Sermons

Summary: To accomplish Revival, God uses 1) The Preaching of the Word (Ezekiel 37:1-6), 2) The Prayer of God’s Servant (Ezekiel 37:7-9), The Power of the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 37:5-14).

An early morning fire that completely destroyed the historic Hortop Mill in Everton on this past Thursday, Jan. 19 is being treated as suspicious. The original fire call came in at about 3:30am and when firefighters arrived at the mill, located on Evert Street, just south of the Eramosa River, it was fully-engulfed with flames. Crews from Guelph-Eramosa, Puslinch, Guelph, and Hillsburgh, could not prevent the total destruction of the Mill. (http://www.wellingtonadvertiser.com/comments/index.cfm?articleID=34275). When all is said and done, neither the residents of Everton, the GRCA, nor the remnants of the mill itself can bring the mill back to its previous glory with what is left there. Any hope for the site must come in a complete rebuilding.

The situation in Ezekiel 37 was bleak. It is proclaimed to the exiles, probably sometime between the dates presented in 33:21 and 40:1, around 572 B.C. (Lind, M. (1996). Ezekiel (p. 296). Scottdale, PA: Herald Press.) Israel was a defeated nation. It had been crushed militarily, its people had been separated from one another in exile, and it had suffered the inevitable result of its abandonment of the Lord. Alone, exhausted, discouraged, and impoverished, Israel was indeed as good as dead. (But the vision to Ezekiel was fitted to dispel such despondent reflections.) (Stuart, D., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1989). Ezekiel (Vol. 20, p. 332). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.)

How do we move on after times of discouragement or loss? It’s easy to see past greatness or success in relationships or opportunities and long for what was. God however doesn’t want us to live in the past, but consider what can be. Revival is God taking what seems hopeless and showing what He can do. Using human secondary means, God can accomplish what seems impossible from a human standpoint.

How does revival happen? God uses three means to accomplish it. He uses: 1) The Preaching of the Word (Ezekiel 37:1-6), 2) The Prayer of God’s Servant (Ezekiel 37:7-9), The Power of the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 37:5-14).

In order to accomplish Revival, God uses:

1) The Preaching of the Word (Ezekiel 37:1-4)

Ezekiel 37:1-6 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” (ESV)

Ezekiel’s beginning in chapter 37 where he says that: “The hand of the LORD was upon me” appears to indicate something extraordinary and unusual in the prophet’s experience. In this whole vision the prophet was the subject of a special and intensified inspiration. The process described that God: “brought/carried” him. That Ezekiel was “brought/carried …out in the spirit” notes how this was not a physical moving but a vision.( Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 610). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

What makes this vision extraordinary is that this valley “was full of bones”; i.e. of men who had been slaughtered there (cf. ch. 39:11), and whose corpses had been left unburied upon the face of the plain (ver. 3), so that they were seen by the prophet. At the same time, such a plain as is here depicted may well have been a battle-ground on which Assyrian and Chaldean armies had often met.

• Bringing us to the valley is where Revival often starts. God desires that we come to the end of ourselves in order to grasp the fullness of God. When we are humble, teachable and seeing our need for God, He takes such a person, family, congregation and community to the heights of His glory.

The result of the prophet’s inspection of the bones in verse 2 was to excite within him a feeling of surprise which expressed itself in a twofold behold; the first occasioned by a contemplation of their number, very many, and their situation, on the surface/in the open valley i.e. not underground, where they could not have been seen, but upon the surface of the soil, and not piled up in heaps, but scattered over the ground; and the second by a discernment of their condition as very dry, so bleached and withered as to foreclose, not the possibility alone, but also the thought of their resuscitation. This pictures the dead nation lifeless, scattered, and bleached, just as a dry tree (17:24) pictures a dead nation, to which only God can give life (MacArthur, J., Jr. (Ed.). (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed., p. 1204). Nashville, TN: Word Pub.).

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