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Dry Bones

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
March 17, 2021 12:01 am

Dry Bones

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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March 17, 2021 12:01 am

We can memorialize the past, but we can never bring it back. Today, we continue our survey of R.C. Sproul's teaching through the decades to highlight a message he preached in the 1980s: there is a future for the people of God.

Get Your Copy of 'R.C. Sproul: A Life' by Stephen Nichols for Your Gift of Any Amount: https://gift.renewingyourmind.org/1634/rc-sproul-a-life

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We try to widen ourselves about it.

But we know that it's true that the past is gone we can memorialize it, we can celebrate it, we can bring it back and that's when we realize that that we ask the question that Ezekiel asked is there a future to the prophet Ezekiel to the Valley through the bones of the end was near the got instantly daunting question Son of Man can these bones live again. Welcome to Renewing Your Mind on this Wednesday we will you and I are faced with the daunting question as well.

What lies beyond the limited number of days we have on earth.

Dr. RC Sproul helps us find the hope will answer that question and he begins by showing a very personal story was in November, the afternoon the year of our Lord 1956 I was 17 years old and on that afternoon I was standing in front of an open grave on my right side was my mother and on my left side was my sister and I noticed to the left of my sister at the head of the open grave. The minister was standing and reading from that little black book leather bound was called the book of common worship he was reading the ritual of the service of burial. But I wasn't listening to what he said because my eyes were fixed on how he was holding his right hand he held the book of common worship in his left hand as he read the service that he kept his right hand clinched in this fashion, as he read and finally he came to the final words of the funeral service and as he began to read them. He stretched forth his arm over the metallic coffin and he began to slightly open his fist and allow a trail of sin to escape which fell upon the casket and he made the sign of the cross as he said, earth to earth, dust to dust and ashes to ashes. This was the grave of my father and as the minister spoke those final words.

He then closed the book and turned and came over and took my mother's arm and escorted her back to the waiting funeral limits and ladies and gentlemen, I will never forget that day.

Those 17-year-old boy can never forget the funeral of his father. I remember that as I walked away from that cemetery on that afternoon I was confused I was bewildered. I was hurt and most of all, I was angry. I didn't even know if there was a God but if there was a God. I knew that I didn't like him very much because on that afternoon for the first time in my young life I had experienced the human emotion of absolute hopelessness for the first time I had encountered something that could not be fixed something that was spinal we go back to the days of antiquity. When the prophet Ezekiel as a young man saw not only his personal hope be shattered, but he saw the hope of his entire people. He saw all of the dreams all the glory of his own nation be wiped out by what we now refer to as the first Holocaust and all the promises that God had given these people were now left in the dust. There is no more Jerusalem. There is no more industry in the prophet Ezekiel was a man without hope for the future. The Scriptures tell us as we read this morning that is Ezekiel struggled over these things, the hand of the Lord came upon him and brought him out in the spirit of the Lord.

We see the hand of God, sweeping down on the plane and picking up Ezekiel in the hollow of God's hand and God transports the prophet into this valley and behold his Ezekiel comes into this valley and God sets them in this place.

He looks and all around the Valley.

DC's back in my own upon my own. Nothing but the skeletal remains of human brain vividly remember 1965 when we were living in Western Europe and much of the information that had remained classified after World War II was finally released to the general public, including volumes of photographs taken by American soldiers as they liberated the death camps of thought, of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and others and for the first time the general public was able to see actual photographic evidence of the atrocities committed during World War II. I remember as I look at those photographs the things that caught my eye in one photograph. There was a mound as big as a three-story house of artificial limb's another one had a mountain of eyeglasses spectacles taken off the faces of Jewish people before they were sent to their death. And then of course the most macabre of all was a veritable mountain of the bone's of those who had been killed. That's what I see in my mind when I read this account from the five when Ezekiel went into this valley, and he saw a Valley filled with bone, not with corpses with flash and clothing but corpses after the scavengers and the vultures of the parasites are finished with their work actually been picked clean and have been exposed to the rays of the noonday sun for months and perhaps for years and so that the bones are now not only very dry, but they have been bleach by the sun and as is. In the case and the death camps of World War II.

