Psalm 19, we’re going to start with verse 12 here in a moment. The title tonight is “Who Is Tim Accountable To?” Right now there is no one in the world that is worthy enough to judge me. There is nobody in this room that is holy enough to judge me. I’m not accountable to anybody in this room or to anybody in the world. I’m not even worthy enough to judge myself. In Psalm 19:12 it says:
Psalm 19:12 – Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
If I can’t even discern my own errors, how can another man see my errors when he can’t even see his errors? There’s something else that has to take place before a man can judge another man; before you can make yourself accountable to him. The world and those in the church have all kinds of committees set up in order to make people accountable. I can remember being in the church when I was first baptized where the name was called a prayer partner. And that prayer partner was assigned to you and you reported to them every week and they were the ones in charge of keeping track of your life and mostly what the leadership spent their time doing was arranging partners who they thought would be best to get with each other in the body. So they would literally assign certain individuals to be with other individuals. This church now has at least a hundred and forty thousand members world wide and a great deal of their time is spent organizing who is responsible for the other person.
There are those who want to know, “Who is your covering?” and “Who is over you?” and “Who is your soul partner, who is it that keeps an eye on you, who watches over you?” And you can pick up almost any Christian magazine or you could look through newspapers and find a list of individuals who have fallen into sin or adultery or all kinds of things and they have people that were over them to watch their lives and to keep account of them. Something is wrong. They cannot see the sins are there. They cannot keep track of them, they cannot encourage them. Because man schemes of trying to bring all these things together won’t bring about righteousness or holiness.
Let’s look at Ecclesiastes 7:29. I mean you need to consider the fact that the Pope literally has a whole governing body over him. It doesn’t make him righteous and it doesn’t make him holy. He has his own nation right in the middle of Italy. We were there, we visited, we saw the Pope. And he had this whole body, this whole church, this whole system set up. He was accountable to all these men around him and it did not make him righteous and holy. I could go before everybody and I could say, “I make myself accountable to you in every way” and that would not keep me from sin nor would it allow you to see the sins in my life. Something else has to be place. In Ecclesiastes 7:29 it says this:
Ecclesiastes 7:29 – This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes.
He comes down to this kind of bottom summation as he looks around at everything. He says, “This only have I found: God made man upright.” He made him holy and He made him righteous and inside we know that we were made in that condition. We have this sense about us that there’s something good in the sense of what God did, but we went off and we sinned and we made ourselves totally corrupted. And that’s why it goes on to say, “ut men have gone in search of many schemes.” So there are a lot of schemes out here for men to sit down and try to make themselves accountable and make themselves appear holy and make themselves look righteous. But it doesn’t end in a righteous life and it doesn’t end in a holy life. It doesn’t end in man’s having any more insight than when he first began. The problem is, we forget who man is. If you doubt me in all of this just read the book of Job sometime. What did you have in the book of Job? You had a group of friends and everybody getting together and basically making everybody accountable to everybody else and everybody examining everybody else’s life. And the book of Job is one man debating against another man and then another man rising up to debate. And each one kind of accusing the other, going back and forth, examining each other’s lives. And what was the conclusion at the end of the book of Job? The conclusion was that everyone was wrong. And it came down to a matter of faith.
The bottom line is simple this: a man who doesn’t know the message of the cross, who doesn’t know what it is to hate his own life and to walk the narrow road, who isn’t being crucified to himself, will not be able to see into the life of another man. It’s true that no one in the world is worthy enough to judge my life, I’m not even worthy enough to judge my life. We’ll see that here in a moment. So what has to happen is since we are not worthy and since my fellow man is not worthy then each of us who are unworthy must die and Jesus Christ must live within us. And so who we make ourselves accountable to at all times and all places is Jesus Christ and that Jesus is in each person that God is able to work and to will. If somebody doesn’t have this kind of crucified life then they’re already taken in by man. Consider the Mormons, for example, they have their hierarchy, they have things set up, they have their schemes set up, everything is in place, but it doesn’t make them righteous, it doesn’t make sin dealt with. There are individuals that have all kind of set ups. The Baptists have things set up, the Assembly of God, the Methodists, Pentecostals, Non-denominationals, everybody has their scheme set up as to how they will make man accountable to keep man in line. So each denomination—or Non-denomination—gets together and says, “Okay, let’s have this set of rules,” or “Let’s set up this little program here, and let’s make each other accountable to one another so nobody sins.” It really is an attempt to make sure that no sin gets out that anybody can see. It’s an attempt to appear good to man, to appear humble, but not really have sin dealt with. Because the kind of accountability partners God has in mind will draw sin out of an individual and bring it to the surface to be crucified, before it ever comes out in active sin.
