11/18/18 “The Peril and Power of Porn”

The message this morning is “The Peril and Power of Porn,” and I will let you know up front the disclaimer, I guess you could say, is if you need to take your children out, that’s okay. I’m doing the PG version, as soft as I can get. We do have a side room here; it’s an overflow room, if you want to go in there. Or if you don’t feel comfortable, I completely understand. We tried to post it on Facebook, and we also released it in our electronic bulletin, letting people know.

However, I think the church needs to be the place where we talk about difficult things, challenging things. I think one thing that amazes me most about this subject is that parents have no clue. My little Johnny? At eleven? No! Oh yeah. If he’s going to school, and his friends have a phone, be careful. It’s that simple. I had to try to get all of this in in one message, but I might have to break it up into two parts because I’m talking about the peril and power of it, based on Proverbs. We’re doing a series in Proverbs, so I didn’t just pull this out of the hat.

We’re in Proverbs 5. If you have your Bibles, turn to chapter 5. But I don’t know if I’ll get through this, and I want to give people hope, so I’m thinking about doing “Part Two: Breaking Free of the Power of Pornography.” Every man in this room should be signed up for our December 1st men’s gathering—right here, free, no excuses. Well, it’s $5 if you want lunch. We decided to put a little monetary value on that. And I’m talking about the life of Samson, and it’s going to touch a lot on that as well. So sign up for December 1st. I’m hoping to get through a lot of this today, but if not, we’ll do part two.

I want you to think about doing something maybe you haven’t done before. Grab a CD on your way out and give it to a young adult or give it to somebody who you think might be suffering and challenged in this area, and even share it on Facebook. Get it out there. Because I will tell you this: this week has been both sobering and sickening, and I didn’t know that was possible. When you start to look at (and I didn’t look at images, obviously) the statistics, it’s horrifying. But I want to encourage hope, and if you weren’t here last week, make sure you listen to the message last week on hope. Even if you were here, rewind it, listen again. I want to encourage you, the kids, the young adults, even adults can break free of this, and my goal is to balance grace and hope with the seriousness of sin.

See, that’s one of the hardest jobs of a pastor, to be honest with you. That’s why you’ll have certain people gravitate toward one side. We all know the churches; we all label them, including this one. There are those that are soft on sin, and then there’s “hard Shane,” you know, trying to find that balance of grace and mercy with the seriousness of sin. Getting away from that balance will make the church either fearful and “oh, it’s always hard, and I can never measure up,” or so soft that you never conquer sin, you never deal with sin. It is hard to find that balance, but I’m going to try, so pray for this service and the next.

But I like what FightTheNewDrug.org said, and I actually pulled some secular websites in for this message. It says:

“We are the first generation to be completely bombarded with graphic sexual material every time we get online. . . . What other time in human history has there been unlimited access to pictures and videos of every act imaginable (and unimaginable) with the click of a button?” (https://fightthenewdrug.org/most-popular-porn-genre-search-of-2016)

 Have you ever thought about that? Just a phone and a click away. Here’s some mind-blowing pornography stats, and I didn’t know any of this until I researched this:

  1. Porn sites receive more regular traffic than Netflix, Amazon, & Twitter combined each month. (HuffPost)

I don’t want to make an illustration, but if ten of you stood and four sat down and six stayed standing, that’s the problem with porn in the church. Six out of ten, and it’s not just men; it’s a growing trend with women.

  1. 35% of all internet downloads are porn-related. (WebRoot)
  2. People who admit to having extramarital affairs were over 300% more likely to admit consuming porn than those who have never had an affair, according to a 2004 study in Social Science Quarterly.

This is just amazing. Some of this I don’t even want to share.

  1. Recorded child sexual exploitation (known as “child porn”) is one of the fastest-growing online businesses. (IWF) . . . AND is hosted on servers located in all 50 states. (Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection)

And I’m reading this, thinking, isn’t this illegal? What’s on God’s green earth is wrong with us?

  1. In 2016 alone, more than [4.6 billion] hours of porn were consumed on the world’s largest porn site. (PH Analytics)

Epidemic problem? You think so? I was going to share the top three searches on this website, but I don’t think I’m going to, because it’s perversion. It has to do with family members, relatives, homosexuality. The top three searches. What that means is somebody goes onto it, and they search for the topic that interests them.

