Jump Start # 3031
Romans 14:12 “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Well the Winter Olympics are over. I didn’t watch very much this year. I did catch some of the ski jump and a little curling. It seems nearly every Olympic year a controversy arises about “doping” and cheating. It has made it necessary for the athletics to be tested. It’s sad commentary on our times, but here in area of the greatest horse race in the world, the same thing is necessary. The horses must be tested and a recent winner of the Derby is under investigation for having an illegal enhancing drug. Those who play by the rules have nothing to fear. It’s those who try to bend the rules, break the rules and avoid the rules that makes all of this necessary.
And, that leads us to our verse today. In a two chapter discussion about eating meats and the way we look at each other and treat each other, Paul reminds us that we are accountable to God. The Lord’s parable about the talents is built upon each servant giving an account of what he did to the master. Within the idea of accountability is responsibility. God has a series of levels of accountability. This is not to catch us cheating, but to keep us faithful. From where I live to the church building, there is a stretch of highway that in the morning, drivers love to fly fast. But about every morning, there is a state police car sitting, engine running, just watching. And, the cars hit their brakes. They slow way down. Accountability.
Let’s consider the different accountability mechanisms that God has established to help us remain where we should.
First, is the Bible itself. It’s living, active and sharper than a sword. When one has an honest and good heart, and he intersects that with the word of God, he’ll take a serious look at himself. He’ll recognize that his attitudes have not been right He’ll recognize that he has not been spiritual as he should have been. Staying in the Bible, will make a person step up his game with the Lord. An open Bible and an open heart are great accountability measures.
Second, the family. Our family is a great accountability system that God has developed. When the family is walking with the Lord, the pleas, concerns and rebukes that come from the family leads us to doing better. Maybe the dad has been neglecting the kids. Maybe he’s been spending too much time in front of the TV. When his sweet wife talks to him about that, a godly heart will realize she is right and change. Children are accountable to parents. This is something that many of them do not appreciate. Parents have a right to parent. They set the time for bed. They give duties for the kids to do around the house. And, when the rules are not followed, discipline will. Our families are a great system of accountability.
Third, the congregation is. This is why we place membership or join a fellowship. They help us and we help them. There is a “togetherness” in our worship, work and journey. They can count upon us and we are there for them. Support, love, help and accountability is part of this. Within the N.T. God allows a congregation to practice discipline upon someone who is not walking with the Lord. This is not to chase someone off, but to keep them here. It is a form of accountability. Now and then, we find someone who doesn’t like that. They want to worship when they feel like it, do what they want with friends, even if it is ungodly, and have no one say anything. That doesn’t happen when one is a Christian. You belong to Jesus now and there are expectations that come with that. Some will leave a congregation with elders, knowing that they could be disciplined, and look for a small church without elders so they can come and go as they please. A person can’t say anything they want. Not when that person becomes a Christian. A person can’t do what the world does. Not when they become a Christian. Our fellowship is to remind us and keep us going strong with the Lord.
Fourth, the Lord Himself. That’s the heart of our passage today. We shall stand before the Lord and give an account of ourselves. We are not going to be giving an account of how the government fails. We are not giving a report about the church. We are not even looking at our family. Just self. Individuals. Why did you not believe? Why did you teach something that was not true? Why did you fear? Why did you not worship? Alone. Raw. No one else to hide behind. Just self. Accountable. Responsible. God has expectations for us.
I have wondered about where some of these conclusions take us. I’m still rolling some thoughts around in my head about where the system of accountability is for those who do things independently. For instance, these Jump Starts are part of the congregation I am a member of. If I was to write something that was out in left field, make some statements that are just not true, the shepherds of this congregation would have the right to talk to me about this and if necessary, pull the plug on this project. I am accountable to them. I am concerned about the “lone wolfs” who are writing and saying things without any system of accountability to keep them faithful to the Lord. By the time one stands before the Lord, it’s too late to make adjustments and changes. We need the accountability now. We need to be reminded now. And, just who am I accountable to when I am on my own, doing my own thing? Something I’ve been thinking about lately.
Cheaters in Olympics, speeders on the highway, and you and I. Without accountability, most don’t do what they should. We need help. God has provided that. May we be thankful for that.