Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
This is a great reminder for us who claim the name of Jesus, because in Christ, we want our lives to be in the light.
We never wanted this before we were saved, as the Scriptures say in John 3:19-20: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”
Only in Christ do we love the light. In Him, we want no longer to hide in our sin, but we want to be accountable and stand fast in the light of Christ. This means making war with our sin, confessing it, and dragging it into the light when we see it.
Let me ask you, how are you doing at truly being accountable for your sin struggles?
Being accountable means you explain or expose what you did and why you did it. The key to accountability is that you are exposed and responsible to someone.
Our sin fights this and says, “I don’t care what anyone else thinks; I am going to do this my way!”
Now, you may not have this attitude with everything in your life, but the problem arises when you are not accountable with certain things, things you don’t want exposed, so you slip into compromise, addiction, adultery, cheating, and so many other forms of sin.
For the sake of the glory and name of Jesus, we highly value accountability, because it protects us from falling into sin and/or hidden God-belittling habits and helps us keep our affections centered on Christ and all that He has for us.
There are many aspects of accountability on which the Scriptures instruct us.. I want to aim at some of the big ones with our time today. First:
We are accountable to God
Romans 14:11-12 for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
No matter what you think about God, you will one day bow before Him!
You won’t stand before Him. Why? Because He is God, and you will, in that moment, realize how little you made of Him as you encounter His amazing presence.
One day, every person will give an account for their lives before the living God.
This is the most underestimated, underplayed event that we will ever experience. People love to speak of how they plan to show God the good they did in this life or how they will reason with Him.
Oh, how mistaken we are. Because in God’s perfection, His justice and judgment are upheld in every way. God will not be reasoned with. He will judge each person to the finest detail.
God will judge every human being that has ever lived.
Proverbs 29:26 (KJV) Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.
Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment
For those who don’t trust Jesus with their lives, this should be the most serious and fearful event of their existence.
For those who do trust in Jesus with their lives, we praise God for the gospel, which pardons us from the deserved punishment our sin is due us.
1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Colossians 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses
For the unsaved reading this, there is no greater priority in your life than to recognize your standing before the living God at His judgment seat.
I implore you to look upon the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and if you savor what you see, then praise God for His ending your spiritual blindness and giving you a heart of repentance and faith.
The Bible says to repent and believe in Him for life, justification, and eternal satisfaction in Him.
For the saved: This is great reason to praise God and to never cease praising Him for His amazing grace that set you free.
For the saved: We are given other things to be accountable to that we must be attentive to in every way.
We are accountable to the authority of the word
God is specific in not only delivering His word, but enduring it unto the command that we are to not only read it, but to be accountable to living what He tells us to do through it.
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
1 John 2:5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him
How do we know we are keeping our lives in the light? WE KEEP HIS WORD.
We cannot just hear the WORD OF GOD and then move on. We must act on it, live it, and it must affect us, transform us, and grow us. We are accountable to it.
Listen to the directness of Jesus’ words in:
John 14:23-24 Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.”
Our full and right submission to the authority of God’s word is so serious that the Scriptures give warning for those who don’t submit themselves to it.
Proverbs 13:13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
It is essential that we study, believe in, abide in, teach accurately, and hold to every word of God.
The problem is our tendency in the flesh to submit to the rationale of our human mind instead of the authority of the almighty, eternal, holy word of God. As a result, we form views of who God is and how He acts or doesn’t act based more on our personal feelings or logic than on the divine and perfectly written words He gave us in Scripture. This is so dangerous and detrimental.
Instead, we need to take very seriously the words of God, submit to God’s authority, conform to His image, and don’t make Him conform to our ideas or will.
Do you want God’s word to change you and conform you into His likeness?
I am asking you to take this seriously.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
There is a way to look to the Bible to just itch your ears, to make you feel good about you, what you know, and where you want to go, OR you can SUBMIT yourself to it!
We are at war with our sin and selfishness and self-reign.
We must realize that we are desperate for the authority of God’s word to correct our futile view of God, self, this world, and everything in it.
We are desperate for His word to lead us with authority and to be accountable to it.
We are accountable to the authority of the elders in the local church
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
The Scriptures clearly command Christians to submit to and honor those that God puts over them to lead them.
This is an important area for the modern church to hear and act on. It doesn’t say, “Obey and submit only when it is in line with what you want.” It says, “Obey and submit to those God has put over you.”
Now, the question is who has God put over you?
This is the problem with not taking the step to covenant with a local body of believers. Because it is all too convenient to get to a crossroads by which you say, “You know what? I don’t like that. So, I am not going to do that,” or “I am going to go elsewhere.”
Can I just say this with love? The church is not a restaurant where you can choose a new location when the menu changes or your favorite waiter doesn’t work there anymore or the hours change. This accountability the flock is called to is one of commitment, obedience, and submission. I am not saying this so that you all just follow my will. I am saying this because this is God’s will to be accountable to our pastoral elders.
Trust me, I know. There is nothing about the role of pastor/elder that I take flippantly or lightly.
The Bible is clear that I face a stronger, more harsh and scrutinized judgment for how I lead my church congregation.
We are accountable to each other
Galatians 6:1-2 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
If your brother or sister in Christ has done something contrary to the Bible, you are called to stand by and just watch him struggle because you don’t want to get messy.
NO! That is not what it says. It says to confront him gently, forgive him, comfort him, and to HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE. In addition to this, it also admonishes you to consider yourself, because no one is above temptation.
James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
There are two things to highlight here:
The privilege of bearing the burdens of your brothers and sisters
God’s design is that every believer has a community of people around, whereby they know each other and are committed to carrying each other’s burdens. When one mourns, we all mourn. When one rejoices, we all rejoice!
The privilege of inviting each other to be held accountable
We must be men and women who are willing to engage one another over sin and are also willing to be engaged.
Christian accountability is inviting others into your life in such a way that they know you and your struggles to the point they can walk with you as you seek to press into Christ and honor Him with your life.
Christian accountability is not a weekly time where you ask me questions and I answer. This is a false sense of accountability. True accountability doesn’t need to ask. They know. Because they have been invited all the way in and they know where you are.
Do you invite others around you into your life? Who is this in your life right now?
Are you open with them and accountable to them? Do they know the state of your marriage, your finances, your daily priorities, your struggles?
This is an open-handed, humble approach to life. Sin doesn’t have a lot of room to fester in this kind of environment. But when we run solo, when we pull back, when we are just kind of connected and not very accountable, sin has room to REIGN in our lives. There are probably some of you who are thinking of your hidden sin right now and thinking that nobody knows-- that you’re good.
Luke 8:17 “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
I pray that you embrace a life in Christ that values being accountable and transparent with others, so you don’t hide your sin or make excuses for it. giving it room to fester. I pray you make war with it and drag it into the light and ask others to walk with you and fight it with you in prayer, Scripture study, and brotherly accountability.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.