If you asked for your "just desserts" you would get God’s judgment; ask for His grace and His mercy in Christ so that you can have His love and His blessed Holy Spirit.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright today? Oh, this is your friend, Dr. Cook and I’m back once again for a few moments of precious fellowship around the Word of God. We’re finishing up our study in Colossians. We’re in chapter 4. We’ve gotten down to verse 14 where Paul mentions two people. One of them is Luke, the beloved physician, a man who joined Paul’s party, presumably at Troas because at that point instead of “they,” he uses the personal pronoun “we”, and who was with him right straight through the end of his life. We find in 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul said, “Only Luke is with me.” Stayed right with him right straight through the end. What a wonderful friend. Are you that kind of a friend? Am I?
You know that’s a good question to ask, “What kind of friend am I?” We all have friends and we love them. You have very few real friends. You have many acquaintances but very few real friends. But oh, I think, an even more important consideration than what friends do I have is the question, “What kind of friend am I?” Something to think about sometime when you want to mull it over in your mind; a little inventory of your friendship traits might be very helpful.
Well, then, he goes on to mention Demas. “Demas greets you.” Demas is mentioned here. He’s mentioned in Philemon, as being one of those who is greeting the brethren, and he is mentioned in 2 Timothy as somebody who forsook. “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.” What about him? Have you ever thought about Demas? “Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers.” That’s the greetings in Philemon. And Demas is mentioned here as well in Colossians 4.
Now, you have to give him his due. Demas was there. He was on the job. He was on the job enough so that he was mentioned as a fellow laborer. And it means something to stay with an evangelistic effort such as Paul the apostle carried on, evangelism and Christian nurture, strengthening the believers and leading others to knowledge of Christ, oftentimes through stormy experiences of tribulation and persecution and all that. It means something to be with them, and to stick at it which he did over a period of time, you must say.
Let’s be thankful for the people who are on the job for the Lord. Have you ever thought about that? Have you ever thought about thanking the church organist for being on the job? I have just had a little procedure of my own through the years to watch to see who noticed what in God’s work. Now, when you’re listening to Billy Graham, everybody says, “Oh, what a great preacher;” or Cliff Barrows, “What a great partner and leader;” or Bev Shea “What a great voice;” or Ted Smith, “What a great musician.”
We acknowledge the fact that they’re around but you go to your own local church and if you are the church organist, let us say, can you remember a time when somebody came up to you and said, “I’m so glad you’re on the job. You do such a fine piece of work there at the organ and it was particularly good this morning.” Can you remember anybody saying that to you? Probably not. Have you ever thanked the head usher? I did that one time many years ago when I was at Midwest Bible Church, the dear brother pretty near fainted. It was so unusual that anybody would thank him. Most people complain.
Give consideration, would you? Now this isn’t in the text. I dragged it in, I admit it, but it’s fun. Give consideration, will you, to the people who are on the job for the Lord even though they may have their faults and even though like Demas, they may not really come all the way through. But they’re there and they’re serving and they’re honoring the Lord and you ought to pay some attention to them.
Do you want to to think about that? Notice people. Life is an awfully lonely business for so many folk because nobody ever notices them.
I was in a service not long ago. It was just a matter of weeks ago and it involved the communion service. At the close of my message, I went and sat down at the front row and communion was served to the entire congregation. And afterwards, I was greeting folk and was then preparing to leave the sanctuary, and there walked past me one of the deaconesses with an armload of communion trays which she was taking down to the church kitchen so that she could wash them. And just on impulse I stopped her and I said, “Dear sister, thanks for this job that you’re doing. This is one of the things for which nobody ever says ‘thank you.’” And she looked at me, and her eyes were filled with moisture and she says, “You know you’re so right.” And she went on.
Oh, hey, thank people for what they’re doing. They are on the job. They may have their faults ‘cause you and I don’t have any, right? I sometimes say when somebody is criticizing in my presence, I sometimes say slyly, “Well, I have no faults so I can speak freely of yours,” and that always breaks it up. Yes, of course, they have their faults just as you and I do but they’re on the job. Thank them. Good idea? Well, I threw that in free. Like I said, it isn’t in the text. I dragged it in but it was fun.