These bones were heat together in such a chaotic fashion that one could not identify a particular skeletal frame.

The bones of women were mixed together with the bones of men and the bones of the elderly were heaped on top of the bones of infant. If ever they seen reveals the finality of death. It was the Valley of dry bones and it was in this place with God. Asked Ezekiel. The question got shown in these bonds and he said Ezekiel. Here's my question. Son of Man can these bones live again. I know what I would've said when I was walking away from my father's casket, a drawing of a beard and a burning voice and said to me are say thoughts when I guide I would've turned to the Almighty and… Me with a question like that. I don't really understand. Ezekiel's reply and sometimes the Scripture lets us down because it doesn't tell us how words are spoken. I don't know what the expression on his face was. I don't know what his tone of voice was all that we know are the words that Ezekiel used words that could very well have been evasive in their response to God.

When God said, Son of Man can these bones live again these Ezekiel simply said oh God, you know how to say that he say brace me when these bones can ride out LOL he bones can arise again. You know I really want to know is really posting right maybe that's where he met or maybe already. Ezekiel had been convinced of the power of God.

And when God said Ezekiel can these bones rise again. Ezekiel of God and he said you know, these bones can rise again.

I tend to think was the former rather than the latter.

Take your pick Dragos on and said here's what I want you to do. Ezekiel I want you to prophesy to these bones and say to them, oh dry bones here the word of the low know every minister knows what it's like to preach to a difficult congregation and one of the most difficult tasks in all the preaching is to preach to a congregation at a 30 in the morning paper overtly awake if they just come out of their beds is so difficult to get a response from people at this hour in the day, but God has never asked me to preach in a cemetery.

Sometimes it seems like, but I've never really had to do that.

I mentioned having to go into a cemetery at God's command and to begin to preach the fact this isn't even a cemetery is a valid only thing there also let a living creature but God tells Ezekiel to go to the Valley of the dry bones and preach here to Scotland and he said I want to go there, Ezekiel, and you say to those skeletons hear the word of the Lord. How ridiculous a skeleton doesn't even have ears anymore, and yet God says here the word of the Lord and serve the prophet responded to God as God said, I will cause breath to enter into these bones and tell say to these bones you will live. I will put sinews on you bring flash upon your company was skin, and you will know that I am the Lord. So Ezekiel says I prophesy. I did as I was commanded and as I prophesied, there was annoyance. I was preaching. I was preaching to a Valium that I was preaching to know human being.

I was preaching in a place where no human sound had ever been hard for months and perhaps you and as high priest. There was some I heard a rattle and I looked, and behold, I saw bones starting to move.

I witnessed the dance of the skeletons that has these bones rose up and they came together to borrow that woman's that was over here was brought. Aaron connected and all of a sudden we hear Fred Waring in the background may bone connected to the thigh bone. Now hear the word of who had heard that song as a child I never understood what that song was that these bones came together, they were reassembled and a person's frame was constituted a fresh and then as Ezekiel preached sinew tissue fly began to cover these skeleton and they took upon the recognizable shape of human being but one thing was lacking even after the bones were in it together and flesh covered the bone.

Still all we had was a Valley of cadavers, who were still dead and God said Ezekiel.

