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Encountering God's Miracles

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
November 16, 2020 7:00 am

Encountering God's Miracles

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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November 16, 2020 7:00 am

We dont have to go out looking for problems in life; they find us! But in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will explain the up-side of down-times as he talks about how we can experience Gods cure in the midst of our crisis.


You cannot declare you are a disciple if Jesus Christ is not your boss. Dr. Tony Evans says there's more to putting God first than just making a religious statement.

It must be a decision you operate by. You trust Christ as Savior. You follow Christ as Lord. This is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative.

Words like impossible or incurable don't apply when God is part of the equation, but Dr. Evans says seeing miracles happen is in some ways up to us. Let's join him as he shares the stories of two outstanding women from the Bible. We'll start with Tabitha, her Hebrew name, Dorcas, her Greek name. The first thing we're told about Dorcas in verse 36 is now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha. So the first description given to her is not that she was a woman, although we know she is, not that there was a woman in Joppa named Dorcas. There was a disciple in Joppa named Dorcas. Now, it was not typical to give a designation of discipleship to a female in the New Testament.

Females would be incorporated into the general description, but males would normatively be described when you were talking about a singular person. But in Tabitha's case, her name is given and her spiritual status is given, too. In other words, Tabitha was in a class by herself. To be a disciple meant you were on public display. You were not hidden.

You were not behind the veil. See, you can become a Christian in private. You can go in your closet, your bathroom, you can go in your car when nobody else is in there, and you can receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and that be a private event. But you can't be a disciple and be private. You can't be a disciple and be hidden. A disciple, as we've said so many times, is not a secret agent Christian. A disciple is an identifiable follower of Jesus Christ who recognizes and has submitted to his lordship. If you have not submitted to the Lord's lordship over your life, you may be a Christian, I hope you are, but a disciple you are not. Because the disciple is one who, based on their baptism, has said, now I'm ready to go public. I'm ready for you to know who I am and where I have taken my stand.

You do it appropriately, you do it lovingly, but you do not do it vaguely. You are crystal clear that you follow Jesus Christ. How do you know if you're a disciple, if you've chosen God first?

How do you know that? Because everybody says that, God first. That's a convenient thing to say, but how do you know if he's first?

You know he's first when he affects your decisions. So you cannot declare you are a disciple if Jesus Christ is not your boss. If he does not overrule your thinking, overrule your feelings, overrule your emotions, overrule your perspective, if he does not overrule, then you're not yet a disciple. You trust Christ as Savior, you follow Christ as Lord.

So it was with Tabitha. She was a visible, verbal follower of Christ, and everybody knew it. So putting God first is not just a convenient religious statement to make. It must be a decision you operate by. Now, getting to that point is not easy, especially in a world that's gonna resist you making that decision. In fact, there are gonna be Christians who resist you making that decision, because they're going to want you to fold into the world that they have come to love. And many times, even when you are being encouraged to make the decision, you're going to run into inner conflict between the flesh and the spirit, because the Bible says they war against each other. So there's a pull to decide what God says, and there's a pull to go where you want to go, and the two are clashing. In fact, it's good news when you're in conflict.

That's good news. Now, it's bad news if you make the wrong choice in the conflict, but it's good news that you have the conflict, because the mere fact you have the conflict means that God is talking to you, that God is still...He's still trying to pull you. He's still trying to woo you.

He's still trying to call you. Tabitha, was a disciple. She was an unapologetic, visible follower of Jesus Christ. It says, this woman, this discipleship woman who loved God, was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did. You notice the second thing said about her? The first thing was her commitment to God. She's a disciple. The second thing that's talked about was her kindness to others, and I love the word abounding, and I was...She was looking for opportunities. She was overflowing with good works. She was overflowing with helping, and they described in a few verses later the people she was helping, the widows.

Why? Because in biblical days, widows couldn't do anything else for you. Widows couldn't help you out, because the widows were the poor people. So these were people who couldn't do anything back for Tabitha or Dorcas. They couldn't help her back, but it says she abounded with good works.

I mean, she was just continually looking for opportunities to do something good for somebody else. So this is second. The second thing God asked for is to love the neighbor. Remember, first is God.

Secondly is loving the neighbor. God saved you so that you could touch others. Ephesians 2, 8 through 10 puts it this way. It says, " grace are you saved through faith, that not of yourselves.

