Alex Hardt with Joselin April 16, 2023
Joselin was a breath of fresh air in the pulpit this Sunday. Her love for God and passion for His Word was evident from beginning to end. She spoke with confidence and hope as she reflected upon the story of Tabitha or Dorcas as related in Acts 9:36-43. The lessons and truth she gleaned from this passage reverberate throughout the gospel as she drew from passages to explain and give application to Tabitha’s life work for Christ.
Tabitha was an energetic, resourceful and dedicated early Christian believer. She let her faith permeate her actions as she served and helped those around her with her gifts. They truly mourned her passing and turned to the Apostle Peter to intervene when they found out he was in the area. He came, saw where she was laid, sought to be alone in prayer and asked God to return her to life. God did and her story became a testimony to God’s power and glory in the entire area.
Joselin had several key points about Tabitha’s life, work and faith that can be applied to our lives as well. First, Tabitha had first-hand knowledge of God and believed in the eternal life that God offers. John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.’ She believed like Mary and Martha in Jesus’ power of resurrection. John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Tabitha believed and knew that through Jesus she received the righteousness of God. His death on the cross and resurrection was what gave new life and hope to all believers. We too can have knowledge of God through prayer and the reading of His Word. We know from 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Our knowledge of God is based on Christ’s work on the cross and through his death and resurrection He imputed His righteousness to us. Praise God!
Having knowledge of God and His righteousness through Christ, Joselin went a step further. Just as Tabitha knew God’s righteousness in Christ, she then needed to have faith. Having knowledge is not enough. One must appropriate that knowledge and apply it in our faith. She quoted 3 verses to help us see how to apply our knowledge of God to our faith. 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. Our faith takes the knowledge God has given us and grows it in and with His grace! Ephesians 4:13 “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” This growing process is grace based in Christ and has as its goal- our maturity and unity together in Him. Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Taking on the knowledge God, using His grace to grow our faith in Christ is all good but without our true belief that God exists and wants all things for our good and His glory it will be meaningless. God is pleased when we believe in Jesus and have faith in our Heavenly Father.
So what happened in Tabitha’s life when she had knowledge of God, faith in God and was growing in Him through His grace and power? She had a changed life as is expressed in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” She was a new person in Christ, filled with the love of Jesus for all those around her. From Jesus’ teachings, she knew the truths and actions required to live as Jesus commanded in Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Loving our neighbors is God’s way of having us show the world our love for Jesus and our commitment to Him. We do that by being light and salt in our world. We want to shine God’s light in our lives to point others to Jesus. We want to be salt to heal, preserve, and flavor our world with the love of Jesus. Tabitha did that as she willingly served those around her by sewing.
What ways has God used you or is He using you to reach out to those around you? You may not be a seamstress but can you write a note of encouragement, cook a meal, or help a neighbor with a project….? The list is endless of ways we can show God’s love to those around us. As you reflect on Joselin’s words this week, pray and ask God to show you someone who needs a hand and commit to being there for them.
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