by James Merritt

The Biography of a Backslider
James Merritt
II Timothy 4:9-10


1. Biblical scholars tell us that these words were written from the Mamertine prison in Rome. You can still see it today. It is a sunken dungeon oozing with slime, dark, cold and damp. Paul is writing by the fading light of a setting sun wistfully looking out his cell toward the Mediterranean Sea. And in his mind he remembers a man named Demas.

2. He had never had a more promising associate. He was young, aggressive, and enthusiastic. He was on fire for God, burning with a radiant love for Jesus, perhaps in Paul's mind he was being groomed to take over the apostle Paul evangelistic association after Jesus called him home.

3. But something had gone awry. The tentacles of the world had slowly, imperceptibly, but firmly wrapped themselves around the heart of this young man. The fire had turned to ashes. Dreams had turned to disappointment. The only thing left to say about Demas was ''What might have been''. Demas had joined the ranks of the backsliders.

4. There are three chapters in the biography of any backslider. There were three stages that Demas went through to become a backslider, to fall away from God. If you were a backslider, or you know a backslider, or if you become a backslider (and some of you will unless you be on your guard) you have gone or will go through these three stages.

I. The Stage of Devotion

1. This sentence speaks not only of a present failure, but it hints at a past faithfulness. He once was with Paul but he had deserted Paul. Turn to Philemon 24 and let us go back about six or seven years to a different time in the life of this young man.

2. Paul describes Demas as one of his ''fellow laborers''. The word there literally means to work with or to work beside. There was a time when Paul and Demas were laborers together with God.

3. There was a time when Demas was sold out to God. If you study the book of acts you find out that Paul did no ...

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