Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Deserting Demas

Over the weekend, we were studying Paul's second letter to Timothy with Trevor Kane. Four great sessions on discipleship: living out and passing on our faith. One bit stands out, a worked out example of what Paul has been urging Timothy to do and avoid.

Throughout the letter, the call is for Timothy to keep going, to continue in godliness, continue in preaching and gospel, and continue in the word. The call is needed, because many are (and will) turn away from the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 is an illustration of what ungodliness looks like in the last days - that is, from Jesus' ascension until his return. Three loves are mentioned: 'people will be lovers of self, lovers of money ... Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.'

Paul is a positive example for Timothy, he is at the end of his life, he has run the race and fought the good fight. But negatively, Demas stands as someone to learn from and not copy. 'For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.' Demas was one of Paul's close companions, a fellow labourer in the gospel (Colossians 4:14, Philemon 24). He had started so well, made a show of being a fellow worker, but he has misplaced love. Love for the wrong things, for the world rather than for God, so he has abandoned the work of the gospel.

What a sad testimony, to be recorded in Scripture as a deserter. Demas the deserter stands as a warning for us all, a warning to keep loving God, to keep serving and preaching. Sadder still, to be found like that on the Day of the Lord.

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