Loving the Wrong World
November 23rd, 1958 @ 7:30 PM
LOVING THE WRONG WORLD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2 Timothy 4:10
11-23-58 7:30 p.m.
The title of the sermon tonight is Lovingthe Wrong World, and the text is in Second Timothy 4:10. Let us read together the fourth chapter of Timothy from the first through the eleventh verses: Second Timothy 4:1-11 – almost toward the end of your Bible. Second Timothy 4:1-11. We all have it? Now let‘s read it together. Second Timothy 4:1-11:
I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
Preach the Word!Be instant in season, out of season. Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.
Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me;
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica–Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee, for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
[2 Timothy 4:1-11]
And the text – Second Timothy 4:10: "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world" – Loving the Wrong World. That man Demas: his parents must have sensed in the birth of that beautiful child the gifted, talented son that he proved to be and gave him a Greek name meaning "popular,"demas.
And in the providence of God, because of his wonderful gifts – his endowments from heaven – he was associated with Paul in the very heart of this Christian work. For example, when Paul names those heroes of the Christian faith – the great preachers, and missionaries, and evangelists of the faithin Colossians 4:14 – he says, "Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you." There from his prison house, he is encouraged, supported by the devotion, the bravery of these two Greeks: "Luke the beloved physician and Demas salute you" [Colossians 4:14].
When I turn the page of the Book, I read in Paul’s letter to Philemon who lives in the city of Colossae: "There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow labourers" [Philemon 1:23-24]. In the heart of that association – Mark, Luke, Timothy, Aristarchus, Epaphras, Archippus, Tychicus – in the heart of that group stands this able and gifted and endowed son named Demas [Philemon 1:24], "popular."
Can you imagine, therefore, the shock and the surprise with which Timothy who with these men had jeopardized his life for the gospel – can you imagine the shock and the surprise when Timothy opens this last letter of the great apostle Paul and reads: "Demas" – Demas who has faced lions, who went through the Neronian persecution – "Demas hath forsaken me," and gives the reason why?
I can imagine Timothy, as he looked at it, turned to the little band of persecuted Christians who had known the man in strength, in power – a gifted son – and says, "Look, read for yourself. I can hardly believe it! ‘Demas, Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.’" And the reason why? It was not because he feared to face lions. It was not because of persecution, or hardship, or trial, or privation. Demas stood by the Apostle Paul as he wrote two prison epistles [Colossians, Philemon] and doubtless was a fellow prisoner by his side.
There are what the Orient calls "rice Christians." They’re there when it’s popular and advantageous to be there, but when persecution arises, they are gone. Not so Demas. In the face of the fire that broke under Nero, Demas is standing by the side of Paul facing peril and jeopardy and martyrdom. His defection was not due to personal fear for himself or what the outcome might be in any trial he might face, nor was his defection due to intellectual doubt.
Many, many of the great stalwarts of the Christian faith have laid down their mission, have closed their Bible, have forsaken their church because of the overwhelming flood of intellectual doubt. They come to the place where they cannot believe in the deity of Christ any longer. They cannot believe in the inspiration of the Book any longer. They cannot believe in the reality of heaven any longer. They turn aside from all of the great promises of God and face an ultimate despair. Intellectual doubt: one of the hounding things that stays in the shadow of every man who ever studies.
The most brilliant of all the young men who ever appeared at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky was named Crawford H. Toy [1836-1919]. He was an unusually gifted and brilliant Hebrew scholar. I have in my library some of his books. Crawford H. Toy, teaching at the seminary as a young man under the brilliant and gifted John A. Broadus [1827-1895] and James Petigru Boyce [1827-1888] and William H. Whitsitt [1841-1911] – Crawford H. Toy began to study German rationalistic criticism, and as the days passed, his faith eroded away. Finally the faculty, Dr. Broadus, Dr. Boyce, called him in for conference and dismissed him from the seminary.
When James Petigru Boyce and John A. Broadus accompanied the young man to the union station to put him on the train to send him away, Dr. Boyce, the president of the seminary, had a disease in his feet and he walked on crutches. And when the conductor said, "All aboard!" and Crawford H. Toy turned to board the train, the president, James Petigru Boyce, took out from under his left arm one of his crutches; and leaning on Crawford H. Toy, put his arm around him and raised his other hand to heaven and said, "Crawford, I would give this right hand if you were back as you were when we first knew you in the seminary."
