By Matthew Martin
Did the title of this article get your attention? I trust that it did and compelled you to read further. I admit that the subject of raising the dead seems to be a bit “out there”, however, I trust that by the time you finish reading this article it will make sense and have an impact on you and our mission of reaching the lost in 2016.
While we certainly do believe that the Lord can and has physically brought people back to life that is not the topic of discussion for this article. My focus is spiritual death and spiritual life. My purpose is to raise awareness of our responsibility of being the light of the world and introducing those around us to the life giving power of the Holy Ghost.
It is clear from scripture that humanity finds itself in a condition of spiritual death and in desperate need of eternal life. Paul addressed this condition in Ephesians chapter two; “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 2:1-6).
While we realize that it is ultimately the Lord that saves souls, it seems relevant to consider the role of the church in this process. We are reminded in Second Corinthians chapter five that we are ambassadors for Christ and have been given the “ministry of reconciliation”. It is our responsibility to reach out to the lost souls of our communities and help bring them to the knowledge of the truth and the experience of salvation.
Acts chapter nine chronicles the experience of a woman by the name of Dorcas being raised from the dead. A careful study of this miracle reveals five things that the Apostle Peter did which resulted in Dorcas coming back to life. It seems that if the church could implement these same five actions, the spiritually dead around us could come to life spiritually. Allow me to briefly mention the five actions of Simon Peter.
The first action of Peter was to remove weeping widows from the upper chamber. It would seem that he eliminated unbelief and doubt that would hinder the miracle. The first necessary action to experience revival in 2016 is to believe that revival is the will of the Lord. We must believe that revival is the will of God in our church, right now. We must remove the doubting thoughts and the unbelieving actions that would hinder this revival. We must also preach faith and by faith expect a harvest of souls. It seems significant that Jesus used this same action at the house of Jarius.
The next thing that occurred is that Peter knelt down and prayed. It should be understood that submission to the will of God (kneeling) and dependence on the Spirit of the Lord (prayer) are critical elements in experiencing our God ordained revival in 2016. We will never manufacture this revival; we must do our part but we must also depend on the Lord to bring sinners to life spiritually.
Following his prayer, Peter spoke directly to the lifeless body. He called her by the Hebrew equivalent of Dorcas and said, “Tabatha arise” (Acts 9:40). We must not only speak to the Lord about the lost, we must also speak to the lost about the Lord. Paul reminds us in Romans that they will not hear without a preacher. It is our responsibility to teach, preach, and share our personal testimony with those around us that need spiritual life. The end times in which we live offer a perfect platform from which to speak to the lost around us. We must not only speak to them, we must speak faith and hope to the lost around us. Peter told her to “arise”. He looked hopelessness in the face and released hope. The world knows they are in trouble; they are waiting for someone to give them hope. We must let them know that our God will deliver them form their addictions, save them from their sins, change them from the inside out, and that their lives will never be the same after they are born again of the water and the Spirit. This fourth action of speaking faith into the lives of the lost is a powerful ingredient necessary for them to come to life. Indeed we are able to offer hope that “… maketh not ashamed” (Romans 5:5).
Finally, he gave her his hand and lifted her up. This fifth action seems to be an expression of sympathy and tenderness. She now felt the uplifting power of his compassionate hand. There is no doubt that you and I can be an extension of His hand to reach the lost of Oklahoma in 2016. We have what they need to be lifted out of their sin and into new life. The Acts 2:38 message of salvation will bring anyone and everyone to life. This experience is indeed the “New Birth”.
As we progress into the New Year, I pray that the Lord will continue to pour out His Spirit across Oklahoma and that He will use each of us to see the dead raised in 2016!