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(2010-05-12 22:19:48)


                       TTC Chapel 210410

Acts 9:36-43使徒行传 9:36-43


1.    Introduction 引言

1.1              In a world where, for the sake of clarity, we ask for definitions, we may need in our ministries and teaching, require an answer to the question: Who is a disciple?


1.2              Surveying the New Testament, especially the Gospels, we may have a list of characteristics that might describe who a disciple is.  I have on my own come up with a list of eight.


       1.2.1      A disciple is teachable (Luke 6:40) 一个门徒是受教的(路加福音06:40)   1.2.2      A disciple puts Christ above all and forsakes all in order to follow Him (Luke     14:26-33)一个门徒视基督为一切之上和放弃所有来跟随祂(路加福音14:26-33)

       1.2.3      A disciple studies and lives out the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 8:31-  32) 一个门徒学习和生活都依据主耶稣基督的教诲(约翰福音8:31)

       1.2.4      A disciple is a servant (John 13:13-17) 一个门徒是一个仆人(约翰13:13-17)

       1.2.5      A disciple is known by his, or her, love for one another (John 13:34, 35)


       1.2.6      A disciple influences others to become disciples (Matthew 28:19, 20)


       1.2.7      A disciple is fruitful (John 15:8)               一个门徒是有成效,多结果子的(约翰15:8)


       1.2.8      A disciple witnesses to our Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) 一个门徒藉着圣灵的能力见证我们的主耶稣基督(使徒1:8)


1.3              However, reading this passage, we note a “certain” (in the NKJV) disciple named Tabitha, translated Dorcas.但是,当我们读到这段经文,我们注意到一个“确信”(?版)的门徒,名叫大比大,翻译成多加



1.3.1        The word “certain” in NKJV is really an indefinite pronoun in Greek (‘tis).


       1.3.2      But it is definite that she was a disciple: that word is there in all translations, as      well as in Greek但明确的她是门徒,这个词是在那里所有的翻译,以及在希腊文 


2.    Evidence of Tabitha as a Disciple 大比大是门徒的证据


2.1  The writer of Acts was definite that Tabitha was a disciple, with the words following her introduction.使徒行传的作者对她的介绍,肯定了大比大是门徒

       2.1.1      This is the only time that the feminine form of the Greek word for disciple is used        in the New Testament. 在新约里这是唯一的一次用希腊文对女性门徒的形容。


2.2  Note how the writer of Acts describes her after calling her a disciple: she was a woman full of good works and in particular the work of helping the poor.


       2.2.1      There was no mention of all the other characteristics that we would identify as a    disciple, only that she was full of good works and helped the poor.



       2.2.2      That appears to be all that was required to identify her as a disciple.



2.3  The evidence of the impact of her discipleship is seen in the mourning widows who showed up at her house.


       2.3.1      Apparently, she had spent time sewing clothes for poor widows.


2.4  That Tabitha was a disciple is shown in this passage by the impact of her life upon others through practical deeds.


2.5  As a result of her example, there were numerous “Dorcas societies” in the history of the Christian church as a way of perpetuating her memory.


       2.5.1      There was also a “Tabitha School” in Jaffa, Israel, devoted to the care and       education of poor girls.



3.    A Disciple Recognised by Good Deeds to the Poor贫困者付出的好行为可以辨认出门徒


3.1  It could very well have been that Tabitha did all that we today would expect of a disciple of Christ, i.e. she studied the Scriptures, prayed, witnessed to the Lord Jesus even while she was helping the widows to produce clothes.


3.2  However, what stood out was her good works amongst the poor, in this case the widows.


3.3  The account of her deeds being closely identified with her as a disciple reinforces the point that a disciple of Christ is identified by his or her works.



       3.3.1      These works need not necessarily be particularly of a spiritual nature; rather, it is    works as plain and practical as helping the poor.


       3.3.2      Think Mother Teresa. 想想特蕾莎修女


3.4  Putting it in the negative sense: disciples are not people who are so spiritual that they are of no earthly use.



3.5  Real practical help given to the poor is an integral part of discipleship.  We must guard against discipleship as being all about spiritual things that helping the poor through plain good works is not considered as the fruitfulness of a disciple.



4.    The Tension between Good Works and Evangelism广行善事和传福音的张力


4.1  There is always a healthy tension between good deeds ( or what we sometimes term as social action, or social concerns) with evangelism (in particular, with reference to personal conversion and salvation).




       4.1.1      On the one hand, the question arises: is there any real value in just doing good       deeds only that do not lead to the recipients coming to faith in Christ?


       4.1.2      Should not all good deeds be open doors to share the gospel of Christ so that people hear and are given opportunity to decide one way or another?  If they do not lead      to openings to share, then why should we proceed and bother with such projects at all?



4.2  Then on the other side of those who think only of good deeds:另一方面,对于那些只想到广行善事:

       4.2.1      Should not good deeds be what they are by themselves?



       4.2.2      If we do something good expecting something in return, isn’t that conditional        love, i.e. I will be good to you only if you are also willing to hear the gospel I want to   share with you?


       4.2.3      Aren’t we supposed to love unconditionally, so if we do good, then do good, full stop?


5.    Good Works Do Not Respect Persons广行善事不管对象是谁 

5.1  Jesus had a revelation for the Pharisee who tested Him by asking which was the greatest commandment in the Law.  Jesus replied that the Ten Commandments could be summed up in two parts: 一个法利赛人的律法师,要试探耶稣,就问他律法上的诫命,那一条是最大的。耶稣回答说,十诫可归纳为两个部分:(马太福音22:37-40)




Matt 22:37-40 NKJV

Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

5.2      The apostle Paul further narrowed it down to one: What would sum up the whole law of God – is it loving God, or is it loving our neighbor?  Paul gives his answer:





Gal 5:14 NKJV

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

5.3  It is not in loving God that we show ourselves to be disciples.  It is in loving one another, as Jesus said in John 13:34, 35.



