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 forasmuch 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).
Dorcas was a wonderful believer in Christ and very active in the church. Just as the human body can get sick and die, so can the church body. It can be full of good practical works, full of hospitality, and showing mercy (1 Timothy 5:10, Romans 12:8), but when death sets into the church, ceremonial washings come in and believers become content with upper room memories and past experiences.
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 are gift ministries for the church. When folks begin to hunger for more of God, something is going to happen. So they sent two men with a message for Peter, “Come to us without delay” (v. 38). In Acts 9:39, when Peter 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 did. They were weeping over the past.
In Acts 9:40-41, Peter does six things.
a) Peter puts unbelief out… The past they were talking about was true and good, but was a hindrance to faith for them. 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 by the rejection of fresh truth.
b) Peter prays… He needed a word from God. He needed the will of God for this prayer. A word from the Lord would give him faith, authority, and power. Too many folks get ahead of God and start out on an assumption instead of faith. Dorcas needed a miracle from God.
c) Peter turns to the body… Many turn to the body (the church) and try reviving it without hearing from God. Peter calls Dorcas by name, “Tabitha” (which means “a gazelle”). If he hadn’t called her by name, half the cemetery might have awakened. Pastors need to identify problems and name them. Sometimes the problem in a church is sin. It could be adultery, it could be child molestation, it could be demonic activity, it could be tolerance of immorality, and it could be many other sins.
d) Peter said to Tabitha, “Arise”… Peter preached life, not death. When you preach life, miracles can happen. The text says, “And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up” (v. 40, KJV). 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; people will see Jesus and find Jesus as Savior. Peter then took her by the hand and lifted her up. Help people get up, give counsel, give a prophecy, and help financially if there is that kind of a need.
e) Peter presents Tabitha alive… The whole local area heard about the revival and many believed.
f) Peter stays in Joppa… He stays 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, had a vision of angels telling him to send for Peter. What happened when Peter came changed the world. 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 be giving households (church assemblies) “their portion of meat in due season” (v. 42, KJV). There is “meat” for this hour too. The “meat” could be a revival, a revelation, or an exhortation that refreshes and revives the saints. 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. 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.”
Pastor George Belobaba
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