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Ultimate Power Gospel Assembly, Nigeria

ACCOUNTABILITY FOR CHRISTIAN

CHRISTIAN ACCOUNTABILITY

Study Text:    Romans 14: 9 - 13

Introduction:

  • The stark reality of Scripture is that every person, Christian and non-Christian, is accountable before a sovereign God ( 3:9-19), and will one day have to bow before Christ (Phil. 2:9-11).
  • Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). Many reject this declaration of Scripture by all manner of human rationalizations and bias, but their rejection cannot alter the reality of accountability
  • Accountability is essential for any society to function and Christian accountability is no different. We are all held accountable in one way or another.
  • For example, there are laws to obey and if we fail to be obedient, we may have to suffer the consequences set by the officials who hold us accountable. Accountability is simply being responsible for one's actions. 
  • Every individual is responsible for his or her own behaviour. The Bible is very clear when it comes to personal accountability. Romans 14:12 says "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
  • The feeble excuses of men will not suffice when we are called to account before the Almighty. The Bible is filled with stories of men and women who tried to "pass the buck."
  • Adam tried to blame Eve when he ate the forbidden fruit. Trying to blame the serpent, Eve became the first to use the now infamous "the-devil-made-me-do-it" excuse. Biblical leaders such as Aaron and Saul ascribed blame for their sins to "the people" (Exodus 32:21-24; 1 Samuel 15:13-14).
  • As creative as some of these excuses may seem, not one was acceptable. Adam and Eve were both punished for their disobedience to God. When David sinned with Bathsheba he paid the price. No excuse saved him from God’s judgment.
  • Ananias and Sapphira could not shift the burden of guilt. They lied to the Holy Ghost and they were held accountable (Acts 5:1-11). The list could go on and on. Whenever men and women transgress God’s laws there is always a penalty attached.
  • Individuals who cannot admit they are wrong will not repent and seek God for forgiveness. At the same time, God cannot forgive sin until it is confessed. This shows how important it is for humankind to bear the responsibility for their own sins.
  • God’s sense of justice prevents Him from providing His mercy to the unrepentant.
    God’s Word says, "All have sinned" (Romans 3:23). Every man and woman of Adam’s race stands guilty before God.
  • However, if we confess our sins, He promises to be faithful in forgiving us (1 John 1:9). Can you take responsibility for your behaviour? Can you admit that you have sinned? When you can, God is ready to offer His mercy and forgiveness.
  • We shall discuss the topic under three sub-headings:
  1. The Description of Christian Accountability
  2. The Direction of Christian Accountability
  3. The Development of Christian Accountability
  4. The Description of Christian Accountability
  • A lot of Christian today do not have the fear of work, but, rather "accountability". We fear and hide from it as if it were an assault upon our lifestyle, and plans. We do not want to hear about it nor be tied to it. Yet, it is essential in order for us to grow and produce godly character and fruit.
  • What is accountability? It is a check and balance system to protect us from harm from ourselves and others. We do this by being open to what we are thinking and doing so we can receive encouragement and reproof, when needed.
  • Christian accountability is accounting for what we are up to. It is the realization that we are liable, responsible, and answerable for our actions in life to God (Rom. 2:16; 14:2; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10), as well as to key Christians in our life (John 13:34; Philip. 2:4).
  • Thus, we need to hold to our beliefs and keep in line with what we believe so it does not distract us from God's path for us or discourage others from their path.
  • Accountability allows us to be answerable to one another, focusing on key relationships such as with our spouse, close friends, colleagues, co-workers, a boss, small group members, and pastor. It is sharing, in confidence, our heartfelt Christian sojourn in an atmosphere of trust.
  • Then, we can give an answer for what we do and understand where we need help in areas where we are weak and struggling, where and how we are growing, what we are learning, and to be encouraged.
  • These precepts help us to stay on track, and get prayer, care, and support when we fail. We can also model guideposts for one another in order to keep going.
  • Accountability enables us to share our lives with one another in a deep, introspective way. This helps us to get to know ourselves and others in a deeper manner. 12:5; 14: 13-23; Eph. 5:21.
  • In this, we can have a place to open up, share, and be challenged. The goal is our spiritual formation which is Christian maturity, growth, and character derived from God working in us and our working out our faith with one another. Accountability is a system on how to become more Christ-like (Psalm 133:1).

 

  1. The Direction of Christian Accountability

-           We are accountable to God and to one another (Ezek. 34:2-4; Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Pet. 2:10-11).  Every day, God holds us accountable for our actions and deeds.

-           In our lives, we may be able to hide our character flaws and sins from our families, our friends, and our church. But we cannot hide anything from God. God evaluates everything that we do.  Psalms 139:1-8

-           Since we are accountable to God, we need to make sure that we are always striving to please Him by obeying His commandments.

-           Christians are also accountable to one another. In 1 Corinthians 12, we read that Christians are all part of the same body - the body of Christ - and each member needs or belongs to the other. This Scripture suggests the importance of strong accountability between Believers.

-           Some things taught in Scripture make us so uncomfortable, we tend to ignore them. The notion of being personally accountable to someone else for our actions is certainly one of them.

-           Accountability is not a new concept. Each of us is accountable in many ways to different organizations and people. If you have a job, you are accountable to your employer, who expects certain things of you. If you are married, you are accountable. Your spouse and your family expect certain things.

-           But when it comes to our character and spiritual development, we are prone to resist accountability. "After all," we reason, "that's between me and God. It's nobody else's business."

-           Yet the Bible teaches that we as brothers and sisters in Christ are to be accountable to one another.  Accountability is a relationship between believers wherein one has invited the other to monitor the development of character in one or more areas.

-           "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him" (Luke 17:3). "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself" (Gal. 6:1-3).

-           Accountability may not be specifically mentioned here, but it is assumed. It is important for every Believer to have at least one other person in which to confide, pray with, listen to, and encourage. 

 -          If your accountability friend has done something contrary to the Bible, you are called to confront him gently, forgive him, and comfort him. It also admonishes you to consider yourself because no one is above temptation.

-           Another aspect of Christian accountability is encouraging each other to grow in their spiritual maturityHebrews 10:25 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says to, "…encourage one another and build each other up…" 

-           Are you accountable? Do you have a friend to whom you can go? Will that person hold you accountable in your spiritual walk? Are you the type of person that people can come to when they need accountability?

-           We are declared clean before God by our Lord's work; however, we are still full of sin. We all have items and thoughts in our lives that diminish our relationship with God and our effectiveness with others.

-           There is still an on-going process in our lives to become cleaner and be what Christ really wants us to be; this is called sanctification.

-           As Christians, we are in the process and practice of our faith, growth, learning, and maturity all the days of our lives. At the same time, we are still susceptible to temptation, spiritual warfare, and our misplaced desires.

-           We have blind spots and need input from others to find them. If you really want to grow in faith and be effective in ministry, you must be held accountable; otherwise, you will fall, backslide, or be ineffective because of imbued pride. Sin will get you; maybe not today, but tomorrow is still coming.

-           Accountability is essential for every Christian to help reach his or her full potential; it is a mandate to those in leadership and ministry. Having other people around whom you can trust and get to know more deeply will enable you to know yourself: your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities-more deeply.

-           You will be able to see in the mirror to your inner being and desires and see if they line up to what God has for you. You will become more aware of issues, relationships, and life as life's purpose and God's call are unfolded before you.

-           Because you see life and God's Word more deeply, your behaviours and response to others will also change for the better (Rom. 15:7; Eph. 4:9-13; 1 Thess. 5:11).

-           The pages of the Bible are filled with stories of people leaning on others for growth and personal and spiritual development. Deep connections help great leaders overcome their struggles and see what they cannot see on their own.

-           Most prominently in the Old Testament are Moses and Aaron (Exodus), and David and Jonathan (1 Sam. 18-20). In the New Testament are Paul and Barnabas, and then Paul with Titus, Silas, and Timothy (Acts 11-14; 2 Cor. 2:12).

-           And, of course, our Lord Jesus, while He walked this earth, had His twelve with an extra connection to the inner three, Peter, James, and John.

