Jesus established and loved the church. He commanded his people to be loyal to it and to always give it priority affection and faithful support.
Loyalty has a martial ring to it. We think of our country and the nation’s flag. Loyalty stirs within us something high and holy. We like to think of ourselves as loyal, stalwart, and true.
In Nashville is a statue of one of the Confederacy’s heroes, Sam Davis, who uttered some immortal words: “I would die a thousand deaths, before I would betray a friend.”
The Place of Loyalty
Loyalty is the willing, practical devotion of self and substance to a person or a cause that is believed to be supremely worthwhile. It carries with it faithfulness, trust and confidence.
I would suggest that church loyalty runs much deeper: it calls for devoted allegiance to a Person and a cause. It involves decision, devotion, faithfulness, trustworthiness, and sacrifice.
Josiah Royce called loyalty “the chief of all virtues, the center of all beauty, the fulfillment of the moral law, and the very heart of religion.”
An individual without loyalty is like a ship without a compass. There may be much activity and much “going about” but it will often have little purpose and be unprofitable. Loyalty gives purpose, direction and drive to life.
In any list of Christian virtues, loyalty ranks high…we recognize it in scripture as faithfulness:
(Mat 23:23) “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
(Rom 3:3) “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness?”
(Gal 5:22) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”
(Rev 13:10) “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.”
· the Christian cannot serve God and money
· if any man would come to Christ, he must disclaim all loyalty to others and follow him
· Paul put it this way: “..to live is Christ and to die is gain…”
In our daily lives, there are numerous ‘loyalties’ clamoring for devotion and interest. We must stand firm in our efforts to be loyal to God, to the faith, to the church, to friends and family, and to self!
I WILL NEVER LEAVE THE CHURCH!
The reason that I will never leave the church is not due to anything special in me, but something special in Christ. Before He died on the cross He said, “I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” After His resurrection He promised, “I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Yes, they have weaknesses, make mistakes, and commit sins; but, I’m not leaving them. Even though hypocrisy, materialism, and pride may surface in the life of my brothers and sisters, I’m not leaving!
So all through His life, Jesus committed Himself to people. Even though we have guilt, pride and many problems, we have the guarantee of divinity that Jesus will never leave us. I’ve decided that means several things in my relationship with the church:
I will never leave the church emotionally. We must be available to each other to share our lives, to confess our faults, to worship, to laugh, to cry and to walk together through the places of life. We must not commit emotional adultery against each other. We need to be each other’s best friend.
I will never leave the church theologically. Jesus built one church and He is its head. The purpose of “no creed, but Christ, no book but the Bible, no message but the Gospel and no aim but to save” is a good summary of what the New Testament church was all about. I’m committed to those principles.
I will never leave the Church spiritually. You are my brothers and sisters in Christ. God is our Father. It is the greatest family on earth. Though sometimes our lives are chipped and broken, we are still the vessels of God’s treasure. We must never leave each other.
Ephesians 3:8-11 (ESV)– To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord…”