Look at John 2:24. You see the problem with this whole question about “Who is your covering?” and “Who are you accountable to?” and “Who is over your life?” is it forgets who we are as human beings: That we are corrupt, we are worthless, we are not able to judge one another. I am not fit to judge your life. I am not fit to hold you accountable. I am not fit to judge you in any form or fashion or any way. I am darkened and I am blinded in my understanding. I cannot even discern my own faults let alone to look at somebody else’s life and discern their faults for them that they cannot see. So something else must take place. In John 2:24 it says this about Jesus Christ. It says:
John 2:24 – But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.
Jesus Christ would not entrust Himself to other men because He knew there wasn’t a single man worthy enough to judge who He was. Or to be in a kind of relationship that says, “I entrust myself to you.” And you see it’s a grievous sin that when we run around having these accountability partners what we are really saying to somebody is that I entrust myself, I entrust my salvation and my relationship with God and my righteousness in you. And it will fail because it always depends on the strength of man and the wisdom of man. Think of what happens anyway, and I’m going to put this in worldly terms, we all develop a frame of reference, meaning that people who do drugs tend to hang around with other people who do drugs. People that commit sexual immorality tend to hang around with other people who commit sexual immorality. And so their frame of reference, their morality, is the people they hang with. So certain individuals like certain denominations or they like certain styles of worship or they like certain manners of behavior because what is sin in one group is not sin in another group. So what you literally find is everybody finding a church where they feel comfortable, that their flesh likes, and so their frame of reference becomes the morality of the other person around them who is like them. And so what you begin to have is a group of people who do drugs saying that morality has to do with not taking the other person’s drugs. It’s that kind of honor among thieves and so your rules and regulations that appear holy are not holy at all. And what Jesus Christ did was He came down and He dropped down in the middle of our frame of reference and declared that all of it was wicked and that all of it was vile and that Jesus Christ is the standard and He is the reference and that’s who we are to look to and who we are supposed to look for. And as we are molded into His character we can then turn and hold other people accountable for their lives.
In John 2:24 – But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.
You cannot and you should not entrust yourself to another man in terms of him holding you accountable. You must find men for whom you know are dying to suffer, whom Jesus Christ lives in and look for Jesus speaking through them and living through them in order to perfect you and to make you holy. We’ll see this here in a moment. Verse 25 says:
John 2:25 – He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.
You see this whole business about “Who’s your covering?” and “Who’s over you?” is the need within man to have a testimony about a man. It comes from the sinful nature of man that wants to stand up and say, “My life is righteous and holy, just ask this committee over here and they’ll tell you that I’m righteous and holy.” It’s an attempt to say, “I am righteous, I am humble, ask this brother here, he’ll tell you. He’s my accountability partner. He’s the one who looks at my life, he’s the one who examines it. When he looks at my life he can tell you what kind of heart I have and he can tell you what kind of person I am.” And I wouldn’t point to him unless of course it was all favorable. So our frame of reference, who we point to is not Jesus Christ and that’s not who we’re looking to and that’s not who we are making ourselves accountable to. It’s to an individual that we can control and manipulate where we can walk in the shadows a little bit, where we can walk in the gray, where the line isn’t a narrow road, where the line is wherever we want to draw it.
And so when men come to us and they say, “Who is it that is accountable?” and “Who is it that Tim finds himself responsible to?” they know not nor do they understand the message of the cross and the power of the cross. Nor do they understand the grace and the strength that comes from that. Instead they want to be able to look noble to other people and they don’t like the fact that we don’t walk in the same human wisdom and sin that they do.
Let’s go to John 1:4. You see again men naturally draw around them other men who are like them. We like people who are walking in the gray areas so we can hide what we really are. That’s what we’re naturally drawn to. We have to fully believe that. I have to know and be convinced in my heart that I would gather around myself people that I can fool. Now I’m not saying that in terms of malice even though that’s who I am. I’m not saying that you actually say, “Okay, I want people I can fool,” you just naturally do it. That’s who you are apart from Jesus Christ and that’s who you will gather around. If you just stood in a room and you began to talk with certain people and you say, “I really like that individual” and the reason you really like them is that they’re like you. Even the world says we buy dogs that look like us. We don’t want to go too far into psychology with all this. John 1:4 says:
John 1:4-5 – In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
So we’re talking about an accountability here that people who don’t know the light will not understand what we’re talking about. We are talking about our Jesus Christ who gets in among us and He is powerful and He is holy to deal with sin and they won’t believe that it is possible. And yet there is power and there is life, but not in making myself accountable to another man.
