3 Types of Believers and Jesus

Bible Book: 2 Timothy  4 : 9-18
Subject: Faithfulness; Christian Living; Church Life
Introduction

Kingdom citizens are those who are redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. All Christians are kingdom citizens and in this world are ambassadors for the Lord, for they are not of this world but are just passing through in service to Christ.

It is funny how we view people due to their place of birth or the inflections of their voices when talking. There is the story of an old country boy standing beside the road up in the mountains of North Carolina. He was wearing high-water pants and had a piece of straw hanging out of his mouth. A guy in a big Cadillac with Florida license plates saw him and thought he would have some fun. He said to his friends in the car, "Watch this." He pulled up beside the hokey looking country boy and ran down the power window, and then he said, "Hey, boy, is everybody up here in the mountains as stupid as you are?" The mountain guy spit out that piece of straw and said, "Yep, there are some up here way more stupid than I am, but they go back to Florida in the winter time!" Some people are not as stupid as you think they are.

There are many different types of Christians, and we all have different gifts. It is important to know that there are different types of kingdom citizens – different types of Christians. In fact, mixed in among the kingdom citizens there are some who are actually not citizens at all, but rather just act like ones or think they are ones. In other words, there are those who are tares growing among the wheat. If you are a true child of God, born again and saved, you are a kingdom citizen. Again, however, we must realize that there are different types of Christians and it is very important for us to recognize this fact. If you are not aware of the variation that occurs among Christians, we may become discouraged in our walk with God and be tempted to simply give up!

As Paul completes 2 Timothy, he tells us about the different kinds of Christians he dealt with in his own life. This is most interesting, and it ought to prompt us to have a desire to be a Christian that lifts up others through faith, devotion, commitment, and example.

Let’s look now at three types of believers and Jesus.

I. Some Will Forsake You

Look at 2 Timothy 4:9‑10: “Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica - Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.”

Here we have the Demas-type Christian, if indeed he may be called a true Christian. Demas deserted Paul when Paul needed a helper in the work of God. Why did Demas leave Paul? Was it because of demands from his family? Was it because Demas himself was sick? No, Demas left Paul because he loved this present world. He walked out on God's work simply because he found the world more attractive and pleasing.

There are many Christians who are lured away from faithfulness to God and to God’s people because of a love for this world. Demas had been a partner with Paul and had once been very faithful. We see this in Colossians 4:44, “Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.” In other words, there was a time when Demas was by Paul’s side, along with Dr. Luke, and they were working together doing the hard work of carrying the gospel to the ancient world. Something in this world, and we are not given the specifics, drew Demas away from Christ and the work he had pledged to do in helping Paul accomplish a critical mission.

Look at John said about this problem 1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” What is it that draws people away from the Lord? It is a lack of love for Christ. Love is the key to a full and faithful life of service to Christ.

In Matthew 24:12 we read that Jesus said, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” The world “lawlessness” speaks of a departure from truth and obedience. It means that something in this world, something that is anathema in the kingdom of God, draws the believer into the world. When sin arises, love declines – or we can say that when love for the Lord declines, sin arises.

Dear Christian friend, you must not be discouraged by the Demas-type person in the church. Don’t become discouraged when you see believers fall by the wayside. Paul did not give up or quit just because someone else did. He did not become discouraged and throw in the towel simply because some Demas was a deserter!

More than anything, don’t let it ever be said of you that you are a Demas – that you abandoned the Lord’s people and the Lord’s work! We must not be judged to be derelict in our duty to divinity! We must never forsake the one who was faithful to us on the cross at Calvary! Likewise, we must not discourage our fellow servants by departing from them in the time of service to the Lord.

Not only will some be unfaithful, but note another type of kingdom citizen…

II. Some Will Be Faithful

Look at 2 Timothy 4:11‑13: “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments.”

God blesses us as we serve Him with the Luke-type and the Timothy-type servants – those who are faithful with you in the work of God.

Thank God for the stick-to-it Christians who are dedicated through the thick and thin times in life! They are there when everything is going well, but they are also right by your side when it appears that everything nailed down is coming lose! Yes, the most faithful servants are often the minority, but they are always magnificent! They may not be many but they are much! They love you when you are unlovely and they serve even when the cost to do so is great. Such members of the body of Christ will uplift your spirit in a time of discouragement in your Christian life and service and that can make all the difference in the success of labor for the Lord.

