The hidden gem prophetic community
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The Hidden Gem: Prophetic Community. Peter Fitch, St. Croix Vineyard Sunday, May 11, 2014 Studies in James, Part 10. Last week. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” Out of context, seems like an encouragement to pray

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The hidden gem prophetic community

The Hidden Gem: Prophetic Community

Peter Fitch, St. Croix Vineyard

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Studies in James, Part 10


Last week

Last week

  • “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”

  • Out of context, seems like an encouragement to pray

  • In James 4, seems like an invitation to an economy of generosity rather than an economy of exploitation

  • This will affect our understanding of this week’s passage


James 5 1 12

James 5:1-12

1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!


James 5 1 121

James 5:1-12

4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.


James 5 1 122

James 5:1-12

6 You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you. 7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.


James 5 1 123

James 5:1-12

8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.


James 5 1 124

James 5:1-12

11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.


Is being rich evil

Is being rich evil?

  • We saw this at the beginning of the book, where the rich are being treated with favouritism in the budding Christian communities

  • However, there are instructions for both rich and poor

  • One state is not holier than another

  • “It’s what you do with it!”


Just like world

Just like “world”

  • Word “rich” has two different meanings

  • One is morally neutral—you have a lot of stuff

  • Another is a reference to the economy of exploitation that dominates and oppresses others as it strives for its own gain (by hook or by crook)

  • Unfortunately, sometimes it’s tricky trying to tell these two apart . . .


What to do

What to do?

  • Strengthen your hearts—the Lord is near (James probably meant this in more than one way . . .)

  • Don’t fight or complain about each other

  • Rather, patiently endure the hardship of being a community of light that’s covered over by a community of darkness and greed

  • Take the example of the prophets


What about the prophets

What about the prophets?

  • They did not lead revolutions but they spoke the truth about domination and societal evil

  • Job is given as an example—he questioned God

  • The prophetic community speaks (and lives) out a different message than that of the prevailing world system

  • “Every community is prophecy”


Find the sweet spot

Find the sweet spot

  • v. 12 reminds us that it’s possible to go too far:

    “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.”

  • Find the way to let the community of hope flourish even while the community of greed is swirling all around

  • Next week will show more, but for now . . .


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