I hear of food being made and delivered to the sick. I hear of people cleaning houses and fixing cars and hauling furniture. Sometimes I am amazed and ask, ‘Why do they do this?’ I have the answer. I want you to know serving is an evangelistic power given you by the Holy Spirit and resident in you. Serving is your witness for Jesus.

The Power of Serving Evangelism

Power of Serving Evangelism

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audio

The Power of Serving Evangelism

Scriptures: Acts 1:8, Acts 9:36-42

Most people believe that if they are an American and haven’t committed any capital crimes like killing someone, then they are okay. They will make it into “heaven” when they die. This attitude is especially true if the person lives in the “Bible belt” and even more true if they are a republican. It is somewhat difficult to find anyone who truly realizes they will go to hell when they die without Jesus as their Lord or leader.

I wanted to tell everyone again about our background. It is a picture of a nine feet tall bronze statue called “Joyful Jesus.” It depicts Jesus finding the lost sheep of Luke 15 and returning with the sheep on his shoulders rejoicing. That’s how Jesus and Father God and the Holy Spirit feels when one of their children is found.

Most people believe in God, but it’s difficult to find anyone who will say they are “lost.” However, it’s easy to find thousands of people that are not devoted followers of Jesus Christ. These are the unchurched. These are also the lost. In Luke 15 the sheep became lost, the coin became lost, the prodigal son became lost. Those people are on our hearts too. Many of us have lost loved ones who easily fit into this category. The Lord said to look around, “lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (Joh 4:35). Those are our harvest fields.

They too must be found. During the course of the next years, we will make reaching these people a high value of Life Gate Church. Life Gate will reach people and make them devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

Let’s refresh ourselves on the different evangelism styles.

1. Intellectual Style (Paul at Athens)

2. Confrontational Style (Peter – Day of Pentecost)

3. Relational Style (Levi – Luke 5)

4. Invitational Style (Woman at well)

5. Serving Style (Tabitha)

6. Testimonial Style (Man born blind)

7. Prayer Style (Cornelius)

Which is the most important? All are of the same importance. That which determines the importance is the situation. For example, it would not be wise to be confrontational when an intellectual approach is necessary.

Nothing to be done in a true spiritual life can be done in a hurry. Today’s lesson is a wonderful example of how things cannot be done in a hurry when it comes to reaching people for Jesus. Serving people takes time and is a part of true spiritual life. That is what we will look at today.

Acts 9:36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.

Acts 9:37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room.

Acts 9:38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”

Acts 9:39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

Acts 9:40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.

Acts 9:41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive.

Acts 9:42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.

It’s sad that it takes one person’s dying before others will come to Jesus. I know that her being raised to life was what brought many in, but the death of a person brings home our own mortality. A lot of preachers use a funeral to confront people at that sensitive time. I have done it on a few occasions myself. However, this situation that we just read ended with a person’s coming back from the dead bringing people to Jesus.

How many of us have ever experienced something that had the potential of taking us out, but we lived instead? Perhaps it was a disease like cancer or a car wreck or a physical problem like a heart attack. Those times are powerful times of witnessing for Jesus. If you have had one of those, you need to talk about it.

….named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas)  – We are given a wonderful story about a woman named Tabitha. I noticed that Luke, the writer of the book of Acts, placed a special emphasis on her name. He translated her name from Aramaic (Tabitha) to Greek (Dorcas). There is something about her name that he wanted his readers to be aware. As we know, names mean much and names are of God. So, I looked up “Tabitha”and I looked up “Dorcas.”

Tabitha – 5000 Tabitha {tab-ee-thah’}

of Aramaic origin cf 06646

Tabitha = “female gazelle”

I found that they mean “female gazelle” which wasn’t exactly what I was expecting to find. It took me a minute and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I began to see what was being accentuated. A gazelle is actually an antelope. They are very beautiful and graceful animals. The thought that Luke gives is that of a woman who was very graceful, very beautiful, and very fast. We have a picture of Tabitha from her name. She was a beautiful person both outwardly and, more important, inwardly. That is the picture of Tabitha. She was a beautiful and graceful person. She constantly worked and remained busy. She was obviously a woman deeply loved because of her inward beauty. Tabitha was beautiful like a gazelle.

Always doing good and helping the poor – We are told that Tabitha was always doing good things and helping the poor. Always is a meaningful word. She was constantly serving others. Serving was her ministry. She wasn’t confrontational. Gazelles are not. She may not have been intellectual. However, Tabitha touched lives for Jesus through serving. Her power to be a witness for Jesus (Act 1:8) was through serving others. The Bible says that she was always doing that. We are not told all that Tabitha did, but we are told that she provided clothing for widows (Act 9:39). She made certain that the needs of people were met. She touched lives at the point of their need by serving. Tabitha loved helping and doing for people. It wasn’t laborious to her. It was a pleasure.