However, the porn industry is simply supplying what people are demanding. No demand, no supply. So I believe—obviously this is going to be a problem from here on out—but I believe Christians can be set free. I believe Christians can make a difference, and I also believe that the greater the darkness, the brighter the light. So there’s tremendous hope. I even told Christine, who does the media back there (thank you so much for all you do, and Luke and Jake, all back there), that I don’t want to just have that image of porn up on the screen the whole sermon. I wanted this to kind of sink in.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed, focusing on the power of Scripture. But throughout Scripture—let’s be honest for a minute— adultery, especially spiritual idolatry, was the downfall of the nation and was the downfall of many, many people. Now most of you know, but maybe the younger adults don’t know, that God has given us the gift of sex. It’s a gift of God, so it doesn’t have to be bad [or embarrassing]. It’s a gift of God. And just like fire, it’s wonderful in the fireplace, but you start that fire on the living room floor, and your house is coming down. So God has given sex within the boundaries of marriage in a covenant relationship for a man and a woman. Anything outside of that, you give your heart, your affections, to someone outside of that covenant relationship, you are committing adultery.

Now spiritual adultery is [not] giving God our heart. God is Lord of all, but then we cheat on God. How do you do that? He who loves the world. So “God, I love you on Sunday, but the world has my heart Monday through Saturday.” It’s spiritual adultery. It’s seeking after other gods. God’s not the burning passion, the consuming fire of your heart anymore. You’ll go to church. You might even read the Bible if you’re motivated. But there’s cheating on God, or spiritual adultery. Does that make sense?

And here’s the problem. Pornography is subtle, because it appears that no one is really getting hurt. I’ve talked to so many men who say, “But, Shane, nobody is getting hurt.” You know what? I’m going to skip ahead to this real quick. I was worshiping right there, and all this just came to me, and I said I’m just going to write it down. It does hurt. It will cost you a great deal. It will cost you intimacy with your spouse. It will cost you a strong devotional life. It’ll cost you a vibrant prayer life. It’ll cost you a deep and abiding relationship with Christ. It will cost you a powerful filling of the Holy Spirit. It will cost you joy, peace, and love. It will cost you everything. There’s a cost, and that’s why I believe the majority of the church is dead. There’s no passion for God because their passions have been given elsewhere and been given to someone else.

So a couple things before we get to Proverbs. Adultery begins in the heart. See, we forget that we can actually cheat on our spouse [in our mind.] Well, okay don’t trust me, trust Jesus. Matthew 5:28 (NIV): “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Now throughout the message I’m going to give some encouraging thoughts. The encouraging thought is this: being tempted is not sin. Even Jesus, Hebrews says, was tempted in all points like we are, yet He was without sin. So being tempted—you see something online, and you say, “Okay, my mind can either go there,” and we’ll leave it at that.  You know what that means. My mind can either go there, or I can hit Delete, I can flee. I can say, “No, I’m not going there. Yes, the temptation is pulling me, but I’m not choosing to act upon it.” There’s a difference. So you’re like, “Well, Shane, what’s wrong with me? I’m being tempted.” Welcome to the world. Welcome to this human body. It’s always what we do with temptation that tilts the scale.

Now there’s something interesting about sexual temptation. The Bible says often, “Fight the good fight. You stand, you hold your ground, you fight.” But with this, it says, “You get out of the room.” When you see Delilah, don’t have a conversation. Potiphar’s wife—how close can I stay to the fire? “Oh Lord, I’m really struggling right now, but I’m just going to stay and struggle with this sin right there.” He says, “You just flee. You get out of the room. You flee sexual immorality.”

So in God’s eyes, we are committing adultery if it’s happening in the mind. And it’s an interesting word. In the Greek, we get the word pornography from the word porneia. It’s a Greek word that means “any illicit sex outside of marriage,” and that’s where the word pornography comes from. So even the secular side recognizes this. I already said this earlier, but let me say it again. It removes intimacy from the marriage, and it gives the devil a place in your home. Without a shadow of doubt, you’re going to see a lot more arguments and a lot less love, because adultery is taking place in the mind. The Spirit is quenched and grieved. [Pornography] robs you of joy and peace; there’s barrenness.

