The Content of Our Loyalty

loyalty-definition

According to Wikipedia, loyalty is “devotion and faithfulness to a cause, country, group, or person.” Let’s break this definition down as we see it from a Christian point of view. On a secondary level, we may think of loyalty as it pertains to family, community, and country. For example, husbands and wives are to be loyal to their vows while children are to be loyal in obedience to their parents (Ephesians 5:22-6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:1-7). When it comes to community, members are to be loyal through high standards of conduct, respect, and service toward others (Titus 3:1-3; 1 Pet. 2:11-12). And in regard to country, citizens are to be loyal to the law of the land and in subjection to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17).

But there’s a higher level of even greater importance. Our primary loyalty—that is, our utmost “devotion and faithfulness” is based on the teachings of God’s Holy Word. In other words, the most significant purpose of our calling is to fulfill our responsibility and privilege as it pertains to Biblical instruction.

When we are loyal to our purpose as Kingdom Seekers (Matthew 6:33) we will experience the Good News of which the Bible speaks. For, the Good News includes the four features of devotion and faithfulness—namely, cause (seek first); country (Kingdom of God); group (Church); and person (Jesus Christ). All four of these features are inclusive as believers demonstrate loyalty. They are all necessary as well as rewarding.

When we are loyal to the cause of Christ we are seeking first the Kingdom of God. We will not be so apt to become disloyal if we remain loyal to that first cause. Moreover, seeking the Kingdom first is what provides the incentive for being loyal to the cause. This does not mean other causes pertaining to family, community, and country are not significant. On the contrary, it means that if we are seeking first the Kingdom of God we are more than fulfilling our devotion to these other causes.

As believers, our primary loyalty to country is the Kingdom of God. Here, I am referring to the future Kingdom when the earth will be restored and the curse of sin and death is removed forevermore (Acts 3:20-21; Revelation 21:3-5; 22:3-4). God’s Kingdom is territorial in that it will be established by his Son and it will cover the entire planet (Daniel 2:35, 44; Isaiah 11:9; Rev. 11:15; 19:11). Our citizenship is presently in heaven where Jesus our Lord and Savior is presently fulfilling his role as Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5; Philippians 3:20-21). When Jesus descends from heaven the faithful will meet him in the air: He will resurrect all the faithful to immortality and then instantly change the faithful who are living at that time from mortal to immortal (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58). The everlasting Kingdom of God on earth, which we eagerly await, is the “better country”—the “heavenly one”that all those who died in faith expected to inherit, and which we look forward to inherit with them, when Jesus comes again: Hebrews 11:13-16.

Our loyalty is also to the group or community of believers in Christ as we prepare for our inheritance (Romans 8:16-17; Galatians 3:28-29; 6:1-2). The aim is to be part of a group or church in which each believer is loyal to the edification of the Body of Christ, serving one another, and living in unity of the faith (Eph. 4:12-15; Acts 20:32; Jude 20-21). Loyalty includes regular worship attendance with believers as well as encouraging one another (Eph. 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 10:23-25; James 5:19-20); prayer for one another (James 5:16); consistent giving as good stewards of the Lord’s work (Mal. 3:10; Matt. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 16:2); using our spiritual gifts for the work of the Lord (Romans 12: 3-9; Eph 4: 2-12; 1 Cor. 12: 1-31; 1 Peter 4: 10-11); and doing all we can do to reach, teach, and preach the Good News of Christ and his Kingdom, thus leading them into the Body of Christ (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 12:3-8; Jude 20-23).

Loyalty does not waiver even though it is tested sometimes. For example, enduring long-winded sermons may really test our loyalty to the pastor and listening to his message. (You’re probably sensing a joke right about now!) One Sunday, Mrs. Dunn decided to visit a new church. The sermon seemed to go on and on and a few people in the congregation fell asleep.

After the service, to be friendly, she approached a sleepy-looking gentleman, extended her hand, and said, “Hello—I’m Gladys Dunn.”

“You’re not the only one,” the man replied. “I’m glad it’s done, too!”

Our loyalty is intended to be long-lasting, and not with the intent of receiving worldly gain. A funny story is told of a wealthy old man who was very enthusiastic about his lovely young bride. But sometimes he wondered whether she might have just married him for his money. So, he asked, “If I lost all my money, would you still love me?”

She retorted, “Of course I would still love you. Don’t be silly. But I would miss you!”

We can only stay loyal to cause (seek first), country (the Kingdom of God), and group (the Church), as long as we are loyal to Jesus the Christ, and honor him as the Lord and Savior of our lives. He is the center of all our loyalty; the focal point of our devotion and faithfulness. He is the living content of our loyalty as his followers.

When we make the decision to accept Jesus in our lives, we are making a pledge of loyalty to him. Our loyalty is such that we die to sin so that Christ now lives in us by faith. Like the Apostle Paul, we can declare, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered himself up for me,” (Gal. 2:20; see also Romans 6:1-11).

Total loyalty to Christ gives Kingdom Seekers the benefit of dealing with the problems dealt to us through sin. If we yield to sin, we are being disloyal; if we yield to God through his Son, we are being loyal. As Christ remains the content of our loyalty, we are sanctified (cleansed) and freed from sin and renewed with the hope of receiving eternal life when Jesus returns: “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derived you benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life,” (Rom. 6:22).

We can be confident in our loyalty to God through Christ because he is faithful to his promises to us: “…for he who promised is faithful,” (Heb. 10:23). We can therefore trust God to supply us with our needs as we strive to be loyal to him. The content of our loyalty rests on the fact that we can rely on him to keep his Word and all that he will do when Jesus, his Son, fulfills his plan of salvation. Long ago, Moses assured God’s people, “Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments,” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

When we pledge loyalty it all comes down to confessing, “I Am Yours.” Here’s Christian singing artist, Lauren Daigle: http://youtu.be/w9B-81mZV5E

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

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