The Power of the Spoken Word: Reviving Dry Bones

The book of Ezekiel was written by the prophet bearing the same name, which means "God will strengthen." A Hebrew from the tribe of Levi, he was among the elite of Judah who were captured by Nebuchadnezzar and carried away to Babylon.

Ezekiel was speaking primarily to his fellow captives among the children of Israel. By this time in history, the 10 tribes of Israel had been so widely scattered among the surrounding nations that they seemed all but lost as a people. The tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi had just been conquered and carried away captive to Babylon. It looked as if their national identity was forever gone and they would never again return to their Promised Land.

On another level, this prophecy speaks about what God will do for spiritual Israel, which is the church today. An obvious theme of the vision is that God can resurrect dry bones--that He can give literal life to that which is dead and inanimate. It is a message that He can revive His people and turn them into a mighty army.

No matter how dried up and worthless you may feel, your life may appear, how dire a situation that you are in may seem or how dead in trespasses and sins you may be, God can restore you to life through His Word and Spirit.

In this week's message, we dive into this topic of “The Power of God’s Prophetic Word” to us today. It is my prayer for all of us to be completely surrendered to our Lord and position ourselves to experience the power of God’s spoken word to us as illustrated in the book of Ezekiel.

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Announcements:

Woman from Uganda ministry next week

Special Needs picnic at JC’s building next week. 204 RSVPs with one week to go. Need volunteers to help.

 

Michigan Mission Trip report, given by Jim with testimonies by Mark, Leilani, Debbie, Laurie

 

(Video of Ezekiel’s vision -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7vb1Fv097M&ab_channel=ZOLTRAN1)

 

10:52 - one quick announcement - next Sunday, no potluck. Instead, going to New Hope church to fellowship with them. It’s a missions service there.

Also, thank you Jim about sharing the Michigan mission trip. Alan, still looking forward to hearing from you. I’m glad to be part of a church that’s about missions and making disciples.

 

Prayer: God, I bow before you. Without you, where would I be? In my own strength, I’m foolish. When I am quiet before you, I hear your voice speak. And I find the things I thought I know fall so short. I’m thankful you’re so gracious. I cannot comprehend what I’m saying when I say that. You supernaturally infuse your heart to ours. You influence us and impact our psyche, soul, spirit, lives.

As we gather together as a body, Lord, I pray we’d recognize we are yours. This is your church. It’s your voice we want to hear. We know it’s your truth that liberates and can break through every barrier, struggle, circumstance and gives peace in the midst of storms. It brings light into chaos and the darkness that seems to fill our hearts and minds. When we turn to you and hear from you and focus on you, we hear truth, and we know that that is light to our path. Thank you we’re called ‘children of light’.

Give us hearts to hear and courage to respond. We pray your kingdom would be established and would prevail today.

Amen.

 

The power of the spoken word - From Ezekiel 37.

 

In Ezekiel, we hear how the Holy Spirit is going to come upon men. This millennial prophecy that Christ would establish his kingdom. It’s not happened yet. But in the 1000 year reign.

The Israelites believe they’ll never be a nation again.

You can experience liberation, hope, salvation as individuals as the spirit of God comes upon you.

There are things being set up for the children of Israel. As the prophecies are given to Ezekiel, he’s taken to the valley of dry bones. Some think it’s where Sodom and Gomorra were. At the lowest elevation on the earth.

In Ezek’s time, when one army destroyed another, they would strip the bodies of all the possessions and leave the bodies to rot as a shame to others who might come.

When you saw a valley of dry bones, you can know that an army has been defeated. And shamed. When you see such dry bones, you see that there’s no life there. 

God takes Ezek to this place of dry bones. And Ezek was also a priest. For him to be here as a priest was difficult for him.

As he walks through these dry bones, God begins to speak: “Can these dry bones live?”

 

A couple of key things I want us to understand as we read this passage. Four foundational things>

 

1. the power of the prophetic word and what a prophetic word is. A divinely inspired word given to a man to speak to a specific people. Even today someone says I received a prophetic word and under the unction of the Holy Spirit, they say, “God has stirred my heart to share this with you.” We can think of God’s word as a prophetic word to us today. The Holy Spirit inspired men to write the words written to us today. The Word of God is a prophetic word written to you and me today.

The Bible isn’t a book to study, it’s a prophetic word for us to follow today.

2. as followers of Christ, you are part of God’s covenant people. The people of Israel were in a covenant with God. They knew when the prophet spoke, he was speaking to them on these terms.

They knew that tho they would break the covenant, HE could not break his covenant with his people. He would never forsake his people because He was in covenant with them.

As believers today, it’s the same for us today. We’re in a covenant w/ God. Even when we walk in complete rebellion to God, H’ell never forsake himself be/c he’s in covenant with us. He has made promises as God and he is in covenant with us. We are covenant people.

