Summary: Genuine Accountability starts our acronym of GRACE. Using the Shepherds Covenant which is prepared for pastors and ministry leaders but expand them to everyone desiring a Christ-centered life
THE LIFE OF G.R.A.C.E.
August 28, 2005
Intro: Today we are going to begin a series of talks designed to help us understand grace in a new way. We are going to be taking the letters of the word grace and over the next few weeks dissecting them to look at our own lives and our relationships in a new way.
This series is inspired by a ministry of Focus on the Family. The Pastoral Care department, under the direction of H.B. London has developed a covenant for pastors and those in ministry called the Shepherds Covenant. I have signed this covenant, I receive encouragement on this covenant from Focus, and I desire to live my life by this covenant.
The Shepherd’s Covenant:
“We are joined together by a common call of God to feed His sheep, but we are also tied by a common commitment to purity, holiness, righteousness and faithfulness. Our agreement to submit to the Shepherd’s Covenant transcends theological differences, denominational connections and local congregational constraints. We are bound to one another by our calls and by the knowledge that one day the Great Shepherd will be the final Judge.”
Over the next few weeks, I want to share with you the specific aspects of this covenant. I believe they are far more than just guidelines for pastors and ministry leaders, but they are aspects of life that each believe needs to embrace and hold firm in order to live a life of Christ-centeredness.
The five parts of the covenant shape the foundations of our life and that is the word Grace.
G- Genuine Accountability
R- Right Relationships
A- A Servant Heart
C- Constant Safeguards
E- Embrace God Intimately
Today we are going to begin with the concept of Genuine Accountability.
The dictionary defines accountability as liable or explainable.
Accountability within the church is an issue that scares most people to death. People are afraid that if they become real and honest with each other, there will be judgment and disapproval for their shortcomings. Pastors many times are the worst. Instead of modeling accountability, we often want to think of ourselves as above being accountable and as having to answer to no one. Not only is that type of thinking dangerous, it is unbiblical.
“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.”
James 5:16 (The Message)
“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.’” Mark 10:42-43 (NIV)
Nowhere in scripture does it exempt pastors or church leaders from having to be accountable. In fact, scripture teaches that we as pastors are to be the most accountable so that others may follow our example.
“Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example.” 1 Peter 5:2-3 (NLT)
Today we are not just looking at pastors, but we are looking at an overall principle for our lives to help us live in love and support of one another.
I. Accountable out of Love
The goal of accountability is to demonstrate love to one another.
It is much easier to live a life that does not get worried about how others are living. We can simply disregard areas of weakness and shortcomings to allow others to live as they please.
This type of thinking is what has caused our society to get to the point of where it is today. We are so afraid to hold people accountable to truth that we have simply decided to disregard truth. This is not how the church should live.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 (NIV)
Love requires a commitment to one another.
We must learn to love each other enough not to overlook our shortcomings.
One way parents show that they love their children is through holding them accountable.
“Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it .” Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
Parents, quit trying to be your child’s friend and be your child’s parent. They have enough friends and God has not called you to be their friend. God has ordained you to be the model and the shepherd of their heart and their actions and until you hold your children accountable, you will not be doing what God has called you to do.