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Summary: In our text, Paul tells of some people who were helpful in the ministry and some who were not. Let’s examine these people to see how we can helpful to the Lord’s work. 1- Demas deserted 2- Mark helped 3- Alexander harmed 4- Christ strengthened

INTRO.- Do you remember the beautiful gate story in Acts 3:1-10?

1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

6Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

This is a short story about helpfulness. It’s a story about helping someone out of their lame condition and bringing them to the state of praising God. And after all, isn’t this why we’re here? Is this why God put us here on earth? He wants to help people to come to the place of acknowledging God as God and praising Him in life! God wants us to help people out of their spiritual lameness so they will know Him and praise Him!

We’re here to help one another in our relationship to Christ and in our various ministries.

I saw them tearing a building down,

A gang of men in a busy town;

With a “ho-heave-ho” and a lusty yell,

They swung a beam and the side wall fell.

I asked the foreman. “Are these men skilled,

As the men you would hire if you had to build?”

He laughed and said, “No indeed;

Just common labor is all I need.

I can easily wreck in a day or two,

What builders have taken a year to do.”

Are you a part of the problem or a part of the solution? Are you on the construction crew or the destruction crew?

Everyone is either good for something or good for nothing. We need to be good for the cause of Christ.

PROP.- In our text, Paul tells of some people who were helpful in the ministry and some who were not. Let’s examine these people to see how we can helpful to the Lord’s work.

1- Demas deserted

2- Mark helped

3- Alexander harmed

4- Christ strengthened

I. DEMAS DESERTED

9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.

AWOL. What do these letters mean? Absence without leave, meaning absent without permission. I read that it can refer to either desertion or a temporary absence. And the way I see it is this: The Lord gives no one permission to be absent from His presence, His life, His table, His worship, or His ministry.

Demas was a deserter! Shame on him. And there are many deserters today when it comes to the Lord and His church, His army.

ILL.- I have a running friend who ran only one marathon on Sunday morning. It was Chicago, I believe. He’s a Christian and he said, “I’m never going to do that again.” Do you know why he said that? Because he didn’t want to miss the Lord’s Day worship!

Many people forsake the Lord’s day worship for all kinds of non-essential activities. You name it and people have done on Sunday morning instead of going to church.

Have we forgotten who created us, gives us life and breath and every good gift, and the promise of eternal life? WE OWE HIM! We owe Him worship and praise, both now and forevermore! We owe Him praise every day and on Sunday! But many have gone AWOL!

ILL.- In the United States, before the Civil War, deserters from the Army were flogged, while after 1861 tattoos or branding were also adopted. The maximum US penalty for desertion in wartime remains death, although this punishment was last applied to Eddie Slovik in 1945. No US serviceman has received more than 18 months imprisonment for desertion or missing movement during the Iraq war.

Fortunately, for deserters of the Lord’s army He doesn’t flog them or tatoo them or put them in prison. OR DOES HE?

Hebrews 12:5-6 “And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

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