SermonRaising Spiritually Dead People
An all-creatures Bible Message

Raising Spiritually Dead People

A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church

29 March 2020

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Ezekiel 37:1-14
John 11:1-45
Romans 8:6-11

Raising spiritually dead people is probably all that we can do, because it doesnít seem to be possible for us to raise any dead living being whether human or other animal.

So, raising spiritually dead people is what should happen when we tell others the good news about Jesus Christ, but unfortunately most people donít listen to the unction of the Holy Spirit completely, otherwise we wouldnít have so much violence in the world that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.

We are to be the peacemaking children of God, who live in the heavenly will of God and do everything in our power to help free creation from its present corruption.

As we look at Ezekiel 37:1-14, we will see that the main theme of the story is really raising spiritually dead people to become the peacemaking children of God, which is also what we should be trying to do in our present time.

1. The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.

Bones are from living beings, or in this case from once living beings who have died, so we could think about this place as being the valley of death.

2. And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry.

These very dry bones indicate that these previous living beings had been dead a long time.

3. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord GOD, Thou knowest."

If we think in worldly terms, we would say that these bones could not live, but God has the power to do anything; thus, Ezekiel answered the way that he did.

We often think about people who eat animals as being living graves, but at the same time, we know that these dead animals will live again forever and ever with the Lord in heaven, which a lot of people, including many clergy, donít want to admit, even though the Bible tells us that they are in heaven.

4. Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.'

Remember that all of this was in a vision, and Ezekiel knew that the Lord had a mission for him to perform, as we hope that each and every one of us are prepared and willing to do.

5. "Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.

God, through Ezekiel, is speaking to the dead, which is really a spiritual message.

6. 'And I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.' "

Note carefully the ending of this verse, ďand you will know that I am the LORD,Ē which we believe is a message for the spiritually dead.

We can also relate that to this very day, for we believe that most people, including clergy, are spiritually dead to freeing creation from its present corruption, which includes every human, every animal, and the environment in which we all live.

These people deny the fact that animals have souls and spirits just as we do, and that they want to live just as much as we do; if people really followed the Golden Rule they would realize that these animals are part of all ďothersĒ who we should be treating as we want to be treated.

7. So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone.

In other words, I believe that it means that we should be speaking to the spiritually dead about the heavenly will of God and the fact that since there is no pain or suffering or death in heaven, we should be doing everything in our power to end all human caused pain, suffering, and death, which in turn will help heal our environment.

8. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew, and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.

The word of God is causing even the spiritually dead to begin to respond, which we have been trying to do with very little success for nearly 40 years, but as more and more people are joining in our effort, we have been seeing more recent changes and awareness.

9. Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD," Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."'"

This is really our hope and prayer.

Just as Ezekiel prophesied to the spiritually dead of Israel, now we are to speak to the spiritually dead of today, especially those who are blinded to animal issues and those who care about them.

10. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

We donít believe that we should seek to an exceedingly great army in the usual sense of the word, but we should seek to be peacemaking children of God who live in His heavenly will and do no harm to any part of His creation.

And, today we should be speaking out and encouraging people to live this way and turn away from the corrupt and ungodly ways of this world.

11. Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.'

They felt this way because they turned away from the Lord and followed the corrupt ways of this world, but if we repent of these worldly ways and truly seek the Lord with a desire to live in Godís heavenly will here on earth as it is in heaven, we will be spiritually healed and become His peacemaking children.

12. "Therefore prophesy, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD," Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.

God can raise us up from our spiritual graves, now, if we are willing and do not continue to hold on to the worldly ways around us.

13. "Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.

14. "And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it," declares the LORD.' "

This is when we are truly born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, which is evidenced by our living in Godís heavenly will and doing everything we can to help free creation from its present corruption.

In John 11:1-44, we are told the story about Jesus physically raising Lazarus from the dead, but within this story, we hope we can see that the message also applies to raising spiritually dead people.

1. Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.

This verse is simply setting the stage for us so that we know where and of whom this passage is referring.

2. And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

In this verse we are told about which Mary the story is referring to and what she and her sisterís relationship is to Lazarus.

3. The sisters therefore sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."

We need to remember that in those days the only way to get a message to anyone was to go to that person and tell them directly or to have someone else take the message to them, and the way that Jesus was traveling around, this could have been a difficult task, and we are not told how long it took.

4. But when Jesus heard it, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it."

Jesus knew that He could either heal Lazarus or raise him from the dead, which was the more dramatic and memorable way for the people to realize who Jesus really was.

This is turn would glorify Jesus as the Son of God and as the peopleís Messiah.

5. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

If we think from a worldly view we would think that if Jesus really loved them, He would have healed Lazarus immediately, but this story isnít about His lack of love, because He knew He could raise Lazarus from the dead and restore him to his sisters.

This story and the incident that took place is about disclosing to the world around them that Jesus was their Lord and Savior.

6. When therefore He heard that he was sick, He stayed then two days longer in the place where He was.

He knew that this decision, which would make Mary and Martha sad for a few days, would be turned into glorious joy after He raised Lazarus from the dead.

7. Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."

This may have been a surprise to the disciples, because of His delay, and also because of their previous problems in that area of the country.

8. The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?"

They are concerned for Jesusí life and perhaps somewhat for themselves.

9. Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

Jesus is focused upon the spiritual aspects of what was in the past more than the physical side of things as the disciples seemed to have been, and He is even more focused upon the spiritual things that would soon take place, as well as their lasting effects of future generations, of which we are one.

10. "But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."

Jesus is using physical light and darkness to demonstrate His spiritual explanation; His hope is in raising spiritually dead people.

11. He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep."

Jesus meant that Lazarus had died, and that He was going to raise him from the dead, but the disciples were taking what He said literally rather than spiritually.

