Sick and Shut In and Prayer List
Friday Night Youth Get together
This week Sunday School Lesson:
SEEKING HELP IN TIMES OF NEED
APRIL 26, 2009
Unifying Topic: Bringing New Life to Those in Need
Background Scripture: Acts 9:32-43
Scripture: Acts 9:32-43
MAIN THROUGHT: And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had herd that Peter was there,
they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come them. (Acts 9:38KJV)
From the way that Saul is introduced into Acts, one might expect the story to continue to follow his work. Instead, we
find a transition story highlighting the work of Peter outside of Jerusalem. We have two miracle stories here, following the
common Lukan pattern of matching two stories with one male and one female character.
The first healing of the paralysed man, Aeneas, with Peter’s command to “Rise and make your bed,” may
bring to mind the healing of another paralysed man by Jesus (Luke 5:17-26) during which Jesus tells the man to “Take
up your bed and walk.”
The second healing again has echoes of previous healings, namely resuscitation healings by the great prophets Elijah and
Elisha as well as by Jesus. This story is much more expanded than the first, with some intriguing details.
Tabitha is the only woman to be named as a disciple in the New Testament. In the gospels we have narrative portrayals of
women as ideal disciples, yet they are never referred to as such. Tabitha is a disciple, and her distinct ministry is to the
poor widows in the community. It seems that Tabitha uses her own resources to care for the widow’s needs. She is such
an integral part of the community in Joppa that two male representatives are dispatched to plead for Peter’s help. Could
she have been one of the founders of the community? Perhaps. It is because of the community’s insistence, Peter comes
to Joppa and restores Tabitha to life.
These two resuscitation stories connect Peter to the great history of God’s saving work. Peter is like the prophets
(Elijah and Elisha); he is a continuation of the ministry of Jesus. Where the Holy Spirit is, life comes from death; hope
comes from despair; healing comes from brokenness.
How do we as a faith community “advocate” for the healing of one in our midst?
Peter is also venturing out from Jerusalem. He has been with Phillip in Samaria. Now he is on his own, visiting communities
of believers outside the Holy City. The gospel has broken out and spread–what part will Peter play in this new phase?
Where is the gospel moving today?
How are we as followers of Christ participating in the work of the Holy Spirit
in our midst?
Is the Spirit moving you in a direction outside of your comfort zone? How will you respond?
The Good Shepherd Heals
April 26, 2009
Lesson: Acts 9:32-43
Key Verses: 9:33, 36
The Twenty-third Psalm reveals the Triune
God, the Lord, as a shepherd. David testifies: “The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.” All that the child
of God needs the Lord does provide, whether it be of a spiritual or physical matter. Within this Psalm there is peace that
refreshes soul and body, redemption that restores the soul, righteousness that provides a good life, protection from the evil
of the world, discipline that guides thoughts and actions, healing that comforts soul and body, presence of the Lord that
gives confidence, and promise that assures an eternal dwelling place. Surely we are under the care of the Lord: “He
that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He
is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. …He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be
with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation”
This same Lord, the Good Shepherd of Psalm
Twenty-three, is revealed in the second person of the Godhead, the Incarnate Son of God. Our lesson takes place in two places,
that of Lydda and of Joppa. The risen Lord Jesus walks with his chosen disciple, the apostle Peter who is carrying out the
commission to go into the world and preach the Gospel of God’s Messiah. Miracles are a part of Peter’s commission,
revealing the Lord of whom David spoke as his shepherd. “Luke setteth down how the Church was increased by miracles.
And he reciteth two miracles: That a man who had been bed rid eight years, having the palsy, was suddenly healed; and that
a certain woman was raised from death” (J. Calvin). The first city was Lydda, a city of Dan, near the Mediterranean
Sea, ten miles east of the city of Joppa. From Joppa one could see Jerusalem.
Healing of Aeneas –Acts 9:32-35
“And it came to pass, as Peter passed
throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.” It was recorded in verse thirty-one
that the churches of Judea, Galilee and Samaria “were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort
of the Holy Spirit,” and they “were multiplied.” Though Peter and the disciples faced many trials and persecution,
it is shown that they were also encouraged to praise the Lord and give him thanks for the redemptive blessings of the Lord
in the lives of many people. Thus Peter came to Lydda with the witness that the saints were walking in the way of Christ and
in the comfort of the Spirit, as the Lord added to their number.
Peter entered Lydda where “he found a certain man named Aeneas,
which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.” The bed of Aeneas was his only comfort for eight years.
