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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Our Personal Accountability

Charles Stanley - Our Personal Accountability

Charles Stanley - Our Personal Accountability
TOPICS: Accountability

Is there anyone in your life with whom you can share your weaknesses, your successes, your failures, the deepest longings of your heart? And in turn from whom you can receive rebuke, counsel, encouragement? Many people would say, Well, I don't think I want to have that kind of relationship with anybody because my life is too private. And therefore I wouldn't feel very comfortable with that because I would feel like somebody's sort of nosing in on my life. Or I would feel like they're into sort of intervening into my privacy. I just wouldn't be comfortable with that. Well, what you're saying is that you're not willing really to have an accountability partner. Because accountability speaks of responsibility. It speaks of openness. It speaks of being willing to receive as well as to give.

Accountability is a part of the Word of God. And it is it is to be a part of every single believer's life. And oftentimes people have trouble because they're not willing to be accountable. And it's all through the Scripture from the beginning of the Word of God, all the way through the book of Revelation. Accountability is very, very clear. And I want us to look at this whole issue, first of all of accountability to one another. And secondly accountability to God. And I want you to turn if you will to first Timothy and read a few verses here because Paul is like the spiritual father of Timothy. And as a result what happens is that Timothy is now a pastor of a church. And Paul is continually writing him and giving him instruction.

And in the book of first Timothy let's just begin reading at verse twelve. And notice what he says, he says, "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come," speaking of one of these days he'd give an account. "Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery". "Take pains with those things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and those who hear you".

And if you read through both first and second Timothy what you'll discover is he's continually giving him instruction. And then in the fourteenth chapter of Romans, the other side of accountability in this tenth verse; tenth, eleventh and twelfth. "But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. As it is written, 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall give praise to God.' So then each one of us will give an account for himself unto to God". Now think about it in this light, that accountability speaks of responsibility. And it speaks of being open and being willing to pour out our heart, to open ourselves up to someone else. And all through the Scripture you'll find accountability.

Now second passage we read was all about our accountability to God which is what we primarily think about, that one of these days we'll stand before Him and give an account for our life. For actions, our deeds, our thoughts and the way we've utilized our time, way we utilized our money and so forth. But what about personal accountability? That is, accountability to other people. And the Scripture's very clear. And I put lots of notes on the board because I want you to be able to write them down. This message is so very important. It's important for your children. It's important for your grandchildren. It's important for you, for your husband, your wife. It's important in relationships because accountability is a divine principle. And it is a principle, when it is violated there are always consequences.

So let's look first of all and think about it as far as being a biblical principle. And if you'll remember this that Jesus said in this eighth chapter of John; He said, I only do those things that please my Father. Which was saying that He accepted His own accountability to the Father. And then of course the disciples when they were sent out in that tenth chapter of Luke and they went out. And Jesus told them what to carry with them and what they were to do and anointing with them the Spirit to do it. They came back and gave a report. That is, they felt accountable to Him to report how they spent their time and spent those days out there sharing the gospel. And then for example, a passage in Ephesians chapter five that you might not be quite so familiar with. when He talks about our accountability as a church.

And here's what He says, in the twenty-fourth verse, this fifth chapter, "But as the church is subject to Christ," that is, the church of Jesus Christ is accountable to Him. We are His body. That is, when He arose He left us here. While He walked in a human body, He was walking here, speaking and healing and teaching and so forth. When He left, He left us. We are the body of Christ, our hands, our eyes, our ears, our feet; our life is His life here on earth. And so He says we're accountable to Him. In this same verse it says, "Also that wives are to be subject to their husbands in everything". That is, accountable to them. That is, a woman should be accountable to her husband. And likewise, "Husbands love your wives". And that rest of that passage through the rest of the fifth chapter is about husbands loving their wives.

So there is a mutual accountability. Wives should be subject or accountable to their husbands. And husbands should be accountable to their wives. And yet oftentimes people don't feel that they have any accountability. But I want you to see that in every aspect of life accountability is here. So, when Paul and Barnabas on this particular missionary journey. When they left and they were sent out by the church the Bible says they came back and they gave a report. That is, they felt they were accountable to the church that sent them. Like when we send missionaries out from our church they are accountable to come back to the church and give us a report. We finance them, we support them, we pray for them ah we know what's going on out there. We want to find out how many people are getting saved. What's going on in your life? How many churches are you establishing? Or whatever their ministry may be, we have a responsibility. And then for example a passage you may not be quite familiar with.

In ah first Thessalonians and ah the fifth chapter and the twelfth verse: "But as we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction," that is, a church body is accountable to the pastor. But the pastor is also accountable to the body. So that all through the Scriptures you find the same thing, husbands and wives. Then for example back to Ephesians chapter six for a moment. And you'll notice what ah Paul also included here when he said, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother which is the first commandment with a promise, So that your days may be long upon the earth". So children are accountable to their parents.

