Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #264 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 2 Timothy 4 today and our focus is on The Love That Makes People Fall Away From Jesus + How To Stand Firm When Others Are Falling Away. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Sad story today. Are you familiar with Demas? Probably not a household name among Christians, but he was one of Paul’s faithful companions for a time. He gets a pretty robust THREE mentions in Scripture, which is the same number, I think, of the much more well known Joseph of Arimathea. We don’t know much about Demas, but we do know he was a named member of Paul’s apostle team:
Luke, the dearly loved physician, and Demas send you greetings. Colossians 4:14
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings, and so do 24 Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my coworkers. Philemon 23-24
So Demas was a COWORKER with Paul – mentioned twice in context with Luke, who wrote more of the New Testament than anybody else, even Paul.
Surely nothing bad would happen to a co-worker with Paul, right? Such a person would never fall away…except, he did. Demas basically abandons Paul, possibly abandoning the faith as well. What caused Demas to turn away – a major sin scandal? A terrible event in his life that he couldn’t explain? A severe attack of the devil? A particularly persuasive false teacher? None of those things. The trigger was something much more banal, at least on the surface, but quite possibly the most tempting trigger for those who would follow God. We read about it in vss. 9-10:
9 Make every effort to come to me soon, 10 because Demas has deserted me, since he loved this present world, and has gone to Thessalonica.2nd Timothy 4:9-10
It seems so innocuous, so innocent, but Demas fell away because he loved the things of the world. This is something that Jesus warns about in Mark 4, when he explains how various people respond to the good news of Jesus:
14 The sower sows the word.15 Some are like the word sown on the path. When they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them.16 And others are like seed sown on rocky ground. When they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy.17 But they have no root; they are short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately fall away.18 Others are like seed sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word,19 but the worries of this age, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.20 And those like seed sown on good ground hear the word, welcome it, and produce fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:14-20
So, four categories of people who hear God’s Word.The first are immediately distracted somehow turned away from the Word by a Satanic work of disruption and thievery – he takes away the word sown in them. The second group of people who hears God’s Word actually receive it WITH JOY – they are pumped and excited! But, at the first sign of distress or persecution, they are out – they have no interest in following God and immediately fall away. Why? Because they are in it for the benefits and the blessing. They aren’t particularly interested in following Jesus or the things of God – they just want the benefits.This is why the used-car salesman approach of so many Christian preachers over the last 200 years has produced so little fruit. If you try to reach people with a good news that only focuses on the blessings of Heaven and the joy of the Lord- a method that Jesus Himself nor any of the apostles used- then the converts to your ministry will fall away at the first sign of trouble, because they didn’t sign up for that. The third category is the one that Demas fell in. They hear the Word, but the work of the Word in their lives is choked out, says Jesus, by the worries of the world, the deceitful nature of wealth (it can be the root of all kinds of evil) and THE DESIRES FOR OTHER THINGS. This seems to be what got Demas. He heard the Word and received – believed it to whatever degree, but his love for the things of the world drew him away. This is not to be unexpected – the Bible is filled with warnings that many people will choose this broad road away from salvation, and few will choose the narrow road – the Jesus way – of salvation. What can we do in an environment where Demases abound- where many are turning away from Jesus because they love the world, or have desires for other things, or are afraid of persecution, or more concerned about the things of this age then the Kingdom of God? What can we do as faithful Christians when all around us we see the reality of 2nd Timothy 4:3
3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear.
Paul has an answer to this question for Timothy, and for us:
I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of his appearing and his kingdom: 2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and teaching. 2nd Timothy 4:1-2
We meet the demands of this age by proclaiming the Word of God and encouraging, correcting and rebuking WITH GREAT PATIENCE and the continual teaching and explanation of the Word of God. We cannot stem the tide of worldliness in and of ourselves, God’s Word is living and active and useful for all of the challenges of this age and any age.
Even in a time where many fall away, there is great hope for those who remain faithful:
17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that I might fully preach the word and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen. 2nd Timothy 4:17-18
Let’s read our passage.
Bible Memory verses for the month of September: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2nd Timothy 3:16-17
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