2Ti 4:16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!

2Ti 1:15-16 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. (16) May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains,

Loyalty. Sticking with through thick and thin. You have the thing is traditional marriage vows – “in sickness and in health.” And yet it is a very rare gem, as the Apostle Paul describes his experience above. There are a few like Onesiphorus, but most desert and jump ship when a cost must be paid.

2Sa 23:14-16 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. (15) And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” (16) Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the LORD

Loyalty stands with. It does not desert nor abandon. A loyal friend does what the Lord commands – bears one another’s burdens. Do you begin to see how rare this is – particularly in the place where it should be most easily found – the visible church. I do not doubt that most of you have been abandoned when it became “inconvenient” for friends to stick with you.

Think of Jonathan’s loyal love and friendship toward David:

1Sa 18:3-4 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. (4) And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.

Jonathan had a LOT to lose by being loyal to David when Saul, his father, was trying to kill David. And yet Jonathan stuck with his friend:

1Sa 19:1-2 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. (2) And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself.

Loyalty is an essential, defining quality of love. Where there is the love of Christ, there is loyalty to Christ. Where it is absent, love is absent. People who claim to know Christ, but who desert Christ’s people in adversity, will not be owned by Him. This is widely denied among professing Christians today. I remember hearing a man who used to be in our church argue that this fellow surely was still a Christian:

2Ti 4:10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

Demas blew it, this fellow said, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t still saved. WRONG! Demas chose the world over Christ. Why do professing Christians seem to want to defend his salvation? I can tell you why. Because they want to lower the bar and make it easier on themselves.

Central in virtually ALL the stories you have told me about how you were treated by family, friends, your pastor, your church is this thing, desertion. DIS-loyalty. Scripture reveals loyalty, or its lack, as a central litmus test of a person’s spiritual state. And so I say once again, if you want to know where a person or a church stands with Christ, look into how they respond to a victim of abuse. The truth is that the majority of them are of the same species as Demas. They love this present world.