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Summary: When we have God, there is always hope

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INTRO: While hunting, Larry and Elmer got lost in the woods. Trying to reassure his friend, Larry said, "Don’t worry. All we have to do is shoot into the air three times, stay where we are, and someone

will find us."

They shot in the air three times, but no one came. After a while, they tried again. Still no

response. When they decided to try once more, Elmer said, "I hope it works this time. We’re down to our last three arrows."

-Have you ever felt you’re in a hopeless situation and nothing seems to be working and every solution that you come to works as well as the story I read?

Today: We are going to focus on a concept called hope. When we have God, there is always hope. TITLE: Hope for the Hopeless

TEXT: Ezekiel 37:1-10

I. Setting. Ezekiel has a vision from God. At the beginning of Ezekiel’s ministry, the Spirit transported him to sit among the discouraged exiles by the canal (3:14f0. Later the Spirit took him in visions to Jerusalem (8:3ff), to the temple gate, and then back to Babylonia (11:1, 24).

A. Now the Spirit brings him in a vision to a valley filled with many bleached bones scattered on the ground, the skeletons of corpses long ago decomposed.

1. It was a humiliating thing for the body of a dead Jew to not be washed, wrapped, and buried with dignity in a grave or a tomb.

-These bodies were left on the battlefield to become food for the vultures to eat and objects for the sun to bleach.

II. Ezekiel saw a great many bones (v. 2). The Lord takes him in a vision; lo and behold, he sees death.

A. In your life this morning, what do you see?

1. Question: What do you see in your life, what do you see in your marriage, what do you see in your children and family, what do you see in your career, what do you see in your relationships, what do you see in your health, your future?

2. Do you see death, discouragement, disappointment, heartache, pain?

-Pastor, I can sum it up on one word—I’m in a hopeless situation! Well, today I’ll try to help you see it differently or at least give you something to think about.

B. Let me first define hope. For most of us hope is just another word for wishfulness. It even has a melancholy nature to it.

1. However, in scripture it is a much more powerful word. It means to have confidence and to be certain in the face of circumstances that present no visible reason for such emotions.

2. Let’s look at some elements of hope so we can better understand it.

-Romans 5:3b-5, "Because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."

-Romans 15:4 says, "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope."

a. In these two different texts comes the idea of endurance or perseverance. It’s the idea of waiting for the answer.

-It’s hard to wait or persevere when you’re in a painful situation. Question: Why would God delay in fulfilling what we hope for?

-One possible reason: So that we would gain appreciation for what the Lord gives when it arrives.

Illustration: God created Adam, he didn’t immediately give him Eve. Genesis 2:18, "The Lord God said, ’It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for

him.’"

-What do you think Adam thought—great, when is this going to happen? (After you name all the animals.) I’m sure this took a long time.

-Another possible reason for God’s delays is our need for purification and strengthening. Perseverance builds character.

Illustration: I remember when I was around 14, wanting a car so bad, and not being allowed to have one because I was too young. (I thought, no I’m not.) But after going through it, I think kids shouldn’t be able to drive until 21—all the accidents and money and would save.

Summary: Now that we know a bit more about hope let us realize

II. God alone holds the answer to the hopeless situations. V. 3, God speaking to Ezekiel, "Son of man, can these bones live?" Even when God brings a question he is making a statement.

A. God alone is the one who can make it happen.

-God brought the prophet to the place of death.

1. Just as he has brought some of you to this place and asks you what you see.

-He’s asking, can this be brought back to life (whatever situation you’re in) and you respond, God you’re the only one that knows.

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