Damariscotta Baptist Church
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

05/22/16 Sermon - Life Ressurected

“Life Resurrected”

Acts 9:32-43

 

I am not sure if it’s been done or not, but the past few chapters of Acts, would make for a great drama series. There are certainly plenty of big and exciting events that would appeal to just about anyone in our culture.

We’ve had flamed topped disciples, speaking in tongues, a dramatic stoning, a villain who has been struck by an amazing light, and remained blind for three days, following, only to become a hero.

And now with this passage, we have Peter, one of the stars of our show, re-entering the scene with not only an incredible healing but creating a climatic finish by raising a woman from the dead.

We could entice the audience to tune into this drama by appealing to their desire for entertainment. Our placard could read,

“See what amazing things can be accomplished in the power of God?”

“You too can experience this powerful healing.”

For those looking for drama and excitement, it can surely be found in the Scriptures. But this is not the reason for why it was written. We need to remember, Luke has written the book of Acts as a continuation of his gospel, where he first revealed Jesus’ miraculous healings. The early church as described in Acts was continuing the ministry of Christ.

As we learned in Mark 2, “the Kingdom of God is at hand” and we see that in Acts the Holy Spirit, keeps reminding us that the Kingdom of God continues to come to earth.

As we read about the miracles Peter has accomplished, I think we could also read between the lines and begin to see just how vulnerable Peter was. If we look at Peter from his human side, and focus on his vulnerability, I think we will find a way to connect to Peter in a personal way.

Let’s face it. Peter has been a definite star when it comes to performing miracles. Tabitha certainly was not his first. There was the beggar, who couldn’t walk, begging for alms at the temple gate;  and Sapphira who lied to Peter about the amount of money she and her husband had made in their property transaction and instantly she was dead; And we read about Aeneas today, being healed after eight years of being bed ridden.

Let’s step aside for a minute and think of how the average human would have responded to having such power.

Could there ever have been a temptation for Peter to begin thinking he could actually do these things on his own?

Many of us can relate to how Peter could have experienced the ultimate struggle of self-sufficiency.

Self-sufficiency is often seen as a good thing.

Americans are the epitome of emphasizing self-sufficiency. We begin this process at birth. No other country in the world decorates a room, to place a baby in, all by themselves. Americans have been told that it is important for a child to develop their self-sufficiency, whereas other cultures nurture the idea of bonding and protection. Add teaching our child to be self-sufficient to the number of books that are written and purchased each year from authors who have the newest and best techniques for how to be an accomplished leader or self-maid entrepreneur.    

Could Peter have been tempted in this way?

Could Peter have thought to himself, “It’s okay, God.  I have this one covered.  I’ll call you if I need you.”

When you think about it, is it that far-fetched to think of a church leader having such a thought?

Or for any of us in this room for that matter.

If our actual thoughts aren’t expressed in this manner, our lives may reflect it from time to time.

We think we are good enough at our job that we don’t need to bother God for help.

We can produce the report, or make the sale, or watch the children, or write the sermon, or repair the broken whatever.. just fine on our own.

I believe we all can agree, the temptation of self-sufficiency can take many forms.

Up to this point, Peter has created quite a reputation. Our Scripture today began telling us that Peter went from here and there among the saints. He healed a paralyzed man and all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

Impressive.

Word has gotten around and people had heard of what he had done. We read that in the town of Joppa, nearby Lydda, the disciples there had heard that Peter was visiting. Their fellow disciple, Tabitha, or Dorcas, depending on which language you spoke, had become ill and died. Two men were sent to urge Peter to come to Joppa. Peter wastes no time and follows the two men back to the upper room where they had laid Tabitha’s body. The room was full of widows mourning for their friend. They showed Peter the items of clothing Tabitha had made for them, as a part of her ministry.

I wonder if Peter was carried away by all of the things Tabitha had done in her life?

As he listened to the mourners, did he get caught up in the deeds of this now deceased woman?

As he listened to all of the good things she had accomplished could Peter have been distracted and focused on those deeds, rather than on the person. There never seems to be a shortage of good things people can do.

But all too frequently good things can become distractions from the important work we are called to do.

Peter eventually figures it out. Peter realizes what work he needed to do first and foremost. In verse 40, we read,

“But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed…”

How about you?

Are there things that get in the way of what is most important?

How many of us get distracted by giving our attention to even the “good” things?”

We work so hard to pay the bills.

Our jobs are demanding.

Our kids have many endless needs.

Take a moment and think about the check list of good and necessary things you have in your head that need your time and energy.

Who of us has the ability, like Peter, to put away all the distractions? Then once that is done, to kneel down and pray.

Apparently, Peter realized he couldn’t do it on his own. He also realized, in order to hear God’s voice and to focus on God’s will, he needed to get the distractions out. By doing so, the resurrecting power of Christ is what was seen and the glory was given to God.

This is how one experiences the resurrecting power of Christ at work in their lives. Tabitha’s soul was remade, her relationships had been transformed.

The presence of the Kingdom of God, is not seen in the amazing miracles that are formed, or the entertaining worship.

The Kingdom of God is revealed when we are able to move beyond our distractions of accomplishment and self-sufficiency. When we will make space to do the work of prayer, then we will allow God to raise new life in us.

That is what is meant by the resurrection power of God.

That is when we are living a life resurrected.

What do you need to put outside?

What are the distractions in your life that are keeping you focused on the do’s and not done?

How will you put these distractions away and make space to do the real work …………….of prayer, which is the actual nurturing of your soul?

And then patiently wait for an answer.

Everything we do, everything we don’t do, is irrelevant, when God I not in the picture.

The Kingdom of God is at hand, let’s step aside and give the Holy Spirit the glory.

Let’s pray.

Today’s Benediction comes from Colossians 3:17 The Message (MSG)

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

The Message (MSG)