SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 2010-03-21: "Demas Has Rejected Me"

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Lucy’s Leaving

          “Don’t ever, ever talk to me again! I never want to see you or hear your voice! I never want you to come to our house! To me you are DEAD!” The phone slammed so hard my ears rang. For a moment I was stunned. “Lucy” was my choir director at my first church for 6 years. Two years earlier she mentioned that as her kids grew up she’d probably be resigning as choir director. I worked hard to recruit a talented new couple who could fill her position. She treated them coldly and poorly. She found fault with everything they did. I asked her to make some peace with them so that the transition from one leadership team to another could be accomplished smoothly.

          When they approached Lucy for reconciliation at my suggestion, she put them off until after her three-week vacation. I called her and asked her to reconsider and do the peace-making before she left. That’s when she “went off on me.” I never saw her face again after that terrible exchange. Once she was in the same room at a unity meeting of both churches and members in the township. She deliberately kept her face away from my wife and I. Her two boys, one six and the other eight greeted us, but she maintained her stony silence and ostracism.

I never knew how a wayward, shunned Amish person felt until that moment.

Rejection for Church Leaders

          Rejection is the most emotional pain that one person can inflict on another. Rejection denies the humanity and personhood of the individual being cut off. In church leadership it usually requires a great deal of hostility for a convert or church member to do this, but they can be very motivated when the heat is on and they blow up.

          I’ve always said that when people part company, they will leave either sad or mad. Mostly, those who leave our churches and our pastoral care will leave mad. The anger expressed this way is what I call, passive aggressive hostility. The person will remain outwardly cordial and passive, but inwardly they will be seething with anger until the “straw that breaks the camel’s back” occurs.

          My church board has always looked at me when these random events would occur as if to say, “What did you DO, preacher, to set them off like that?” Church boards enjoy shaming and blaming leadership for the church’s problems. People like Lucy displace their hostility from one place where they cannot express it to another, safer place where they can vent their frustrations more easily.

          Lucy had a high-stress marriage to a high-maintenance husband. She was raising her two sons alone. He worked seventy hour workweeks, probably to avoid being alone with Lucy and her hostility. I heard several years later that her marriage had failed. That didn’t surprise me. I sensed the marriage had failed before I ever met them.

          People like Lucy will bury themselves in church activities in an attempt to compensate for a failed marriage or some other personal problem. It’s sort of like, “Let’s make a deal” with God. They think if the troubled church member works hard for God, then God will reciprocate by working hard for them. The Kingdom of God doesn’t work that way. God never does anything for us that we are capable of doing for ourselves.

          This sermon explores from Paul’s point of view the hurt and personal pain that ministry rejection causes we who serve in God’s Kingdom.




Sheepfold Ministries, Pastor Phil Roland 

March 21, 2010



“Everyone who decides to follow Christ and attempts to disciple another believer will come to know the sting of abandonment, betrayal or rejection. Jesus knew the sting, Paul knew it and so will we." Pastor Phil Roland


BACKSLIDING = APOSTASY = A-POS-TEU-O = un-faith, un-belief, un-trust



            A. He is one of Paul’s trusted apostolic team members

               “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark,

                 Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers.” Philemon 23, 24

                                    1. Note that Demas’ name appears before Luke

                        2. Demas and Luke are mentioned as peers in Colossians 4:14

                            “Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.”

            B. They preached the Gospel, taught and ministered together

                        1. Traveled on Missionary journeys together

                        2. Shared meals and hardship together

            C. They were close friends

            D. Aren’t ministers supposed to keep their distance from people?

                        1. Told to especially keep emotional distance

                        2. Keep your confidences to yourself and God

                        3. Never show your vulnerability to your ministry people

            E. Can you hide your heart from those you love and serve?

                        1. Cannot escape pain from those you love

                        2. It always hurts to love: Ask Jesus

                                    a. Ask a Parent

                                    b. Ask any Mentor



“Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica” 2 Timothy 4:9,10

            A. Five years later (65-66 A.D.) Paul wrote bad news about Demas

                        1. Paul felt betrayed, stabbed in the back

                        2. Poured himself into Demas

                        3. Crescens and Titus left at the same time

                        4. Mass exodus of close followers

            B. Paul got himself arrested again on a missions project

                        1. Appealed to Rome, arrested, placed in chains

                        2. Being transported to Rome

                        3. Paul was to be tried before Caesar and possible executed

            C. The word Paul chooses for “forsaken” is a powerful one

                        1. Same word used by Jesus – Matt. 27:46; Mark. 15:34

                           “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice,                                         saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God,

                             why have You forsaken Me?"



