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Identity & Prayers
Acts 9: 36-42
36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room.38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived, he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up. “She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.
Peter, a couple of days ago healed a man who was bed ridden for 8yrs, he tells Him that Jesus Christ heals him.
Joppa was near Lydda(where Peter healed the man)
These two men must have heard about Peter because in Lydda, a man is healed and many turned to the Lord
Peter left immediately – Excited. Maybe he was like, this is what I have been waiting for
Peter finds the widows crying and showing off the good work Tabitha had done
Kicks them out and prays over Tabitha, Tabitha wakes up and Peter present her to the people and many people turn to God
This is epic- This is all from a guy who denied Jesus – BUT GOD!
There are a few characters in these verses. And I want us to look at some and by the end of this sermon, see who we can identify ourselves as.
Tabitha – Also known as Dorcas in Greek – a female antelope, or gazelle
She lived her life in a good way. She was rich in acts of kindness and charity which she continually did
“vs ..39, they are showing Peter the robes that she used to make for them
Makes me wonder what is said of me when I am dead. The bible says she was rich!
1 Timothy 6:17-21 17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
How are you using your resources?
They are thinking. We know a guy. He healed- maybe he can raise the dead.
They clearly knew what to do. They had seen or heard from the nearby town that Peter had healed and they did what most of us will do – Go get the miracle maker.
Most of us are like these disciples, we have heard the truth, we have seen miracles, yet for some reason, we only believe that they can only be performed by certain people.
Why would these disciples not believe that the same Spirit that was in Peter, would be in them?
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with asking for prayers …it’s just that we need to walk to the altar ourselves…. the curtain was torn. Otherwise we may end up spending our lives having some else go before God on our behalf
John 14:12 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
I know that there are things that are ailing in your life today, where do you stand. Are you going to bring them to God…use the power of God (PJ sermon) or are you going to send for someone? Are you going to wait an extra day for someone to come and intervene for you?
Matthew 10: 1 – And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.
- Sad moment for them, their friend is dead. Nothing is left except memories
- Hence they show Peter the stuff that Tabitha had created. “39Peter went with them, and when he arrived, he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
- This is the end. Death is something that they are familiar with. Their husbands are dead. If there is something that they know for sure -its death.
- Here is a guy who came to bring life back to this home yet, he is encountered with people who are already filtered this through their experience and there is no hope at all
- If you ask them, Peter is better off admiring what “was” than trying to walk in faith. Romans 4:17 – 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
- I wonder if we have places in our lives where we are “joyfully moaning” things that have died or seem dead and if we took time to focus on He who spoke and life began, we would see those things come to life
- I know that we have all been there, where we tried our best, but no hope. We look using our physical eyes and its dead, but only – ONLY IF we could ask God to restore our spiritual eyes, we would see Him speak life to it.
Peter send them out. Sometime you have to kick out some people out, some things out in your life so that you can begin to see the truth.
How are you supposed to see life if those that you choose to listen to, hang out with, have no sight of life and all they speak confirms you dead situation?
It’s like going to complain about your spouse to someone who has had a divorce
Most us want to do right, want to follow Christ but we choose to listen to those who have tried and given up. They only filter through their failure.
Example: I don’t do church, its full of restrictions.
You will have to send those people, thoughts, ideas out…
40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up. “She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.
There it is – He got down on His knees and prayed!!
This evening when you are faced with sickness, death, anger, ……..who or what do you run to?
And if you do pray- How is your Fort? – Business thing.
I love that the bible shows us at least 2 other time when negativity had to be kicked out
Mark 5:38-42 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw [a]a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”
40 And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. 41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.
2 Kings 4:32 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. 33He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord
Your prayers are not being answered because of the stuff you are carrying in the presence of God.
What or who are you bringing in to the alter when you pray.
Who are you allowing to distract you. Have you tried to pray/talk when someone is crying & yelling behind you?
You are trying to keep hope but they are there shouting how dead your situation is.
When we create an environment that is conducive for an answered prayer…Then God shows up and we will see miracles
Fervent (having or displaying a passionate intensity) prayers are a powerful tool. I don’t pray enough…do you?
If we knew how powerful prayers are- we would praying all the times
When a miracle had to happen, prayers were offered first: Jesus prayed, Peter prayed, Elisha prayed …I wonder what it would look like if it’s said “Mugi prayed”…what miracle followed
What do you need to see today? What do you need healed today? What do you need fulfilled today? Pray!!!
In the old days, we would require costly sacrifices. And Jesus went through the trouble of dying on the cross so that we can have DIRECT access to the Father. A chance for one on one with the creator of the world
Yet, we don’t pray. And if we do… they are more or less microwave prayers
The mighty man of God, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Elisha…they prayed constantly. Jesus Himself prayed constantly.
Matthew 14:23 -And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.
Luke 6:12 –Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Psalms 141:2 Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
*I feel like we use this for little stuff
The secret to raising up Tabitha in your life is Prayer
We have pastors and deacons who will pray with you. But the goal is to keep pushing you on that prayer bicycle and as you keep practicing …we can eventually ride alone, as long as you want and as often as you want.
*Identity and prayer go hand in hand.
- Your prayer life will be shaped by who you believe you are.
- What you believe you are capable of.
- What you choose to focus on. Are you a victim or an overcomer?
- How you think you can be used and what your true heart desires are.
I said by the end of the sermon, we will see if we can speak to everyone. Who are you in this story.
Tabitha –Pray to change your life to match up with what you want your history to be
Disciples – you are almost there, believe that God can work through you as well. Pray to overcome your unbelieve
Widows – Leave your past – enter the throne room with expectation. “
Hebrew 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrew 5:7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear
I asked God, why don’t we see tangible miracles, here and now
Vs. 41- He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.
James 5:13-16 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective