Why We Avoid Accountability

This is part of my message on God’s Will and the Church. I brought up accountability and ran out of time and said I’d post it here! The question is “Why do we avoid accountability in the body of Christ?”

  1. Rugged Individualism: we want to go it alone, pull ourselves up without any help.
  2. Image Building Tendency: If I get involved in accountability, they will discover I’m not really all together… like Halloween people – Pretenders
  3. Resistance to Change: I have always lived this way and don’t want to get involved.
  4. Fear of the Lack of Confidentiality: If I share anything to someone else, I’ll be the next sermon illustration or the talk of the church.
  5. Shame & Blame: There will be some “Holier than Thou” people to kick me while I’m down, and shame me into living for God and obeying the Bible.
  6. We are Falsely Led to Believe that we Uniquely Struggle with a Particular Sin: Many of us think our struggles are unique to us, but in an accountability relationship or small group we find out that our personal problems are universal. It’s exciting to find out that the members of your group have not only struggled with common problems but have found common solutions in God’s Word (1 Corinthians 10:13). 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

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Why We Need Accountability

This is part of my message on God’s Will and the Church. I brought up accountability and ran out of time and said I’d post it here! The question is “Why do we need accountability in the body of Christ?”

  1. Because Walking with God in the Past is no Guarantee of Success in the Future (1 Corinthians 10:1-5). For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
  2. Because we Underestimate the Evil Desires and Passions that are in our Flesh (1 Corinthians 10:6-11). Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
  3. Because we Overestimate our Capacity to Handle Temptation (1 Corinthians 10:12). 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
  4. Because we can Easily Become Self-deceived:
    1. James 1:22, But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
    2. Jeremiah 17:9, The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
    3. Proverbs 20:6, Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man? NKJV, a man basically tells himself, “I’m doing pretty good!”
  5. Because of our Tendency to a Double Standard (Luke 12:1; Romans 2:17-24), In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
  6. Because of our Need to be Stretched: Philippians 3:13, Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead…
  7. Because God Never Intended for us to go it Alone: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 1OFor if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

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We All Need Encouragement

High achievers like Pat Summitt, the Lady Volunteer’s Basketball Coach, demand the best from themselves and others. You might think that her high standards and demanding ways are the reason her teams have won three national titles over the past four years, but you’d only be partially right.

After a dry spell in the mid 90’s, Summitt popped a cork on the long ride home from a game the team should have won. Summitt chewed on one of her seniors so hard that it devastated the athlete. After a sleepless night, Michelle Marciniak, the player, called her coach at six in the morning saying she needed more than to be told when she makes mistakes, she needs some encouragement too.

That early morning phone call served as a “wake-up call” for Summitt in more ways than one. Slowly, she’s changed her ways to avoid breaking a player’s spirit. Her new combination of high standards and an encouraging spirit is taking the Lady Volunteers to a new level.

Criticism has its place, but it always takes second place to encouragement.

” …not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)

—Reader’s Digest, Feb. 2000 p. 56

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Being a Man of Authenticity

We all like to make a good impression, but when it comes to God and the church, honesty is the best policy. Here is a creative video about God’s grace and acceptance, and the need for authenticity in our spiritual lives.

This is one concept that should define a believer. By authentic I mean we are to be Christians that reflect the reality of the gospel. We want to be authentic Christians who are members of authentic churches pursuing authentic faith and service.

So, what does this actually look like?

Take a look at what Paul writes in First Thessalonians 1.

Presence: the first sign of Christian authenticity in a community is an awareness of God (1 Thessalonians 1:1-2)

Paul mentions that he is aware of the contributions of both the Father and Son in his relationship to the church in Thessalonica. A few verses later, in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 he references the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. We have to ask the question whether our lives reflect a similar awareness of each member of the Trinity? If not, who is missing, and why do we neglect that Person of the Trinity?

Practice: a second sign of Christian authenticity is faithful service characterized by faith, hope, and love (1 Thessalonians 1:3-4)

Paul says, “As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). It is always exciting to be a part of a community of faith that expresses these three virtues. Our prayer should always be that God allow us to work, labor, and endure with the faith, love, and hope.

Proclamation: a third sign of Christian authenticity is presenting the gospel not only in words, but also with power, the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

To many people the gospel has become mere words, which amounts to an exercise in beliefs rather than living out what we profess to believe. Does a church proclaim Christ only in words? If so, authenticity is going to be lacking.

Persistence: a fourth sign of Christian authenticity is leadership marked by incarnation, modeling, suffering, joy, and reproduction (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)

Sometimes it is easy to come to Christ. These believers came to Christ at the personal risk of life. I wonder how many authentic followers of Christ we actually have in the church today; once the persecution begins. These people not only came to Christ under difficult circumstances, but became an example to others in the region. They had a great testimony!

Perseverance: a fifth sign of Christian authenticity is faith characterized by repentance, service, hospitality and waiting on the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10)

The actions of this church spoke louder than mere words. They were demonstrating their faith and others concluded that their Christianity was authentic.

The church at Thessalonica was:

  1. An energetic church (1 Thessalonians 1:1-3) Paul gives thanks for their strong faith and labor of love.
  2. An elect church (1 Thessalonians 1:4) they were chosen by God himself.
    1. Salvation begins with God
    2. Salvation involves God’s love
    3. Salvation involves faith
    4. Salvation involves the Trinity
    5. Salvation changes lives
  3. An exemplary church (1 Thessalonians 1:5-7) Paul’s example to the church and their example to the world.
    1. They received the Word (1 Thessalonians 1:5, 2:8)
    2. They followed their spiritual leaders (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
    3. They suffered for Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
    4. They encouraged other churches (1 Thessalonians 1:7)
  4. An evangelistic church (1 Thessalonians 1:8) their faith was known everywhere.
  5. An expectant church (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10) they looked forward to the return of Christ.
    1. Decision made (1 Thessalonians 1:9) they turned from idols.
    2. Dedication made (1 Thessalonians 1:9) they turned to the living God.
    3. Devotion to a person (1 Thessalonians 1:10) their focus will be on the  Son.
    4. Deliverance from a penalty (1 Thessalonians 1:10) they escape will be from the wrath of God.

I pray that those who come in contact with King’s Grant will know about, sense and rejoice in the genuineness of the authentic gospel. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35)

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