Philemon 1:23-24 Don’t Go Easy

Philemon 1:23-24 (KJV)
There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;
Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.

At the time Paul wrote this letter, Demas was still with him. This is significant because this is while Paul was in the Roman prison. So, I think it is safe to say that, at this point, the fate of Paul had not been determined. 

  • He wrote of Philemon’s preparing him a lodging. 
  • He trusted that the prayers of the believers might lead to his release.

But at some point, the situation changed. By the time Paul wrote Second Timothy, he knew that “the time of his departure [was] at hand.”[1]

It was in this context that Paul wrote 2 Timothy 4:10 (KJV)
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; …

This context puts a new light on what Demas loved. It was his life. Paul was about to be executed for his faith. Demas forsook him, almost certainly, so as not to be next on the chopping block.

This also sheds light on the expectations of the Apostle. I think of his reaction to Mark when he left Paul and Barnabas. Paul was nearly unforgiving of a man who would quit under pressure. Though that was eventually resolved, Paul’s attitude toward those who left him in tough times did not change.

It seems to me that one lesson would be that, while we ought to always leave room for restoration, we should not go easy on those backing down from Christ.


[1] 2 Timothy 4:6 (KJV)
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

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Philemon 1:23-24 Don’t Go Easy

Author: marvinmck

Marvin McKenzie was born in the Pacific Northwest and became a Christian at the age of eighteen. He has been in the Baptist ministry for thirty years and has planted and pastored churches in Washington and Oregon. Besides his pastoral ministry, Marvin has been actively involved in training men for the Baptist ministry. He has conducted local church Bible Institutes in those churches he has pastored, from which a number of men have entered the ministry. Marvin also served as: Vice President of the Western States Baptist Bible Fellowship, The Board of Directors of Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, CA, Dean of men at Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, Executive Vice President of Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, CA and Executive Vice President of Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City, OK. Marvin is married to Anita. They have two sons, Bohannan and Caleb. Both are Baptist pastors in Washington State. Marvin enjoys camping, fishing and horses.

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