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THE CITY WAS MOVED - A SERMON FOR "PALM SUNDAY"

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, March 28, 2010

“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10).


Many things stir a city. Yes, that is what the Greek word translated “moved” means. It means they were stirred, or as we might say, “stirred up.” Strong says that the Greek word means “rocked, agitated, shaken” (Strong #4579). Many things can shake or stir up a city. Los Angeles has often been moved and shaken by earthquakes. Our city has also been stirred by riots. Some stirrings are full of evil. Others are full of good, like the Third Great Awakening, that stirred the city of New York beginning in 1858.

Concerning the stir mentioned in our text, we may ask: What caused it? What did it make people ask – and what was the answer? And, what came out of it?

I. First, what caused the city to be stirred?

“All the city was moved” (Matthew 21:10). What caused this stir? Jesus was proclaimed “the Son of David” – that is, He was proclaimed to be the heir of King David. Thus He was proclaimed as King. Whenever Christ is proclaimed as Lord and King people are stirred up. True, this proclamation came from children and common people, and not the rulers. Yet no matter who it is that cries out the Gospel of Christ, it will cause a stirring. It is what is said about Him, not who says it, that causes agitation. Let an unknown priest like Luther bear witness to that fact. Let the preaching of a poor man like Bunyan prove it. Let a man who never went to college, like Spurgeon, show this to be true. It is the preaching of Christ, not the man who preaches it, that is important!

More than that, Jesus Himself was present! He was riding through the streets on a donkey, in fulfillment of prophecy, but He was there! There will always be a stir when Christ is present. Demons flee from Him. When Jesus comes, His followers are stirred – they grow strong in His presence, and are unafraid to speak of Him! His Disciples were full of life that day! They slumbered and slept later, but they were stirred that day! When Christians are stirred, by the presence of Christ, they will stir others!

Another reason for the stir in Jerusalem was that the multitudes were thronging to Christ. There was a stir because so many were coming to Christ. Today, in America and Europe, we see no such stirring. But look to the Third World and you will see tens of thousands thronging to Christ – in China, Southeast Asia, Africa, India, and even in Iran and other Muslim lands. When people by the thousands are stirred by Christ, it stirs up many others as well.

But, more than that, they saw the miracles He was doing.

“And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them” (Matthew 21:14).

Nothing moves people like seeing the soul-saving work of Christ – life given to those dead in sin! This is what stirs people in the Third World. Oh, that we might see more souls converted here in the West! Pray for it. When revival comes, it will stir any nation, or any city! How we pray that you will come to Christ! It will stir your family. It will stir your relatives and friends! Nothing stirs the lost like real conversions!

II. Second, what did this stirring make people ask?

“Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10).

Everyone could see that this agitation and movement was caused by a person. And so they did not ask, “What is this?” No, they said, “Who is this?” Spurgeon said, “And any preaching that is worth anything tells of the person…Jesus Christ. You cannot enkindle enthusiasm about a mere doctrine – [it] will not stir the soul; but you must rally men around a person…it is the preaching of Christ – telling about the person of Christ – lifting him up in our preaching as once he was lifted up upon the cross – that is sure to stir the hearts of men” (C. H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, volume 51, p. 281). And, I might add, it is not mere Bible teaching that stirs men’s hearts! Oh no! It is preaching Christ and Him crucified – Christ and Him resurrected from the dead – that causes sinners to ask, “Who is this?” – stirring men’s hearts by preaching on this person – Jesus Christ!

Some in that crowd asked “Who is this?” in a sneering way – saying that He was only the son of a poor carpenter. There may even be someone like that here this morning. But when you stand before Him at the Last Judgment you will not talk like that! I pray that you will change your opinion of Him now – before it is too late.

