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Summary: A sermon on backsliding and its effect on Demas.

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A PROFILE OF A SPIRITUAL DEFECTOR

TEXT: 2 Timothy 4:10

2 Timothy 4:10 KJV For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; . . . .

I. INTRODUCTION -- ONE OF MINISTRY’S MOST DEVASTATING BURDENS

-One of the most devastating burdens about the ministry is watching the process of spiritual defection take place in the lives of people. Spiritual defection occurs when one abandons the Kingdom of God, its concepts, the Church, and the saints that have been a part of fellowship and friendship for them. It is a cycle that has been repeated over and over again and it will continue to be this way until the Rapture occurs.

A. On Backsliding

A. M. Hills (From Backsliders and Worldly Christians) -- It is doubtful if a moral fall is ever precipitous. People decline in religion and backslide gradually. Like descending a stairway, they go down step by step.

Herman Melville -- We warn you against little concessions, little acquiescence, little indulgences, little conformities. Each may only destroy the millionth part of the velocity; but this little destruction of a millionth has only to be perpetually repeated, and the planet’s march is arrested, and its luster is quenched. If vital religion be driven out of the soul, it will be as the Canaanites were to be driven before the Israelites, “by little and little.”

William Gurnall -- Many are soon engaged in holy duties, easily persuaded to take up a profession of religion—and as easily persuaded to lay it down: like the new moon which shines a little in the first part of the night, but is down before half the night be gone; lightsome professors in their youth, whose old age is wrapped up in thick darkness of sin and wickedness.

W. P. Lockhart -- In a petrifying spring articles are often placed under the dropping water, and as it trickles down upon them they are gradually hardened until they become like the very stone. So it is with sin. Gently and slowly it seeks its way into the heart, and hardens it day by day, even while the possessor of that heart may be more or less unconscious of the change that is going on. This is backsliding. Sin permitted, the heart gradually hardened, unbelief taking his place on the throne, and then, departure from the living God.

Thomas Watson -- The world eats the heart out of godliness, as the ivy eats the heart out of the oak. The world kills with her silver darts.

-There are numerous biblical examples of backsliders. Furthermore, in every church there are those that can be remembered who have now backslidden and departed the faith. In my personal life, I have had some very close friends who were one time greatly involved in the Kingdom of God and loved God with all of their heart but some little thing begin to grow in their heart until it totally separated them from God and the Church.

-Spiritual defectors will be part and parcel of any church that exists. Not only have I had peers that have spiritually defected, I have observed those who were literally stalwarts in the faith who decided that the love of the world held greater promise for them than did the permanence of the Kingdom of God.

B. The Spiritual Defectors That Paul Mentioned

-While Judas is one of the classic New Testament examples of backsliding, there is another example of a man who brings it even closer to home because of what Scripture has to say in defining him.

2 Timothy 4:10 KJV For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; . . . .

-Paul clearly stipulates here that Demas was one who was in a ministry partnership with him. Yet, when the pressure of spiritual life began to show itself, Demas defected to this present world because he loved the world.

-In this last chapter of 2 Timothy, Paul is frankly giving out the swan song of life. In fact, in 2 Timothy 4:6, he states that he is now ready to be offered. He is literally having reference to the fact that he is preparing his life to be poured out as a drink offering.

-The greatest calling should have gotten the greatest salute but it was not to be. There were no parades, no dinners in his honor, no accolades, and no great awards. In fact, there was nothing for Paul but a cold, dank, rat-infested cell that was full of filth and disease. Beyond that was the executioner’s blade that would sever his head from his body.

-All of this because Paul was involved in building a Kingdom that he could not see. This is the great dilemma of spiritual life and sometimes because we are building things that we cannot see, there is a prevailing and often overwhelming sense of discouragement and de-moralizing defeat.

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