Summary: There is one loyalty that should stand in a class by itself. It is a loyalty that can permeate & add even more meaning to all other loyalties. This is loyalty to Jesus Christ. (Powerpoints Available - #172)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #172.)
TEXT: Matthew 26:31-35
Much of what we do in life is influenced by our loyalties. Often-times our loyalties shape our decisions, & guide our activities.
Most people have what might be called "family loyalty" - loyalty to husband or wife, to children, & to parents. And young people often feel a strong school loyalty. Win or lose, they cheer their school teams on.
In recent years there has been a lot of controversy about patriotism - about loyalty to flag & country.
Sir Walter Scott wrote, "Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, 'This is my own, my native land!'?
It's hard for us to understand how someone could actually sink so low as to betray their own country. Yet some have done so.
There are many ways to betray your country. And one way is simply to forget or ignore the ideals that made it great in the first place. We do need to treasure loyalty to our nation if we desire to preserve the freedoms we now enjoy.
PROP. You see, we have all kinds of loyalties. But there is one loyalty that should stand in a class by itself. It is a loyalty that can permeate & add even more meaning to all other loyalties. This is loyalty to Jesus Christ.
I. PETER PROFESSED HIS LOYALTY TO JESUS
In Matthew 26:31-35 Peter professed his loyalty to Jesus. "Then Jesus told them, 'This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, & the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.'
"Peter replied, 'Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.' 'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.'
"But Peter declared, 'Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.' And all the other disciples said the same."
A. Did you hear the loyalty expressed in the words of Peter? "Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You."
Just a few minutes before, Peter & the rest of the disciples had been in the upper room. There Jesus had instituted the Lord's Supper.
Now they are on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane, & Peter makes this stirring profession of his loyalty - & his loyalty was contagious, for "All the other disciples said the same."
APPL. Now compare that scene to the times when we come together to worship Jesus & partake of the Lord's Supper. Here, with other Christians we draw close to Jesus, & we, too, feel like saying, "Lord, I'd die before I would deny You."
B. But Peter failed the loyalty test, for just a few hours later he is saying, "I do not know the man!" Twice he says this about Jesus, & the third time he emphasizes it with oaths & curses.
It is the same Peter, but his words are so different. What has happened?
His environment, his situation, has changed. Peter is now in the midst of people who are opposed to Jesus. So Peter denies Him, not once, but again & again, & he fails the test of loyalty!
You see, in this case, the situation made the difference! But later on, we find Peter loyal to Jesus despite his surroundings.
II. WHAT ABOUT OUR LOYALTY TO JESUS?
Now, how about us? What effect does environment have upon us? What about our loyalty to Jesus? How would we react if our environment changed?
A. If I were to ask young people, "What causes you to say that you will be loyal to Jesus?" Perhaps some would answer, "My parents expect me to be loyal. If I weren't a Christian it would break their hearts."
But what if your parents didn't care? What if they didn't care when you came in at night, where you had been, or what you had done? Would you still be loyal to Jesus? What if it didn't matter to them where you spent eternity? Would you still be loyal?
B. If I were to ask parents, "What causes you to say that you will be loyal to Jesus?" Some might answer, "My children need the right example." That is certainly true! It is wonderful that God has blessed you with children before whom you can set the right example. And great is your responsibility!
But what if there were no children in your home to follow your example? Would you still be loyal to Jesus?