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Revival in the Valley of Dry Bones, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
April 13, 2021 8:00 am

Revival in the Valley of Dry Bones, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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April 13, 2021 8:00 am

While global warming advocates talk about the world getting hotter, the spiritual climate (especially in our country) seems to be cooling off fast. Join Dr. Tony Evans in this lesson as he talks about how that trend can be reversed.

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You got church services on Sunday, you got church services on Wednesday, you got special events, and we still dried up.

We still seem so hopeless. Dr. Tony Evans says as a nation and as individuals, we need the new life only the Lord can give us. God does let you get low so that you can discover only He can raise dead people. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, 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. If your last mountaintop experience with the Lord is just a distant memory, there's a way out of that valley you're in.

And here's Dr. Evans with a look at how God can bring you back to life. God told Ezekiel in chapter 37, I want you to go down that valley and I want you to look at those dry bones. The hand of the Lord was upon me, verse 1 says, and brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley of bones.

He caused me to pass around them to check it out, and behold, there were many on the surface of the valley, and lo, they weren't just dry, He says they were very dry. Now the question is, what are dry bones? Verse 11 tells you, He said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say our bones are dried up and our hope has perished, and we are completely cut off. He says dry bones was the whole nation of Israel in a hopeless situation. That's dry bones.

They were very dry, He tells us, because they had been there in that place a long time. Dry bones is being in a situation where you don't see a way out. It is being in a scenario of major collapse, and you want to know how in the world is this going to get fixed. Dry bones is where your situation, and in the case of Israel, their national situation was in major collapse and calamity. It was where stagnation had occurred, dashed dreams and hopes, barrenness, desolation, and there was no hope. You know you and we are in this low place called a valley, a valley is a low place, we're in this low place called a dry place, a place of dry bones when you have to look up to see bottom.

When there are no ready apparent answers to your dilemma, and where you live life in crisis mode. That was the valley of dry bones. These people weren't physically dead, Israel was still a physical nation, but He calls them a valley of dry bones because they were in a helpless, hopeless situation. Historically, they were now living in Babylon, they had been taken captive by the Babylonians, and He makes the statement at the end of verse 11, and we are completely cut off. In other words, they had been completely cut off from fellowship with God because of their rebellion against God. Look at chapter 36 verse 25, then I will sprinkle you clean with water and you will be clean, I will cleanse you from all of your filthiness and all of your idols. Remember, I said that there's a correlation in the Bible between rebellion, evil, and sin and idolatry. He says your evil, your filthiness, connected to your idolatry.

That you have chosen to either replace me with other gods or bring other gods alongside of me, therefore diminishing me. He says you need to be, verse 29, delivered from your uncleanness. So what happened was at the bottom was sin, and that sin worked itself out in society because now they are captive in a place called Babylon.

How bad was the situation? Verse 3, He said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, Oh Lord God, you know. He said this thing was so bad, this situation was so graphically grotesque that God asked me, Son of man, prophet, can these bones live again? And the prophet said, I don't know.

You know. Because I don't see a human answer to this. I can't answer, can these bones live again? Because there is no solution I can come up with to fix. You ever been in a situation without an answer?

That's called the valley of dry bones. It's a situation with no solution. And we are cut off. What people do not understand is that your situation in life, your zitzelleben, 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. But this is not uncommon, the failure of people to connect their spiritual dilemma, their rebellion, their sin, their evil, their wickedness to their personal circumstances.

They just think I'm having a bad day, month, week, or year, or life. 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 these bones. You know what's bad when you're in a valley of dry bone and it says it's the whole nation? It's not only is everybody in the valley messed up, but nobody in the valley can help anybody else out because they're as messed up as everybody else is.

It says the whole valley was full of dry bones. It's hard to give hope if you don't have any. It's hard to give help if you are helpless.

That's the problem. Nobody can help anybody else because it says the whole nation was dried up. Interesting, this nation, Israel, that was dried up, that was hopeless, that was in this messed up situation because of spiritual rebellion still had religion. They still had religion. They didn't give up their religion, but their religion wasn't working.

