“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica …“ 2 Timothy 4:10
We do not know if the infidelity of Demas was caused by cowardice or some personal interest --but we do know he loved this present world; Paul was waiting to be executed* and the persecution of Christians had already begun.
WE NEED TO EXAMINE OUR COMMITMENT TO GOD
We face the same circumstances and temptations that Demas faced. We have ENEMIES WITHIN THE CHURCH and we have ENEMIES OUTSIDE THE CHURCH.
ENEMIES WITHIN THE CHURCH
False teachers with their heresies of gnosticism and antinomianism turn many Christians from obeying The Commandments of God. We are at war. Traitors are in our camp. Don’t listen to their propaganda and become its victim. Here are some of their deceptions that will weaken us in our battle against sin:
“Gnostics alleged that by reason of the spiritual seed in them, and of their superior spiritual knowledge and communion with the light they were free to act as they chose and were not polluted thereby,” Lange Commentary
“The moral effects of this doctrine [gnosticism] were indeed deplorable. Sin existed only in the body while the soul was perfectly HOLY, hence all kinds of sin could be committed with impunity. The golden jewel in the dunghill was not defiled. Thus was it with the soul of the glutton, the drunkard, and the adulterer. [or the Sabbath breaker] None of these needed cleansing, for the spirit, the real personality, was SINLESS.” Daniel Steele 1901
One who holds that under the gospel dispensation the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation. Webster’s Dictionary
SIN IN THE CAMP
Another hindrance to our victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil are the “troublers in the camp.”. These people are presumptuous sinners like Achan and Ahab. (See Joshua 8:25, 1 Kings 18:18) Under the New Covenant these people are not stoned. We are told not to associate with them. Here are Paul’s instructions:
“I have written unto you not to keep company , if any man that us called a brother be a fornicator , or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat ,,,Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” 1 Cor 5:11-13
ENEMIES OUTSIDE THE CHURCH
A corrupt government was in power during the time of Paul and Demas. The Roman Empire was ruled by a tyrant who hated Christians and put them to death.
THE WORLD SYSTEM
Satan, the god of this world, tries to destroy the soul of a believer by using people, riches, and the cares of life to tempt him to disobey God’s law. The statement “Demas loved this present world has serious implications because the scriptures tell us when we become a friend of the world we become an enemy of God. We read:
“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. “ John 2:15
Those warnings of James and John were intended for all believers in Jesus Christ. Not one of us has spiritually grown to the place where we can let our guard down. The devil will draw us into sin with all that is in the world: “the lust of the flesh …the lust of the eyes …and the pride of life.” (1 John 2:16)
Our families are part of the world system that satan uses to tempt a believer to disobey God. We cannot, we dare not overlook the fact that ungodly family members are a dangerous threat to our souls --and sometimes our bodies! If you don’t believe this shocking statement , look at what happened to Adam and Abel and heed the words of Jesus:
“…A man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worth of me.” Mat 10:36-37
When a family member rejects us because of our faith and obedience to God, the rejection becomes a heavy cross to bear. It is our duty to carry this cross instead of compromising our integrity for the sake of maintaining a relationship. Jesus said:
“He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it,” Mat 10:39
When we are steadfast in our obedience, we shouldn’t be caught by surprise when the world hates us and rejects us; nor should we let satan drag us down with false accusations. (He would like to blame us for the problem.) Remember, the world hated Jesus too:
“ … The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you …” John 15:20
When we are persecuted for righteousness sake, it is time for us to start rejoicing because our reward will be great in the kingdom of heaven! The fires of persecution always work together for good because they purify the church. What could be more effective in separating the hypocrites from the righteous than the fires of a Nero? When torches are lit, the pretenders will all be gone. You can be sure that the torturous flames will only shine upon the face of a martyr. They will reveal to the world who really believes in Jesus.
We can have the power to remain faithful in any test if we just ask God.
‘They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Rev 12:11
In these perilous times we too may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:6
* 2 Timothy 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: