[Announce text] Please look with me in Scripture at Ezekiel 37:1-14.
[Scripture introduction] Ezekiel, a prophet and priest, was exiled to Babylon in 597 B.C. His ministry extended over at least twenty-three years. The book opens with his first dramatic vision of the “likeness” of the Lord himself. Ezekiel was keenly aware of God’s presence and power in human affairs. He addressed both the exiles and the people left in Judah with messages of warning and judgment, predicting the fall of Jerusalem. After Jerusalem’s fall (in 586), Ezekiel prophesied hope and reassurance for the people of Judah, who had then lost the focus of God’s covenant, the temple in Jerusalem. His vision of the valley of dry bones (ch. 37) is a classic picture of God’s ability to renew his people.
[Reannounce and read text] Read with me these words of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14. [The preacher reads the Scripture passage out loud.]
[Prayer for illumination] Pray with me as we ask God to direct our hearts and minds into his sacred word. [The minister offers a brief prayer asking the Holy Spirit to bless the understanding of the preacher and hearers as God’s Word is proclaimed.]
[Introduction] Did you know the adult human skeleton is made up of 206 bones? These include the bones of the skull, spine (vertebrae), ribs, arms and legs. Bones are made of connective tissue reinforced with calcium and specialized bone cells. Most bones also contain bone marrow, where blood cells are made.
Bones in the human body are considered as living body tissues because they have their own blood vessels and are made of living cells that enable them to grow and repair themselves. It is within these specialized tissues that create our physical structure and outer appearance.
That’s why archaeologist can determine your age, sex, and health by examining your bones. Human bones tell us more than we can ever imagine, it tells your story.
Which is why the Lord takes Ezekiel into a vision [Scripture bond] to a desolate valley filled with dry bones sitting on the surface of the ground. God asks the prophet a question regarding what he see...
Son of man, can these bones live? (Ezekiel 37:3) [FCF] ....
Hence, do you believe that dead, dry bones can come back to life? What do you think Ezekiel…can these forsaken bones be brought back? In perfect humility, the prophet responds with, “O Lord God, you know. And yes, only God knows if these bones can live.
This scene between the prophet and the Lord begins the great resuscitation and revivification of the bones in the valley.
[Main Point 1] Prophesy to these dry bones...
“Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 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” (Ezekiel 37:5-6).
[Subpoint 1] There is no breath in them.
The bodies were formed, but there was no breath inside them. It is as if, that a human body needs a spirit. So God tells the prophet what to do next.
[Subpoint 2] Prophesy for breath to come.
The breath animates the bodies of slain, their bodies were recreated, but something was missing in them. The needed the breath to live.
[Main Point 2] These bones are Israel: dry, hopeless, and cut off
This is the cursed Israelites who broke the covenant of the Lord (Jeremiah 34:17-20).
Reversing the Curse
God must decide to lift the curse
Spirit of God must act
[Subpoint 1] God will open your graves, give you land, and be your people.
The Lord promises that they will not be abandoned, dead, and be his people.
[Subpoint 2] The Spirit's breath will make you live and know God
The Lord will do as he swears, because he will do it. We are displaced, dry, and dead. God through Christ will raise our bones and provide the Spirit to make us live as know God.
“But can your bones live?”
[Proposition] Your bones can live when the Spirit breaths onto you.
Instruction: The hearers of the passage are to breathe in the Spirit of God.
Situation: You breathe in the Spirit...whenever you feel spiritual dry, hopeless, and cut off from God.
Motivation: The Lord has given breath to you, so you can be alive for him and know him. "You shall know that I am the Lord.
Enablement: You can breathe in the Spirit because the Lord has made it available through grace.
[Conclusion] Through the Spirit, we are alive. In the Spirit, we have our purpose, and because of the Spirit we know God’s love for us. Let us reflect, repent, and renew our bones for Christ starting this fifth Sunday in Lent.
[Prayer for Transformation] Pray with me as we ask the Lord to transform us. [The minister prays for the congregation to reflect, repent, and renew themselves to Lord and to drink of the salvation of Christ.]