I think of people in our church body that are like this. Many of you are always doing things for others. I am constantly hearing of women taking care of the children of others. I hear of food being made and delivered to the sick. I hear of people cleaning houses and fixing cars and hauling furniture. Sometimes I am amazed and ask, “How can they do that? Why do they do that?” I have the answer. I want you to know serving is an evangelistic power given you by the Holy Spirit and resident in you (Act 1:8). Serving is your witness for Jesus.

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.

You need to know that everyone will not do for people what you do for people. Others will not take the time or expand the energy or go to the trouble to meet people at their point of need. You not only will, but you enjoy doing it and actually look for opportunities to do it. You are beautiful in the eyes of God.

What I hear the Spirit saying today is to encourage you to take your ability and use that ability more to witness for Jesus. You minister much to those that are already devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Expand yourself and minister to those far from God. Then work into your serving a time where you talk to them about Jesus. You will need to plan it and make it happen. In the back of your mind be looking for a place to talk about Jesus. Invite them to church. Realize the impact that you have upon people and utilize that impact for the sake of Christ. They owe you. So, take advantage of the opportunity.

I remember years ago when I worked in manufacturing. I had a man that worked for me. His name was Billy. I had been inviting Billy to church and witnessing to him, but hadn’t seemed to get very far. One morning I was going home from work and Billy was having automobile problems in the parking lot. I drove up to where he was parked and asked if I could assist. After investigating the situation, we decided he would need a new starter. I told him to hop in and I would take him to get one. He did and we went to the auto parts store where I had to lend him a little money to get the starter. I then drove him back to his car and waited until he installed the new starter. It all took several hours and I found myself waiting for Billy to ask me what he owed me. I had my answer pre-thought and ready. When it was all over and his car was running, he asked me what he owed me? I said, “Billy, you don’t owe me anything. It was a joy helping you. But there is one thing I would like for you to do. Go to church with me just one time. I’m not trying to twist your arm, but it is important to me that you come to church with me at least once.” We need to tell people that it is important to us. He said he would and he did that next Sunday. Billy got saved.

What if I had not helped Billy? What if I had not taken the time necessary to do something special for him? What if I had not taken advantage of the opportunity? However, because I did, Billy came into the kingdom of God.

she became sick and died – We are told that Tabitha became ill and died. It was interesting the impact that Tabitha’s death had upon her region. Her passing away obviously grieved many. This shows the impact that Tabitha had upon the lives of people.

The apostle Peter was summoned. No average preacher would do. I don’t think they expected Peter to come and raise her from the dead. They had washed her body and prepared her for burial. They wanted Peter to come and preach her funeral and to help make some sense of this saint’s death. The urgency of Peter’s coming quickly was that Tabitha was not embalmed and funerals needed to take place quickly. When Peter arrived, he saw the hurt and grief of the people. Obviously he was moved by the loss. He prayed and God raised Tabitha back to life.

I want to mention this point. It is obvious that Tabitha’s length of life was extended because of her always doing good and helping the poor. I have seen God do this. There are people in our church congregation who have been completely healed of some serious physical problems and I believe it is because they are always doing good and helping people. I want to encourage you. Perhaps you need a physical healing. I feel strongly about this. Find some people that have a need and touch their lives at the point. Often when a person cannot receive a healing, I notice they never do anything for others. They want others to do for them, but never do they serve others. Tabitha’s life was extended because of her serving others.

Acts 9:42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.

The people in the region loved Tabitha. They grieved her death, but now were touched by her healing. We touch deeply the lives of people when we serve them. People listen to people that give them help. We want to respond when people do something for us.

Many people will believe in the Lord by our witness. When the people we help see those who have touched their lives go through tough times and remain faithful to Jesus, it helps brings them to the Lord. Utilize this as an evangelistic ministry. People are watching.

The ways to serve people are endless. I do not believe that most of us have any difficulty serving one another. It is when we need to reach out to someone that is far from God that we have difficulty. Yet, that is exactly the person we need to reach and touch. It is extremely easy for me to do things for you, but it is difficult for me to do things for people far from God. I suspect it’s that way with most of us. However, to do the work of the evangelist, we need to realize that the people we want to come to the Lord are moved by a serving.

Other Related Sermons:

It’s Great To Be Alive With Technology – sermon notes

Power of Relation Evangelism – sermon video audio notes

Power of Praying Evangelism – sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young