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When One Falls Away

When One Falls Away

Words of Faith 12-12-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Colossians 4

[14] Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.

 

      Along with Luke, there was a fellow named Demas.  He was a companion and fellow worker of Paul during his first imprisonment in Rome.  Greetings were sent from him like all the others.  Things seemed fine.  He had a hope and a future in Christ.  But that is not what happened.

      Further study reveals that Demas fell away after this.  Later, in some of the very last words that Paul ever wrote, he called for Timothy to come quickly to him and reported that Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.  (2 Tim. 4:10). 

      These are simple words, but it must have pierced the heart of the Apostle to write them.  It appears that the love of the world later mastered Demas, and he deserted the apostle by the time of Paul's second imprisonment.  Paul had no earthly way of knowing this when he penned the greeting to the Colossians.     

       Now we know that falling away is not always the end of the world.  John Mark had earlier deserted Paul and the ministry but then later served in a different region and was eventually restored in fellowship to Paul.  The matter with Demas was quite different.  We know of no restoration, and while John Mark apparently deserted Paul because of homesickness or a failure to handle the rigors of travel, Demas deserted the apostle to embrace the world. 

       We don’t know the details or the depth of this sin, but the reference to loving the world could not have been a casual one.  John the Apostle wrote: Do not love the world or anything in the world (1 John 2:15).   The book of James declares: Friendship with the world is hatred toward God (James 4:4). The world competes for the love of Christians, and one cannot both love it and the Father at the same time.

       This was much more than a failure to complete a mission trip or make a jail visit.  Demas surrendered to the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15).  Jesus said: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you (John 15:18-19).  

      This loss must have been exceedingly difficult for Paul since Demas had labored alongside him for the cause of the Gospel.  This was not a matter of Demas “losing his salvation” but rather being lost from the cause and mission of Christ.  We have no report indicating that Demas was ever restored to fellowship or ministry.  There is no report that he was restored in relationship to Paul in the same way that John Mark was.

      The truth is that in ministry and life, there are people who will disappoint us, desert us,, and sometimes fall away to the temptation of the world.  The lure of the world is all around us!  We may kick ourselves when this happens for not seeing the signs. Still, the truth is that if the Apostle Paul could not prevent such a defection, given the power of His relationship with Jesus, we certainly cannot either. 

      This does not mean that we should not make efforts to restore those who fall away.  Paul wrote to the Galatians: If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted (6:1).  Part of the problem here was that Demas had run to Thessalonica, a center of worldly influence second only to Corinth in the region.  He was not nearby or available for a ministry of restoration.

       This also does not mean that we stop praying for one who has fallen away into the way of the world.  In fact, this may be our only recourse.  Such a friend should be at the top of our prayer lists.

        Do you have a friend or family member who once contended for the faith but has fallen away because they love the world and its ways?  It may have been the love of money or the temptation of a worldly lifestyle.  It may have been worldly thoughts or a godless worldview.  Don’t give up.  Pray for them today. 

 

        Father God, I lift to You in prayer those who have fallen away and succumbed to the lure of the world.  I pray for their renewal and restoration.  I pray for Your intervention into their lives in a way that would bring them home.  If there is a way that I can be used in a ministry of restoration, reveal that to me.  In Jesus’ Name.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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