Sermons

Sermons

The Lord is My Portion | Psalm 119:57-64

June 13, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
The stanza begins with a testimony: “The Lord is my portion.” “Portion” refers to a personal inheritance, acquired possession, or great endowment. It is a real estate term. The Lord used the term to explain why the priestly tribe of Levi would not receive property or possessions in the promised land of Canaan. Numbers 18:20 says, “And the Lord said to Aaron, ‘You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel.’” Joshua 13:33 says, “But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance just as he said to them.”   We do not know...
Sermons

Make Plans Without Playing God | James 4:13-17

June 10, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
George Bernard Shaw visited the studio of sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. The famous playwright noticed a massive block of stone in the corner and asked what it was for. “I don’t know yet,” Epstein answered. “I’m still making plans.” “You mean you plan your work,” said Shaw. “I change my mind several times a day!” Shaw replied, “That’s all very well with a four-ounce manuscript, but not with a four-tone block.”  It is good, wise, and right to make plans. The weightier the goals, the weightier your plans. “If you fail to plan,” said Benjamin Franklin, “you are planning to fail.” That old and famous axiom is true. The Bible teaches us...
Sermons

Keep Trusting When Trouble Comes | Psalm 119:49-56

June 6, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
Psalm 119 repeatedly confronts us with the fact that devotion to God’s word brings troubles and blessings. The hard truth that devotion brings trouble is mentioned in the previous stanzas. It is stated explicitly in this stanza. Yet the tone of the psalmist is upbeat.  He was not down, distressed, or defeated.  He was not on the verge of giving up on his faith.  He was not looking for deliverance from his troubles.  There is only one prayer request in this stanza. It is not a prayer for deliverance. It is an expression of confidence in the faithfulness of God. Alexander Maclaren wrote: “This section has...
Sermons

Becoming a Faithful Witness | Psalm 119:41-48

May 30, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
Matthew 28:18-20 records the Great Commission of Jesus Christ: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” The Lord has commissioned the church to make disciples. Teaching is essential to the disciple-making process.  Disciples think and live by the teaching of Christ. Who is qualified to teach others? It is those who have been taught. No one who does not have a teachable spirit should be...
Sermons

What to Do in the Meantime | James 5:7-11

May 26, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
The headline read: “Sick of Waiting, Patient Sues Doctor.” Ken Fleckenstein arrived on time for an appointment with his podiatrist, Dr. Robert Taylor. He was forced to sit in a waiting room for 87 minutes. On his next visit, Taylor made Fleckenstein wait 51 minutes. The self-employed handyman claimed the wait cost him time, money, and customers. So he sent his podiatrist a $92 invoice. When Taylor refused to pay, Fleckenstein sued for time wasted and $1,755 in attorney’s fees. In court, Taylor admitted to double booking, sometimes triple booking patients. But he claimed emergencies took priority. The doctor also gave Fleckenstein a verbal and...
Sermons

Teach Me | Psalm 119:33-40

May 23, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
In Psalm 51:5, David confesses, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” David’s testimony is our testimony. We are sinners – by nature, birth, inclination, choice, and conduct. Romans 3:10-12 says: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” We do not need anyone to teach us to sin. Having children proves this truth. You do not have to train a child to lie, cheat, or steal. At birth, babies are hardwired to do wrong. So is every one of us. William Beveridge wrote: I cannot pray,...
Sermons

Up From The Dust | Psalm 119:25-32

May 16, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
The previous section of Psalm 119 ends in verse 24 with a testimony of joy: “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” This section begins in verse 25 with a prayer of lamentation, “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!”  This sudden and extreme change of mood reminds us that one who lives by God’s word will face joy and pain, happiness and sorrow, celebration and grief. This abrupt shift further reveals that seasons of depression often follow seasons of delight. Times of weakness often follow times of strength. The experience of defeat often follows the experience of victory.  Andrew Bonner wrote: “We must be as watchful after the victory as before the battle.” It...
Sermons

Sustaining Grace in God’s Word | Psalm 119:17-24

May 9, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
Psalm 119 celebrates the sufficiency of God’s word for every season of life.  Verses 1-8 affirm the sufficiency of God’s word to bless us.  Verses 9-16 affirm the sufficiency of God’s word to cleanse us.  Verses 17-24 affirm the sufficiency of God’s word to sustain us.  This third stanza marks a transition in Psalm 119. It is the first time the psalmist acknowledges devotion to God’s word does not vaccinate you from difficult circumstances. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus says, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and...
Sermons

The Sin of Partiality | James 2:1-13

May 6, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
James 1:26-27 contrasts true and false religion. Verse 26 describes false religion: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” Verse 27 summarizes true religion: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 2:1-13 shows that these statements about true and false religion are not theoretical. The church practices one of the other whenever we assemble. Verse 1 states the point: “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” The key term is “partiality.” The...
Sermons

How to Clean Up Your Life | Psalm 119:9-16

May 1, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
The second stanza of Psalm 119 begins with an important question: “How can a young man keep his way pure?” This question has led some to speculate the author of Psalm 119 was a young man. But the tone, content, and structure of this psalm point to one who has length of days, depth of maturity, and breadth of experience with God. Most likely, the author was an older man who wrote this psalm to teach young men to trust and obey God’s word. Verse 9 asks a relevant question for the young and old. This question assumes the depravity of man. It assumes young men are not naturally good, pure, or clean. It assumes the absence of internal discipline and the presence of external pressures that corrupt...
Sermons

Three Marks of a Renewed Mind | Romans 12:3-8

April 29, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
Romans is the greatest letter ever written. The epistle is a clear, compelling, and comprehensive argument for justification by faith alone – the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls. But Romans is not just about what Christians believe. It is also about how Christians behave. Romans 12 shifts the focus of the letter from doctrine to duty. How should Christians live?  Romans 12:1 says we should act like Christians: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”  Romans 12:2 says we should think like Christians: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you...
Sermons

Living By The Book | Psalm 119:1-8

April 25, 2024
By H.B. Charles Jr.
Psalm 119 is the longest psalm of the 150 Psalms. If considered chapters, Psalm 119 would be the longest chapter of the Bible – in both verses and words. It is longer than several books of the Bible. The psalm contains 176 verses that are divided into 22 stanzas. Each stanza is eight verses long. These sections are arranged into an acrostic poem using every letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In most Bible translations, you will find the word or symbol for Aleph above verse 1. Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Aleph begins each word that begins a line in verses 1-8. The pattern continues with Beth in verses 9-16, Gimel in verses...