Demas: A Fellow Laborer
Paul's letter to Philemon closes in the following manner - "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen" (Philemon 23-25).

Demas is only mentioned three times in the inspired text. Clearly, Paul commends Demas as he wrote to Philemon. Demas, along with several other men, was a co-laborer with Paul. It is unknown to what extent Demas and Paul worked together, but evidently they were close enough to warrant Paul mentioning Demas by name in the letter.

In Colossians 4:14, Demas' name is mentioned again - "Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you." Here Demas and Luke are listed as sending their greetings. Luke is referred to as "the beloved physician", but no terms of endearment are used by Paul regarding Demas. It is easy to speculate negatively regarding this fact, especially since Demas ultimately abandoned the faith (which we will consider tomorrow in II Tim. 4:10). In my opinion, the most reasonable statement to make regarding Demas based upon Colossians 4:14 is that he must have still been a valuable part of Paul's missionary team at that time. If he wasn't, why would Paul mention him?

In this lesson, let us focus on Demas in a positive light. Because he is described as a fellow laborer with the apostle Paul, we can know that he was a worker in the church. Thus, we can rightly assume that he worshiped with the saints, gave of his means, prayed, studied, lived a pure life, etc., because these are things that all Christians do. I can't imagine that Paul would've listed him as a fellow worker if his Christian life had not been genuine.

What kind of work did Demas do in the kingdom? Such cannot be answered specifically since the revealed word does not specify. However, the work of Paul and his fellow laborers in general focused on preaching the gospel, building up the cause of Christ, and strengthening the church. Perhaps Demas taught God's truths to the lost or read Scripture publicly. Maybe he conducted personal studies from house to house. Perhaps he led singing or worked behind the scenes to arrange places for Christians to meet. Maybe he was responsible for other physical matters such as finding a place for the group to lodge or taking care of their meals. Again, although we don't know exactly what Demas did as a co-laborer with Paul, it must have been important and appreciated by Paul, or the apostle surely would not have mentioned him in his writings.

Friends, we need to remember today that although abilities and responsibilities differ, everyone should be a worker for the Lord! We need to always be "abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that [our] labor is not in vain" (I Cor. 15:58). The trend of our modern day is for church members to feel that the church should serve them instead of them serving the church. Many seem to assume that the work is reserved for paid professionals. May it not be so with you! Yes, duties may differ, but there is work for everyone! We should all be laborers together with God (I Cor. 3:9).

Paul called Demas a fellow laborer in Philemon 24, but I'm sure there were some who Paul couldn't accurately call that. The same is true today. Think about it: some are laborers, and others are merely affiliated. Some are workers, and some are loafers. Some do things; others let them. Some are zealous; others are satisfied. Some are on fire for the Lord; others are lukewarm. Some are ready to go the second mile; others just want to do the minimum. Some want to do all they can to build up the church, but if it were left to others, the church would soon die. Demas began his Christian life as a worker. Are you a worker for the Lord?