Are You Up for It?
Updated: Mar 31
Knowing his days were now numbered, the Apostle Paul sent one last letter of encouragement and instruction to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith. Near the end of his letter we find these sad words: "Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica."
We find Demas mentioned in a couple of Paul's other letters. To the Christians in Colossae the Apostle wrote, "Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas." In his letter to Philemon he refers to Demas as one of his "fellow workers." What happened? The general consensus among scholars is that Demas' desire for ease and comfort, along with a fear of suffering, led to his abandonment of Paul in his hour of danger.
In the letters to the seven churches in the Revelation we see an all-too-familiar situation which the Christian church has faced since the time of the Apostles - threats from without and corruption from within. Over the past two-and-a-half centuries followers of Jesus in the United States have enjoyed the rare experience of full religious liberty with the ability to profess and practice our faith without having to worry about government hostility or interference. Our biggest problem to date has been internal corruption within churches, ministries, and religious institutions. Prosperity, along with our desire for ease and comfort, has proven more deadly to us than any adversity. This has brought no end of shame upon ourselves and hindered the progress of the Gospel in a lost and dying world. Now it seems we may soon face real dangers from an increasingly hostile society and heavy-handed government. Before long it may actually cost us more than we ever imagined to confess ourselves as followers of Jesus Christ. Are you up for it?
Our churches have countless names of persons on membership rolls who hardly ever (if ever) darken the door of a church building. When asked, they will confidently affirm that they have "accepted Jesus," but their lives demonstrate clearly that they live with a delusion of salvation. There simply is no real evidence that Christ is even present in their lives. They have no love for reading God's Word, spend no time in prayer (except when they get in trouble and need a bailout of some sort), and no interest in gathering with God's people for fellowship, worship, or ministry. They are on the road to damnation and are blissfully ignorant of the danger before them. When hardship comes upon the community of believers for their commitment to Christ these pseudo-Christians will fold like a cheap tent, saying to themselves, "I didn't sign up for this." Well, yes you did. The moment you confessed faith in Christ you signed up for this. As the hour approaches when that profession will be put to the test the reality or falseness of one's faith will be revealed for all the world to see.
There is a storm coming. How's your foundation?