August 13, 2023 by Stevin Johnson

2023.8.13 Evening Service @ Poulsbo by Stevin Johnson

So as I live out my life and the more I come to know Jesus and being 57 years old and have time to reflect on what my life was like and what it has become like, that song will be my end. All His promises are yes and Amen. Be in the gloom of the valley of the shadow of death, but when you turn and look for Him, He’s right there. His promises that He’s going to save you, will lift you up, are Yes and Amen.

So as we talk tonight, things may sound gloomy. But we’re going to try to end with the yes and an Amen of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. All right. So. All right. So. Sin is sin. Couple of weeks ago, we talked about our current culture changing wrong, right? Like making things that we know are wrong. We grew up knowing our parents grew up knowing are wrong and their parents. Sexual slavery, slavery. Sin is sin. Stealing, hating your brother. It’s all sin. It doesn’t matter how great we label it. Murder compared to saying, you know what? I hate you. They’re the same in Jesus’s eyes.

So the logic doesn’t work when we try really when you try really hard to believe it and persuade everyone else to believe it. A duck is not a cow and a cow will never be a duck. So don’t you can’t say otherwise. So why are people trying so hard to change it? Relatable wrong, culturally accepted things that go wrong as being right. Because trying to justify sin. The light is shining. Would you accept that? I think that people are trying to justify their sin.

So let’s just take old Merriam-Webster. It’s a reliable definition. You can always find it online. Look it up. And what is sin? Sin is an offense against religious or moral law. I think folks, and in some cases right, so whole Christians, as being just do-gooders, which we know we’re not, because that’s why we’re Christians. Because we know that we’re sinners. We’re Christians because we saw what Christ did for us. So we’re sinners as well.

But even if you didn’t have a religion in your life or didn’t even believe, there’s still this thing called moral law. And everybody knows it in their heart. We know it in our hearts that it’s wrong to take preschoolers and teach them that it’s okay to have sex with whomever, whatever you want. And it’s okay for adults. I don’t get it. It really bothers me. That we’re trying to change laws that make it legal to have sex with whomever you want. That make it legal for, in my opinion, their predators to have sex with children. It’s wrong. I feel it in my heart that’s wrong. And I think there’s a lot of other people who do too. So that moral law is out there whether you believe it or not in Jesus. That’s one part of the definition. Another is an action that is felt to be highly irreprehensible. I like the example they use. It’s a sin to waste food. I questioned that one. And an often serious shortcoming, a fault. Transgression of the law of God. An initiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God.

So I kind of touched on the moral law aspect a little bit. Even if you don’t believe in religion. But here’s another one. If somebody hurts you. Turn them back. Right? Now we’re in sin for sin. Thank you Kathleen. But you probably felt they violated your moral law. They sinned against you. Or they hate you for offending them.

And I think that’s part of what makes it right, wrong, and wrong. People are trying to redefine moral law. So that they can justify their sin. They can justify the things they do that they know is wrong. Now I’ll give you, there are probably folks out there who are absolutely right in what we’re doing. But the majority of people I don’t think are that way.

But what we’ve fallen into is the shame game. If I tell you that it’s wrong for an adult to entice a child and have a relationship with a child. Or that it’s wrong and it says so in the Bible. For a male to have a relationship with a male. For a female to have a relationship with a female. Then you will label me as a hater. That’s where we’re at today. You will condemn me as a hater. Because I said what you’re doing is wrong. Which is not logical because now you’re actually hating against me. So how does that work out? Yeah, it doesn’t work.

Come on. Our country was founded on the principles of Christianity. And I know Kevin’s brought it up a couple times. Winston Churchill said basically what they were fighting for in World War II. For was the Christian worldview. There’s a better worldview to live in than any other. Than under Hitler’s worldview. It’s fair and it’s just and it’s loving. And that’s one of the things people try to, are trying to change. Trying to say Christians are not loving. Because we believe in the Bible. We believe what it says here. To change people with time. And to treat people the same. It’s worked. It worked for a really long time. It will always work. It’s not, it’s not something you can change or that doesn’t change with time. It doesn’t change with time.

I don’t know about you guys, but it does bother me. When folks try to change the Constitution of the United States of America. Our founding fathers obviously put a lot of thought into that document. And it’s pretty good. It’s a good basis to live by again because it’s based off of here, off the Bible. And churches who were, I try very hard not to name names. Because I don’t want to point fingers at people. And I know, I won’t do it. But I know mainstream churches who promote Pride Month. While I think they’re confused and they’re mixed up, I think their intent, I don’t know for sure, but I think their intent is love the sinner. But while they’re loving the sinner, they’re embracing the sin. And they’re saying that it’s okay. But Jesus never said that. But Jesus did love the sinner. He loved each one of us because we’re sinners. I’m pretty sure I sinned today. That even as hard as I try, I still sin. But Jesus still loves me. But He doesn’t say my sin is okay or acceptable.

