Summary: Accountibility is needed in the church because real change rarely happens alone.
Who Do You Answer to? I Samuel 2:12-29
Introduction: While deer hunting in southern Ohio this past week I had a sad story related to me.I was talking to a youth pastor while we were waiting to start hunting, and he asked if I had huntedwith a man named Billy (not his real name). I told him I had not, and he proceeded to tell me Billy’s story. Billy had hunted with the group a few years before, and had even gone to Promise Keepers with some of the men in the church. Most of the guys hunting together go to the same church. Billly had even gotten saved at the Promise Keepers event. After that his wife divorced him, and he became insanely jealous of any men being around her. One day he saw another man’s car in the driveway, and so he went and got a gun. He went into the house and shot the man on the couch, and then went upstairs and beat and raped his ex-wife. He proceeded to drag her out to the car and took off. Someone called the police, and soon they had found him. Billy left his wife in the car, and went out behind a gas station and shot himself. The most heartbreaking part, is in the words of the man telling me the story, "I didn’t know him very well." This sad account powerfully portrays the reason why we need other Christians to be accountable to. Christiansneed other Christians who will be close enough to ask them the tough questions, and help prevent this kind of tragedy. Mentoring fits the bill for this particular need. In my last message I said there were three dynamics in successful mentoring: attraction, responsiveness, and accountability. I showed you how all of them were in Jesus’ relationship to his disciples. I also said that I would look at accountability in more detail in a later
message, and I want to do that this morning. In 1 Samuel 2:12-29 we can see what happens when accountability is absent.
"Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord. Now it was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand. He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. But even before the fat was burned, the servant of the priest would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, "Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw." If the man said to him, "Let the fat be burned up first, and then take whatever you want," the servant would then answer, "No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force." This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt .... v 22 Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about the wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the Lord’s people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?" His sons, however did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death. (I Samuel 2:12-25)
I WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE IS NO ACCOUNTABILITY?
This passage begins with a conclusion about the character of Eli’s sons, and then the following verses spell out the details of their corruption. As I read about their horrible sins, I wondered how could preachers/priests kids fall so far into such awful corruption. It was not because they didn’t know better, because they were raised in the house of the Lord. They were themselves priests who not only knew the law, but they also taught the law. However, information alone does not produce change. In his book Iron Sharpens Iron Howard Hendricks tells of an experience he had as a youth director while attending Wheaton College. He had a boy in the junior department who had memorized 600 verses perfectly. If you gave him any reference, he could spit out the verse word for word. One day Howard discovered that someone had been stealing money out of the junior department offering. When he investigated, he discovered that their 600-verse prodigy was the culprit. Howard even caught him red-handed. So he took him into his office and confronted him with his wrong-doing. Howard even gave him a verse of Scripture to drive his point home, but the prodigy proceeded to tell him that he had misquoted the verse. Finally, Howard asked him if he saw any connection between the verse of Scripture and his stealing from the offering. To which he responded, "No," "Well, maybe." When he was asked what the connection was he responded, "I got