We got everybody out of order, and they wonder why I'm still in this valley.
You're out of order. Dr. Tony Evans says putting things right starts with a fresh look at what the Lord has to say. The Word of God is to put you in order, which positions you for life. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative.
Headache, dizziness, dry mouth, low blood pressure, these are just some of the symptoms our body experiences when we're physically dehydrated. Likewise, our lives suffer when we're spiritually parched and empty. Dr. Evans tells us how God will take our dry, dead faith and fill it with life and vitality.
Let's join him in Ezekiel chapter 37. What people do not understand is that your situation in life, your zitzenleben, your circumstances are tied to your spiritual foundation. And so, since sin was at the base of the economy, it has now, over time, worked itself out so that we are scrambling to find an answer because we never connected our spiritual situation to our social dilemma. He says, Son of Man, let me show you this valley, this hopeless situation that this whole nation is facing right now. They have been cut off.
They have been disconnected with me and from me. And now chaos rules. In the middle of this chaos, God has reminded the prophet Ezekiel about a promise he made. God had made a promise to his people, and that promise is stated in chapter 36 verse 24, I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land.
I'm talking about Israel in the Old Testament. He had made a promise. In spite of the fact that I'm going to spank you for disobedience, there will come a day when I'm going to bring you back home. And so, Ezekiel, here's what I want you to do. I want you to prophesy. I want you to speak my word into this situation.
So I want you to talk to dry bones, to hopeless situations. And I want you to let them hear the word of the Lord. Now, Ezekiel, I don't want you to tell them what you think. I don't want you to give them human ideas and opinions. I don't want you to give them the populous viewpoint of the day, nor do I want you to cater to their emotional well-being. I don't want you to give them psychological analysis. I don't want you to give them humanistic points of view.
I don't want you to give them the latest Gallup poll so that they know what most other folk think. I don't want you to give them what will make them feel good. Why do you want me to give dry bones the word of the Lord? Because until they become very dry, they're not willing to listen.
See, as long as they're not very dry, as long as they think they can do this on their own, as long as they think they got enough edumacation to pull it off on their own, as long as there's enough money in their bank accounts and their credit cards are working for them and they haven't paid attention to 18% interest, as long as they can pull it off themselves, they ain't dry enough. So wait till I, I didn't even call you to this valley till they were very dry. Because I wanted them to be so low in their own view that they recognize we are in a hopeless situation and we are cut off.
We can't fix this. And it was our spiritual rebellion that caused this greed. It was only recognizing the spiritual rebellion and being put in this low valley that we recognize we couldn't fix it. Now, prophet, you can talk.
Because the bones are dry. So you ought to speak the word of the Lord. Over and over again in the Old Testament, the prophets would be speaking the word of the Lord because the Bible says that there was a famine for the word of God. Now, there wasn't a famine for church, going to the temple. There wasn't a famine for religion or singing songs.
There was a famine for spiritual truth. See, everybody will come for an emotional stimulus. See, everybody wants a, here it is, a stimulus package.
Well, let me invite you into the situation room. Everybody wants a stimulus package. Everybody wants something that's going to stimulate, you know, they want to stimulate the economy. People come to church for a stimulus package, make me feel good today. Let me tell you the problem with, with a stimulus package, something that simply makes you feel a little better. Is that you can feel a little better because things look a little better without having dealing with what caused the problem.
See, that's a problem with a stimulus package that doesn't deal with the root cause. You can, see the problem with our feelings, while they are real and therefore you should never deny them, they are very unreliable. Feelings are very real, so you don't skip them.
You feel the way you feel and that's the way you feel. But what you can do is bank on them because they're very unreliable and like the seasons, they change so quickly. I mean, many of you will leave here today feeling okay. But if the wrong person says the wrong thing at the wrong time on your way to your car, and it's probably the person riding with you, if they say the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong way, all your religion and the good feelings you had while you were in service will dissipate because they are unreliable. If a person cuts you off, you might use language straight from hell and the person that calls them, well didn't you just come from church? So that's the problem with a stimulus package.
It'll geek you up, it'll hype you up for the moment, but it won't change the location of your valley. He says, I prophesy, speak to them the word of the Lord. They need a divine word, not just a stimulation.
They need a divine word to their dry situation. But it's still a hopeful word because he says, because I will cause breath to enter into them that you may come to life, I will put sinus muscles on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover your skin and put breath in you that you may become alive and you will know that I am the Lord. Until you realize, he says, I am the Lord. I am the Lord.
So you coming up with your packages and your stimulus packages, all I'm going to do is let something else break until you discover I, and that means nobody else, am the Lord. So you speak to these dry bones and you tell them this is how you got here. You got here from your rebellion, but now you're in a hopeless state and you know it. That's where I want you. So now I can bring the word to you because now you've been made ready to receive it.
Your dryness has prepared you to receive it because you can't fix it. So you let them know what my plan, what my program is, what my prophetic word is, what the word of the Lord is to this specific broken situation. You prophesy my thoughts, not your thoughts. Verse seven, so I prophesied as I was commanded. I spoke what I was told to speak. And as I prophesied, there was a noise.
