emotionally and to let some of these things be a substitute physically for what God meant, he is not going to be able to truly share his life with a partner in a good marriage. One woman whose husband involved her in activities like this supposedly to help their marriage described it as a sad and degrading life. It's terrible that she had to end up in that way because of his choices.
And then, this kind of activity is dangerous to society. It tends to breed crime against individuals and against the home and against the community. Jeremiah described the society of his day in Jeremiah 5 and verses 7 and following "as if men were like troops lined up at harlot's houses or like wild stallions who were naying after a neighbor's wife." It's not a very flattering picture, and it brought destruction in the society, but it's realistic.
And it's no wonder in view of these facts that such a thing damages one's relationship to God. For us to admire and to be attracted to things which are opposite of everything God is are bound to cause alienation and estrangement between us and Him. We don't want to have that happen.
Friends, the gospel is an invitation for us to rise above such things as this. The gospel calls upon us to regard, to acknowledge, the wrongfulness of things that are wrong or the sinfulness of things that are sinful. We need to confess that some of these things are not right. Secondly, the gospel invites us to turn our backs on temptation, to not let our eyes be fixed on things that are vile and to not be enticed by things that give us trouble inside. And then, the gospel invites us to fill our lives with things that are wholesome and good. Because of Jesus we can put to death with the wrong that is there and we can put on the new man that's created after true righteousness and holiness and we can be renewed in the image of Jesus.
How are you in regard to the gospel of Jesus? Please don't let something to crowd it out of your life and to smother out the good possibilities that God placed in each one of us. Allow yourself to submit to Christ, be raised up to walk in a new life and to bear fruit that will glorify God and honor your family and fulfill yourself.
(SONG # 3 - "Take My Life And Let It Be!")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
2540 N. Kansas Expressway
Springfield, Mo. 65803
Many of these materials are also available on our web sight:
That address is: www.thelivingwordprogram.com
Or if you prefer, you may call us at:
As Christians, may we all strive more every day to abstain from those things of this world which harm our relationship with the Father!