But the same people are saying, maybe not the same people, but people are also saying that this book is outdated. And that it needs to be a catch up to our culture. I don’t think so. I think this book is still pretty accurate and pretty good. It still defines everything we need to live by. We can still progress as a culture. But we need to stick to the book. We need guidance. You’ll go astray. Everything is just chaos at that point.

And I can’t think of a better book to stick by. One that tells you that the God of the universe loves you. And if you turn to Him and accept Him, He will forgive you of your sins. And you can live forever. You can live forever. That’s mind boggling. To be able to live forever. And if you live forever with Him, then it will be great joy. So I don’t think this book needs to be outdated. And not current with our culture.

Where does that lead? How does that tie in to dark and stormy skies? Well, I kind of said already. There’s dark and stormy skies out there right now. I grew up in the Great Plains, Eastern Colorado. And if you’ve driven across there or lived out there, you know what the summer thunderstorms look like. When they roll up in the afternoon. Big, cumulus clouds. Thousands of feet high.

And most of the time you see them coming and you say, oh, it’s going to rain. And there will probably be a little lightning. But sometimes when you look out across the plains to the west where I grew up. And you saw nothing but a dark, dark wall with no light coming towards you. You knew you were in for it. And it was going to be a huge storm. It was probably hail, maybe tornadoes. It was impressive, like, it gives me goosebumps thinking about it growing up. And I loved it. Scary as it could be. It was really cool when you see lightning streak across the sky. And you can see the curtain of water coming down. It was just black. It was impressive. So that was, I was already a little ahead of myself. That was the dark and stormy clouds that I was talking about. The constitution and the Bible and people wanting to change things. Chaos. Right is wrong. It’s a kind of a dark and stormy sky in our country and in the world really. You see it going on all over the world. And we know who’s behind it. Satan’s behind it. He’s using people to try to subvert the Creator, the God, the one and true God of the universe. Trying to subvert that authority.

But there is light even in that. You know there’s no such thing as total darkness. I even looked this up. I remember Kevin talking about it, but I looked it up. There’s no such thing as total darkness. There is an absence of light. But there’s light as energy. There’s still energy in the darkness. And you just can’t see that light. It’s interesting. Now granted I’m not an expert in that study. And it took me, we read through it a couple times on the internet to figure it out. But there’s still energy. It’s just unseen. So there’s no absolute darkness.

It’s like a cloudy stormy sky rolling across the plains. Blacks out everything and it’s just coming down and it’s loud and it’s boom and there’s hail and there’s rain. And it’s just dark. There’s still light above those clouds. As a pilot, as an aviator, I can tell you I have never seen anything like this. As a pilot, as an aviator, I can tell you I have flown up through some very thick clouds. Now we never threw, we threw thunderstorms. That was just not a good idea. But you would enter clouds at 5,000 feet and you wouldn’t pop out until 25,000, 30,000 feet. You were in clouds all the way up. And it was bright. It was bright on top of it. The light was still there even though you may not have been able to see it. That’s Jesus. That’s the light that we’re talking about tonight.

So there’s a struggle right now in our country. There’s battles going on right here right now. Mine and James’ life, most of the peers that we spent our professional life with trained for fighting. That was our job. That’s what we learned to do. Fight battles. That’s what we learned to do. That’s what we learned to do. That’s what we learned to do. That’s what we learned to do. That was our job. That’s what we learned to do. Fight battles. We fought back. The ideal, the American ideal and our ideal is what we believe in is that evil is wrong. And people who are committing evil and won’t stop, need to be stopped. It was wrong to go out and commit genocide. It was wrong to gas people. It was wrong to sell people with sexual slavery. There’s just all kinds of evil out there. So I’ve got to say I got it in my heart still. Even before I joined the Navy, I knew right and wrong. Even though I know I did wrong myself. The evil, I want to fight it. It makes me angry. It makes me angry at the things I see today in our culture.

I know when I mentioned them, the teaching children at an early age who just need to be children and grow up and have fun and learn to actually interact with one people, not what sexual life is about. We’re not changing the laws and regulations so that adults can have relationships with children. Selling women, children and men into sexual slavery. Walking down the street and just sucker punching somebody because you think it’s cool and you can drop them. They have no idea it’s coming. You just kind of get empowered. You’ve got nothing wrong with somebody. You just want to hurt somebody. That makes me angry.

