I am so thankful to be partnering with Ryan Minkler, who is a pastor and is singling out the issue of Porn, the elephant in the Church. I can't recommend him highly enough and so I will be sharing his ministry here at Life Reformed. The first step in experiencing Life Reformation is to get a hold of you sexuality and to learn self control. Enjoy this article from CKP founder, Ryan Minkler.
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. --Hebrews 4:1-11 ESV
I just want to take some time with this blog post, explaining that viewing porn is causal to a failure of diligence to enter God's rest. All sin has at its root unbelief. A failure to believe that God through the Gospel promises more than the deceitful promises of sin. As we pick up Hebrews 4 we discover this. The writer just concluded with warning in Hebrews 3:19, "So we see they were unable to enter because of unbelief." Enter what you might say? God's rest. Then he concludes in 4:1 based on 3:19, let us fear that we fail to reach God's rest. See it in verse 1? But what are we to fear? Answer: UNBELIEF. He's saying fear that sort of unbelief that Israel, at least the majority of Israel committed. Why? Because it will damn you. It will keep you from entering God's rest and ultimately from entering heaven.
The fear of the Christian who is addicted to porn is not this kind of fear. The fear we often feel is the fear of falling into porn again, repeating the same mistake and it driving us deeper into shame and guilt. And I am here to tell you that is the wrong kind of fear. That is not the right kind of fear we should feel, and that kind of fear will actually keep us from entering God's rest and keep us falling headlong off the cliff again into porn.
The writer is instructing us to fear unbelief -- not trusting God. What is porn addiction in the Christian if it is not a failure to trust that God is more delighting and pleasurable than porn or images? Or the five second rush one gets from masterbation?
Listen to John Piper from his sermon on this passage:
Notice that verse 2 begins with “For.” That means that he is giving a reason for verse 1 — a reason for why they should fear. “Fear,” he says in verse 1, “for indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also [had good news preached to them]; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.”
So he continues to compare Israel’s situation in the wilderness to the situation of believers in his day. They had good news preached to them and we have had good news preached to us. What was the good news preached to them? Well, among many other things it was God’s word to Israel from Mount Sinai in Exodus 34:6–7: “Then the Lord . . . proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.’” It was good news of love and mercy and forgiveness of every kind of iniquity and transgression and sin. And it was the good news of God’s promise that God would bring them into the land of milk and honey and be with them if they would trust him and not rebel (Numbers 14:8–9).
So this writer says that the Israelites had heard the gospel just like his readers had — not the foundation of it in the death and resurrection of Christ, which his readers have heard — but still the promise that God is merciful and forgives sins and promises rest and joy for those who trust him. So there is a very similar situation between Israel and the readers of this letter, and the point is: this good news was not believed by Israel and so they did not enter God’s rest, God’s promised joy. Hebrews 4:2: “The word they heard [the good news of forgiveness and promised joy] did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.” In other words, they didn’t believe it. They doubted God. They distrusted him. They did not have faith in his promise to give them a better future than they had in Egypt and so they gave up on God and wanted the old life.
And what was the result of that unbelief? Verse 2 says: the promise “did not profit them.” It was of no value to them. It did not save them. As Hebrews 3:19 said, they did not enter God’s rest. They fell in the wilderness. God swore in his wrath that they would never enter his rest — a picture of missing heaven.
If we do not trust God's promise of joy, which is found namely in Christ himself, in the Gospel, in the words of Christ, we will not enter into God's rest. Now I know this passage is correlating rest with salvation. But Christ doesn't just save us in the past, he is saving us now. And the same faith we placed in him for salvation in the past in the same believing we need to place in him right now and five minutes from now, and 5 hours from now, and 5 days from now. So the main point of the paragraph is fear unbelief. Look at the last sentence which says the same thing in a slightly different way: Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. --Hebrews 4:11 ESV
Israel fell from the promised joy and delight of God because of their disobedience of unbelief. And the same thing can happen to any professing Christian. To keep it from happening — if we are a real Christian, he says, “strive to enter that rest” — God’s assurance of salvation and heaven. Strive!
Now I don't have to tell you this as a porn addict. In order to keep your enslavement to porn going you have to strive. You strive at keeping it a secret. You strive to set up where and when you will view porn and you strive to bring yourself to pleasure with masterbation. And the more you do it, the more you must strive to get that same pleasurable release, which in the end offers way more than what it delivers. Then you strive not to feel the guilt and shame but you do. And you strive in your same failure. You work hard at condemning yourself and feeling like God is far from you. If you are a true Christian, you will strive against what porn is doing to you and your relationship with God. But even as a Christian you can be striving in the wrong direction.
The striving you should be engaged in, everytime you are tempted to lust and look at porn is striving to enter God's present rest for you through faith, which is supplied by the superabounding grace of Christ.
Listen to Piper again:
Do you see the great lesson here? The Christian life is a life of day-by-day, hour-by-hour trust in the promises of God to help us and guide us and take care of us and forgive us and bring us into a future of holiness and joy that will satisfy our hearts infinitely more than if we forsake him and put our trust in ourselves or in the promises of this world. And that day-by-day, hour-by-hour trust in God’s promises is not automatic. It is the result of daily diligence and it’s the result of proper fear.
So at the end of the day there is only one to fear, not fearing falling into lust and porn again but failing to fearing unbelief in the promises of God and the delight and all-satisfying joy they will bring to your heart. Fear missing that. Fear neglecting that. Fear forgetting that. Fear unbelief.