Let’s go to Ezekiel 34:17. Because one of the first things before we get too far into this that you should get is indignant. When somebody comes to you and they say, “Who is Tim accountable to?” or “Who in leadership, who are they accountable to?” you should be insulted by the question because what they’re literally saying is that you’re too stupid to see through me. That you’re so blind and so ignorant that you have to have somebody else superior before you to tell you that I’m okay. You see how stupid this whole thing gets. Because you say, “Okay, I’m a stupid sheep and here’s a committee that’s over Tim and I trust the committee because they’re okay.” Well how do you know you see the committee clearly? This whole thing becomes a vicious cycle because it depends upon man and not upon Jesus Christ. And so when men come along with those kind of questions it’s a superiority kind of question, it’s a pride kind of question. It’s literally saying we are superior, we have understanding, we can see through people. We have a committee here that’s holy but she really doesn’t have an understanding about who these people really are. And so you should be insulted that they would ask you the question. And the way you need to answer it is, when they say, “Who is Tim Williams accountable to?” or “Who is leadership accountable to?” you turn to them and you say, “You and me. You’ve got a problem with it?” Ezekiel 34:17 says:
Ezekiel 34:17 – As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats.
There are those among the flock that are rams and goats that just butt in and do all kinds of things and throw out what if questions and “What if Tim Williams winds up down in the jungles of Brazil we’re all drinking Kool-aid and we all commit suicide and what if this over here?” And “What if he starts to go sin over here?” You’ll be here all day long in the what if’s and the fear thing. In the meantime they’re saying, “I have this committee and this committee over here and this person that I’m accountable to, again they will tell you that I’m righteous and that I’m holy,” and they act all superior. They are the rams and the goats within the body that move around and cause their destruction. Look at verse 18:
Ezekiel 34:18 – Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?
They come into the water, they drink, they stomp in it, it’s their stomping ground, it’s what they own. They’re superior, they’re more righteous, they’re more holy than everybody else, they’re able to judge everybody else, they’re able to examine whether or not they’re holy or not. Indeed, when a man asks me that question what he is doing is if I say, “Okay, I have this committee or these individuals over me,” then what? He has to make a judgment and he has to make a determination of whether that committee or that person over me is holy enough. It comes down to he is the standard. He is the one that is supposed to say it’s okay. When did he get so holy and when did he get so righteous to make those kinds of determinations? The bottom line is he did not become righteous and he did not become holy but he tramples the waters as if he did. Verse 19:
Ezekiel 34:19-21 – Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet? Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away,
And so these are the kind of fear tactics they used, literally saying if they would stop and consider for a moment these weak sheep, that they’re literally saying you’re too stupid to follow Jesus Christ; that you’ll naturally sit in the church here and because of the style of the preaching or whatever brainwashing techniques are taking place you’ll just naturally follow because you’re not smart enough to see through it. The question I have is what do they think about their own flock? It’s all the arrogance of man to make themselves appear more holy. “Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away.” And they drive them away with fear tactics, just shameful things, just being mean and butting everybody aside in order to say, “This is the truth, trample the water.” Verse 22:
Ezekiel 34:22 – I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another.
So who is it that God is telling us to look back toward? To look toward Him and He will divide between the rams and the goats, between one sheep and another sheep. He will make the divisions and that’s where you have to look to the living God. You have to get to a place where you’re dying to self, where you are looking to God, so that you will not be taken in by any man no matter who he is. Verse 23:
Ezekiel 34:23 – I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd.
Only as we turn to the living God will we know who the teachers are that God has chosen. Look at Isaiah 30:20. Now I want you to notice something interesting about these teachers, Isaiah 30:20, whom God chooses. Because men will not hate their own lives, and I mean literally hate their own lives and come in and cry out to God to surrender everything. Their teachers are hidden from them. Why should God try and send men among them who would really preach the truth? Instead God gives men what they want to hear. And so churches have all kinds of names and denominations and everybody comes together to get what it is they like. And certain groups go off to certain areas and perform new cliques is all it amounts to—to reinforce their righteousness and who they are.
Isaiah 30:20 – Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.
Even though you’re given the cross and even though He comes to discipline you and even though He refines, even though He punishes and He deals with your flesh He says, “our teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.” So a man has to get back to the living God and he has to say to the living God who are the teachers that you have chosen for me to listen to? Who is it that should speak? And I want you to notice what kind of teachers they are. Look at the next verse, verse 21:
Isaiah 30:21 – Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
What most preachers do, who claim to be Christians, is say, “This is what we are supposed to do and this is what the goal is and this is what it means to be righteous. Now everybody go toward that goal and everybody strive for that kind of righteousness and these are the rules set down by which a man will be a Christian and we all seek to obey those rules.” They’re not standing behind you saying, “This is the way to go,” they’re standing there saying, “Come up here and live this.” We’re talking about a group of people here who are in touch with the living God. That is, you know for sure, you see that God is calling you toward the cross and all your teachers are doing is standing behind you and saying, “That is the direction, go there. That’s where God is calling you to go to, go there.” They’re reassuring you that that is the narrow road and the way to go. All they’re trying to do is reassure you that it is God’s voice and that’s where He’s calling you to go. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” And so for each of you there is a cross that God has called you to go and die upon that you might participate in the resurrected life. And all that your teachers are to do is to reaffirm for you that this is the cross, this is the way that you are supposed to go. This is what God is calling you to. So you are in a living, active relationship with the living God. You, yourself, are being moved in a certain direction and your teachers are there what? Guiding you and saying, “That is the way, continue to walk in it.” Verse 22 says:
Isaiah 30:22 – Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”
When men lay down all their schemes and all their plans and all their governments and all their committees, they will see them for all the worthlessness they really are. So all the committees are set up and all the programs are there and all the accountability promises and all the coverings and all those things, men will throw them away if they knew the power of the cross to keep a man clean.