Isn't it amazing in America we got more Christian bookstores than you could ever go to, more Christian books than you could ever read, more Christian television that you could ever look at, more Christian radio than you could ever listen to, you got church services on Sunday, you got church services on Wednesday, you got special events, and we still dried up. We still messed up. We still seemed so hopeless. Israel still had the form of religion, but the relationship was gone and they were cut off.

The intimacy was gone and they were separated, and so there was national collapse because of spiritual distance. I've told you before, Pluto is frigid and cold because it's so far away from the sun. Mercury is blazing red hot because it's so close to the sun. The proximity determines temperature. Because Pluto is way out there, it's cold. Because Mercury is way in there, it's on fire. We live on earth where it's hot and cold, seasonal religion. This depends on what season I'm in right now, depends on how my stuff is turning. He says, Son of Man, look at the situation in Israel and tell me what you see.

Dry bones, how bad is it? God, only you can fix this. If this is ever going to get fixed. 9-11, everybody went to church. President went to church, Congress went to church, Christians went to church, sinners went to church, devil went to church, everybody went to church in 9-11 because 9-11 was just horrific and the question was, how are we going to deal with this?

How are we going to deal with this? Maybe nobody has made the connection that what we are seeing societally in terrorism, in weather, in economics is dry bones. That is, the spiritual situation has created the natural or nature circumstances and economic circumstances. Maybe the problem is theological and spiritual and not social, economic or simply weather related. Why does he call the prophet? He calls the prophet so that the spiritual could be understood as the basis of all the other stuff they were going through. He is in a valley of dry bones, a disconnected, hopeless situation that seems to have no answer.

Only God knows how we got in and how we are going to get out of this mess. Dr. Evans will talk more about how we can find our way back toward hope when he continues our message in a few moments. First though, I am excited to tell you about our current featured resource. It is Tony's brand new book, Kingdom Men Rising and it dovetails with the message we have been listening to today about spiritual revival.

Far too many men have been weakened by the false definition of what it means to be a man, coming from a culture that is at odds with God's biblical blueprint. Kingdom Men Rising looks beyond phony stereotypes, helping men understand who they were created to be and how they can rise up to the task and responsibilities God has given them. Be one of the first to get this powerful new book. We will send you a copy as our gift when you help support Tony's work here on the air and around the world by making a contribution to the ministry.

And as a special bonus, we will include all 12 lessons from his current series on both CD and digital download. Tony has even created a valuable Kingdom Men Rising Bible study that can help you share this life-changing teaching with others. Get all the details at TonyEvans.org before this limited time offer runs out. That's TonyEvans.org or call 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that after part two of today's lesson, coming up after this.

It is easy to forget what this is supposed to be all about. It's time to level up as a pastor. The 2021 Kingdom Agenda Pastors Summit is a virtual event so you can experience the word wherever you are. If you become a regular abider in the Scriptures, you're going to show yourself to be a real disciple. On April 29th through the 30th, connect with like-minded pastors and share in the power of the Kingdom Agenda. You need some people that will be in your life that will tell you that you're tripping and that you need to get back on the narrow paths. Engage with some of the greatest preachers of our time, like Reverend James T. Meeks, Dr. Gerald Bock, and Dr. Tony Evans. God will empower your actions.

He will not replace your actions. Are you ready to make an impact? Sign up at KAP2021.com. That's KAP2021.com. We can't fake it and make it in front of the world.

Sponsored by the Urban Alternative. 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. One of the greatest events in modern history was May 1948. That's one of the greatest events in modern history, or one of the greatest events in your lifetime, in my lifetime, was May 1948, because in May of 1948, Israel became a nation. That's happened in May 1948. Israel became a nation. Now, that has never happened before in the history of mankind, where a nation stopped being a nation, came back to be a nation, while retaining its language.

That hasn't happened before. But God told them, I am going to bring you back, although I'm going to scatter you Jews all over the world, there will come a day when I will bring you back in preparation for a revival of the nation Israel. And I will keep my word. I will keep my word. It's going to take a minute, but I'm going to keep my word. He says, I promise that there will be a resurrection. I promise, if you will, there will be a revival. Can these bones live again?

