REVIVAL AND RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH – Eze. 37:1-14
The church is the body of Christ. The church is meant to be the gathering of all saints, but nowadays, it is failing in her responsibilities. The church is decaying and dying. It is gradually leaving her glorious path to the promised land. The church needs revival. If there is no revival there can be no survival. Revival precedes restoration. Revival of the church is very important because her assignment cannot be given to another creature. It was the man (the church) who was given the mandate to go to every creature and preach the gospel, Mk . 16:15. Hence, the need for the few faithful to cry out as the psalmist cried in ps. 85:4-7
God in his mercy planted the land of Canaan and gave it to Abraham and his descendants. God made all things beautiful with his own power and put them in a land they did not work for. But they allowed the devil to come in and turned it dry because of closed heaven. The people on the mountain top then became those whose dry bones struggle in the valley. This was the pathetic situation the people of Israel found themselves which Ezekiel saw in Eze. 37.
The situation is not different from what we are seeing in the church today. The church was given birth to fully on the day of Pentecost with a fire of the Holy Spirit. The church started on a good note, growing everyday. Firebrand Christians were the product from the church in the beginning. What are we seeing today? Lukewarm, fake, dead Christians are the products from the church. What went wrong? Ezekiel 37: 1-2. What brought about the multitude of dead and dry bones in the valley.
What makes the church dry?
- Closed heaven: The church is drying and dying because God closed heaven because of our sins, 2Chr. 7:13. Eli’s ministry experienced such, 1Sam. 3:1 – In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. Many soul are dying in sin instead of dying to sin. Lack of vision causes many to be lead astray and met their death because heaven was closed.
- Famine: Because heaven had been closed, the food and water that supposed to be nourishing the saints in the church is scarce. The true spiritual food that would keep the members of the church is scarcely given in the church today, not to talk of the ones the church will give to the society.
- Unconquered spiritual battle: Many so called members of the church lacked power to conquer the spiritual battle facing their lives because the church is denying the true power of God. They have the form of godliness but lack its power.
- Spiritual captivity/siege: Many members of the church are more or less in spiritual bondage and they are yet to know what to do.
- Satanic networking or conspiracy: Today, many are part-time Christians and they want to face the full-time devil who always moves up and down to seek whom to devour. They have forgotten that they are to put on the whole armour of God.
Characteristics of a dying church
- Lifeless When the life in man is gone, the body will die. The spirit gives life, the flesh profits nothing. A church which lacks the source of life, Jesus is dead. Such a church cannot produce a living Christian.
- Useless When somebody is useless in the things of God he becomes useful in the things of the Devils. A church which is not useful in the things of God, soul winning is dead.
- Evilness -This is the quality of being morally wrong in principle or practice. When a church or members of the church cannot follow God’s principle in any thing he does, such church is dead already.
- Worthless When a Christian has his lost worthiness in the society, it is as good as dry bones. You are the salt of the world. Mat. 5:13. When a church is failing to serve as sweetening and preservative agent it is called to be, such church is dead. The church is the light of the world but failing in this responsibility makes her to be a city in the valley that is hidden.
- Hopelessness: When a Church starts living a hopeless or faithless life, such a church is dead. Eze 37:11. When the hope of Jesus’ coming is faded away in the church that church is already dead.
- Visionless: This is what is obtained from a church whose spiritual eyes is blind and spiritual ear is block. A Church who cannot see beyond now, whose ear had been block is more or less a directionless Church heading for destruction. .
- Valueless. A Church whose members value mundane things and never value the things of God, as a result of misplaced priority is dead.
- Stagnation: A church which is not a going church can never be a growing church. Act 3:1, John. 5. A Christian who is stagnant spiritually is dead. A going Christian is a growing Christian. A church that is going to change her society for Christ is not a church of Christ.
- Spiritual imprisonment. When Peter was in the prison in Act 12:5, preaching was ceased, miracles stopped, the only thing the church could do was to pray. A church where soul-saving messages had been imprisoned is dead. A church who is spiritually incapacitated cannot be a living church.
- Wrong location – Dung hill is the location of dry bones, A Christian who is always found in a wrong location doing wrong things is not living for Christ.
- A sick person is inactive so also a Christian who is sick cannot be active again. A church whose members are spiritually sick cannot rise up to their responsibilities. They will rather be complaining like the man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5.
- Falling and rising. A church whose members are living a Zig-zag, unstable, or inconsistent life is dying spiritually.
- Stinkingness: In John 11, Lazarus had stayed four days in the grave, he had been stinking. Only the faithful, Mary and Martha could stay with him, friends had left. When the life of a Christian is affecting the society and the church negatively to the point that people are running away from Christ, such a Christian is dead.
- Faded glory. The church that is not living to glorified Christ or in anticipation of the coming glory is a dead church. No race no crown.
- No celebration/ testimony: A church that has lost his testimony cannot be celebrated.
What the church needs to revive and be restored
- Open heaven. 2Chr. 7:15
- Mercy which He had already extended to you.
- The hand of the Lord that will open our grave and also takes us from our grave. Isaiah 43: 4-7
- The true Prophets of God. The church needs revivalists like Nehemiah, Ezra, Eleazar, Paul, Peter, John Wesley, Ayo Babalola to mention but a few. Men who are not mere organiser but real agoniser. Men who are on fire for God. Men and women who can say like John Wesley “Set me on fire Lord and cause the world to come and watch me burn”
- The word of Prophesy which will not be watered down to suite our taste but to achieve God’s purpose – “come out from the grave.” Prophetic word in action – Acts 12:5-7
- Men and women who will stick to The sword of the spirit (the word) – 2Sam. 23: 10 “He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder”. Sword is a weapon to conquer battle, Ex 17:13. Men who had Stuck their lives around the word shall always be victorious – Joshua in Ex. 17:13. The church shall recover all her lost if we can stick to the word and not to the world. A woman with the issue of blood in Mk. 5: 27 obtained victory despite coming from behind because she was able to stick to Jesus – the word. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.
One thing that is common to those who were revived and restored was obedience to the word when they heard it. Continuous Obedience to God’s word means continuous victory, revival, recovery and joy.