Peter, led by the Lord, said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed.” Peter
spoke by the authority of Christ. John Calvin reflects rightly on the authority which was given to Peter: “It is certain
that the apostles would never have attempted the doing of miracles, unless they had been first certified of the will of God,
whereupon the effect did depend. For they had no such power of the Spirit given them that they could heal whatsoever sick
persons they would; but as Christ himself used a measure in his miracles, so he would have his apostles to work no more than
he knew were profitable. Therefore Peter did not rashly break out into these words; because he might have set himself to be
laughed at, unless he had already known the will of God. It may be that he prayed apart. The Spirit who was the author of
all miracles, and which wrought by the hand of Peter, did even then direct his tongue, and did move his heart by a secret
inspiration. And in these words Peter showeth plainly that he is only the minister of the miracle, and that it proceedeth
from the power of Christ; that he may by this means extol the name of Christ alone.”
As soon as Peter finished speaking, Aeneas “arose immediately.”
The result of the Lord’s working through Peter, both in the preaching of the Gospel and the healing of Aeneas, “all
that dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and turned to the Lord.” It is the Lord who saves and heals and who shall receive
the glory. You can sense the urgency of those hearts as the healing began, as they sought out Peter and other disciples to
hear more about this wonderful Savior and Lord.
Discussion: How was the glory of the
Lord revealed in the healing of Aeneas?
Healing of Dorcas –Acts 9:36-43
There was a disciple, a learner of the Lord, “named Tabitha,
which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” Dorcas was
a Christian woman who showed compassion, benefiting others with her good deeds. “It is promised to those who consider
the poor, not that they shall never be sick, but that the Lord will strengthen them upon the bed of languishing, at least
with strength in their souls, and so will make all their bed in their sickness, will make it easy” (M. Henry). As with
those who serve Christ showing compassion toward others with the compassion of Christ, find at times the need for deeds of
compassion from others. Dorcas became “sick, and died.” Her body was washed and laid “in an upper chamber.”
In her life she had revealed her faith in Christ by deeds of love and grace. Now she will be a witness to grace and strength
of the Lord at death.
The disciples of the Lord had heard that Peter was nearby in Joppa;
“They sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.” Without delay Peter went to
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.” How beautiful are the prayers of the saints as they gather together to lift up a brother or sister
in Christ to the Father, remembering the grace of Christ in their lives. And let pastors and elders, who are chosen of Lord
as under-shepherds, be admonished with these words of Matthew Henry, “Let not faithful ministers grudge to be at every
body’s beck, as far as they have ability, when the great apostle made himself the servant of all.” Paul spelled
out the task of the apostles, which was his: “What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make
the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have
I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more” (1 Cor. 9:18-19).
Peter asked those present to leave the room. He then “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.” Peter then gave Dorcas his hand, “and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented
he alive.” In other words, Peter stood by her, next to her, supporting her as her friends now saw that she was alive.
One of the glorious evidence of the love of Christ in the midst of his saints is that we stand with one another. We do not
allow a brother or sister to stand-alone. Does not a pastor or elder stand next to the brother or sister who has repented
of their sin and now reveals that they are forgiven and alive in Christ? Does not an elder rejoice as he walks alongside of
one who is growing in Christ, discipling a new Christian? The pew may be used to sit in, but the only comfort of a believer
is a Christian friend who is near in spirit and in person.
Again the word of the Lord is spread as the miracle of Tabitha “was
know throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.” Peter remained in Joppa for a while, ministering in name
of Christ, enjoying the hospitality with Simon a tanner. “Peter was hereby induced to continue some time in this city.
Finding that a door of opportunity was opened for him there, he tarried there many days, till he was sent thence, and sent
for thence upon business to another place” (M. Henry). Each Christian has the joy of serving the Lord in being a disciple,
a pupil of the Word by the Spirit; and of discipling others in the Word; hearing the words of the Savior: “Teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and low, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”
Discussion: In what ways are we to be
used in testifying to the Gospel of Christ?
Home Daily Devotional Bible Reading
"The New Men's Ministry"
Men in Prayer
every Monday Night
7PM to 7:30PM
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The Indispensable Tool for Pineland M. B. Church
Modern Man in Contemporary Culture
We must be focused on making friends, but first, we must be focused on insuring each man we reach knows Jesus
and comprehends his identify in Christ.
We train men to reach other men, we don’t
put an additional burden on the clergy.
All planning and all activities must begin with prayer, be Christ focused, and not concerned with
the outcome. God is in charge of the outcome – we must be faithful with the calling of teaching men how to walk as a
disciple of Christ Jesus
Vision That Drives Ministry
A brain without a vision is the same danger as “an idle mind is
the devil’s workshop.” We must engage our minds and the minds of our men with a vision that draws us to God.
Things Right – the First Time
2 Corinthians 13:5 admonishes us
to “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.”
Without self-examination, a man cannot know where he is, spiritually, nor where he should go.
So it is with men’s
ministry. As we seek to understand the men at PLMBC, let us follow Nehemiah’s lead and seek FIRST the face and will