Sunday, October 9, 2011

The High Cost Of Backsliding

Temple Baptist Church - 10-9-2011

2 Timothy 4:6-13


A. 2 Timothy is generally accepted as the last of the Pauline Epistles because of both the date of the epistle and the content
, especially the wording of the last chapter (specifically the verses that we just read). In these verses, he mentions several of his co-laborers and fellow soldiers of the cross.

B. He mentions 3 in particular that I want to look at for a moment and then zero in on one of these.

1. We find one standing with the Apostle Paul: Luke, the beloved physician. What a faithful man! We have men like Luke in most of our churches and I thank God for them. You will never know what you mean to this pastor when you are faithful to the Lord and the church. I can depend upon you always being here with me and for me. I appreciate that! You are the “mainstays” of the church.

2. We find one coming back to the Apostle Paul: John Mark, who had previously quit the work. Many of God’s children, for one reason or the other quit serving the Lord for a time. Most of those who once served faithfully and quit, never do so again. Some get back on track and run the race once again. I thank God for those who come back! The harvest is truly plenteous and the laborers few.

3. We find one leaving the Apostle Paul: Demas. The only commentary given concerning his reason for leaving was that he “loved this present world.” 1 John 2:15 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

C. I am sure that Demas’ leaving distressed the man of God because, as a pastor, I am touched with the feeling of Paul’s infirmity. God’s men love all of God’s people: not only the faithful and the ones restored, but also those who get out of the will of the Lord. It distresses God’s men because”

1. Because Demas was Paul’s friend. Colossians 4:14 says, “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” Demas was called a fellowlabourer in another place. He worked and traveled with the great Apostle to the Gentiles.

2. Because the time was critical. In Paul’s Epistle to Timothy, young Timothy was exhorted to “preach the word” because of the worldliness of the church people who “heaped to themselves teachers having itching ears.”

3. Because of the need for laborers. As in Paul’s day, we are losing faithful people quicker than we are seeing them added. As one man said, “We are losing them out the back door as fast as we can bring them in the front door.”

D. There is no record of either what happened to Demas nor of his return to the Lord. I think that I would be scripturally safe to say that he left never to return. There is nothing said after his leaving but I will say that it was a great loss to Paul, a great loss to the church, a great loss to the lost, and it had a large “price tag” for Demas.

1. Demas may have loved life rather than death or persecution.

2. Demas may have loved pleasure and ease rather than hardship.

3. Demas may have loved the sinful life rather than the holy life.

4. Demas may have loved his freedom rather than “self-imprisonment.”

5. Demas may have loved wealth rather than suffering necessities.

E. I want to look for a few minutes at some things that Demas forsook.

1. Demas forsook his fellowship with the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (The peace and joy that comes only through walking with the Lord was forsaken. Backsliders are the unhappiest people in the world. If you can be backslidden and happy, you may need to “slide up” first.)

2. Demas forsook his family at church. 1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (Oh what joy; oh what delight, to be assembled with these special people. As old Brother Jim would have said, “I love you better than Butter Pecan Ice Cream!!)

3. Demas forsook his friendship with the man of God. 3 John 1:3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. (If you have a real pastor, you have a friend that will stick closer than a brother but, in order to have a friend, you must be a friend.)

4. Demas forsook the fruitfulness of his labor. Romans 10:14-15 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (The world will never know the love of Christ that we know unless we tell them. Demas would be without reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.)

5. Demas forsook the freshness of a holy life. 1 John 3:20-21 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. (A clear conscience still makes for a soft pillow! Walking at a guilty distance from the Lord causes sadness and unhappiness.)

6. Demas forsook the fortification of an almighty God. Psalms 62:7-8 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. (Safety is still of the Lord and the safest place in the world is found in the will of God for your life. I do not want Satan turned loose on me! 1 Corinthians 5:5 says, “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”)

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