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Summary: Authority and Accountability

Friend or Foe?

Authority and Accountability


Leaders are involved with authority. One of the things that people instantly recognized about Jesus was that he had authority.

He spoke with authority

He acted with authority

He lived with authority

He taught with authority

And at his command even demons, wind and water obeyed him.

The misuse of authority is one of leadership’s main failings!

As leaders we need to be both “in authority” and be “under authority”

We cannot have one without the other.

Authority and accountability is a two way street

Matt 8:5–13

Luke 7:1–10

The centurion knew that he had authority over his 100 men as long as he himself stayed under authority. His men obeyed his orders unquestioningly, because they knew that if they disobeyed the centurion, his superiors would back him up, and his superior’s superior would do the same, all the way back to Caesar on his throne in Rome. All the power of Rome stood behind the centurion, as long as he stayed under the authority. If he stepped out of that obedience, he lost his authority.

Tom Marshal

Understanding Leadership


Spiritual authority is exactly that:

Spiritual in origin and nature.

My authority comes from the fact that I am under authority.

“Spiritual authority is never there to make the rebel conform; its only purpose is to enable the obedient person to live a holy life. Therefore it rests on submission and obedience freely given.”

Menno Simons – Founder of the Mennonite Church

o Freely given … you can never be someone’s conscience and you cannot be God to him or her.

Rom 6:17 + 2 Cor 10:5

To listen intelligently

Not merely with the ears but with the conscience

God will not back me up in areas of my life where I am unsubmitted to His divine authority.

We must seek accountability.

True biblical authority is always invited never imposed.

This is how God works with us

When we invite authority we don’t give headship away

The more accountability we seek the more authority God will give us.

We need accountability at every level

· Friendship

· Husband/wife

· Leadership

There are two basic forms of authority

· Intrinsic authority – only God has intrinsic authority

· Delegated authority – given by another

Lets look at two examples:

1Sam 17:26 + 45-47

In verse 8 Goliath tries to make them own the battle.

This shows us that David at an early age understood Godly authority

1Sam 17:58

This shows that David also understands human delegated authority.

There is no authority except authority that comes from God

o Rom 13:1

o Every authority other than the authority of God Himself is the delegated authority

o John19: 11

o The highest form of delegated authority is that of the word of God

o 2Tim 3:16

o Ps 119:89 – again David

o Ps 119:160

Lets look at 4 Key words for leadership

1Tim 3:5 (Manage)

Greek:: proistemi, pro-is’-tay-mee; to stand before, i.e. (in rank) to preside, or (by impl.) to practice:--maintain, be over, rule.

1Cor 12:28 (Administrate) – KJV Government

Greek:: kubernesis, koo-ber’-nay-sis; to steer; pilotage, i.e. (fig.) directorship (in the church):--government.

Rom 13:1 (Govern - Worldly Authority)

Greek: :huperecho, hoop-er-ekh’-o; to hold oneself above, i.e. (fig.) to be superior.

Hebrews 13:7 (Rule)

Greek: hegeomai, hayg-eh’-om-ahee; to lead, i.e. command (with official authority); chief, count, esteem, governor, judge, have the rule over, suppose, think.


Hebrews 13:17




River Church International is in partnership with an Apostolic Team namely New Covenant Ministries International. This Team provides authority and accountability to us corporately and personally.

Luke 16:10 – 12

Faithfulness and accountability go hand in hand

Proverbs 13:10 + 1Cor 4:2

If we intend to be faithful we will be accountable

It is hard to find faithful accountable people

Prov20: 6

“It is the unshared areas of our lives that will cause our downfall.”

Gerald Coates

“Money, sex and pride will alter the shape of the church to come”

Gerald Coates (1993)

o We must make ourselves open and vulnerable to someone

o We must have someone we can be totally honest with (not your spouse)

o Must build bridges of relationship

o Sandy and I have several key friendships that God has used many times to speak into our lives/church/marriage.

o Cannot take 10 ton truth over a 5 ton bridge

Many of the men of God who have fallen have said, “I had no-one to talk to!”

Accountability through relationship forms a safety net.


When faithfully exercised and willingly received spiritual authority fulfills four purposes in the church

o Exercises God’s authority

o Authoritative and reliable, guidance and direction to the church

o Makes disciples not unto man but unto God

o Maintains and protects individual and corporate liberty

“The deadly peril of legalism is that it enables us to find a way to live within the letter of the law without it affecting our heart.”

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