Monday, May 12, 2008

Peter and Dorcas

Peter acted as an elder when Dorcas died in Joppa. He knew that something was wrong in the Church. The devil had scored a home run in this infant church, so Peter wanted to put things right.

I am not sure why there were no elders in Joppa to deal with this problem. It may be that no elders had been raised up at this early stage of the gospel advance, or maybe the elders were inexperienced and just accepted that Docas’s death was inevitable.

Peter did what elders should do. He did not deal with this in public as, he did when healing the paralytic in Lydda when he was proclaiming the gospel (Acts 9:34-35). He went into the room with Dorcas on his own and prayed and found out from God what was going on. He did not know the cause of her illness, so it was best to seek the Lord in relative privacy, as the cause might be something that would embarrass here if revealed in public. The Lord might have told Peter not to worry, because he wanted her to come home, although I suspect that he already knew that was not the case when he decided to go to Joppa.

God showed Peter that her life on earth was not complete, so this was a direct attack from the devil to take out one of the key leaders in a fledgling church. When Peter knew God’s purpose for Dorcas, he resisted the devil by commanding her to sit up. She was healed immediately. Peter restored the church in Joppa to the way God wanted it to be. Sickness and death had intruded where they do not belong, so Peter got rid of them.

Another example is Paul speaking to the Church in Troas. A young man called Eutychus fell out the window and died. Paul acted as a good elder and went down and laid on him to bring the man back to life. This was not healing evangelism. Paul was acting as an elder to correct something that had gone wrong in a church. The devil had killed a key young man whose role on earth was not finished. Paul restored him so that the church would be complete. If he had let the devil win, the church would be weaker in two ways. It would lose a valuable member, but more importantly, its level of faith would be weakened. A good elder could not let that happen.

The process will be calm and orderly. The elders will seek God. One of the elders will a word of knowledge about the cause of the sickness. The person will get healed. No drama. No fuss.

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