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Text Box: Loyalty Promotes Love



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(Revelation 13:10 NIV)  If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
(Matthew 23:23 NIV)  Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
(Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, good-ness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(3 John 1:3-4 NIV)  It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faith-fulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth.  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

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Our English word “faith” comes from the Latin fides, as developed through the Old French words fei and feid. In Middle English (1150-1475) “faith” replaced a word that eventually evolved into “belief.” “Faith” came to mean “loyalty to a person to whom one is bound by promise or duty.” Faith was fidelity (loyalty). “Belief” came to be distinguished from faith as an intellectual process having to do with the acceptance of a proposition. 
Holman Bible Dictionary
   In Ephesians 2:8 Paul said, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” This great truth, although widely accepted, is often misunderstood. In Hebrews 11:6 we read, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Again in Acts 16:31 Paul told the Philippian jailer to “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved...” These and numerous other scriptures clearly show the tremendous importance of faith. Without it there is no hope for a lost and dying world.   Faith can either be acceptable to God or useless, depending upon the state or condition in which it exists. 
   The Bible describes two different conditions in which faith may exist. One type of faith can and will lead to salvation, while the other will only bring a curse. They are ‘living faith’ and ‘dead faith’. The Bible draws a very clear contrast between a dead, useless faith that cannot save; and an active, working faith that is pleasing to God. There is not one single case in the entire Bible of a person ever being saved through dead faith. Paul made this fact doubly clear in Galatians 5:6 when he said that the faith which pleases God is “...faith expressing itself through love.” Every case of Bible conversion shows that people were saved only when their faith was coupled with the works of obedience to God's law. James said, “...show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” James 2:18
   We may believe in Christ and even claim to be a Christian, but unless we actively obey His teachings, our faith will be proven to be dead and shall be forever lost.
   Yes, it is by grace we are saved; but this grace, this gift of God, comes through faith. A faith, that is living and active; not one that is dead and useless.
Robert Carr, The Armor of God

In His Footsteps © 1998                                                   





Text Box: Loyalty Promotes Love






Loyalty (faithfulness) to Jesus requires a willingness to suffer persecution: Matthew 5:10-12.  Because of what should you be persecuted?  Should you avoid situations that could cause conflict because you want to do what is right?  Should you stop telling people about Jesus because you don’t want to offend anyone?  Read John 15:20, 21.  If you are really walking according to Jesus’ teachings, how will those who disagree with Jesus’ teachings treat you?  Read 2 Timothy 3:12, 13.  What is the litmus test for those who really are faithful?  What will happen to those who do not live according to Jesus’ teachings?  The name faithful should not be hastily used to describe anyone whose character and convictions have not been tested by suffering and persecution for righteousness’ sake.



Loyalty to Jesus requires absolute respect for Scripture: Matthew 5:19.  What will Jesus call you if you disregard even the least commandment of Scripture?   What should you do to be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Read Hebrews 2:1-3.  What must you pay careful attention to?  What is it that you have heard (Romans 10:17)?  Are these messages given by men, or God (2 Peter 1:20, 21: Zechariah 7:12)?  What happens if you ignore this message (Heb. 2:3)?  Read John 12:48.  What happens if you don’t accept Jesus’ words?  What will be your judge?  Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17.  What should you be convinced of?  What should you continue in?  What should be the source of the things we are convinced of?  Where does Scripture come from?  What is it useful for?  Can you be thoroughly equipped without frequent study and use of the Scriptures?  Can you really say you know Jesus without knowing His Words in Scripture? 



Loyalty to Jesus requires a willingness to sacrifice your most precious possessions on earth: Matthew 5:29-30.  According to this illustration, what kind of attitude should you have towards sin in your life?  Should you be willing to part with a part of your body?  How much more then, anything else that might cause you to sin?  Read Matthew 10:35-37; 19:29.  To whom should your loyalty be?  What if your loyalty causes you to loose your family?  What if you need to quit your job so that you can make it to the assembly (Hebrews 10:23-25)?  What if you need to lower your salary, or deny a more lucrative position for the sake of the Kingdom?  What is Jesus’ promise (Matthew 19:29)?  Do you believe Him?  The greater promise is eternal life!  Read Luke 9:23-26.  Should you forsake your dreams or plans if they do not include the Kingdom of God?  Should you forsake any ideology, philosophy or belief if it conflicts with Jesus’ Words in the Bible?  Revelation 2:10.  Are you going to suffer in the flesh if your loyalty is to Jesus only?  Are you going to regret it, or are you going to be faithful even unto death?  Faithfulness demands that you clearly decide Who you will serve: Matthew 6:24.  Who is your Master?  Read Matthew 12:30.  Who are you with?  Are you getting people to Jesus, or driving them away by your attitude and example?  Read Exodus 32:26; Joshua 24:15.  Brother, sister, friend: make a decision and stick with it!  Decide whom you will serve and don’t play!



Loyalty to Jesus demands that you be as narrow as the Lord and His way: Matthew 7:13-14.  Will people call you narrow-minded?  Will people call you close-minded, brainwashed, opinionated or dogmatic?  What are you to do (Proverbs 12:16)?  Read Deuteronomy 5:32, 33; Deuteronomy 28:13, 14; Proverbs 4:27.  Should you veer in any way from the path the Scriptures clearly teach?  Does the Lord command us for no particular reason?  Should we question a command from the Lord?  Should we try to improve upon a command from the Lord?  What will God make of us when we pay attention to His commands?  Read Ecclesiastes 7:18.  Are we to go the liberal way with God’s commands?  Are we to go the conservative way with God’s command?  Aren’t liberal and conservative human definitions?  Which way are we to go?  Remember where extremes come from?  See last week’s study, Balance Promotes Love, page 73-74, for further exploration of this theme.



Loyalty to Jesus requires identification of falsehood: Matthew 7:15, 16.  Are you to recognize and caution about false prophets?  Are you to hide and treat falsehood lightly?  How are you to identify false prophets?  Read Acts 20:29-31.  Are we to expect lies and compromise to slip into the congregation?  Why should we be on our guard?  Read Romans 16:17; Isaiah 53:1.  Will all people accept Jesus’ Words?  How should you proceed with those who don’t believe (Read 2 Timothy 4:2-3; 2 Timothy 2:25-26)? Read Titus 1:10, 11.  What should be done to people who are rebellious and deceiving?  What happens if they are not silenced?  Read Titus 3:10, 11.  What should you do with someone who is divisive?  What should you do with someone who continues to be divisive after you or a church leader has warned them more than twice?  Faithfulness requires complete respect for the authority of Jesus: Acts 19:14-20; Matthew 7:21-23.  Read Matthew 28:18-20.  Who has all authority?  What should we do because Jesus has all authority?  Faithfulness involves commitment of purpose and life to Christ and His word that excels every other loyalty you may have.


O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.1 Chronicles 29:18


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