Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescen has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. – 2 Timothy 4:15
Are you willing to take the path of God? Life gives us many options, God gives us 2 options. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! (Deuteronomy 30:19) God is our creator, He knows how easily we get distracted by the ‘shiny one’, shiny things, shiny objects, shiny sin. God knows the #1 weapon formed against His children is confusion. This is why we have the Word of God, to help us REMEMBER God’s love, His promises, and what He has done in our past, and what He has done with, and through others. Reading the Bible, you will learn 2 truths; Life is not fair, and Life is Hard. We must put our BIG PERSON PANTS ON, and choose our PATH: 2 options; the road MOST traveled, or the road LEAST traveled. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14) Paul is telling us the PAIN and the AGONY of the NARROW PATH. As Jesus said, ‘very few find it’, this road is not crowded, and it can be lonely at times. Paul has a death sentence, and he is alone, he is lonely. Everybody left Paul, well not everybody, Luke is there. Consider that between Luke and Paul, they wrote about 52% of the New Testament. Paul wrote 13 books (Maybe Hebrews too), Luke only wrote 2, but they are much lengthier. So when counting words written: Luke wrote 27%, Paul 25, John 19, the rest- wrote the rest. Yet, no one was there with Paul, and Luke- writers of over half of the NEW TESTAMENT. God told us this WAY is HARD and LONELY. Are you willing to take this road to the Glory of God?
Leader, in Paul’s closing thoughts on life. He is acknowledging that he fought the GOOD FIGHT. Are you on that same path? Are you fighting the GOOD FIGHT? Or are you involved in the decay and deflection of the WIDE PATH folk? As Paul told us earlier in this epistle; “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him”. (2 Timothy 2:4) Do you ever feel alone in this busy world? Do you ever feel like you DON’T FIT IN? If not, please consider, you MIGHT BE on the wrong path! The time is now to course correct! We must remember; If the devil can’t make you BAD, he will make you BUSY! Are you running around busy with the world’s agenda, meeting the world’s schedule? Paul tells us that EVERYONE LEFT HIM! Do you know the loneliness of this narrow road? Paul lists out his ‘companions’, as he recounts his loneliness. There is much to be learned from this list. Notice, his list is only 6, not 16, not 60- but 6. The most famous evangelist of the NEW COVENANT, and he counted 6. What can we learn from those 6? Crescen has gone to Galatia, presumably on a mission, as is Titus to Dalmatia. Tychicus, you remember Tychius, He is mentioned 4 other times in the Bible; “Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts” (Colossians 4:7–8). Also, the phrase “fellow servant” is a title of honor, for it placed this godly man on a footing with Paul. Tychicus and Timothy were with Paul in Rome when Paul wrote the Epistle to the Colossians (1:1; 4:7). Which brings us to the last 2 on Paul’s “Friend” list; Demas and Mark, also known as John Mark. John Mark was a close companion of Peter, and it is believed that it is this close association with Peter that allowed him the knowledge to write the GOSPEL OF MARK- as if he had walked with Jesus as one of the disciples. These 2 individuals are the SHADOW of all others who come after. They show the 2 options every CREATURE OF GOD has, just like the NARROW and the WIDE path.
Conduit, we have 3 mentions of both these individuals throughout scriptures, that show their trajectory, their path as they walked their journey called life. Demas had at one time been one of Paul’s “fellow workers” in the gospel ministry along with Mark, Luke, and others (Philemon 1:24). 2nd time: During Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, Demas was also in Rome (Colossians 4:14). Then it is here, 2 Timothy that we now find out the culmination of Demas’ journey. Demas was with Paul during Paul’s second imprisonment in Rome, at least for a while. Then something happened. Demas forsook Paul, abandoned the ministry, and left town. The separation caused by Demas’ desertion of Paul was not merely spatial but spiritual. Demas left Rome because he fell in love with the world. In other words, Demas chose the corrupt value system of the unsaved world over what heaven values. As the NLT translates it, Demas “loves the things of this life”. Here we have a man in Demas, who started out on fire for God and His Purpose. However, the cares, and SHINY THINGS of this world got him off the RIGHT PATH, and onto the WORLD’S WAY. This is what Jesus was talking about in the Parable of the ‘Sower and the Seed’. Hear the WORD of the LORD: And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. (Mark 4:18-19) Now John Mark, went on a different course that led him to the NARROW PATH. Mark was a believer in the early church mentioned in the book of Acts. John Mark is first mentioned as the son of a woman named Mary (Acts 12:12), whose house was being used as a place for believers to gather and pray. Later, Mark is mentioned as a companion of Barnabas and Paul during their travels together (Acts 12:25). John Mark was also Barnabas’ cousin (Colossians 4:10). The 2nd mention of Mark was as a helper on Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey (Acts 13:5). However, he did not stay through the whole trip. John Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas in Pamphylia and left the work (Acts 15:38). Only one conversion is recorded in Cyprus, but there had been strong demonic opposition. It’s likely that the young John Mark was discouraged at the hardness of the way and decided to return to the comforts of home. 3rd mention: Paul and Barnabas had returned from their first journey, Paul expressed a desire to go back to the brothers in the cities they had previously visited to see how everyone was doing (Acts 15:36). Barnabas agreed, and suggested they take John Mark with them. Paul refused to have Mark on the trip, because he quit on him, last time. Paul and Barnabas had a “sharp disagreement” and separated from each other, going on separate journeys. Mark sails off to Cyprus with Barnabas. Years later, he is again with Paul, who calls him a “fellow worker” (Philemon 1:24). And even later, to the current passage and time, Paul sends a request to Timothy from a Roman prison: “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry” Paul recognized his progress and considered him a valuable companion. What about you? Which PATTERN, which PATH are you on? Are you moving closer to God and becoming more USEFUL? Or are you wrapped up in this world and you are now so focused on the TEMPORAL, that you are USELESS in the ETERNAL? The Time is NOW, for a course correction! IT IS WRITTEN: Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. Amen!