Now all of us who are adults would agree with that part. They'd say, Yes indeed, my children are accountable to me. As surely as our children are accountable to us, we are accountable to God and we're also accountable to one another. That is, accountability is God's protection for His children. So it's not a matter of looking into somebody's life. It's a matter of protecting them from making mistakes, erroneous mistakes in their life. All through the Scripture accountability is there. Because that's the way God knows we need to live because everybody needs to be accountable to someone. And we're living in a society when people today it seems, if they get enough money, enough prestige and popularity and all the rest they seem to have this feeling that they're above and beyond the law. That no matter what they do they can pay their way out of it. You name it. The truth is, there's no such thing as anyone being beyond accountability.

So why do people avoid being accountable? Well some people I think are ignorant. just In other words, they don't they don't think about accountability. And a lot of them are not Christians for example and they think, Well, who's going to tell me how to live my life? And people have this idea of me, myself and I and I'm sufficient and I'm adequate. I can handle it and it's nobody else's business what I do. There is no way for a child of God to have the attitude my life is my business and what I do is my business. No. Once you become a part of the kingdom of God you're in the family of God. And that makes a lot of difference. Another reason that oftentimes people avoid accountability is fear of exposure. They don't want to be accountable to anybody because they don't want anybody to know what they're doing. And so naturally they don't like the idea of accountability. And when somebody brings something to their attention they want to blame somebody else or just back up and deny it. Whatever it might be.

A third reason is because they fear rejection. For example if you have someone to whom you're accountable and it's something in your life that's not right. And you fear that if you tell them and share it with them out of your heart that they will reject you. If they're the right kind of partner they will not do that. A true, genuine accountability partner which we'll talk about in a few moments is not going to reject you because you tell them what's going on in your life. Because that's what accountability's all about. It's about being responsible to someone. It's being responsible for our life. Because the truth is, we're to be accountable every single day to our heavenly Father. And we're to be accountable to those about us, as we saw a few moments ago in the Scriptures.

Now sometimes the reason people don't want to be accountable is they're arrogant and they're prideful. And feel self-sufficient, to whom should I give an account? If you have the attitude that you are self-sufficient and you're adequate within yourself you don't need any help, you don't need to go to anybody about anything, you can handle your life, you're headed for trouble. That, listen, the devil is sitting already waiting for a person to get self-sufficient thinking they don't need any help, no counsel from anybody, that they're sufficient to handle it all by themselves. And of course one of the reasons people don't want any accountability is because they're doing something wrong. And people who are doing things wrong, whatever it may be, they don't want any accountability because they don't want to be exposed and don't want to feel rejected and don't want people to have wrong feelings about them.

So, ask yourself the question again, is there anybody to whom you can share your weaknesses, your frailties, your successes, your failures, the deepest longings of your heart. And at the same time, receive their rebuke when it's necessary, receive their encouragement when necessary, receive their correction and their counsel when necessary. If you cannot, then you there needs to be a change of spirit because the whole purpose of accountability is protection. That's what it's all about. It's not that somebody wants to run your life and make you feel like that they're intruding in your life. It is for your own protection. You would say to your children, I certainly want my children to be accountable to me and you would say, until they reach a certain age. Well, what in the world is that? Is it well when they get to be twenty one twenty one doesn't mean anything.

We all need accountability till the day and through the day we die. The devil is sitting on ready doing everything and anything he can especially what I say that in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the kingdom of God. Because if we mess up our testimony and foul up our testimony, the devil gains a victory in all of that. And so, when Jesus said, I only do the things that please my Father. And when the disciples recognized that they were accountable; Timothy recognized he was accountable. It's all the way through the Bible, through the last book of the Bible. The twenty second chapter of the revelation, there is a word of accountability. So, the reason some people don't is very evident. Because they do not want somebody to know what's going on in their life, when it's all for their protection.

Now, let me just say this, it is very dangerous. Because first Peter five eight says, "The devil like a roaring lion," walking about, "seeking whom he may devour". Which simply means, he's sitting on ready, doing everything in his power to do what? To tempt and to try and to ruin the life of a believer. And so that's why we have to be very careful. And be very, very careful what we say or what we allude to or how we act and how we carry out our life. Because accountability is our protection. And to deny yourself of that is to position yourself to falter and to fall. And when you look through the Scripture, all the way through the Bible, there it is over and over and over again.

