May 22, 2022
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Acts 9:31,32)
A. Acts 9:31,32 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
B. All of Acts chapter 8, and up until 9:32, Luke, the author of this record, has focused on this new guy named Saul of Tarsus
1. All the trouble and persecution he caused
2. And then his marvelous conversion to absolute faith in Jesus Christ as alive and as Lord!
3. And his baby steps in serving the Lord in Damascus, and Jerusalem
4. And the great rest that Christians enjoyed with Saul being on their side now!
C. Luke switches our attention back to Peter now, for a few chapters
D. Big things were beginning to happen, in all directions out from Jerusalem
1. Thousands of Samaritans were getting saved and churches were starting up North of Jerusalem
2. To the South, a black man from Ethiopia was headed home, after being converted with the life-changing Gospel that would later transform the entire nation of Ethiopia, 3,900 km away
E. Peter now heads out of Jerusalem, and goes west to the town of Lydda
F. And God goes with him!
A. Peter Gets Moving (Acts 9:32)
1. Acts 9:32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
2. He has been stuck in Jerusalem since the Crucifixion (Acts 8:1) And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
3. He and all of us Christians are supposed to be active, going from house to house, and town to town, and country by country
a. We are supposed to be ALIVE, and active and moving as Christians!
b. Like a living organism! If there is no movement, there is no life!
c. Christians are NOT to be just coming to church and sitting here!
d. Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
e. Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. [DON’T WAIT FOR THE WORLD TO COME TO US]
4. Now, finally getting out of his rut, Peter enters into a town called Lydda
a. 35 miles west of Jerusalem - Near to the Mediterranean sea
b. Amazingly, Lydda is a town FAMOUS for all the doctors that gathered there
5. Peter went to meet up with other believers there – SAINTS
a. Acts 9:32 … he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
b. Peter sought out believers – did not just go on holiday – but went looking for encouragement and rest amongst Christians!
c. To be a saint simply means, washed, cleansed, forgiven, made holy!
1) It is our calling – to be holy, and not to be like the world, but like Jesus!
2) Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3) 1Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
d. Misconceptions about saints…
1) Sainthood is an earned state – that is a lie
2) Saints are only in heaven – that is a lie
3) Saints have magical powers and abilities - lie
4) Folks, ALL the Catholic tales of saints and miracles are fairy tales
5) The Bible tells us who saints are and how they became saints
e. All born again believers are saints – the moment they got saved, they were sainted
1) EVERY believer is a saint – may not act like it, but that is what we are
2) Christians are born again into the very family of God – now in His family
3) We are “beloved of God” from that moment on - elevated
4) Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens [EQUAL] with the saints, and of the household of God;
5) You, I, and every repentant believer in Jesus Christ IS a saint!
f. Yes, heaven is full of saints, but Sainthood begins HERE in this life, in this town
1) Paul writes to the saints living in the city of Ephesus, and Philippi…
2) Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
3) Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
B. Peter Heals Aeneas (Acts 9:33,34)
1. Aeneas was Crippled (Acts 9:33) – had Palsy
a. Acts 9:33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.
b. Palsy means he was brain damaged and could not walk, or maybe even feed himself
1) Some people are born with palsy – problems during birth (cerebral palsy)
2) Some, like Aeneas probably fell, or got hit in the head, and it resulted in a palsy
3) A paralysis of speech, of movement – he is crippled
c. He was bed-ridden – trapped in his bed now for 8 long years
d. No doctor could help him or heal him – this is still true today
1) Even though he was surrounded by loads of doctors in that city. None could help!