-           Thus, we can say that accountability is not for just for those who are weak, needy, or for wimps; it is for the strong who want to be stronger and the unconnected who need to be connected.  (James 4:7-12; 1 Pet. 5: 1-11)

-           Men who desire to be faithful will be accountable to other faithful men, and real godly women will be connected to other godly women. There is no way around this vital call.

-           Leaders and pastors who are not accountable will eventually fall, and, until then, be very ineffective! God has called you to be the iron that sharpens others' iron, as their iron will sharpen you (Prov. 27:17).

-           Accountability was insisted on and practiced by Christ, Himself. Just observe how Jesus led the Disciples and how He modelled to the Disciples. This was picked up by the early church; they all had men in their lives who held them to account, in whom they trusted, took advice from, and who prayed for them.

-           It comes down to having trusting faith in Christ, and allowing His work in others to help keep us connected to Him. His empowerment will be synergized when we are connected with others whom we trust and who can warn us of coming dangers in our pursuits and thinking, encourage us when we are down, and who will hold us accountable. The love of God is often best reflected in the love and care of others.

-           We need others in our lives to point out to us the pitfalls before us, as we may not see them ourselves, blinded by desires and wanderlust. We cannot do this solely by our own efforts and strength; we need others, too. Others will see what we refuse to see, or what is blocked by our desires.

-           It is about the insight of others and the power of the Spirit working in us all. It is not the strength of others; rather it is their eyes, words, and assistance, and our allowing God to be our strength.

  1. The Development of Christian Accountability

-           There are two essential elements to accountability: trust and the ability to relate.
In order to establish Christian accountability, there needs to be trust.  Developing trust is a slow process and it takes time to develop and grow. We can take the following steps as a guide:

  1. As Christians, we should give our brothers and sisters in Christ the invitation to evaluate our character and spiritual development.

-           Brethren, if I am doing something wrong and sinful, please tell me about it. Since you’re my family, you should want to help me overcome anything that could cause me to lose my salvation, my family, or lose my effectiveness for the Lord.  (James 5:19-20)

  1. As true genuine Christians, we should welcome correction. (Prov. 9:8) "Rebuke a wise man and he will love you." (Prov. 25:12) "Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear."

-           We should welcome our brothers and sister's correction, for it is valuable.

  1. As Christians, we must have the courage to speak to people who are in need of correction. Unless we confront those who have taken a wrong turn in life, they may never regain their orientation.
  2. As faithful servants of the Lord, we must approach people in a loving and gentle way when they make a wrong turn in life. We must approach them because we are accountable to one another. Gal. 6:1-3

-           If we love the souls of people, we must show that love by encouraging people to leave their life of sin.

  1. A non-judgmental attitude is another essential element. Remember, we can be accepting of an individual while being discerning of the situation. Matthew 7:1-2 says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
  2. Caring for each other is also essential. 1 John 4:21 says, "And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother."

-           The key to effective accountability is to allow our pride to yield to the necessity of being accountable to one another. Our justification in Christ is no escape from bad things happening, because the world is still full of sin.

-           It is a starting point to build and develop character, patience, and dependence on God's grace, as Abraham did by faith; we are accountable for our choices.

-           God approves when we are walking in Him! God does not approve when we are walking by ourselves, comfortable in our own petty presumptions, and ignoring His love and truth!

-           Remember that Christian maturity and character is "Christ-likeness," becoming more like our Lord by living out His precepts. This is not a destination until we are called home to eternity; meanwhile we who are on this journey must make the most our opportunities.

-           We can learn and grow deeper and closer or we can repel and become worldlier. This journey and the road you will take is your choice and in God's providence (James 4:13-17).

-           So, go and be sharpened, and be a sharpener to others as well! In His Word and in prayer, watch your life grow and be transformed and triumphant! Do not allow accountability in your Christian life or in your church to become a forgotten call.

Conclusion:

-           We have seen that we are accountable to God and to one another. We should welcome the loving correction that we receive from our brothers and sisters in Christ.

-           But most importantly, we must welcome the correction that we receive from the Word of God.  If you are not living your life according the will of God, then you are encouraged to admit your faults, be accountable for your sins, and allow God to heal your spiritual heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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