I am sure many people have heard one or more sermons on this particular passage of scripture where God showed Ezekiel a valley full of dry bones. And if you are familiar with this passage of scripture you know it is describing Israel. However, one day I realized that these scriptures can be applied to the church. Many people who are living the Christian life are in this valley full of dry bones. They are the dry bones. You might say how can I make this statement, I am not dry, I am full of life. I go to church twice a week, I am a faithful member. I pay my tithes, I give my offering, I work in the church, etc. I follow the teachings of Christ. I exhibit the fruit of the spirit and I work hard to live a Godly life. In spite of all of this, I say you are in the valley of dry bones. Jesus said in Matthew 15:8-9 “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
God asked Ezekiel a question. Can these bones live and Ezekiel replied: “thou knowest.” God then told him to speak to the bones, prophesy to them and say “O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” God is saying to his people, wake up my people; wake up. Ezekiel prophesied and as he prophesied there was a noise and behold a shaking and the bones came together, bone to bone. “So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army” Ezekiel 37:7-10.
So many people today who are living the Christian life, love God and are working towards the goal of eternal life, but many of these people are caught up in the cares of this world, they are living each day to survive, and they are concerned about how they are going to make it. This reminds me of the parable of the seed and the sower found in the 13th chapter of Matthew, some seed fell on good ground, some fell on stony ground, some fell among thorns and some fell by the wayside. The seed that fell among thorns received the word but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches chokes the word and the person becomes unfruitful. If we do not bear fruit, we are cut off as a branch and thrown into the fire and burned. The word of God says in
I John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
You might say how can a person be a faithful church member and still be dry? Jesus gave a parable in Matthew 7:21 about people who had done works in the name of Jesus but he says depart from me I never knew you. God is saying, wake up my people; wake up. Many people begin to walk with the Lord and they begin to ask the question, what has God called me to do? God has called each of us to do a work for him; he has called each of us to be like him. He has chosen us to be like him. As I thought about this I realized the weight of this. God chose me to be just like him. He said for us to be holy like he is holy. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring” Acts 17:28. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect” Matthew 5:48, however, we can only accomplish this through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said I must be about my Father’s business. How many of us can say this today, that we are doing the business of God? As I mentioned earlier, so many of us are caught up in the cares of this life, we go to church and go home, we praise and worship God and go home. Is this all God has called us to? We go to work, talk to our friends, listen to music, watch television and go about our daily lives. But how many of us take time out of our daily lives to seek God for what he would have us to do? We are dry bones. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” St. John 15:16. We are commanded to go out and make disciples for Christ, not to be idle, or useless, or to simply seek enjoyment.
We need to go back to the book of Acts where the church began. But before we go to the book of Acts, let us see what Jesus had to say on the subject. In Matthew 10:1, 7&8 before his ascension, he sent the disciples out and told them to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out devils. In Luke the 10th chapter, he sent them out two by two. Was this just for them or is it still for us today? Now back to the book of Acts where the church began. What they did should be our example. It says they turned the world upside down. They were out on the front lines, preaching and teaching the word of God. They were healing, casting out demons and setting the people free from the bondage of Satan. They were being persecuted, beaten, thrown in jail and killed. They did not back down. They suffered and died for Christ.
The early church suffered much persecution under Constantine and the Roman government when they refused to stop baptizing in the name of Jesus. Think about it, if this type of persecution comes your way today what will be your reaction. You need to take time and ask yourself this question, find out where you stand, search yourself. I have asked myself this question many times. I know my fleshly body does not want to suffer, it doesn’t want to experience pain and imprisonment; however, my spirit man wants to live forever in the presence of Almighty God. Jesus said in Matthew 15:8 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” None of us wants to be beaten, persecuted, thrown in jail, but the early church experienced this and many people today in other countries are experiencing this even today. Today in the nation we are beginning to see persecution. For more on this read, Is this the mark of the Beast at www.revelationuptotheminute.org.
When I talk about the CHURCH I am talking about people, not a building. Many people do not understand that the CHURCH is not a building, we have not been taught this. This is one of the reasons why we have become dry bones. The building where we attend services is not the church, the body of Christ. It is the place the CHURCH, goes to worship and hear the word of God. When we begin to understand that we are the CHURCH, the BODY OF CHRIST, then our way of thinking will change. We will begin to see what is required of us as the body of Christ. We will begin to see the responsibility we have to be like Christ because we are his ambassadors, we are the light and salt in the earth. We are called to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. When we realize that we have been called to be THE BODY OF CHRIST, there are many things we will not do because we realize that we are not representing Christ.
In the book of Revelation chapters two and three, Jesus gave a report to the seven churches. To the church at Ephesus he said, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
To the church at Pergamos, he said, “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”
To the church at Thyatira, he said, “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”
To the church at Sardis, he said, “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”
And to the church of the Laodiceans, he said, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Jesus gave a report to seven churches, but these are the churches he had something against. Again he is saying, wake up my people, wake up, and do not be like the 10 virgins who were asleep. Only five made it into his kingdom because they awoke when the cry was made, “behold the bridegroom cometh” and they had enough oil with them to replenish their lamps to keep them burning until the bridegroom appeared. “O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.”