Being Demas

July 7, 2007

Colossians 4:14, Philemon 24, II Timothy 4:10

Not much is known about Paul’s traveling companion Demas. He is only mentioned three times in the Bible, but from those verses we learn that Demas was a Christian. He was a traveling companion to Paul. And that he left the faith for the world.

Why did he leave? Why did he give himself to the world while his friend Paul, was sitting in prison, about to be executed? How could he just walk away after everything they had been through? Paul gives us an insight in II Timothy 4:10 when he says, “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world and has gone to Thessalonica.”

Demas loved the world. It takes a couple of things before we truly love something, doesn’t it? We don’t just wake up one day and love. First we look at it, then we linger on it, and then we love it.

Just like Demas, we sometimes look at and linger on things we shouldn’t. Magazines, websites, movies, people, even the daily news. Sometimes we spend more time with them than with Jesus. Even during worship services we find our minds wandering out into the world.

Sometimes we listen too much to people we shouldn’t. Maybe it’s those people we consider friends when we know very well that they aren’t. Maybe it’s the voice of Satan telling us that we’re not good enough. We’ll never measure up. Being a Christian is too hard. Maybe it tells us that Jesus isn’t real. Christianity is a crutch. There’s no such thing as eternal life. Maybe we look and linger too long on worldly things until we look up one day to realize that we aren’t where we’re suppose to be. We look up to realize that we’ve become Demas.

What did Demas look at and linger on? Was it his friends? His family? His need for earthly approval? Did he miss his job? Did he resent Paul’s faith and commitment? Whatever it was I’m positive that it wasn’t anything different than what we’ve dealt with from time to time. The world constantly beckons our attention. It bombards us with images to look at. It surrounds us with places to linger. It’s filled with moments that can weaken our faith. Moments which fill every space and every second of our lives accompanied by people we love who may not even realize what they are doing. We must never lose sight of the fact that we are in a battle for our souls. If we spend too much time with the enemy we, like Demas, are certain to lose.

Listen to Paul as he speaks to Timothy and to us for the last time in II Timothy 4 and hear the sadness in his voice as he speaks of Demas:

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers.
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

How many times have we been a Demas? How many times have we been courted by the world, allowed ourselves to be drifted away, given into our own lusts, only to find ourselves forsaking Christ and loving this present world?

Don’t want to be a Demas? Then spend your time looking through the Word of God and lingering on the words in red!

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