Summary: Revival starts with me… and with you. It starts in a quiet place after having drawn a circle around ourselves in chalk and asking God to begin the revival within that circle!
These Dry Bones, Ezekiel 37:1-14
The famed American Evangelist and Pastor, D.L. Moody, would tell a remarkable incident in connection with an early visit to London. He had gone there for a visit. He was unknown in London, hence he did not expect to preach; but a little while after arriving there he was invited to preach for a certain church, which he did. He described the ceremony as a very cold and uninteresting service to him, but he announced that he would preach again that night.
Upon reaching the church, he noticed that the atmosphere had changed, he did not know just why. At the close of the meeting he was led to give an invitation for those who wanted to be saved to stand. A great crowd of people stood. He left the next day for Dublin, Ireland. Shortly after arriving there he received a telegram from the church to return, stating that the whole community was in an upstir and clamor for a series of meetings. He went back and found that a great revival was beginning, and hundreds of people were being converted.
Not long after he learned the secret. An invalid lady, who could not attend the church, was praying for a mighty outpouring of the Spirit upon the church. She prayed for months. Once she saw in the papers’ accounts of some of the Moody meetings in America, and, although she had never heard of Mr. Moody before, she began to pray that God would send him to her church in London for a revival.
One Sunday morning her sister, upon her return from the service, informed her of Moody’s presence and his preaching, whereupon she spent the whole afternoon in prayer that God would make that night a night of power. That explains the difference between morning and evening services!
Oh, I tell you what we need in the churches is praying members! Oh, if we could find even one who would thus resolve to pray to God for salvation and power to come upon the church. This is the need of today – importunate prayer, like the Syro-Phoenician woman’s “Lord, help! Lord, help!” (Matt. 15:22–28).
This morning it is my strongest desire that you might hear the very voice of God echoing in the chambers of your hearts. As you listen to the words I speak to you today, I encourage you to listen even more closely to what God Himself would say to you today. I am but His messenger and He desires you lend to Him an unblocked ear, a listening heart, and an open mind.
It is my earnest prayer and hope that you would leave today steadfast in your commitment to see revival sweep through our Church, through the Illinois Valley, and perhaps even through our entire Land!
That is what we will be talking about today; revival! Scarcely a person living in the modern landscape of Christianity in America will deny that we are in need of revival in churches, revival in our land, and revival in our lives.
This morning I hope to point in the direction that will bring about these things in our time and in the not so distance future.
In today’s Scripture reading we hear of the Lord carrying the prophet Ezekiel into the valley of dry bones and revealing to Him a vision of the restoration of Israel.
The majority of Evangelical scholars agree with me – proving that they must be right (laugh) – that this passage is pointing to the future restoration of Israel which is yet to occur or at least yet to fully occur.
In my estimation this prophecy has already begun to occur in what happened in 1948 when Israel, after two millennia, once again resettled the Holy Land that had promised to her as a Nation. This event was unprecedented in history and at least in my assessment, absolutely defies all natural explanations.
At no other time in the history of civilization has a people group, a Nation, underwent such incredible hardship, been expelled from its homeland, and then after so many centuries been reborn as a Nation!
It is important to note here, however, that in Matthew 25:13 Jesus says, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (NKJV)
The restoration of Israel in 1948 may very well be the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy but there may be any number of twists and turns and decades and centuries and even millennia yet in store for humanity prior to the return of our Lord to this earth.
While there is clearly eschatological value in the 37th chapter of Ezekiel, and no doubt one day we will dive into those deep waters together, today I would like to focus on a very high principal contained in this passage of Scripture.