Let’s go to Proverbs 2:1. You see the bottom line is we get the teachers that we deserve. If we think there’s some good within us, what kind of teachers will God give us? Men who flatter us. Oh, we might acknowledge that we need Jesus Christ and we’ll say that there’s a portion of us that really needs the living God, but if we want to be flattered and we still think there’s something good within us then we will get teachers that flatter us and make us feel good. So we get the teacher that we deserve. If we want teachers that will help us deal with our sin and make it easy so that we don’t have to follow the Holy Spirit, God will allow us to have the legalist who lays everything out in a very proper fashion so that we know exactly what to do. We don’t have to reason, we don’t have to cry out, we don’t have to debate with the living God, we don’t have to do anything except follow the rules. We just want peace. We just want to be happy. He’ll give us pastors that do what? That give us fun. We want teachers that what? That will give us head knowledge that we can study and examine and what? We get all kinds of human wisdom. In Proverbs 2:1 I know you know it well but let’s read over it a little bit more.
Proverbs 2:1-8 – My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
You don’t need a committee. You don’t need all kinds of human effort and designs and things set up. What you need to do is back up and go to verse 3. What does it say? “f you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,” then you’re not going to stand before God with a committee of people that were responsible for your life. God isn’t going to say, “Come on up here to the judgment seat,” and you’ll say, “God, I had all these things in my life and there was the committee that was responsible for the holiness in my life.” God does not judge our committees or our accountability partners or those that are coverings. What He judges is us. And it comes down completely to us and being fully aware as to who we are in Jesus Christ and who we’re following or not following and whether we’re being crucified to our flesh or not. Verse 3 says, “f you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding . . .” There must be a praying and pleading and a crying that says, “God, is this teacher from You or not? Are they holy? Who do You say that they are, O Lord?” It is a foolhardy thing to go around asking man who another man is. Again, we cannot even judge ourselves let alone to what? To go ask another man about another man. That’s just double darkness asking for the truth. Verse 4 says, “f you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure . . .” it will not be easily found. Let me repeat that again: it will not be easily found. For one thing our flesh will reject immediately anyone sent from God. Because anyone that God sends will deal with our flesh and the sin in our life. And we’ll immediately say that’s bad and I get a bad feeling about that. Verse 7 says He holds victory in store for the upright. You see, where are all the promises in this committee thing? And this accountability thing? Every Christian ought to be able to be in a relationship with God that says He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless. He will protect, He will guide. If I will be in a proper relationship with God, if I will be dying to my flesh, if I will not be demanding teachers that I want, He has promised that He will guard and protect my life in every single aspect, even the teachers that are around me, He will protect me. And verse 8, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. And again, verse 7 says He protects those whose walk is what? Whose walk is blameless. You see, there’s the catch. The reason everybody wants an accountability partner and a committee is they won’t have to walk a blameless life.
In order for you to claim this promise that God will protect you and not give you a teacher with this cross, you have to resolve to walk a blameless life before Him. Now which is harder? To fool a committee or your prayer partner that you might see for an hour once a week, or the living God? No wonder men go to accountability partners. No wonder they like a covering over here because why? To serve the living God, to be in a faithful relationship with Him that means that for one hour you can be walking fine with the Lord, but what about the next hour? The walk has to be complete. And then the third hour and the fourth hour and then you can’t expect to fall into sin for the whole afternoon and say, “Okay, God, protect me from evil men.” He guards the course, He protects only those whose walk is blameless. You cry out for wisdom. Verse 9:
Proverbs 2:9-10 – Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
So one of the things you can say when somebody says, “Who is Tim accountable to?” You can say, “Me, and I have a promise that God will protect me. If you’ve got a problem with that you take it up with the living God.” Verse 11 says:
Proverbs 2:11-12 – Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse,
Human wisdom will not save a man from another man. Your reasoning, your logic, all that you have will never protect you from another man because we are naturally what? Liars. You are naturally a liar, I am naturally a liar, we are naturally talking that kind of language and when you get two liars together they both say this sounds like truth. We must be crucified to who we are, crying out for wisdom, having our life be blameless and then what? We will see through men whose words are perverse, whose words are so close that they take a slight turn at the end. For those preachers who you’re listening to a sermon and they’re going through the sermon and you’re sensing inside there’s just not something right, the words are all there but all of a sudden you hear the slight turn and the slight twist and you go, “There it was.” Because wisdom has entered the soul and wisdom has entered the heart and God is speaking and God is protecting and God is saying to you, “That man’s words are perverse—do not go there.” And though you may not be able to reason it all out or point out all the faults, you know you’ve heard it from the living God. And he might stand up to you and say, “I’m accountable to this committee over here and to this person in my life.” Or “This person recommends me over here.” You go and it doesn’t matter to a person of the living God.
