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The following is from Agapepress, September 8, 2003. I thought is was very appropriate for the hour in which we live.


The Right Frame of Mind
Prophesy to the Dry Bones

By Rev. Mark H. Creech
September 8, 2003

(AgapePress) - Some may only see Ezekiel 37 as the inspiration for the Negro spiritual, "Dem Bones." But the passage actually provides the key for resurrecting a fallen country. Although it seems to be the "eleventh" hour in a nation's existence, by the means of preaching, a great turning to God can be affected that will bring deliverance from His judgment.

Ezekiel's vision of the valley of dry bones is one of the most profound stories in all of Scripture. Ezekiel is picked up by the Lord and placed in the midst of a tremendous valley. All around, everywhere the prophet looked, there was nothing but dry bones. Then Ezekiel is commanded to prophesy that the bones hear the Word of the Lord (Ez. 37:4). As the prophet proclaims the Word, the bones come together with flesh and muscle. Next Ezekiel is commanded to prophesy that breath should enter the newly formed bodies (Ez. 37:9) and the bodies become a vast living army. Finally, he prophesies the restoration of these new lives to their homeland.

These words from Ezekiel teach that the power of the Word of God preached, together with the Spirit of Christ, can transform a specter of death into one of life. There is no ministry under the heavens so advisable, so critically needed, so blessed of God as that of preaching. The apostle Paul wrote, "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (I Cor. 1:21).

How are men and women turned to God? I answer without apology -- primarily by preaching. The Scriptures say, "How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rom. 10:14). Note the Scriptures didn't say counseling, drama; music, books, religious columns, etc. would be the chief means of bringing people to Christ. It said, "a preacher."

Don't misunderstand me; I don't want to diminish the importance of all these other ministries. Nevertheless, I agree with something John Barber contends in his book Earth Restored. He argues that any strategy for calling nations and individuals to obedient trust in Christ, which eliminates or downplays preaching, is tantamount to inviting people for Thanksgiving dinner, minus the turkey. Preaching is the singular most effective tool God has given the Church for calling men to Himself. And in these perilous times when our nation is experiencing the worst moral meltdown in its history, its time we used it!!!

The late Dr. W.A. Criswell said that in 1950, he and Dr. Duke McCall went on a preaching mission around the world. When they came to Manila, the American Ambassador, Myron M. Cowan, invited them to eat lunch with him in the embassy.

Dr. Criswell said he was amazed to learn from the Ambassador that the people of the Islands for the most part had a religion they couldn't understand and they needed preaching to, they needed to be taught the Word of God in their own language so they could become a nation of integrity and honesty and Christian nobility. He then asked Drs. Criswell and McCall if their denomination would send a thousand preachers to the Islands. He said that when they were in Japan, General Douglas MacArthur asked for the same thing.

It is the preaching of the Word of God that people need. And it is the preaching of the Word of God that changes nations.

We've seen what the miraculous power of preaching means to America. The unadulterated preaching of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield changed the spiritual landscape of our nation before the American Revolution. Their preaching ushered in what became known as the "Great Awakening" and along with it many of the great liberties we enjoy today. Then there were those like John Wesley, D. L. Moody, Charles Finney, and Billy Sunday. These preachers help set great spiritual forces in motion. Literally millions of lives, homes and careers were salvaged, redirected or transformed as a direct result of their preaching. Had not these men courageously proclaimed God's Word, America by now may have died as a major nation.

Granted, we have great preachers today in men like Billy and Franklin Graham, Charles Stanley, Adrian Rogers, D. James Kennedy, and Jerry Falwell. In fact, were it not for these preachers and a few like them, I doubt that most Americans would even be exposed to the Gospel today. This is why we need thousands more like them as pastors of small and larger churches, evangelists, street preachers and lay preachers -- not men necessarily of great oratory skill, but simply preachers who will not falter in their mission to preach; preachers of stout heart who are unafraid to preach the Bible plainly; those who will preach Christ as the only way; those who will speak out against political corruption; those who will speak out against sexual sin; those who will speak out against our nation's crass materialism; those who will speak out against the slaying of the innocent; those who will speak out against tyranny; those who will speak up for Christ!!!!

"The foolishness of preaching" (I Cor. 1:21) will transform the hearts and lives of Americans. It will convert to a better life the small and the great. The heroin addict in the street and the politician in Washington, the poor girl weeping in the abortion clinic and the atheistic philosopher in his ivory tower, the evolutionists in his laboratory and the alcoholic at the bar -- all are changed when they listen with their hearts to the preaching of God's Word.

Yes, our nation will rise and be restored to righteousness when preachers once again prophesy to the dry bones.
 
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