3. hear the word of the Lord. The word “listen” is “shama”, which means to listen carefully itentntly with the purpose of once you’ve heard the word, you’ll obey and walk in what the Lord says.

One of the most famous places is Deut 6:4. Hear O Israel. Listen with the intent to obey.

4. Winds and breath = Ruach. It means spirit, wind, breath, or Spirit of God. When it says, “The breath” it’s talking about the spirit of God.

 

When eek had this prophecy, it had multiple levels. It’s being spoken to them and to us today as individuals. We can take these promises and understand them as being for us today. So hear them as a church and as individuals. God is speaking to me and you in His word.

 

Ezek 37:1-14

 37:1 ¶ 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.

 

Think of these dry bones as the desperate situation you may find yourself in.

 

 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.

 

hear = listen intently with the intent to obey.

 

He’s saying, speak to these dry bones where utter death is. Tell the dry bones to listen intently. with a point of obeying.

 

 5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.

 

Live = be brought to life with purpose. Not one you purpose for yourself, but one He purposes for you.

 

 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.’’

 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.

 

Who is doing this? Not the bones. The bones are listening. As the Word of God is being spoken, the bones are responding. IN the response, it’s saying that as you listen, understand that I’m going to cause you to live. I’ll cover you. I’ll inspire you, breathe my spirit to you. And you will live by my spirit. And you’ll know as you live by my spirit.

 

Know = in an intimate way. Used for when a man and woman consummate their marriage relationship. You’ll have no doubt, confusion that God is Lord. You’ll know in the depth of your being that He is Lord of your life.

As Lrod of your life, you’ll know that he’s the master/commander of your life.

 

Picture a valley of thousands and thousands of dry bones. A rattling a large sound. When the spirit of God speaks, it cannot be disregarded. There’ll be evidence He’s working. Sound. Movement. Something people will recognize.

And here, the bones obeyed and came together.

 

 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them.

 

What do sinews do? They hold the bones together. They connect. There’s a connectivity that happens. The Word of God is so deep and rich. You cannot just think of one thing without another.

In the NT, God has purposed that in order for us to be a complete body, we must be connected.

When the flesh comes upon you, that will be a covering.

As life is coming in them, as they’re becoming an army of God, there’s a covering that’s needed.

As believers, we need that covering. That’s why God gave gifts to the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists. To be a covering. To shepherd his people. There’s a covering God’s positioned for us as a people.

And God’s our ultimate covering.

 

Flesh - to truly be alive, there must be flesh. We don’t function in the flesh. The flesh must be obedient to the Word of God. We may try to apply the Word of God to our flesh, but the reality is the flesh must be subservient to the Word of God.

We try to walk in our own plans and desires for life. And we come to the bible asking God to bless my purposes in life. Here, Word of God says the flesh is to be obedient to the Word.

 

 9 Then he said to me, ‘‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’’

 

Here he recognizes the breath as a person, not as an entity. Asking the breath to inspire and breathe on these slain.

 

And they stood.

 

God does not just want you to BE. HE wants you to be in HIM. To walk and live in purpose. Not only does he want you to live. He wants to inspire you. He wants to come upon you and inspire you so you can walk with purpose.

No matter how dark, how much despair, how dead a relationship may be, as we submit the relationship to the Word of God, there will be life.

So he says that not only did they live, they became a great army for God. Victorious.

God not only wants you to live, he wants you to be victorious. Hearing this?

God has purposed you to be victorious.

 

They stood in a place where they were destroyed. They were now standing in a place that was known to be a tomb of death and shame.

God said, “I don’t care what your circumstance looks like, I will cause you stand victorious even in the midst of that dead place.”

God wants you to stand in the midst of that dead place. You are not a victim of your circumstances or your environment. You can walk into a place, a situation… This is why… I’ve heard testimony after testimony of women held in the middle east who’ve experienced rape and abuse. They were able to live in a place of utter death.

Most of the time, what controls the death of a situation is how we respond.

 

 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

 11 Then he said to me, ‘‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.’

 

Can some of you relate to this? He’s speaking this to Israel. He’s speaking this to the church. He’s speaking this to individuals. We may say, “Our hope is lost. We’re cut off.”

 

 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.

 

I love that he says, “O my people.” Church, Jonathan, Bob, Susan, Scott, Dave, Dianne, Tina, Pauline, Betty, Evans, Ami, Jeff. You. Are God’s people. YOU are His.

 

I will bring you into the land of Israel. Into that promised place.

 

Raymond are you hearing? Brad? Marianne? “And you shall live”. Marie? Lauren?

 

 13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.

 

(I can go on and on from here. But I’m skipping from here to the end.)

 

 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.’’

 

 

 

A life lived in the flesh will always lead to death. No matter how you try to fix it, it brings more death. Feed the flesh and it brings more death. To your mind and your soul.