Proverbs 2:13-15 – who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.
Men are very wise about how they act in terms of sins. Think of how you behave apart from Jesus Christ. What did you spend most of your time doing but outlining a story? When you were in trouble as a kid and you know you’re going to be called on the carpet, before the parents are even calling you in there you’re running over the story of what it could possibly be. When you hear your name and you hear that tone and you know you’re being called in, you’re first trying to determine, “Okay, what is the wrong they are going to try to bring to me?” And then the second thing you do is, “Okay, how can I sling the story, how can I make it crooked just enough? How can I be devious in what I’m going to say in order that I not be discovered?” So by the time you’re an adult you’ve got a whole group of devious people in one room worshipping the living God. Nobody is going to discover the truth unless Jesus Christ is really there.
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 4:2. And this is what’s so glorious about the cross. No one is worthy to judge me, I’m not even worthy to judge myself. I made myself accountable to all men. And so who is Tim Williams accountable to? And who are you accountable to? Every man’s conscience. To everybody that you meet, to everybody who is in the world, to every one you are in the light and you are open and it’s who you are and you stand before them and you say, “Look in your conscience and ask the living God am I true or not?” So we are accountable to everyone, is the answer, but we are accountable to no man. Verse 2 says:
2 Corinthians 4:2 – Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
But look at what he says, what are the last three or four words? Does he just say, “I made myself accountable to all men”? Does he say, “I give you to your conscience, to everyone”? No, he says we do so what? “In the sight of God.” We stand before the living God and I say before the living God, “He is here, I’m in a relationship with Him, I make myself accountable to the living God” and then turn to you and say, “Look to your conscience, examine, look at my life, if you see fault, if you see sin, if you see me going off on a direction, then you bring that to light, you bring that to the surface, you bring it out in the open.” God will show it to you to be true. We do this in the sight of God but not in the sight of man and not before a committee and not before a prayer partner. We are before all men that we meet. But only by standing so God can see us plainly for who we are.
One of the secret tests for this although it’s not really a secret, it is to most people but it’s not supposed to be, what does Paul say? “We set forth the truth plainly.” You know how much trouble you can get into by just reading scripture. If you just read scripture, “It’s just your interpretation” and you can just even quote what it says and plainly say what it says and you’re considered devious and sinful.
2 Corinthians 4:2-3 – Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
Just because you make yourself what? Open to every man’s conscience doesn’t mean that every man is going to see that you are of God. Just because we stand out in the open before everyone doesn’t mean they’re going to say and acknowledge, “Oh, you are a part of Jesus Christ and you really are a true Christian.” Indeed, what does Paul say in verse 3? “ven if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” So what are we to do as God’s people then? How are we to know when we’re in sin or not and who do we make ourselves accountable to in a holy way?
Look at Psalm 101:6. The bottom line is this, listen to your enemies, but do not let them minister to you. Listen to what they have to say and then turn to the Lord and say, “Is there any truth to what they’re saying?” You heard what I said: in the sight of God. You listen to what they have to say and then you turn to the living God and you say, “God, is there any truth to what they’re saying?” In Psalm 101:6 I wish we had time to read that whole Psalm but it says this:
Psalm 101:6 – My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.
You look for other people who know what it is to be crucified to self. You make yourself accountable for those whom you know are being crucified to their own judgments and their own opinions and their own thoughts. You make yourself accountable for those you know that are not using their own human wisdom and their own human understanding but are using faith to judge you and to help you and to point you the way toward God. “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land.” That’s who I will look toward. I don’t care what these people say over here whether I need a committee or I need this person over here or I need a whole government over me, those questions don’t matter at all. Find me a faithful man who understands what it is to walk the narrow road, who understands what it is to hate his own thoughts and his own opinions. Give me a man who is able to stand before me that has been crucified to his own opinions, who can hear the living God, then come and fellowship with me and then minister to me. “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk”—we’re again back to that walk again, aren’t we? “e whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” I listen to my enemies, but they don’t minister to me. I care not for their approval. I don’t care at all for their acceptance. They don’t lift me up or take me down in the Lord. I turn to God and I say, “God, is there any truth to their lies and to their slander? Purify me and make me whole.” That’s who ministers to you and that’s who you should turn to and listen for. Men have to be very careful with passages like this because as we said, without the flesh being crucified you’re going to choose men who will reaffirm wickedness in your life.