2) And then Peter arrives! A simple fisherman from Galilee
3) Ah, but Peter was more than a fisherman…
2. Peter Can Heal (Acts 9:34)
a. Acts 9:34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.
b. Peter had an apostolic gift from Jesus (Matthew 10:1,2)
1) Matthew 10:1,2 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
2) Peter’s ability was just as powerful as Jesus’ ability to heal
c. Listen to Peter’s confidence…
1) “Jesus makes you whole” – not PETER – didn’t say, “I” make you well
2) “Get up, and gather together your bed mat, and start walking”
3) This healing was just like when JESUS did it back in Gospel of John 5:5-9
a) John 5:5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
b) John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
c) John 5:7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
d) John 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
e) John 5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
f) So simple and so powerful! THAT is the gift of healing that Jesus had, AND Peter
d. Aeneas arose immediately – no slow recovery – instant and real
3. This gift of healing was NOT for all believers
a. I certainly WISH it was, but it is not – never has been for every believer
b. None of the believers in Lydda could help Aeneas – they needed Peter to do this miracle
1) Many modern charismatic Christians believe healing is for everybody – greatly deceived, and greatly disappointed
2) They make a lot of money off of people’s desperate need for help – false healers
c. No pope ever did any verifiable miracle
d. And all that the televangelists do on TV is fake healing – not actual healing!
e. Not to say that PRAYER does not work and that GOD does not heal
1) God never has stopped doing the impossible
2) Exodus 15:26 ...I am the LORD that healeth thee.
3) As a matter of fact, every prayer is for a miracle – or else why pray?
4) We just need to start believing God WILL do miracles again – without Peter
C. Many Turned to the Lord Jesus (Acts 9:35)
1. Acts 9:35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.
2. ‘Turned’ means: Repentance. A serious decision - Turning away from sin, to Jesus
3. They were motivated by the miracle
4. The Jews need miracles to believe
a. They needed Jesus to prove he was the Messiah, and He did
b. And they needed to see miracles to know the Gospel of Christ is equal, and even superior to the Law of Moses!
5. But you and I don’t NEED a miracle, we need the Gospel
a. Everybody is waiting for a miracle BEFORE they believe – it doesn’t work that way
b. We have a Bible that tells us about plenty of miracles, that we need to believe, or else we will miss getting saved!
c. We don’t even notice the miracles that God is constantly doing – spoiled and blind
d. Jesus Himself said the only miracle that matters is His death, burial and resurrection!
D. Tabitha’s Legacy and Death (Acts 9:36-38)
1. Tabitha’s Life and Legacy (Acts 9:36-37)
a. Acts 9:36 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.
b. She had two names: Tabitha, and Dorcus
1) Tabitha was a Hebrew name that meant Gazelle, or Roe deer
2) And Dorcas – a Greek name that also means the same thing
3) It was a gentle name, for a gentle woman – meek, gentle, giving, soft
c. She was a believer in Jesus – not in religion, but in all that Jesus taught and did
1) She was a disciple of Jesus Christ
2) No longer a Jewess, but a follower of the Messiah – born again
d. She had an impact – a legacy on the people of her town
1) Her godliness and kindness was well known
2) She was full of good works, And Alms deeds, for people and especially the poor
3) She was a very loving woman – gentle, meek, quiet…
4) Where are these women today?
e. And now she had gotten sick, and had quickly died (Acts 9:37) 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.
2. Left a big hole
a. Sudden death can happen to any of us
b. What hole will any of US leave behind?
3. A “wake” service now began (funeral service)
a. Acts 9:37 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.
b. With her body being washed and wrapped, perfumed and laid out on a table in an upper room – church
c. People from all over town came to grieve her death
d. Preparing to bury her, and try and move on
E. Peter is Brought to Joppa (Acts 9:38,39)
1. Acts 9:38 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.
2. Some people heard that Peter was nearby in Lydda…
a. Hmmmm, could something wonderful come out of this death?
b. Two men RAN the 7 miles to Lydda to find Peter and begged him to come and do something! “Come raise Tabitha back to life! We need her back!”
3. Joppa – also known as ‘Jaffa’ (Jaffa cakes…)
a. Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, 40 miles west of Jerusalem
b. A very busy port town
c. This is where Jonah got on a ship to try and escape the will of God (Jonah 1:1-3) Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
4. Acts 9:39 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.
5. Peter was not put off by the impossibility of this situation
a. Facing a dead body and offering hope of a resurrection is what the Gospel is all about
b. Peter had struggled with the death of Jesus, and had not believed He would rise again three days later
c. Now, he would never doubt that power again!