So I'm prophesying and I heard a noise. There was some rumbling and behold, a rattling click, click, click, click, click, click. And the bones came together bone to bone. Toe bone got connected to the foot bone. Foot bone got connected to the ankle bone. Ankle bone got connected to the leg bone. Leg bone got connected to the thigh bone.
Thigh bone got connected and stuff started to come together. Stuff that was disconnected, confused, disassociated, unrelated to one another. Stuff that was all disassembled like puzzles in a puzzle box got connected. He said when the word of God was spoken and responded to, connectivity occurred where there was disassociation and disconnection for a long time because they had been very dry. So they had been hanging out in confusion, frustration, argumentation, disassociation for an extended period of time. But when the word of the Lord was given to people who were now ready to receive it, because it had gotten very dry and they couldn't fix it themselves, he said stuff started to shake, rattle, and roll. And they became connected.
So guess what you now have due to the proclamation and response, because they responded, the bones were moving, and response to the word of the Lord. You had order and organization because things that were disconnected are now connected. So you've got order and you've got organization because things are now hooked together correctly. Order and organization. So what you don't have is the chaos because you've got bones now that were disassociated, connecting in the right place, in the right spots with one another. You have order and you have organization, but we still have a problem because verse 8 says, but there was no breath in them.
Well, watch this now. You can have order and organization and still have no life. Now you need order and you need organization, but what good is a body with all the bones connected if it's still in the coffin? Now, if it's going to go anywhere, it does have to have bones that are connected, but having bones that are connected doesn't mean you're alive.
Frankenstein had bones that were connected, but it lacked life. You can list all the programs you want. You can have all the plans that you want to make. You can have an organizational structure that is impeccable. You can have every leader in the right spot, every person in the right pew, but that doesn't mean you're alive.
That just means you're organized well. But it doesn't change your problem. It just prepares you for your problem to be changed. We'll learn more about how that changing process actually works when today's lesson resumes in just a moment. First, though, Dr. Evans says American men have been lied to and misled. Well, it's time for the truth, and you'll find it in his empowering book, Kingdom Men Rising. In it, Tony squares off against our society's distorted view of manhood and presents a whole new game plan for overcoming temptation, recovering from past failures, leading your family, and building a legacy of faith and godly influence. We'd like to send you your own copy of this book as our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution toward the ministry of the urban alternative. As a special bonus, along with the book, we'll send you all 12 full-length messages in Tony's companion Kingdom Men Rising audio series. But tomorrow is the last day to get this special bundle, so visit tonyevans.org today, or let one of our friendly team members help you with your request by calling our 24-hour resource center at 1-800-800-3222. That's 1-800-800-3222.
I'll repeat our contact information after part two of today's lesson and this. See, one of the problems we have is everybody's out of order. You got men out of order. You got women out of order. You got leaders out of order. You got members out of order. We got everybody out of order, and they wonder why I'm still in this valley.
You're out of order. The Word of God is to put you in order, connect this bone with that bone so that the bones are in the right place, which positions you for life, but it doesn't give you life. You can read the Bible all day, and it'd be a dead book to you. And you know it's a dead book.
You're still in the valley, and you're still dry. Oh, but watch this now. Then he said to me, prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus saith the Lord, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may come to life.
All right, watch this now. Jesus says, prophesy to the bones, and then prophesy to the breath. Speak the word to the hopeless situation, the people, and then talk to the wind. The Hebrew word breath can be translated in one of a number of ways. Translated breath, it can be translated wind, or it can be translated spirit.
It's the same word. In fact, notice what he says in verse 14. I will put my spirit within you, and you will come to life.
Well, compare that with verse 9. He said, prophesy to the breath, so that they will come to life. So the breath is the same as the spirit. Remember when the Bible says on Pentecost, the spirit came like a mighty rushing wind?
So when the Bible speaks of the wind spiritually, it's talking about the movement of the Spirit of God, because the Scripture says it is the spirit that gives life. Watch this now. It is the word of God that gives order. This is what God says you are to do. This is the position you're supposed to be in. Order yourself by the steps of the word. So you make the decision, I'm going to arrange my life, arrange my affairs, arrange my relationship, arrange my finances.
I'm going to arrange myself according to the order of the word. So that gives you order and organization. But you know you can make a decision to do that and be frustrated while doing it. You can make a decision to do it and be irritated that you even have to do it. You can make a decision to do it and not like doing it. That's because you've made the order decision without having the life to go with it.
You need the life to go with it. The Spirit gives life. He tells the prophet, after, watch this, watch this, talking about order, watch the order, you prophesy the word. But you, watch this now, watch, I don't want you to miss this, you prophesy the word, but don't say anything to the Spirit until the bones respond to the word. The Spirit does not come until the bones respond to the word. A lot of people want to get the Spirit when the bones haven't responded to the word. And if the bones haven't responded to the word, there will be no wind blowing of the Spirit. So the reason we're not getting the Spirit is that the bones have refused the word so the Spirit's gonna hold back and not move because the Bible calls it the Spirit of truth. So the Spirit wants to see the bones move and when the bones move, the prophet can then call the Spirit and the Spirit will begin to blow and bring life to them bones so that now those bones become limber and begin to move. Those bones can say, oh, well, you know, this thing is working.
