Demas: A Lover of the World
If Philemon 24 had been the last thing ever written about Demas, then we would only know him as a fellow laborer with Paul. Paul complimented Demas and it would have been good if that had been the last mention of Demas. Sadly, it was not. Demas evidently changed over the years, but his changes were not for the better. Late in Paul's life the apostle had the following to say about Demas - "...Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world..." (II Tim. 4:10).

Demas forsook Paul, the cause, and Christ. He deserted Paul when the apostle needed him the most. Paul was at that time facing his last days on Earth imprisoned. Demas had once worked with him to help spread the gospel and to bring souls into the church, but now he had abandoned that noble purpose. He had given up on the Savior.

Some do not believe that it is possible for a Christian to fall from grace, but here is someone who did. Some may think that they will never fall; Demas might have thought the same way. Remember the inspired warning - "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (I Cor. 10:12).

Jesus once taught a parable about a man who started to build a tower, but was not able to finish it. Jesus said that such a man would be ridiculed for starting something and not being able to finish it (Luke 14:28-30). Jesus' point in that parable was to show the tragedy of starting to live a Christian life and then not finishing it. Jesus emphasized a similar point in His parable of the sower. He talked about some who "...hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away" (Luke 8:13). Sadly, Demas could be accurately described by either of these parables.

Demas threw away what he had in Christ. But why did he do it? What quenched his zeal? What weakened his faith? Why did he abandon the cause he had loved and worked for? The simple answer is that he "loved this present world." There is nothing that says that he became morally wicked. His worldliness may not have involved any of the vices we often think of as being wicked. We don't even know if he did anything overtly against the Lord. All we know is that his love for the world overcame his love for the Lord.

When a person tries to hold on to the world with one hand while holding on to the Lord with the other, there will be a tug-of-war, and usually the world wins. Jesus said - "No man can serve two masters..." (Matt. 6:24). A divided loyalty of this sort is neither feasible nor acceptable. Think about it--worldliness and spirituality are mutually exclusive. I John 2:15 - "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." James 4:4 - "...Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." It all boils down to this: we must either forsake the world because we love Christ or we must forsake Christ because we love the world. The bottom line is this: who or what do we love?

Tomorrow we will contemplate some other lessons that can be learned from Demas.