Sermon Title: Dead Bones that Live
Text: Hebrews Ezekiel 37:1-14(ESV)
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Brief summary (what’s the point of this text/sermon?)
Judah was in a truly desperate situation—exiled in Babylon with no hope of ever getting home (from a human perspective, at least). To illustrate their situation, God took Ezekiel and by the Spirit put him in a valley of dry bones. There was no sign of life in them, representing Judah’s hopeless existence.
But then God breathed new life into them, and he told Ezekiel what this vision meant. God would resurrect his people and restore them to their land. And, as you may remember, this is exactly what happened. God raised up a Persian king who defeated the Babylonians and let the people return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls, the temple, and their lives.
The story had real significance to the exiled people, of course, but in the sermon, we also reflected on some applications that the story has to our lives. It applies to our spiritual situations—we were (or are) dead in our sins and consequently helpless and hopeless (see Ephesians 2:1-10). But God stepped in through Jesus Christ to make us alive again.
We also applied this principle to other desperation situations in which we find ourselves. Can God resurrect a dead marriage? Can he restore the faith of our children or other loved ones? Can he heal our addictions? Can he take truly hopeless situations and breathe new life into them?
The valley of dry bones says he can. And of course we see that most clearly in the dead body that lay in the tomb from Friday till everything changed on Sunday morning, foreshadowing our own future resurrections when our “dry bones” will live again. God loves to breathe new life into things that are dead.
How do I live out the implications of this passage? (Discussion starters to help with applying the sermon to our lives)
- Using Ezekiel 37, one person defined evangelism/missions as “talking to the bones about God and talking to God about the bones” (that was Ezekiel’s role in Israel’s “resurrection”—he had no power in himself to actually make them alive again; the same thing is true in our evangelistic efforts). Discuss what that statement means. How does this application of the text remind us of the simplicity of evangelism?
- Consider this statement: “Our problem is not that we don’t believe God can do amazing things but that we’re not convinced that he will.” Do you believe that’s a true description of our struggle? If so, how do we overcome it?
- Our text introduces an important biblical principle: God loves to breathe life into the dead. The resurrection of Christ is the foundation of Christianity, and it points to God’s work in resurrecting us from our spiritual graves. Consider Paul’s discussion of this in Ephesians 2:1-10.
- God’s life-giving nature points to our ultimate resurrections as well when the Lord returns. How does your confidence in Jesus’ promise to “give life to your mortal bodies” (Rom 8:11) affect the way you live?
- God is still breathing new life into the dead today. How might this principle apply now? In the scenarios below, how might God choose to act? Do we sometimes give up too quickly because we think we can’t fix something? Can God still fix broken things?
- Feelings of hopelessness brought on by loneliness, health problems, work difficulties, etc.
- A dead marriage
- Broken relationships with loved ones or friends
- An addiction
- An ongoing struggle with certain sins
- A dying church
- A loved one whose faith seems to be weak or nonexistent.