Rock Hill Crusade Ezekiel 37 Part 1
When my wife and I were first married we began visiting churches. We wanted to find a church that the gospel was preached and a church that was alive, because we knew that the Holy Spirit had to be present for a church, for us, to worship the one true God.
There was this one church that we visited. We went there simply because it was close to where we live, and it was one of the churches of our denomination.
As we arrived we really were not greeted or welcomed, even we walked into the church, no one said hello, its nice to see you here. We took our seats. As worship began, we were asked to open our hymnbooks to sing a song or two. As we did this, we looked around and a very few people were singing, those that were, were kind of mumbling the words. Can you imagine mumbling the words to a song like Amazing Grace? As we continued to try to worship, we simply became more and more depressed. And as we left, we found ourselves asking where was God? We had found a dead church.
One preacher compares the dead church to a dark, lonely graveyard at night. He reminds us that as we walk through the graveyard it is dark, and eerie and a somewhat scary. It is the kind of place where most of us don’t like to frequent at night. The silence in the graveyard, gives time to think about something that most of us never want to come to grips with, death, and particularly are own death.
Myself, I know that I am a Christian, and I know where I will go when I die, but still I don’t want to face my own death, I simply do not like to think about it.
Our experience visiting this dead church was similar. The silence in the church forced us to think about, if we were also still spiritually dead. It reminded us that some that there are some people in the church today, that do not know the Lord, and there are a multitude of people outside the church walls, who also don’t know our Jesus.
Each day you go out and walk down the streets, or walk through the store. Many of the people that you pass are dead. Some are like members of that church Carla and I visited. These people call themselves Christians, but the spirit does not live in their hearts. They are dead. Others have been to church, and walked away because something did not go well, still others have never thought twice about going to church. All of these people are, according to scripture, are dead. The pagan is no more dead than the good guy, who never accepted Christ. Dead is Dead, and all who do not accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior are indeed dead.
But Today we have come together because we want these people, to know life.
I want you to know life, you want me to know life, and we want all of Rock Hill to know true life. Those people we meet on the street and in the store, and especially those we sit beside in the pew on Sunday Morning, we want them all to be full of life.
This is part of what this prophecy that we find in Ezekiel 37:1-14 is about. Lets read.
Hear the word of the Lord!
Imagine now that this Valley, the valley of dry bones is right here. Imagine that it is in the center of Rock Hill.
It is like a junk yard, but instead of being full of old cars and car parts everywhere. It is full of dry bones, and here if you looked you might find the bones of the kid that you sat next to in the 3rd grade, maybe you will find the bones of your aunt and uncle, maybe a brother or sister, or mom or dad. You might even find the bones of an old Sunday school teacher, or the person who sits right down the pew from you every Sunday morning. They are dead because they have never excepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Then you hear a voice, “Son of Man, can these bones live?”
The bones are not even together, there are piles and piles of them, and they are dry and smelly. There is no life present, just dead bones. How could these bones live?
And You hear the voice again, its like a scary movie as upi are stuck amidst these dry up bones, and a voice is coming from nowhere: “Son of man can these bones live?”
Would you look across these piles and with doubt in your eyes, say sir, Lord, I don’t believe there is any hope. These bones are dead. Most of you would probably say that you would never say that to God. God can do all things. He raised himself from the dead, surely he can give life to these dead bones.
However, Every time that we give up on someone, every time we decide that we’re not going to share about Jesus with that person anymore.
Every time we do this. We are saying, sorry that person is dead there is no hope.
But we see in the passage, Ezekiel responds a bit differently. He doesn’t respond with a great roaring faith. He didn’t say absolutely God, they can live because you are God, but he responds humbly towards God, knowing that God has the power to do all things, he simply says, O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then the Lord said, Ezekiel go prophecy to those bones. He says go tell those bones to come back to life, and then they will know that I am God.
Ezekiel does as the Lord commands, and He watches as the bones come back together, ligaments begin to form, and skin grows over the bodies, but there was still no breath in them.
Then the Lord says, now prophecy to the breath, say come from the four winds and fill these slain, so that they may live. Ezekiel did as he was commanded, and breath entered the men. The very spirit of God entered these men. The people came to life and a vast army appeared before him. It was Israel, God’s chosen people. They had died, and now the prophecy reveals that they will have new life.
This passage my friends is partly about the church. We are the new Israel, Israel died, it was destroyed, but now there is new life here, but there are many bones that are still scattered.
There are many bones all across Rock Hill. Some of them you work with, others you will pass as you walk through stores today or tomorrow.
Some you will order food from as you drive home tonight. There are many bones still dry, smelly, and rotten even in our churches.
They are dead because they do not know that Jesus Christ is the one true Lord. He is God, and he is our God. They do not know that Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we could have life, and so they remain dead. And as the Sovereign Lord told Ezekiel to prophecy to these bones, I tell you today go and tell these bones about the life that you have found in Jesus Christ.
Israel once said, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off,
but then the Lord said, “O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you my people will know that I am the Lord.
Then I will put my spirit in you and you will live.
As you share with people about the Lord, some may give you excuse after excuse.
God can never forgive me, I have been to bad.
There is no hope for me, I have been out of church too long.
They are effectively saying as Israel did, my bones are dried up and my hope is gone, but our Lord says no your hope is not gone my dear people.
I still love you, and I want to give you life.
Go now, and speak life into Rock Hill!!!