************ Sermon on 2 Timothy 4:9-10 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on November 3, 2019
1 John 2:15-17
2 Timothy 4:9-10
"Demas Loved This World"
Let me remind you, congregation, that throughout his letters John gives us tests of the true Christian. How do you know if you are a Christian? True Christians believe the eternal Son of God took on flesh, they admit they are sinners who need to repent, they obey the commands of God, they love their brothers and sisters with the love of Christ, they want to grow in the faith, and they don't love the world.
I Demas Deserted Paul
A With this in mind I want to ask a question: Was Demas a true Christian? Did Demas know God and love Jesus?
What do we know about Demas? Paul ends his letter to the Colossians with greetings. Greetings from Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Epaphras, Luke, and Demas. Paul's letter to Philemon ends the same way:
(Phile 1:23-24) Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. (24) And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.Two times there are Christian greetings from Demas.
In 2 Timothy 4 Paul does a roll-call of faithful Christian men and women who came alongside him, who partnered with him in his ministry. Paul mentions Crescens, Titus, Luke, Mark, Tychicus, Carpus, Alexander, Priscilla and Aquila, the household of Onesiphorus, Erastus, Trophimus, Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers. At the top of the list is one name I have not yet mentioned: Demas.
Who was Demas? Demas was part of a select company of Christian workers: preachers of the Gospel, church planters, men and women of prayer. Furthermore, he was a coworker and friend of the Apostle Paul for many years. Wouldn't you love to be Demas -- a coworker and friend of Paul? Wouldn't it be thrilling to travel with Paul on his missionary journeys and hear him preach?
B Yet, what does Paul say about Demas in our text? "Demas ... has deserted me" (2 Tim 4:10). Deserted. A strong word. The Greek word means to forsake, to abandon, to leave someone. Understand that Demas has deserted not only Paul. He has also abandoned the church, the faith, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Demas is not the only person to have done this.
(2 Tim 1:15) You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.Asia Minor is where Paul ministered the most. There he started church after church. There he preached and taught and discipled new believers. He invested himself in so many people. Yet, he was all alone. How many left him? "Everyone," says Paul. How can it be that everyone there deserted him? We read almost the same thing again at the end of 2 Timothy.
(2 Tim 4:16) At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.The price Paul paid for being an apostle was so high.
Paul is towards the end of his life. He is cold and needs his cloak (2 Tim 4:13). He misses his scrolls, especially the parchments, as he writes and studies (2 Tim 4:13). People should be ministering to him. People should be surrounding him with comfort and love. Instead, he is being deserted. Isn't this sad? Paul was all alone. Mind you, men like Crescens, Titus, Tychicus, and Erastus are gone because of missionary work. Trophimus is out of the picture because he was sick. But what about all the others? Gone. Deserted. Abandoned. Forsaken. All alone. How heartbreaking for Paul. How disappointing.
Didn't Jesus Himself experience this when Judas betrayed Him? And, at His arrest, didn't the rest of the disciples also desert Him? In the Parable of the Sower, didn't Jesus warn His church this would also be her experience? Didn't Jesus say that some of the seed falls on rocky ground, but when the time of testing comes -- persecution, trouble, suffering, and tribulation -- they fall away? Didn't Jesus say that some of the seed falls among thorns, but life's worries, riches, and pleasures choke out the seed?
Every consistory meeting the elders end up talking about such people and praying about such people. I am talking about members who professed Christ, who said they agree with our Creeds & Confessions, who said they loved the Lord, who said they would submit to the elders, and yet they abandon the church, the faith, the Lord Jesus Christ. Sad. So sad to have members who are like Demas.
C "Demas ... has deserted me" (2 Tim 4:10). How could he do that? He lived and ministered with Paul. He was surrounded by the influence and witness of true Christian men like Timothy, Luke, Epaphras, Aristarchus, Mark, Onesimus. But he left. Why? Listen to the rest of verse 10: "Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me ..." Demas left, Demas deserted Paul, Demas abandoned the church, Demas abandoned the faith, Demas abandoned Jesus, "because he loved this world." Remember the words of our Bible reading? "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 Jn 2:15). That's Demas. That's the people our elders are working with.
Demas loved this world. Demas loved the world more than he loved Jesus. He loved what the world offered him. This is deadly to faith because you cannot love the world and know God.
Demas teaches us that you can be around the truth, you can profess the faith, you can associate with leaders and theologians of the church, you can even be a coworker of a man like Paul and not be a true Christian believer.
The Old Testament has a word to describe the behavior of someone like Demas. It is called adultery, spiritual adultery. It is what the book of Hosea is all about. Hosea was commanded to get a wife of adultery because that is how Israel behaved towards God -- she chased after other gods in the same way as an adulteress chases after other men. Anyone who is a friend of the world, has committed adultery against God.
D Demas loved the world so he deserted Paul. "And," says Paul, "has gone to Thessalonica." Why did he go there? Maybe that is where he grew up so he was going back to the life he used to live. Maybe friends were there. Maybe he heard about this city from some traveling merchant. We don't know specifically but we do know it was for some worldly reason.