I want to make this clear. I was highlighting it to make sure I remembered it. I would say this is an extreme attack from the enemy, is it not? Think about this: all the kids, teenagers, here’s a phone with unlimited internet access, and we think they’re just that disciplined. Were you? So there’s an extreme attack. Here’s my point. An extreme attack from the enemy on this will take an extreme defense. I’m just telling you up front. You will have to get extreme. As God is my witness, you will have to hit this head on and get extreme.

I’ve shared this before, and of course it fits here, but there’s something we use at home called Covenant Eyes. Every website I view, every search I make, is emailed to my wife once a week. You would be amazed at how many men said, “Bro, I’m not doing that.” You don’t want it bad enough. Of course you’re not doing it. You’re playing with the devil, and you enjoy it.

Now you have to use wisdom. If there’s a very jealous spouse, and you’re struggling, then you might need to go to somebody and get some help. I tell people this all the time. It’s wonderful to be transparent, it’s wonderful to have accountability like I just described, but that’s not the answer. There has to be a radical devotion, a discipline to follow Jesus Christ. That’s the cure, but then these other things are definitely safeguards. There’s nothing wrong with safeguards. There’s nothing wrong. The elders here know, they have permission to go and ask my wife anytime, “How is the marriage? How is he doing in this area?” Do I say, “Oh no, don’t do that”? Bring it on. There should be full transparency, because the enemy loves darkness. That’s where he’s going to grow. This sin is going to grow in that area.

I think probably what is most frustrating for me is so many people do not want to take extreme measures. I think it’s because they enjoy it a little bit more than they let on. They’re sorry: “I got caught,” but they’re not repentant. Because true repentance will say, “I’m killing this.” I know people that have actually gotten rid of smartphones and went back to the old school flip phones, no internet, and they are so joy-filled. They tell me, “Shane, I don’t know how I ever got trapped into that,” because they see their trigger. Why would you willingly walk into the enemy’s camp? Why?

I don’t know if I should be too transparent, but I’ll just throw it out there. It’s been a year since I went into the gym. I went yesterday, and I remembered why I don’t go to the gym now. My Lord. It’s eleven o’clock in the afternoon; it should be slow. But see, are you placing yourself in areas where it’s going to fuel that? Extreme—oh, that guy’s extreme. Yes, we live in extreme times. The enemy is after my marriage and my children, and he’s after yours. How bad do you want it? He’s not playing patty cake. He’s not playing marbles. He’s after your soul. He’s after your family. He’s after your testimony. I will tell you right now that I know the number one work of the enemy, the number one goal, without a shadow of doubt, in his work against me, is to take this church down. That’s the devil’s number one goal. I know it. “Oh, come on, Shane, are you sure?” Oh Lord. And I bet he’s brought his little minions with him. He’s not everywhere; he’s not omnipresent—it’s a demonic realm.

You have to have extreme defense. There are people who will say, “Hey, pray for me. I’m struggling right now,” and it just releases: “Enemy, you don’t have me anymore. I just confessed it. I released it.” But see, what we try to do is say, “I’ve got this. I’m not telling anybody. They think I’m super Christian.” An extreme attack—God has really put this in my heart—an extreme attack takes extreme defense. Shane, that’s nice, but do you have Scripture? Well, let’s look to Jesus again. “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out, and cast it from you, for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:29). Mild, little Jesus said that?

Well, it’s interesting. I looked up this word cause, and it means “to provoke, to trigger, to induce, to inspire, or to motivate.” If something you’re doing is provoking, triggering, inducing, inspiring, or motivating you to sin, remove it. Plain and simple. But your defense attorney within—do you have one of these too? We’ve talked about the defense attorney within before. He’s inside here. It’s called the flesh. But, Shane, you don’t have to get that carried away. But not that. And I ask people, “How bad do you want it? How bad do you want it?” Well, Shane, that seems a little extreme. Then you’re walking right into the enemy’s camp.

Do you want to do something [interesting]? Just Google what bathing suits were a hundred years ago. Bathing suits, at the beach. We don’t have to get into what’s now, what they’re wearing now, right? And God has created men to be visual. See, it’s a gift. You should look at your spouse and be visually attracted. That’s a God-given gift, fire in the fireplace. But if you struggle with sin—this sin—and you love going to Santa Monica Beach, well, there are a lot of g-strings down there. Come on, let’s be honest. This is Idleman Unplugged this morning.

