Summary: Being a follower of Jesus can give people a strong sense of their own identity. Indeed you could even say that to belong to Christ, to be "in Christ", to be a member of his body, is the only identity we need.
Opening illustration: Any person working in the US Marine Corps lives with a motto “Always Faithful.” He is to remain faithful to the US Army – even unto death for the cause of his country.
What he doesn’t have to do?
• Take orders from enemy leadership
• Never quit partway through the military mission
How appropriate it is for our Christian life too!
Introduction: The design of these words, is not at all to lessen the due affection of children to their parents; or to detract from the respect and esteem, in which they ought to be had by them: it is the duty of children, to love, honor, and, obey them; who have been the means of bringing them into the world, and of bringing them up in it; nor do any of the doctrines of Christ break in upon the ties and obligations of nature, or in the least set aside any of the duties of natural religion: but the intent of this passage is, to show, that as Christ is infinitely above all creatures, he is to be loved above the nearest and dearest relations and friends; being God over all blessed forever, and also the Savior and Redeemer; which itself, makes him more amiable and lovely than a common parent. That man therefore, that prefers father and mother to Christ, and their instructions, and orders, to the truths and ordinances of Christ: who, to please them, breaks the commands of Christ, rejects his Gospel, and either denies him, or does not confess him, our Lord says, is not worthy of Christ.
What does it really take to follow Christ?
How can family and friends challenge our loyalty?
Illustration: William Carey (1761-1834) ~ God asked him to go to India. He went even though he had 3 small children but his father was annoyed with this decision of his. How was Carey obedient to the words of Jesus? He preferred Jesus above his own father. Sometimes a profession of faith in Christ leads to being shunned by the rest of the family. Carey loved the Lord but his actions appeared to hate his family because he didn’t do what they wanted but did what God approved. Sometimes the world can be so alluring that we get conformed in its ways. Are we willing to make a commitment like Joshua made in Joshua 24: 15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
• Adam and Eve ~ traitors to God’s cause.
Loyal to God ~
• Daniel & 3 friends
• Rahab shifted her loyalty to God.
Yes, God wants you to love your spouse, children, parents, family etc, and neighbor. But your love and loyalty to God should be above all this is 1st.
Before being a loyal follower of Christ, we must be convinced of 3 things ~
• Jesus’ resurrection – Romans 1: 4
• Jesus is the Only Way – John 14: 6
• Jesus is returning back – John 14: 28
What is our identity of loyalty?
Being a follower of Jesus can give people a strong sense of their own identity. Indeed you could even say that to belong to Christ, to be "in Christ", to be a member of his body, is the only identity we need. People from all sorts of different backgrounds, different colors and nationalities, etc., can make up a great diversity, a rich tapestry of humanity drawn together in unity as members of the one body of Christ, having the one basic sense of who they are because they belong to him. So we are brothers and sisters of one another through our relationship to the one Lord Jesus Christ. That is a theme commonly proclaimed and believed, almost as if it were the gospel itself. But the gospel is not the same thing as saying that all sorts of different people can be included in a Christian fellowship.
Reflecting on how we can be ‘Loyal to God’ in order to follow Him whole-heartedly:
(1) You seek HIM always
Psalms 14: 2 The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
(2) You never quit
James 1: 12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.