INTRO: Loyalty is a problematic subject. It is not problematic in that we do not believe in it. It is not problematic because we do not know what it means. It is problematic because so many demand our loyalty. Our lesson text acknowledges a very basic problem of competing loyalties. Nothing can be more frustrating than dealing with competing loyalties. From time to time even friendships become very complicated when loyalty is challenged by competition. Consider, then, the two masters.
I. WHAT GOD DESIRES?
A. Ex 20:3 Here is the basic fact of our relationship
1. Mt 4:10 the Lord renews this emphasis
2. continue in Ex 20:4,5 I ... am a jealous God ...
B. Josh 24:14,15 Is His desire always honored?
1. no, its not - indeed, the idea of mixed affections has been a reality among Gods people for many years
2. Joshua set a great example for all!
C. Col 3:1-3 Placement of affections?
1. the first concern of our lives must be spiritual
2. set - the mind must be settled on heavenly things
D. Mt 12:30 No room for other loyalties!
1. discipleship is made impossible with divided, competing loyalties
2. early in His ministry, then, Jesus defines discipleship as being one eyed where God is concerned
II. WHO MIGHT COMPETITORS BE?
A. First, note the word serve
1. it is the word of a slaves service
2. so, the question is one of ownership - if God owns us, everything must be in keeping with His will
3. but does He really own us?
B. Self may be a competitor
1. service to God is given until His will and selfs conflict
2. I believe this may be the real culprit!
3. Lk 9:23 my will must, in every compartment of life, yield to the will of Him Who owns me
C. Family may be a competitor
1. either pressure to abandon the Lord - or the devotion given to ones family
2. to some extent this may seem very natural
3. but Mt 10:35-37 and Mt 8:21,22 there will be times when affections will be challenged .. when Gods will must come first
D. Jobs, occupations may be competitors
1. no question, demands are great ... and needs of a family are great ... jobs are necessary (balance?)
2. but have our jobs become our idols?
3. Col 3:5 is covetousness the real problem?
E. Entertainment, recreation may be competitors
1. do either ever take precedence over worship, service?
2. to recreate in necessary - entertainment no an evil (depending on content) in itself ... yet, more and more this takes greater time/emphasis from our lives
3. 2 Tim 3:4,5 religious? yes - true commitment to God? no
F. Pursuit of material things (mammon) may be a competitor
1. I fear this is a respectable pursuit for Christians in a society of ease
2. we can do all of our faith things ... and be materialistic!
3. I recall Mt 19:16-22 ... religious? yes ... but when the great choice situation came, possessions were the obvious master
CLOSE: The verse of our text calls us to honest, truthful evaluation. The question is simple. Whose slave are you? Remember: you cannot serve two masters!
Cecil A. Hutson
01 December 2002
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)