Message from Jon Tisevich
Hi everyone, my name is Jon and I have the privilege of being one of the pastors here. I want to say up front, like Nic mentioned at the beginning of our time together… my message today would probably have a PG-13 rating on it.
We’re going to be talking about things of the fornication and copulation variety. If you are not ready to unpack that conversation with your little ones, our Harbortown KIDS ministry is ready with open arms to love on your babies while we hang out together today. You have about two minutes before it gets awkward.
We are in Week 2 of our Never Enough series, looking at the sobering reality, that apart from Jesus…with our own human thinking and abilities…our own good deeds, we are never enough to live up to God’s standard, to be seen as righteous. BUT GOD, through CHRIST, makes us enough to die for.
On my own, I’m never enough…but with Jesus, I’m more than enough.
I want to take us to Jesus’ words in the book of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 27. Jesus says this:
“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ (Deuteronomy 5:18, one of the 10 commandments). But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye —causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand —causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."
Wow, there’s a lot here, and I know what you’re thinking…
Why in the world did David have ME talk about lust and adultery?!?! Why David, WHY!?! (I’m just saying what you’re thinking…right?)
I know some of you are just, like, holding your breath… eyes wide open… waiting for a bomb to go off, can’t believe we’re talking about sex in church, and it’s me…
So, listen…I want all of us to do something together…right now. Seriously.
All of us together, we’re just gonna take two really big deep breaths. Seriously, on the count of three…one, two, three…in through the nose…breathe… out through the mouth…
One more time. In through the nose…real deep…keep going. Now out through the mouth…nice and slow…
Now…let’s talk about sex.
I was telling one of our other pastors here, Micah, that I’m kinda anxious for this message this week. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about sex. I’m good for talking about sex in church. This isn’t my first time, wont be my last time and it isn’t Whitewater’s first time talking about sex either. I’m anxious because we’re still trying to get to know each other. Right now you’ve already started a list of words that you’re thinking “please, don’t say this, Jon or please, don’t go there, Jon."
I’ve got my own list of words and phrases on my phone that I told myself, you can’t say these.
Listen, there are A LOT of potential landmines in a message that has to do with sex, and I don’t know if our relationship is ready for all that. Like, are we ready to take you and me to the next level? I mean, I am…are you?? Are you sure? Cause after today there’s no turning back.
Ok, here we go…
Second reason I’m anxious - I feel the weight of this message. This message has breakthrough written all over it, not because of me, but because of the power of Jesus Christ working through His word. And SEX…sex is something all of us can relate to. Not one of you in this room or online is here without sex. So this is a message EVERYBODY can relate to in some way. And, the enemy knows this.
One of the greatest deceptions the enemy has pulled off is deceiving the world, including the church, that we shouldn’t talk about sex. AND DEFINITELY NOT IN CHURCH! Because, if the enemy can keep SEX trapped in darkness, he can control it…he can manipulate it…and, he can manipulate you with it.
It’s time for the church to shine a light on the topic; to step boldly into the conversation everybody, but the church, is already having. As your pastor, it is my privilege to have this conversation with you today. It should be a mandate for every pastor to talk to their people about sex. You need to hear from your pastor that SEX is from God. God created sex. The enemy didn’t create it. Culture didn’t create it. It was never lost…nobody needs to find it and bring it back. I don’t care what Justin Timberlake says.
God created sex.
God’s gift of sex is powerful. The thought of sex is powerful. The act of sex is powerful. It has the power to bring life…and death.
Our enemy knows this. Listen, we have an enemy whose sole purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. And, the enemy uses sex and our lustful desires to lure us away from God. Over time, we begin to worship SEX…the thing that God created…more than GOD, the One who created it.
So how do we fight back? How do we protect ourselves?
Before I go any further, I wanna share that Reed Sapp, Craig Groeschel, and Micah Odor all had influence on my message today. I want to give credit where credit is due.
Speaking of credit, I found out this week that Verizon was willing to give me a $700 credit for my old phone. So, I got me a new iphone for next to nothing. Raise your hand if you have a smart phone. How many apps do you think you have on your phone? The average smartphone user has over 80 apps on their phone.
