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Reviving Defeated Christians

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
September 2, 2021 8:00 am

Reviving Defeated Christians

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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September 2, 2021 8:00 am

There are times when the going gets so tough we’re tempted to throw in the towel and say, I quit. But in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will talk about steps we can take to keep us moving past the problems in our way. Learn to see your realities as reminders of why your faith is so important.

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As dead and dry as your situation appears to be, you have a future. Dr. Tony Evans says it won't come from politics or programs, it'll come from the Lord. Even though life is not you over, you can keep going so that you will know that he alone is the Lord God of your circumstance. 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. Sometimes it feels like life has hit us so hard, we're down for the count, and there's no way we're getting back to our feet. Well today Dr. Evans says God is in our corner, and He'll lift us up even when nothing else can.

Let's listen as he sets the stage for today's encouraging truth. On December 17, 1924, an S4 submarine was rammed just off of Cape Cod. The submarine began to sink. Forty sailors rushed to the only compartment left with oxygen on the submarine that was sinking.

They began to send a code out with a question. Low on oxygen, sinking, they asked, is there any hope? They were in a situation that they could not fix. They were running out of the ability to breathe. They were locked in a tube so they couldn't see whether there was any help available. All they could do was send out a message with a question. Is there any hope?

When you look at our world today unraveling at warp speed, that would seem to be the appropriate question. Is there any hope? Can this hot mess be fixed? Individuals are asking this question, is there any hope?

Will I be able to get back to life as normal? People are arguing about what we could do, what we should do. A single female wants to know, is there any hope that I will ever have a meaningful relationship with a good man? Is there any hope? Couples raise the question, is there any hope for this relationship? Divorce looks like it's the only resolution.

Is there any hope? And the culture, is there any hope for racial unity? Is there any hope for political order? Is there any hope for civility to return?

Because I don't know about you, but if you look at the loose long enough, you're reminded it's not getting better. Regardless of your political persuasion, it is clear it kind of doesn't matter who's in the White House, because the calamity continues to unravel. So the question is, is there any hope?

And every time it looks like there's a little light, it turns out to be the light of an oncoming train, because things just revert back to being problematic again. And the question is, is there any hope? I want to call your attention to a passage of Scripture well known by all of us who are acquainted with our Bibles. In the book of Ezekiel, the most well-known chapter in the book of Ezekiel, you know it as the Valley of Dry Bones, Ezekiel 37. And that's the question that the prophet has to raise, is there any hope?

Let's look at the situation. The hand of the Lord was upon me, verse 1 says, he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley, and it was full of bones. We're told at the end of verse 2, and they were very dry. We're told in verse 11, our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off. He paints a picture of desperation, despair, defeat, disunity, and he says, our hope is gone. We have been cut off.

We're cut off from God and we're cut off from each other. He gives him a picture of an ossuary. An ossuary is a coffin. He sees this huge coffin encompassing a whole valley, and the bones were very dry, he says. In other words, it's been this way a long time.

They're not just dry, they are very dry. We've been in this stupa for a long time, and the bones, he says in the passage, were all disconnected. The biggest, best picture I can give you is a puzzle box. When you see the puzzle box, the pieces are all rambled and disconnected. They don't fit together yet.

It's not fitting together. He calls them later on in the chapter an army. So we're looking at a defeated army, an army that can't fight.

We're looking at an army that's been beaten toe up from the flow up. He's looking at what he calls in verse 11, the whole house of Israel. In other words, this was a crumbled nation. Israel was the people of God in the Old Testament. The church is the people of God in the New Testament. He says of the Old Testament people of God, we are a defeated culture, a defeated nation. Transposing that to today, I've called this message reviving defeated Christians, because we supposed to be God's army.

But we are full of bones, dried up for a very long time. Now to set the context for this situation, you have to understand why they are where they are. Why are they in this desperate, defeated situation? There in Babylonian captivity, Ezekiel is prophesying at a time when Babylon has been used by God to discipline his people. The reason for the discipline is stated in verse 25 of chapter 36, then I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean.

I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and all your idols. You see what Israel had done is it had bought into the culture and had adopted the values of the secular nations around it and incorporated their values into God's people. Idols will always produce spiritual distance.

In other words, once you adopt an idol, it will automatically disconnect you from God. And so this distance had placed God's people, Israel, into a major predicament which causes Ezekiel to hear God raise a question. Here's the question God raises.