I want to fight back against that. I feel like hurting them back. It makes me really angry. The lies and the deception. Teaching the lies and the deception to the children through false education. So I don’t know about you guys, whether you get that mad or not, but I sure do. I sure get that mad.

So what am I going to do about it? There’s a lot of things I could do about it. I’m going to turn it over to Jesus. I’m going to turn it over to Him in prayer. And I’m going to listen and I’m going to be obedient to what He tells me. What does that look like? What does obedience look like? Well, if you’re prayerfully talking to Jesus, He will tell you what He wants you to do. Probably. First thing He’s going to say is love them. You don’t have to accept their sin. I got that. Vengeance is mine. I’ll take care of those who don’t believe Me. You just need to love on them.

It’s not going to be tolerated through sin. It’s not going to be determined through some or all the Bibles are no longer available. It’s going to be lovingly telling somebody which doing is wrong. It’s a sin. It’s not acceptable to the Creator of the universe? Do you know the Creator of the universe? You don’t. Let me tell you about it. Let me tell you that He loves you more than anything. Even though you’re a sinner, He’s made a way for you to come to Him and be free of your sin. He’s made a way for you to come to Him and be free of all this.

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome. That light is Jesus Christ. The Son of Man, Jesus Christ. I apologize right now if I get this wrong, but I think it’s John 3:15 and on. This is Jesus talking. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world. But to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict. Life has come into the world, but people love darkness instead of life because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light. It will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light. So that it may be seen clearly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:15-21)

So people who hide know their sin and they know what they’re doing. And I tell those people, if you feel that in your gut that what you’re doing is wrong, and you are trying to justify it, you need to think about a little bit more because God’s telling you that He’s not going on your heart trying to tell you trying to get your attention. Trying to let you know that there’s a way out. That He sees everything you do. He wants to love you. And He wants to forgive you. And you turn your way to Him and He will do so and all that will be washed away. You will be white as snow. You may not have heard of the Bible. And I would let people know too. Because I don’t like the I don’t want to be a hypocrite and I don’t like the church being labeled as a hypocrite. We are all sinners like I mentioned earlier. And we know we’re sinners is why we are sitting here tonight. And hopefully while you folks whoever might be watching, watching and I hope our numbers go up. You’ve got a question. Or you know that without Jesus you’re nowhere.

Now I’ll let them know that I’m a sinner. I’ve done things that that were sinful against God. We were born as original sinners. You didn’t come into the world. Most of us did not know Jesus right at birth. Sometime later in life you learned about Jesus. Maybe you learned from your parents. Maybe you learned from somebody in high school. Maybe you even earlier. But maybe if somebody in college told you about Jesus. And it piqued your interest because they told you how much Jesus loves you. And that He created this world that you live in and He wants you to be a part of His eternal life. And this is how you do that. And I was a sinner just like you. So I know better than you. I was in the same darkness. I was in the same condemnation until I turned to Him. Maybe you heard the first time and you weren’t sure. You prayed about it. And then through understanding wisdom came. And the light shining. And it began to shine brighter for you.

Because you started getting into the word. You started going to church. You started talking to other Christians. People you knew who were Christians. And you started getting information from them. And it became very interesting. And hopefully it becomes more interesting. It’s a lifelong journey. Of opening your Bible and praying every day. And turning your eyes to Jesus.

I’m not real good about it all week long. I do. I have. I’m kind of a routine person. So I listen to my Bible in the morning. Sometimes I’m not consciously there. It’s playing, but I’m fixing breakfast. Other times something new will come up. And I’ll hear it. And I’ll start praying it. The Psalms are great. What a great learning. And I just learned that within the last year. The Psalms are great to pray. Because they’re still very fitting. As we read Psalm 73 tonight. Still very fitting.

And I pray when I go out to feed my horses. And some of them are routine. Wrote prayers for my family. For protection. That Jesus sets His angels in protection around my family and friends. And our properties that nothing evil comes near anybody. No weapon formed against us will prosper. Those people that I know don’t know the Lord. Or think He’s just a nice myth. I pray for them that God makes Himself known to them unmistakably. That there’s no way to deny that the existence of God is real.

Prayer works. Prayer is powerful. Yes and Amen. And I have to tell You. For tonight it was very interesting. It actually made me tear up a little bit as we were singing the “Yes and Amen” for our communion. I had no intention of praying for Julie tonight. It just came and then that song came on. And yes and amen.

And I know from our own experience. That we have to pray for her. And I know that she’s a great person. And I know from our own experience. The miraculous healing of cancer that happens. And I just hold onto that for Julie. She just becomes a living miracle. To the testimony of Jesus Christ. So, neither do people put light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead they set it on a stand. And it gives light to everyone in the house. To open their eyes. So that they may turn from darkness to light. From the power of Satan to God. That they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance of one sanctified by faith in me. And that’s Acts 26:18 and those are Jesus’s words to open their eyes.

