Sun, Jul 17, 2022
Teacher: Mark Hull
Duration:24 mins 44 secs

Message text

Are You Loyal?
Matthew 26:21-35

John Kenneth Galbraith was a noted economist in the early 1900s who was called upon by many dignitaries to help sort the economic markets.
He wrote the following story in his autobiography about his housekeeper:

“It had been a wearying day, and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while I had a nap. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House.
‘Get me Ken Galbraith. This is Lyndon Johnson.’
‘He is sleeping, Mr. President. He said not to disturb him.’
‘Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him.’
‘No, Mr. President. I work for him, not you.’
When I called the President back, he could scarcely control his pleasure.
‘Tell that woman I want her here in the White House.’”

Emily the housekeeper understood an important truth—she was a servant to one man and obeyed his wishes explicitly.
Her loyalties were to Mr. Galbraith alone.
What a great example of a true servant.

Much of what we do in life is influenced by our loyalties. Oftentimes our loyalties shape our decisions, guide our activities, & give purpose to our lives.
ILL. Shortly before the collapse of the old Soviet Union, Jerry Whitworth, who had sold secret military codes to the Russians, was convicted of treason.
In sentencing him, the judge stated that in a time of war, his betrayal could have caused the death of thousands of soldiers & sailors, & have made the difference between victory or defeat for our nation.
ILL. It was Sir Walter Scott who 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 anyone could actually betray our country the way Whitworth & some others have done since then.
But there are many ways to betray our country. And one way is simply to forget or ignore the ideals & principles that made it great in the first place. And I’m afraid that is the desire of some in leadership roles throughout our country.
I am sure that we consider ourselves very patriotic, & the idea of loyalty to our nation is important to us.
Most of us have what might be called "family loyalty." Loyalty to our husband or wife, to our children, & to our parents, is vital for a happy home.
And most young people feel a strong school loyalty, too. Win or lose, they cheer their school teams on.
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.
This morning we find ourselves with Jesus & his apostles in Jerusalem, in the upper room, celebrating the Passover, & eating the Passover meal together.
Matthew 26:21 tells us, "And while they were eating, Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me." Well, as you can imagine, this created quite a commotion among the apostles. And in the midst of the commotion, Judas leaves the upper room.
The meal is over - they sing a Passover hymn, & leave for the Mt. of Olives.

As they are walking along, Peter tells Jesus, 'Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.' Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.'
"But Peter declared in verses 33 – 35, 33 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are [a]made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”
34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny 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." Those are thrilling words! And his loyalty was contagious. Did you notice? Matthew says, "All the other disciples said the same."
Now compare that scene to the times when we come together to worship Jesus & to 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, because just a few hours later he says, "I don't know what you are talking about. I don't know the man."
Twice he says this about Jesus, & the third time he emphasizes it with oaths & curses.
It’s the same Peter, but his words are so different. What happened?
Well, his environment has changed. Peter is now in the midst of the enemies of Jesus.
Here, among people who want to destroy Jesus, Peter denies Him again & again. You see, the environment he was in made all the difference!

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?
C. We ask others, "What causes you to say that you will be loyal?" They answer, "I appreciate the congregation & its members & I don't want them to be disappointed in me."
But what if the congregation isn't really what you would expect it to be? Would you still be loyal to Jesus?
What if some of the members disappoint you? What if you didn't like the preacher? Would you still be loyal to Jesus? Would you still meet around the Lord's table? Would you still be faithful in your tithes & offerings? Would you still be loyal to Him?
SUM. Unfaithfulness to Christ brings heartache & disappointment, but loyalty to Christ brings rejoicing.


A. Why should we be loyal to Jesus? One reason is because He was loyal to us! Jesus bore your sins & mine upon Calvary.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
And He is just as faithful today. Hebrews 7:25 says, 25 Therefore He is also able to save [a]to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
1 John 1:9 tells us, "He is faithful & just, & will forgive us our sins."
And the apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that Christ's loyalty stretches into eternity. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
SUM. You see, Christ's love for us is constant. Everything else may be swept away, but never His love!
B. Now how about our love & our loyalty?
You see, the real test doesn't come during the church services while we're worshiping with others who love the Lord. The real test comes when we find ourselves with those who care nothing about Christ or His church.
ILL. A young man from a good Christian family went off to a large college half way across the country. Four months later, when he came home for Christmas break, among the questions his mother asked him was, "Did anyone make fun of you because you're a Christian?"
The young man hung his head as he answered, "I’m not sure that anyone knows that I'm a Christian." Think about that. Four months with his classmates & no one knows that he is a Christian.
As you know, there is a little lizard that changes color to match its environment. He turns brown on the bark of a tree. In grass he takes on a greenish hue, & at the edge of blue water he blends to that color.
God gives the chameleon the ability to turn the color of his environment. But God never intended for His people to be like the chameleon.
C. Yes, Peter failed the test in the enemies' courtyard, but as you already know, that's not the end of the story. Fifty-three days later in Jerusalem, on Pentecost, PETER is PROCLAIMIMG in Acts 2:36, 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
It is Peter, but the words are so different! Peter is standing fearlessly before those who killed Jesus, & he has no guarantee that they will not kill him, too. But it doesn't matter to him.
Jesus is King of Kings & Lord of Lords, & Peter is determined to be true to Him to the very end. And history tells us that Peter was!
What has happened? After he denied Jesus the Bible tells us that Peter "went out & wept bitterly." He realized his weakness & what he had done, & bitterly repented. Then he saw the risen Lord on the resurrection day & many times more before Jesus ascended into heaven.
He also heard the command to go & preach the gospel to all the world. Knowing now that Jesus is the living Lord, Peter stands courageously on the day of Pentecost & proclaims for the first time God's message of salvation.

WE are asked to believe that Jesus is the son of God
Repent of our sins as Peter did after denying Jesus
Be buried with him through baptism to wash away our sin
and to walk in newness of life…
Being found faithful until death
To also pass the loyalty test to God and Jesus!

Please allow me, in closing, to use an illustration from the battle fields of WW 1. It's an old story, but I think it will get my point across.

Two brothers volunteered & went through training together. They crossed the Atlantic on the same transport ship, & went through several battles together.
One day, after a particularly hard-fought battle in the Argonne Forest…
Jack came back to a hastily set up camp. He looked for Bill, his brother, but Bill was nowhere to be found.
He sought permission from his commanding officer to go back into the forest, but the officer refused to grant that permission. He pointed out that Jack might just be risking his life in vain.
But Jack continued to plead. Finally, the officer gave him permission to go.
Hours later, with the lifeless body of his brother in his arms, he made his way back into camp. Seeing him, the officer said, "Young man, it was just like I said, wasn't it? You risked your life in vain."
With tears streaming down his cheek, Jack replied, "No sir, I didn't risk my life in vain. When I found Bill he was still alive, & when I bent over to pick him up he knew me & said, `Jack, I knew you'd come.'"
Those brothers, loyal to one another, were so close… that only death could separate them.
APPL. But friends, the Bible says in Proverbs 18:24 that we have A man who has friends [a]must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
One from whom even death cannot separate us. And if we are loyal to Him, then some day we shall walk into eternity with Him.
He is coming for us. Whether alive or dead, we shall look up some day, & with the same assurance as the brother on the battlefield, we shall joyously cry out, "Lord, I knew you would come. I knew you would come!"

Christina Rossetti wrote the following poem…
• What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would give Him a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
Yet what can I give Him? I’ll give Him my heart


Sermon Contributor: Melvin Newland


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