2 Timothy 4:9-10
This October 3 will be my fiftieth anniversary in ministry. I have seen many people come and go. I have seen preachers leave the ministry for many different reasons. They left for more money, or they lacked people skills. I would expect that a few of them missed their calling.
I have seen deacons who were excited about serving God. They never missed a service. They were some of the best workers in the church. But today, they are nowhere to be found. Their backsliding may have been caused by a church decision they disagreed with, or because of their own carnality. I have seen some run for public office and when they didn't get elected, they blamed the church members for not voting for them. Sometimes they left for moral reasons.
J.C. Ryle said ''It is a miserable thing to be a backslider. Of all unhappy things that befall a man, I suppose backsliding is the worst. A stranded ship, a broken-winged eagle, a garden overrun by weeds, a harp without strings, and a church in ruins-all of these are sad sights, but a backslider is sadder still.''
Demas was a backslider. He is mentioned 3 times in the New Testament: Colossians 4:14, Philemon 1:24, and in our text. His name means ''Popular.'' Perhaps he was a people person and made friends easily. I am sure people enjoyed being around him. He was probably well-known and well respected by those in the church. He was not only popular as a Christian; he was popular as a backslider.
Paul was a prisoner in Rome. He never had a more promising associate. He was young, aggressive and enthusiastic. He was on fire for God. He may have been groomed to take over for Paul when Jesus called him home.
But something went awry. The tentacles of the world had slowly, unperceptively, but firmly wrapped themselves around the heart of this young man. The fire had turned to ashes.
I want us to look at three facts about backsliding.
THERE IS A TIME OF DEVOTION.
In Ph ...
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