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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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8/28/2004

The Little Guys, part I 

I've decided that the only way I can MAKE myself post fairly regularly is to give myself regular "features" that I need to get out. So here's another one. (The Mark Study will be here later tonight, TWiCH will be here on Sunday afternoon.)

I love looking at the lives of people who are barely mentioned in the Bible. I figure that if they were worth being mentioned in God's Word, they must have something to tell us. Some of them tell us something little. Some tell us something major. Things that SOME tell us are wildly misinterpreted. So I'm going to take a look at the lives of some of the "little guys (and gals)" in the Bible.

I'm going to start with Demas. Demas is mentioned three times in the New Testament:

Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
(Philemon 1:23-24 ESV)

Col 4:14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.

2Ti 4:10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

Demas starts out with Paul, and is present with Paul when he writes to Philemon from Rome during Paul's first imprisonment. He is also mentioned in the letter to the church at Colossi, which Paul also wrote during this first imprisonment. Just a few years later, Paul writes that Demas has forsaken him, having loved the world more.

What happened to Demas? The same thing that can happen to many of us. He started enjoying life too much, and was afraid to lose it. He saw Paul in jail again, and knew, as Paul did, that this time it would be different. Paul wasn't going to be released again. He was going to die.

Demas wanted to live. He may have even rationalized it by saying "I have so much more to do for God! There are so many people to win, so many places to go! I CAN'T die now!" Maybe he thought about his own self-importance. "If they kill Paul, who is going to spread the Gospel? I HAVE to stay alive, no matter what!" Maybe he was just afraid.

Whatever the reason, Demas didn't trust God. He didn't think that God would preserve the life of someone that was needed to fulfill His plan. He thought that God could be thwarted -- that His plan depended on something that He couldn't control.

We tend to think we're indispensible. "Boy, if I didn't do this, NOBODY would be doing it. At least, nobody that could do it as well as I can." If you have that attitude, start a blog. Then read other people's blogs. My blogroll is full of people who write better than I do, are better-informed than I am, are more involved than I am. Maybe even some that are better-looking than I am (but since I haven't put up a picture yet, most of you don't know. Matt, keep quiet). God's plan doesn't hinge on me. By His grace, and for His glory, I can be a part of His plan, but if I don't do the job, He'll find someone else to do it. His will WILL be done.

Demas was a part of what God was doing. He could have been a bigger part, but he loved his own life more than he loved the things of God. And now, for eternity, his name is associated with abandoning principles. When things got really tough for Paul, and he needed friends, Demas bailed, too concerned with his own life. The church is full of people just like Demas -- we need fewer.


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