Oh, this stuff I didn't like, but I did it anyway. The Spirit of God is now infusing it. See, you either don't have the bones connected because there's no response to the word or you haven't called the Spirit in who gives life to the bones once they are connected. You must have Spirit and truth, the Bible says. A lot of churches have truth and they're dead with doctrine.
They know all the Bible facts, but they don't have any life. Other people talk about Holy Ghost, Holy Ghost, Holy Ghost, but the bones are still disconnected so you can talk Holy Ghost all day, but it's not connected to the word of the Lord so these bones are still not functioning. They're arthritic bones. They're hurting, but they're bones because they have no life. But he says if you get the bones right based on the word, then you can call on the Spirit to blow through and make you alive and hopeful and fruitful and productive, but you can't prophesy to the wind until you've prophesied to the bones.
He couldn't talk to the Spirit and so you could be praying all day long, God changed me, God changed me, God changed me. God is saying, but your bones are still out of place. Your bones are still disconnected. Your bones are not in harmony. You align your bones, order your steps according to my word, then you can call on the Spirit because the Spirit only responds to truth. What happened?
In closing, what happened? Verse 10, so I prophesied as he commanded and the breath came into them and they came to life and stood on their feet an exceedingly great army. Wait a minute. How do you go from a dry bones to an army?
Standing on their feet. Something supernatural has happened between verse two and verse nine. How long had the bones been dry?
A very long time. You mean to tell me between two and nine, God can solve stuff that's been there for years? Between verse two and nine, simply through the prophetic word and calling the Holy Spirit, God can solve stuff that's been there for decades? These folks have been out of God's will for a long time because God can turn stuff around if he can order the bones and then call the Spirit so that there's a supernatural transformation. We're going out spending money on stuff that's just delaying the bones being as dry as they need to be for the word to be heard so the Spirit can come and give life because God wants you to know that he alone is God. That is what God is after. Revival is when you become alive. We are dead individually and corporately and nationally. The issue is deeper than our socioeconomic situation.
That's fruit, not root. Right now, talk to God about your own revival because it starts with you, your spot in the valley. Dr. Tony Evans will come back in a moment with a final illustration about what it takes to come alive when our faith gets as dry and dusty as a pile of old bones. Today's message is from Tony's current teaching series, Kingdom Men Rising. This 12-lesson collection offers practical, clear directions for men who want to make a difference for the Lord. And as I mentioned earlier, we're offering a special package that includes all these lessons on CD or digital download as well as a copy of Tony's companion book by the same name, Kingdom Men Rising. Remember, they're all yours as a thank you gift when you make a donation to help support Tony's ministry.
But this special double offer is only good through tomorrow, so don't miss out. Make the arrangements today by calling our resource center at 1-800-800-3222 any time of the day or night. That's 1-800-800-3222. Or visit TonyEvans.org, where you can also sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional.
Again, that's TonyEvans.org. There's a saying that kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give. Well, as we've mentioned before, Dr. Evans believes kindness is a gift that our society can't afford not to give. Take the time to show kindness to those you meet today, and in the name of Jesus, look for opportunities to demonstrate kindness to someone who needs a touch from God. You'll help make your community a better place when you demonstrate the love of God through your acts of kindness. There are times when the path ahead of us may look impassable.
But tomorrow, Dr. Evans will remind us how God has an established record of helping His children successfully navigate treacherous ways. Right now, though, he's back with this closing illustration. I had a problem in my house. My heater went out a couple years ago. My heater went out, and it was cold in the winter, and it was freezing.
I called the guy over and the repairman over. I said, look, my heater's broken. My heater's broken. It's not working.
It's freezing in here. When you get over here and fix it because it's broken, it's broken, it's broken. He came over, and he looked at my heater. He went in my garage and looked at my heater. He said, um, your heater's not broken. All your parts are connected.
Everything is connected to where it's supposed to be connected to. He said, but you do have a problem. He says, in your heater, in fact, in everybody's heater, there is a little piece called an igniter. He says the job of the igniter is to send the message to the heater.
It's okay to warm up. If the igniter doesn't send the message, it's not that your parts are broken. It's that they're not getting the word. They're not getting the message that they're supposed to function based on the fact of their organization because the igniter is not sending it. Once you respond to the word, that takes care of all the parts. It means that the parts are in place and the parts are working. But until the Holy Spirit quickens or ignites or brings life, the body that's now connected doesn't get the message. So you can come here every week, and if the Spirit does not speak, you'll hear the word, but you won't get the message, and you won't get on fire for Jesus Christ, and you won't feel alive because the igniter is not working. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
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