ANAHEIM, California – H.B. Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, said that while corporate worship shouldn’t resemble a “funeral,” Christians must refrain from participating in “man-centered entertainment masquerading as worship.”
During a sermon delivered at the National Religious Broadcasters’ International Christian Media Convention last month, Charles said that the biblical instruction to “rejoice with trembling” in Psalm 2 is “one of the most succinct definitions of worship in Scripture.”
“When we worship God together, it shouldn’t be like a funeral or sitting in the doctor’s office or being stuck in traffic. We should rejoice,” he said.
“As we rejoice, our worship should not be an emotional response to man-centered entertainment masquerading as worship. As we rejoice, we should recognize the holiness and the sovereignty and the majesty of Almighty God.”
Charles, who has authored a number of books, including A Biblical Answer for Racial Unity, told the audience that Psalm 2 represents Jesus' authority and reveals that the “only hope for rebellious mankind is this Christ we proclaim by the means that God has given us.”
“The bad news is we are sinners and our sin separates us from God,” he said. “The worst news is that there is nothing we can do to fix what our sin has messed up. But the good news is God sent His Son Jesus to die at the cross to pay for our sin and [He] rose from the dead for our justification. And the best news is if a sinner runs to the cross tonight and trusts in Jesus you can have free forgiveness, new life, and eternal hope tonight.
“So we leave from this conference to proclaim Christ with hope and joy and strength because ‘Blessed are all who take refuge in Him,’” he said, quoting the last verse of Psalm 2.
The Psalmist urges readers to “serve” the Lord, Charles said. He urged the audience to recognize “everyone is a servant. No matter their position, status, or wealth, every person serves something or someone. The problem is most of us serve ourselves, and the one who serves himself has a fool for a master. The only other way is to submit all that you are and all that you have to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
All humans are susceptible to rebellion, the pastor said, adding, “[H]uman rebellion against divine authority is absolutely futile. And no soul is free when it lives in rebellion against its divine Creator.”
But God, the Psalmist says, “laughs” at man’s rebellion: “Human rebellion is divine comedy,” he said. “When God laughs, it’s not funny. God is not laughing with us; He is laughing at us.
“This is God’s message to rebellious mankind: ‘It’s too late. I’ve already set my Son, my Anointed One on My holy hill of Zion.’ No matter how things look, the Lord Jesus Christ has the last word in this world that we live in.”
The worship service also featured a hymn sing led by Bob Lepine, co-host of the radio program FamilyLife Today.
Joni Eareckson Tada, evangelical speaker, author, and disabilities advocate who is also a quadriplegic, was originally scheduled to sing but was hospitalized with chest pain and breathing difficulty, requiring her to clear her schedule.
Lepine, also senior vice president of FamilyLife, shared how he’d attended hymn sings led by Tada at NRB’s Convention for at least 10 years.
“And she would exhort us not simply to be caught up in the sentiment of these songs. She would say, ‘Let’s make sure we focus on who we’re singing to or who we’re singing about.’”
Lepine also led attendees in “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” which Tada previously identified as one of her favorite hymns — especially the verse: “Hear Him, ye deaf; praise Him, ye dumb, your loosened tongues employ; ye blind, behold your Savior come; and leap, ye lame, for joy.”
Those words, Lepine said, will be “the testimony in Heaven for people who struggle today with challenges physically, and, of course, that’s Joni’s situation."
Tada was discharged from the hospital Wednesday.