Summary: From a series on our church’s Core Values
Trinity Baptist Church May 21, 2006
Accountability throughout the Body
Leroy Eims used to tell the story of a man named Robert Robinson. Robinson lived in the 1700’s. He was riding one day in a stage coach -- and he sat slumped in a corner, trying to sleep.
In that coach also sat a lady. After a while, she started humming a favorite hymn. Robinson roused himself, looked her in the eyes, and in no uncertain terms told her he did not appreciate her humming. She quietly asked why her humming bothered him.
“It‘s not your humming, madam, it‘s the tune you hummed.” She realized it had been: “Come Thou Fount“. She asked, “Why --- why does that hymn bother you, sir?“ He responded, “Madam, I am the unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then."
“Prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love.”
Robinson’s words identify that downward pull on our hearts -- the urges, the thinking and feelings -- which entice us to put distance between ourselves and Christ.
Some of those impulses come from out of our flesh,
some from the world‘s enticements; some even originate in the dark demonic realm.
The consequences are the same -- we often get neutralized, maybe even emotionally and spiritually paralyzed and we begin to level off and descend in the spiritual life.
I want to talk to you today about a resource God offers to shore up your life and help you keep moving strongly in Christ‘s direction.
This is our final study examining the biblical foundations of what we call Trinity’s Core Values.
Today we wrap up with the one inside your worship folder. “Accountability Throughout the Body.” Like a couple of the others, word “accountability” scares some of us more than we’d admit. It doesn’t have to. I trust by the time we’re done, fear and resistance will get replaced by motivation.
The expansion of the value reminds us of what we talked about last time in the area of community. “We are ‘members of one another’ and should be open to others in the Body who will be part of our lives. We reject the superficial relating common in our culture and churches. To facilitate discipleship and spiritual transformation, we seek close relationships
in which people can be open, challenged, encouraged and helped to develop as God desires.
Everyone, including leaders, needs accountability through significant relationships.” No, that’s not a typo. Everyone, including leaders, needs accountability through significant relationships. This isn‘t something we need when we‘re young Christians, accountability is for everyone, including leaders. We’ll see that as we move through the study. Let’s start with the meaning.
What is it?
When we say accountability, we’re not talking about coercion, or invasion of privacy, or bringing people under the weight of someone else’s preferences or legalism. Biblical accountability isn’t manipulation like it might be practiced in cults.
The dictionary says it means “being liable to being called to account;” it means “answerable and responsible to others“. In a biblical sense, it’s developing relationships with other believers which will promote spiritual reality, honesty and obedience to God. That happens through honest evaluations of how we’re doing, in walking with God, in relationships with others and in the responsibilities of life. It involves relationships which help us change by grace, by the Spirit’s power and in line with the Bible.
So accountability means teaching, challenging, supporting and encouraging one another in ways that promote spiritual integrity in us as believers.
That’s what it is. Why do I need it?
First, because the Bible says, we’re a lot like straying sheep. Sheep wander off and start eating the wrong thing, and putting themselves in danger zones. Just like that, we wander off and do our thing.
Sometimes it’s inadvertently choosing the wrong path. More often, it’s leaping at disobedience knowing full well what we’re doing.
Any one of us could have written those words: “prone to wander.” Accountability builds a hedge of protection, it helps hold onto us in spite of our urges. Authentic relationships -- with God, with God’s Word, and with some Christians who love you are like a three urgent voices that repeatedly remind us, “don’t go there.”
Another reason: accountability builds integrity into us. Chuck Swindoll says, “you need someone in your life who will ask you the hard questions.” Integrity results when Truth and life align. We all need help with that aligning because we’re weak and subject to
Accountability brings freedom. Listen to me: More times than I’d care to admit, I’ve been into wrong thinking of lots of different kinds. Doubts about God, fears of all kinds; and wrong thinking propel us to be alone a lot. And the result is bondage to all kinds of stuff.