Summary: Jesus wanted a return on His investment in people. The Lord expects everyone to give a reckoning for what they have done or with whatever they have been given - time, talents, and resources. Jesus held the disciples to a high level of accountability becau

How Jesus Held His Disciples Accountable

Matthew 4:19-4:19

Jesus wanted a return on His investment in people. The Lord expects everyone to give a reckoning for what they have done or with whatever they have been given - time, talents, and resources. Jesus held the disciples to a high level of accountability because he knew this would motivate them to accomplish all of God’s will. Our Lord never used accountability to instill paralyzing fear in His followers. Accountability acts as a fertilizer to catalyze growth and progress in every person.

1. Jesus did not use accountability as a club to beat His disciples into doing something that they did not want to do. The love of God assures us that the Lord always has our long-term interests in mind. When we are aware that we will have to give an account for our words, actions and results, we behave more responsibly. Do not use accountability primarily as a threat to bring shame, guilt or punishment.

2. Jesus helped the disciples realize that they were primarily responsible to the creator of life. The notion that the disciples would have to give account of their lives and ministries motivated them to work for eternity rather than for mere human reasons. The disciples did not mind being misunderstood because they knew they were serving a higher power than the religious or governmental authorities of the day.

3. Jesus helped the disciples choose if they wanted to be a part of His great commission contract. He told them, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt. 4:19) Do not try to force accountability on people against their will. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

4. Jesus used accountability for everyone, yet he gauged future evaluations on the basis of how much information they had been given. Jesus said, "To whom is entrusted much, much is required."

5. Jesus loved people enough to help them realize that accountability held them up to God’s unchangeable standards that did not vary with the situational ethics of each culture. Try to help people see that God’s accountability criteria are absolute standards that stand the test of time.

6. Jesus held individuals accountable according to their own gifts, talents and their level of exposure to the truth. For this reason Jesus came down hard on the Pharisees and the Sadducees who wasted many of their great opportunities to advance His kingdom and His righteousness.

7. Jesus used accountability to help people realize that the universal law of sowing and reaping is always in operation. The Lord taught people the importance of remembering that we will reap whatever we have sown in both qualitative and quantitative measures.

8. Jesus helped everyone know that accountability puts every human in complete reliance on Him for the forgiveness of sins. No one is able to pay the penalty for their own sins because they do not have any suitable substitutionary sacrifice to present to God outside of the blood of Jesus Christ. No one is able to boast that they deserve higher credit from the Lord because we all owe our salvation to our Savior.

9. Jesus gave the disciples a sense of ownership by making them accountable for their own area of ministry. When the twelve apostles understood that they were to begin house fellowships we read in Acts 2:41-47 that people gladly met daily for prayer, teaching and fellowship. A local sense of ownership and control quickly multiplies the church through the involvement of many people’s gifts.

10. Jesus only gave disciples responsibilities when He knew that they were ready. The Lord never gave the disciples assignments until He knew that they had proven themselves faithful in small responsibilities. Do not assign ministries to people who have not already proven themselves effective in smaller tasks.

11. Jesus loved to commend the disciples for successfully carrying out their responsibilities. Everyone likes to be rewarded for a good job done. The Lord was a Master of giving just the right balance of encouragement and exhortation. Our Lord knew that some personality types require more of a firm hand of supervision, but others are just fine if they are left on their own to complete their assignments. Be a student of people and the type of motivations that suit each individual.

12. Jesus inspired confidence in His disciples. When the twelve apostles knew that the Lord had passed on the baton of responsibility to help plant and grow Christ’s church, they believed the empowerment of the Holy Spirit would be sufficient for whatever challenge they faced. They knew where to turn to in times of distress. Do not assign a responsibility to a person unless they are convinced that it is God’s will and that He will supply whatever is needed for its successful completion. "He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

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