Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Festival Of Pentecost

Option A: From  Kelly Bedard 

Feeling It (The Holy Spirit) In Your Bones!
Ezekiel 37:1-14

A. God's got a bone to pick with us

1. Because, like the Jews in Babylonia, we're held captive in our sin, despondent

2. Because, like the Jews in Babylonia, we are dispersed and feel left without a home

B. But ultimately makes no bones about it

1. Because of Christ's death, which restores us from our captivity to sin

2. Because of the Spirit's power, which keeps us through faith until we see our final (heavenly home)


1. Verse 1: an open hand (yawd)--of power, means, direction--as opposed to a closed one (kaf), hollow

2. Verses 4-5: preaching to dry bones (a brick wall?) will bear fruit, so don't give up!

3. Verses 6-8: bodies formed but spirits not in them

4. Verse 9

a. "Slain" = pregnant, conceive (hawraw); with themselves ("Full of ourselves")?

b. Four winds--not just simply wind but, instead, extraordinary (Spiritual) wind (cf. the Holy Spirit as life-giver)

5. Verse 11

a. "Dried" (bones; yawbashe) = ashamed, confused, disappointed

b. "Lost" (hope; awbad) = wander away, lose oneself

6. From the land of Israel to God's land (contemporary and universal application of "Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria")

7. Dead, dry bones = life without God, doubt and despair; wind, spirit = life with Him, knowing Him, the empowering life of faith

8. Re: sermon title, certainty without any real reason--ultimately, faith

9. Re: part B of outline, to admit freely, no attempt to hide

Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.


Option B: From Wayne Dobratz

Hope...When Hope Seems Dead
Ezekiel 37:1-14

I. Trust in God’s Almighty Power

A. Judah was in exile in a foreign land and seemed dead as a nation.

B. They were in captivity because of their rebellion as Moses had predicted long before in Deut. 28 passim.

C. In the same way, man is by nature a captive of sin’s power, as in Rom. 8:11-14, Eph. 2:1-5, Rom. 6:16, Rom. 7:23

C. But God is at His best when all seems lost, as in vv. 1-3

II. Trust in the power of His Word

A. As in vv. Ezek. 37:3-11

B. As in Eph. 2:6-10

C. This vision shows God’s power of spiritual resurrection, as in Lk. 15:32, Eph. 5:14, & Col. 2:13.

III. Trust in His promises

A. As in 6-14

B. For spiritual life as in John 5:24, Ezek. 36:26, 2 Cor. 5:17, 1 Pt. 1:23

Adam Clarke summarizes this vision:

Under the symbol of the open valley being thickly strewed with very dry bones is represented the hopeless state of the Jews when dispersed throughout the provinces of the Chaldean empire. But God, contrary to every human probability, restores these bones to life, thereby prefiguring the restoration of that people from the Babylonian captivity, and their resettlement in the land of their forefathers, vv. 1-14. The prophet then makes an elegant transition to the blessedness of the people of God under the Gospel, in the finished work of Christ and by the power of the Comforter who came in His name when the genuine converts to Christianity, the spiritual Israel, shall be no longer under the domination of heathen rulers.

Matthew Henry writes:

No created power could restore human bones to life. God alone could cause them to live. Skin and flesh covered them, and the wind was then told to blow upon these bodies; and they were restored to life. The wind was a symbol of the Spirit of God, and represented his quickening powers. The vision was to encourage the despondent Jews; to predict both their restoration after the captivity, and also their recovery from their present and long-continued dispersion. It was also a clear intimation of the resurrection of the dead; and it represents the power and grace of God, in the conversion of the most hopeless sinners to himself. Let us look to Him who will at last open our graves, and bring us forth to judgment, that He may now deliver us from sin, and put his Spirit within us, and keep us by his power, through faith, unto salvation.

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

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