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« Can I Get An Amen, Somebody? | Main | Taking Charge of the Change »

What Demas Didn’t Know About This Present World

2 Tim 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Paul surrounded himself with fellow laborers; people who shared his life in the gospel.  Demas was part of the team.  Imagine them rolling out a map and charting their directions.  Imagine breaking new ground for the gospel!   Hear the exciting talk of establishing churches and witnessing great miracles!  Taking the truth where people had never heard of the name of Jesus before.  No doubt, Demas was initially swept up into the visionary excitement that drove the Apostle Paul.

But Demas had an itch that he wanted to scratch. He saw the giddy laughter, the fine colonnaded homes with marble porticoes, heard the talk and the music…Fashion, style, pleasure, excitement.  Intellectual stimulation, career opportunities.  Wealth, fame, approval, acceptance.  Demas became so fascinated, so awestruck, so captivated by everything that was “out there” that he made a critical decision: Demas forsook Paul because he loved this present world.

You always gravitate towards whatever or whoever you love.  An irresistible pull, a subconscious or even unconscious draw, a mandated motion beckons you on.  You can chart the course of Isaac and Rebecca, or Jacob and Rachel and see the unmistakable pattern;  You can also plot the movements of Samson and Delilah or David and Bathsheba and you will see the same, familiar drama unfold.  Be careful what you love; you will go there and live…or die.  Be careful who you love; those are the arms that will embrace you…or crush you.  Be careful whose roses you accept. They will lay claim to your heart.

Demas had expectations of this present world.

  • Fulfillment: I’ll be the man I never was; 
  • Happiness: Everyone looks so happy, they’re having so much fun;
  • Security: They know who they are; they know what they want;
  • Love: I can see love written all over their faces.

Do you know why boys are scared to death of liking girls?  They are afraid of being rejected.  They know guys who got their hearts broken by letting themselves fall in love.  It really hurts to see someone you like looking at someone else.  All of us want someone to love us back. It matters if someone loves us.

When all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen;

Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
And round the world away!
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day.

When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among;
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young. -Charles Kingsley

What Demas didn’t know was this: That this present world wouldn’t love him back!

Hey, Satan! I gave you my virginity. Why are you rejecting me?  I threw away my morals, my reputation for you. You don’t even care.  I hurt my parents, my pastor and my friends for you. And now you laugh at me.  I sacrificed my dreams and goals for you. Why are you kicking me in the teeth?

This is how the world operates: First, you come in search of whatever turns you on…It’s that mirage…that elusive dream…that shadowy figure just ahead, out of reach…

My Mirage

Scattered lavishly across the road ahead,
It glistened. I know what I saw.
I don’t care that the water is radiated heat.
What is radiated heat, anyway?
Who cares about radia—-Who cares?

I know what I saw…
Reflections in the water…
Distant clouds, grey-blue mountains…
Hazy skies with red scribblings…
White silos and the thick uneven border of trees on the horizon,
Cool water.

I know what I…saw…What happened?
Now, it’s gone.
Strange. It was there, I promise. Really.
Oh! Up there, farther on.
I lost it, momentarily. Something made it move.
But, it’s still there…bigger and better than ever.
I just have to be patient. People will try
To talk me out of it, but they don’t know.

I see love up ahead. Unconditional acceptance.
I will never be any happier. My way, my say.
My choice, my body, my life. The real me.
Get out of my way.
I know where I’m going.

One day it will stop moving.
I will drink that water, one day.
I promise. I don’t care what you say.
I know what I saw.
Mirages are real…aren’t they?

Come on…I know you took a drink, but that’s not enough. You’ve got to do more.  I know you smoked one, but that’s not enough. There’s the rest of the pack.  I know you fooled around sexually a little, but you gotta do more…But the world never loves you back; it only asks for more and more and more.  Phony friends, fleeting moments of fun…The good times are really going to happen this weekend, next weekend…Always then, never now.  Always coming, never arriving.  Always promising, never fulfilling.  Always asking, never giving.

This is why your pastor, your youth leader, your Sunday School teacher keeps preaching at you. They know the nature of the beast.

Does God love you back? Not really.

Surprised? Jesus doesn’t love you back because he loved you first.  God always takes the initiative in love.  Rom 5:6-8  6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:18-19  18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  19 We love him, because he first loved us.

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