City Sermon Illustrations

City Sermon Illustrations

At the close of a sermon which Dr. Clarence Macartney preached in Toronto, a young woman of a good iamily and superior personality asked to see him in the vestry. Her story was brief, but sad. A year before, her brother had left home and had gone to the States. The last they heard of him he was employed in Pittsburgh under an assumed name. During his absence his mother had died. All their efforts to get in touch with him had failed; the investigations of detectives and police had accomplished nothing. When Dr. Clarence Macartney went back to Pittsburgh, he tried to find her brother, but his search was in vain. The brother belongs to the number of those who must be listed as "lost" in the city.

Not a few like that vanish completely, the very name and place that once knew them knowing them no more forever. But in addition to such persons, a much vaster army, made up of those, who, although their places of work and residence may be well known, must nevertheless—if we take into the reckoning the high and holy purposes of life—be listed among the lost.


O City, City, City! Thy sins, thy shame, thy woes, thy devils, and thy death! In all this is there none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up? Hast thou no healing medicines? Is thy wound incurable? Have all thy lovers forsaken thee? No, there is One who has not forsaken thee. He who wept over the city that crucified him still comes to visit thee. I walked round  thy walls as the prophet of old walked at midnight round the walls of Jerusalem; and amid all the scenes of revelry and shame and sin and woe and misery his friends—the friends of Jesus Christ—were the only ones who cared for thy misery, who sought to heal thy wound or wipe away thy tears. O hear his voice as he speaks unto thee and to thy children saying, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).


An organist once visited Niagara Falls and spent much time standing on the brink ol the falls listening to the thunder ol the cataract. His conclusion was that the falls were striking one of the chords of the scale. It was more than just a thunder of  noise he heard.

In the streets of our great cities, where the cataract of humanity, with its business, its pleasure, its joy, and its sorrow, is forever pouring, it is more than just noise that we hear. Music is there, weird, melancholy, grand, sad, awful—for in that tremendous chord, love, greed, lust, hate, fear, and despair endeavor to make themselves heard.


The Most Sacked City

Jerusalem is said to be the most sacked city in the world.

  1. In 1400 B.C, it was first wrested from the Jebusites.

  2. In 587 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar sacked the city and took Judah into captivity.

  3. In 332 B.C, Alexander the Great took the city.

  4. In 322 B.C, Ptolemy of Egypt smashed his way through the defenses.

  5. In 65 B.C, Pompey beseiged and took the city.

  6. In A.D. 70, every stone was leveled to the ground by Titus who also inflicted great carnage on the inhabitants.

  7. In 614 came Chrosroes of Persia, and the city was again sacked.

  8. In 629, Heraclius defeated Chrosroes and entered the city.

  9. In 637, Omar took the city from the Romans.

  10. In 1099, the Crusaders entered Jerusalem and subjugated it.

  11. In 1187, it was conquered by Saladin. In 1517, Selim I of Turkey took it from the Egyptians.

  12. In 1917, General Allenby took the city peaceably from the Turks.

  13. In 1948, Arabs caused serious damage to the ancient part of the city.

Jerusalem's sufferings from war are thus spoken of in the Bible.

And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made CI Kings 14:25,26).

And he took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the Lord and in the treasures of the king's house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel?  (II Kings  14:14,15).

For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel (II Kings 14:26).

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