He went to be professor of Hebrew in Harvard University; he went into the Unitarian Church; he finally came to the place where he never went to church at all. When Lottie Moon, the missionary in China who had fallen in love with the brilliant young professor, came back on a furlough from China, she came back to stay. She came back to marry that young professor, Crawford H. Toy. After she had visited with him and talked to him and saw how intellectual doubt had eroded his faith away, in great sorrow and grief, she turned her back upon marriage and upon the young man and went out to China to live the rest of her life as a single woman – a maid – and stayed there in China until she died.
Intellectual doubt has destroyed some of the great giants of the earth in the Christian faith and in the Christian church. But Demas did not [defect] because of intellectual impossible faith and belief. It doesn’t say that he gave up the faith or that he denied it or that he turned away from it, nor does it say that he forsook the Lord and the apostle because of moral debauchery and disintegration. That is possible in the lives of some of God’s most brilliant and able men.
There came to see me – when my study was back of this auditorium – there came to see me one of the finest, handsomest young men I ever looked upon. I had heard about him. He was a meteor in the sky. Dr. Dodd [M. E. Dodd, 1878-1952], who then was pastor at the First Church at Shreveport, Louisiana, had used that young man two or three times in revival meeting and was saying everywhere that he was the most gifted preacher of this generation. There was none like him. Dr. Powell [W. E. Powell], pastor of the First Baptist Church of Nashville, Tennessee, said, "I have never heard a young man with such moving eloquence in my life as this young man." And when he came by to see me, I was doubly glad to meet him. I talked to him about the day and the possibility when he could come to our beloved church here in Dallas and lead us in one of those great revival appeals by which he had blessed Shreveport, Louisiana and Nashville, Tennessee.
He came in the passing of a few years to our church. I did not know that he was here. After the service was over and I walked to the back, shaking hands with the people as they turned homeward, there came up to me a bum – a dirty, foul-smelling, filthy bum. He shook hands with me and said, "Do you know me? Do you remember me?"
I said, "No, I have never seen you before. I do not know you."
Then he said, "I am . . . " and called his name – that same young man.
The following week, I got a telephone call from Al Badger who runs the Golden Pheasant Cafe, and he said to me, "Pastor, I greatly dislike laying another burden upon you, but I have a bum who is a Baptist preacher whom I have been feeding for days out of my kitchen. And I just thought that some of you ought to see what you could do to help him."
I started. I did my best to befriend him. I called his singer in St. Louis, Missouri by telephone to find out where I could begin and what I could do. And he outlined for me the program, and I did it. And he was taken care of and soon died thereafter. What drunkenness and moral debauchery and disintegration can do to a gloriously gifted son of God!
"Demas hath forsaken me" [2 Timothy 4:10] but not because of persecution, not because of intellectual doubt, and not because of moral disintegration. But Paul says the reason why "Demas hath forsaken me": "Having loved this present world" [2 Timothy 4:10]. What the lions could not do, what persecution could not do, what intellectual assault could not do, what debauchery could not do, the glitter, and the call, and the pride, and the glory of the world did. The world took him. He became a slave of sense, and time, and things, and this present world.
It was offered to Jesus. You don’t have to be drunken, debauched. You don’t have to become infidel. You don’t have to bow before great trial and persecution to deny the faith. "Sir, I can see it. There is glitter in the world. There is glamour in the world. It is consummately organized and presented. It has an appeal. Lot’s wife leaving it – her heart was there, her interest was there. She could not keep from looking back upon it [Genesis 19:12-17, 25-26]. It was offered to Jesus – the kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof: "Just bow down and worship me" [Matthew 4:8-9]. He refused it [Matthew 4:10].
Demas took it "having loved this present world" [2 Timothy 4:10]. Like a roulette wheel, it promises a price; it promises a reward. There’s no denying of its interest and its appeal, but the end of it is as dark and as forlorn and as hopeless as is death and night and the grave itself. "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world" [2 Timothy 4:10].
Do you notice what Paul says? "Having loved this present world" [2 Timothy 4:10] – the things of this time and place. All of the people who try to draw a dividing line as between spiritual and unspiritual in things have never been able to achieve it. Things in themselves – the world in itself – is neither moral or amoral or immoral. It is just that: things. It is the love of things; it is the love of the world; it is the heart in it that takes you away from God. Things in themselves are nothing at all, nothing!
