This Bible-study series draws on several biblical narratives and is designed to mature us in the areas of Christian accountability. Remember the focus is on you. Examine yourself. Examine your behavior. Examine your thought processes. As a maturing Christian, one of the most important things you can do—for yourself and for the church–is to be mature about Christian accountability. You must be willing to hold your Christian family accountable AND, you must be willing to be held accountable. The following are summaries from the first three lessons:
Win Your Brother/Sister. In our first lesson, Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus dealt with how we address sin inside the church and sin against one another. We will find that often we are doing everything but what the Lord calls us to do. Some of us are too quick to write others off. Some of us are too timid to confront one another in love. Some of us are too stubborn to follow the clear directive that Jesus gives in this lesson to approach our brothers and sisters in the spirit and anticipation of reconciliation. The most important thing highlighted from this lesson is from verse 15. The goal is not to see how soon we can dismiss one another or to “be right.” The goal is “to win our brother back” from a dark place. Christ knew that it would not be easy and that the other person might not listen.
From Mockery to Ministry. In our second lesson from Acts 2:13-42 The Holy Spirit fell and the activity of God was seen in the people. Some were excited, but others mocked the activity of God. Peter boldly confronted them with the power of the word, the power of his personal testimony and power of the truth about themselves. We must be prepared to use that same power. They were convicted in their hearts and ask “what must we do?” 3,000 are baptized that day as they go from mockery to ministry. Peter was bold and accountable. We need to be the same way.
Crowds, Cliques . . . Courageous Conversations and Confrontations. In our third lesson from Galatians 2:11-14, we addressed division in the church and the need to have courageous conversations. Although Peter was bold and courageous in Acts 2, he is wishy washy and scared of the “in crowd” in Galatians 2. Because of the crowd (his clique) Peter treats some people like outsiders-even refusing to eat with them. Worse, other people follow Peter’s immature leadership. Paul can’t take it. Although he’s “the new guy,” Paul confronts Peter directly to his face to stop division in the community. He holds Peter, his Christian brother, accountable. We spoke of the many (intentional and unintentional) cliques and groups that develop in the church and how that can drive people away. We have to be purposeful in reaching out to the others. We also learned how easily people can be led astray and how important it is for us to have uncomfortable conversations for the sake of the church.
Below are some questions we asked about being a “maturing Christian” to ask yourself and some of the answers that were discussed during our bible study discussions:
What does it mean to you–to be a “maturing Christian?”
- moving outside of our comfort zone
- having time for other people
- still striving, still growing, still learning
- being able to accept reproach and examine our lives
- not being influenced by the world
- not wearing feelings on our sleeves
- “esteem others more highly than ourselves”
Do you embrace your role as a maturing Christian? Why or why not?
- learning for myself
- going to church and respecting God’s house
- holding my tongue
- letting go of things
- more filled with the word
- growing on the “meat of the word”
- “but when I accepted Jesus, I came out of the bar
Are you willing to grow? Are we willing to do the hard work that will strengthen our Christian walk and that will strengthen the church and community?