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Releasing Resurrection Power (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

Sermon on 27 July 2020 by Reverend Lynette

Ezekiel 37:1-14 - “The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.” Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’” So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’””

Pointers:

1. Know the source of power

Ezekiel 37:1-3 - “The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.””

The valley can be considered as a very low place. A place of despair, no more hope. Bones here represent death, no life. In Secondary School, I remember that we had to dissect a rabbit in order to study the anatomy and the bones. So, a pair of us actually shared one rabbit. The rabbit was chloroformed, we dissected it. After that, we had to randomly decide using Scissors Paper Stone to see who is the lucky one to bring the rabbit home in order to take out the bones. I was the lucky one and brought the rabbit home. I boiled it in water, as instructed by the teacher, and then removed the flesh and the joints from the bones. I then dried the bones in a safe place under the sun so that they would be clean and dry when we brought them back to school for lessons the next week. As the week passed, I saw the bones getting whiter and drier. I knew that it had lost all life.

Ezekiel has a very unique answer. His answer showed that he knew his God. If anyone were to ask me if the rabbit bones can live after I have boiled them, removed all flesh from them and dried them out in the sun for a week, I would say no way, the bones cannot live. But here Ezekiel answered, “O Lord God, You know.” He was yielded to the Lord. He was ready to hear, believe and obey what God had to say to him. Many of us want to hear from the Lord, but are we willing and ready to obey? He knew God well enough, not just to speak facts according to what he sees or feels. He depended on God to tell him the ultimate truth of the situation. What about us? Are we waiting on God to hear from Him the ultimate truth of the situation? Or are we just blabbering what we see and hear about the situation itself, and not what God says?

Psalm 23:4 - “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

We walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We don't stay in this valley. As we walk through, we will fear no evil because Emmanuel, God is with us. He is our shepherd. His rod protects us, His staff protects us. His rod and staff also comfort us. We are not afraid of any evil even as we walk through the valley. At the start of this COVID-19 situation, I remember that I had a vision because after great concern and crying out to Him in prayer, one morning I woke up with this vision. At first I saw an ugly, fearsome and gruesome looking huge rat sitting in the cockpit and driving the plane with a pilot’s hat on its head. I said and cried out to the Lord, “No, this cannot be, O God, this cannot be.” As I cried and prayed, the whole scenario began to change. No longer was the rat sitting in the captain’s seat. It was the Captain of our host, our Lord Jesus Christ sitting on the seat of the plane and piloting our plane. If we trust in the Lord, He is the One in the pilot’s seat with that cap on His head. He is the One who is commanding our plane, not the rat. No matter what we go through or circumstances that we face, the Captain of the host is in the pilot’s seat. We will fear no evil. Let's check and change. It is not about a ritual that we have with our God, that we spend time with God and tick off the list. Yes, I’ve read the Word of God. O yes I’ve worshipped God, O yes I’ve done this and that to serve my God. instead, it is a relationship with our God. It is waiting on Him and knowing Him better. It is worshipping Him and receiving from Him. It's responding to Him even as we wait upon Him instead of depending on the circumstances in our lives. Are you spending time with God? It is not a ritual, it's a relationship. It's not a barter trade but a divine exchange where as we wait upon the Lord, we get peace and wisdom, wisdom that God has already placed in us arises and we naturally, spiritually and supernaturally begin to trust Him more and more as we understand him more. He will show us His heart as we wait upon Him. We begin to see the circumstance with spiritual eyes instead of physical eyes. Like Ezekiel, we will answer, “O Lord God, You know, I trust in You.”

2. Hear the Word of His power

Ezekiel 37:4-6 - “Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’””

We shall know that He is the Lord when we hear the Word of God. His words are powerful. He also issues His power through His word.

Hebrews 1:3 - “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.”

Jesus upholds all things by the words of His power. It's interesting that the phrase here is the Word of His power and not the power of His words. His word is powerful that’s why we talk about the power of His Word, but here He upholds all things by the Word of His power. This means that His power is issued through the Word of God. We need to learn also to issue His power through speaking the Word of God. Naturally speaking, bones cannot hear, it is impossible. But these bones heard, got into action and obeyed the word of God. The wind can hear too. In verse 9, where Ezekiel prophesied to the winds and the winds heard and obeyed. The bones in verse 7 heard and the wind in verse 9 heard.

Mark 4:39 - “When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.”

Jesus is our example. He rebuked the wind, rebuked the situation, spoke to the wind and the wind heard. He said to the sea and the sea heard ,”Peace, be still!” In this day, we can speak with His authority in our mouths and rebuke situations and declare over situations, but only what He tells us to do. There are some people going around declaring not what God told them to do but their own wishes. They declare their own desires. We want to declare God’s desires, God’s wishes. We want to declare the plan and the purpose of God over situations, over our own lives. So we need to hear from God and obey the Word. The tree also heard and obeyed.

Matthew 21:19 - “and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.”