Another area, I don’t know if I should be transparent in, but a few of us went as a church last year, and I said, “We’re not doing that again.” At least, I’m not going. Especially as a church, what we’re exposing our kids to. We need to be careful. You don’t have to walk around going, “We can never go to the beach.” Of course not, but there are better choices. There are much better choices that we can make.

So again, temptation isn’t sin; surrendering to it is. Shane, when are you getting to Proverbs 5? Right now.

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion.

This is so important. Some of the people who have been around a long time, have you ever preserved anything? Fruit? Diane, you have, right? My mom used to do that all the time—preserves. They preserve something, they keep it fresh, they keep it whole. So

preserve discretion [discrete, being discrete], and your lips [discretion here is really to know, knowledge] may keep knowledge. For the lips of an immoral woman drip with honey.

That’s something you always have to remember. The lips of an immoral woman drip with honey. It doesn’t say “bad breath.” There’s a longing for the flesh; the immorality speaks to something inside of us. It calls us. It tastes good. It looks good.

And her mouth is smoother than oil.

You know what that means. That’s why we always encourage people: do not go to the opposite sex with your marriage problems, because “If I were your spouse, I would love you. I would respect you. I can’t believe she doesn’t cook for you every night. I will go to Fredericks of Hollywood monthly. Oh, if I were your spouse…” See, smooth. It’s alluring in her eyes, it’s pulling, it’s alluring.

And it’s hard, because I have a pretty strong stance in this area, some of you know. But because of that I’m called arrogant, unapproachable. No, I just don’t want to build close relationships with people I could be attracted to, and vice versa. Correct? That’s just wisdom. That’s preserving discretion. So it drips like honey. It is smoother than oil. Adultery will call you. Pornography calls. It doesn’t show you the end result; it presents the enticement, the bait.

I’m going to share a few things. If I don’t get through them, or if I want to talk more on this, I’ll do it next week.

1. Go back to the old paths.

We need to go back to the old paths. I’m so sure of this message as any other message I’ve given. God just downloaded all week, and when I start crying, when I start feeling just the pain of what this has caused, I know that it’s going to help a lot of people. Go back to the old paths. You know this verse. Jeremiah 6:16. I’m actually going to quote from a Bible that is a paraphrase. It’s called dynamic equivalence in translations. It’s the NLT. It’s not a study Bible, but it’s just a different perspective. Jeremiah 6:16:

This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way.”

So some of you, right now I believe you’re at a crossroads. Six out of ten? Come on, I’m speaking to a lot of people on Facebook right now. YouTube later, radio later. Here right now, a lot of people. You’re at a crossroads. I’ve got to make some tough decisions. I’ve got to make some changes in my life, Shane, so what is the answer? You go back to the old way. You go back to the godly path that God has set in motion.

Walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, “No, that’s not the road we want.”

Jeremiah is written to God’s people. Let me read the context, Jeremiah 5:3. We’re going to go before this.

O Lord, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to return. . . . “How shall I pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken Me and swarn by those that are not gods.” (Jeremiah 5:3, 7)

Here we go. You’ve got to love the Bible. This passage—

“When I had fed them to the full, then they committed adultery, and they assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses.” (v. 7)

Here’s my favorite verse out of this chapter.

“They were like well-fed lusty stallions;” (v. 8)

Have you ever seen a lustful horse? He’s comparing the people:

 “Every one neighed after his neighbor’s wife.” (v. 8)

If you don’t know what that is, ask somebody after the service.

So it’s this image of God filling them, blessing them with the fullness of food and blessings, and from that fullness, did they seek God? No, they were like lustful stallions seeking after others’ wives, other spouses. And God says, “I am not pleased with that.”

Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the Lord. “And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?” (v. 9)

So now you know the context of what we just read. He’s saying, “I’m offering hope to the people.” See, I love God; He doesn’t just rebuke and rebuke. He says, “I’m offering you hope. Here’s your hope. Go back to the old path. Get back on the right track, and you will find rest for your soul.” But the context is adultery, spiritual and physical. It’s amazing.

