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How to Preach on Sex, Lust, and Porn

First off, I want to applaud you for wanting to tackle sensitive issues like sex, lust, and porn. They’re tough topics to talk about in private, let alone in a sermon. So kudos to you for being willing to face the fire.

Because these topics are so difficult to get right, especially with students, I’d like to share some advice with you.

1. Grace First

Whatever your theological view on certain issues here, make sure your starting point is grace and love. Judgment will only increase guilt—and believe me when I say that those in your audience struggling with sexual problems have enough guilt to begin with.

2. Facts, Facts, Facts

Get your facts right. No one is served by scare tactics of misinformation. I’ve seen people spout the dangers of sexting for instance without any factual basis.

3. Be Inclusive

The other day I was sitting in church listening to a pastor speak on lust and specifically porn addiction. He was mainly addressing the men—which is a huge mistake, because women struggle with porn as well. It may look different sometimes (take ‘mommy porn’ like Fifty Shades of Grey), but the problem is the same. Be inclusive. Address guys and girls, straight and LGBT students, middle schoolers and high schoolers.

4. Target your Audience

As with many other issues we tend to want to warn students about, it’s important to target your talk for a specific audience. 12 year old guys need to hear something else than 16 year old girls. With porn specifically this is an issue. On one hand many teens struggle with this and they seem to start younger and younger, but on the other hand you don’t want to ‘inspire’ teens who haven’t encountered this yet.

Depending on the topic separating by gender may also be a good idea. We’ve done both co-ed sessions and separate ones, depending on what we wanted to discuss. Both have their (dis)advantages.

couple

5. Involve the Parents

You’ll want to give the parents a heads up anytime you teach on a difficult topic like this. And be prepared for some resistance when you do. Sadly some parents are still living in lala-land and are hopelessly naive and out of date when it comes to the reality of porn and sex.

On a more positive note, include the parents in the follow up as well. Give them the info you’ll be teaching on and provide them with questions for conversations afterwards. Many parents want to talk about this stuff, but don’t know how.

We’ve also done specific events for parents about these topics where we informed them about statistics, issues, etc. Parents have questions as well, like ‘at what age do I need to start talking about sex?’ or ‘how do I broach the topic of masturbation?’. Evenings like that can help them be prepared well.

6. Share God’s Perspective

If there’s one topic where God’s view is radically different from what the world teaches us, it’s sex. For students to truly understand why God ‘forbids’ certain things, we have to paint the whole picture. That means sharing the great news that God created sex, that sex is good. It means painting a Biblical view on marriage. It means stressing ad nauseam that God’s love and forgiveness has no bounds—and that is true for sexual sins as well.

7. Assume Pain

When talking about sexual topics, always assume pain and brokenness in your audience. There will be students who have suffered sexual abuse, sexual trauma, who struggle with porn addiction, who have (had) sexual relationships already that went way too far. Let love and forgiveness color your every word so no one feels condemned, judged, or dirty.

8. Preach Hope

More than anything, students need to hear hope when it comes to these issues. Too often we get stuck on ‘you can’t do this’ and ‘this is wrong’. Or we present Jesus as a quick fix for all your problems, the band-aid to cover the wound.

In that same talk I mentioned before, the pastor advised men to simply ‘picture Jesus on the cross’ whenever they were tempted to watch porn. That’s a cheap advice that will only increase feelings of guilt and hopelessness when even that doesn’t work.

Hope starts with acknowledging how severe the problems may be and that there’s no quick fix possible. Hope arises when we’re honest about the reality and the long road to recovery—but the assurance that recovery is possible. Freedom is possible!

What other advice would you add for someone who wants to preach on sex, lust, and porn?

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2 thoughts on “How to Preach on Sex, Lust, and Porn

  1. […] How to Preach on Sex, Lust, and Porn Great post, Rachel! […]

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