Posts Tagged ‘dry bones’

God Works Through Us

June 3, 2014

We appreciate those who serve,  and who have served our country.  We should also appreciate those who give their lives to the service of Jesus Christ.  Actually, that should be all of us who call themselves Christian.  God desires to work, not just through pastors, missionaries and evangelists, but rather though all who believe.

I.  Stand in the Gap:  Ezekiel 22:30

 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

I know that this verse is speaking about people praying for their country, but it reminds me of something else.  Since it is Memorial Day weekend, it seems appropriate to talk a little about our military.  Some refer to it as “the iron ring”.  I remember a sign that was on the door of the 1st Sergeant’s office back when I was serving in the Marine Corp.  It read ” For those who fight for it, freedom has a special flavor the protected never know.”  We should appreciate the sacrifices that have been made, and are being made, by our military and their families.

The verse above is not talking about military service, but rather a different type of service, a service of prayer.  Christians should pray for their country.  We should ask God to forgive us for the sins that are prevalent in our land.  We should pray for God to give wisdom and direction to our political leaders.  We should pray for God to bless our economy, our agriculture, and every other aspect of our country.

We should also pray for our churches, our missionaries, our evangelistic outreaches, and all sorts of other needs of Christians and ministries.  Prayer is very important, and it is something that we can all do.  We should pray, not just for our own needs, but for the needs of others.

II.  Watchman:  Ezekiel 33:6-8

 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.

Here again I am reminded by the service of or military, and our law enforcement personnel.  They do provide protection for us.  Without their service, life would not be the same.

Spiritually I am reminded of our need to proclaim both the good news of salvation in Jesus, and a warning about the consequences of the rejection of Jesus Christ.

I recently watched the movie “Heaven is For Real”.  In that movie the minister makes the statement “Wouldn’t we live differently if we truly believed that heaven was for real?”  I would counter with the question “Wouldn’t we live differently if we believed that hell was for real?”  As God’s people we are called to extend both the promise of salvation, and the warning of judgement.

III.  God is Our Shepherd:  Ezekiel 34:15-22

 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. 16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”

17 ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. 18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”

20 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

I appreciate that ultimately God is our shepherd.  He will seek the lost, heal the sick, and strengthen the weak.  God is in charge overall, but He works through us.  We are to seek the lost, bring healing to the sick, and strengthen the weak.  God desires to work through us.  We are to be concerned about other people and their spiritual well-being.

God is also going to judge His sheep.  Christians sometimes do not act very Christ-like.  They can be downright mean and judgmental.  We should be careful and diligent to be faithful to our calling to love one another.  I am reminded by the verse that tells us that “by this will all men know that you are my disciples, by your love for one another.”  I hope and pray  that we will be the people God has called us to be.

IV.  Dry Bones Ezekiel 37:1-10

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

Also 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.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

This is such a great story.  It should give us all hope for whatever task God has called us to do.  There are no impossible tasks if God is with us.  There are no lost causes.  With God, all things are possible.  Never give up!  God desires to work through you!!

We can pray.

We can proclaim.

We can care.

We can be victorious.

 

These are the sermon notes from 5/18/14.  Any advertisement that may accompany this blog is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

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God Working Through Us

February 20, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 2/17/13.

I.  Warning of the Watchman: Ezekiel 33:1-11

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

10 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”’ 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

Ezekiel uses the illustration of a watchman to underscore his responsibility to warn the children of Israel.  I wonder, to what degree are we responsible to warn people of coming judgement?  Have we been called, like Ezekiel, to sound a warning?  I do not believe that we need to grab people by the collar, get in their face and scream “Turn of burn!”  but what is our responsibility as believers with a message that contains aspects of both forgiveness and judgement?

II.  Warning Disregarded:  Ezekiel 33:30-33

 “As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ 31 So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. 32 Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. 33 And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

The people did not respond to the message of Ezekiel.  He had, however been faithful to his calling.  We too, should not be as concerned with whether or not people respond to our message, but we should be concerned with whether or not we are faithfully discharging our responsibilities.

III.  The Good Shepherd:  Ezekiel 34:11-16

 ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. 16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.

God is at work in the world seeking out His own.  Jesus referred to Himself as “the Good Shepherd” and we can trust that God is at work in our world.

We should also realize that God works through us. He will orchestrate the affairs of life so that His message can get through to His sheep.  His sheep will hear and recognize His voice.

IV.  The Dry Bones Live:  Ezekiel 37:1-10

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

Also 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.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

Although these verses were originally referring to the restoration of Israel, I believe that they speak to the ability of God to restore life to all things dead. People can be restored.  We should never give up hope.  We should continue to pray, and witness, and live our lives in such a way that God may use them for His glory.