September 21, 2016

Critical Accountability Ending In Joy

This Last Sunday, we wrapped up our look at accountability by looking at a few texts in Ephesians 4, as well as 1 & 2 Timothy.   This is a critical look at a universal problem.  We have to be critical if we are to be discerning. Then we can mature to enjoy Biblical fellowship.

Most of us agree on the idea of what accountability is and why we need it.  We take incredible measures to protect our own business', investments and public municipalities.  We energetically promote our ideals and philosophies, because, obviously, we truly believe them to be best and correct.  But when it Comes to Jesus' Bride, His Body, we often act like God's Biblical directions are outdated suggestions rather than objective standards by which to govern behavior and decision-making.

Let's begin with the universally agreed upon confession:  "The Church does not belong to man, but to God."  That means it doesn't belong to any individual, group, or organization.  It's not the possession of the pastor or the dominion of the Governing Board.  It is not the legacy of the founding (and often still attending) family.  It does not belong to the individual or group of people who contribute the most money, talent, or time behind the scenes or behind a microphone.  The Church belongs to God.  He is the authority and He states very clearly that He wants the respect and dominion within the Body and individuals hearts that He deserves.

He also told us to love one another earnestly, because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).  In context, the sins covered are ours.  The following verses demonstrate how our choosing love will prevent us from causing hurt or damage through sinful actions and/or reactions.  I think many have taken the idea that if we love people over and above the Biblical call for accountability, it will cover THEIR sins.  This is grossly out of context and perverts the good order and accountability of God's Church.

Love is paramount, but God has asked that we remember to love Him and His wisdom as well.  Paul ends Romans 11 by pointing out we cannot ever scrutinize God's thoughts or judgements.  We can't counsel God!  His ways and perspective are so eternally greater than ours.  We don't ever have enough of the picture to think His guidance is possibly not the best for any particular situation.

To be truly accountable means to be accountable to God first.  True wisdom begins with the Fear of the Lord.  Therefore, you can't have truly wise accountability without fear of upholding God's revealed standards.

We, as the church, need to remember that confessions mean nothing without action.  Faith is dead without evidence of faith.  Faith is trusting God for what He has said.  Giving Him Lordship of the Church means trusting Him to work through our differences for something bigger and better.  For anyone that thinks they are justified in their divisiveness ultimatum's because of their emotional attachment - Jesus cried and prayed through sweat drops of blood for His Brides unity.  That's acceptable emotional attachment.  For anyone who thinks they are justified in bringing divisiveness because of their devoted service - Jesus endured every temptation and remained perfect for 30+ years for His Brides existence.  That's devotion that earns the right to be demanding.  For anyone who thinks their contributions entitles them to more than anyone else - Jesus gave everything.  That's acceptable Biblical contribution; it's called selflessness.  May I suggest that any time God's Word is ignored for the sake of preserving a sinners pride, loyalty, or facade, Christ is denied before men.  We remember where that leads.

NONE OF US ARE BIG ENOUGH, GOOD ENOUGH, OR WISE ENOUGH to build the perfect church - even if people did everything we wanted them to, exactly the way we wanted them to do it, all of the time.

The Church is His.  Don't just say it - surrender to it. This is the only way accountability to Him and each other can work.  Let's get this settled and move on to the Joy of the Lord - together!  Let's be Holy like our Father.


With you for His glory,