Look, it is easy for the man who is barefoot and walking to think that this man riding by in a Buick or a Chrysler is a worldly man. It’s easy for a fellow driving a secondhand, third rate automobile to feel that that fellow going by in a Rolls Royce is a worldly man. It is easy for the fellow who lives in a shack to believe that the man who lives in a mansion is a worldly man. Actually, it has nothing to do with it whatsoever. There are people who drive in big automobiles, who live in beautiful estates, who have every affluent gift that wealth can bring themwho look upon it as trash and stuff, whose hearts are given to God, who love Jesus. And there are those who live in shacks, who walk barefoot or ride in third rate automobiles, who are as worldly in their hearts as they can be. Worldliness can live under a sunbonnet just as well as it can under a crown.
"Having loved this present world" [2 Timothy 4:10]: it’s the love of things; it’s the love of time. It’s the love of this world that woos us and takes us away from God. Do you notice he says "this present world"? Then there is another one. "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world" [2 Timothy 4:10].
Then there must be another one; and in these two men, how they typify the one and the other. "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and returned to the capital city of Thessalonica" [from 2 Timothy 4:10]. His heart in this world, his life enmeshed in this world, living in its glory and its glamour and its appeal. How long I do not know, but however long it was, such a little whilethis present world. And Paul lived for the world that was to come, and he says:
The time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. –
I am now ready to be offered, but there is another world –
Henceforth, there is laid up for me in glory a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day, and not to me only but unto all them also that love His appearing.
[2 Timothy 4:6-8]
There’s another day; there’s another time; there’s another age; there’s another world. And Demas chose this one and perished in it. And Paul lifted up his eyes beyond the stone walls and the iron bars and saw the heavens roll back like a scroll [Revelation 6:14] and the glorious triumphant day when He shall come to be Lord and Savior of those who place their trust in Him [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].
Loving the wrong world – not that you’re drunken, not that you are debauched, not that you are infidel, not that you’re not one of courage and conviction – it’s just the world has made a bid for you, and you have chosen the now and forgotten the eternity. You’ve chosen the plaudits of men, and you’ve forgotten the favor of God. You’ve chosen this present world and have forgotten the world that is to come. Oh, oh, oh! And I see it all the time: they’re lost to us. Why? Not because they’re evil, not because they’re drunken, but they’re out there in the world and the world has them; and they’ve lost interest in God, and lost interest in Christ, and lost interest in us, having loved this present world.
Oh, oh, oh! Would God thou were in my mouth, my tongue – those eloquent words – would God there was in my hands that genius and power to bring them back. Oh, Demas! Demas, Demas, look! There is the apostle, and there is our Lord in heaven, and here are the great cloud of witnesses [Hebrews 12:1]. God help us to be true to the faith. God help us to finish the course. God help us to fight a good fight [2 Timothy 4:7].
In this appeal made in the name of our Savior tonight, somebody you, to give your heart to the Lord, would you come? In this great throng, in this balcony around, giving your life to Jesus – down these front stairwells or at the back, would you come? In the great throng of people on this lower floor, somebody you, into that aisle and down here to the front, would you come?
"Tonight, I give my heart in trust to Christ," or "Tonight, we’re putting our lives in the fellowship of this blessed church." Maybe somebody you drifted away and into the world. Would you come back tonight? "Here, God looking upon me, here I rededicate and re-consecrate my life to Jesus. I do it now."
As God should bid you, as the Lord shall say the word, as the Spirit shall lead the way, down one of these stairwells, into one of these aisles, and to the front: "Here I am, pastor, and here I come. God look upon it. I give my heart to Him. I dedicate my life to Him," or, "We’re putting our lives in the fellowship of this wonderful church." Would you make it now? Would you make it tonight, on the first note of the first stanza, while all of us stand and prayerfully sing this appeal?
THE WRONG WORLD
I. Demas – his life, work, devotion
was associated with Paul in the very heart of this Christian work
Named with Luke (Colossians 4:14)
Named with other of Paul’s fellow laborers(Philemon
II. His defection
and surprise of Timothy when he opened this last letter of Paul and read that
Demas had forsaken Paul
III. The reason we are told
fear of bodily harm, persecutions, hardships, trials, or privation
had stood by the side of Paul, facing peril, jeopardy and martyrdom
because of intellectual doubt
Crawford H. Toy
because of moral debauchery and disintegration
Young preacher who ended up a bum
it was love for the world
What lions, persecution, intellectual assault, and debauchery could not do, the
glitter, the call, the pride and glory of the world did
a. It has an appeal –
Lot’s wife couldn’t stop looking back
"This world" – no denying its interest and appeal, but the end is dark,
"Having loved" – loved the things of the world
draw dividing line between worldliness and spirituality on basis of things
It is not the things, but the love of the things that take you away from God
"This present world"
Evidently then there must be another one
Paul lived for the world that was to come(2
heartache of every pastor