Summary: A sermon about revival based on Ezekiel 37:1-14
“REVIVAL IN THE GRAVEYARD” Ezek. 37:1-14
7/26/20 – FBCF
INTRO – I was in a cemetery, or a graveyard, earlier this week, & will be in one again this afternoon. And without fail, every time any of us go to a graveyard, there are 2 types of people there: living & dead. There are those who are still full of life & have more opportunities ahead of them, & there are those who have no life left in them & their opportunities to experience life are over, & there’s nothing more that can be done for them.
- For some people, cemeteries & graveyards represent nothing but hopelessness & unending grief. The tears just won’t seem to stop flowing b/c there is no hope of anything beyond the grave that is in front of them.
- For others, the graveyard is not filled w/ hopelessness & despair, but joy, peace, & even life. Sure there are still tears that are shed, but those tears are able to be endured b/c of the promise of what lies beyond that grave – the promise of heaven – the promise of eternal life – the promise of a glorious reunion – the promise of unending joy & happiness & peace b/c of the salvatoin that is given through Christ & Christ alone.
But as many times as I’ve stood in a graveyard, either as the officiant of the service or as a friend or family member of the deceased, I’ve NEVER seen what Ezekiel saw in Ezek. 37. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a revival in a graveyard. But that’s exactly what Ezekiel saw. And that’s what we are going to see today.
EXPLANATION – Open your Bibles to Ezek. 37:1-14.
Book of Ezekiel – long book – 48 chapters to be exact. Not many preachers & pastors preach from Ezekiel very often for various reasons:
- Prophecies in the book require a pretty good understanding of the history of Israel & the OT covenant.
- Its length makes it hard to preach.
- Some of the apocalyptic literature is hard to fathom & comprehend.
- There several chapters which are devoted to nothing except numerical measurements & building descriptions.
But this certainly doesn’t mean that there aren’t important subjects & concepts that we can & should glean from this book. After all, God made sure that it was included in the Bible, so that in itself means that we should read it & try to comprehend it as much as possible. Some of the themes that Ezekiel tells us about are:
- The reliability of God’s Word
- The glory of God
- Our individual responsibility for our own sin
- God’s holiness
- God’s transcendence or His supremacy
There’s one more theme that is shown in this book: REVIVAL. When I opened one of my OT commentary books to Ezek. 37, there was one word as the heading over this section that we are looking at today – the word REVIVAL.
APPLICATION – Even though sometimes it may look hopeless, God is not through with us!
The immediate application is that God was not through with Israel, His chosen people, even though they looked dead at the moment. It's a companion text to Jer. 29, also delivered to Israel in Babylon, where the Lord says "You're going to be here for 70 years--but don't give up hope. I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope." If you back up a chapter to Ezek. 36:26-27, you’ll see the message of hope for new life that the Lord gave to them. What a promise!
In order to have revival in the graveyard, we must realize:
HOW DESPERATE THE SITUATION IS:
Here we are again in a time of desperation & destruction, only this time it’s not a wall around a city – it’s the people who’ve been destroyed. This graveyard full of bones represents the people of God – “the whole house of Israel” (v. 11). This vision that Ezekiel had was a terrifying picture of hundreds of thousands of bones. The destruction he saw was overwhelming!
This gives us a startling picture of the devastation that sin brings to our lives. The reason that there was such destruction before Ezekiel is b/c the people continued to turn away from God & His plan & purpose for their lives. And the same thing happens to us when we turn away from Him.
Until we realize how desperately we need the Lord in our lives, we will never change. Until we understand how sin destroys our lives, we will never change. The Bible is clear:
- Rom. 6:23 – “The wages of sin is death”