Raise your hand if you have Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok on your phone.
Raise your hand if you have the Bible app on your phone. (If you didn’t raise your hand, the rest of us are quietly judging you right now.) It’s a great app. You should download it. Our family uses it a ton.
Raise your hand if you’re planning to look at porn on your phone today.
Not really the moment to raise your hand, right? That one person who raised his hand in the back, just got used to raising their hand. Now everybody’s looking at them all weird like…
Here’s the deal…
- 64% of men and 15% of women admit to viewing porn monthly
- 79% of men between the ages of 18 and 30 years admit to viewing porn
- The average age for a first encounter with sexually explicit images is 8 years old
The first time I was exposed to porn was in 5th grade, in the back of a school bus. My eyes were introduced to a Playboy magazine that changed my life forever, and I don’t think it was for the better.
In middle school, I found a VHS tape that was labeled, James Bond. When I pushed play, I immediately realized that what I was watching was not at all James Bond. It was a very confusing movie with bad acting, but I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
For many of us growing up, porn used to be something you had to work for. Now, we’ve all got porn in our pocket.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know by now there is a correlation between looking at porn and how that carries over into our real lives and acting out our sexual desires in unhealthy ways with real people.
And, you know what? There’s an app for that, too.
Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel…(no Pastor Jon, no… you’re not supposed to know about these things…you can’t bring that up in church…)
Listen, I’m a pastor, I’m not dead.
We’re living in a swipe right world, and if you don’t know what that means, you’re either not online, not alive, or woefully unaware of the very real online world that is impacting our everyday, real world lives.
Raise your hand…actually, don’t raise your hand on this one.
Have you heard of Ashley Madison? This is a website (they have an app, too) that specifically helps married people have affairs. The company’s tag line is: Life is short, have an affair.
Ashley Madison has over 60 million members. 17K people become new members of this website every day. According to the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 65% of husbands and 55% of wives will commit adultery by the age of 40. Over the course of our lifetimes, over 25% of men AND women will have an emotional or sexual affair…1 out of every 4 of us in this room. Life is short…have an affair.
In Matthew 5:28, Jesus says, "…anyone who even looks at someone with lust has already committed adultery with them in their heart."
Anyone who looks at someone with the purpose of lust…
Are the apps on your phone helping or hurting? App is short for application. There are implications for every application you engage with.
What apps are you engaged to?
Are the apps you’re engaged to protecting the fiancé you're engaged to? Are the apps you’re engaged to protecting the marriage you're engaged in? Are the apps you’re engaged to protecting your relationships with your friends, your family, with the bride of Christ that you’re trying to stay engaged in?
Some of y’all are downloading the Bible app RIGHT NOW.
As I’ve been processing through Matthew 5:27 and what it means for us in 2021, I believe Jesus is saying this:
Whether you’re looking at pornhub…
Looking too long at the curves of a waitress at Taste of Belgium…
Having an emotional affair with a co-worker…
Masturbating to the Victoria’s Secret catalog…
Or actually having good, old-fashioned sex with anyone other than the person you’re married to…
You’re committing adultery.
You’re damaging your heart and creating issues the enemy will use against you your entire life. And, for many of you in this room and watching online, porn, lust, adultery, sexual temptation…this is THEE thing that is crushing you. This is THEE thing that has trapped you in bondage and keeps you from experiencing a life filled with hope and freedom.
And, as someone who has battled with lust and porn, I’m telling you right now…because of Jesus, His People, and His Power…freedom is possible.
SO, how do we protect our hearts from being consumed with lust?
Because there may be condoms for other things, but there’s no condom for your heart. So, how do we protect our heart? How do we protect our relationships…our kids? How do we protect our marriages?
I think it all begins and ends with the heart. I’m not talking about your actual physical heart. I’m talking about the other heart that pastors, and coaches, and leaders like to talk about.
How’s that heart? That heart is the mysterious, wonderful, confusing part of us that enables us to laugh, love, mourn, fear, and experience the fullness of life. The heart that swells with pride when you see your child do something they didn’t think they could do. This heart is also the heart that shatters when someone we love passes away too soon. For me, it’s the heart that fills with confidence every time Kelly kisses me right before I walk up to preach.
