To listen to Rev. Sandy's Sunday, May 2, 2021, Message, click here or read it below.
Dorcas, A Woman Who Touched The Lives Of Others
Good Morning to the followers of Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team and to all who are listening to or reading this message via Facebook and our Website. How wonderful that through today’s technology, we have another opportunity to praise and worship God and to share His message throughout the world!
Our message today comes from the New Testament Book of Acts, Chapter 9, verses 36-43 and you can be turning there in your Bibles. We’re going to be looking at the life of Dorcas. In today’s scripture a woman at Joppa made an enormous impact on her community by “always doing good and helping the poor,” by making robes and other clothing. Dorcas is one of the few women of the Bible who became famous for simply doing a womanly thing, which was sewing. She is also famous for being the only adult Woman in the Bible who was raised from the dead, but this never would have happened had she not been so faithful in using her needle to meet the basic human need for clothing.
Dorcas’ life made an impact for Jesus on others, and we’re going to ask ourselves this question: Are our lives making an impact for Jesus on others?
Now reading from Acts 9:36-43:
36 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.
37 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.
38 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.
39 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 shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
40 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.
41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
James 2:14-17 says: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
As we study the life of Dorcas, I pray that we learn from her example how we can impact those around us both practically and spiritually. Jesus gave us the example of serving others. Help us to use the gifts, talents and skills that You have given us to serve our brothers and sisters in need. May they see Jesus through our actions as well as our words.
In Jesus’ name,
An unknown poet wrote the following:
If a man would be a soldier
He'd expect of course to fight;
And he couldn't be an author
If he didn't try to write.
So it isn't common logic,
Doesn't have the right true ring,
That a man, to be a Christian,
Doesn't have to do a thing.
In the seaport town of Joppa, Dorcas became known for her charitable works. She must have been a woman of means to serve humanity as freely as she did. We don’t know where she learned to sew but we do know that she used her skill with the needle to make clothes for the poor and widows.
In his sermon, “Dorcas the Doer,” Glenn Pease pointed out that “everyone who knows the Gospel knows that we are saved, not by our own works, but by the work of Christ on the cross. Salvation comes by faith in His finished work for us.
Good works are not a means for our salvation, but they are an expression of our salvation. If we truly trust in Christ, and love Him as Lord, then we will obey His command to love our neighbor as our self. This can only be obeyed in a meaningful way by good works.
That is why Paul writes in Titus 3:8, ‘Affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.’ Paul implies that it is easy for Christians to forget the importance of good works. We need to be constantly reminded not to become weary in well doing.
Arthur W. Pink, the famous Bible expositor, said, "This expression 'good works' is found in the New Testament in the singular or plural number no less than 30 times; yet from the rarity with which many preachers use, emphasize, and enlarge upon them, many of the hearers would conclude that these words occur but once or twice in all the Bible." The reason for this neglect is that they don't want people to think they can be saved by doing good. To avoid this the church has produced millions of Christians who feel they can be good Christians and not do a thing.
The lack of emphasis on good works is what leads Christianity to become a spectator religion. Jesus meant for all believers to be involved in the ministry of meeting human need. The good news about good works is that everybody can do them. Those who feel ungifted can still do many works of kindness.
Vance Havner, the great American evangelist, wrote, ‘We ought not to belittle the do-gooders. Our Lord went about doing good. Good works are not enough, but any faith that is without good works is not enough either."
When the story of Dorcas took place, there were few people in the culture who were more destitute than widows. They were usually considered the neediest people in society. They couldn’t get much of a job to buy food let alone buy other things they needed. Dorcas stepped in to help fill that great need in society.
She wasn’t a multi-talented female. She was just a simple loving woman who used the gift she had to be a blessing to others.
Today’s scripture shows us five ways that Dorcas’ life, death and resurrection made a difference for Jesus Christ in her community.
First, Dorcas was referred to as a “certain disciple.” Through the Spirit-Filled ministry of Evangelist Phillip, a church had been established at Joppa. Dorcas probably came to know Christ because of his ministry. She became a devoted follower of Jesus, a disciple, and did not hesitate to be identified as a believer. Neither should we be ashamed to call ourselves Christians, if we have been truly born again from above.
Second, Dorcas was “full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” There was nothing lazy about Dorcas. After she was saved, she began to find ways to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with her money and her sewing ability. Dorcas must have been a woman of means to serve others so generously. She displayed her love for Christ in very practical ways. “Good works” is a phrase that speaks of general acts of kindness to people; “charitable deeds” is more specific and has to do with acts of mercy that relieve the burdens of the poor and needy. Dorcas was continually at work meeting the pressing needs of those around her by making clothes for them. She was willing to help relieve the poor and make life easier for the widows who lived around her.
