Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: How can revival take place today when the churches seem to be dead and there is no voice to speak life into them? Are there any people who will stand in the gap and not only pray but act on God’s behalf to revive and re

Valley Experience [Part 1]

Topic: How the breath of God can restore life even to the dry bones of the church.

Big Idea: When Ezekiel saw the dry bones come to life through God’s Word and breath, it was a picture of what God could do for all of Israel - and for us.

Opening Illustration: In 1904 the Atlanta newspapers reported an amazing revival of prayer sweeping the city. On November 2nd the Supreme Court of Georgia closed so people could attend prayer meetings. Stores, factories, offices and even saloons followed suit. "For two hours at midday all Denver was held in a spell . . . The marts of trade were deserted between noon and two o’clock this afternoon," the Denver Post reported on January 20th, 1905. One Kentucky pastor died of overwork after receiving 1,000 new members in two months. Out of a population of 50,000 only fifty unconverted adults remained in Atlantic City, New Jersey!

Can it ever happen again here in the US? Is there anything too difficult / impossible for God?

Introduction & Background:

In Ezekiel 37:1-14, Ezekiel sees in a vision dead men raised to life; its meaning is given Ezekiel 37:11-14. In it, the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body is at least implied. Such a figure would only have force with those who were familiar with this idea (compare 1 Samuel 2:6; Job 19:25-27; Psalm 16:10-11; Daniel 12:1-13). The vision was intended not only to comfort the despairing children of Israel - prefiguring the reinstatement of Israel now scattered and lifeless, as a community restored to their home, and rein-Vigo rated with spiritual life - but also to impress upon them the great truth of the Resurrection, which was greatly developed in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, but found its clear and unambiguous enunciation in the New. The prophecy concerns not only the Israel after the flesh but also the Israel of God; it points to a home in heaven and to a life of immortality. No created power could restore human bones to life. God alone could cause them to live. Skin and flesh covered them, and the wind was then told to blow upon these bodies; and they were restored to life. The wind was an emblem of the Spirit of God, and represented his quickening powers. The vision was to encourage the desponding Jews; to predict both their restoration after the captivity, and also their recovery from their present and long-continued dispersion. It was also a clear intimation of the resurrection of the dead; and it represents the power and grace of God, in the conversion of the most hopeless sinners to himself. Let us look to Him who will at last open our graves, and bring us forth to judgment, that He may now deliver us from sin, and put his Spirit within us, and keep us by his power, through faith, unto salvation. [Revival + Resurrection]

Ezekiel opens with, "The hand of the Lord was upon me."

What can a visit to the ‘Valley’ do?

1. Can dead bones live? [vs. 1 – 3]

Ezekiel gives the right answer to God’s question: "Lord, you know." [Apparently a Yes]

Ezekiel already sees his own people in this picture, who are in need of a revival.

The valley which was full of bones - This vision of the dry bones was designed, first, as an emblem of the then wretched state of the Jews; secondly, of the general resurrection of the body. Having announced (Ezekiel 36: 24-38) the restoration of the nation, Jehovah now gives in vision and symbol the method of its accomplishment. (Ezekiel 37:11) gives the clue. The "bones" are the whole house of Israel who shall then be living. The "graves" are the nations where they dwell. The order of procedure is:

(1) the bringing of the people out (Ezekiel 37: 12-14); (Ezekiel 37: 19-27).

(2) the bringing of them in (Ezekiel 37: 12);

(3) their conversion (Ezekiel 37: 13)

(4) the filling with the Spirit (Ezekiel 37: 14).

He shows by a great miracle that God has power and will deliver his people from their captivity, in as much as he is able to give life to the dead bones and bodies and raise them up again. Can these bones live? here implies that, humanly speaking, they could not; but faith leaves the question of possibility to rest with God, with whom nothing is impossible (Deuteronomy 32: 39). An image of Christian faith which believes in the coming general resurrection of the dead, in spite of all appearances against it, because God has said it (John 5:21; Romans 4: 17; 2Corinthians 1: 9).

Illustration: A U.S. Lutheran bishop tells of visiting a parish church in California and finding a stirring red and orange banner on the wall. “Come Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!” it declared in words printed under a picture of a fire burning. The bishop was also interested in the sign directly underneath the banner which said: “Fire extinguisher.” So much for that parish’s commitment to spiritual renewal.

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