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Faithful (and Not-So-Faithful) Friends (2 Timothy 4:9-13)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 30 December 2012 00:00

Two of the people Paul mentions in this passage serve as both a warning (Demas) and an encouragement (Mark) to us today.

Paul’s previous mentions of Demas in his epistles had been positive:
Colossians 4:14 Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.
Philemon 24 23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers.

We don’t know exactly what prompted Demas to leave Paul. In any case, it is safe to say that his motives were not spiritual ones. Demas’ life is a flashing warning light concerning the danger we all face of losing focus and loving the wrong things.

Imagine being with the apostle Paul as he is in prison facing execution and then abandoning him in spite of his pleas for you to stay. While it may seem hard to fathom someone doing something like that, a closer look at v. 10 reveals what happened to Demas:
for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world (literally, “the now age”), and has departed (literally, “traveled”) to Thessalonica.

Demas’ heart was wooed by what he could get for himself in the here and now, so he hit the road! The explanation for his failure is that he lost focus on the eternal realities and became enamored with what could be his in “the now age.” We see this in the phrase, having loved this present world (literally, “loving this now age”). This calls to mind the apostle John’s words:
1 John 2:15-17 reads: 15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. 17And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. (4:11b)
Paul now considers Mark, the author of the second Gospel, useful to him for ministry. This is the same John Mark, who had failed in a ministry opportunity during the first missionary journey (Acts 13:13; 15:36-41). This led to a parting of the ways between Paul and Barnabas. It should be encouraging to all of us who have failed the Lord that just as Mark went from being a “wash out” to becoming “useful” to Paul for ministry in service to the Lord Jesus, so also may we! This is the same young man who penned the Gospel of Mark! And we also learn something about the Apostle Paul. He was not holding any grudge and recognized that Mark is now useful (euchrestos – 2173 = well + employed or useful, profitable, meet for use). This word was used in 2 Timothy 2:21:Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

The other use of this word is found in Philemon 11 where Paul is writing to Philemon regarding his runaway slave Onesimus: 10I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11who once was unprofitable [a-chreston] (not useful) to you, but now is profitable [eu-chreston] to you and me.

It should be encouraging to us today that both Onesimus and John Mark were “damaged goods” and had blown it in life and made a mess of things, but now God is at work and has been at work in their lives such that they are now both useful to the Lord and to Paul, the Lord’s apostle.

If you have failed the Lord, don’t give up on yourself, because the Lord certainly has not given up on you! If you have failed the Lord, what do you need to do? You need to abide in His Word, reading and obeying His Word, and in so doing, you will become His disciple indeed (John 8:31)! “And you shall know the truth, and the truth (of God’s Word) will make you free.” (John 8:32)





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