Paul also wrote in this passage of Tychicus, whom he had sent to Ephesus. Just think of serving Paul by traveling across dangerous territories in order to carry a message or letter of encouragement or correction to God’s people. Thank God for people like Tychicus! He did not serve in the limelight, and his name would never have appeared at all in the scripture had Paul not included it several times, along with one mention of his name by Luke in the Book of Acts. Each time you see Tychicus, he is one who is preaching the message, carrying a message or helping out in some manner. How many servants does God have like Tychicus? Many are they who serve in ways unheralded, but God knows everything they do and their faithfulness will one day be greatly rewarded. Never become discouraged with what appears to be a small job or task in God’s work – there are no such tasks in the kingdom! What seems like a lowly job in God's work is actually as big as the God who gave it to you.

So some were faithful with Paul and faithful to God, but note also another type of person mention in our text today…

III. Some Will Fight You

Look at 2 Timothy 4:14‑15: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.”

Alexander, the metal worker (most likely from Ephesus), had somehow worked against Paul and the cause of Christ. This, too, you should expect while serving the Lord! Note how Paul handled it what must have been a difficult and disappointing experience in his service for the Lord. Paul did not fight back, for he knew that such behavior would only damage the cause of Christ. Paul left room for God to carry out revenge in His own way. Listen to what the Bible says in Romans 12:17-18 about getting even with others: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

We are told to “give place to wrath.” We must step out of the place of revenge, and when we do God will step in that place and take care of the issue in His own way.

Some fought Paul as he served God, and you can be sure that some will do that to you as well. Don’t be surprised by this! Disappointed? Sure! But, don’t let it cause you to stop your work or cause you to seek revenge – which can sidetrack you from God’s service.

There is one more mentioned in this verse that we certainly must not omit…

IV. There Is One Who Will Never Fail You

Read 2 Timothy 4:16-18: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. 17But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”

Here we find the real secret to the happy continuance of service for our Lord. We can be faithful to Christ and to His cause, if we will but pay attention to Paul’s word at this point in his letter to Timothy. Here is the Divine path to the faithful Christian life.

A. The Person of Christ (16‑17a)

We must realize the person of Christ in our lives of service. He is there to strengthen us and help us in every circumstance – all the way to the end. Many may leave us or disappoint us, but Jesus will never do either! He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is standing by in every circumstance. Did not David say something just like this? In Psalm 23 he reminded us that even in the valley of the shadow of death, Christ is with us. He ended that great Psalm by stating that “surely goodness and mercy shall follow all the days of my life…” Someone has rightly said that goodness follows us to help us do what is right in our service to the King. Mercy follows us to grant us forgiveness, for none of us remains totally faithful to Him. There is the person of Jesus with us all the way – so, let us go all the way in faithfulness to Him.

B. The Purpose of Christ (17b)

Paul knew his purpose and meant to fulfill it at all cost, and that is the way to victory in the Christian life. Know the will of God, forget the cost and be faithful to the end! You will be victorious if you will do this faithfully.

C. The Peace of Christ (18a)

How precious is the peace of Christ when we are serving Him! Paul had peace for the future, for Paul had confidence in God's love and care for him in every situation. Do not fret, but let God give you his peace – not the kind of peace the world is looking for, but the always present, sufficient, calming peace that He offers.

D. The Praise of Christ (18b)

Do everything to the praise and glory of Christ. Paul longed for God to get the glory in all that was accomplished! If the word we do for Him becomes about us, we will eventually be discouraged. We will fret and fume! We will allow the failure of others to defeat us. Sadly, we may even be like Demas and fall for the love of the world.

Conclusion

Note the "Amen" that closes our text. Yes, a sweet amen may be said over a faithful Christian life, one that is lived in the Person of Christ, the Purpose of Christ, the Peace of Christ, and to the Praise of Christ!

The blessed "amen" may be pronounced at the end of a life lived for Christ; a life that was not halted by the hatefulness of others; a life that was not slowed by the sloth of others; a life that was not stopped by the sin of others!