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Ezekiel 37 - the valley of dry bones

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Covenanter

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Ezekiel 37 Cranford May 22, 2011
Read Psalm 98
31 Sing to God (Ps 98)
Prayer
Notices
Children
918 He is Lord
Sheet – Prabhu hai - if Mrs Gill present
Ezekiel 37:1-14 English, then Urdu if Mrs Gill present
399 Revive thy work
Sermon
398 O breath of life

Children
Wind, breath & spirt

1. Introduction to Ezekiel's prophecy
2. The vision of the valley of dry bones
3. The message of the vision
4. What Jesus taught about spiritual life from the dead.
5. The resurrection at the day of judgement.
6. Eternal life – for us.

Introduction to Ezekiel's prophecy
ROBin has asked to to preach from Ezekiel 37, where Ezekiel is commanded to preach to a valley of dry bones.
Before we look at the chapter, we need to look at the context.
Ezek. 1:1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
The book begins when Ez was 30 years old - the age when a Jewish priest began his service in the temple at Jerusalem.
Temple service was not possible for Ez - the country had been defeated by the Babylonians, & he had been taken to that country along with many other young men. We read of some of them in the book of Daniel.
This happened about 600 years before the birth of Jesus, & 400 years after the great kings, David & Solomon had ruled the land.
They had had wonderful times of blessing during the time of the kings David & Solomon, when a glorious temple was built to replace the tabernacle they had built in the wilderness, & carried with them wherever they went.
However, the people of Israel had turned away from the living God & were worshipping other gods & had made idols like the nations around them.
God sent prophets to warn them, and allowed other nations to defeat them when they did not turn back to God.
This happened many times until Jerusalem was captured & the temple was destroyed. The temple treasures were carried away to Babylon.
At that time many of the people of Israel were carried away also, to serve the Babylonians.
The prophet Jeremiah told them they would stay in Babylon for 70 years. Many would live & die there & never see Jerusalem again.
Jeremiah was the prophet who taught the people who stayed in Jerusalem.
Ezekiel was the prophet who taught the people in exile in Babylon.
The vision of the valley of dry bones was for the exiles.

The vision of the valley of dry bones
Eze 37: 1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
 2And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
 3And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
 4Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

Ez has a vision of a battle-field when the dead bodies lie where they fell. The animals & birds have eaten the flesh & the sun has dried the bones.
The LORD asks Ez if the bones can live, & commands Ez to preach to them.
Ez believes God. He knows God can make the dead live, & he OBeys the command to preach to them. As he preaches, so the bones come together & they are covered with flesh & skin.

5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
 6And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
 7So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
 8And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

Breathing shows we are alive - while we live, we breathe. First aid for people who appear dead is to breathe into their mouths. We call it "the kiss of life." Countless people are alive today who would have died.
The people in the valley have their bodies restored, but they are still dead. They are not breathing.
They need one more command, & that is not to the bodies but to the wind to give them breath.

9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
 10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

The vision of the dead coming to life is a wonderful sight. We believe in the resurrection of the dead. We will die, & will rise again we Jesus returns in glory.
Ez sees God doing the impossible - & he believes. Do we?
Jesus died & rose again, & we believe through his death & resurrection, all our sins can be forgiven.
We will stand before a holy God on that judgement day, & be welcomed into a wonderful NH&NE where nothing & no-one sinful can ever enter.
That Gospel promise is for all who OBey the command to repent - to turn from our sin - & believe in Jesus as our God & Saviour, who died to bear the punishment our sins deserve.

The message of the vision
Back to Ez - & we find the vision is not about the distant future resurrection of the dead, but for the people living in exile. They have lost all hope of returning to their own country.
They remember all the promises of God to the nation given to Abraham.
They remember all the blessings of the past centuries, & they know only the misery of exile.
They think they are dead to the promises of God to the people of Israel.
Ez gives them God's message of hope & a blessed future.

11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
 12Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
 13And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
 14And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

In the vision, the breath of God gave life to the dead in the valley of dry bones. The message for the people is life to those who believe they are dead to all the promises of God.
God will keep his promises. He will bring the people back to the promised land, to worship him in a rebuilt temple.

Read on in Ez 37 to see that 'David' will be their king for ever. The NT tells us that that promised king is the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the people of Israel are all those who believe in Jesus as Lord & Saviour.
Graham Kendrick was thinking of these verses when he wrote:

Rejoice, rejoice, Christ is in you;
The hope of glory in your hearts.
He lives, he lives, his breath is in you;
Arise, a mighty army - we arise!

We have the Holy Spirit of God within us giving us eternal life & eternal hope. As we live our Christian lives, we need to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. God's purpose in Ez's vision is for our encouragement & blessing.

We will move on to the NT to see what Jesus taught about spiritual life from the dead.
John 5: 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
 25Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
 26For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
 27And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

Spiritually, before repentance we are all dead. Dead in sin, & condemned to hell for our sin. We must be born again, born again by the Spirit of God as Jesus taught Nicodemus in John 3.
When we turn from our sin & OBey the word of Jesus that his Father God has sent him to be our Saviour, we cross over from death to life.
Our new, spiritual life begins. We become alive to God.
That eternal life begins in this life. Hear again v. 25:
25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

Paul quotes Isaiah (49) when he writes: I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Cor. 6:2.

The Jews of Ez' time had rejected the warnings of the prophets. They suffered the judgement of God. Dare we reject the words of Jesus, the Son of God? How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; Heb. 2:3

The resurrection at the day of judgement.
What is there to escape from? Jesus continues in John 5:28
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
 29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

There is a day of resurrection coming. Jesus will come again to judge the living & the dead. No-one will escape the judgement of God by dying. The criminal who commits suicide rather than face the judgement of the court will stand in judgement before a holy God. I'll read again:
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
 29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Eternal life – for us.
When we turn from our sin, & believe in Jesus as our Lord & Saviour we begin spiritual life – eternal life. We are saved for eternity because Jesus suffered the judgement of God in our place when he died on the cross.
He showed his victory over death by rising again.
We share that victory when we begin our spiritual life by repentance & faith in Jesus.
May we all know that spiritual life, that resurrection life, through a living faith in Jesus.
Amen.

Our last hymn is a prayer for spiritual life, for the Holy Spirit of God to sweep through us & his church on earth.
386 O breath of life come sweeping through us

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thank you, for this message, there are so many good sermons on this site, I am learning so much from the sermons, and intreged with the preaching process; also I am thankful for the gospel, the power of God for our salvation.

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