Verse 3, He said to me, God says to Ezekiel, Son of man, can these bones live? If I were to ask you, how do we fix the church and how does the church then impact the culture? I'd have to say, God, you know. In other words, don't ask me. Don't ask me because I can't help with that question. It's too messed up. Only you know God, because it's gonna take some omniscience to fix this. He just sees a situation so bad that he doesn't see that it can be fixed. There was no light at the end of the tunnel.

Or was there? Keep in mind now, we have an unfixable problem. You may have an unfixable problem in your life.

I'm sure if I ask everybody with dry bones in here to raise your hands, there'd be some hands that go up, because you're in a situation you can't fix. It's too big. It's too complex. It's out of your control.

You don't have even the get up and go to go get it. You're just stuck, discouraged on some level. Dr. Evans will come back to tell us what God does next when he continues this message from his brand new series, Divine Reset. If you're feeling troubled, backed into a corner, and defeated, then this life-changing collection of lessons is for you. There are messages on moving beyond complacency, unlocking God's power in your life, finding triumph after trials, and experiencing God in this life and the one to come. We want you to realize all God intended for you, so we'll send you all ten full-length CDs or digital downloads in this set as our thank-you gift when you make a contribution to help keep Tony's teaching on this station. Along with it, we'll include his helpful booklet, Winning Your Spiritual Battles. This valuable resource can offer hope and guidance as it helps you identify areas of spiritual weakness and prepares you to stand firm against the devil's attacks on your life. You'll get both of these resources with our thanks when you make a donation and request them online at or let someone on our resource team help you by calling 1-800-800-3222 any time of the day or night.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Dr. Evans will come back with part two of his message right after this. Coming to theaters this November. I'm here in Bethany, the place where Lazarus was raised from the dead. I'm here in the place where it's believed was the tomb from which he walked when Jesus raised him from the dead.

Dr. Tony Evans brings the New Testament Gospels to life as he visits the locations of Jesus' earthly ministry, connecting them to their significance for humankind today. What do you think has died in your life? Maybe hope has died. Relationships have died. Maybe your dreams have died.

Guess what? Jesus is still the resurrection. He can take things that are dead and bring them back to life again. November 15th, 16th, and 17th. Travel with Dr. Tony Evans on a life-changing, eye-opening journey with Jesus.

Find theaters, showtimes, and learn more at God then tells them something. Now, the first thing He said was, can these bones live? That's the first question. He says, I can't answer that question.

Only you can answer that question. It's too bad. Again, He says to me, verse 4, prophesy over these bones and say to them, hear the word of the Lord. So these bones can still hear. Hear the words of the Lord because now maybe they're ready to listen. See, they've been listening to the word of man. They've been listening to the word of the culture. They've been listening to the word of the experts, of the elite.

They've been listening to every other word. So now, Ezekiel, I want you to prophesy the word of the Lord because sometimes you're not ready to listen to God yet until something's got bad enough, long enough, deep enough that you're now willing to pay undivided attention because there's no way out. But notice what he told them to do. He says, prophesy to the bones. Prophecy is a form of preaching, but it is more than just informational disclosure. The prophets spoke God's will into a specific situation. That's why the New Testament says, despise not prophesy. He's not talking about go to church and hear the preacher. He's saying, despise not God's Word being spoken into a situation. So one of the things in your own dryness you should ask God for is a prophetic word, not just a sermon. Thus saith the Lord, verse 5, the Lord God to these bones. Behold, I will cause breath to enter to you, that you may come to life.

Hmm. So I want to say to you here today in a dry situation, you have a future. As dead and dry as your situation appears to be, you have a future.

But it won't come from politics or programs. It'll come from the Lord. When he spoke the word of hope, there's still dry bones, but something happened. Verse 7 says, when I prophesied, there was a noise.

Click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click. There was a rattling and bones came together, bone to bone. The bones started rattling. Something happened when a prophetic word was spoken into the situation. We don't just need general preaching today.

We're in too big a mess for that. We need the prophetic word spoken into the situation so the bones can rattle. There's a problem, verse 8, even though stuff was rattling, there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, God said to me, prophesy to the breath. He says in verse 10, I prophesied as he commanded me, the breath came into them and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

Wow. What is the breath? Verse 14, I will put my Spirit within you. The reason why we are not alive is the Spirit is missing. Even if you have the Word.

