Dry Bones

Read: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Text: Ezek 37:3 (KJV) And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

Theme: Things are never hopeless with God.


Introduction:

Our friend Ezekiel was asked to preach to a valley of dry bones.

Jokingly, we often say that Ezekiel was called to the worst congregation any preacher has ever faced. However, it pictures somthing many believers face in their Christian experience - the "hopeless situation." A preacher once preached a message entitled, "How To Get A Hard Case Saved." Let's begin our lesson today by discussing that premise.

QUESTION - When faced with a hopeless situation; a hard case, what do we do? How do we get past that hopeless situation? How do we get a "hard case" saved?

ANSWER - There is no such thing as a hard case (it's a trick question... sorry).

Things are never hopeless with God!


I. The Question of the Ages (vss. 1-3)

"Son of man, can these bones live?"

A. Interpretation - Can Israel live?
1. QUESTION - Why would this question be asked about Israel? What about Israel could be pictured by dry bones?

Circumstances looked hopeless - Israel was destroyed.

ILLUS. Put into American terms - describe USA if an enemy destroyed us as Babylon did Jerusalem.

2. QUESTION - What was attitude of Ezekiel when asked this question? (vs. 3)

ANSWER - Noncommittal - He accepted that God was able to do the thing, but left it in God's hands as to whether He actually would do the thing.

3. QUESTION - Are we like Ezekiel when it comes to believing in God's ability to perform miracles? Are we sometimes hesitant to believe totally in Him?

B. Application
1. QUESTION - How do we apply this passage to our lives today? Where might we look in our experience and see a valley of dry bones, a situation that appears so hopeless that we must wonder whether God will reverse it?

- Those in parts of the world where there is no gospel presence - "Son of man, can these bones live?"

ILLUS. Communist block countries which recently received light.

- Those steeped in sin - "Son of man, can these bones live?"

- Those buried in religious confusion - "Son of man, can these bones live?"

- Those who have turned their back on God - "Son of man, can these bones live?"

- Believers who are backslidden and cold to God - "Son of man, can these bones live?"

- Christians who have sinned and seem to be castaways from God - "Son of man, can these bones live?"

2. ANSWER - YES THEY CAN LIVE!!!

With God, there is no such thing as no hope!

FOR ISRAEL:

Joel 2:32 (KJV) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

FOR ALL:

Rev 22:17 (KJV) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Acts 2:21 (KJV) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Rom 10:13 (KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

John 3:16 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

II. How God Does The Impossible (vss. 4-14)

A. The Word of God (vss. 4-8)
QUESTION - Is it possible for a person to be saved without God's word?

QUESTION - Let's have some testimonies this morning... what role did God's word play in your salvation experience? (share mine - listening to the preaching of His word in church and responded)

ANSWER - Rom 10:17 (KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

QUESTION - How important is preaching (i.e. the method used by Ezekiel to deliver God's word)?

ANSWER - 1 Cor 1:21 (KJV) For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

1. We don't need gimics to save the lost - just the Word of God!

QUOTE Matthew Poole, "The prophet had spoken often to things that could as little hear as these bones could, yet when they are deaf to a prophet, they will hear the prophet's God."

QUOTE Charles Haddon Spurgeon - "The Word of God is the Holy Spirit's sword; He will not wield our wooden weapon. He will only use this true Jerusalem blade of God's own fashioning."

2. We don't need new methods - just more preaching!

QUOTE Charles Haddon Spurgeon - "(The Holy Spirit) cares nothing about your 'original mind.' Our Lord Jesus Christ laid aside all originality and spake only the words of His Father, the words which the Holy Ghost brought to Him. He said to His disciples in that memorable discourse, before He went out to Gethsemane, 'The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.' Let us try to imitate Him."

ILLUS. Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation..." (Yet some seem ashamed of simple preaching today, thinking it is not modern.)

3. Preaching the Word brings dry bones together once again!

B. The Prayer of God's People (vs. 9)
QUESTION - How important is prayer in the salvation of the lost?

QUESTION - More testimonies... what role did prayer play in your salvation experience?

Rom 10:1 (KJV) Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

1. This is a class where prayer is emphasized.

2. We need to pray for our church.

3. We need to pray for the sick.

4. We need to pray always and often for God's Holy Spirit to use God's Word to save souls in our midst!

QUOTE Matthew Henry, "God's grace can save souls without our preaching, but our preaching cannot save them without God's grace, and that grace must be sought by prayer."

C. The Power of the Holy Spirit (vs. 10)
QUESTION - How important is the Holy Spirit in the salvation of the lost?

John 6:44 (KJV) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Zec 4:6 (KJV) Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

QUOTE Charles Haddon Spurgeon -"If He does not come and give life, we may preach till we have not another breath left, but we shall not raise from the tomb of sin even the soul of a little child, or bring a single sinner to the feet of Christ."

QUESTION - What does this mean to us, then, as witnesses for Christ? How does this provide encouragement to us in our efforts?

ANSWER - No matter how dry the bones, God can breath life into them again... no matter how hopeless the situation, if we preach the word and leave the results to God, He can resolve it...

ANSWER - The results are always and toatally up to Him... this is an extremely freeing thought!


Conclusion:

"Son of man, can these bones live?"

YES!!!

John 5:24 (KJV) 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.

John 5:25 (KJV) 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.

Things are never hopeless with God.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright 1996 William E. Johnson.