Many times when we experience hardship, we tell ourselves, “If I can only experience pleasure, or have this position, or this achievement I can have life again.”

When we lived in Washington state, a friend of mine became a multimillionaire overnight. He developed a security key that someone offered him millions for. He got well over 900M. And this man had multiple houses. He called me up and said pray for me. We have a house we want to buy. It’s in a beautiful location on the beach. And another couple wants to buy it. And we’ll flip a coin to see who gets it. Can you pray the coin will land in our favor.

This guy, when he saw something, he’d buy it. A persian rug he liked? He bought 15.

One day, I was walking on the beach w/ him and he said, “Michael, I don’t know who I am. I struggle w/ my identity. I need guidance.” We’d look at him as a success. And he says, “I struggle with my identity and marriage.”

My point: you cannot fix or bring life into a situation by feeding the flesh. That’ll never work.

 

You cannot bring yourself back to life. Self-inflicted, self-imposed righteousness will not work. In this passage, we see that as the prophetic word was spoken his spirit brought forth life. It’s not that the bones were saying, “I think today we’ll pull ourselves tighter and get some flesh…” These bones could not do this on their onw.

Many times we think that if we live through Christian experiences, we can do these self-imposed righteousnesses and bring forth light. And instead what happens is it brings forth more death.

Some of you say, “Im doing the right things. Why is my relationship, my marriage, my life experiencing death?” Because you’re trying to do these things in your own strength. Yield. 

You can’t say, “God, I’m taking your promise and applying it to my life. Therefore bless me.” Instead, God is saying, “Surrender to me and allow ME to breathe life into you.”

Many times we find “Ive been doing it all wrong.” There’s a reason why Jesus. And many believers who’ve been crucified, martyred. Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Catching this?

HE’s saying that when you’re connected to me, that heaviness disperses. The peace comes. Stop trying to do it on your own. As you yield to me, I’ll bring peace. I’ll release heaviness. Even in the midst of the very dry and dead situation.

 

3. Abundant life only comes through a prophetic Word of God via the Holy Spirit. THis will produce abundant life: a life with peace, purpose, identity. And it must be by the breath of God. It must be by the Spirit of God.

You say, “How is this accomplished?” One of the most powerful things you can do is simply to wait on the Lord. We neglect this. But I mean it. It sounds too simple to be true. In the midst of the heaviness and struggle, wait on the Lord. Throw out your ideas. Even the best Christian self-help book you can find. Wait on the lord and allow him to speak and he will bring you life.

 

4. Forced Christinayt is self-inflicted death. Christianity is not designed to be a forced set of standards you must not attain. It’s about following the spirit and not the letter of the law. So when the Bible tells us that when the disciples said, “Teach us how to pray”, we shouldn’t reply, “IT’s 5am, I HAVE to pray.” And we feel like it’s a law, we are supposed to pray. But the reality is, “Lord, I’ve gotta pray. Without you where’d I be? I have to hear your voice. I have to hear your voice inside me. I need you more than I need air. I need your spirit.”

It’s not something you’re obligated to do. IT’s something you’re privileged to be able to do.

 

11:40 Will can you come up here please.

 

Yu will deal with people walking in the flesh all day long. And if you try to bring a remedy in fleshly ways, you’ll bring death. Even in our marriages, your spouse will walk flat out in the flesh. And our first reaction is to respond with flesh.

IN those situations, learn to step back and say, “God give me your life. I need to hear from you. I need your spoken word in me. So I can walk in obedience.”

As we do that, death won’t come. Life will come. RUACH, SHEMA.

 

Prayer: Lord I love you. I thank you for the privilege of being a son. Being called your people, your children. You’ve been laying certain people on my mind. I know you want to move and work and breathe life into a dead situation. I pray that as we wait on you that we would yield.

If God is calling you to come forward, do. Or kneel there. Listen as you hear the prophetic Word of God, listen and obey. As He’s speaking, you respond. 

Lord, we love you.

 

Church, I’m not going to beg you, if someone here doesn’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, come forward. Respond as God is calling you to respond.

 

KrisAnn wants to be baptized.

 

Tyler: Week after week, there’s a call to action and nothing’s changed. I’m convicted that we can’t do this. That nothing has changed. I’m going to read the Word again. (Reads Ezekiel 37 again.)

 

I look around our church. I see so many strong and wise and knowledge. And kindness. But so often I see us walking out without heeding the breath of life, the spirit of God.

 

(continues reading)

 

Guys. We are called to an abundant life. And that’s not nice cars and RVs and a really cool shot of espresso. It’s walking out the Word of God. Jesus, please, let what I say be of you. If not, burn it out.

 

MW - May the Lord bless you and His face shine upon you. Go in peace.

 

11:55.