The fig tree heard and immediately obeyed what the Lord spoke. We go on to the next part where the withered hand heard and obeyed.

Mark 3:5 - “He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!”

The withered hand heard, of course the man cooperated and stretched out his hand. But the hand also heard and what was withered could stretch forth and become whole. The withered hand can hear. We have Lazarus who was dead who could hear.

John 11:42-44 - “You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!””

Lazarus was very dead. Three days dead and was even embalmed, wrapped with grave clothes. His face was also wrapped with the cloth. But the dead man heard Jesus’ command as His command had the very resurrection power of God. upholding all things by the Word of His Power. Lazarus came forth because of the Word of His power. We may see with our natural eyes and ears that our situation is hopeless. In fact the people around Lazarus were crying and saying God, You should have come earlier, Jesus You should have come earlier. However, we need to hear what the Lord is saying about the situation. Jesus heard and He spoke what God said. God is life. He is mighty. He is powerful. He can do the impossible. It is His very nature that gives life to situations. The natural order of life is birth, growth, aging and death. But the natural order of life can be reversed if the resurrection power is released. So when Jesus spoke, Lazarus became alive again. When Ezekiel followed and obeyed what God instructed him to speak, the bones began to live. Let's do a check and change. Let's hear from the Holy Spirit. Let us purpose in our hearts not to hear from people or situations, not to be impacted by people or situations but to hear from the Holy Spirit and be impacted by the very Word of God. We want to hear from the Word and not the world.

John 10:27 - “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

We are His sheep. We hear his voice and we can follow Him. What is God showing you about your situation? If you don't know, take time to hear from God. Take time to read His word. Take time to worship Him. Once you know, obey because God always shows and He usually shows step by step what has to be accomplished. Many of us want to hear everything at once but he wants to show us step by step what is to be accomplished by His power. God revealed what He wanted to do - dry bones coming alive - and it sounds impossible. No situation is too difficult, no situation is hopeless. Are you hearing from God, from the word or from the media, the doctors and the world? Let's hear from God and listen to His words. That's the purpose in our heart.

3. Obey and release power

Ezekiel 37:7-8a - “So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.”

Miracles can take place because of our obedience. When Ezekiel prophesied as he was commanded, things began to happen. Step by step, there was noise and bones came together, bone to bone, after that, the sinews and the flesh. It's like a sci-fi, modern movie that Ezekiel was watching as he issued the Word of God. Let's do a check and change. Obedience brings breakthrough. We need to obey the Lord. Obedience releases miracles and miracles can take place because we begin to put His word, not our thinking, not what others say but His word in our mouths. We obey once we have faith in our hearts. We believe that it will come to pass, we need to speak it out. We need to hear what God is saying, believe it and speak it out. Then, step by step we see the miracles. Step by step, the bones connect, muscle and tendons can form, flesh can come, skin can cover the entire body.

Isaiah 55:11 - “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

The word of God is life, is power. We need to cooperate with God by speaking His word. We need to believe what He says and speak what He tells us to so we can receive what God has sent to us for our help. We continue with our check and change. His words in our mouth release resurrection power.

John 6:63 - “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

When we speak His word to situations, it's like spirit. The situation hears, the bones hear, the body hears, our muscles and organs hear, the people can hear. Are you speaking what God shows instead of what your senses or emotions tell you? God needs a man or woman today to speak forth what He has in His heart, to speak forth His plans, His purposes into people, into situations. Are you ready and willing and obedient to speak His word. God’s power and plan can be released through your mouth. Hear and obey. That is faith. Speak the word of God over your situations. Don't speak about the situation that is going by your flesh. We go by God’s words, a higher authority. That Higher authority becomes our authority, belongs to us. When we speak, things happen. If you need healing, the word of God says that Jesus took the stripes upon His back so that by His stripes, we are healed.

1 Peter 2:24 - “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.”

We begin to speak it out. If you need help, God says in His word to come boldly into His throne of grace and you will find help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16 - “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

We go to His throne and we begin to receive His grace, His mercy and His help in times of need just at the right time. I know that He wants to heal, transform your situation and renew your mind so that you begin to speak forth His word and not what the world says. Right now, lift up your voices and begin to say O God, You know. O God, I speak what Your Word says. Your word says by your stripes, I am healed, and I will be healed. Put your hand on the part of the body that needs healing right now. Praise the Lord because He comes to help and to heal in times of need. If you need peace, He is the Prince of peace and will give you the peace that surpasses all understanding when you present your requests to Him with thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6-7 - “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Don’t despair if things are changing too quickly. Go to God. If things are beyond your ability to comprehend or overcome, we have an ability in God that surpasses our own and peace that surpasses all understanding. The word of God says that we can speak to mountains and it will be removed. We have the strength and power of God to do the impossible. If there is a mountain in your life that needs to be removed, God’s words say in Mark 11:23 that the mountain will be removed.

Mark 11:23 - “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.”

This is what we believe. Have you been believing for a long time and there is no change? Don't give up. Press on.