If you know me, you know I probably couldn’t leave this alone too long about “fed to the full.” One of the biggest things I’ve ever learned from fasting is this: food will increase sexual appetites, especially the wrong foods. Talking with people, reading books, [I know] that animalistic nature is fed. The more alcohol, meat you have, you’re feeding that animalistic nature. We will crave more of what we feed. That’s why I talk often about fasting. Fasting silences the voice of the flesh.

I’m getting ready for January, something I’ve been doing. It’s not hard, but it is hard. I’m trying to go all day and not eating until night, and it’s been a tremendous blessing. All week preparing this sermon, the flesh isn’t as loud. It’s quieted. Around 9 a.m., around 12 p.m., around 3 p.m., you say, “Shut up. Shut up, flesh. You’re starved.” There’s a lot to this, guys, and that’s why I have the book out there again—Feasting and Fasting. I’ve never seen lust increase in someone who’s fasting. It decreases, it kills the lust of the flesh. Gordon Cove, a missionary, said this: “Fasting arrests the appetite of sex, because food feeds all desires and appetites of the flesh, and fasting starves them. A luxurious diet and habitual overfeeding produce an unbalanced animalism.”

You might say, “Man, that’s hardcore,” but it’s true. I’ve committed to you to tell you the truth. It’s true. Try a steak and a big IPA and see what happens versus a sweet potato and a salad. There’s a big difference there, because you’re full on the wrong things and on the cravings. Because, see, when we eat the things we know we shouldn’t, do you think that starves the flesh or empowers it? I don’t know about you, but the more I cave into chocolate, the more I cave into this wrong food—Panda Express, In-and-Out, McDonalds—I’m feeding this, and it’s hard to control the lust of the flesh because you’re feeding the very thing you’re trying to fight.

I won’t get any “amens” even though we know it’s all true. Conviction is a gift from God to return to the old paths. If you’re being convicted, it’s a gift from God. Thank God for it. I was just talking with Phil and Carrie this morning. People shouldn’t leave here feeling condemned and beat up, but it’s good to leave feeling convicted. I challenged you. I need to change some things. I need to get back on the right path. I would love to meet with any of you who have made a major change in your life without being convicted. You just wake up saying, “You know, for the fun of it, I’m going to start doing this today.” There’s a conviction there, is there not?

2. Stop making excuses.

Stop making excuses. You have to see the death in it. Remember I gave this good analogy a few weeks ago, I think from Steve Shell, where he was fasting. There was this chocolate cake in the refrigerator. He said, “Oh, I’m not going to have that chocolate cake.” And what happens after a few hours? Come on, we all know. Does it call your name? Maybe it’s just me, but if I know my daughter made some brownies, I wake up throughout the night. I don’t wake up to eat broccoli and marinated asparagus. There’s something there. But that chocolate cake, and he goes for it, but then he turns it around, and there’s a sign on it that says there’s been some mice poison added to the cake. Or you could say dog droppings were added to this cake. Oh, get it out of here. Throw the cake in the trash. So what was once appealing and couldn’t be resisted is now being thrown in the trash. Why? Because they saw the death in it. You see the death in this. You see the death in what it’s going to cause.

I think I’m actually going to disconnect YouTube on our TV. Amen? Just this week I was watching with the kids, and some girl dropped an F-bomb on YouTube. What was that? This is a kids’ program. And I will not be the most popular person in the house that day.

Stop making excuses. See the death in it. America’s pornography epidemic will continue to pervert, with the ultimate goal of destroying. And what I want to say loudly and clearly to men is what the Bible says: act like men. Act like men. I’m tired of weak, passive men who don’t want to do anything spiritually and do not want to fight for their families, do not want to fight for their relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “Act like men. Step up.” If that convicts you, you might need to be convicted. God has called you to lead and to guide and to die for your family if necessary. What you need to do is kill your porn habit and tell your ungodly friends to hit the road, Jack, don’t come back. No more, no more, no more. That’s a man of God. What kind of man of God compromises all the time? No spine, no boldness, just cowardly, being pushed over, friends bringing pornography to work: “Look at this. You look at this.” Oh, yeah, isn’t that funny? No, you take a stand. I know it’s hard; I worked in construction in a water district, where they would bring magazines to work. After the first week they knew, don’t even bring it to Shane, because I would just tear them apart. “Don’t bring me that garbage, because you just have no love life at home.” “Look, look, look, look.” No, I don’t want to see that. Stand up. And if you fall, fall forward.