Only if I make them. Let me put it another way. I'm going to keep them where they are until they get tired of being there, and realize that I'm the only one who can get them out, because I'm the one who got them in. Okay, let me put it another way. If God is your problem, it doesn't matter whether you're Republican or Democrat. If God is your problem, it doesn't matter whether you have a Democratic Congress or a Republican Congress. If God is your problem, it doesn't matter what social principles you put in place. If God is your problem, when you think you got it fixed by your own strategy, he going to jack it up another way, because if God is your problem, then he wants you to understand that only God is your solution, which is why he says at the end of verse 6, and you will know that I am God.

That's why he says at the end of verse 14, then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it. He says that I'm going to change it, but I'm going to change it. So, dry bones coming up with a program to be undry ain't going to work.

Dry bones trying to come up with something that's going to change your situation, that's not going to work. So, old man of God, old prophet, I'm sending you there. We got bad news. It's a valley of dry bones, all of them dry. Dry people and dry families going to dry churches, living in a dry world. People are hopeless. The families are hopeless. The churches are hopeless.

They're having church dry. Dry bones worshiping, living in a dry world. But I want you to come, old prophet, and I want you to go to that dry situation, that hopeless scenario, to those hopeless people, and I want you to do two things.

I want you to do two things. So, if you are in your own private valley of dryness, hopelessness, you're living in a sea of emptiness. You're living with graffiti written on your soul. You're living with no light at the end of the tunnel, or when there is a light, it's the light of an oncoming train.

Where your own efforts to get out of the valley, the low place, doesn't take you anywhere. 2 Corinthians chapter 1. Paul, now Paul's a great man.

Paul's a leading Christian. But Paul said, I despaired to the point of death. He says, I was in utter despair. I was despairing to the point of death.

That's a dry place. I was despairing to the point of death. Well, Paul, God loves you. Why did God let you get so low?

Paul says, I despaired to the point of death that I might discover it was only God who could raise the dead. God let me get so low until I grew to recognize God does let you get low so that you could discover only He can raise dead people. In other words, He wanted me to grow in my understanding of His sufficiency.

And in order for me to grow in understanding of His sufficiency, He had to bring me to my total insufficiency. He made me go low so that He could demonstrate He raises dead people. So Ezekiel, here's what I want you to do.

Follow this now. Verse 4. He said to me, prophesy over these bones and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.

Them bones, them bones, them dry bones. Hear the word of the Lord. 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. I want you to give, see, dry bones, the word of the Lord. 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 recognized we couldn't fix it. Now, prophet, you can talk. 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.

There was a famine for spiritual truth. See, everybody will come for an emotional stimulus. 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 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, 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. And like the seasons, they change so quickly.

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. If you're dead inside because of unforgiven sin, Dr. Tony Evans will come back in a moment to explain how you can start a brand new life. Very quickly though, I want to mention that today's lesson is part of Tony's powerful series called Kingdom Men Rising. There are 12 full length messages in this collection containing bonus content we won't have time to present on the air. As I mentioned earlier, it's yours as our thank you gift when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on the station. Along with it, we'll also send you his just released companion book, Kingdom Men Rising. There's even a comprehensive Bible study available if you want to dig deeper. This is a special limited time package, so don't wait. Visit tonyevans.org today or reach out to our resource center at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are always on hand to help you.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Tomorrow, more from Dr. Evans on how God can take our dry, dead faith and fill it with life and vitality. Right now though, he's back with a final thought about what it really means to be a believer. You're not a Christian because you're religious or because you go to church or even because you believe in God. You're a Christian because you've accepted Jesus Christ as your personal sin bearer. Being religious, doing good works, that's nice, but it's not sufficient when God demands perfection. 2 Corinthians 5.21 says, He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. So what God has said is He placed your sin on the cross, on to Christ, and then judged Christ for your sin. If you will go to Christ, He will take Christ's righteousness, which is perfect, and He will credit it to your account. So you will stand before God as though you've never sinned, not because you're sinless, but because you've got a sinless credit on your account. If you will receive Jesus Christ right now, if you will invite Him into your life believing that He died for you and rose for you personally, He will credit your account with perfection because He's already credited your sin on to Jesus Christ. So go to Christ right now and get this free gift of salvation that He's offering to all who come to Him for it. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-02 13:47:52 / 2023-12-02 13:57:04 / 9

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