Favorite Verses

1. John 3:16

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

2. John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

3. Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God...

4. 2nd Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousnes...

5. Matthew 11:28

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

 

 

 

 

Leading us in worship:   Rev. Matthew Froeschle 

Sunday Worship Schedule 

Worship Service
9:30 a.m.
Children's Church
9:45 a.m.
(after Children's Chat)
 

Follow Me - The Commission
by the Rev. Matthew D. Froeschle

CHILDREN’S CHAT
Object lesson - a cross (like the one from my office)
Teaching - the cross has both a vertical and horizontal dimension.  It reminds us of how we connect to God (vertical) and that we are called into community with each other (horizontal).
Because of the cross, both our relationship with God and our relationship with one another can be restored - justice and mercy meet.  Forgiveness is the way!  God forgives us - we forgive others.  Thanks be to God.
OLD TESTAMENT READING - Isaiah 53
Who has believed what we have heard?  And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.  Who could have imagined his future?  For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.  They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.  When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.  Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.  Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
NEW TESTAMENT READING - Matthew 28: 16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
SERMON - “FOLLOW ME - The Commission”
Final part of our eight Sunday series on Discipleship
For the last eight weeks, we have been considering the way that our Lord Jesus trained his disciples to live this life in a way that honors God and is of help to others.
We’ve been learning how to be disciples of Jesus.
We’ve been studying how Jesus went about calling and equipping disciples.
We spoke first of how Jesus doesn’t show favoritism, but calls the least likely and the outsiders to follow him.  Then, led by our Youth, we were reminded that in order to follow Christ, a person must be willing to put God first, ahead of everything all else.  Our priorities must be set right.
We continued learning from Jesus in the following weeks, as the Lord demonstrated how to pray, how to properly obey God’s law contained in the Bible, how to share our faith as missionaries, how to rest on the Sabbath, and how to rely on the Holy Spirit of Christ in our service.
In this, our final week, we are being reminded that this training is not meant for us alone.  As Jesus has trained and continues to train us, so we have been commissioned by Jesus to go out and train others.
In the gospel passage, we heard Jesus say: “You are my disciples.  Now go and make disciples of all nations.  Baptize them in my name, teach them what I’ve taught you, and remember I am always with you.”
But before we do, let’s take a moment today to consider again who Jesus is.  Because ultimately, we disciples of Jesus are not supposed to be all that concerned about simply spreading a religion or bolstering an institution; rather we are all about sharing a life-transforming relationship.
And it’s always appropriate to remember our why - or in this case, our who.  Our life and our worship is to be centered on the person of Jesus Christ.
Even the disciples, after they had been following Jesus for some time, and would still beg the question: “Who is this man?”  So even if we’ve been following in Jesus’ way for some time, we benefit from asking that question.
The Old Testament passage from Isaiah has an answer.  The passage Krista read this morning is a summary of the gospel message of Jesus, amazingly written hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth.
God inspired Isaiah with the proper introduction to Jesus long ago.  And that chapter in the Old Testament gives us a proper way of talking to people about who Jesus is so that they can make the decision if Jesus is indeed the Savior - the Messiah - worth following.
Jesus is prophesied to be the man of sorrows - the righteous one who would be defined by his suffering on behalf of others.  Hear the summary from Isaiah again:
“The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.  Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
And after Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, this was the main message shared by apostles and evangelists.  The earliest preaching and disciple-making conducted by the church had this in common - it was centered squarely on the cross of Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul even went so far as to say that he resolved to “know nothing save for Christ and Him crucified.”  That was the content of his message - to show that the Christ who died on the cross was indeed our Lord and Savior - the long-promised Messiah.
And so it remains true for us today as we set about faith sharing and disciple making.  The Lord we follow - the Lord Jesus Christ who loves us - can’t be fully known apart from the cross.
To emphasize how true that is, let me ask a question.  Who comes to mind when I say “THE crucifixion”?  That’s a big “duh” for us - but consider that even for those outside the faith, would anyone else come to mind aside from Jesus?
Hundreds if not thousands of criminals were executed by Rome in this fashion, and yet only one name is remembered.
I could say “the assassination,” and many names may come to mind.  World history and our own American history is full of famous names associated with the word ASSASSINATION.  But when you say the word CRUCIFIXION, there is only One.
As the church has throughout its existence, then,, we must remain close to that old rugged cross, where God death with our sin head-on and entered into the depths of our suffering in order to redeem us.
Ours is not a faith that is to rush past suffering or even avoid the reality of pain.  God takes human suffering deadly seriously - it is no cheap gift that God offers us.  It cost God everything to reach and purchase our pardon.
And Jesus was not shy about impressing upon his followers the importance of sharing the message and making disciples.  Hear the words of Jesus Himself, in his final conference with his followers.
Jesus claims that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him.  That makes no sense apart from Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection.  Who, apart from one who had conquered death and life, could make such a claim?  Who, apart from God, could possibly have such authority?
Even the wisest human teacher who said such things would rightly be called insane.  And the great, revered teachers of human history, like the Buddha, never claimed to have “all authority.”  Teachers like him only say that their teachings can lead someone to spiritual enlightenment.
But Jesus made the audacious claim that He was the highest authority in all the world.  That only makes sense if Jesus is in fact the God who defeated sin and death on the cross.  And He did.
Consider also that Jesus’ commission is unique.  Jesus commissioned the disciples to tell the whole world about Him - about what He did and what He taught.  Would that not be the height of arrogance, unless it were in fact true that Jesus is the Savior for everyone?
Jesus wants everyone to know Him.  Why?  Because Jesus IS the revelation of the One True God.  Jesus IS the Savior everyone needs.
And for those of us who have been blessed beyond our deserving by the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have this blessed assurance from the lips of Jesus Himself - that he will be with us always - to the very end - and beyond.
Although we Christians pray a lot for Jesus to “be with” those we love - we really don’t have to ask for that.  Jesus has already promised to be with us always.  We need only believe it.
We need only trust that Jesus always keeps His Word.  Jesus is a present reality - a relationship in the here and now.  Jesus is a Lord worthy of obeying.  Jesus is the Lord worthy of following.
And so let us take seriously the charge Jesus has given us.  How can we help those around us to become better followers of Christ?  For that - above all else - is the mission of the church.
There are some important questions, then, which must be asked by all who love Jesus.
The first is: Who is showing us how to follow Jesus - how to become a better disciple?  Sure, we have plenty of teachers and preachers and books around us.  But who is your close Christian friend who is guiding you how to live a life that honors God in the here-and-now?
Who do you hang out with who is also serious about following Jesus?  Who is your mentor in the faith?  I’m glad to be of guidance to the church, but I can’t be mentor to each and every one of you in the way that you need.  Where’s your prayer partners?  Where is your small group?  Don’t leave that question hanging.  Training in seminars is nice, but we need “on-the-job” training.
Next question: Who has God placed on your heart - a person open to hearing the message of Christ or a fellow Christian whom you can serve by sharing your faith and helping them to follow in the way of Jesus?
I know - you don’t feel qualified.  But get over yourself.  You are more than qualified if indeed the Holy Spirit is in your heart.  Every good teacher knows that they are imperfect and don’t have all the answers.  Yet they still teach.
And good teachers still learn from their students.  Discipleship is a two way street.  We need both mentors and students.  We need each other.  And above all, we need to know the Lord Jesus.
Remember Jesus’ commission to the church.  It is our primary mission statement.
Buildings are nice.  Programs are great.  But all of that is window dressing compared to the greatest task of all - introducing people to Jesus and helping them to follow Him.  Make disciples of all people.
Thank you God, for these last eight weeks together, getting a broad overview of what it means to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from the Master.  Now let’s honor Jesus enough and trust Jesus enough to do as He commands.  In that obedience, we will find joy beyond our imagining.
Amen.