It is a gift of God, not according to works, so that no one should boast." But then it goes on to say in verse 10, "...for you are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He hath created beforehand, that we should walk in them." So Jesus Christ saved you, Ephesians 2, 8 and 9, so that He could use you, and He uses you what He calls good works, beneficial things you do that brings good to somebody outside of you. So the first thing is to love God, and the second thing is to touch others. The first thing is to love God, the second thing is to go out and look for opportunities to overflow into the life of someone God brings your way. Now, I understand you cannot meet the needs of everybody, and God doesn't expect you to meet the needs of everybody, but He expects you to touch the life of somebody. He expects you to have a heart that says, God, today what good work do you have for me to do so that He can bring somebody across your path who He wants you to touch for good? Dorcas loved God, and she touched others, others who could not do anything for her in return.

These were the widows. These are the good works that God has called every believer to be engaged in. So let me ask you a question. First of all, are you a disciple?

That's number one. Are you a clear follower of Christ? And then secondly, as you look back over the last weeks, how many good works did you perform where you did something good for somebody God brought across your path who He stirred your heart for that you were able to address because of the good work that He has saved you to do? Well, if you missed number one and you skipped number two, but you're looking for number three, God bless me, help me, new car, new house, new relationship, new this, new that, I need three! And God's saying, well, I'm one and two.

You don't get to step on third base in baseball if you skip first base and second base. Dorcas loved God, and she did good. Listen, if you get this principle every day, you should be getting up in the morning and saying, okay, God, I'm recommitting myself to you for this day, and you bring across my path the good that you want me to do and stir my heart that this is from you. So now we know one and two, but let's go on to three. It says, it happened, verse 37, at that time that she, Dorcas, fell sick and died.

Hmm, interesting. So the next time somebody comes and tells you spiritual people don't get sick, you tell them the story. The next time somebody comes to you and tell you, well, if you were following Jesus, you wouldn't catch a cold. If you were following Jesus, you wouldn't get cancer. If you were following Jesus, you wouldn't have pneumonia.

That's a lie from hell. We're told Dorcas was a disciple. She did good, and girlfriend got sick. So sickness or lack of sickness has not necessarily anything to do with how spiritual you are. A godly woman got sick, and not only did she got sick, the sickness killed her.

She died. So you can love God and still be sick, because we live in bodies that are deteriorating. We live in a world, sinful world, that's been contaminated by bacteria and viruses, and that affects sometimes how we feel. Now our actions can affect that, but you can be perfectly healthy, doing all the great things, love Jesus, and still get a cold, because there are some theologies out there that would lie to you and tell you, well, if you were following Jesus, you wouldn't be sick.

Not God's will for you to be sick. Well, she got sick, and she died. So now, they take her to the upper room.

That's interesting. They do not bury her, but she's dead. But they take her to the upper room.

Why do they take Dorcas to the upper room? It says in verse 38, Since Lida was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two of the men imploring them, Do not delay coming to us. The disciples, the men disciples, two men who were in Joppa, heard that Peter was in Lida, and they sent for Peter. And when Peter gets there, Peter, verse 40, sends them all out of the room. He kneels down and he prays. See, if everybody's in the room watching Peter do his thing, there may be the temptation to worship Peter. Peter wants to make sure that only God gets the glory. He clears the room and he prays, because Peter recognizes that he doesn't have the power to do this.

This is bigger than him. Prayer is not forcing God to do what he does not plan to do, okay? So let me get this straight. Prayer does not make God do anything. God has a will, and he determines what he's gonna do and not gonna do, because he's sovereign. So praying is not forcing anything. But let me tell you what prayer is.

Prayer is releasing what he has decided to do. Peter prays and then says, Arise, Tabitha. And she opened her eyes and saw Peter and sat up. He gave her his hand, raised her up, calling the saints and widows. He presented her alive.

He said, here she is. Let me ask you a question. Do you even have a Peter? Is there somebody in your life who, when you are so low, you can't cry out for yourself because you have died, because things are so low? Is there a Peter who you know can make contact with God when you can? You need a Peter.

You need somebody in your life who can cry out to God when you can't even do it for yourself. And a miracle happened. It says, and it became known all over Joppa, verse 42, and many believed in the Lord. You know why it happened? God let the lady die because he was getting ready to do a miracle so that he would get even more glory. Okay, God lets things happen negatively so that when he shows up in the context of his will, he will get even greater glory. That's why he did it. He did it so that his name would be put on a billboard.

And it would be clear the God of the Bible did this, because God does all things for his glory. Dr. Evans will explore the encouraging story of another remarkable woman when he comes back in just a moment with part two of this final message in his series, Divine Encounters. And that makes today your last chance to take advantage of our special offer for those who can help us keep Tony's teaching on the station. As a way of saying thanks for your contribution, we'll send you a copy of his brand-new book, Kingdom Encounters. It explores the unique ways you can move beyond just reading about God to actually experiencing Him, especially when you feel alone, abandoned, or when life seems to be closing in around you. And as a special bonus, we're bundling the book along with the full-length versions of all eight lessons in Tony's current teaching series, Divine Encounters, including quite a bit of bonus material we didn't have time to bring you on the air.

Just make your donation online at or call 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our resource team members help you. I'll have our contact information for you again after Dr. Evans brings us part two of today's lesson, right after this. How do you share the gospel with confidence? What's God's plan for our communities?

Why does the Old Testament matter to your faith today? Those are just a few of the questions you'll get answered when you enroll in the Tony Evans Training Center, an interactive online study experience with Dr. Tony Evans where you can grow in your knowledge of God's Word and learn to advance His kingdom agenda in your life. Visit to get started today.

That's Turn to 1 Samuel, chapter 1. You know where her name is Hannah. The problem is Hannah can't get pregnant. That's the problem.

But let me show you why. The end of verse 5, but the Lord had closed her womb. End of verse 6, because the Lord had closed her womb.

Because the Lord closed her womb. The Lord is blocking you from getting that new job. The Lord is blocking you from getting that raise. The Lord is blocking you from having that relationship.

The Lord is blocking you. The Lord—see, you got to know when it's the Lord doing it. It appeared to be biological when actually it was theological. It was God shutting this thing down. And she was perturbed, saddened. And it went on, watch this, for years.

Look at verse 7. It happened year after year. Now, she kept going to church, because it says often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she was being provoked, and she wept, and she couldn't even eat. This thing was emotionally traumatic for her. That she couldn't get pregnant, and then Penelope was making fun of her because she couldn't get pregnant. And so she's being ostracized, and she said the longing for a child was not happening, and we're talking years. And she lost her appetite.

I mean, this is negative stuff for a woman who's longing to have a child. In verse 10, she is greatly distressed. She prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. You ever prayed and cried?

Okay, that means you're praying serious. This is not, now I lay me down to sleep, pray to the Lord my soul will keep. This is wailing before God. And what's making her wail before God? How low things have gotten. In other words, instead of getting better and better, it's getting worse and worse, and she's still going to church.

And guess what? It's all God's fault. Verse 11, she made a vow and said, O Lord of hosts, because she's still committed to God even though she's struggling, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your maidservant and remember me, and not forget your maidservant, but will give your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come to his head. She is so depressed, she's crying so loudly, that now she makes a vow. Heretofore, there's no vow. Now she makes a vow. And notice how specific she is.

Up until this point, all we're told is she couldn't get pregnant. Now she says, not only do I want to get pregnant, I want a boy. Not only do I want a boy, but if you give me a boy, I'm going to give the boy back to you for service in the Lord. You know when you get serious about prayer?

When you get desperate enough. The reason why we don't pray desperate is because we're not desperate. It says in verse 19, they arose early in the morning and worshiped. Uh-oh, God first. And returned again to the house in Ramah, and Al-Qaeda had relations with his wife, and the Lord remembered her.

Now that's interesting. It came about in due time after Hannah had conceived that she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel because I have asked him of the Lord. She made a vow when she was so desperate that if the Lord would answer the prayer, she was going to turn her son over to the Lord. The Lord knew if he would have answered her prayer earlier, when she was not at the point of a vow, she would not have gotten from the child what he wanted and needed from the child, which was for that child to be in his service.

So he let that desperation go so low that she was willing to give up what she was asking for. I am so desperate to get pregnant, and I'm gonna even ask for a boy that if you give me the boy, I'll give up the boy that I asked you to give me. God said, gotcha.

I gotcha just where I want you. I brought you down to the place where I can get from you what I want. If I would have answered your prayer earlier without the vow, I wouldn't have had the boy. I want the boy because I need a prophet. Because I need a prophet, you've got to be willing to give up the boy I give to you, but that will only happen if I make you desperate enough. And she knew it. She says, I'm gonna call his name Samuel because I have gotten a boy from the Lord. It was clear.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-27 14:58:55 / 2024-01-27 15:06:49 / 8

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