When it comes to THIS heart…how’s your heart?
Because this is the heart we need to protect…this is the heart that gets corrupted by lust and sexual temptation. And, see this heart, even though we can’t see it, affects everything we do.
Luke 6:45: "A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart."
What are you allowing into the treasury of your heart? How many secrets does this heart have? At the end of the day, we’re only as sick as our secrets. We’ve got to protect this heart from becoming polluted with the secrets of sexual sin and lust. Because at the end of the day, sexual sin, lust…it leads to death.
Proverbs 5:3-5: "For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave."
Sexual sin looks sweet and smooth, but it’s bitter and sharp.
Sexual sin thrills you, then it kills you. It kills you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Contrary to what others may have told you, porn doesn’t help your sex drive. Things stop working the way they used to, because you’re bringing stress into your body.
Your emotional and relational connections start to breakdown because you can’t relate and love others the way God intended, because you objectify others and you start to see people through the eyes of sex instead of through the eyes of love.
It robs you of confidence and joy. You find yourself battling anxiety. You’re depressed…overcome with guilt and shame. So you get trapped in this exhausting cycle of constantly covering your tracks. Digging this pit of deception, telling lies to cover up the previous lies. And this constant weight of fear is suffocating. This weight of “when is he gonna find out…when is she gonna find out…when am I gonna get caught.”
You get mentally overwhelmed with these thoughts of feeling dirty…and disgusting. You lose spiritual confidence and lose intimacy with God and everyone around you.
And, you pray saying this is the last time…and you really, really do mean it. You really do want to stop, but you can’t. So, you become even more discouraged. And, you’re just defeated…left feeling helpless…and you start asking “why won’t this ever stop…why can’t I quit this?”
And, here’s why…you’re trying to heal something with a band-aid that actually needs surgery.
You’re not addressing the root…the core, deep down issue. This isn’t a lust issue…this is a heart issue.
I want you to know if you’re in this place of hurt…this isn’t pain…this is a place of hurt…a place that no pill, prescription, or pat on the back can help.
I just want to tell you, I’ve been there. I promise you it can and will get better. There is a way forward. Please, don’t give up on yourself.
I don’t have all the answers, but I want to share with you what worked for me and countless others.
Two things, that IN TIME and with GOD’s help and with God’s PEOPLE, you will experience breakthrough and freedom.
There’s a spiritual and physical side. All spiritual rarely ever works. All physical rarely ever works. It takes both working together.
Two things…IN TIME…with GOD’S help…and His PEOPLE…that will help us protect our hearts.
Don’t conceal it…confess it.
Proverbs 28:13 "People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy."
Confess to God…confess to people.
Some of you may be like, oh man, I don’t want to share this with anyone. I couldn’t possibly let somebody else know what I struggle with. I get this, but if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, it’s time to do something different.
Confess to God…confess to people.
Confessing to God brings forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."
Confessing to people brings healing. James 5:16 says, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other, so that you may be healed."
You’re only as sick as your secrets…
You’re only as strong as you are honest.
How strong do you want to be? How healthy do you want your heart to be?
I know sharing the thing you struggle with, let alone admitting you even have something you struggle with…I know this is challenging, but this is where breakthrough happens. See, sin grows the most in the dark. And today, I want to empower all of us to bring what we hide in the dark into the light. Once we shine a light on something that has been hiding in darkness, it loses its power over us.
This week, I’m inviting you to talk to your spouse, your best friend, a pastor, a counselor. It’s time to get this off your heart.
Second thing we do to protect our heart:
Don’t fight lust… FLEE from it!
1 Corinthians 6:18 "Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does."
We don’t just fight against lust, we flee from it. RUN from it. If you’re wrestling with any kind of lust or sexual sin, “RUN, FORREST, RUN”…
Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians to RUN coincides with what Jesus is telling us in Matthew 5:29, "So if your eye causes you to lust, gouge it out. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off."
Paul says RUN. Jesus says cut it off…there’s a Lorena Bobbitt joke in there somewhere…some of you are too young to get that, but, it’s just not worth going there.
