First Lesson: Acts 2:1-21:
1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
Psalm 51b on Page 87 in Christian Worship
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Gospel Lesson: John 14:25-27:
25“All this I have spoken while still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Sermon Text: Ezekiel 37:1-14:
1The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
Introduction: One of my very favorite kind of movies is the animated movie. They were definitely my favorite when I was little when I would get up early on Saturday mornings to watch the cartoons. They remain favorites of mine to adulthood. If there is one kind of movie I still try hard to see in the theater, it’s a new animated movie by Disney or Pixar. The word “animate” literally means “bring life to.” Animated cartoons are called that because the film makers give life to cartoon drawings and make them move and talk. One of my very favorite methods of animation is stop motion animation. The unquestioned master of stop motion animation was Ray Harryhausen. The animated skeleton sequence from his movie Jason and the Argonauts remains one of the most amazing scenes that mix live action and animation that I can think of. As amazing as that scene is, it pales in comparison to what is described here. This amazing vision describes what God does for us in his Word
God Animates Us
I. He takes dead material
II. And makes it spiritually alive
- He takes dead material
- Ezekiel’s ministry can be easily divided into two sections: pre & post destruction
- He was taken captive in the first wave of the Babylonian captivity as a young man
- The people then were optimistic because of false prophets of the imminent release
- Ezekiel had to tell the people that they would be held for 70 years because of sin
- About 10 years later, Jerusalem & the temple were destroyed & many captives
- The people looked around and thought that all was lost, including God’s promises
- These people went from cocky & arrogant to being people in utter despair of God
- This is when he had to speak to them about hope & God’s promise of a Messiah
- While he was conducting this ministry, God showed him the valley of dry bones
- This was a picture of Israel as it was at the time, an utterly defeated hopeless army
- When the Bible speaks of our natural condition, it uses the same language: Eph.
- It was the scene that the disciples looks at on the day of Pentecost after Easter
- What hope is there for us and for a world that is trapped in the deadness of sin?
- And makes it spiritually alive
- God asked the question: “Son of man, can these bones live?” “You alone know.”
- What God told him next much surprised him. He’s seen a great display of power
- But God told him simply to speak to the bones and tell them what God would do
- Behold! When he spoke this, the bones came together and became dead bodies
- God told him to speak to the wind and enter the bodies, like 6th day of creation
- The breath of the Lord entered them and they became a living, breathing army
- This is what God said he’d do for the hopeless people of Israel, bring them back
- Then he would fulfill the promise of the Savior he had made a long time before
- This was the promise that Jesus gave his disciples, bring life through simple word
- This is what God accomplished through their preaching and what it still does
- We have been brought to life & we look forward to resurrection from the dead.