EZEKIEL 37:1 - 4

CAN THESE BONES LIVE?

WE HAVE BEFORE US THIS SUNDAY MORNING WHAT IS PERHAPS

ONE OF THE MOST PROFOUND QUESTIONS IN BIBLE WRITINGS. THE

GREAT VISIONARY EZEKIEL IS CONFRONTED HERE IN OUR TEXT BY GOD

HIMSELF. WE HEAR HERE GOD ASKING MERE MAN, A QUESTION THAT

REQUIRES GREAT PROFUNDITY, GREAT INSIGHT, GREAT WISDOM. AND I

AM SURE THAT THIS IS WHY GOD DIDN'T JUST ASK ANYBODY, THIS

QUESTION. HE COULD HAVE CARRIED ANY OF YOU OUT INTO THIS

VALLEY OF DRY BONES, BUT INSTEAD HE CHOOSES ONE WITH A VISION.

YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THIS. HE COULD HAVE CHOSEN SOME

MEDICAL DOCTOR, ONE WITH DEGREES FROM THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS

MEDICAL SCHOOLS OF THE DAY. HE COULD HAVE CHOSEN AN

ANTHROPOLOGIST, ONE WELL VERSED IN THE STUDY OF THE PHYSICAL

MAKE-UP OF MAN. GOD COULD HAVE SELECTED A HISTORIAN, ONE THAT

PERHAPS KNEW MUCH OF THE ANCESTRAL DEALINGS OF THESE PEOPLE,

FOR THEY WERE NOT MERELY BONES, NO ONE COMES INTO THIS WORLD

WITHOUT FLESH AND BLOOD, NO ONE COMES INTO THIS WORLD JUST

BONES. BUT THESE BONES WERE THE REMNANTS OF MEN AND WOMEN

THAT HAD ONCE LIVED, THERE WAS SOME HISTORY BEHIND THESE

BONES. BUT GOD IN HIS OMNISCIENCE, GOD IN HIS OMNIPOTENCE, GOD

IN HIS ABILITY TO DO ALL THINGS, HE DOESN'T CONSULT MEDICAL

DOCTORS, HE DOESN'T CONSULT AN ANTHROPOLOGIST, HE WANTS TO

KNOW NOTHING OF THEIR HISTORY, ALL GOD WANTS TO KNOW, IS CAN

THESE BONES LIVE? AND THAT'S JUST HOW GOD IS, HE IS NOT SO

CONCERNED WITH WHAT YOU USED TO DO. GOD IS NOT LOSING SLEEP

OR WASTING TIME TRYING TO REMEMBER, AND HOLD ON TO WHAT YOU

USED TO DO. GOD IS CONCERNED MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS WITH

WHAT YOU CAN DO, AND WITH WHAT YOU WILL DO. WE ARE THE ONES

WHO TRY TO HOLD PEOPLE, EVEN OURSELVES IN BONDAGE WITH THE

PAST. YOU KNOW HOW WE SAY, I KNEW HIM WHEN, I KNEW HER WHEN,

BUT GOD IS NOT CONCERNED WITH WHAT WE USED TO BE, HE IS ONLY

INTERESTED IN WHAT WE SHALL BE. THAT'S WHY PAUL SAID

FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND, I PRESS TOWARD THE

MARK FOR THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS.

SO GOD DOESN'T WANT TO KNOW OF THESE BONES HISTORY, HE WANTS

TO KNOW CAN THEY LIVE. SO LOOK WHO HE RAISES THIS QUESTION TO.

A PROPHET, A MAN OF VISION. SO MANY TIMES IN OUR LIVES, WE

CONSULT EVERYBODY BUT GOD'S MAN. WE LOOK TO DOCTORS, WE

LOOK TO LAWYERS, WE LOOK TO THOSE THAT ARE LEARNED AND WELL-

VERSED IN OUR AREAS OF CONCERN. BUT WE NEED TO HEAR AGAIN THE

WORD OF GOD, HE SAYS WITHOUT A VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH. YOU

OUGHT TO THANK GOD FOR A MAN OR WOMAN OF VISION. YOU OUGHT

TO THANK GOD WHEN YOUR PASTOR HAS A VISION. BECAUSE THE

DOCTOR WILL DEPEND ON WHAT HE KNOWS, AND WHEN WHAT HE

KNOWS DOESN'T LINE UP WITH WHAT YOU NEED, HE'LL TELL YOU, I'VE

DONE ALL THAT I CAN DO. A LAWYER WHEN HE HAS EXHAUSTED ALL OF

THE RESOURCES OF HIS LEARNING, WHEN HE HAS EXPENDED ALL OF HIS

JUDICIAL REASONING, HE WILL TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE AT THE MERCY

OF THE COURT. BUT WHEN YOU GO TO GOD'S MAN, AND WHEN HE IS A

MAN OF VISION, NO MATTER HOW DARK IT GETS, NO MATTER HOW

DISMAL YOUR SITUATION, GOD'S MAN, BECAUSE HE KNOWS GOD, WILL

TELL YOU THAT THE LORD WILL MAKE A WAY SOMEHOW. HE WILL TELL

YOU TO TURN IT OVER TO JESUS, AND HE WILL WORK IT OUT.

A PROFOUND QUESTION, A QUESTION OF GREAT DEPTH, I MEAN

THIS IS A DEEP QUESTION, CAN YOU IMAGINE LOOKING UPON THIS HEEP

OF BONES, NOT ONLY WERE THEY BONES, THEY WERE DRY BONES,

WHICH SUGGEST TO ME THAT THESE BONES WERE NOT ONLY VOID OF

THE LIFE THAT ONCE SURROUNDED THEM, THESE BONES HAD NO LIFE

EVEN IN THEMSELVES, THE MARROW WITHIN HAD DRYED OUT, NO

MOISTURE, NO LIFE WHATSOEVER, THESE BONES WERE DEADER THAN

DEAD, BUT GOD RAISES THE QUESTION, CAN THESE BONES LIVE.

GOD HAS BEEN KNOWN TO ASK QUESTIONS HASN'T HE, WE KNOW

THAT HE KNOWS THE ANSWER ALREADY, BUT GOD HAS BEEN KNOWN TO

ASK A QUESTION EVERY NOW AND THEN. REMEMBER HE ASKED ADAM,

WHERE ART THOU, HE ASKED MOSES, WHAT IS THAT THAT YOU HAVE IN

YOUR HAND, HE ASKED ELIJAH, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE UNDER THIS

JUNIPER TREE, HE ASKED MALACHI, WILL A MAN ROB GOD, AND HERE WE

FIND HIM ASKING EZEKIEL, CAN THESE BONES LIVE. NOT WHOSE BONES

WERE THEY, BUT CAN THEY LIVE. NOT WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM, BUT

CAN THEY LIVE. NOT WHO WERE THEIR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS,

BUT CAN THEY LIVE. NOT WHAT NEIGHBORHOOD WERE THEY FROM,

BUT CAN THEY LIVE. NOT WHAT CHURCH DID THEY BELONG TO, NOT

WHAT KIND OF JOBS THEY HAD, NOT THEIR SOCIAL OR ECONOMIC

STATUS IN THEIR COMMUNITY, BUT CAN THEY LIVE. THAT'S THE

QUESTION GOD ASKED EZEKIEL.

WELL, I BELIEVE HE'S ASKING US THIS SAME QUESTION TODAY.

PLEASANT HILL, CAN THESE BONES LIVE. YOU ASK WHAT BONES, WHAT

ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT PASTOR, FIRST OF ALL YOU WILL NOTE

PASTOR, WE'RE NOT IN A VALLEY, PASTOR, WE'RE NOT IN A DESERT

PLACE, AND FURTHERMORE THERE ARE NO BONES HERE. WELL, I'M

SORRY, BUT I MUST DISAGREE, WE ARE IN A VALLEY. YES WE ARE IN A

VALLEY WHEN THERE ARE MORE OF OUR PEOPLE BEHIND BARS, THAN IN

COLLEGE. WE ARE IN A VALLEY WHEN OUR YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN

