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Saturday, January 23, 2016

                                                            Valley of Dry Bones

The only time I remember ever hearing a sermon on "Dry Bones" was back when I was a young Christian in the Southern Baptist Church in Prince George' county, Md.  Then it was a call for people to repent and turn back to doing what the bible says.  This is still true even for today but now I am persuaded that there is a deeper twist to this than what 'used to be' preached.

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Today’s Application of Ezekiel’s dry bones.

The hand of the Lord was upon me and carried me out, in His Spirit, and set me down in the middle of a valley which was full of bones

He caused me to pass by them and all around (them) and there were many bones in this open valley and they were very dry.

Imagine being in a valley full of dead men’s bones?
Envision stepping over leg bones, arm bones, skulls
With only a small open spots to place your foot.
And these bones extended as far as the eye could see

And He said to me “Son of man, can these bones live?”
And I answered “Oh, Lord God, You know.”

Ezekiel knows God can do anything.
Bones can’t live by their own power
But God created by speaking things into existence from nothing.
So he knows God can do anything He desires

And He said to me again “prophecy unto these bones and say
“O dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.
Thus says the Lord God to these bones I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live.
I will lay sinews upon you and flesh upon you and I will cover you with skin and put breath in you and you shall live and you will know that I am the Lord.

Father evaluates a situation, determines what He wants done, then speaks it into existence.
But here He tells Ezekiel to do it.
God is giving authority to a man to speak something into existence even though it is not yet visible (Romans 4:17).
Ezekiel was hoping for something he was not yet seeing (Heb. 11:1)

So I prophesied as I was commanded

Ezekiel was no dummy so he did as God commanded.
He was demonstrating faith through works (James 2:18) by showing his love for the Father by being obedient (2John 6).

And as I prophesied there was a noise
And there was a shaking and the bones came together, bone upon bone.
Then I watched as sinews and flesh came upon the bones and they were covered with skin, but there was no breath in them.

Ezekiel saw the results of his prayer before his very own eyes. The bones coming together
So as he asked, he believed and he saw (Matt.21:22), but there was no life in these bones.

Then He said to me “Prophecy to the wind, prophecy, son of man and tell the wind
Thus says the Lord God, come from the four winds, O breath, upon these slain that they might live.”
So I prophesied as He commanded me
and breath came into them
and they lived
and stood up on their feet
and exceedingly great army.

Our Lord is the giver of life
God gives to all life, breath and the things they need (Acts 17:25)
Just as He breathed into Adam’s (man’s) nostrils giving him life (Gen.2:7)

Then He said to me “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel
and behold they say
Our bones are dried
And our hope is lost
We are cut off from our parts.

These bones are Israel
And Israel is hopeless
Because they realize that they are cut off from God – having no real fellowship)

Therefore prophecy and say to them ‘Thus says the Lord God behold
O my people, I will open up your graves and cause you to come up out of them
And bring you into the land of Israel

By using His own hand God can revive His church using obedient servants.
As He brings the church back from death (spiritual apathy) into life (being 'on fire' for Jesus).

And you will know that I am the Lord
When I have opened your graves, oh my people
And brought you up out of your graves
And I will put My Spirit in you and you shall live
I will place you in your own land
Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it
Says the Lord”

We will know that God is God
And it is indeed He who done this miraculous thing
(given life back into our dead bodies/brought the church back to life)
And we will honor and glorify Him as God
For it is indeed HE who has done this miraculous thing in our lives
Not only will He bring us into His kingdom on 'that' day but here and now, in this world He gives us authority in a realm unique to each individual.

 Our pastor had asked me to bring a word to our fellowship tomorrow (Sunday) and I was going to use this using a character God had given me.  
My character's name was 'Zeke' and he was from New Orleans.  Yep, the 'Big Easy'.  As we go into this next segment, imagine Zeke talking with a southern, I mean s o u t h e r n drawl.  And yes, I had a costume set aside for this character. I had a dark blue bathrobe (two stripes on each sleeve) with a red belt.  Oh, and a wig which looked like I had just stuck my finger into a light socket and because I planned on reading a bit i still would've ha my glasses on.  Envision Zeke giving the responses ('B').

He was Zeke from New Orleans but we could call him 'Big Easy Zeke, y'all'.

Through Ezekiel, God shows us His plans to transform dead bones into vibrant, living creatures
From a spiritually dead foundation to vibrantly alive souls
Giving Father praise, glory and honor
For who He is and what He does for us

1. (v1-2) The stage is set
A Passage says
Ezekiel standing in the midst of a valley of dry bones

B For today
The church is all but dead,
It has lost most actions of what started the church 2000 yrs ago
And though some areas it looks good (the church does a lot of good and right things)
It has not operated as Father originally equipped us - for a long time

2. (v3) The question
A Passage says
Can these dry bones live again?