She didn’t just do these things in a half-hearted manner; she believed that whatever she gave for the Lord would be rewarding in this life and also in the life to come (Matthew10:42). Her life showed her wisdom; she both worked and was wise.
Lile so many seamstresses, Dorcas probably saw a piece of beautiful material, determined what she could make out of it and who she could make it for. Dorcas didn’t just think about making clothes or try to delegate her ideas to others to implement; verse 36 ends with which she did’. That tells us she made her ideas a reality and didn’t just do these charitable deeds once in a great while; she was always working on some project; it was her lifestyle.
When we see all the needs in our world, we may become paralyzed by inaction. We may think, “what good will this little act of kindness do?” Jesus said, “be merciful, just as your Father in heaven is merciful” (Luke 6:36). A cup of cold water given in His name sometimes means more than sharing a lot of theology.
Third, Dorcas died.
When Dorcas died, there was much mourning as she was beloved by her church and community.
At her death, she was laid out by the grieving widows she had clothed.
Fourth, Dorcas was resurrected.
When members of the church where Dorcas had worshipped learned that Peter was in Lydda near Joppa, two men went to ask Peter to visit their grieving community.
The tearful widows showed Peter the clothes they were wearing that Dorcas had made for them, but It wasn’t just the clothes; her life had been woven into their lives. She lived among these people on a daily basis; she knew when they needed a word of encouragement as well as a new coat; she didn’t just make the clothes and send them somewhere; she was willing to take them to the people and get involved in their life struggles. The widows were probably considered the least of these by many, overlooked and ignored, but not by Dorcas.
Peter must have been moved by all of this; he spoke the word of power and authority, “Tabitha (her Aramaic name), arise,” and life returned to her. She sat up and Peter presented her alive to the saints and widows.
Fifth, Dorcas’s Resurrection caused a great Revival.
The resurrection of Dorcas not only comforted the mourners, it caused a great revival. God used Dorcas to bear a special witness to the world. There were many who believed in Christ because of the miracle of her resurrection. It was a confirmation of the Gospel. It not only showed that Christ can conquer death, but also that God does love people.
What could be greater proof than the restoring to life one who could go on ministering to those who so desperately needed her help. The skeptics and the doubters were overwhelmed. They saw that the God who gives back a Dorcas is indeed a God of love, and they submitted to the Lord whom she loved and served. Great fruit came into the kingdom because of her unique experience.
Believers found joy and unbelievers found Jesus because Dorcus was alive and well again. But it was the witness of her life before she died that made the witness of her resurrection so powerful. Had Dorcas not been a loving person who reached out to touch the lives of those around her, her resurrection would just be a spectacular event. People would talk about it, but it would have made no difference to anyone's life.
The miracle of her resurrection only had the power to move people to Christ because the good works of Dorcus had already pointed them in His direction. Good works evangelism is a biblical reality, and many people come to Christ because of the good works of believers.
Brian Cavanaugh shares an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and said, “What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?”
Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, “Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life.” The woman went off at once in search of that magical mustard seed.
She came first to a beautiful mansion, knocked at the door, and said, “I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me.”
They told her, “You’ve certainly come to the wrong place,” and began to describe all the tragic things that recently had befallen them.
The woman said to herself, “Who is better able to help these poor, unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own?” She stayed to comfort them, then went on in search of a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, in hovels and in other places, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune. She became so involved in ministering to other people’s grief that ultimately, she forgot about her quest for the magical mustard seed, never realizing that it had, in fact, driven the sorrow out of her life.
This woman, like Dorcas, made an impact.
Now we return to the question we asked at the beginning of this message.
Are our lives making an impact for Jesus on others? Are we spreading the good news of Jesus Christ through our words and deeds?
If not, why not? We have been placed here at this time in history to carry the good news of Jesus Christ to needy people in both practical and spiritual ways, through word and deed.
As we close, let me share with you the Good News Of Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
And Romans 10:9-10 & 13 says: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
The work has already been done. There’s no better time than now to turn to God, repent and respond to His grace.
It's that simple and you can sincerely pray this prayer, or one of your own.
Father God, I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and on the third day You, God, raised Him from the dead. I believe that with my heart, and I confess with my mouth that from now on you're my Lord. Please forgive me and wash me now of my sins, come into my heart and fill me with your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
If you’ve known God but walked away from His call on your life to do your own thing, then it’s time to stop in your tracks, repent all over again and get back to fulfilling God’s plan in and through your life. Tomorrow may be too late.
I pray that we all find ways to share Jesus through our words and deeds during the coming week and that you are blessed abundantly.
In Jesus’ name, Amen