- Call to Worship – Psalm 96:1-6;9
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Words of Assurance: (1 Peter 2:24-25 ESV)
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Hymn # 672 He Lifted Me
Scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-14
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 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.” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then 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 the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”
Sermon: Dry Bones, Can They Live
Despair fills the world. It seems as if there is no hope for the church. Even our own church seems to have little influence.
Ezekiel speaks into this situation when Jerusalem had been destroyed. It was thoroughly destroyed and all its people taken except for the poorest of the poor.
No king, no people, seemingly no hope. They saw themselves as a dead people with no hope.
Ezekiel was taken by God in a vision to a valley filled with the bones of the dead....not buried bones, abandoned bones. Dry, brittle bones.
The people felt cast off.
This congregation can feel like as well. Dry bones cast off with no hope. And our personal lives can feel like that as well.
So God asks Can these bones live?
This may seem impossible. But Ezekiel knew that God can do the impossible. So he said to God. Only you know.
So God told him to preach to them. And Ezekiel said the words God commanded and they became covered in flesh.
And God gave him new words to preach. He did as God said and so the bones had breathe and lived.
God works through his word proclaimed. So we need to stay true to it.
God told him the meaning of this vision. The bones are the people are Israel. The people of Israel said they had no hope and God gave them hope. It was all in the hands of God. It is all God's action.
God promised he would raise them. That he will keep his word and return them. God wants them to hope in him.
Dead bones fleshed.
Dead bones with breathe.
People of Israel.
People returned to their land.
People restored to being alive in God.
And so the people will know that God will do as he says.
Long term this points forward to Christ. How Christ took a rebellious lost dead people and restored them to life in Christ.
Christ sent his spirit into the disciples at Pentecost. Christ raised people to know the Lord. Through the work of the Spirit people come to know the Lord God.
So things can seem hopeless but they are not. God can take dry bones and grant to them new life. God seems to delight in doing so as it shows that it is all him!
Dry bones hear the word of the Lord!
Hear the word of the Lord God.
Hear the word dry bones and live!
- Hymn # 37 God Is our Refuge and our Strength
- Hymn # 317 Almighty God, Thy Word Is Cast
- Hymn # 7 Now Blessed Be the Lord our God