 

 Please follow us on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/First-Presbyterian-Church-Mattoon-Illinois/435363219833858

 

ONLINE GIVING is now a possibility for any who wish to contribute to the mission and ministry here at FPC.  Simply click on the link below this paragraph, and fill out the secure form.  This is for your convenience, if you wish to contribute in this way.  It doesn’t cost the church anything, and some may find it more convenient than writing out a check.  In any respect, thanks to all members for participating in this ministry - whether through giving time, talents, or treasure.

Your Donation Form


Adult Bible Class

The class meets at 8:30 am on Sunday morning.  Please join for this lesson and lively discussion time before the worshp service. 
Everyone welcome.

 Worship Service

Please join us for Sunday Worship at 9:30 a.m.  Let us be your church as you're passing through town, or your church home throughout the year.  We invite you to worship with us.  Children may stay in the sanctuary or go to Children's Church after the Children's Chat with the Pastor.  During the worship service, we worship God through scripture reading, listening to the sermon, prayer, responsive readings, hymn singing, special music, and reflection.

Children's Church

During the 9:30 a.m. worship service, Children's Church is offered for children ages 4-12.  Childlren are in the sanctuary until after the Children's Chat with the Pastor.  Children's Church is a service where kids learn through scripture, stories, and music tailored to their age group.

 

First Presbyterian Church is a Family of Faith. 

Like many families, we:

*Support one another.  Troubles are shared and burdens are lifted hrough requests to the Prayer Team, prayer requests made during worship, and conversation over coffee, etc.

*Share a common outlook.  Presbyterians are dedicated to hearing and acting on scripture.  We listen to what the Bible has to say through sermons and studies.  We carry out what we learn and believe through our daily lives and in missions at home and abroad.

*Nuture Children.  Outreach within and outside our church happens through Sunday School, Kids' Club, Youth Groups, LOGOS retreats, Camp Carew, and Vacation Bible School.  We help children "grow up in Christ."

*Care for the Elderly.  Members of the "Sunshine Brigade" conduct Christian care visits with shut-ins and those who live in skilled care settings.

*Help neighbors in need.  Friends and families reach out to others in the Church when help is needed.  In addition, members of the First Presbyterian family serve the community through programs like the Food Bank, Peace Meals, PADS homeless and transient shelter, etc.

*Grow.  Families have a habit of growing.  Our Family of Faith grows with those who are beginning or renewing their trust in Jesus Christ.  Please consider what Christ means to you, and experience God's love through First Presbyterian Church.