6. He saw all the sorrow in that town over Tabitha dying
a. They obviously believed it was unfair that she would have gotten sick and died
b. She was so needed – why did she die? Why not someone else?
c. It is back to the eternal question, Why do wicked people prosper, and good people die?
7. He knew Christians should NOT be so sorrowful
a. Not about death, and loss, and troubles
b. 1Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
c. We don’t worry about death anymore!
d. We have hope! We have the resurrection
e. Our spirit has been resurrected in us when we got saved – we cannot die now
f. Yes, one day, our bodies may die, but they WILL rise up again incorruptible
g. Woohoo, we should have a measure of joy in all the sorrow of a death! Because of Jesus
8. So, he could do something about all that sorrow!
F. Peter Does the Impossible (Acts 9:40,41)
1. Acts 9:40,41 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.
2. Kneeled down and prayed at the side of this dead body
3. Spoke to Tabitha – remember, she is very dead – at least a day or more
4. He simply says, “Arise”
a. Not a fancy prayer, with all sorts of fancy words and incantations
b. Just one word
c. You see, Either Peter could do this, or he couldn’t
5. And she instantly opened her eyes
a. Sat up – quite surprised I am sure
b. Peter helped her stand
6. And the brought her out to the crowd, presenting her alive. Such an absolutely impossible miracle, and yet there she was!
G. Many Believed in Jesus (Acts 9:42)
1. Acts 9:42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
2. Many believed NOT in Peter, but in Jesus who was resurrected first
3. All of Joppa heard that Dorcas/Tabitha was back alive again – resurrected
4. The Jews needed these miracles to believe…
5. And we Gentiles want everything to make sense (1Corinthians 1:21-23)
a. 1Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
b. 1Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
c. 1Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness
6. But God gave us the cross, and the resurrection of Jesus as our reason to believe!
7. Don’t be a fool, and reject these miracles like the Pharisees did, and missed their opportunity to repent and be saved themselves!
H. And Peter Takes a Break (Acts 9:43)
1. Acts 9:43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
2. You wouldn’t blame him
3. No longer being hunted like he had been in Jerusalem
4. Able to rest - Amongst believers - By the sea shore
5. Staying at the home of a man called Simon the Tanner (we will come back to this house in the next chapter)
III. What Have We Learned? What Do We All Need to Do?
A. We need to believe God for things that are impossible
1. Your marriage problems - Health problems - Wayward children - Depression
2. PRAY, believing like we used to that God is able, and is Lord, not the devil
3. And then rest in His will – but always believing He can do the impossible IF it is His will
4. God is STILL the healer, the doer of impossible things!
B. Seek out fellowship and refreshing from believers, not the world
1. We have made entertainment our source of fun and life
2. When it is a lie and a drain on us in reality
C. Ladies need godly examples like Dorcas
1. NOT like Bayonce – too many girls follow her example
2. Not like Margaret Sanger – started Planned Parenthood, and encouraged Eugenics against blacks, especially against black men
3. Not like Hollywood actors
4. But like Moms and Women who are strong in character, but are gentle women, who believe God, and bless and help the world around them
D. Have a godly legacy of our own that impacts our world
1. Would anyone miss us when we die?
2. Have we done anything of value for others, or have we only lived the spoiled life?
3. What legacy are we leaving behind?
E. Be in motion – don’t just sit there – do something for God, for souls, for Jesus!
1. We should be super active, soul-winning, door to door, town by town, involved in at least ONE church ministry
2. Our homes should be places of ministry, and spiritual investment in each other
F. Expect Great Things - Like we used to!
1. Come to church expecting God to resurrect some dead marriages, breathe life into some lost souls, bring light into the darkness of the world
2. Bring revival and a great awakening starting HERE!
G. Be a Miracle Yourself
1. Like Tabitha, Aeneas
2. A life that has been changed by God
3. As an example of God’s power, not our own
H. Keep our focus on Jesus – not on troubles, or successes, or healings, or death
1. Don’t look to Peter, or the pastor, or the government to fix your problems – look to Jesus
2. All the distractions of life have kept too many from making the decision to follow Jesus