Summary: A Warning is a good thing as it send us back on the right road. You can also listen at www.preaching.co.nr
I want to bring a message today from a passage of scripture that someone in the fellowship woke with and was overwhelmingly convicted to send to me.
It was Eze 37:1-14, the vision of the “Valley of Dry Bones.”
Background & Revelation for Israel
This vision came during the time of Israel’s captivity under Babylon. It brought a revelation of the condition of God’s people but also a promise of restoration and release. This is God’s amazing grace. However low we go, however spiritually dry we become, even if we are dead spiritually, God is always prepared to restore. The explanation of the vision is clearly in the later part of the passage. (See end of the Notes for more on background)
I have been asking the Lord, “how does this vision of the valley of dry bones apply to us at ECC?” Are we a heap of dry bones? Are we lifeless? Are we dead? I believe the Lord answered in my heart and said “NO!”
This Word from the Lord may be a warning to us,
a warning that we can easily and quickly become dry & lifeless at ECC or in our personal spiritual walk with Lord.
Life in a church is not about being loud and lively; I have been to some lively funerals but it’s still the burial of the dead.
Life in church is about reproduction, sheep giving birth to sheep, and if we don’t reproduce we’ll die out.
Dryness in church is not the dull delivery of sermons; it is an absence of the activity of the Holy Spirit.
Hope in Hopelessness
In the midst of this warning, God is also bringing a message of hope to those who have become dry & lifeless in their spiritual walk.
The process of Becoming Dry Bones
1. Famine, is simply the result of there not being enough food. However, the UN tells us that the world produces enough food to feed everyone, so sometimes famine in a nation is self-imposed because of political corruption.
I have found that even where there is good spiritual food, because of a person’s bad behaviour or bad attitudes, they don’t like the good spiritual food that will nourish them. They would rather have something that will justify their bad behaviour or attitude.
It is important that if we are to avoid becoming dry bones, we feed on the food that is provided in this house and avoid a self-imposed spiritual famine.
2. Fruitless, without good spiritual nourishment we become fruitless or we produce bad fruit.
The fruit that should come from our lives is “good works” Col 1:10, “soul winning” Rom 1:13 “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Gal 5:22-23
A fruitless fruit tree is of no value.
Luke 3:9 "Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
John 15:2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
John 15:6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned
Let me read to you the advice of a fruit farmer;
“Your fruit tree normally will begin to bear fruit soon after it has become old enough to blossom freely. Nevertheless, the health of your tree, its environment, fruiting habits, and the cultural practices you use can influence its ability to produce fruit. Adequate pollination is also essential to fruit yield. If just one of these conditions is unfavourable, yields may be reduced. Perhaps the tree will not bear fruit at all. As a grower, you can exercise some control over most of the factors contributing to fruit production.”
Good fruit in our spiritual walk is the result of Good Nurture and Good Nourishment and a Good Spiritual Environment.
3. When a church/christian stops producing fruit we become Seedless and thus non productive.
We can be self-sustaining, seedless churches/christians, doing the religious stuff and using the religious jargon but spiritually close to death.
If we continue in self-sustaining fruitlessness, seedless and non-productive, then God will, like with the vine, cut us down.
Luke 13:7 "And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?'
It does not sound very gracious of God to cut us down, but God’s grace is found, not in His church being Self-Sustaining, but in being Spirit-Sustained.
The Consequences of a Self-Sustained Spirituality