I hope I’m not giving you the impression that you should just walk around perfect. Unless you can walk on water, you will not get through the rest of this life perfectly, but we will die trying. We will die trying. Put software on your computer. Do you ever leave your phone out? Your spouse can check it whenever? Use a computer that’s located centrally in the house. Avoid places that are going to trigger it all the time. Come on, this is not rocket science, and I’m not a rocket scientist. This is very clear. How bad do we want it?

But in the end [an immoral woman] is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life, her ways are unstable; you do not know them. (Proverbs 5:4)

Right at this point, when I wrote this down this week, I remembered Proverbs 9:17–18:

“Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.

The Bible speaks pretty strongly about this area. It says here, “Don’t ponder, don’t contemplate, flee sexual immorality. See the death in it.”

Beginning in the 1970s, Ted Bundy was one of America’s most brutal serial killers. His crime covered seven states. He escaped from jail twice before being executed by the electric chair in 1989. He was forty-two years old. He said, “I’ve lived in prison a long time now, and I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me. And without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography. Without question, without exception, deeply influence and consumed by addiction to pornography.”

Why? Because it’s a fire outside the fireplace. That’s why many men are angry. Pornography fuels anger, especially in the believer, because you know you’re in a spot you don’t want to be. You know you’re somewhere where you don’t want to be.

What about Ariel Castro? Do you remember him? What perversion from the pit and the depth of hell. In 2013 he was exposed for kidnapping three women and holding them for ten years. He admitted to a deep addiction to pornography for his perversion. He eventually committed suicide in prison. His idol promised pleasure but brought death and destruction in the end. She was bitter like wormwood. Hell opened up her mouth and swallowed widely. These people going down in the depths is the picture it paints.

If anybody says, “Shane, this is too hard,” I’m just telling you what the Bible says. The Bible doesn’t paint some picture of walking through a garden and enjoying the roses and “Well, if you think about it, you might want to avoid the immoral woman.” But we can easily fill in here “the immoral man,” can we not? It’s on both sides. For the believer this type of thing kills the fruit of the Spirit. I want to just shoot you the God-honest truth, tell you the truth, that it will kill your walk with the Lord. You won’t be filled with the Spirit of God.

But again, in the midst of deep darkness, there is great light, great hope. And like I mentioned earlier, I won’t be able to get through everything, so I want to close with this, because I think some of you need to hear it or be reminded of it. Some of you are here, and I had the privilege of speaking at Jerry Mikell’s memorial service yesterday, and I talked about profound moments. There are profound moments in all of our lives. You now what profound is, right? Life-changing, life-altering. And I think this can be a profound moment in the lives of some of you. Some of you have been addicted for so long you can’t remember. You’ve tried to quit so many times.

Actually, I want to go back to this. It might help. We got this email this week: “I listened to your revival sermon, and that day God answered my prayers. God broke my addiction and gifted me with the Holy Spirit that night. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was not something that I could break in my own strength. I tried countless times.” Does that sound familiar? And people say, “Shane, but what about demonic attacks?” Well, hopefully we’ll get to that maybe next week. And he said, “I tried countless times, but it was only through my first fast, serious prayer, and being broken before God that I was able to break it.” It came from Nebraska.

See, that full surrender, that brokenness. Many times, we don’t surrender everything, do we? We say, “Okay, God I can’t do that again.” Well, make these changes that Shane listed. “Oh no, I don’t want to get that serious.” Well then you will continue to fall and fall and fall again. Because God offers us a solution; it’s up to us to take it.

Anyway, back to profound moments, life-changing moments. I want to talk briefly maybe to the person who is trapped in this and doesn’t know Christ. They’ve never surrendered their life, and there’s life-changing moments. Paul experienced Christ on the road to Damascus. The demoniac who was filled with demons experienced Christ. The Roman guard experienced the work of God. How many examples do we have throughout the Bible of people having profound moments and experiencing the risen Savior and being changed, being transformed?

  1. You have to see your need. Romans 3:23: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” I know we think highly of ourselves, but the Bible says, “All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”
  2. You have to see the cost. You have to see the magnitude of your sin. I did. Romans 6:32: “For the wages of sin is death.” It’s separation from God.
  3. And then finally, the hope. Romans 5:8: “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for [you].” Even in your addiction, even in your bondage, even in, some of your cases, rejecting God, blaspheming God, even in all that, Christ still died. The cross is still hanging. Throughout two thousand years of church history, the cross stood as a beacon of light, pointing people to the truth, and saying, “Because of the sin of mankind, I died on that cross. Just look to the cross and be saved. Look and be saved.”

