The following lesson has been excerpted, edited, and reformatted from RBP’s Summer 2007 senior high teacher guide, Real Faith Lessons: Current Issues in the Light of God’s Word. The full set of senior high curriculum includes a teacher guide, a CD-ROM with additional teaching resources, a student devotional study, and a pack of verse cards. (See all senior high curriculum from Regular Baptist Press.)
Pornography is one of the leading addictions of American culture, yet many believers are not aware of the dangers that pornography brings to teens. The porn industry is everywhere; according to one study, there are more adult bookstores in the United States than McDonald’s hamburger outlets. Pornography is not limited to adults; it is easily accessible to people of all ages. Your teenagers are at risk of being exposed to this spiritually debilitating sin; one glance can grab them and take hold, leaving those teens feeling the guilt and shame of this secret sin.
Focus Their Attention (5–10 minutes)
Scenarios are available on the senior high CD-ROM, to be ordered separately. See page 8.
Distribute copies of the first scenario from case study 5 to the young ladies. Distribute copies of the second scenario to the young men. Encourage the young men to read and discuss their scenario with a male leader. Ask the young women to read and discuss their scenario with a female leader. Then ask leaders to discuss the following questions with their groups.
• How did the character get involved with this sin? (Guide students to see that in each scenario, it took only one instance to trap the character into sexual sin.)
• What emotions might this character face? (Anger, fear, humiliation, a sense of defeat.)
Lead students in prayer. Ask God to give you wisdom as you present the lesson, and ask Him to help any students who might be struggling with sexual temptations to seek help today.
Study the Bible (30–40 minutes)
I. Definition of Pornography
Pornography can be defined as the depiction of or material that depicts erotic behavior with the intention of causing sexual excitement. Perhaps the saddest news concerning pornography is that it is no longer limited to adults. In a study of 600 American males and females of junior high school age and above, researcher Dr. Jennings Bryant found that 91 percent of the males and 82 percent of the females admitted having been exposed to hard-core pornography.
II. Characteristics of Pornography
A. Physical effects
ART: Read your prepared list of commercial/advertising slogans and have students draw the images that relate to those advertisements or commercials. After five minutes, have students display their drawings.
ASK: Why do these images come to your mind when you hear these advertisements? Discuss with students how our brains recognize and recall images that we have seen. Then explain how pornography works much the same way. Review students’ answers to Monday’s devotions as you discuss the physical effects of pornography.
When one views pornography, a powerful chemical known as epinephrine is released into the bloodstream. The chemical then travels into the neuro center of the brain, where it is nearly impossible to remove. This powerful effect causes a person to literally become addicted to pornography.
B. Emotional effects
Review students’ answers to Tuesday’s devotions as you discuss the emotional effects pornography has on teenagers.
While the physical effects of pornography are long-lasting, an even greater concern is the emotional effects of pornography. Pornography distorts sexual identity. Women are no longer seen as the vessels of honor created by a pure and holy God. They are seen as emotionless tools of sexual gratification.
Along with this horrible perspective of women, pornography gives a distorted view of the sexual intimacy that God created and blessed. Those entrapped in the sin of pornography ruin possibilities of God-honoring intimacy between a husband and a wife.
Pornography also leads to violent acts. While these effects are sad and sickening, the believer has the responsibility to look at such sin through the truth of God’s Word.
III. Biblical Overview of Pornography
A. God created men and women with sexual desires
(Gen. 2:21–25; Song of Sol. 1—8)
READ: Have a volunteer read Genesis 2:21–25. Review students’ answers to Wednesday’s devotions as you discuss how God designed human sexuality.
Genesis 2:1–5 records the beautiful picture of what God intended for marriage.
When God’s plan is followed completely between a married man and his wife, there is no shame or guilt; they are free to enjoy each other as God intended (Song of Sol. 1—8). Pornography seeks to destroy the intimacy in this union.