But when the Word connects with the Spirit, things begin to live again that look like they could never ever function again. And not only did they live, they became a exceedingly great army. What does an army do?

Fight. You know what Christians have been doing? Retreating. The reason why we're in this mess is because we were a retreating army.

Huge army, everybody loving Jesus, retreating to the church and abandoning the culture to the devil. It is always 2nd Corinthians 3, 17, and 18. He says, but you are with unveiled face. He says, coming into His presence and when you do, you look into the mirror of His Word and then the Spirit takes over transforming you. You must have both.

Now let me make all of us feel a little bad now. If you just show up for the sermon, all you'll get is a rattle, maybe, if it's a prophetic word for you. You will never get transformation from a sermon. The reason He tells them to prophesy to the Spirit, which is the breath, is because in the Bible, Jesus says the Spirit is the Spirit of truth. In other words, the Spirit will only respond to the truth. When you mix human opinion with the truth, He will not respond. God told them in John chapter 5, He said, you search the Scriptures, you read your Bible, but you don't have life.

So let's look at this picture as we come to conclusion. Say to them, verse 12, thus said the Lord, behold I will open your graves and cause you to come up out your graves, my people, and I will bring you into the land of Israel. In other words, I'm gonna bring you back to what you lost. We've forsaken you, we've abandoned you, we've not repented, we've gone our own way. Do you mean as long as we've been doing our own thing, you still gonna let us live again?

Why are you gonna do that? Verse 13, then you will know that I am the Lord. End of verse 14, then you will know that I am the Lord, have spoken and done it, declares the Lord. God will let us get so low when we have been in rebellion against Him that only He can fix it.

There'll be no humans getting the credit, there'll be no program getting the credit. You gonna know it's me because you buried, you in your grave. Jeremiah 29 says it, you know, I have a plan for you, says the Lord, plan for your well-being and not for your calamity, to give you a future, to give you a hope. And then he says, then you will seek me, and then you will look for me, then you will find me when you search for me with all of your heart.

Then he comes to verse 14 and says, and I will restore your fortune. I'm gonna reconstitute this thing. Dr. Tony Evans will come back to share a story from his youth and the insights he gleaned from it when he wraps up today's message in just a moment.

First though, I wanted to let you know that Monday is the last day to take advantage of that special offer I mentioned earlier. All ten full-length audio messages from Tony's powerful message series, Divine Reset, which today's broadcast comes from, and a copy of his popular booklet, Winning Your Spiritual Battles. Together, these helpful resources can redefine your focus, turning your attention to what's truly important in life and giving you the tools and insights to allow you to overcome complacency and issues of your past. They're yours as our thank you when you request them and make a donation in support of the ministry here on this station and around the world. Make your resource request when you visit today, or you can also sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional. Again, that's, or call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our friendly team members assist you. That's 1-800-800-3222. There are times when the going gets so tough, we're tempted to throw in the towel and say, I quit.

But tomorrow, Dr. Evans will point out there are things we can do to help keep us moving to a strong finish. Right now though, he's back with this story. When I was growing up, what I did on many Saturdays would go to the Lafayette bowling alley. Well, back then, bowling wasn't sophisticated like it is now.

The technology was not as it is now. So when you rolled and knocked down the pins, the technology was so bad it often would not be able to pick up all the pins that had been knocked down. So at the Lafayette bowling alley, when I was growing up, there was a man behind each of the alleys who would walk from lane to lane picking up pins that had been knocked over that the equipment didn't get. Now you never saw this guy's face. I never knew who this was. You saw his feet. And all he did was go from lane to lane to lane to lane picking up pins that had been knocked over that the machinery didn't get.

Never knew who he was. All I knew is he was able to take something that had been rolled over and set it up right again. If you feel like your life has been rolled over by your circumstances and there is no hope, if you feel like things have gone to pot and they can't get better, I can't tell you what he looks like. But I do know somebody who can go from life to life, family to family, church to church, culture to culture, and he knows how to take things that have been knocked over and set them up right again. So don't you quit, don't you give up, don't you throw in the towel. And why can you keep going? Even though life has knocked you over, you can keep going so that you will know that he alone is the Lord God of your circumstances. 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 / 2023-09-11 15:46:53 / 2023-09-11 15:54:43 / 8

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