Let’s go to 1 Corinthians 3:18. You see people become all puffed up and their prayer partners and their committee meetings and their coverings and all their things. I can remember again in this church we were in for a short period of time that I told you was world wide now, I mean they basically have a world wide organization of arranged prayer partners where everybody is responsible in his life. And it literally has grown from a one hour meeting when you get to somebody where there is a whole notebook that somebody fills out that you’ve done during the week. This whole thing just escalates because you can never gain enough control. If we are wicked and flesh is not crucified I don’t care how many people you have in your life, what are you going to wind up becoming? Wicked. It’s going to take more rules and more people and more of a fence to keep you from being sinful. But if Jesus Christ comes to crucify you and put you to death then you will become righteous.
1 Corinthians 3:18 – Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.
The president of the United States has not only committees and people responsible but there’s a whole nation, a whole book of laws that say you are accountable to those laws. Did it make you righteous and holy? If we think the church is so wise by human standards, if we have these committees over here that are responsible for men, then we need to become as fools and understand what the foolish thing is that will keep a man from sin and keep you from following men who go into sin. “Do not deceive yourselves.” There is a deception about this whole business of accountability. There’s this air of superiority that says, “Who is your covering” and “Who is over you?” And as if I were to pick this big name person over here, “Oh, Billy Graham oversees my life.” Would that make me righteous and holy? Do not deceive yourselves. “If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ‘fool.’” So how stupid do you look when you say, “Hey, I have a promise from God that He’ll protect me from any man.” Yeah. So what do you do? I cry out to God. He gives me wisdom, I don’t have to do anything. That’s extremely foolish and that’s the kind of fool you need to become. Verse 19:
1 Corinthians 3:19 – For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”;
All kinds of schemes, all kinds of plans, all kinds of programs and things are not getting better. Verse 20 says:
1 Corinthians 3:20 – and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”
And so what does verse 21 say?
1 Corinthians 3:21 – So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours,
And that’s all it is. It is to say that these people are over me or this person is over me or I’m accountable to this person. Well, who are they? Who are they that I should be impressed? You come to me and say, “I have this whole committee, I have this whole individual, I report to them. If they see sin in my life they come and they deal with it.” And I go, “Who are they? What does it matter to me who they are? They’re a man like I am. They naturally lie.” They’re naturally wicked. You didn’t help your case any, you made it worse. Verse 22:
1 Corinthians 3:22-23 – whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
Now verse 1 of chapter 4 says this:
1 Corinthians 4:1 – So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.
We ought to look at one another as servants of God. No one man is lifted above another man. I’m not worthy to judge you and you’re not worthy to judge me. At best, we’re servants of God. Verse 2:
1 Corinthians 4:2 – Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
Now look at verse 3 and look at what Paul says:
1 Corinthians 4:3 – I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.
Indeed what? “I do not even judge myself.” Most of us going around judging ourselves. I had a man this week tell me how humble and teachable he is and how if I point out sin he’ll repent of those sins because he judged himself and declared himself clean. He’s a fool. If Paul who was caught up with Jesus Christ who seeing Him in the heavens says, “I do not even judge myself.” Look at what he says in verse 4.
1 Corinthians 4:4 – My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
I look at my life right now, Paul is saying, “I examine who I am and I look at my relationship with God and guess what my conclusion is? My conscience is clear, my conscience says of me, ‘You are in a fine place, and a fine relationship with God. Everything is okay. Be at peace.’” “My conscience is clear but that does not make me innocent.” All that means is that God’s leaving you alone for a little bit. I’m not worthy to judge my own life, indeed, I don’t even make myself accountable to myself. You’re not worthy to judge me and I’m not even worthy to judge you. But what we should do is turn to the living God and say, “God, work Your righteousness and Your holiness within us.”
1 Corinthians 4:4 – My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
“It is the Lord who judges me.” And that’s the bottom line. And He is able to do it. Anyone who does a casual reading of the Bible would understand He’s a God that can reveal sin. So why do we depend on things like committees or prayer partners? Did David have a prayer partner relationship with Nathan the prophet? Indeed, he didn’t even see Nathan the prophet probably but several times during his whole life. They didn’t meet on a weekly basis and Nathan would say, “Well, how’s your life going? You feel pretty spiritual this week? Is everything all right?” There’s a dependence upon the living God to deal with sin as God sees fit when He sees fit. So your conscience may be clear, you may feel fine. You may say, “I didn’t sense any sin and I’ve praying about this thing over here.” That doesn’t make you innocent, it just means that God’s leaving you alone for a moment. And so what should we do but do what Hebrews 12:2 tells us to do. We should be a people looking to Jesus Christ and Him only. And I don’t know what is wrong with that statement. I don’t know what is wrong with telling the whole congregation, “Look to Jesus Christ, look to the living God and if I begin to sin, you begin to sin, or anybody else begins to sin, guess what? That Jesus Christ, that God who lives will make it clear to you.” And that’s why it says in verse 2:
Hebrews 12:2 – Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You’ve got to fix your eyes right there and not be moved. You’ve got to say, “There is the living God. I will cry out, I will look for wisdom as for hidden silver.” I will look for that treasure that is in Him. I will fix my eyes on Jesus Christ because if you do not you will follow a man. And I don’t care if that man is righteous or holy or not, you won’t make it. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” And then it goes on to talk about what? The cross. Those who are not being crucified as Hebrews 12:2 says are already taken in by a man. Anyone that is not experiencing that kind of cross in their life is already a play thing of another man. He’s able to flatter them and to move them, he’s able to talk to them and give advice, he’s able to say things in a certain fashion, he’s able to examine. Look, you do it all the time naturally yourself, don’t you? When you’re talking to somebody you’re trying to sway them to like you or to be a certain way. Well, Jesus Christ says that’s just how we talk and just who we are. And unless people know the cross, unless they are experiencing that cross in their life they are already taken in. Look, some people just like to be Moonies and some people like to be Baptist. There’s no difference between the two. Some people like to jump up and down and speak in tongues and roll on the floor and other people like to sit on the pews and be quiet. They just gather together to hear from one another that they’re okay and they just go off to the little groups.
