Paul said, "...I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." He was in prison at the time. Chains were upon his ankles, but his soul was free. He was a prisoner of Rome, but he was a free man in Christ. He was in bondage to Ceasar, but Christ was his Lord and Master.
As he sits in prison writing this letter to the Galatians he notices that everything around him is marked with the sign of Ceasar. His clothes, the chains, even the guard is marked. He realizes that he too is marked, but not with the mark of Ceasar...He is bears the marks of the Lord Jesus in his body. He could roll up his sleeve and show the marks he received in Philippi. On his shoulders were the scars he had received when he was stoned in Lystra. He had literally been marked for his faith in Christ. These were physical marks, but I believe that he carried spiritual marks that distinguished him from others. 2. You and I may not bear the physical marks of suffering for our faith in Christ, but we ought to bear the spiritual marks of being a Christian. If we do not have these marks, we are not bearing fruit in the Christian life. I want us to consider some of the marks that ought to be present in all of our lives. Tonight I believe that one of those should be "Loyalty".
I. Examples of Loyalty
A. Paul was a great example of loyalty.
1. From the moment he met Christ on the road to Damascus till he lost his head in Rome Paul was loyal!
2. He could have saved himself from suffering and death.
3. He could have been a man of fame, wealth, and honor.
4. But Christ meant more to him than all that the world could offer.
5. Paul was loyal to his Lord and Savior!
B. Jesus was an even greater example.
1. He was loyal to His heavenly Father.
2. He said, "...Lo I come to do thy will, O God..." cf Heb. 10:9
3. Great temptations came upon Him, but nothing could turn Him aside from the purpose of His life.
4. He was loyal from the cradle to the grave.
5. We must follow His example and be loyal to our heavenly Father.
6. Loyalty to God means loyalty to His mission for our lives.
II. Loyalty is Needed.
A. To our country.
1. We may not like the way our country is being run.
2. We may get frustrated at the national debt and the continued wasteful spending practices.
3. We may not like to pay the higher taxes and many other things about our country, but it is OUR country!
4. I have been to a number of different countries around the world, but I have never found one that I would rather live in!
5. As a Christian, we need to be loyal to our country!
B. To our homes.
1. The breakdown of society can be traced to the breakdown of the home.
2. The breakdown of the home can be traced to the failure of the local church.
3. The home is where we learn how to function in society.
4. It is where we learn discipline and responsibility.
5. We need to be loyal to teach the great principles and truths of the Word of God to our children and prepare them to live a life for God's glory!
C. To the Local Church.
1. Millions of people across the country have their names on a church roll somewhere, but they have not allowed the church to be the center of their lives.
2. Example of the man who complained about the times of services of the church, they interfered with his activities on Sunday afternoon!
3. Jesus Christ established the local church and was willing to die for it. "...Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it..." cf Ep. 5:25b
4. Too many Christians allow themselves to be over committed to the things of this world and are not loyal to their local church.
5. Our own church has its share of "used to be's" ... they used to be faithful to the services...they used to be involved in ministry...they used to be supporting the work here and around the world, but now they don't!
III. Loyalty is Rewarded.
A. The reward of greater usefulness.
1. When a person is loyal in their business they are promoted to greater positions of usefulness.
2. They have proven themselves in one area and are given another area of responsibility.
3. Jesus said, "...Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things..." cf Mt. 25:23
4. The message to Smyrna was "...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Re.2:10
5. God will reward our loyalty!
B. There is the reward of the Master's approval.
1. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
2. Paul was looking forward to meeting Christ and hearing those words.
3. Note: 2Timothy 4:6-7
4. Jesus finished His course and was ready to go to the Father.
5. It is wonderful to receive awards and recognition here on earth, but nothing will compare to what God has in store for those who have faithfully served Him.
Does your life bear the mark of loyalty? If you are a Christian, it should! We should be loyal to our country, our family, our church, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In New York City there is a bronze statue of a man whose arms are bound and his feet are tied.
At the base of the statue reads this inscription: "I regret that I have but one life to give to my country". That man is the great patriot Nathan Hale. May that be our only regret when we face death...that we had but one life to live for Christ!