Col. 4:14 “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.”
Philemon 23-24 “There salute the Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Mark , Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers.”
2 Timothy 4:9-10 “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;….”
It matters a great deal Who or what we love.
Demas is an example of this.
He was found in the writings of Paul as a fellow-laborer. If Paul had taken him with him, then surely he would have seemed faithful.
Yet, when Paul was arrested the second time, Demas forsook him, having loved “this present world”.
(Paul was arrested two times. Once in Jerusalem, and sent before the Roman governor, where he appealed unto Caesar.
He was tried and released for a while, traveling west. Then arrested again when he came back through Rome.)
Whether Demas was from a wealthy family, or from the poor section of people, it does not say. He was apparently saved, and joined Paul’s ministry.
He is always mentioned with Luke, so perhaps he was a colleague, or student of his.
2 Timothy 3:1, 10-12 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
Yea, and all that shall live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
But at a certain time, Demas looked around and saw the way things were going for Christians, and decided that he did not love Christ Jesus enough to suffer and die as a testimony for Him.
He was going to leave Paul, and head out. He would go back to the world. He loved it more than Christ.
What does it mean, “this present world”? Simply, Demas wanted his blessings here. There had probably been many wonderful things he had seen Paul do. Many coming to the Lord, and people being healed, lives changed. Wow!
But when it came to himself, and “gaining or losing” here, he did not love the Lord more than what he could get out of life now.
Matthew 16:24-26 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Luke 17:33 “Whosoever will seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”
This life is a short expanse of time. For it is just time. But the everlasting Kingdom and the rewards there, are for eternity.
Demas may be rewarded with “ good things “ now.
But Paul will have his better things forever.
2 Timothy 4:16-17 “At my first answer no man stood with me, and all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Not withstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”
Picture Paul: alone, standing before Caesar and a crowd of people, who were always around him. Onlookers, or favor seekers; standing and hearing this Paul preach about Jesus Christ, his Lord.
No man stood with him before Caesar.
It mattered who you had to stand with you. If it was a man of influence, then Ceasar might take into account that he might need that man’s influence sometime, and so be lenient on Paul.
But no man did.
Yet Paul did not want any to be charged before God with this sin. He forgave them, and prayed that God would forgive them.
But God stood with him.
2 Timothy 4:18 “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
I must admit, ridicule, slander, and persecution are not things I want to have happen to me, either. But I love my Lord Jesus Christ.
I want the Lord Jesus Christ to stand with me; therefore I must stand with Him, even in the perilous times.
It matters, Who or what we love, for that effects every decision we make.