Let’s go to 1 Corinthians 1:18. The message of the cross and that’s what we’re talking about here, the message of the cross is this; that man is so weak that he is unable to judge another man. It is admitting before God, it is saying before God, “I am not able to protect the course of my life, I am not intelligent enough to pick the right church, You’re going to have to show me.” It is admitting before God that you are so weak that you will not be able to find the proper kind of teacher, in fact, the odds are that if God doesn’t give you insight you will pick the wrong teacher.
1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
And so in our weakness and in our crying out to God and in our pleading we say, “God, where are the teachers that You have chosen? Give me not a man’s words or how he flatters himself or how he speaks or he behaves or the things that I like to hear from the pulpit, show me, O Lord, whom You have chosen, no matter how he comes or no matter how he speaks, no matter how eloquent he is, or whether he can’t speak a single word properly.”
Let’s go to Galatians 6:12. All of these committees and all of this lingo and all this talk has to do with making a good impression on other people. In order not to be accused of being a cult or being a church that isn’t heresy or out in Looneysvile somewhere if you had a committee. In other words, if I could turn to somebody and somebody turns to me and says, “Who’s over you?” And I say, “Oh, man, I’ve got a committee of ten men and I report to them once a month and we sit down together and we have some prayer time and we sit there and talk and I tell them what happened in my life and they look at every aspect there and I look at their life,” that looks good. It looks presentable to men, it’s controllable. And you say, “We have the living God. We have the cross in everyone’s life. I’m accountable to everyone in the church who picks up a cross and who dies to self and who follows the living God.” That won’t be enough. That doesn’t look good. In Galatians 6:12:
Galatians 6:12 – Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Do this outward thing in order to look righteous. Get a prayer partner committee. Give me somebody you can say is over you. Make this all look proper in order to satisfy what? Our flesh and that everything is okay. And the reason they do this is because they do not want to be persecuted for the cross of Jesus Christ. They want to look good to other men. They want to look humble and they want to look meek and so you find five men that will confirm that you are humble and meek. Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason, the only reason, it isn’t because they understand the word in a certain fashion. It isn’t because they study the Greek or the Hebrew or they’ve seen all these mistakes. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. The cross of Christ stands up and says I am totally dependent upon the living God. I’m walking a blameless life, I’m denying myself and that is where my faith is in relationship to the living God and that’s all that I put my trust in. And they’re going to look at you like you’re crazy. Because they don’t understand the message of the cross and they don’t understand its power. And so to avoid what? Being persecuted for the message of the cross they try to be worldly and acceptable.
Think about it. The church is run like what? A corporation. Isn’t in a corporation everybody is responsible to everybody else? We change the words from what? Supervisor to prayer partner. From CEO to Pastor. Everything is arranged just like the world is lined up and everybody is looking out after everybody else to make sure they’re all doing the proper thing. Nobody stands there and goes, “Okay, nobody is in charge here, God, what do you want us to do?” But I know you’ve seen in this body how God arranges people and they bring people in and out of other people’s lives and you never know who’s going to be in your life doing whatever God calls them to do. You can’t pick your supervisors around here, can you? You can’t say, “Oh, I want that person in my life,” because as sure as you say that guess who you’re going to get? The person you don’t want because God is doing the work and that’s who we’re accountable to. The minute we start to set up all kinds of arrangements here the power is going to be gone. And then you can start to lie or you can just start to talk normal and pretty soon the sin will be there. Verse 13:
Galatians 6:13 – Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh.
