Text: Ezekiel 37:1-14
Title: Understanding Revival
How many people here believe we need a revival?
How many people here want to see a revival?
How many people here know what a revival is?
How many people here have ever experienced a revival?
Read Ezekiel 37:1-14
1. What a revival is.
Webster’s dictionary defines revival as a return to life from death.Revival brings something back to life that is either now dead or seemingly dead. Revival is not for something that never lived at all. That’s why only God’s people can experience a spiritual revival.
A.The identify of the bones (v1-2;11)
“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.” (v1-2)
If you have never read this passage of scripture you’d think these bones must be the bones of the unsaved. There are so many of them and they are so badly off.
"These bones are the whole house of Israel” (v11)
These bones belong to the people of God. These bones were very dry bones. What does he mean by “dry” bones? The Hebrew word used here for “dry” has two meaning
1. It means “to be held captive.”
These were bones that were help captive
Context: In the time of Ezekiel the people of God were away from their homeland and living in captivity
2. The Hebrew word for “dry” also has another meaning. It also means “to lose one’s appetite”
The same word used here in Ezekiel is also used in Numbers 11:5-6
“We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost-also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite, we never see anything but this manna.”
1. These bones belong to God’s people who are being held captive
2. These bones belong to God’s people who have lost their appetite for God
What does this mean?
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things choke it making it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19)
God’s people are held captive by worrying about what they don’t have.“…The worries of this life.”
God’s people are held captive by worshiping what they do have
“…The deceitfulness of wealth.”
God’s people are losing their appetite for God by desiring what they wish they had.
“…and the desire for other things choke it making it unfruitful.”
Sin always takes away your appetite for the things of God
3. The only solution/ remedy for spiritual dryness is a spiritual revival
One outstanding characteristic of revivals is this.
They occur in a day of deep moral darkness and national depression
“He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (v3)
Live = enjoy life, live anew, be well, be refreshed, be rebuilt
Why would God ask this of Ezekiel?
He wants to know if Ezekiel knows the right answer.
I said, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know?” (v3)
Ezekiel didn’t say “I know a 4 part sermon series that would work”
Ezekiel didn’t say “I know a program that would work”
Ezekiel didn’t say “I know a great speaker that would work”
I said, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know?” (v3)
Only God can bring us a revival. Only God can bring someone back to life.
A revival is a sovereign move of God
How does God choose to move when He brings a revival?
1. God moves by the hand of the Lord (v1)
“The hand of the Lord was upon me”
Every revival has to have the hand of the Lord upon it. God’s hand has to be upon those though whom he uses to bring about a revival
“The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 11:21)
2. God’s hand has to be also upon those who are being revived
For example: We see this so many times in the miracles of Jesus
A. 2 Blind Men
“As Jesus went from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David! When he had gone indoors, the blind men came up to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this? “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said “According to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored.” (Matthew 9:27-30)
The hand of the Lord = the favor of the Lord
“The hand of the Lord was upon Elisha.” (2 Kings 3:15)
“The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me.” (Isaiah 8:11)
2. By the Spirit of the Lord (v1)
“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Quote: A revival is a work of God’s Spirit among his people.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
3. By the Word of the Lord
“Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ’Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” (vv4)
How does the word of God bring revival?
You can’t have a revival without the word of God.
Each revival rested on the Word of God
It is sparked by the prophetic preaching of God’s word
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness
Charles Finney says revival is nothing more or nothing less than a new beginning of obedience to the word of God.
4. By the man or woman of God
Every revival begins in the heart of one consecrated servant of God who becomes the energizing power behind it.
What happens to a believer/church during a revival? (v4-10)
God does things only God can do
Revival accomplishes what our best spiritual effort cannot.
“Then He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them,” Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it,’ This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breath into these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet-a vast army.
The entire man is revived!
In revival the church dormant becomes the church militant.
A return to worship
The destruction of idols
A separation from sin
A return to the offering of sacrifices
A restoration of great joy and gladness
A period of great national prosperity
What is our part in the revival
Quote: Revival is not a miraculous visitation falling on an unprepared people like a bolt out of the blue. It comes when God’s people earnestly want revival and are willing to pay the price.
Rarely does God force anything to happen apart from human cooperation.
Quote: Revival is the life of God, in and through the people of God, to reproduce the life of God in the world.”