B. All forms of sexual fulfillment outside of marriage are wrong (Lev. 18; 1 Cor. 5:1)
Throughout God’s Word, all sexual sin is prohibited. Leviticus 18 forbids homosexuality, incest, adultery, and other forms of sexual sin. God is clear that His people were not to defile themselves with these “abominable customs” (v. 30).
Paul urged New Testament believers to flee from fornication (1 Cor. 5:1). There was no leeway for a believer who committed these sins. Even though Paul recognized the past struggles, he reminded the Corinthians to turn from those sins and to live lives that honored God.
C. Pornography is a sin of the body and mind (Phil. 4:8)
Many people argue that pornography can be a healthy form of sexual outlet. Nothing could be further from the truth. God’s Word is clear about the importance of pure thought-life. Philippians 4:8 commands the believer to think on things of God. When one is involved in pornography, his or her thoughts are not focused on God or pure thinking. Consider the following breakdown of Philippians 4:8 compared to the thinking involved in pornographic sin:
Correct Thinking Thinking behind Sexual Sin
Truth Satan’s lies of temptation
Honesty Dishonest view of sex, women, and other people
Purity Impure thoughts and actions
Loveliness Ugliness and vulgarity of mankind
Good report Leads to shame, guilt, and hopelessness
By studying this verse it is clear that any sexual sin is not acceptable.
IV. The Believer’s Response to Pornography
How, then, should a believer who is struggling with pornography or other sexual sins overcome this sin? By applying key principles of God’s Word, a believer can gain victory over any sin.
A. Repent (Ps. 51)
Believers who desire victory over sin must be willing to confess their sins before God. Psalm 51 offers a glimpse of David’s repentance after his great sin. David plainly admitted that he had sinned; he didn’t try to place the blame anywhere else. He asked for forgiveness of his sin, and he asked God to “renew a right spirit” in his heart (v. 10).
Repentance is the first step in seeking restoration from sin.
B. Flee temptation
Review students’ answers to Friday’s devotions as you discuss the importance of fleeing all forms of sexual temptations.
God’s Word describes Satan as a lion who seeks to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). The best way to overcome this enemy is to recognize his tactics and to flee from the temptations he sends our way.
In Genesis 39:7–12, Joseph was faced daily with sexual temptation by Potiphar’s wife, yet he chose not to give in to the temptation. Then came the fateful day when Joseph was seemingly trapped by Potiphar’s wife. However, Joseph did not give in to this temptation. He chose to flee.
We must follow Joseph’s example and avoid the temptation at all costs. Consider the following options of removing the source of temptations:
• Place all computers in high-traffic areas, not in private bedrooms. Also, place protective software on the computer that will help block pornographic and inappropriate Web sites.
• Remove or block cable and network channels that present adult shows. Keep TVs out of bedrooms.
• Recognize and remove all sources of temptation.
One young man chose to take drastic measures: “My greatest temptation came at night, while I was alone in my room. In order to overcome that temptation I chose to sleep on the living room couch. [Sleeping on the couch] helped a lot because I realized that I was out in the open, not behind closed doors.”
While this young man’s decision may seem extreme, believers who desire victory over sin must be willing to do whatever it takes to flee temptation.
C. Fill the mind with God’s Word (Ps. 1)
Review students’ answers to Saturday’s devotions as you discuss the following Biblical principles:
• The more a believer reads, meditates on, and applies God’s truth to his or her life (Ps. 1), the more he or she will be able to combat the temptations of Satan.
• Listening to music based on Scripture is a wonderful way to focus on God and His great promises, and music that promotes godly living can be a great encouragement to a struggling believer.
• Believers must surround themselves with godly teaching and loving believers who can become great sources of accountability and support.
Prayer can be a vital help in the battle against temptation. Remember, we can go to God at any time, with any situation we are facing, knowing that He is with us (Ps. 46:1; Heb. 13:5, 6) and that He is able to help us escape that temptation (1 Cor. 10:13).
Apply the Truth (10 minutes)
Direct students’ attention to the In-Class worksheet in their student books. Have students record on the worksheet verses that will help them be victorious over temptation. Close in prayer. Ask God to help your students stay pure and to take necessary steps to flee sexual temptation.