4. Press on in power

Don't give up because his word is power. His word is powerful.

Ezekiel 37:8-13 - “Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’” So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord.”

God was showing Ezekiel the state of Israel at that time. They looked good on the outside but there was no life on the inside. Many of us in the modern day, believers and non-believers alike could look good on the outside but there are times when things are difficult and things may appear to have no life. But God is saying, “Press on!” Prophesy to the breath, speak to the breath. Prophesy just means follow what the Holy Spirit tells you to say, and you say it. The word of God says the Holy Spirit will bring remembrance, and will quicken unto us. Even as we speak, the Holy Spirit is ready to get into action and transform situations. Breath is translated as “ruach” in Hebrew. It can mean breath or the spirit or the Holy Spirit or even the winds. That's why prophecy to the winds, breath and to the Holy Spirit what God has shown you to say.

Genesis 2:7 - “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.”

That was the first time God made man and breathed life into him. What Ezekiel was asked to do parallels this creation. Today, when God breathes the Holy Spirit into us, it parallels creation so that we are born again. Today we are born again. What seemed dead on the inside seems life on the outside but was dead on the inside. In verse 10, Ezekiel obeyed. Following what God has shown him to speak, there was a turnaround. Many times, we cried out to God about our situations and we say “God, why like this?” But we don't take to hear about what God is speaking to us. We don't take time to speak what God shows us to speak. When God's power is issued into the situation, the victory is great but we need to be the channel of power which is being issued. Now the dead bones became a great army of soldiers. God wants complete restoration of the bones, not just to look good on the outside like living bodies but also to be a living and powerful army, effective for the Lord. God has changed us, we have become this powerful army effective for the Lord when He breathes life into us. In the same way, as His bodies we are supposed to breathe life into situations as He shows us to. Today, God wants to overhaul the nation, transform His people, His church, families, and ourselves. Are we ready to issue the power of God?

Ezekiel 37:11-13 - “Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord.”

God is showing just as He showed Ezekiel the dry bones and what they symbolize and how to speak to them. God is showing that the dry bones symbolised the house of Israel. It can symbolise the situations we face today. If we just focus on the situations, we may complain and say the bones are dried. But God is saying prophecy, speaking what the Holy Spirit shows you. and what the word of God shows you. In one sense, we have already been brought up from the graves. we live again, we are born again. In another sense, we have to bring these into situations around us, that there is always hope. God is the one who will bring the breakthrough, no one else. He will bring the victory and the change but we need to cooperate with Him. Check and change. Don’t give up. Imitate those who through faith and patience, inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6:12 - “Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.”

Faith plus patience equals promise.

Hebrews 6:15 - “Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.”

With Abraham's faith and patience, he inherited the promise of Isaac. Don't grow weary.

Galatians 6:9 - “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

Don't lose heart.

5. His power toward us

Ezekiel 37:14 - “I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’”

His power is always consistently flowing in us and through us. In the new covenant, God has already put His Spirit in us. We have life eternally and carriers of this resurrection power to the situations and the people around us. Each of us have been given our own land, our purpose, the plan of God for our lives, our rightful place that God has placed us in so that we can walk in his plan and purposes for our lives.

Ephesians 1:19-20 - “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”

Christ is already seated at the right hand of God. We are seated with Him in the Heavenly places. We have the same power that resurrected Jesus Christ as His power is towards us who believe. We need to believe as only when we believe then we speak. Power is issued. When we don’t believe, our speech is empty words. There's no connection with the power of God. When we believe and speak, we are connecting with the power of God and releasing His power. The measurable greatness of His power is towards us who believe.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 - “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”

There's nothing to be proud about. We stay humble and connected to the power of God because it's His power. In and of ourselves, we can do nothing, what we can do is in Him, of Him and through Him, always not of us. The divine light of the gospel is placed in frail human vessels of earth that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. All because of the power of God. God has placed his power in us. We contain this very power and we need to see ourselves carrying the power of God. We are frail human vessels but the power in us is excellent. The power in us is resurrection power so we need to see ourselves like that. Strong in Him and are always in Him. Never apart from Him. He will never leave us nor forsake us so we continue to be in Him, abide in Him and His strength continue to ever flow to us and work in us and flow out of us. Final check and change. God had placed his power in you. Are you releasing His power? We need to unleash the power that is in us but we need to first know the source of His power, which is when we spend time with God. We are able to know its source. Secondly, we need to hear the word of His power. When we hear the word of His power, we start to believe and we begin to obey and release the power of God. When power is released to situations, situations will change. But sometimes, it may not be immediate so we need to press on in power, hold fast to our confessions of faith and not give up. We need to continue to see ourselves that His power is already in us and flowing towards and flowing out of us because we believe in Him. Are you releasing His power today, spending time with Him, hearing from Him, believing, speaking and not giving up? Only then are you able to unleash or release resurrection power into situations around you, into your own lives.

Amen.

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