Summary: There’s encouragement for the church today; breath for those call on God and His Plan for His Church. Many have become a Hospice Center but it doesn’t mean they have to remain in the valley!
- Ezekiel -- a Priest @ 30 who became a Prophet – A man who was “In Touch with God”
- He was living in bondage with the Israelites in the land of Babylon.
- All throughout Ezekiel, God communicated with him through “Visions.”
- Here the Spirit of God came upon Ezekiel and he begins to see some very unusual sights.
- Finds himself in the midst of a VALLEY
- Valley is filled with the BONES of a great number of people. (READ 11a)
- The BONES had been there a LONG TIME and they were very DRY and SCATTERED
- A condition that did not happen overnight
- God asked Ezekiel a very unusual question, “Can These Bones Live?”
- General Application that Applies to God’s Church – NHBC of 2009
CAN THESE BONES LIVE?
- As we discussed last week, today’s church is not the same church
- Even NHBC is not the same church as it was
- Can this church explode? Can this church exceed our wildest expectations?
- Suppose God asked you? Can this church make a real difference?
READ VERSE 1 & 2
‘in the middle of a VALLEY’
- 11b spirit of the people at the time
- SATAN desires nothing less than to get you into the lowest valley of life possible and ATTACK you!
- Story in 1 Kings 20 (summarize from scripture)
- You may be in a valley, but God is a God of Victory …
- God is a God of all circumstances if you believe and call on Him and His way!
“it was full of bones” “very dry”
- The remains of the Slain Army of God (Vs. 9 ‘slain’)
- This is how God viewed the Nation of Israel SPIRITUALLY
- The bones had at one time, been a great number of people very much ALIVE!
- These were the remains of people who had families, who worked together, loved each other, and served God with all diligence
- Now they were ‘cut off’ ‘hopeless’ ‘discouraged’ (11b)
ILLUSTRATION: DEVIL’S YARDSALE
The Devil was having a yard sale, and all of his tools were marked with different prices. There was hatred, jealously, deceit, lying, and pride--all at expensive prices. But over to the side of the yard on display was a tool more obviously worn than any of the other tools. It was also the most costly.
The tool was labeled DISCOURAGEMENT. When questioned, the Devil said, "It’s more useful to me than any other tool. When I can’t bring down my victims with any of the rest of these tools, I use discouragement, because so few people realize that it belongs to me."
Satan’s is never happier than when he sees people giving in and giving up to despair and becoming lost in discouragement & hopelessness.
Have you ever felt like your whole world is caving in around you and there is absolutely no hope? Your life as though you are at the bottom of a valley – a dry bone that has been cut off!
Even as a church, we have experienced times when we felt…
Establishing the picture, God now asked Ezekiel a question…
READ VERSE 3
What would you have said?
God wanted to re-establish hope and encouragement – to remind of the finish – His Promise of restoration! (Picture for a moment the finish line – our hope in Christ – what we yearn for!) Jer. 29
GOD’S REMEDY -- 3 STEPS TO HOPE:
1. READ VERSES 4-6 – GOD’S PREACHERS/SHEPHERDS/PASTOR-TEACHERS MUST do it GOD’s Way – IT’S HIS CHURCH!
“hear the Word of the Lord” – God’s message and not the message wanted
- Have we reached the stage where we just ignore the message of God? Do we go home inspired or charged for action? (or no longer cut to the core as…
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Paul’s message to Timothy (teenage pastor/shepherd)
READ 2 Tim. 4.2-5
- What does the teaching of God’s Word do for you?
- God gave Ezekiel a specific message - Only God knows what must be done!
- I’m sure he felt a little awkward! Preaching to dead bones!
(sometimes that’s what it feels like!)
“I will…” (5, 6) “HIS CHURCH – HIS WAY” (he uses His people to do His work)
- God knows exactly what must be done! He is already at work
- But He uses his people to do His work (he doesn’t need us but he loves us and wants to use us)
2. READ VERSES 7-8 – TRUST HIS HAND! He brought together!