A Recipe for Life-long Accountability

As I was reading a helpful little online book called Coming Clean, I ran across this question:

What if we were meant to treat accountability not as a last resort but as a lifestyle?

The author then proceeded to recount a few of the many “one another” passages of the New Testament, which show how we really should work together to overcome sin and walk in righteousness! What should we be doing with one another which builds biblical accountability?

James does not suggest, he commands that we confess our sins to one another and pray for one another. God intends for His people to share their struggles with one another! As a mighty weapon against the forces of evil, prayer remains one of God’s greatest gifts to us, and we should be in regular and constant prayer for one another’s burdens and sins.

How can you bear your brother’s burden if you don’t know what his burden is? Sometimes the weight is so great everyone around can clearly see. If a man is staggering drunk, we plainly see his issue. If a frail old woman loses her husband, we understand she carries a great burden. But how many of us carry unseen, secret weights–burdens of which we are so ashamed that we dare not reveal them to our friends? Satan would have us too ashamed to share, because then we would never find relief. But God wants our burdens lightened–even lifted!

Unless I know your temptation struggles, I won’t know exactly how to encourage you against the deceitfulness of those sins. If you tell me you struggle with gluttony, I can help you remember there is no lasting satisfaction in indulging your appetite. If you tell me you struggle with pornography, I can remind you of the immense dangers lurking for your soul in that dark, evil world; and I can tell you of the purity and sanctity of the marriage bed and of how wonderfully fulfilling God has made it to be.

In short, God expects us to love one another, encourage one another, confess to one another, and pray for one another. Sounds like a recipe for life-long accountability! God has so arranged the Body of Christ, the Church, that we might together overcome sin, resist temptation, and move toward righteousness.

Are we taking advantage of God’s blessings through His church?

Gathering for Worship

Sabbath for ManUnder the Law of Moses, God expected the Jewish people to meet together regularly. He gave them special feast days and weeks scattered through the year, and their Sabbath Day to be a weekly oasis, a rest from the drudgery of the other six work days.

God had sanctified and blessed the seventh day (Sabbath) in creation:

By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Gen. 2.2-3)

During each Sabbath rest, the Jews were forbidden to do any of their normal work or daily chores. Deadly serious about keeping the Sabbath Day holy (Exod. 35.2), God embedded it as the fourth of the Ten Commandments:

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exod. 20.8-11)

Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves. (Exod. 23.12)

Rest DayEvery regular day the priests were to offer one lamb in the morning and one lamb in the evening as burnt offerings to YHWH (Num. 28.3-4), but on the Sabbath Day they were to offer two additional lambs (Num. 28.8-9).

And on the Sabbath Day the people were to gather together for worship.

“So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.” (Exod. 31.16)

“For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.” (Lev. 23.3)

The “holy convocation” was a special time when the Israelite people gathered together for dedicated corporate worship. Jesus faithfully kept the Sabbath Day convocations as the Hebrew brethren gathered weekly in their synagogues for the reading of scripture, singing, and prayer.

WorshipSince the time of Moses, God set forth a pattern of corporate gatherings of His saints, which He has always intended they keep faithfully. The church gathering together in the New Testament is not much different from the Jewish synagogue gathering together. James even called the gatherings of the early Christians a synagogue in his second chapter:

“For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes…” (James 2.2)

The word translated “assembly” in most English bibles is the noun “συναγωγὴν” (sunagogan): synagogue. So the New Testament usage of “church” (which also means “assembly”) flows easily from the first century understanding of synagogue.

Used as a verb, I ask: do you synagogue regularly? Do you church regularly?

More soon to come, Lord willing…

Latest Sermons

We just updated the sermon archive to include the last two Sunday morning sermons:

How First Century Churches Used Collected Money (download)

What Is a Real Christian – Part 2: Complying with God’s Terms of Salvation (download)