Pastor H.B. Charles Jr. of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church preaches at the Together for the Gospel Conference held in Louisville, Kentucky, April 19-21, 2022. | Screengrab: YouTube/ Together For The Gospel
Pastors should be using their time in the pulpit to preach about Jesus, not pontificating about the latest comments made by talking heads on Fox News or MSNBC, said Pastor H.B. Charles Jr., citing Colossians 1:28.
The 49-year-old pastor, whose church has two locations — Jacksonville and Orange Park — emphasized that “what a man preaches is always more important than how he preaches [because] the goal is soundness of speech, not the smoothness of style.”
“The Bible is about Jesus, and our preaching should be about Jesus. We don’t need talking heads in the pulpit giving us their takes on whatever the news of the week is from Fox News or CNN or MSNBC. When we get together on the Lord’s day, we need news from another network,” Charles proclaimed.
Charles said he understood that there are many reasons why pastors might want to preach about current events. But the distraction of the week’s headlines can make it easy for pastors to focus on the busyness of the world, and, as a result, they could end up forgetting about both their salvation and that of whom they serve.
“If we are not careful, the never-ending busyness of [that kind of] ministerial work makes us prone to become unimpressed with the Gospel. There are too many dirty dishes, if you will, to clean up,” Charles stressed.
“Brothers, you cannot faithfully serve the Gospel if you do not personally savor the Gospel. So I would challenge us. Do not forget the significance of your salvation.”
Pastors “have an infinitely greater reason to rejoice” because of Jesus’ grace and the power that comes from “the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven [that] empowers Gospel preaching.’”
Earlier in his sermon, Charles preached on 1 Peter 1:10-12, a letter written by Peter, an apostle, to Christians about not forgetting their salvation by allowing themselves to be distracted by the day’s events.
“I suggest to you brothers that this apostolic letter is a pastoral manual. Consider this text, how the Apostle Peter speaks to troubled Christians, not preoccupied with the events of the moment, but begs them to look up and remember the significance of their salvation,” said Charles.
“Peter reminds us that grace fills Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. … Salvation, he reminds us, is by the grace of God. Grace is an attribute of God.”
Charles pointed to the Old Testament book of Jonah, telling the ministry leaders that “you can’t understand Jonah Chapter 1 without understanding Jonah Chapter 4.”
“In Jonah Chapter 4, remember, Jonah tells God why he ran. He says in Jonah Chapter 4 verse 2: ‘This is why I made my haste to flee to Tarshish. For I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and relenting in disaster,’” Charles said.
“Jonah’s right. Grace is essential to who God is and how God works. It is how God saves. … For the glory of God, salvation is a grace from start to finish. And Peter highlights this reality in the writings of the prophets. Sure the writings of the prophets were filled with warnings of judgment. But Peter says: ‘grace was the prophets’ message.”
The theme for this year’s conference was “Last Word,” as organizers said that this would be the final T4G gathering.
Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and one of the T4G organizers, wrote in the official Conference Guide that it was “a tremendous privilege to steward these gatherings for the last 16 years.”
“And we are excited to welcome you one more time to the mix of messages, singing, praying, panels, books, and fellowship that have marked these gatherings,” Dever wrote.
“Thanks for making this investment in the unity of the Spirit by uniting together in edification based around the truth. May God continue to make it bear fruit to his glory.”