Now I want you to preach to the women and call upon the when I call upon the four winners to bring their breath had to move over these corpses and I will make them live, and so he called to the north wind and he called to the South. When he shouted for the sweaty scream at the West, when, and the wind began to blow came and blew across these bodies like the Holy Spirit hovered over the primordial waters on the day of creation, the spirit of life came back in to the's people and they came alive again and they stood up at Ezekiel saw, and behold, an army of people. Did you ever wonder whether you had a future that you ever wonder if there was anything left to look forward to wherever you come to the place in your life where what joy you're able to squeeze out of the living is accomplished by nostalgia by memories by looking back a month ago Russ and I had the opportunity to return to Pennsylvania and to visit our childhood home. I drove out to our old baseball field married Park and as I entered my report I noticed that there was a monument built stone, and on the monument was chiseled the date of the dedication of this baseball field. It said May 30, 1955 and then it had underneath it. The names of the city commissioners who had been there for the dedication of that baseball field alleged, I saw that I went because I remembered May 30, 1955, I played in the first baseball game that took place on that field. We started out at the stuff at a drugstore and we were in our baseball uniforms and we marched in the parade with the fire trucks and the bay and we marched to miles out the road and came to the entrance of my report on never forget this day as I went back to Murray Park.

There wasn't anybody that would Lillian feel nothing stands noting the duck letting a maintenance man in sight so well. I knew no one could see me.

I walked out on the field and I stood in my old position or had so many memories and I said that all of a sudden I felt like I could do it again and I thought this was 31 years ago and in the thought came to me and 31 pounds ago and then I checked that thought again and I thought no more than 31 pounds ago but I cited live with the ghost of my friends and my teammates there on the field and then walked off the field again. I realize this there's no going back. I can dream about and I can remember it and I can savor those memories but I can't go back. What is passed is over and we all understand that we try to lie to ourselves about it.

But we know that it's true that the past is gone we can memorialize it, we can celebrate it, we can bring it back and it's when we realize that that we asked the question that Ezekiel asked is there a future.

Obviously, this passage of Scripture is not talking about the resurrection of the dead of individual people, God himself says Ezekiel. This he said to me, Son of Man. These bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, our bones are dry. Our hope is lost and we ourselves are cut off not want to get in the Lord's discourse on eschatology and the differing views that we have in the church about the future. Promises of God, but I remember 1967 when I was on my porch in Boston Massachusetts and I turn on the television set and I thought Jewish soldiers rising into the square of Jerusalem and, while apartheid was still going on. They were throwing their guns down and running over to the Wailing Wall and weeping. There because were 1897 years they had been saying to each other next year in Jerusalem and it finally happened. There is a future for the people of God and the promises of God go well beyond the promises that God gives here to read Ezekiel 2 about the Jewish people. The promises in the New Testament say to us that we shall not all perish, but the when Christ returns. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye as the trumpet is signed and our Lord appears in Shekinah glory in an instant the graves of our love ones will be open, and there will be new life. My father will live again you will see your loved ones again because the God we are assembled here this morning to worship is the God who is the author of life.

He is the one who holds the keys of death. He is the one and the only one who has the power and the ability to bring something out of nothing and to bring life out of death and my dear friends. He has promised categorically and immutably that the dead in Christ shall rise.

But when the dead in Christ shall rise they will return to light without dizzy without pain with disfigurement, for they will be creating a new one. A wonderful hope that is what joy in the what comfort it provides through his nearly 5 decades of ministry.

Dr. RC Sproul focused on great theological truths like this and this week on Renewing Your Mind. We are pleased to go back through the decades to feature some hidden gems at today's message from the 1980s said that there really underscores what is true about biblical teaching. It's timeless. This was a priority for doctors proponents the principle that the leader ministries is built upon RC was a pastor, theologian and trusted teacher and a resource offered today will help you get to know RC the man look at her teaching fellow Dr. Steven Nichols for many months researching Dr. Sproles life and ministry.

He knew RC well then that really comes through in the pages of the biography that he's authored.

It's titled RC Sproul, a life we just released it and we like for you to have a copy you can request it today with your donation of any amount online@renewingyourmind.org or you can call us with your gifted 800-435-4343. We are listener supported ministry, your gifts truly do make a difference so they help people around the world have access to clear biblical teaching. Like we heard today so thank you tomorrow. We continue through the decades with Dr. scrollable step into the 90s with a message titled here I stand, focusing right back here Thursday for Renewing Your Mind


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