                        2. Same word used by Paul in Hebrews 15:5,6

                             “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with

                               such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never

                               leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The LORD

                               is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

                                    a. Paul was in poor health

                                    b. Paul was advancing in years

                        3. Paul was hurt by desertion and rejection, so was Jesus

                                    a. Paul had Demas

                                    b. Jesus had Judas

                                    c. Who have you had that deserted and abandoned you?


     “And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them

      farewell who are at my house." But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his

     hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:61,62

            A. Possibilities are endless

                        1. Maybe Demas was fed up

                                    a. Arduous and dangerous missionary journeys

                                    b. Paul was imprisoned and released in Rome - Col. 4:14

                                    c. Paul goes Jerusalem and leaves on 4th missions trip

                                    d. Got arrested and hauled back to Rome for prison

                                    e. This time Paul gets a death sentence

                                    f. If Paul is executed, what about his associates?

                                    e. Rome at the time was not friendly to Christians

                        2. Demas wasn’t the only deserter – 2 Tim. 1:15

                            “This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me,                                among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.”

                        3. Probably because Demas was “in love”

                                    a. Can’t argue with a person in love

                                    b. Demas was in love with this world

                        4. It must have seemed austere to young Christian Demas

                                    a. In Ephesus they worshipped the many-breasted Diana

                                    b. Paul and his followers incited a mob

                                    c. Everyone was celebrating, eating and drinking

                                    d. Demas had to put up with Paul’s diet

                                    e. The food of an old man with stomach trouble

                                    f. Demas struggled w/a young man’s sexual desires

                                    g. Told by Paul to stay single

            B. Paul writes simply that Demas Loved this World

                        1. Better than handing out in a Roman dungeon

                        2. Better than waiting for Paul’s execution

                        3. Thessalonica must be better than THIS!

                        4. Tradition says he became the priest of a pagan temple

                        5. No Biblical reference for this





            A. Paul loved the world to come - 2 Timothy 4:6-8

               “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my

                departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the

                race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of

                righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on

                that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His

                appearing. Be diligent to come to me quickly”

                        1. Contrast Paul’s fidelity to the Kingdom

2. He knows what’s ahead

3. The world of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords

4. Paul loved Christ’s Kingdom and was ready to die for it           

            B. Demas loved the present world

                        1. Paul was ready for “departure,” his eternal flight plan

                        2. Demas was young and wanted to live out his life

                        3. His youth could have prevented him from joining Paul

                        4. The prospect of martyrdom wasn’t attractive to Demas

            C. What has motivated your betrayer?

                        1. Weakness of the flesh?

                        2. Sexual Lust?

                        3. Pride and Extreme Self-Control?

                        4. Weariness or Sickness?

                        5. Personality Conflicts?

            D. Everyone who follows Jesus will have a Soul’s Dark Night

                        1. The Sting of Abandonment, Betrayal and Rejection

                        2. Someone close to you who won’t understand you

                        3. Someone you’ve poured out your life to who rejects you



            A. Where is your Commitment: To Christ or to this World?

            B. What is your Focus: The World or Him?

    C.  World’s Mythological Siren Call - 1 John 2:15-17

                “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the

                  world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world; the

                  lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the

                  Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust

                  of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

            D. Our Future Rewards are “Out-of-this-World”

            E. Pain of Rejection and Abandonment is only Temporary

                        1. Turn your pain over to Jesus

                        2. He knows your Heart-Break

                        3. He feels your Pain

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30


2 Timothy 4:7-18

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

8  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

9  Be diligent to come to me quickly;

10  for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica; Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.

11  Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.

12  And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.

13  Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come; and the books, especially the parchments.

14  Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works.

15  You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.

16  At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.

17  But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

18  And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!