Summary: This is a revival sermon that will cause sleeping churches to wake up and dead churches to come alive. It will also challenge believers to reach out to the lost.
Three thousand years ago, God gave the prophet Ezekiel a vision. Ezekiel says, “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 a 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” (Ezekiel 37:1-2).
Imagine the scene. Thousands of bones are spread out across the valley. Here is a skull, there is a thighbone, over there is a pile of finger bones. The bones are in bad shape. They are scattered, disordered, and dry. Not even the birds like dry bones, they are good for nothing.
A. The Spiritually Lost
These dry bones represent our world today. Look at the government, politics, and the news. We see broken homes, divorce, violence, poverty, and human trafficking. People are scattered, disorganized, and fighting with one another. People celebrate what is evil and condemn what is good. People value reason over faith, tolerance over truth, and pleasure over purpose. The world is in bad shape.
There was a mighty stench rising from the valley. It was not a pretty sight. Once someone told me, “Pray for my son to be saved. He’s a good boy, but he needs Jesus.” But in reality, he was not “good,” he was dead. Without Christ, he’s dead. Without Christ, people are dead. See the world around you as dead. We don’t need politicians that are “good” politicians, we need politicians that are saved politicians. We are surrounded by a valley of dead bones that need to be resurrected.
How can we minister to a lost world?
1. Ministry is seeing what God sees and crying over what makes God cry. God was crying over the scattered, dry bones and He showed the bones to Ezekiel so that the prophet would understand the tragedy.
2. Ministry is trusting in God even when the situation looks impossible. God asked Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?" Ezekiel had very little faith when he replied, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know." In the natural, your situation might look hopeless, you might question if a miracle can happen. If someone asks, “Is there hope?” You might reply like Ezekiel, “Only God knows.”
3. Ministry is repeating God’s words after Him. God commanded Ezekiel, “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’” (Ezekiel 37:4-6). There is hope for dry bones! Ezekiel did not know what to say to the dry bones but God gave him the words to say. Once I was preaching to a big crowd and the sound system was not working. Halfway back we placed a man who repeated my words so that the people at the back of the crowd could hear my message. As ministers, we play the role of that man; we simply hear God’s words and repeat them. We do not repeat the words we hear from the TV, or the newspapers. We repeat the words of God.
B. The Spiritually Dead
So Ezekiel prophesied as he was commanded. As he was prophesying, there was a noise; a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. Did you ever sing the song about the “ankle bone is connected to the leg bone, the leg bone is connected to the knee bone?”
But there was still a problem. Ezekiel says, “I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.” (Ezekiel 37:8). The scattered bones came together, flesh and skin covered the bones, but the bodies were not breathing.
These bones without breath represent dead churches. These zombie bodies represent churches that look organized, but are spiritually dead. There are entire denominations that are in shape organizationally, but the Holy Spirit is not moving. Conventional success is not good enough. We need more then organization; we also need life.
These bodies are like zombies, they look alive but they are really dead. Many Christians look spiritual but in reality they are lifeless. They never go out witnessing, they just sit in church and never accomplish anything.
You might be a spiritual zombie if…
1. You are spiritually stagnated. Dead bodies stink. The Dead Sea has water coming in but none going out. The water stagnates and begins to stink. If a person sits in church receiving all the time but never has an outlet to give to others, he begins to stagnate. These people become critical and fault finding, they are always looking for something that is not right.