Summary: An encouragement for us to seek out the wanderer.

Prayer and the prodigal Jas 5:17-20 WBC 23/11/03pm

In July 2002 in an incident that the news-media called "The Miracle at Quecreek," nine miners were trapped 240 feet under-ground for three days in a water-filled mine shaft. You probably remember, you were no doubt holding your breath with me as they were down in that flooded mine shaft without food and light and drinking water. After they were rescued, they were interviewed about what happened down there. They said that they "decided early on they were either going to live or die as a group."

The 55 degree water threatened to kill them slowly by hypothermia, so according to one news report "When one would get cold, the other eight would huddle around the person and warm [them], and when another person got cold, the favour was returned."

Miner Harry Mayhugh told reporters after being released from Somerset Hospital, "Everybody had strong moments, but any certain time maybe one guy got down, and then the rest pulled together. And then that guy would get back up, and maybe someone else would feel a little weaker, but it was a team effort. That¡¦s the only way it could have been."

They faced incredibly hostile conditions together-and the world marvelled when they all came out alive together. [Bill White, Paramount, California; source: adapted from "Teamwork Helped Miners Survive Underground," (7-28-02)] from

These are James¡¦ last words

- ends somewhat abruptly. Unlike Paul!

Ends with something v important to him

- = love and care for one another. Care for the wanderer

o the backslider. Prodigal

o be a concerned community

- it¡¦s like he knows life and ¡¥savage wolves¡¦ will come against people¡¦s faith when his sermon ends (like Paul to Eph leaders in Acts 20:18)

In other words- this is one of the many ¡¥tests¡¦ Jas is trying to prepare his ¡¥global congregation for

- individual¡¦s faith tested

o by hard times¡K or suffering¡K or intellectual challenges

„X all the very real things that can tempt one to be static¡K stagnate¡K backslide

- our faith tested

o to see if we¡¦ll be merciful

It was F.B. Meyer, I believe, who once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard they tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed them. We also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.

SOURCE: Stephen Brown, Christianity Today, April 5, 1993, p. 17.

- to see if we¡¦ll respond¡K

o be like the good shepherd (seek them out)

o or be like Cain ¡§Am I my brother¡¦s keeper?!¡¨

- will we be ¡¥spiritual¡¦ like Gal 6:1.. or carnal/selfish?

WHAT has happened, here?

V19- it started in their belief: ¡§wandered from the TRUTH¡¨

- either were ignorant to what the Bible said or

- started wandering from the core creedal truths of the Bible

Who says ¡¥what you believe doesn¡¦t matter¡¦?!

- everything we are/do starts in what we believe

They¡¦ve started wandering. And the truth is, the Bible says about the fundamental things

- ¡¥stand firm¡¦¡K ¡¥stand firm in the faith¡¦ Is 7:9 ¡¥if you do not stand firm in your faith you will not stand AT ALL¡¨

v20- their behaviour followed their belief and they are now (v20) in ¡¥the error of their ways¡¦

- ie life is probably a real mess

- they¡¦re not living as a Christian

Seen it happen? I have.

- I think : why didn¡¦t someone love them enough to confront them over their belief¡K behaviour

o Then!

o Or- confront their father: stop drinking! (sometimes it goes back generations)

They¡¦ve lost it.

Think: ¡¥can¡¦t lose it?¡¦

- well- actually- you¡¦re eternally secure (if that¡¦s how you want it)(

- but: ¡¥be careful lest you fall¡¦ (1 Cor 10:10)

o here this has happened to ¡¥one of you¡¦- ie ANYONE

o test yourself to see if you are in the faith

- experience shows people do fall. Sometimes from a great height

o these people HAVE (apart from God¡¦s grace)

WHO is my brother¡¦s keeper?

So- who¡¦s supposed to act, respond, here?

- hear the silent cries of this person

o (unlike the audible cry for healing- these people respond in silence and with their shoes)

Heb 13:17- leaders are to keep watch

Acts 20:28 leaders: 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30

- note: it¡¦s always pleural. (leadership IS pleural, I reckon)

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