But it's not just fearing unbelief. It is fear what unbelief will cause. It will cause you to miss what Israel missed in v.3-10. Mainly, missing God's plan for his people to join him in the wonderful restfulness of his salvation now, in Christ, and missing heaven where all weariness and burdensomeness will be lifted. That's why Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest,” Jesus said (Matthew 11:28).
So don't fear porn or falling into porn. Don't fear missing porn. Instead, fear missing God's rest TODAY and strive by believing his rest is greater than lust.
That's why he says in verse 7, "again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
There is a rest open to you today. God offers rest. The door is not shut. The time is not past. You have not missed your last opportunity. Hear the words of verse 9: “There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” The door is open. The time is now.
You can strive to enter the door of lust and porn. Look and look and feel and feel and grope and grope for more. Or, you can strive to enter the door of God's rest which is safe, peaceful, beautiful, glorious, joyful, delightful, pleasurable, happy rest in God — the door of faith. Faith in God’s promises bought for us by the blood of Jesus and accessed in Jesus by believing him to be your supreme rest from sin, the world, and the false promises of porn.
So my call to you today is: Fear unbelief and strive to enter that rest and rest in Christ day after day--rest in the promise of all that God is and will be for you, from now until eternity. He is infinitely superior and you should fear missing Him for the unbelief of porn and it's false promises. Strive to enter God's rest every moment. Rest in it right now. It is as close as your Bible and the Gospel.
Striving to Enter WIth You,
Founder of Christ Kills Porn
The Goal of these posts is to review, re-learn, and implement the process of Life Reformation (sanctification). We all know that the goal of any follower of Christ is to become more like Jesus. Our entire lives should be spent being moved in that direction of re-storing that broken image through His love and grace. However, sometimes we fail to truly see that while we do indeed participate, it is God who is the One changing us into the image of His Son, Jesus. He is setting us apart as his own (since He bought us back with His Son's blood) and He has the right to Re-form us to be ready to be with Him forever. The thing we often forget is that this process of sanctification (Life Reformation) is not an overnight work, rather it will come about through daily walking in Christ. We just have to trust Jesus as He oversees the process of Life Reformation. We cannot expect to grow unless we are willing to look to God to lead us.
In James 1:2-8 we learn that we are called to trust the fact that God is at work in us, no matter the circumstance. His working is often directly connected to life circumstances. We cannot expect to grow unless we are willing to let God lead us in the process by responding to these circumstances in the way that would be pleasing to Him.
1) The first thing we need to learn in James 1 is that God uses trials to expose and strengthen faith. Trials are signs of God’s work among and within us. James speaks to God’s plan of leading us to maturity through those struggles. We have to learn that true faith isn’t being produced through testing, but true faith is a) exposed and b) strengthened through the testing that He permits in His sovereign plan.
2) The second thing we must learn is that we must finish the course to see His sovereign work completed. If we are going to see the fruit of God’s work in us, we must see it through until the end. The tests are more about what was promised and not what was “deserved.” You see, most people think that the promises of God are earned. We don't deserve his grace and his promises. These are gifts from our Father. If we could earn his love, it would be void of grace, for the very idea of grace is that we do not deserve it, nor can we ever earn it. We must understand that we do not deserve His working in us. These trials and tribulations are gifts in that they cause us to know Him and love Him more. Is it a challenge to continue keeping on in the faith each day when trials come? Most definitely, but it is in those moments we grow the most and begin to look more like His Son. So keep on running the race. Those who think they are deserving will not make it.
Speaking about tests and trials, Sam Allberry writes, “We need to fight to think about them in the right way: consciously to force our perspective and vision above and beyond the present suffering, so that we look forward to the good that God will, over time, produce through them. It is as we do this that, alongside the deep pain, we can have a sense of the presence and goodness of God, and be assured that we are in his hands and that he is at work within us” (Sam Allberry, James for You: Showing You How Real Faith Looks in Real Life, God's Word for You [n.p.: The Good Book Company, 2015], loc. 173–76.
3) We must also learn why James tells us to pray and ask for wisdom. God allows us to experience trials so that we will run to Him. God is going to bring us into situation after situation where we are going to be challenged and tried. These situations should lead us to prayer. Asking God for his wisdom shouldn’t be difficult, but it often is. Maybe we are ashamed to have to ask or perhaps we feel like we shouldn’t have to ask again about something. It’s really a matter of trusting God with his promises. Bible Commentator, Douglas Moo writes, “Human fathers give good things to their children; how much more, Jesus reasons, will ‘your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ James follows the same pattern. God gives us wisdom when we ask because he is a God who gives generously” (Douglas Moo, The Letter of James, Pillar New Testament Commentary [Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press], 58). Do you run to God for wisdom when you don't know how to respond to trials and tribulations? Maybe it's in your marriage and you need wisdom to know how to mend years of trouble with your spouse. Maybe it's that teenage boy of yours that you want to reach, but the more you try the more he repels. Have you asked God for wisdom lately? Maybe it's your finances, or a big business issue at work? When was the last time you ran to ask God for wisdom to respond biblically to life's way of seemingly victimizing you?
I am a great sinner saved by far greater grace. God has blessed me with a wonderful family and a beautiful Gospel congregation at Twin Lakes Bible Church.