Make no mistake about it: Thessalonica represents the world. It was a huge city for the Ancient World -- about 200,000 people. So Demas could get lost there, disappear without the elders being able to track him down. Everything in the world was there. All the world's philosophies were there. All the world's pleasures and goods were there. All that the world had to offer was there. That's where he went because he loved the world and showed he did not love God or know God.
Learn from Demas, congregation. Learn from Demas and "do not love the world or anything in the world" (1 Jn 2:15).
II Four Reasons Not to Love the World
A When we turn to our Bible reading from 1 John 2 we see at least four reasons why we are not to love the world, why we are not to be like Demas.
First, true Christians don't love the world because it is the opposite of God. Do you remember what "world" means? It is not the world of creation, the globe hanging in space. It is not humanity. It is not the world of medicine or the world of science or the world of computers or the world of politics. World means the system of evil under the control of Satan. World means the system of lies and deceptions and falsehoods that surrounds us in this life. World means all the ideologies and philosophies that rise up against God and Christ and the church and the Bible. World means the evil conduct promoted by Satan and flaunted by unbelievers. The world is that system of thought and belief and lifestyle that hates God and whatsoever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. The world hates the truth and hates the Gospel and hates Christ and hates the Bible. The world is the system of rebellion toward God, run by Satan, and set up on earth as the opposite to the Gospel. If we love God, we can't love this. If we love God, we can have no affection for this. Yet, this is what Demas loved. Demas loved the domain of Satan.
Think about the world's opinions, aims, pleasures, politics, honors, philosophies, tolerances, religions, and lifestyles. Christians, those who love God, can't love the world. We complain about the pollution of earth’s atmosphere; the atmosphere of the "world" is also polluted -- spiritually!
B Second, true Christians don't love the world because we know God. John writes,
(1 Jn 2:15) Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.Listen, also, to the warning given by James:
(James 4:4) You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.Those who know God don't love the world. Those who know God are friends of God and not of the world.
Do you love the world? Anyone who knows the Father does not love the world. Anyone who knows the Son does not love the world. Anyone who loves Father, Son, and Holy Spirit does not love the world. Anyone who has the Word of life at work in them does not love the world. Those who are in God's family, those who are God's children, don't love the world. However, if you don't know Jesus, if you don't believe in Jesus, then you are in the world, of the world, and under the ruler of the kingdom of the air. Then you love that system of thought and action that opposes Jesus.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am not saying Christians are perfect. As we examine ourselves this week we know we are anything but. We admit that because we are fallen, because we are sinners, we are attracted to the world.
C Third, we don't love the world because of what it does. It seduces, it entices, it beckons, it tempts, into sin. Listen to verse 16:
(1 Jn 2:16) For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.What does the world do? It is a bundle of temptation. So don't flirt with it. Don't chase after it, as Demas did. Because it is going to make you fall. Its treasures, its pleasures, its theories, its viewpoints, its morality, its judgments, its honors, its powers, its wealth, its wisdom, its education, all have one goal in mind: to make you fall, to make you like Demas. So you want nothing to do with it.
By the way, John mentions the three pathways the world uses to make you sin: the cravings of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The cravings of the flesh are the sinful desires you are born with, the result of original sin. The lust of the eyes is the covetousness that leads you to want something you cannot have and should not have. The pride of life is the boastful arrogance that makes you think you are the most important person in the world and everything revolves around you and submits to your wishes. Today, we call it the snowflake complex. The world wants us all to be snowflakes, each one different, each one special, each one selfish and self-centered and focused on ME.
D Fourth, we don't love the world because of where it is going. Look at verse 17:
(1 Jn 2:17) The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.The world is passing away but we are not. There are two destinations here. The world's system is doomed -- the world's destiny is death. The Christian's destiny is life -- the Christian lives forever.
The world is passing away. The present tense is most instructive. The world IS, not will be, the world IS passing away. It is in the process of disintegration. It isn't evolution, it is devolution. It is like the device at the start of Mission Impossible that self-destructs in 15 seconds. That is the reality faced by the world.
In fact, we can say the principle of death is already at work in the entire universe: planet earth, unbelieving humanity, and the system of Satan, all of it is in a death spiral. We know that when Jesus returns the heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed with fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Ungodly men are even now being kept for the day of judgment and destruction (2 Pet 3:7,10).
People talk about the "good old days." You know, they are right in talking this way. Because the world is passing away. But the Christian doesn't fear. Why not? Because the one who does the will of God lives forever.
What is the will of God? Simple: to believe in Jesus and repent of sin. That's the will of God. That's what we are called to do as we prepare for the Lord's Supper. When we do that, neither the destruction of the world nor the destruction of the universe are a threat to us. We aren't going where the system of Satan is going. Our end isn't death but life.
Demas loved the world and forsook Paul and Jesus. We don't love the world because it is the opposite of God, because we know God, because it entices into sin, and because it is doomed to destruction. Instead, we love God and the things of God.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
Back to Index of Sermons Page