CAN NOT FIND JOBS, WE ARE IN A VALLEY WHEN CRIME IS ON THE

RAMPAGE, TEENAGE PREGNANCY IS ON THE RAMPAGE, WE ARE IN A

VALLEY WHEN IT'S O.K. TO KILL LITTLE BABIES BY ABORTION, WE'RE IN A

VALLEY I TELL YOU, WHEN YOUNG GIRLS AND BOYS TWELVE AND

THIRTHEEN YEARS OLD, KNOW MORE ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES

THAN MOMMA AND DADDY. BUT NOT ONLY THAT, WE HAVE OUR SHARE

OF DRY BONES IN THIS VALLEY. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHERE THEY

ARE, RIDE THROUGH SOME OF THE STREETS OF OUR CITY AND SEE DRY

BONES ON THE STREET CORNER, SELLING DRUGS AND USING DRUGS. IF

YOU WANT TO SEE THE DRY BONES, LOOK AT THAT MAN THAT WOMAN

STANDING ON THE CORNER WITH A BOTTLE OF WINE IN THEIR HAND.

LOOK AT THAT YOUNG BOY THAT YOUNG GIRL, OUT WAY PAST

MIDNIGHT, YOU WILL FIND DRY BONES. BUT SOME OF YOU DON'T EVEN

HAVE TO GO THAT FAR. YOU CAN FIND DRY BONES IN YOUR OWN HOME.

THAT SON, THAT DAUGHTER, THAT HAS NO MOTIVATION IN LIFE, NO GET

UP AND GO ABOUT THEMSELVES, NO GOALS FOR THE FUTURE, JUST DRY

BONES. AND THEN EVERY NOW AND THEN, WE CAN FIND DRY BONES IN

CHURCH ON SUNDAY. DRY BONES BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY HAVE

LIFE, THEY THINK THEY ARE SAVED, BUT BECAUSE OF THERE REBELLION

TOWARDS GOD, THEY ARE MERELY DRY BONES.

SO WE NEED TO ADMIT, THAT WE STAND IN THE MIDST OF THIS

VALLEY OF DRY BONES. AND WE NEED TO HEAR AGAIN THIS QUESTION

FROM THE LORD, CAN THESE BONES LIVE? CHOIR, CAN THESE BONES

LIVE? PREACHERS, CAN THESE BONES LIVE? DEACONS, CAN THESE

BONES LIVE? CHURCH, CAN THESE BONES LIVE? WELL I'M GLAD YOU

ASKED, BECAUSE I HAPPEN TO BE A MAN OF VISION. AND I BELIEVE THAT

THESE BONES CAN LIVE. I BELIEVE THAT IN SPITE OF THE DARKNESS OF

THE DAY IN WHICH WE LIVE, I BELIEVE, THAT THESE BONES CAN LIVE.

WELL, PASTOR, WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT. NUMBER ONE, I BELIEVE

THAT NO MATTER HOW DARK IT GETS, I BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS STILL

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. I BELIEVE THAT NO MATTER HOW MANY

CLOUDS CLOUD OUR SKY, I BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS STILL THE BRIGHT

AND MORNING STAR. I BELIEVE THAT NO MATTER HOW MANY WEEDS

THERE ARE IN OUR GARDEN OF LIFE. I BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS STILL THE

LILY OF THE VALLEY, OH YES HE'S STILL THE SWEET ROSE OF SHARON,

HE'S STILL A ROCK IN WEARY LAND, HE'S STILL A WAYMAKER, HE'S STILL

JEHOVAH JIREH ( GOD OUR PROVIDER), HE'S STILL JEHOVAH NISSI

( GOD OUR BANNER), HE'S STILL EL SHADDAY GOD ALMIGHTY, HE'S STILL

I AM, WHATEVER WE NEED, GOD IS STILL THAT.6

SO GOD QUESTIONS EZEKIEL, CAN THESE BONES LIVE? AND

EZEKIEL RESPONDS IN THAT 3RD VERSE, O LORD GOD, THOU KNOWEST.

THAT SAYS TO ME, THAT WHATEVER THE ANSWER IS, EZEKIEL REALIZED

THAT THE ANSWER WAS NOT IN HIMSELF, BUT THAT THE ANSWER, IF

THERE WAS TO BE AN ANSWER, EZEKIEL KNEW THAT THE ANSWER HAD

TO BE IN GOD. THAT TELLS ME MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THAT WE

SHOULD NEVER GET TO THE POINT, WHERE WE THINK WE KNOW IT ALL.