B For today
Can the church be revived and operate under the full power and authority under which it was originally established?

3. (v4-6) Request to man
A Passage says
Speak to the bones & say “hear the Word of the Lord, I will give you breath, sinew, muscle & skin

B For today
I will give you life so you can breathe once again and be alive, vibrant
I will give you sinews to connect your various parts so they can
function as a single unit once again
I will give you muscle to empower your bones to move and do what they need to do – and in concert because of the sinews.
I will cover you with skin so you will ‘look’ like the church I originally created via Jesus.

4. (v7) Our obedience
A Passage says
Ezekiel prophesied as God commanded him

B For today
Do as Father commands us. Carry His Word where and to whomsoever He says. Do what He says to do as He describes.

5. (v8) What happens – substance on the bones
A Passage says
There was a noise as each bone came into its proper place in each body

B For today
Father orchestrates how His body functions as a whole and how each fellowship functions within that body (Eph. 4:11-12), each with its own individualized task or performance of the task.  Everybody has a job in the body of Jesus Christ.

6. (v9-10) Breath of life into bodies
A Passage says
Ezekiel prophesied to the wind and it came and entered each of the bodies who once were dead but now are alive and they stood up.

B For today
Father breathes the Holy Ghost into our lives so we can be equipped and prepared to ‘do’ for Him because we now live for Him and are obedient to His Word and His will. Father is raising a mighty army of witnesses & workers.

7. (v11) Complaint of living bones
A Passage says
The bones are Israel but they complain because they are feeble and don’t have direction and are ‘cut off’ from our parts

B For today
All the ‘different’ denominations have created an air of being ‘disjointed’, disconnected from each other with little or no real communication between the denominations.  Each denomination acting separately, not interacting with other parts so naturally though they may feel like something is missing.  It is. Fellowship in community. not one big humongous church.  We need eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet, etc. to fully function as God intended.  Too many churches have thought they 'had it all' and missed out on some wonderful growth.

8. (12) No longer dead/return to Israel
A Passage says
I will bring you up out of your graves and bring you back into the land of Israel.

B For today
Father will heal the silly arguments that separate His true church and bring His true church back under one banner – Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Jesus is till OUR HEAD but we are still hands, feet, eyes ears and mouth, etc.  
Not only does each fellowship have a function but each soul within each fellowship has a function within that fellowship.

9. (13) God is God
A Passage says
You will know that I AM God because I have raised you from your graves.

B For today
True Christians will acknowledge God as the only true and living God because He has brought real life back into our lives as we now live for Him, in His will.  We will acknowledge Him, thanking Him for what He has done for each of us giving Him the praise and glory He so richly deserves for loving us so much.

10. (14) God’s Spirit in us/restoration
A Passage says
I will put My Spirit in you and you shall live
And I will place you in your own land
And you will know that I have done this.

B For today
Father gives us His Holy Spirit for guidance, direction, power and authority to live the life He gives us
And to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world.
Because He has re-established us, we will gladly acknowledge Him as our God and magnify and glorify Him in all that we say and do
Because He has given us new life.

Today’s church are largely these dry bones.

Father has been trying to reconstruct His church for centuries
 By the fourth century (could have been sooner) the church was a mere shell of how it started

Protestant Reformation (1500/1600 AD ) added sinew, pushed those old bones in the right direction
All parts starting to connect - the basis for what God wanted to build was forming, the structure
Realization of that God is personal (humanism was good for something)

Holiness movements @1700/1800's) added a little muscle
Back to basics
Do what God has called us to do
Live according to God’s will
focus on God

Pentecostal movement added covering (skin) of the Holy Ghost
Pulling things together into one package
So we could truly start functioning under God’s will
We looked like what we were supposed to
We acted (somewhat) how we were supposed to act
But through all this, the fullness was still incomplete

Apostolic/prophetic brings breath from the ‘four winds’ (life)
Full power from our heavenly Father
That is even a deeper understanding
There is ‘true’ life
Fuller life
More complete understanding of authority God has given us
So we can magnify His Holy Name
Draw souls into His kingdom

Through Protestant Reformation, Holiness movement, Pentecostalism and the Apostolic/Prophetic movements

Father has been bringing His body from a bunch of ‘dead bones’ to a vibrant church which praises Him
Glorifies Him
Which acknowledges Him for who He is
And what He has done.
And is obedient to His Word and Will

We are a part of that church

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