“Not even those who are circumcised obey the law. . .” They can’t even keep it straight. They’re not even able to obey the law. Look, if the committee thing works, if the prayer partner thing works then how come these churches aren’t all righteous and holy? How come there is one story after another story of somebody falling into adultery or sexual sin or whatever it might be if those things work? You’d think somebody would stand back and go, “Hey, this doesn’t work.” But no, we just pile on more and more worldly things in order to look noble and to look righteous. By the way, the reason why those sins get so full blown like that is because why? You can fool a committee for a long time and you can fool other men for a long, long time, but you can’t fool the living God. Because He comes to us when the sins are undetectable, even to ourselves.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want a committee. If I start to fall into adultery I want it dealt with when it’s in my heart, not when it’s physically close where everybody can see it. I want God moving and interacting within the body to keep us righteous. That’s the power of the cross. He’s able to do it. He who can give Paul a thorn in the flesh to keep him from pride can see to it that His church is holy, if we look to Him, if we fix our eyes there.
You see in order to be righteous to the world, in order to look holy, in order to look responsible to the world we’ve got to set up the church to look responsible. And once we get the church looking responsible then we go around saying, “See, our church is responsible.” And then we can keep pointing back to other men and other circumstances and other situations in order to boast about ourselves. So then it’s arrogance that begins to speak and to say what? “Oh, I have these people over my life. And you don’t.” And it’s haughtiness that talks and then you begin to get self righteous in speaking and rebuking and correcting when they have no basis to do so whatsoever. Verse 14 says:
Galatians 6:14-15 – May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.
All these outward things that we do or do not do mean absolutely nothing. You take a group of sinful men, you put them in a room, you give them a committee, they’re still going to be sinful. What does he say that counts in verse 15? “What counts is a new creation.” What we literally have to have in this church is everybody in this body walking in the new creation of Jesus Christ. And when you get a bunch of Jesuses walking around in this body they’ll be judging everybody and exposing sin if need be, won’t they? You don’t need a committee when you’ve got Jesus Christ walking around in His holiness in everybody’s life. What it tells me is when these churches have prayer partners and committees and people they’re responsible to they don’t have Jesus walking through there. What do you need committees for when you have Jesus? Are we going to get to heaven and get up there in His holiness and form a committee to maintain our holiness? “What counts is a new creation.” The new creation is holy, it comes into the light, it comes out in the open, it is holy and it is righteous in its very essence. May God make us holy and righteous in Him. And then we won’t depend on what? Man’s abilities and his human wisdom and his human reasoning. Look at verse 16:
Galatians 6:16 – Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.
If the church that walks in paranoia about being taken in by man who is always looking over their shoulders, always walking with an evil suspicion or he’s saying, “Is that person going to take advantage of me?” is there peace in that? Is there any type of security or rest in that that at any moment some man might come in and sway us and take us off somewhere because we’re too stupid to understand what he’s about? There’s no peace or safety in that, but there is peace and safety in what? Looking for a new creation and being and having the new creation. Then if a man comes in and then if a man begins to sin, you can just keep on marching on your way because you are loaded with peace and you are loaded with safety and the grace of God and you know that He what? Guards and protects your way. The very last thing that I walk around in, the very last thing, I’m paranoid about a lot of things but I am not paranoid about being taken in by a man. I am paranoid about being taken in by myself. But not by another man. But Him I can trust fully to protect because He has told me if I cry out to Him and if I search after Him and if I have the new creation I will have peace and I will have safety and there is no danger. The reason why so many other people are paranoid is because secretly deep inside they know what’s in their heart. And they know that if a man comes in and begins to tell them what they want to hear and feeds their flesh, they will follow. But what they don’t know and what they can’t believe in is that there is a kind of Christianity with power, that there is a holiness and a righteousness. There is a relationship with the living God that no man can take advantage of you and no man can take you somewhere where you don’t want to go because God will be there guarding and protecting your way every single step. Verse 16 again:
Galatians 6:16 – Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.
And what was the rule? I want to repeat it again. What is the only thing that counts? A new creation. Of living and growing and righteous and being a totally different person than you are. The old Tim was swayed by all kinds of worldly passions and desires, he’s dying. That doesn’t control me and it doesn’t move me, it doesn’t even control my own life. And if it can’t control me then no man is going to be able to entice me with it either. And the more that I die to self and the more that I let Him crucify me, the freer I am. You want peace and you want safety then don’t go around worrying about all these men over here and getting all these partners over here. You cry out to the living God.
Let’s go ahead and pray.
Father, we just pray and ask that You will work and move in people’s lives that they too might know this freedom. How futile it is, Father, that we rely on our own strength and our own wisdom to try and protect ourselves. Father, we can’t even discern our own errors. Convince us and show us that, Father, that we may never depend upon ourselves or human wisdom or listen to another man who doesn’t understand the message of the cross. Grant us fellowship with You, Father, that we can lay our heads on our pillows at night and You’ll guard our steps and protect us from men whose words are devious and whose paths are crooked. And that You will lead us safely, Father, in Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional. The original audio tape can be ordered free of charge by contacting Sound Doctrine Ministries.