“To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:18)

So with that light, we have hope. We have hope. Small crowd here tonight. Half this crowd went to Maryanne Prot’s memorial service yesterday. So for the folks that weren’t there and everybody else who hopefully is listening. It was, I’ve been to a few. Former career. Been to a few funerals. Been to a few other funerals. Not associated with that career. And this one was unique to me. It was, it was. The presence of the light was there. I felt it. I felt that it was very light and light in weight.

I learned more about Maryanne than I had known her previously. First I met her when her struggles with cancer, her battle with cancer first started. So I learned a lot about Maryanne. What a devoted woman to the Lord that she was. And Bruce, her husband. Bruce, his eulogy was just fantastic. Clearly the man loved his wife very, very much. And the man loved Jesus very, very much.

And that he concluded his eulogy with a word that caught my attention. And how it clearly was impactful in his life and that was hope. It was, it was both a summation of his and Maryanne’s life together in Jesus. A summation of the truth of the faith that we have in the things that are in our lives. The hope and the belief and the resurrection of the life that we’re at.

So, you know, hope is to wish for an event that one considers possible. And have confidence and trust to desire and consider the possible. And that’s how Bruce described it. That is exactly what I heard him saying. Is the hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. And that life eternal is coming. We’re all going to meet up one day. Like Kevin says, it’s true. If you’re born into the world and you’re going to die one day, you are going to stand face to face with Jesus.

Whether you believe that He’s real or not, it’s going to happen. The best way to do it is to prepare. To ask somebody to read the Bible. To get to know Him. And when you actually read this, it’s so irrefutable. You’re not going to be able to deny Him once you start reading the Bible. Old Testament to New Testament. I encourage people not just to focus on New Testament. The whole Bible has something for you in everything. I know a lot of, especially new believers, and the New Testament is a good place to be if you’re a new believer. Because it talks about Jesus and His salvation. But if you want to understand the history and how it all got to that point. And how Jesus was even in the Old Testament. Then you need to read the Old Testament because the more you understand, the more you get wisdom.

So that’s why you don’t need to despair. Hope is the thing we believe in and the faith that we hold is what we know is true. So if you’re listening tonight on the web and you’ll catch this. Find somebody you know that’s a Christian and ask them about Jesus. Get curious. Go discover what people are talking about. And pray. I challenge you. I challenge you. Whether you believe or you’re questioning or you don’t believe. I challenge you to pray to God. To make Himself known to you. And then don’t just close your ears. Keep your ears open and see what happens. Because the God of the universe cares about you. And He will make Himself known to you.

You can even say this prayer. Jesus, if You are real, show Yourself to me in some unmistakable way that You love me. And You want to be involved in my life. So if you’re at that spot in your life where you are ready to be free from sin. And you think you want to make Jesus as the Lord of your life. Then give your life to Jesus. And forever be changed. Your life will change.

Let’s say this prayer with me. Jesus, I’m the sinner in need of the Savior. I believe You are who You said You are. The Savior of the world. I believe You will take away all my sin. When I turn my life over to You. Because I can’t do that for myself. Your blood shed for me on the cross cleanses me from my sin. I give You my life, Jesus. Come. And live with me. Thank You, Jesus.

So if you said that prayer, congratulations. Turn around and look. Because the Lord of the universe, the God of creation is standing right behind you. And He’s probably clapping and cheering and all the angels of heaven are singing hallelujah. Because you’ve chosen to come and be with the King of the universe.

Get into church. Start fellowshipping with all other sinners. Because we’re just a group of sinners who figured it out. Because somebody else told us. Or God came into our life in an unmistakable way. And said, hey, look at Me. Here I am. Here I am. Take My hand. I want to take you out of this. And let you live with Me forever. So don’t despair. There is hope. There is light. You don’t have to be afraid. Eternity is coming. In which it’s all going to be good. You got nothing to worry about. Thank You, Jesus.

Father, I just thank You. Creator, Lord of the universe. The Father who’s taught me how to be a man and how to love. How to grow. How to be gracious, kind, forgiving. Even when I didn’t want to be forgiving. I knew that You said to be forgiving. And that was enough for me. To be obedient. To do what You said.

Jesus, just thank You for Your yes and amen. Thank You that the answer from you for somebody sees you is always a “yes.” Just cry Halleluia to the King of kings, for you are that.

So I bless you and keep you, the Lord makes his shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Kevin likes to say, “Go forth and serve in that peace.” I like to say, “Thank you Lord for giving me that peace to go forth and serve.” Amen