Yet I am sure there were others in that crowd of people in Jerusalem who sincerely asked, “Who is this?” There was a blind man in Jerusalem. His friends told him that Jesus could perform miracles. So the blind man eagerly cried out, “Who is this?” “Who is this that can perform miracles? Lead me to Him that He may heal me!” I pray that some of you who are not converted will be like him. I pray that you will want to know Jesus, and be saved by Him. I pray that you will come to Jesus by simple faith. He will heal your soul and save you from the penalty of sin.

“Who is this?” This is Jesus, very God of very God, who came down to this earth two thousand years ago, to be both God and man in one person, to suffer and die upon the Cross in the place of all who come to Him by faith. This is Jesus, who can pardon your sin, change your nature, and save your eternal soul. This is Jesus, who came down to the earth on purpose to save those who are lost, to be the propitiation for the sins of His people. This is Christ, who went to the Cross to bear your sins, to make a full atonement for them. This is Jesus, who rose physically from the dead to give life to those that trust Him. But we preach Christ – who is the only one who can save you – and without whom you can never be saved.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

“Who is this?” This is “Christ Jesus [who] came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15). That is who He is!

“Man of Sorrows,” what a name,
   For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
   Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
   In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
   Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
(“Hallelujah, What a Saviour!” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

When we come to partake of the Lord’s Supper in a few moments, we will be thinking of Jesus, and what He did to save us. The meaning of the Lord’s Supper is all summed up and explained by those words of the Apostle Paul:

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come”
     (I Corinthians 11:23-26).

It’s all about Jesus – His death, His Blood, His Second Coming. “Who is this?” This is Jesus –

“The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”
     (John 1:29).

But there is one last point I must mention.

“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10).

III. Third, what came out of this stirring of the people? What effect did it have?

Well, there were some who came to Jesus and were saved. They never regretted coming to Him, and believing on Him! As some of Christ’s disciples cut down palm branches, and others took clothing and put them down on the road for His use, let each of us who know Christ do all we can to serve Him! Let us go out to bring in the lost this afternoon. Let us pray for the salvation of the lost. Let us bring lost relatives, and others, to the great Easter banquet next Sunday night. Let each of us who are saved do something to honor the Saviour! Yes, there were some who believed on Jesus and were saved – and were happy to serve Him!

But there were other people who were against Him, as He rode on that little donkey into Jerusalem.

“The chief priests and scribes…were sore displeased”
       (Matthew 21:15).

They did not approve of the stirring Jesus caused. They said, “It’s just a crowd of boys and girls” – “Children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:15). There are still people like those priests and scribes. They don’t mind young people falling in a frenzy at some rock concert – or screaming their lungs out at a basketball game – or dancing all night to the music of Lady Gaga! But, if you become enthusiastic about Jesus, they will call you a fanatic – and call me a horrible man for stirring you up to be interested in the Son of God! Nothing has changed! Fear not – we are stirred about the right thing – as were those children in Jerusalem that day – who cried out “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:15).

But I must end with a sad reminder of what happened only a few days later. Many of those who cried “Hosanna! Hosanna!” were soon to cry, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” This shows that a mere excitement about Jesus will not help you. It is not mere emotional excitement that will lead to your conversion. It may even make you worse than you were before. We are sad to see so much emotional upheaval in many churches – that only leaves the people as they were – “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). It is far better to come under conviction of sin and,

“Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:9-10).

Real conversion is near when people are under conviction and sorrow for their sins. Broken by conviction, they may soon come to Jesus and experience true salvation! May you come to know Jesus in this new and living way! Amen.

(This sermon was edited and adapted for modern usage from “A Stir, and What Came of It” by C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, volume 51, pp. 277-287).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 21:1-15.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Jesus, Only Jesus” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE CITY WAS MOVED - A SERMON FOR "PALM SUNDAY"

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10).

I.   First, what caused the city to be stirred? Matthew 21:14.

II.  Second, what did this stirring make people ask? Acts 4:12;
I Timothy 1:15; I Corinthians 11:23-26; John 1:29.

III. Third, what came out of this stirring of the people?
What effect did it have? Matthew 21:15;
Ephesians 2:1; James 4:9-10.