Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
I. Life To Dry Bones
4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
7 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. 8 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. 9 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. 10 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.
The prophet Ezekiel was taken to a valley full of dry bones. The LORD asked him, ‘Can these bones live? Can life actually come back into these dry bones?’ Ezekiel wisely answered – ‘O Lord GOD, only You know something like that.’ In other words – ‘Man could never cause this to happen. But You can.’ God did indeed know about these bones for this is a prophetic revelation of His plan for the nation Israel during the last days.
A. God’s Re-Gathering of Jews to Israel
11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
In my opinion, this is one of the greatest biblical signs indicating that we are living in the last days. The opening of the graves is not a physical resurrection of bodies, but a national resurrection of the nation Israel. Since the beginning of the early 1900’s, God has been in the process of calling His people back to their homeland of Israel. He is putting flesh back upon their bones.
B. God’s Regeneration of Israel
Yet even though the Jewish people are re-gathering as a nation, something is still missing. They are still without salvation. They have returned to their homeland but they have not returned to God. Scripture teaches us that during the last half of the Tribulation Period, there will be great persecution of the Jewish people by that man known as the Antichrist; yet at the same time, there will be a great spiritual awakening. The biblical word is ‘regeneration’ and it refers to a new birth.
13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
II. The Holy Spirit’s Work in Our Salvation
Although this is a brief lesson on end time events, the primary point I want to make does not concern the nation Israel or the Tribulation Period. Instead I want to focus upon the Spirit’s work in our salvation. Thus far we have considered the Holy Spirit as a dove and as fire. Tonight we will look at how He manifests Himself as wind, or the breath of God.
A. Spirit, Breath and Wind
An important truth that we need to know is that both in the Old and New Testaments, the word ‘wind’ is also the same word as ‘breath’, and ‘spirit.’ On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit manifested Himself not only as fire, but also as a rushing mighty wind. Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to wind in His conversation with Nicodemus. Paul tells us that all scripture is given by inspiration of God. The phrase – ‘inspiration by God’ is one word which means – ‘God breathed.’ Peter tells us that men of old wrote prophecy as they were ‘moved by the Holy Ghost.’ The thought is that they were moved by the Spirit as a gust of wind fills the sail of a ship and carries it across the sea. Ezekiel tells us that the breath of life that God will place back in His people is His Spirit.”14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live…”
That is not to say that every time we read of God and wind in the same verse of scripture, we automatically conclude that it is a reference to the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel also speaks of God using the four winds of the earth.
Yet the Spirit of God is the breath of God and by Him, God gives life to His people, as well as work in their lives. Jesus tells us, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63 NKJV)
B. New Life Given to the Dead
1. Spiritually Dead
Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (To be dead in trespasses and sins means that there was no desire for God, nor any relationship with Him.)
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
a. Ye Must Be Born Again
How does God give spiritual life to that which was dead? Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:3 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
b. Ye Must Be Born From Above
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The phrase ‘born again’ means to be ‘born from above.’ It’s a new beginning, yet it’s a new beginning that comes from above, or in other words – from God.
c. Ye Must Be Born of the Spirit
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
2. Spiritually Alive
a. Our Sins Given to Christ
Two thousand years ago, God sent His Son to be born of a woman, so that in human flesh, He might die for the sins of humanity. On the cross, Jesus bore the sins of the world. “He who knew no sin, was made to be sin for us.” (2 Cor 5:21)
Salvation occurs when we by faith, trust in what Jesus has done as the atonement for our sins. Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ.” (Gal 2:20) When Paul put his faith and trust in what Jesus had done for him, the sacrifice of Christ was made effective in him.
b. Christ’s Life Given to Us
But that’s not all. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” (Gal 2:20) At that same moment, the life of Christ was made effective in him. The Holy Spirit came to live within Paul and to impart the life of Christ to him.
III. The Mystery of the Spirit’s Movement
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Jesus said that the wind blow where it pleases, and though we may hear its sound and see its effect, we cannot control it, nor completely understand it. So it is with the saving work of the Holy Spirit. I have shared the gospel with some and they were ready to be saved, even before I finished. I’ve sometimes wondered if they were not already saved, even before I began. Without a doubt I have witnessed the presence of the Spirit in their lives, even before we prayed. Then I have shared the gospel with others and even though I did everything I could to convince them, they have refused to receive Christ? Why?
There are two possible reasons:
A. The Spirit was calling but they refused to listen
In Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin, he said –
Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
B. The Spirit was not calling them
Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” (John 6:44)
C. How Is a Man Saved?
John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
1. Holy Spirit takes the Word of God:
a. Convicts a man of his sin and the coming judgment
b. Convinces a man that Christ is the only answer
2. Thus the Spirit produces two necessary elements for salvation:
Ezekiel 37:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: