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Friday, April 29, 2022

Pink heartbreaker redbud
Our Pink Heartbreaker Redbud is blooming!

"Whatever Happened To Demas?"

Message summary: Like Demas, we are all subject to the tug of this present world. Let us resolve by God's grace to resist sin and remain steadfast!

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“For Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me” (2 Timothy 4:10).

Yesterday we shared a message about Hallelujah Frank, a man from our Bible College years. We wondered how he had done in life and discovered through Facebook that he is remaining faithful to the Lord.

In my personal Bible study I often wonder about what happened to a particular Bible character, especially one who appeared briefly in the Scripture and then disappeared without any further information. We've written several messages with this theme but today let's consider, "Whatever Happened To Demas".

Demas is referenced in the Bible just three times:
  • In Colossians 4:14 he was with Paul and sends greetings, along with Luke. This indicates he was present with Paul. The very presence of others who share our faith can be a source of strength and encouragement.
  • In Philemon 1:24 he is listed with others as a "fellow worker". This indicates he was doing the Lord's work and was useful to Paul.
  • In 2 Timothy 4:10 he is most famously known for the last chronological reference, our daily text. “For Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me”.
When we receive news that one who has walked the Christian path with us has chucked their faith it stuns us. (Of course, a more Biblical term would be “abandoned, depart or fall away” (see 1 Timothy 4:1).

“For Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me” (2 Timothy 4:10). Demas had served alongside Paul and was called a “fellow worker” in an earlier letter. Now Paul is nearing the end of his life and writes what I believe to be among the saddest words in the Bible.

Certainly both the immediate and broader context leaves no room for an interpretation that he had merely departed for ministry elsewhere. We are plainly told, he “loved this present world". This would be the type of love for the world that John warned about in his first letter. "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever" (2:15).

This is the last reference to Demas in the Bible and we are left to wonder whatever happened to him. Did he get back on track like John Mark, who had deserted Paul at an earlier time and then bounced back making himself useful as expressed in the very next verse, "Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry" (v.11). Many questions won't be answered until we get to heaven.

But there is an interesting conjecture that has always intrigued me. The name, Demas, is a shortened version of Demetrius, (like Steve for Stephen). Some have wondered if the Demetrius mentioned later both in Scripture order and chronologically in 3 John 12 is the same person. If so, he went out with this description by John, "Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true".

If this was the case it would indicate that Demas had bounced back, was once again esteemed and useful in the eyes of another apostle in the early church, genuine through and through ("even by the truth itself").

Three senses of application and challenge today:

1) Do you identify with Demas? Have you deserted the faith for love of this present world? May you be filled with Holy Spirit conviction, repent and return to the ways of the Lord.

2) Do you have family, friends and others you know who have taken a course similar to Demas? Pray that they can turn back and walk in the paths of righteousness.

3) We are all subject to the tug of this present world. Let us determine by God's grace to resist sin and remain steadfast!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I am so very grateful that You are God of the second chance. We have received Your forgiveness time after time, allowing us to find firm footing once again after we have stumbled or fallen. Just as You instructed Peter to forgive his brothers seventy times seven You are the supreme example of One who forgives us anytime we genuinely repent of our sins and You restore us to proper relationship with You and the body of Christ. Help us to desire You and Your kingdom more than anything this world has to offer. Far more than wealth, fame, prestige or power, the greatest thing in my life is knowing You, loving You, and following after You. Help me to remain fervent in my spirit and faithful in my walk. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Have Decided To Follow Jesus"  Video 

No turning back, no turning back!

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"  Video   Sovereign Grace Music  This version has some powerful additional lyrics from the way we normally sing it.

"Do It Again"  Video  Elevation Worship  We dedicate this to all whose resolve is to stay faithful.

354 days of sober!
A good description of what we do both in our chaplaincy and through these Daily Encouragement messages is helping people get on the right track and helping them stay on the right track. This morning I spoke to man soon to have a milestone, a year of soberness and freedom in Christ! He showed me a photo of his baptism this last Easter Sunday. Next week I'm going to try to remember to take in a new pad of post-it notes!

We were especially blessed by a couple of comments on our message yesterday on Hallelujah Frank.

June writes:

What a marvelous testimony! Makes me think of that wonderful verse in I Peter 2:9--"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light".

My "Hallelujah Frank" was Harry Dionne. A true diamond in the rough. Once he found Jesus he never looked back. With only one leg, he would lay carpet in homes -- singing the old hymns with gusto as he worked. He's with Jesus now. I look forward to a reunion one day. What a day that will be!

Moses and Jackline are two thoughtful readers from Africa we often hear from:

Praise God! It is absolutely a great thing to know and love the Lord! And an immeasurable honour to serve the Lord Almighty in any capacity; witnessing, distributing gospel tracks, singing, helping the needy or any other way as Christ Jesus enables us to do!

We felt such much more joy to know Hallelujah Frank is still standing on the promises of Christ our King. His promises never fail. We may not know Hallelujah Frank but we stand for the same Cause; the Cause of Christ and to us this is more than any other form of relationship. May the Good Lord continue to uphold him in salvation because his testimony has encouraged us greatly.

Here in South Sudan where we minister, most youth are involved in crime gangs and drugs due to the after effect of the war that has torn the country apart. I believe there is power in expressing one's faith loudly and clear. Should we add it emits a roar that scatters the enemy satan and his aides, the demons. What a great overcomer's story! And an encouragement to many that share a background like Frank Hallelujah's! All Glory, power, honour and thanks giving be unto our God!

We in the recent past did share with a choir member of a church that we regularly visit and preach in when in Uganda. And every time we went to minister in this church she was there leading praise and worship. This young lady confided in me, she said things were not working out for her in spite of being in ministry for a very long time. And the Holy Spirit led me to share with her 1 Peter 5:10.  We hope she is still positioned in this prestigious role strong, firm and steadfast.

We love you!

Jackline & Moses

Demas, Diotrephes, Demetrius, Find Them in the Yellow Pages Video A sermon by the late, very colorful preacher J. Vernon McGee. His illustration certainly dates his message. Now it would be Find Them on Google or Facebook!

Finally: Do you have some loyal friends? You are blessed! I consider so many that I have had and still do. In fact quite a few are recipients of this daily perspective, including a friend from 1st grade and other friends from our first church going back nearly 45 years. 

But I have also been stung by disloyalty. Wow, does that hurt. Can you sense that in Paul's words in our daily text; people you had fellowship with, worked with and trusted. Paul knew this as well with Demas being one that deserted him in a time of great need.

A Final Photo:

Mollie looking at ring in tree
Late yesterday afternoon Brooksyne was tossing a ring to Mollie and it got hung up in the branches. If you look close enough you'll see it. Across the road this morning, machinery placed the rye cut earlier this week in to windrows and I expect the final step to be loading it into trucks this afternoon.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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