Central Presbyterian Church

Massillon, Ohio

Rev. Ben Mathes

"The Voices of God's World"

Text: Matthew 25:31-46

1 John 3:16-18

"No Plan B"

Text: John 6:60-69

Psalm 34:1-10


            Let’s set the scene for this morning’s gospel lesson. Jesus had earlier fed 5000 folks along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. It was near the time of Passover. In the days following, Jesus began to self-identify Himself as “the bread of life.” Some were confused by this. Others were offended. Still others angered. Some of the leaders of the Jews who had heard this talk and had a tendency to take everything literally were all three, asking, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” It is here that we pick up the action.

"The Presbyterian Way"

Text: 1 Timothy 5:17-18

James 5:13-16

             I’d like to begin this morning by asking for a show of hands. How many of us are Presbyterian born-and-raised? How many of us were born-and-raised in some other Christian denomination(s) such as Methodist, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc.? How many of us were not born- and-raised in the life of any particular church?

"Hannah Rose"

Text: 1 Samuel 1

Psalm 65:1-4


            On this Mother’s Day morning, we’re going to hear the story of a mom who doesn’t receive quite as much Biblical “press” as the likes of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Mary, mother of Jesus. We meet Hannah [a name which in Hebrew means “grace”] in the opening chapter of the Old Testament book of 1st Samuel. This morning’s sermon is going to be of a type we call “expository,” which means we’re basically going to allow Hannah’s story to unfold verse by verse. Please turn in your Bibles to 1st Samuel 1, and keep it open there as we follow Hannah from inconsolable grief to effusive joy.

"In the Middle of the Village"

Text: Luke 24:44-52

Acts 10:34-43

 How many of you are familiar with the name Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Bonhoeffer had been actively involved in resistance against Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party from the time of Hitler’s rise to power in the early 1930’s. In 1935, Bonhoeffer was appointed to organize a seminary school for Protestant resisters to the Nazi’s.

"Thomas the Skeptic"

Text: John 20:19-29

Acts 1:1-5

            My mother, by her very nature, tended to be skeptical. This worldview was perhaps shaped in part by her growing up on the lower North Side of Pittsburgh, a hard-scrabbled part of the city. She and her family lived among laboring class folk for whom there were no guarantees in life beyond hard work and little chance of advancement .

Easter Sunday

"The Good News Is For Us!"

Text: John 20:1-18

Colossians 3:1-4

 A single-frame cartoon features a woman with her husband greeting the pastor at the door of a church following worship. It’s Easter Sunday. The church signboard reads: “He is Alive!” The wife wears a look of disgust on her face directed toward her husband as she shakes the hand of the good parson.

"The Lord's Prayer-Doxology"

Text: Matthew 21:1-11

Zechariah 9:9-10


This morning, we’re going to attempt to integrate the closing words of our Lord’s Prayer – the entirety of which we’ve been studying for the past five Sundays – with the events of that first Palm Sunday when Jesus arrived in the city of Jerusalem for what would turn out to be His final and fateful visit. Let’s get under way by reading our lead passage from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 21 beginning at verse 1.

"The Lord's Prayer-Petitions VI and VII"

Text: Matthew 6:13, James 1:12-16

Matthew 4:1-11

                 In my opinion, the most difficult petition of the Lord’s Prayer inpractice is petition V which we talked about last week: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” Forgiveness in the Biblical sense is very hard, letting go of those offenses committed against us, and releasing the offender from the penalty he or she may well deserve.

"The Lord's Prayer-Petition V"

Text: Matthew 6:12

Matthew 18:21-35


“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” This is the fifth petition of our Lord’s Prayer, and the only one of the seven petitions which seems to demand a particular response on our part: God forgives as we forgive. Is then the corollary: God forgives not as we forgive not. Is this what Jesus meant, that if we hold a grudge against others, then God holds a grudge against us?