Now, what are the advantages of having an accountability partner? And so, let's think about what they are for a moment. And I have them on the screens so you can write them down. And number one is this, it develops in within us a sense of responsibility. That is, if I have someone that I share my weaknesses, my frailties, my successes, my sins, whatever. If I have someone like that, then I am going to be more responsible about how I live out my life. Secondly, it promotes integrity. That is, if you have an accountability partner with whom you share the truth, then sometimes you'll have to say, You know what, I blew it bad. I'm really sorry. I need for you to help me at this, whatever it might be. But it promotes integrity, real, true, genuine openness and honesty.

The third thing is, it guards us against turning our freedom into license to doing what's wrong. Just because a person has freedom, doesn't mean it is a license to do whatever you may choose to do or whatever you think will bring you fun and pleasure. And another thing is this, it sharpens our skills. For example, we're not talking about just moral things, but anything. If I have an accountability partner, I want to do my best. And you hear me say all the time, look your best, do your best, be your best. And so when you have an accountability partner and that person holds you accountable in a godly fashion which we'll talk about in a moment, then they hold you accountable to do your best on your job. Did you do your best today? Are you looking your best? In other words, are you giving your best? Are you being wise in the way you spend your money? Are you being wise in the way you use your time?

And see most folks don't want anybody talking about their money and their time and their relationships. Was that a wise relationship? Or is that unwise? Where's it going to get you? Where can it take you? And so all of these things, all of these questions are very, very, very important. And that's why we need an accountability partner. Then of course it promotes a healthy self examination. If I know that I have an accountability partner and I'm going to have to answer for the truth, I'm going to look at my life and say, Alright, is there anything I need to deal with? And I think it's accountability time because here's what that does, that keeps everything clean. And it it calls for self examination.

And it isn't just talking to somebody at some time. It's self examination but sometimes even with that you, listen, you need to hear yourself say, I was wrong. You need to hear yourself say it. God, I blew it bad. Lord, forgive me. That is, we need to hear ourselves face the truth instead of blaming somebody else and saying here's what somebody else is doing. What what about me? It it encourages self examination. But likewise it protects us from from unwise relationships. When people work together they oftentimes are drawn together. And oftentimes that relationship can go much further than they ever intended. They didn't intend for it to be that way. But that's the way it developed. It is very, very wise to have an accountability partner.

Now when you have one you have to be open and honest about what's going on. So you're not all that does is get deeper and deeper and deeper and more and more destructive. So we have to watch relationships no matter what they may be. And we have to, listen, when you have accountability it promotes a godly attitude and a godly spirit. And you don't want anything in your life that's not right. And so, when people want to live without it. And many people just deny it, I I don't think I need that in my life. I don't know of anybody who doesn't need it. And so, when we think about who are the kind of people we would choose, the first one is this, somebody that you know is walking in the Spirit, somebody who has a godly walk, no question about it. That's the only kind of person who's going to give you godly counsel. Who's going to guide you not with their attitude or what they think or what they want or how they feel, but what does the Word of God say?

So you want somebody who will give you godly counsel. Secondly, somebody who will be trustworthy with your confidence. And you know it'll never be repeated? Otherwise you won't be honest with them. Thirdly, somebody that will give you godly wisdom based on spiritual principles, scriptural principles. If that's not there then they can just tell you their opinion. Then of course they must give you the freedom to be yourself. If it's somebody who wants to pour you into their mold that won't work. But somebody who will allow you to be yourself, they understand your failures, your weaknesses, your blind spots and what else. And they're not trying to change you. They're trying to help you bring into control whatever in your life is out of control or looks like it could head in that direction. Likewise somebody who has the courage to confront you.

You see, if someone is afraid to confront you then that's not a good partner. It has to be somebody who loves you enough to confront you with the truth. Likewise that person must be forgiving toward you. You may say, Here's what I did. I'm ashamed of myself. I blew it bad. The accountability partner is going to forgive you, not going to hold it against you. And if you have a feeling that they're holding it against you then that won't work. Because a true accountability partner, listen, they're looking out for your best interest. And if they're looking out for your best interest they're not going to hold something against you. That's why they're there, for your protection and openness and accountability and responsibility. Likewise they must be sensitive to your feelings.

Now sometimes an accountability partner will have to come on real easy because they see where you're hurting in some fashion. And so, they're not going to say, Well, you should do this and you shouldn't do that and you ought to do the other. No, they may just listen. And let you share your heart. And they may say to them very lovingly, very carefully, Well, have you thought about thus and so? Do you really think that's the wisest thing to do? Do you think she would appreciate that? Do you think your wife would appreciate? Do you think your husband? What do you think they're going to think about that? Or what do you think your parents are going to say when they find out this is going on in your life? Not being condemning; loving, understanding. Listen, forgiving? Yes. Sensitive to feelings? Yes. But also an encourager.