12. The disciples therefore said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover."

The disciples were still thinking only in the physical realm.

13. Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep.

This is the problem that most people seem to have; they have become so used to this physical world that they fail to even consider the spiritual realm.

In essence they are the spiritually dead, and we need to be raising spiritually dead people to be able to see and consider the spiritual realm.

14. Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead,

We need to consider this not only in the physical realm, but also in the spiritual realm.

15. and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him."

We need to remember that Jesus already told them and us that He was going to awaken Lazarus, even from death.

This is the power of God that we must always consider.

16. Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him."

Thomas still doesnít understand.

Jesus was going to bring life to the dead, and Thomas was talking about joining the dead.

We have to stop doing things like this.

17. So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.

Obviously by this time the body would have started to decompose and have quite an odor, which would make it all the more amazing for Jesus to restore him to life as the man he was before.

18. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off;

We believe that telling us the location is twofold, for it tells us how close to Jerusalem it was, because Jerusalem was the place where they were seeking to kill Him.

19. and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother.

The added number of mourners added to the witnesses of the miracle that Jesus was about to perform.

20. Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him; but Mary still sat in the house.

Mary was the usual one to meet Jesus, and Martha was the one who usually stayed home.

21. Martha therefore said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

Martha was stating a fact, but in a way she was scolding Him, and perhaps even blaming Him, which many people do when God doesnít seem to be listening to us or doing what we request, such as saving someoneís life.

22. "Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."

Then Martha may have realized what she had said and stated her faith that Jesus could raise Lazarus from the dead.

23. Jesus said to her, "Your brother shall rise again."

Jesus responded in this way for a reason; to rise again could be now or in the future when he is brought to heaven, which was another way of testing her faith.

24. Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."

Martha was stating the faith that all true believers have, but she didnít seem to have the faith that Jesus could also bring her brother back to life.

25. Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies,

The is also just a part of our standard belief and doesnít say anything about bringing Lazarus back to life, so He goes on.

26. and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

This is still part of our basic belief system.

27. She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."

Martha was just responding to what Jesus said about our basic belief and nothing about Him being able to bring her brother back to life.

28. And when she had said this, she went away, and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, "The Teacher is here, and is calling for you."

In her sadness she left Jesus and went home, and told her sister to go and see Jesus.

29. And when she heard it, she arose quickly, and was coming to Him.

Mary responded by going to Jesus.

30. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village but was still in the place where Martha met Him.

The village was most likely Bethany, but we are not told exactly where Jesus was.

31. The Jews then who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.

We believe that they followed more out of curiosity than for any other reason.

32. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."

Now Mary was saying the same things that Martha said, and most likely for the same reason.

33. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled,

We believe that Jesus was more troubled over the sadness of Mary and Martha and some of the others than over the death of Lazarus, whom He knew would rise from the dead.

34. and said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see."

We believe that Jesus was speaking to Mary.

35. Jesus wept.

We also believe that most of Jesusí weeping was because of the sadness of Mary and the others.

36. And so the Jews were saying, "Behold how He loved him!"

37. But some of them said, "Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man also from dying?"

This is questioning the obvious, even though they should have known that Jesus was Messiah, and could do anything, but again they seemed to be focused only on the physical realm and not the spiritual.

38. Jesus therefore again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.

We are not told about everything that caused Jesus to feel this way, but He mostly was probably thinking about all the grief that Lazarusí death had caused.

39. Jesus said, "Remove the stone." Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days."

This also meant that everyone who was there really knew that Lazarus was dead.

40. Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"

He was preparing Martha for what He was about to do.

41. And so they removed the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, "Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me.

We also should thank the Lord for everything we have and for the future things we receive, even if it is only water from the tap, which if we didnít have, it would be a big thing.

42. "And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me."

I believe that in many ways we are to do the same thing, but we need to be careful that we donít do anything to bring attention to ourselves.

43. And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth."

To do something like this takes a lot of faith, but Jesus knew who He was and what He was doing.

44. He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings; and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."

I believe that a lot of people would run away from such a sight, but obviously some of them stayed to help.

45. Many therefore of the Jews, who had come to Mary and beheld what He had done, believed in Him.

This was the real reason that Jesus did what He did.

And we should work at doing the same thing about veganism and animal rights, and by so doing, we will be raising spiritually dead people.

In Romans 8:6-11, Paul writes about some of the reasons that people are spiritually dead.

6. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

We can also say that the mind set on the flesh is the same as a mind set on the corrupt and ungodly ways of this world, but if we really listen to the unction of the Holy Spirit and follow Godís instructions we will find that we will have peace and everlasting life in heaven.

7. because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;

And remember that Jesus taught us that the true law of God is unconditional heavenly love, compassion, and empathy for the whole of creation, which includes every other human being, and every animal, and the environment in which we all live.

8. and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

In other words, those who remain in the flesh or the corrupt ways of this world cannot also be peacemaking children of God, and thus cannot enter heaven.

9. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Here Paul is addressing the believers, but even here he realizes that everyone who says that they are Christian may not fully be a Christian in the full meaning of the word, because they have not let the Holy Spirit dwell in them, and have not let go of the ways of the world.

10. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

This is speaking totally spiritually, for Paul seems to be saying that there are some conditions or situations where a person may still have some unrepented sin in their lives even though they may otherwise be living in the heavenly will of God.

This is something that I donít believe that we can determine, because only God sees the intent of the heart and soul.

11. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.

This is the hope and prayer of Christianity, which we believe we can only achieve through faith, which is the active and functioning part of our belief in the Lord.

This is what happens when we help with raising spiritually dead people through our consistent lifestyle and words, for we need to live the life we preach in order for people to believe us.



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