Summary: End of Year message to help evaluate where the church is at
It’s Accounting Time
I. The end of the year is a time of fiscal and financial accountability for many organizations. Over the next few weeks accountants will be poring over the records of the past year’s business. Business owners will examine the business plan for ’96 and compare it to the actual results. In the past week five professional football coaches have been fired. The regular season just ended, so for team owners this is a time of accountability.
A. Accountability is a scary word. It means that someone is looking at what I’m doing, carefully reviewing the books, examining every record.
1. Some of you have been through audits of your company or office, institutional audits, audits by governments agencies, audits by the folks from workman’s comp.
2. Others may have gone through a periodic inventory check of the department you are managing.
3. Most of us dread the thought of an IRS audit.
4. Why do we feel discomfort at staff evaluations as well as at all the other things I mentioned.
5. It’s because these are times of accountability. What we have already done is carefully examined.
B. Many of us begin a year with what we call new year’s resolutions. To lose weight, to read a certain book, to teach a HBS, to bring the children from down the block to church, to be more faithful to God and family, etc. BUT - do we ever bring those resolutions to a point of accountability. For most of us - I think not. We had much rather ignore the reality of our failures than to look straight at them and say, “I screwed up -- again.” In truth, that approach to life just doesn’t work.
II. This is the last regular service of 1996. So I feel it is a good time for us as a church, and individually to examine the records of our life. This will not be the last time of accountability
A. Rev. 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
1. The books are human history written as only God can know it. Knowing the secret actions, but also the motives of your public actions.
2. The book is the revelation of truth recorded in the book of life - the BIBLE.
3. So God’s evaluation is going to be a comparison of the history of my life to the things called for in the Bible.
B. Danile saw the same thing: Daniel 7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
C. Don’t doubt a day of accountability is coming, except this time it will be before God.
III. There is a second level of accountability. It is the accountability of the saints.
A. 1 Cor 3: Everyman’s work judged by fire. . . What does the fire consist of? I’m not certain, but just suppose:
B. Hebrews 1:7 His ministers (messengers) made flames of fire! Jeremiah’s message was said to be as fire in his mouth. Is it possible that the thing that will judge the works of the saints will be the messages that have been preached to them.
C. It should lead us to a careful consideration of Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
IV. Having laid some degree of foundation, let me share some scipture with you:
A. Romans 14:12 (NIV)So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
B. Phillipians 4:17 (NIV) . . . I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
C. Heb. 4:13 (NIV) Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
D. Matt. 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
E. There is coming an eternal accounting.
V. But this is December 29, 1996; we are not facing an eternal audit today: 1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?