BUT WE OUGHT TO BE WILLING TO ADMIT, THAT THERE ARE SOME

THINGS, THAT WE DON'T HAVE THE ANSWERS FOR, THERE ARE SOME

PROBLEMS, THAT WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO SOLVE. BUT WE OUGHT TO

HAVE ENOUGH SENSE TO KNOW, THAT THERE IS NOTHING TO HARD FOR

GOD. THAT'S WHY I LOVE IT WHEN DAVID SAID, I WILL LIFT UP MINE

EYES UNTO THE HILLS FROM WHENCE COMETH MY HELP. HE REALIZED

THAT THE ANSWER HE NEEDED, WASN'T DOWN HERE, IT WASN'T IN MAN,

IT WASN'T IN SOME LIBRARY, IT WASN'T DOWN HERE, SO I'LL JUST HAVE

TO LIFT UP MINE EYES, TO THE HILLS, FROM WHENCE COMETH MY HELP.

MY HELP COMES FROM THE LORD. AND SO IN RESPONSE TO THIS

QUESTION THAT GOD IS ASKING US TODAY, CAN THESE BONES LIVE? I'VE

STOPPED BY TO SUGGEST TO YOU TODAY, LIKE GOD SUGGESTED TO

EZEKIEL, THAT THESE BONES CAN LIVE. WE CAN BRING LIFE BACK INTO

OUR COMMUNITES, WE CAN RESTORE HOPE FOR OUR YOUNG MEN AND

WOMEN. BUT IN ORDER TO DO THIS, THERE ARE A COUPLE OF THINGS

THAT WE MUST DO. NUMBER ONE, EZEKIEL SAYS IN VERSE ONE, THAT

THE HAND OF THE LORD WAS UPON HIM, AND THAT GOD CARRIED HIM

OUT IN THE SPIRIT. NUMBER ONE, IF WE ARE TO BRING REVIVAL TO

LEESVILLE, IF WE ARE TO BRING REVIVAL INTO OUR HOMES, IF WE ARE

TO BRING NEW LIFE INTO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, THEN WE HAVE TO LEARN

HOW TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT. WE'VE GOT TO STOP TRYING TO BE LIKE

EVERYBODY ELSE, AND WE HAVE TO BE TRANSFORMED BY THE

RENEWING OF OUR MINDS. GOD CANNOT USE US, UNTIL WE GET IN THE

SPIRIT. THAT'S WHY HE SAID IN MATTHEW, THAT HE IS A SPIRIT, AND

THEY THAT WORSHIP HIM, MUST WORSHIP HIM IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.

NEW LIFE BEGINS IN THE SPIRIT. THERE WOULDN'T BE SO MANY DRY

PRAYERS, IF PEOPLE WOULD GET IN THE SPIRIT. THERE WOULDN'T BE SO

MANY DRY SONGS, IF PEOPLE WOULD GET IN THE SPIRIT. THERE

WOULDN'T BE SO MANY DRY ATTITUDES, IF PEOPLE WOULD GET IN THE

SPIRIT. THERE WOULDN'T BE SO MANY DRY SERMONS, IF PEOPLE WOULD

GET IN THE SPIRIT. ALL I'M SAYING, IS THAT WE NEED TO LET THE HOLY

SPIRIT HAVE CONTROL OF OUR LIVES. THE SECOND THING WE NEED TO

DO IS IN VERSE 4. GOD TOLD EZEKIEL, TO PROPHESY UPON THE BONES,

AND TELL THE BONES, TO HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD. I CANNOT

STRESS EVANGELISM ENOUGH. BECAUSE PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW, THAT

GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL. PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THAT GOD IS STILL

MAKING WAYS OUT OF NO WAYS, GOD IS STILL A HEART FIXER, AND A

MIND REGULATOR. THEY NEED TO STOP LISTENING TO THE PSYCHICS,

AND THE FORTUNE TELLERS, AND THEY NEED TO HEAR THE WORD OF

THE LORD.