Acts 9:36-43… “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And for as much as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner” (KJV).
I want to bring a spiritual lesson from a practical scene, so I will be taking the story out of context to bring a needed truth. Dorcas was a wonderful believer in Christ and very active in church. The human body can get sick and die, but so can the church body. It can be full of good practical works, full of hospitality, and showing mercy (Romans 12:8). The church cannot separate the secular from the sacred. When death comes, ceremonial washings follow, and believers start to live on and talk about the upper room memories and past experiences.
Meanwhile, the household of Dorcas heard about the revival going on in Lydda. Peter was there (Acts 9:32-35). A miracle of healing took place and the city turned to the Lord. The household of Dorcas realized that there were gift ministries for the church. When folks begin to hunger for more of God, something is going to happen. So, the household of Dorcas sent two men with a message for Peter: “Come to us without delay” (v. 38). In Acts 9:39, Peter comes. When he came, the people talked of what they used to have. They brought up the past, the wonderful person Dorcas had been and the works that she had done. They wept over the past.
In Acts 9:40-41, Peter does six things…
a) Peter puts unbelief out… The past they were talking about were true and good things, but they were also be a hindrance to faith for “now” things. Speaking of past things is a sign of unbelief, even if they are true. The past is the “old.” “New and fresh” was the need of the hour. Nothing fresh can come from God until unbelief is put out. Many churches are not visited by the Holy Spirit because they are full of unbelief and rejection of fresh truth.
b) Peter prays… He needed a word from God. He needed discernment. He needed the will of God for this prayer. A lot of folks pray without knowing the will of God for the specific need. A word from the Lord would give Peter faith, authority, and power. Too many folks get ahead of God and step out on “assumption faith” instead of “knowledge faith.” Peter was seeking a word from the Lord. Artificial respiration was not doing Dorcas any good. Dorcas needed a miracle from God.
c) Peter turns to the body (Dorcas)… the Church. Many turn to the body and try reviving it without hearing from God. Peter calls her by name, “Tabitha” (“a gazelle”). He was identifying the problem. If he hadn’t called her by name, half of the cemetery might have awakened. Pastors need to identify the problems and then name them. Sometimes the problem in the church is sin, serious sin. It could be adultery… It could be child molestation… It could be demonic activity… It could be the tolerance of immorality.
d) Peter said to Tabitha, “Arise”… Peter preached life, not death. When you preach life, miracles can happen. The text says, “She opened her eyes” and “she sat up” (v. 40). When the Spirit begins to move and the gifts begin to operate, eyes will be opened and people will sit up and take notice. Tabitha saw Peter. Today, people will see Jesus, and find Jesus as Savior, when the Spirit moves and the gifts operate. Peter then took her by the hand and lifted her up. Help people get up. Give counsel, give a prophecy, if the Lord shows you something, or help financially if there is that kind of need.
e) Peter presents Tabitha alive… The unbelievers saw a miracle. The entire local area heard about the revival, and many believed.
f) Peter stays in Joppa… at a tanner’s house and there he sets a time for prayer. Many do not pray after a Holy Spirit revival. Peter was praying because the Lord had another great work that needed to be done.
Meanwhile, Cornelius, a man of Caesarea (Acts 10:1-48), and his household feared God, prayed a lot, and helped support the weak. He had a vision of angels telling him to send for Peter. When the Gentiles heard the preaching about Jesus Christ and believed, the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles. The rest is history. In Luke 12:42-48, Jesus teaches that there will be stewards in the end times who will give households (church assemblies) “their portion of meat in due season” (v. 42). There is “meat” for this hour too. The “meat” could be a revival, a revelation, an exhortation that refreshes and revives the saints, or something similar. Note that the “meat” comes to those who are faithful and wise stewards and who do the master’s will. Many preachers today are doing their own will and their works show it. Their portion will be the same as the portion of the unbelievers. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (KJV).
Pastor George Belobaba
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