Four keys to tackling sexual sin
You can occasionally mention Christ-like “purity” in your sermons. You can very carefully, in the most gentle manner possible, say the four letter word “PORN”, but please make sure you come up with words that sound like PORN, such as “born” or “torn” so that you can play dumb when approached after the service.
You can also start a sex addiction recovery group for those in your congregation that are truly addicted and brave enough to admit it. Or . . . you can do the only thing that will lead to significant, lasting transformation for your church – change your church’s culture from the inside out. Intentionally make sexual integrity part of the fabric of your church. Don’t get me wrong, talking about sex and providing a safe place for addicts to experience God’s love and healing are vital, but by themselves they will not create lasting change in your church body or your community.
Here are four, key components that are necessary to start the process of transforming your church’s culture from the inside out.
1. (P) Personal examination
Church purity starts at the top. By now, almost every pastor with an Internet connection has seen the Pastors.com survey that showed 38% of evangelical pastors having viewed porn that week.
If you are a ministry leader, you must be honest with yourself before you can effectively minister to your congregation. Do you constantly struggle with lust, pornography or other sexual sin? If so, then you must repent and deal with these issues in your own life. You must understand the nature of the triggers that lead you into sexual sin, and learn about ways to address those in your life. Of course, a great way to do this is to begin the Pure Online workshop today! There are other ways, and if you are not interested in the Pure Online workshop, then please do get help another way.
God can cleanse your heart and prepare you to help heal others. Hear what David said after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise (Psalm 51:10-15).
2. (U) Uncover the issue – Generate educated awareness
As Christian leaders you must speak truthfully about pornography and sexual sin. Don’t shy away from teaching the full biblical revelation regarding human sexuality. Be proactive and real! Don’t beat around the bush. Many Christians feel as if they are the only ones that could possibly be struggling with this sin. If you beat around the bush, it will only add to the secrecy and shame that those who are struggling feel.
Preach about it from the pulpit. This isn’t just a guy’s issue. Men, women and youth are struggling with pornography and sexual sin at an ever increasing rate. The more openly you discuss sexual sin as well as God’s intent for biblical sexuality, the more open and free your congregation will feel to share their struggles and seek help and guidance. Don’t give in to the temptation to soften the message in an attempt not offend anyone.
Shoot straight with your youth. God approves of sex . . . He created it. The Song of Solomon says that sex is holy and that God created us as sexual beings. Too often Christians fail to adequately understand the Song of Solomon and share its truths with our young people. Sex is not dirty, it is our selfish misapplication of sex that has made it dirty. We need to focus on the benefits of biblical purity and the implications of not using God’s gift in His intended manner. We too often focus on the don’ts with our youth.
Jesus made it clear that he was truth, that we should speak the truth in love, and that liars are contemptible. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4: 14-15). You may offend some people, but the crowd should not dictate “truth”. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets (Luke 6:26). Jesus never watered down his message. It is OK to talk about pornography, sex, lust and masturbation. Our kids are talking about these things every day at school and “learning” about them on the Internet, MTV, on cable, and in movies.
3. (R) Resources – A call to action
Once you pull back the covers on pornography and sexual sin, you must provide resources in three key areas. Pornography and sexual sin are issues that a sermon or bible study alone won’t solve, especially if the pornography or sexual sin has become an addiction.
Just uncovering the issue is like a fireman that points out the flames but has no water. You must call people to action and then give them a clear road map to education and recovery.
First, provide access from your website to Pure Online – or another confidential way to get help. While some percentage of those struggling with sexual sin will be ready to talk with a counsellor or join a recovery group, the vast majority of those struggling with sexual sin are trying to cope with it on their own. They are deathly afraid that a spouse, friend or pastor may find out. Christian men and women need a confidential way to begin the recovery process and to allow God to work in their lives. In many instances you will find that an online workshop like Pure Online can serve as a feeder system for counselling and recovery groups as people progress through the online workshop.
Second, offer easy access to trained, professional Christian counsellors. Some percentage of those struggling with sexual sin in your congregation may be sex-addicted, and may have devastated their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Typically those dealing with sexual addiction have wounds that will require some level of deeper analysis. Don’t force members of your congregation to find good biblically-based counselling on their own. Identify and recommend several Christian counsellors in your area that have experience working with sex addicts – and when possible, have one or more of them on your staff.
Third, provide recovery groups. Confession and accountability are key components to long term sustained recovery. Have a safe place where recovering addicts can share their experiences and build accountability relationships. Celebrate Recovery is a perfect example (see CelebrateRecovery.com).
For more on effective implementation of Pure Online in your church or ministry, contact us a X3Pure.com.
4. (E) Education – Keep it practical
First, clearly communicate the vision for a culture of sexual integrity in your church to your staff, board, and laypeople, and challenge them to surrender their own personal agendas to God’s grander vision for your congregation.
Second, equip your congregation with the armor to win the battle. Provide practical training to assist men, women and youth looking for God’s wisdom, direction and tools to use in keeping themselves sexually pure. A workshop like Pure Online or another course or small group study should be required before we send youth off to college, or to careers or to start families in a sex-saturated culture. If we don’t provide preventative and proactive training in the church, then our youth will be trained by the Internet, MTV, television, school, and friends.
Specifically, every member of your church should:
- understand the dangers of pornography and sexual sin;
- understand the triggers that lead to temptation and the tools to use to stand firm in the face of temptation;
- understand simple daily disciplines that they can incorporate into their lives in order to help maintain their sexual integrity and
- understand Internet accountability and filtering.