It’s Alive! – Sermon Summary   Leave a comment

Ezekiel 37:1-14.

Ezekiel’s name means “God Strengthens”, or “Strengthened by God.”  He was a priest who became a prophet and acted out his bizarre visions instead of just telling them.  His messages to the people of God came in three phases: 1) Warning of the Fall of Israel, 2) God’s deliverance was going to be slow, and 3) There is hope for God’s people.  Get ready!

How can any church experience revival today?

Vv. 1-3.   These were Israel’s darkest days.  The Babylonian captivity would last for 70 years.  The bones that Ezekiel saw in this valley were probably the bones of his own people that had died either in battle or in transit as one of three waves of Israelites taken to Babylon.

Remember, priests could not go near bones.  These were old, dried, bleached white bones.  God asks the question – Can these bones live again?  My answer would have been – “Of course not!”

The first step to church revival is to ask the question – can these bones live again?

If the answer is “no”, then start planning the church funeral.  There is not much sense in moving forward.  If the answer is “yes”, then it is time to start thinking forward.  Feel the excitement of anticipated answered prayers.

Ask the question.  Answer the question in faith.  Ezekiel knew that if anybody could do this, it was God.  So he obeyed God’s orders.

Vv. 4-8.  Step two to church revival is to put the pieces back together.  This is healing.  Healing takes time.  For a church, this must be done together.  The author of Hebrews reminds us of the importance of continuing to meet together.  When we’re together as a church, all of these things occur: prayer, discussion, relationship building, seeking God’s vision, healing.

Did you know that half of all adult Christians are satisfied with their spiritual life and wish to change or improve nothing?  That’s pathetic!

Only the church can fight this disease, but in order to do so, it must first come together.  Can you imagine the look of surprise turning into a look of joy as Ezekiel got to watch these bones coming together? 

Vv. 9-10.  Obedience brought immediate results, but one thing remained missing.  In their language, the Hebrew people understood the “breath” to also mean “spirit.”  They had the body but they had no life within it.  God provided the life and they stood ready – an army ready to do His bidding!

Vv. 11-14.  God showed His people through Ezekiel that if they would simply believe in Him and follow Him with their whole hearts, He would do great things for, among, and through them.

Step three to church revival is to allow the Spirit of God to breathe fresh life into the church.

Keep in mind, things will be different.  There will have to be change.  God brought fresh breath to His people, He did not restore their old breath.  This is forward thinking.  Jesus wasn’t resuscitated, He was resurrected!

Never be content.  Never accept the status quo.  Never become complacent.  Paul said to forget what is behind while straining forward – pressing on toward the goal to win the prize God has in store for us.

An Ezekiel-type message for your church today:

  1. We must start forward thinking because bad things happen in stagnation.
  2. Forward thinking requires patience and openness to God’s leadership.
  3. If we are willing to commit to God’s leadership, hope will be restored!

How do you get started?  Breathe it in!  Let God move in your life, and then hang on tight as His own Spirit takes you to new levels you never imagined you could reach.  Some day you will look back at how the Spirit of God came upon you from the four winds; the day you became an army for God!

 

This message inspired by Dr. John Upton – thank you for being such a tremendous leader!

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