Listen, I’m not an expert, but I’m confident in my research, and in the team around me…that Jesus is not LITERALLY telling you to cut anything off or gouge anything out…
I believe what Jesus is saying is that IF there is any area that is causing you to struggle…if there’s any place you’re vulnerable…if there’s any temptation…get rid of it. RUN from it. Do whatever it takes to protect yourself from the temptation.
The severity of your protection must exceed the severity of your temptation.
How serious are we about protecting our hearts from seeing what will ultimately damage them?
As Jesus eluded to, it starts with the eyes. First, we have to take ownership of OUR eyes. Jesus says deal with YOUR eyes, not THEIR yoga pants. We’ve got to take ownership of OUR eyes…not how someone else is dressed. We need to stop worrying about what other people are wearing, and first learn to control ourselves. Before we teach about how to dress, let’s teach about respect. Let’s teach about discipline. Let’s teach our young men and women integrity, honor, loyalty, purity, discipline, self-control, and respect.
I’m tired of hearing, "Well, she was asking for it wearing an outfit like that." She’s not asking for it. You and your eyes are just undisciplined and disrespectful.
Do I think all of us…everyone say ALL OF US…
Do I think all of us should practice modesty…yes, absolutely. 100%. Modesty is the best policy. Don’t give away the farm. Leave something to be desired…
But listen, it’s got to be both modesty AND being disciplined and respectful. Control your eyes and the heart will follow. We’ve got to protect our eyes from falling into the obvious traps. If the female form does it for you and you’re trying to protect your heart, you’ve got no business giving your business to Hooters, Twin Peak, Tilted Kilt…let alone strips clubs. You’re not there for the cold beer and dinner specials. You’re there for what your lustful eyes want to feast on. And, it ain’t the wings.
What our eyes feast on, our bodies will want to have for dessert.
It’s learning to acknowledge, but not lust. Acknowledge that God does good work. Chris Hemsworth…good job, God. Gal Gadot…well done, God. We need to learn to take the poison out of the painting. Acknowledge that’s a masterpiece God created. “Well done, God…ya did really good work there, God.” And move on.
Early on in our marriage…it may have actually been on our first or second anniversary…while at the beach, Kelly and I had a conversation about this. Basically, it went like this…
I told Kelly we could never go to the beach again because of all the different things you see at the beach with men and women wearing not a lot of clothing…
We were able to communicate openly…confess what was really going on in our minds when we saw certain things.
So, very practically, to this day when Kelly or I see a man or woman that is really put together well, we don’t keep that thought in our minds. We take that thought captive.
2 Corinthians 10:5, "Take every thought captive to obey Christ."
Before the thought has the opportunity to grow roots, embed into our minds, and create distortion and perversion, we take the poison out of the painting. And we say to each other, "Look…over there…God did good."
Yes, that does sometimes mean there can be an awkward moment of Kelly realizing she married someone who will never have an 8 pack…but some masterpieces look different than others.
Look once, you’re appreciating a masterpiece…look twice, you’re damaging your heart.
When it comes to protecting your eyes online…very practically…
I encourage everyone to download and install software protection for all your devices…
I have X3 watch…on my phone and computers. This is an accountability software that monitors what I’m looking at on my devices. And, if I go someplace that is mildly suspicious, my wife, my best friend, and one of my mentors (who happens to be a pastor) gets an email letting them know here’s what Jon’s been looking at.
Another great software to use is Covenant Eyes. Similar product for protection and accountability. (XXXCHURCH.COM & COVENANTEYES.COM)
This is an easy way to protect our eyes and our hearts. I would rather have these guard rails in place and never have to use them, then start down a path that damages me, my heart, and all those around me.
1: Confess to God… Confess to People.
2: Don’t Fight Lust… FLEE from it.
Family…I was gonna say friends, but after today, we’re family…this battle is very, very real and many of you, and your family members are in the fight of their lives.
Choose today to let others in. You’re not alone in this battle.
On our own, we’re never enough. But with Jesus, His people, and His power, we are more than enough…we can experience freedom.