KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–The need to be “revived, renewed, restored, rejuvenated, redeemed” was the focus of a special spring chapel series preached by Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, March 1-3 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“How do you handle those dry times in your life when your spiritual needle is going on empty?” Luter asked in his first message, titled “How to Revive Dry Bones.”
Luter described times of spiritually dryness when “the joy of the Lord is a thing of the past, uninhibited praise is a distant memory, abundant life is something you hear other people talking about, other denominations, other churches talking about, but it really doesn’t really relate. And revival is something that happens in other places and in other people.”
Preaching from Ezekiel 37, Luter compared Ezekiel’s “vision of the valley of the dry bones” to the spiritually dry times that believers can go through.
“If we’re honest with ourselves, many of us, if not most of us, can identify with the children of Israel,” Luter said. “Many of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, are like dead men walking. We’ve lost our vigor. And we wouldn’t know vitality if it slapped us in the face.”
Luter listed four steps to reviving our spiritual lives, starting with: “Dry bones must realize that they’re dry. No one should have to tell you you’re dry.”
Oftentimes, believers’ spiritual lives are on “automatic pilot” and they need to realize their spiritual barrenness before God, Luter said.
The second step: Spiritually dry people “must hear the Word of God,” the pastor said.
The Lord commanded Ezekiel to preach the Word, not “the latest in politics, [but] the Word of God,” Luter said; “not the latest denominational issues, the Word of God; not topics or Reader’s Digest and Newsweek and Time magazine, but the Word of God. Words that bring nourishment to dry bones. Words that bring strength to brittle bones. Words that bring life to lifeless bones.”
Third, Luter said, “Dry bones must respond to the Word of God.”
“If you and I want abundant life, we must not just be hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word. It’s not enough to read the Word, we must live the Word. It’s not enough to just memorize the Word, but we have to walk the Word.”
And finally, “Dry bones must be filled with the Spirit of God.”
“When you’re filled with the Spirit of God, you can’t help but be revived and restored,” Luter said.
On his second day, Luter spoke on King David’s “Cry for Revival” as written in Psalm 143, reflecting David’s prayer, predicament, plea and proposition as he sought God for renewal.
In his final message at the Kansas City, Mo., campus, Luter spoke on “In the Master’s Hands,” noting how “we’re messed up” with sin, “we can’t fix ourselves” but “God’s got healing hands.”
“If you want to be revived, renewed, restored, rejuvenated, redeemed, put yourself in Jesus’ hands,” Luter said. “Put yourself in His hands, and I promise you, you’ll never ever again be the same.”