Tabitha

What happens when you meet Jesus? Tabitha

Acts 9:36-43                          April 21, 2013

So far from this sermon series we have learned that when we meet Jesus, we are changed and stretched.  When we are changed, we become bold in speaking about our Savior and Lord.  When we are stretched, the people around us also get stretched and realize that Jesus has much in store for us.

 

What can we discover that happens when we meet Jesus as we look at Tabitha?  We look at how Tabitha was described.  She is called a disciple.  Tabitha was a pupil, a follower of Jesus.  She did what Jesus did.  So, when we meet Jesus, we can become his disciples and we can do what he did.  Let us see how this happens.

 

  1. Who is Tabitha? (9:36)
    1. Her name
      1. Tabitha
      2. Dorcas
      3. Gazelle/roe/fawn
  2. A disciple!
    1. Tabitha practiced ministry – she served others
    2. The Rabbims have this saying: “The eagle stole a lamb from the altar to feed his young; but a coal from the altar came with it, and burnt up the nest and all.”
  3. She did good works & acts of charity
    1. Don’t worry what  you need, God will provide (Matthew 6:31-33)
    2. God doesn’t let the righteous go hungry (Proverbs 10:3)
    3. Her eyes were open to the needs of the poor (Proverbs 21:13)
    4. She denied herself and shared with the hungry, poor, and naked (Isaiah 58:1-9)
  4. Once you meet Jesus, will you be described as a disciple?  It is more than being a member of the group of people here at the church.  Being a disciple is about giving.  You have been given much.  As a way of life, of following the way, the truth, and the life, as a disciple, your thought turns to pleasing the Lord.  This involves actively taking care of the poor.  That is what Tabitha was doing.  What are you doing?

 

  1. What happened to Tabitha? (9:37)
    1. She got sick
    2. She died
    3. Yes, even disciples will die.  But this is not the end of the story for Tabitha, or anyone else whom is a disciple of Jesus.  We read in John 10 that those who believe in Jesus gain eternal life.  Tabitha gains eternal life, and along the way, other people are going to believe in Jesus.
    4. What did the widows and the saints do? (9:38-39)
      1. The set her in a upper room
      2. They sent for Peter
      3. The widows showed the clothes that Tabitha made for them
      4. Tabitha was loved.  She was a woman who gave, and kept on giving.  That is what a disciple of Jesus does.  A disciple gives and gives because we owe Jesus so much.  You see, when we give to the least of these (Matthew 25:31-46), we are giving to Jesus.  Look what Jesus has done for us!  He has given us eternal life (John 10:28)! (Read Cyprian of Carthage quote.)  Jesus gave, so Tabitha gave.  Are you giving as Jesus gave to you?  Peter was giving as well.

 

  1. Did Peter do what Jesus did? (9:40-42)
    1. Peter prayed for Tabitha
    2. Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-17)
    3. Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Luke 8:49-56)
    4. Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24)
    5. Elisha raised the widow’s son from the dead (2 Kings 4:19-27)
    6. That is right; God has had a long history of raising the dead.  Tabitha was one that God raised from the dead.  It just happened to be Peter who prayed that this would happen. Jesus had given Tabitha eternal life, and God showed this through raising her from the dead.

 

  1. How did the people of Joppa react? (9:42)
    1. The widows and saints had showed Tabitha’s work to Peter
    2. Peter showed the widows and the saints God’s work
    3. The widows and the saints told this to the rest of Joppa
    4. Many believed in the Lord after this act
    5. Did the people of Joppa become disciples themselves?  They at least had a good example in Tabitha.  Have you become a disciple of Jesus Christ?  You see disciples serve others.  If you can say that you serve others, like Tabitha did, then you are a disciple.  If you are expecting to be served, then most likely you are not a disciple.

 

Being a disciple happens after you meet Jesus.  Tabitha met Jesus and she became a disciple.  She lived her faith in Jesus.  She was generous.  I hope at your funeral, we will see much of the community come and show what you did for them.  Then just maybe, we can show the community what God has done in your life.

 

 

What, dearest brethren, will be that glory of those who labor charitably—how great and high the joy when the Lord begins to number His people, and, distributing to our merits and good works the promised rewards, to give heavenly things for earthly, eternal things for temporal, great things for small; to present us to the Father, to whom He has restored us by His sanctification; to bestow upon us immortality and eternity, to which He has renewed us by the quickening of His blood; to bring us anew to paradise, to open the kingdom of heaven, in the faith and truth of His promise! Let these things abide firmly in our perceptions, let them be understood with full faith, let them be loved with our whole heart, let them be purchased by the magnanimity of our increasing labors. An illustrious and divine thing, dearest brethren, is the saving labor of charity; a great comfort of believers, a wholesome guard of our security, a protection of hope, a safeguard of faith, a remedy for sin, a thing placed in the power of the doer, a thing both great and easy, a crown of peace without the risk of persecution; the true and greatest gift of God, needful for the weak, glorious for the strong, assisted by which the Christian accomplishes spiritual grace, deserves well of Christ the Judge, accounts God his debtor. For this palm of works of salvation let us gladly and readily strive; let us all, in the struggle of righteousness, run with God and Christ looking on; and let us who have already begun to be greater than this life and the world, slacken our course by no desire of this life and of this world.  If the day shall find us, whether it be the day of reward or of persecution, furnished, if swift, if running in this contest of charity, the Lord will never fail of giving a reward for our merits: in peace He will give to us who conquer, a white crown for our labors; in persecution, He will accompany it with a purple one for our passion.[1] – Cyprian of Carthage

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