Summary: God wants to reveal Himself to people by meeting the needs in their lives.
The Need-Meeting God
Intro: [Review] Have you ever tried to help somebody, but as you were doing so, you wondered, “Hey! Am I really helping this person, or is this just a temporary fix for a deeper problem?” I am sure we’ve all felt that at times, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to help. We do need to be aware of the situation and not blindly enable someone to keep on living carelessly or wastefully. Paul told the churches to give assistance only to those widows who really were in need and did not have other resources to meet their needs.
-Well, God knows exactly how to meet our needs. He knows what we need and when we need it. He knows when we need to learn to be better stewards and eliminate wastefulness in our lives. He knows how to feed us for a lifetime, not just for a meal. He teaches us to take responsibility for our own lives and provide for ourselves and our families. While we always need God and others, He moves us from a place of making others responsible for our well-being to being good stewards of what He puts in our care. So, He knows exactly what we need and will help provide for us even when we do not know how our needs will be met. Today, we are going to talk about the need-meeting God. Here is the central theme of the message:
Prop: God wants to reveal Himself to people by meeting the needs in their lives.
Interrogative: In what kinds of ways does God do that?
TS: Let’s look at 3 ways God meets our needs in order to bring us closer to Him.
I. The Good News about Jesus Can Meet Physical Needs (32-34, 36)
-Here’s the good news: Jesus can and will heal people who are sick, and through His followers He helps take care of those in need of material provisions. Tabitha ministered to the poor around her. Jesus was touching their lives through her life.
-First, let’s talk about how Jesus can meet physical needs through healing. Aeneas had been confined to a bed for 8 years. We do not know what happened to him, whether it was an accident, or some kind of debilitating disease. All we know about him is that he was paralyzed, and had to lay on a mat. It is possible that people carried him out near the market so he could beg for a living, but our passage says nothing about this. All it says is that he was paralyzed and bedridden, and Peter found him.
-It is amazing who you might find when you are looking for needs to meet. I fully believe that God the HS led Peter to Aeneas. The only reason Peter found him is because the Lord had already found him and led Peter to him. When Peter saw the man’s condition, he said something interesting. He said, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you.” Notice how careful Peter was to give the glory to the One who really did the healing. Back in Acts 3, after Peter and John prayed for the crippled beggar, Peter said, "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”
-Peter did not want any of the glory for himself. He knew that it all belonged to Jesus. However, he also knew that the power of God was available for Him to use as he went about sharing the gospel. God wants to meet people’s needs by healing them with His mighty power!
-We also see that God meets people’s needs by providing food and clothing for them. He uses His people to accomplish this. Look at Tabitha’s life in v. 36: “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. (39)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.” Tabitha was a woman whom God had used to help meet the needs of several poor people in Joppa. Luke refers to her as a disciple, a student and follower of Jesus. The name “Dorcas” is derived from the Greek word, derkomai, which means to see clearly. It also was used to refer to a gazelle or deer- an animal with big bright eyes. Tabitha was able to clearly see when people were in need, and she knew how to go about helping them. She was not blinded by selfishness or busyness, but she threw herself into the task of helping provide for others. What a worthy and noble calling! Sometimes there is no better way to show God’s love than to help meet someone’s need. Will you get taken advantage of? You bet! Tabitha probably was. Jesus certainly was! Does it do any good? According to the Bible it does. In fact the Bible says a lot about helping meet the needs of the poor. When we as a church do that the way God wants us to, people will be drawn to Him, because they see His love in action.