Central Presbyterian Church

Massillon, Ohio

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"Farewell Discourse IV: Persecution"

1 Peter 4:12-16

John 15:18-16:4a

      Last week’s lesson from Jesus’ farewell discourse about love is immediately followed by a lesson on what we might call the very opposite of love.  What Jesus is about to say was not easy for His first band of disciples to hear, nor will it be easy for us to hear.  But it was a part of their preparation, and is a part of ours.  So let’s lean into the table and hear these parting words.

          (Read John 15:18-16:4a) 

"Farewell Discourse III: Love"

John 15:12-17

Luke 10:25-37

      Let’s continue this morning with our Lenten sermon series from Jesus’ farewell discourse preserved for us in John’s Gospel.  In week one of this series, we dealt with the issue of servant hood.  Last Sunday, we talked about fear.  This morning, we turn our attention to servant hood’s greatest motivation, and fear’s greatest antidote.  That is love.  In order to sharpen our focus on an otherwise very broad topic, I’d like us to consider one aspect or feature of love.  So this morning’s emphasis: costly love.

"Farewell Discourse I: Servanthood"

Mark 10:35-45

John 13:1-17

     It’s the start of the liturgical season of Lent, and time for a little sermon series.  Today, and over the next four Sundays, I’ll be presenting “A Farewell Discourse.”  Each week, we’ll consider a portion of Jesus’ teaching directed specifically toward His disciples on the last evening of His earthly life. While the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke offer only short accounts of what was said and done on that fateful night  [the centerpiece of each being the “Last Supper”], John offers a full five chapters, 155 verses, and says nothing of that supper, save what we’ll read this morning in verse 2 of chapter 13.  Instead, John chronicles in great detail Jesus’ parting words of spiritual instruction and encouragement.  I want to give you a heads-up that the teachings we’ll be sharing over the next five weeks aren’t necessarily intended to make us comfortable.  In fact, we may at times find ourselves fidgeting in our seats.  Some of us may even think to ourselves, “How dare the pastor…. At any rate, I will attempt to preach the word in its fullness.  You may want to join me in wearing comfortable socks, because “if” as they say, “the shoe fits……”

"Farewell Discourse II: Fear

Romans 8:35-39

John 14:1-6, 18-19, 25-27


      On this second Sunday of Lent, we continue our sermon series “A Farewell Discourse.”  Last Sunday, today, and over the next three Sundays, we’re listening in on Jesus’ final words of spiritual instruction to His disciples as recorded in the 13th through 17th chapters of John’s Gospel. But we’ll be doing far more than merely listening in.  As we bring an ear to the door of the upper room, we find the door swinging wide for us, and we become more than passively observant eavesdroppers.  We become actively-instructed disciples.  So the stairs have been ascended, the door has been opened, and we are now reclined around the table with eleven disciples and Jesus.  The flickering of lamps and the shadows they cast dance around the room.  Our attention is directed toward a face which glows with an unwavering, divine light.  And Jesus says…….

"Spiritual Spinach"

Psalm 99

Luke 9:28-43, 46-48

Politically-incorrect as they are now considered, how many of us enjoyed – or still enjoy in

syndication – the old Popeye cartoons?  When we were little, my sister and I would sit on the living

room floor every Saturday morning, eating our Frosty-O’s cereal, and watching the Captain Bob Hour

which featured a bunch of Popeye episodes.  While the story line was always predictable, every epi-

sode had a slightly different twist. 

"The True Tent of Worship"

Selections from Hebrews 9 

Jeremiah 31: 31-34

      This morning, we open God’s Word to what many believe is Paul’s letter to the Hebrews.  The authorship is a matter of debate among scholars, who claim the vocabulary, grammar and syntax in Hebrews is very different from the other of Paul’s letters.  Who actually wrote it is not as important as who inspired it.  For the people of God, it is the word of God.


Judges 7:1-8, 19-22a (C.E.V)

Psalm 140:6-7

     There’s a story of a little boy who was asked to say grace before supper.  Ernie opened his prayer.

“Dear God, thank you for these pancakes…..”  When he finished, his parents praised him for his nice

prayer, but were puzzled.  “Ernie, why did you thank God for pancakes when we’re having chicken?” 

The boy smiled and replied, “I thought I’d see if God was really paying attention.”

"A Crumby Story"

Romans 3:27-31

Matthew 15:21-18

      One of the things I personally find most appealing about the historical Jesus is how open He

was to people; to all kinds of people.  Will Rogers once stated that he never met a man he didn’t

like.  It seems Jesus never met a person He didn’t love.  People from every imaginable situation

and circumstances found themselves comfortable in Jesus’ presence.  Although He spoke with

remarkable power and authority, Jesus didn’t come across as stuffy, or pretentious, or arrogant.


John 1:35-46  Psalm 66:1-5

     This morning, we bring our attention to the first chapter of John’s Gospel.  The Gospel according to John opens with that well-known prologue in which Jesus is identified as the very word of God made flesh; the true light of the world which shines in the darkness.  John puts it this way:  “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” John then proceeds to interweave the story of John the Baptist into the prologue, making it clear by John’s own admission that he himself was not the light, but the one sent to bear witness to the light.  That brings us to this morning’s passage – about halfway through the first chapter – wherein Jesus begins calling the first of those who would become his inner-circle of disciples.  Let’s pick up the action there.

"Nunc Dimittis"

Luke 2:21-35

Leviticus 12:1-8

           I wish I remembered more about my grandfather Lalama.  He died in 1964 when I was just eight.  Yet I carry his name:  Lorenzo Giacomo, or the English version, Lawrence Jame. And now my grandson carries his name and mine.  We call him “LJ.”  Two things I do remember clearly. One was his meatballs.  I don’t know what my grandfather Lawrence did, but the taste of the meatballs he produced remains in my taste bud memory.  A second thing I remember was his thickly-accented voice when he would call my name.  Instead of coming out Larry, it sounded in my ears like he was saying “Laddy.”  And it goes without saying that he favored me; his first-born grandson; his namesake.  It’s been said that I could do no wrong in his eyes.

Central Presbyterian Church

47 Second Street NE
Massillon, Ohio 44646

Telephone: 330-832-7455
Fax: 330-832-7102