Now, Demas, he was there. He went through these various experiences that Paul had and he finally arrived at Rome with Paul. But now, he decided he’d had it. He was fed up with it and Paul’s analysis of his motivation, of Demas’ motivation, was he loved this present world. He loved this present world. What does that mean? “Having loved this present world, and is departed to Thessalonica.”
Well, now, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating the creation that God is giving you. Spring time here in the Pocono Mountains is a gorgeous time and I revel in just going outdoors and breathing the mountain air and looking at the different blossoms that are springing out of the different trees and shrubs and hearing the birds sing and watching the robin that has built her nest just outside our kitchen window — oh! It’s a beautiful world that God made.
But that isn’t what he’s talking about here. There’s nothing sinful in appreciating a sunset or the mountain peak or a robin’s nest or a rose. There’s nothing sinful in being thankful for the world that God has made. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handy work.” God did it; praise Him for it.
What Paul is talking about is what we call the world system, the world system, that is to say it’s what John talks about. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
What does he mean by world there? See, it’s the world’s system. The prince of this world is the name for Satan, you see? “Having loved the now age.” I’m looking at the Greek New Testament “agapÃªsas” the “nun aiÃ´na,” the now age.
See, it isn’t the physical world we’re talking about. It’s the age, the spirit of the age. What is that? Well, it’s the spirit of self, me first; it’s the spirit of independence “let me do my thing,” “don’t tell me what to do,” “don’t bring God into this.” It’s the spirit of the Garden of Eden, the temptation that was there, “You can better yourself by disobeying God,” “Leave God out and you’ll better yourself,” that’s what Satan said then and he’s still saying it in the godless humanism that is being taught in our schools today.
The spirit of the age, “You can do it,” “You don’t need God,” “You don’t need anybody else,” “A positive attitude and persistence will get you on top,” and “Go for it,” “You only go around once so go around with gusto,” all of that you know — the now age. “Enjoy yourself,” “It’s later than you think,” the sensate culture, “It feels so right so it must be okay,” see that’s the spirit of the age.
And Demas was caught up in that. And he saw deprivation and he fell to persecution and the hatred that people heaped upon Paul from time to time because he belonged to Jesus and he saw the ultimate end of this process as being the loss of Paul’s life and being identified with him as a fellow laborer was dangerous for him as well, for Demas as well, and so he said, “This is not for me. There’s more to it than this. I’m going to enjoy myself.”
Now, be careful beloved about the spirit of the age. “Everybody’s doing it, it must be okay,” “It feels so right, it must be okay,” “Me first, after that, you,” “It must be Alright for me to put myself first,” “Enjoy yourself,” “You deserve enjoying yourself.”
Nowhere does the Bible say you deserve anything but judgment in hell. Don’t live your life on the basis of what you think you have coming. If you asked for your just desserts you would get God’s judgment; ask for His grace and His mercy in Christ so that you can have His love and His blessed Holy Spirit.
The spirit of the age is, “Enjoy it, use it, use it up, go for it, land on top no matter who you have to step on, and leave God out because you can get along better without Him,” that’s the spirit of the age.
Demas fell for it. Beloved, don’t you fall for it. You need God. Your heart is empty until He fills it. Somebody listening to me has never made Jesus your Lord and Savior by faith. Oh, this very minute, bow your head and say, “Lord Jesus Christ, come into my heart and make me a child of God. Forgive my sins and may I be born anew by your grace.” Pray that prayer and open your heart to Him right now. He will come in. You’ll know the joy of living for Christ from here on out. Don’t fall for the devil’s ploy where he tells you, you can do better for yourself without God. Demas did.
And it cancelled out, didn’t it? All of the service that he had rendered before. It only takes one betrayal to cancel out everything you’ve done before. So let’s be faithful, you and I, and let’s have God as the very center of our life, whatever our profession, whatever our life’s work may be.
Dear Father, today, keep us faithful and may all that we do result in bringing people to Jesus, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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