William Barclay, the great Scottish commentator, suggests that there may be some reason to believe, however, that Demas later returned to fellowship with the Lord. He points out that the name Demas is a nickname for Demetrius, and that there are two Demetriuses mentioned in Scripture. One was the silversmith in Ephesus who led the riot, recorded in the eighteenth chapter of Acts, that threatened the apostle’s life. There is at least a slight suggestion that he may have been converted because of that encounter and became the Demas who accompanied Paul on some of his journeys. Paul refers to him in the letter to Philippians as, “my fellow laborer.” Now that his love has cooled, however, Demas has returned to Thessalonica, where he perhaps originally came from, turning away, at least, from a forthright Christian testimony.
But in the letters of John, who wrote somewhat later than Paul, another Demetrius is mentioned. This man seems to be a very responsible, dependable Christian. Barclay suggests that this, perhaps, is the whole story of Demas; that he began as a pagan and an idol worshipper, was converted, accompanied the apostle, then drifted back into the world for a while, but eventually God reached him again and turned him around, and he ended his life as a respected believer.
This highly speculative, however. There is very little evidence for that. As far as we know, this is the last picture we have of Demas. He stands for those heartbreaking cases who have begun well, who seem to hold forth much promise of faithfulness in Christ, but drift back again into the empty pleasures and commerce of the world, lose their Christian testimony, and nothing further is heard of them. This was a great heartbreak to the apostle; he writes these words with a tremendous sense of loss. (Taken from a sermon on II Timothy 4:9-22 by Ray Stedman)
William Tyndale, a year before he was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536 for giving us the Bible in English, wrote from his prison just north of Brussels, just like Paul:
I beg your lordship . . . that if I am to remain here through the winter, you will request the commissary to have the kindness to send me, from the goods of mine which he has . . . a warmer coat also, for this which I have is very thin; a piece of cloth too to patch my leggings. . . . But most of all I beg and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the commissary, that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study. (David Daniell, William Tyndale: A Biography, 374.)
Recently as I reflected on the Lord’s work in my life and in my family I was overwhelmed with what I saw! In 1968 there was no Gospel witness in my family. Little did I realize that the Lord was going to use me to bring the Gospel to the Meshaws. It may sound strange but that is exactly what happened. I have never really thought about it before… but through a newly saved teenager the Lord spoke! Now over 40 years later most of my family are professing Christians. As a sixteen year old, I could not see what the Lord was doing. I didn’t need to, because He knew exactly what He was doing. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was racing its’ way through my family. Looking back I am so thankful… the Lord was so gracious and merciful to me, my brothers and to my Mom and Dad! Is it possible that you might be where I was in 1968? If so, let the Lord use you. HE WILL SAVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY… TO HIM BE THE GLORY!!!
NFL NETWORK… Where does the NFL find “goofball” writers like this? Surely they can do better! Cheap critics!!! “Chip Kelly wants Tim Tebow the quarterback? Tim Tebow, the guy who can’t hit a guy on an uncovered crossing route? Tim Tebow, the guy with an arm as strong as my 16-month-old daughter? That’s who Chip Kelly wants? He doesn’t want Tim Tebow the tremendous athlete or Tim Tebow the decoy or Tim Tebow the possible ACL donor to Sam Bradford or Tim Tebow the guy with really long arms who can theoretically hold Kelly’s playcalling signs higher than anyone else? Nope, he wants Tim Tebow the QB.” National Football League… you can do better than this!!!
The Apostle Paul was on the last leg of life’s journey. What would he say and to whom would he say it? II Timothy answers both of these questions! In these final verses of his last letter, Paul quickly scans his life and comes up with these challenging words. “Preach” is his counsel for Timothy! “Preach” when things are good and when they are not good! Above all, “Preach the Word!” As Paul thought about drawing his last breath, Timothy came to mind. “Yes, that’s who I will send this my last words to, Timothy.” So Paul choose a pastor and a preacher as his last counselee.
One might think that Paul was in no position to give counsel to anyone, much less another preacher! After all, Paul’s in prison anticipating death… his usefulness exhausted! What could he possibly say that would carry any weight? But wait a minute! This Roman prison is God’s choice for Paul’s office for counsel. Paul has given everything to the Lord. Everything means his life! So with eternity on the horizon, Paul speaks. The Holy Spirit fills his heart and his words explode from the parchment filling Timothy’s heart with a desire to finish faithful! Yes, Timothy knew what it would cost. His preaching professor is his example. It will cost him his life. Paul is proof! To do what Paul has done and to do what Paul is requesting, will surely be Timothy’s ticket to glory! Timothy could walk away right now and live for himself. But he chooses to follow his mentor into the presence of his God! Ultimately, Timothy chooses to make a difference! Aren’t you glad that Paul did not just fade away in depression over his pending death? No, he does what God made him to do… take up his cross and die. Courageously he tells Timothy how to really live by dying, first to his Lord and secondly to himself. Sometime later Timothy found himself in the presence of his Lord and his God. And yes, he heard well done with an echo… first from His Lord and secondly, from his Brother Paul! Brothers and sisters let’s pursue this same path and the same life and hear the same words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
Maybe it’s time for a gut check of our own. Looking at our culture and church climate, are we in a position to hear and heed Paul’s counsel to Timothy? In the face of growing opposition and struggle will we “Preach the Word?” Will we be “Living Sacrifices” for Jesus’ sake? Will we “Finish Faithful?” Will we hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant?” By God’s grace may it be so for everyone who wears Paul and Timothy’s mantle… “Preach the Word” until Jesus comes! Amen!!!
What about the person without the Bible? What about those who have never heard of Jesus? Will they be held accountable for breaking God’s Law? Or Face God’s judgment? According to Scripture, “the work of the Law is written on their hearts.” And the Bible even gives multiple examples of God judging people and nations who have never heard God’s Law. Consider some of them… even before God gave Moses the Law at Mount Sinai God held men accountable for their wickedness against the work of the Law written on their consciences. 1) God flooded the whole earth and saved Noah’s family because “the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5). 2) The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were likewise annihilated for practices they knew were wrong (Genesis 19:7; Genesis 18:20-19:25). 3) And after the Exodus, God employed Israel to destroy the wicked Canaanites for their sin, just as He had indicated to Abraham 400 years earlier that He would give Israel the land after a period of slavery but they would have to wait “until the iniquity of the Amorite was complete” (Genesis 15:12-16).
“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 2:14-16)
Many will, no doubt, gnash their teeth at this aspect of Biblical revelation but it is plain and reminds us that when Christ returns, He comes not to bear sin, but to judge the world and bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Heb 9:27)
All the more reason to be vigilant in prayer for the lost and to send workers to every nation of the world to gather the harvest.
LIFE! God’s Word gives us His view of this earthly life! James for example asks in James 4:14 “What is your life?” Paul follows up on James’ words with a few of his own. Paul says in Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Recently I thought of my life in these terms (1952-?) What about you? Maybe it’s (1977-?) which represents the lifetime of my oldest son, Michael. The point? We only have one life. Just one! How we live this life makes all the difference for eternity! Some people sadly make their entire investment in this life… in this world! Life is much more than what we see right now or what we are experiencing right now! Jesus lived for maybe 33 years. Listen in as Jesus puts His life and ours in perspective, John 6:51 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Lord, help us all to live our lives to honor You! You are our LORD… LORD OF ALL!