Paul writes one of the saddest verses in Scripture: 'Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.' The runner has stumbled. The lights have gone out in the life of a believer.
Why? (1) Did he resent his minority status as a Christian? It's been said that there wasn't just one, but two Martin Luthers in church history. And they both received the same revelation of justification by faith as the way to salvation. But the first wrote it down and hid it in a monastery wall because he feared the authorities. The second nailed it to the door of Wittenberg All Saints Church and started the Reformation. Christ promised that our message would be a powerful one, but not always a popular one: 'Do not fear, little flock...' (Luke 12:32 NKJV) Wear your minority status as a badge of honour! (2) Was he cut down by the doctrinal sword? We have the message people need to hear, but don't always want to listen to. Even some Christians don't want to hear it. 'Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"...From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more' (John 6:60;66 NKJV). You say, 'But if we're too strict with people we'll lose them.' If we're legalistic we will, but if we're Scriptural, we'll build men and women of God, who shine like lights in a dark world.
Jesus said, 'You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:32 NKJV). Sometimes, before the truth sets people free, it puts them through the wringer! But we must preach it nonetheless.
Soulfood : Judg 12-15, Mk 9:1-13, Ps 97, Prov 13:9-10