“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (1 John 2:19)
In the story of Esther, we have Mordecai who remained faithful and stood by her even when her life was in danger. Paul in writing to Timothy tells of a different story. (2Tim. 4:10)
There was a young man by the name of Demas who had at one time been one of Paul’s “fellow workers” in the gospel ministry along with Mark, Luke, and others (Philemon 1:24). During Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, Demas was also in Rome (Colossians 4:14).
We are not given the details, but something happened. Demas deserted Paul and abandoned the ministry. Paul wrote: “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica” (2 Timothy 4:10).
The Greek verb used in the original implies that Demas had not merely left Paul but had left him “in the lurch”; that is, Demas had abandoned Paul in a time of need. The apostle was in prison, facing a death sentence, and that’s when Demas chose to cut ties and run. Undoubtedly, Paul was deeply let down by Demas. It’s never easy to see a friend and associate in whom you’ve placed your trust forsake you during hardship.
The separation caused by Demas’ desertion of Paul was not merely physical but spiritual. Demas left Rome because he fell in love with the world. In other words, Demas chose the world rather than Jesus.
Demas like so many today was saying by his actions, I tried Jesus, but he was not for me.” Some might even say Demas was never born-again. First John 2:15 is clear about the spiritual state of those who love the world: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” Nowhere in the Bible do we read of the restoration of Demas.
The tragedy of Demas is still being lived out today by those who choose the temporary benefits of this world over the eternal riches of heaven. Today there are still those who seem to receive the Word but then “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22). Past service is no guarantee of future faithfulness; we must depend on the Lord, our Strength (Psalm 28:8). We must be born again (John 3:3); otherwise, we have no foundation of faith. It is that foundation that allows us to stand with fellow believers when they are facing adversity.