That is, it doesn't make any difference what's happened. A true, genuine encourager. Someone to lift you up even when they've had to say, This is wrong, it needs to be corrected, now how are we going to do that? Somebody who's a good listener, who's willing to hear you out. Who's willing to hear whatever you're feeling. Now if the person's not honest about it they've the accountability partner may have to prod you. But the accountability partner will only prod to get the truth for your sake not for his own. And then of course that person always has your best interest at heart.

Now that's a lot of characteristics for a good accountability partner. But that's what it takes. So ask yourself this question, could you be that kind of person? In other words, do you have those qualities within you that you could be a good accountability partner with someone who really would love for you to be that for them? Somebody who needs you. Maybe somebody who's said to you, You know could I talk with you? If somebody says to you, You know I'm going through a difficult time, could I speak with you? Would you let me share my heart with you?

Then remember this, these are the characteristics that you as a accountability partner need. And if you know right up front you can't keep a secret, if you know right up front that that's going to be very, very difficult for you, you should say, Well, I'm probably not the one for you to tell me. And sometime and I've I have known people to say, don't tell me I'm not trustworthy. Now only a good gossip would say that. But there are some. Now that's all about our accountability with each other. But I would just conclude by simply saying this, we're also accountable to God. All through the Scripture; it's all through the Bible. And then I think about in the epistles how many times Paul talks about the judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ. We're all subject to that judgment.

I think about in the Revelation for example, in the church at Ephesus, he talked about them being accountable all the way to the end of the last chapter of the Bible, the twenty-second chapter. And the twelfth verse. Listen to what He says and all the way through the Scripture same thing over and over and over again. And He says in this twelfth verse, "Behold I'm coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done". Accountability. So ask yourself the question, are you the kind of person who is available to have an accountability partner who will be honest and open with you? Confront you when necessary and correct you when necessary? And encourage you when necessary? Are you open to that? Or would you fit into being an accountability partner for somebody else? Amen?

Father, how grateful we are that You love us that much. That every single day we give an account to You because You know it's wise. And it's the best thing we can do. And I pray that You'll speak to every single one of us this morning. Not to put this off but to think how very important it is for our children, for our grandchildren; early in life to recognize that accountability is a divine principle of the Word of God. And Lord we know that one of these days we'll stand before You and give an account for our lives. And where is in some people's minds, "That's a long ways off". None of us know how close it is. And I pray that each one would recognize the awesome privilege to be a child of God. And that we owe You everything. And that to be accountable to You and to be accountable to one another is an act of Your grace and goodness and love and mercy. And I pray that every person who hears this message would be wise enough to consider the importance of their being accountable to somebody openly and honestly. And to make themselves available as an accountability partner to someone else is my prayer in Jesus's name, amen.

Now whether you've thought about it or not listen to this, every single time you hear the gospel, every time you hear the message of God's Word, you and I are accountable. I'm accountable as I study to get it, to receive it. I'm accountable to live it out. I'm accountable to share it. You're accountable when you hear it to apply it to your life. You're accountable to share it. The Word of God was never meant to be kept but to be shared. And so, we are all, all responsible sons and daughters of the Living God who have this treasure within our heart. We're accountable to God who gave us the Great Commission. We're accountable to God who gave us life and breath and a voice to speak and eyes to see and ears to hear and a mind to understand. We're accountable to Him to give it our best every day of our life. And when we can be an encouragement to someone else that just makes it that much better.

So I would say to you today, if you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, listen to me carefully. One of these days you will stand before Him. You say, "Well, I don't even believe that". That doesn't make any difference. You will stand before Him and give an account for your life. Every aspect of your life. Every aspect of your life you'll give an account. And if you are a child of God He will reward you for your obedience. But you will lose those rewards for your disobedience. And when you refuse to serve Him and you refuse to obey Him. There's reward and there's loss. If you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, it's all a one-way trip. You will be held accountable for your life but worst of all, accountable for rejecting His only Begotten Son who shed His blood at Calvary to pay your sin debt in full. Crucified Him and you turned Him down. There will be no arguments.

And people say, "When I get to heaven here's what I'm going to say". Not going to say anything. It'll be such an awesome moment. Listen, if you die without Christ you will be eternally separated from God. And if you've heard the message of truth what excuse will you give? Except that you had your own opinion and your own way and your own plans and your own desires. I pray to God that you would ask Him to forgive you of your sins. And that you're placing your life in His hands. And that you want Him to rule and reign and guide you and lead you in your life. And you want His will and His purpose and His plan for your life.

That's life at its very best. But it's a choice you make. And that choice is made in this way, asking Him to forgive you of your sins and telling Him that you believe His death at Calvary paid your sin debt in full. You're receiving Jesus Christ by faith, the Son of God as the atonement for your sin. And you're yielding your life to Him. And the moment you do that your sins are forgiven, your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Forever you're a child of God. And you have the awesome Holy Spirit living within you to enable you to live a godly life.
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