I remember reading about the conversion of Charles Spurgeon, who walked into a church on a stormy day, and the elder that was filling in, all he said was “Look, look to the cross. Look to the cross and be saved.” It’s that simple. There’s a song, “The Simple Gospel,” and it’s that simple. Turn and believe. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

One profound moment that I like reading about is John Newton. If you don’t know who John Newton is, he was a very wicked, wicked man. He would buy people and sell them. If they died, he would just throw them off the ship. Beat and tortured them. Wicked. And John Newton had a profound moment on a slave ship. He saw his wretchedness, he saw his need, and he cried out to Almighty God. And thank God he did, because now we sing the lyrics he wrote:

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear [God]
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

If you are struggling, look to God’s grace. See Christ on the cross, paying that sin for you. Willpower is not going to cut it. You’re not going to leave here saying, “Shane made some good points. Starting tonight, when that immoral woman begins to call from the computer, the phone, when she begins to call, if I just hunker down. . .” No, you look to God’s grace. “God, you died for this. Please set me free. Take this away.”

And while you’re at it, don’t go on the computer. Take a drive. Put on worship music. Here’s the thing with every temptation: give it a few minutes, and it’s gone. “Resist the devil, and he will flee.” Many people often mess up in regard to temptation, because temptation works like a peak. It’s getting harder and harder and harder, and once it hits that crescendo, you grab it, and you take it, and you fall. That’s when we fall, at that hardest moment. But if you just look to Christ, put on worship. It’s hard to read Psalms and go on your computer. One or the other will prevail. But that’s my encouragement. Look to the cross.

As the worship team is coming up, I’m going to pray in just a minute. That is so powerful. How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. Amazing grace. Something we’re going to try to do is in the prayer room we’re going to pray with you, but I’m not connecting with a lot of the new families, so I’m going to be there as well, but I’m mainly going to try to meet with and pray with some of the newer families. So if you’re up in the balcony, you’re here, and I haven’t met you before or it’s been a long time, and we haven’t talked, I want to encourage you. Just come next door to the prayer room. We’d love to pray with you. We’re still going to have the prayer team over there. We’d love to pray for you.

And I want to just throw this out there. If you don’t necessarily struggle with this sin, praise God for that, but we know people who are. If you have children, if you have grandchildren, it’s coming in like a flood. Pop-ups on Google. Pop-ups on Walmart. Pop-ups on Kmart. Pop pop pop pop pop. You put in the wrong name, here comes you know what. The only way we’re going to see a difference in our families is when our prayer becomes a cry, when your prayer becomes a cry.

I thought God was going to let me out of this. I was right there this morning, and I just found out there’s about 340–350 kids in our database for kids’ ministry next door. I thought, as they’re growing up, what percentage of these little girls and boys you see running around are going to be sex-trafficked or pulled into the porn industry? Right there, right next door. Right next door, on our watch. You don’t think this is important? Walk next door. Look at the five-year-old. Look at the eight-year-old. Look at the little children. And the statistics are increasing, not decreasing. I don’t want to alarm anyone and tell you what percentage of 350 kids is going to end up in the porn industry, but it’s not pretty. If you take 5 percent, that is a dozen kids next door are going to be exploited or make their own choice. Guys, if that doesn’t break your heart, I took the wrong job. We will not see change until that prayer becomes a cry. Next time when you’re choosing to look at something, remember, they used to be a little girl.

I said, “God, don’t make me share this today.” I saw it. I saw them next door. I saw them running outside, playing. Innocence is being robbed at a very young age. Our school system wants to teach sex to kindergartners. It’s perversion, it’s filthy. My concern is that until our prayer is a cry, God will not move.

After the service, just go next door, just watch the kids running and playing. And I saw where they’re going to be in ten years if somebody doesn’t stand in the gap and pray. Because I believe “Lord, not on our watch.” I truly believe from the bottom my heart—I’m not just saying it—that we can pray that out of our children’s ministry and ministry in other churches and in our own family, our own grandkids.