       5.3.1      Paul further elaborates this by saying that it is in loving our neighbour that we        fulfil the law. 保罗进一步解释说明,我们爱邻居这就完成了律法。

       5.3.2      It is in loving our neighbour that we show our love for God; not the other way       around. 当我们爱我们的邻居,这就表达了我们对上帝的爱,而不是颠倒过来。

       5.3.3      So we cannot say that we love God, if we don’t love our neighbour.


       5.3.4      If we love our neighbour, we are truly loving God.


5.4  Of course, if you want to nick pick, then you may want to ask the question: Who is my neighbour? 当然,如果你挑剔一点,那么,您可能问谁是我的邻舍?

       5.4.1      If we read the context of what Jesus says in John 13, we may say that he is     referring to his disciples; hence, it is about disciples (believers, i.e.) who must love one       another (i.e. other disciples) as a way of demonstrating that they truly love Him.


       5.4.2      So you may say that this loving is about loving fellow believers and disciples, not just everybody inclusively.


5.5  However, it is important to note that in John 13, Jesus was demonstrating indeed, by the washing of the disciples’ feet, that they were be servants to one another.


       5.5  The point of John 13:34, 35 is about demonstrating to the world that we are His    disciples.


5.6  Paul on the other hand was not referring simply to believers only: he was referring to the summing up of the whole law.另一方面,保罗不是单单指信徒而已;他指向整个律法的总纲。

       5.6.1      Hence, loving our neighbour covers all. 因此说,爱邻居就涵盖了所有

5.7  Remember how Jesus responded to that same question posed by the expert in the law: Who is my neighbour? 记得耶稣怎样回答律法师的相同问题:谁是我的邻舍?

       5.7.1      Jesus told the story of what we have titled as the Good Samaritan.


       5.7.2      The whole point of that story is not about who is my neighbour; rather it is about   how I can be a neighbour to anyone who is in need.


       5.7.3      It is about my doing the good deeds, regardless of whom the one in need is –        doing good has not respect for persons.

这是关于我的好行为,不管需要援助的是谁,- 做好事不管对象是什么人 

       5.7.4      It is all inclusive. 通通包涵。


6.    The Poor we will always have with us常有穷人和我们同在 


6.1  Jesus said, “You will always have the poor with you.” (Mark 14:7)


       6.1.1      This is true even in modern Singapore, where we have learned the art of how to      hide the poor from public view.


       6.1.2      But it is true, the poor we will always have with us: they are hidden in the cracks   of our social system that generally does a good job of attending to their needs.


       6.1.3      Our Family Service Centres can point out to you where they are.


6.2  Our discipleship is to be measured not only in the number of converts that we make, nor the disciples that we influence and develop. 



       6.2.1      Jesus recognised and ministered to the poor, and rebuked the disciples for       paying lip service regarding their concern for the poor.


       6.2.2      He saw His mission as being anointed to preach the gospel to the poor; further He        did not just preached - He fed them, healed them, in addition to teaching them.


6.3  The words, “The poor you will always have with you,” were spoken not in the presence of the poor; rather they were words spoken in the midst of well-to-do guests in the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.


       6.3.1      Mary had been criticised for wasting away such expensive oil in using it to anoint the feet of Jesus.  马利亚被批评用昂贵的油抹耶稣的脚。

       6.3.2      Jesus came to her defence with these words, and indirectly rebuked the criticism.


       6.3.3      Often when the rich think of helping the poor, they often resort first to doling out        money. 有钱人想帮助穷人时,他们会以派钱的方式

       6.3.4      To spend something expensive for God seemed like a bad thing to do.


       6.3.5      To the contrary, Jesus commended Mary for somehow being able to sense what     the right thing to do in that situation, which was to anoint Jesus with that expensive oil,    and in a way anticipating the burial of our Lord.


       6.3.6      Our zealousness for the poor (even though in this case it was a deceitful cover      for the hypocrisy of Judas) should never be as an alternative to expending ourselves        and our resources for God.



6.4  Some of you might already know that in this 125th Anniversary of the Methodist Church in Singapore, we have launched a special project of reaching with financial assistance to the chronically poor in our society.   你们当中应该有些人知道,新加坡卫理公会在这125 周年,我们推出了一项特殊社会关怀事工,就是财政援助那些长期陷在贫穷中的人。



6.4.1      We had hoped to raise $1.25m for this project, so that members can regularly not   just give the funds to those in need but also to visit them, establish relationship, and     reach out to them in other ways possible.


       6.4.2      We hoped to raise funds, and recruit befrienders.


       6.4.3      Yes, you guessed it right – barely three months away and we have almost reached        the amount raised, but the befrienders are still forthcoming.



7.    Conclusion结论


7.1  That is why I say Christians (Singaporeans in general) would not hesitate to reach into their pockets for worthy causes, but volunteering to do practical work for the poor is rather something that is hard to come by.


       7.1.1      Doing practical work to help the poor is not simply social work.  For the        Christians, it is an integral part of discipleship; even if we don’t convert them in the       process.


       7.1.2      If conversion comes following our conversations with them – great!


       7.1.3      If not, it is no less the work of a disciple.





























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