Be Loyal

2 Timothy 1:13-18

If loyalty is to be found in our culture, it appears mostly in a twisted sort of way. No longer the high ideal of past generations, now loyalty is to self-interest, to doing what makes me look good or more prosperous. There was a time when people with character displayed loyalty to a principle or cause or person, often at great risk to themselves.

“…story from Scotland about the capture and execution of the Marquis of Huntly (1649). When asked to renounce his loyalty to the king or lose his head on the chopping block, he responded resolutely, “You can take my head from my shoulders, but you will never take my heart from my king.”

That’s good and inspiring, however there’s an even better expression of loyalty:

in the 1500s a Scottish preacher named Andrew Melville believed that his king (James VI of Scotland [James I of England]) was seeking to usurp the authority of God, he said to him:

Sir, we will always humbly reverence your majesty in public; but since we have this occasion to be with your majesty in private … we must discharge our duty or else be traitors both to Christ and you. Therefore, Sir, as diverse times I have told you, so now again I must tell you. There are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland: there is King James, the head of this Commonwealth, and there is Christ Jesus the King of the Church, whose subject James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head…. We will yield to you your place, and give you all due obedience, but again I say, You are not the head of the church; you cannot give us that eternal life that we seek for even in this world, and you cannot deprive us of it.”

Our text addresses loyalty of the second sort, loyalty to “Christ Jesus, the King of the Church”, the one who gives us eternal life that neither king nor army can deprive us of. Paul challenged Timothy to remain loyal to the model he had been shown, the truth he had been given, the saints who were his fellow-laborers, and to the Lord Jesus his King.

A. to the model v.13

don’t get “cute”, inventive – stick with the pattern

in word

the standard for sharing the Gospel is established in God’s Word, covers both content and method

means for communicating Gospel to lost is verbal not visual – words not pictures or other art-forms

God’s truth found in Gospel and all associated doctrine hasn’t changed – our message, content of Gospel teaching must not change either

someone listens to us, hears Gospel presentation, shouldn’t be surprised when they read the Bible

in life – belief governs behavior

effective ambassador for the Gospel is one who lives in manner consistent with message

if faithfully proclaiming truth that power of Gospel changes lives, behaviors, desires – that should be evident in our life too

in love

to remain loyal to pattern requires standing firm – holding fast to something with intent of not letting go

that firmness, that refusal to compromise must be expressed in love – coming from heart overwhelmed with God’s grace, overflowing with Christ’s love, fueled by the Holy Spirit

the content of Gospel message is offensive to many; can’t help that; we can help how we proclaim and portray it

must show forth patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control

pass it on – “you heard from me”

will come back to this in 2:2

“A 19th century Sunday School teacher named Kimball led a shoe clerk named Moody to Jesus Christ. Dwight L. Moody became a famous evangelist who influenced Frederick B. Meyer to preach on college campuses. Meyer led J. Wilbur Chapman to the Lord. Chapman while working with the YMCA arranged for Billy Sunday to come to Charlotte, North Carolina to attend revival meetings. Community leaders in Charlotte scheduled another revival with Mordecai Hamm. Under Hamm’s preaching Billy Graham gave his heart to Jesus Christ. Billy Graham has preached to more people than any man in history. I am sure this Sunday School teacher in Boston had no idea what would happen from leading a shoe clerk to Christ.”

keep Christ Jesus prominent

if truth is found exclusively in Christ, if there is salvation in none other, if there is only one Mediator – Christ alone must have center stage

if we are to know the Father, must know Christ; if we are to receive inheritance from the Father, must be one with Christ

Christ is central in written Word, in preaching and teaching of the apostles – they were taught by Christ, passed along model to next generation, pattern must continue until Lord Jesus returns

B. to the truth v.14

stick to the Gospel

guard it from error – don’t you introduce error into what you present as the Gospel, don’t let those in your care do so either

might think – “I know the truth, won’t forget it, won’t distort it, won’t depart from it”

every one of you know someone who started out strong for Christ – nowhere to be seen today

much pressure in contemporary culture to back off, tone down truth from God’s Word

issues: abortion, homosexuality, honoring the Lord’s Day, tolerance of other religions

even Pope is making statements on regular basis that make you wonder

The Pope wrote: “The question for those who do not believe in God is to follow their own conscience. Sin, even for a non-believer, is when one goes against one’s conscience.” [1]

“The truth, according to Christian faith, is God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. So the truth is a relationship!” [2]

what was the Gospel committed by first generation Christians to second generation Christians? that’s what we must maintain and propagate

rely on the Holy Spirit

for insight – to recognize error

this good thing, this treasure committed to Timothy and to us, this truth of Gospel message is spiritual truth

read last week, 1 Cor. 2, it’s understood by Spirit, not genius; only by enlightening and enabling of Holy Spirit that we can recognize error and reject it

for strength – to resist corrupting influence

what makes you different from those who started out strong? not your looks, smarts, personality

absolutely and solely the grace of God applied to your life through indwelling Holy Spirit – if not for that, we all would be drawn away from truth

C. to the saints v.15-17

don’t be taken in by appearances

personal considerations for Phygellus, Hermogenes outweighed loyalty to Paul – perhaps the one who led them to Christ

looked bad for Paul, but…. remember his character, his track record, your relationship, etc.

spare brothers and sisters

hurt of fractured relationships – for Paul, time when he had greatest need for support; those in whom he had invested much abandoned him, leaving to face death alone

understand if you’ve experienced it, cannot explain depth of loss to someone who hasn’t

disappointment and discouragement – worked to equip and position them to carry on the work, then at last minute they desert

we are family, after all – blood is thicker than water, in this case the blood of Christ that gives common cause and relationship

shouldn’t happen, but,… God’s people let one another down; cannot become cynical because of it

follow example of Onesiphorus

devoted – often refreshed, often lifted Paul’s spirits; even apostle needed encouragement, just like all believers

not ashamed – put needs of fellow-believer ahead of own, even ahead of personal safety

persistent – sought …zealously – wasn’t simply token loyalty and devotion, was real deal, didn’t give up until goal was reached

D. to the Lord v.18

loyalty to model of Gospel presentation is loyalty to Christ – he set first example, passed it along to his followers

loyalty to truth is loyalty to Christ – he is way, truth and life; he is source of all truth, and is focus of Gospel truth

loyalty to saints is loyalty to Christ – he is the head, we are body and one with Christ

Matt. 25:39-40‘…when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

There is no truce in the invisible war. Demonic activity is both real and relentless. There is no R & R for Satan’s army. These soldiers work around the clock, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, year after year.” Chuck Swindoll

One of primary targets is truth, especially truth of the Gospel. Equally important target: those who are living in the light of Gospel truth. Will use any and all available weapons to neutralize Christians and their testimony. Whether it’s popular or politically correct or not, we must take sides – whose side are you on?

Are you on the Lord’s side? the side of truth? Or are you on the side of God’s enemies? There are no neutral territories in this war between Christ and Satan. If you are not on the Lord’s side, answer his call of mercy in faith believing Christ died for your sins. If you are on his side, determine to loyally persevere by his grace, enduring to the end no matter how fierce the conflict may be.

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/10302850/Pope-Francis-reaches-out-to-atheists-and-agnostics.html

[2] http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-takes-the-faith-to-the-pages-of-the-secular-press/

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