One of the principle New Testament verses on discipleship is Paul’s admonition to Timothy: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). The Greek word for faithful is ‘pistos’, which can be translated “trustworthy” or “loyal”. It is used to speak of loyalty to a person, a cause, or an official duty. Paul was looking for men like Timothy, whose character would be defined by loyalty - men who would defend the sacred deposit of truth committed to their trust (1 Timothy 6:20).
The Bible is full of stories of loyalty, and of the courage of those who stood by a friend, or a just cause, even when it was costly to do so. A loyal person doesn’t look for a convenient way out when duty or danger challenge their level of commitment. This is why it is a virtue worthy of praise. We all admire the loyalty of Jonathan, who dared to defend David when he was unjustly accused by Saul. What about Ruth? In reply to her mother-in-law’s request for her to return to homeland, Ruth said to Naomi: “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from. We can also speak of Zadok, who served as high priest when David reigned. He stood by David when Abasalom rebelled and pronounced himself King because he knew that God was with David. Later on, when Adonijah strove to succeed David on the throne, Zadok rejected his ambitions and anointed Solomon as the lawful successor to the throne (1 Kings 8:8 and verse 39). In the New Testament. there is Luke, who stood by Paul when others forsook him (2 Timothy 4:10-11), and Mary Magdalene, who never wavered in her devotion to Jesus: even the lifeless body of her master was dear to her.
Many other examples of loyalty could be cited; still, I would have to conclude that loyalty is an uncommon trait. Why? It is so because loyalty is what you do, not what you say. Peter told Jesus: “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” (Matthew 26:35). Jesus reminded him that before a cock would crow a second time, he would, in fact deny Jesus - not once, but three times (Mark 14:30). Let us not forget that it was a supposed friend who betrayed Jesus with a kiss for a mere 30 pieces of silver. “Treachery,” you say! Indeed it was, but the heart of man is molded in the likeness of Judas Iscariot. We naturally put our own cause first and not the cause of others. We seek to elevate our desires, rather than labor to promote the work of another whom God has called to a worthy task. It requires the work of God in our hearts to put others first, as we seek to follow Jesus (Philippians 2:4-5). He unselfishly drank that bitter cup His Father had ordained (Mark 14:36). But I ask you now, where would we be, if He not been loyal to the redemptive work He was given to do? We would all be bound for hell.
Brethren, I pray we will not be as other men and seek our own good. I pray that no opposition or evil incentive will deter us from being loyal men and women of God. May the Lord help us to examine our hearts. Are we loyal to His Word? Are we loyal to our husbands, wives, and children? Are we loyal to our friends? Are we loyal members of a biblically sound local church? I trust we are, and I know that God will richly reward such devotion. How thankful I am to all of you who are loyal friends, brothers, and sisters in Christ. “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).
Be strong and of good courage,