What Kind of Servant are You?

Bible Book: 2 Timothy  4 : 9-22
Subject: Servants; Commitment

In the last chapter of Second Timothy, Paul gives some final instructions to Timothy. This young preacher is exhorted to be faithful in preaching the Word (vss. 1-4); to be serious about the ministry (v. 5a); and to fulfill the ministry to which God had called him (v. 5b).

In this morning’s text, Paul not only gives some general instructions, but also mentions a number of fellow laborers in the work of God. For the purpose of today’s message, I want to focus on three people mentioned in verses 10 & 11. Paul makes mention of a man named Demas, then Luke, the physician; and finally, John Mark. Each of these men is representative of a particular type of service to the Lord. As we examine these men, and the type of service they rendered to Christ, we need to come to some conclusions about our own Christian service. What kind of servants are we? Are we living a life committed to pleasing Christ, or are we living a life characterized by self-interest and preoccupation with the things of the world? The real answers to those questions are obtained by an honest desire and willingness for the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts, and show us what’s there.

The fact is that God knows what kind of servants we are. All our rationalizing won’t change what He knows to be true of us. Only as we willingly submit to His examination, and admit that His findings are true, will we have any hope of being different.

Some of God’s servants are:


2 Tim. 4:10a “For Demas hath forsaken me…”

A. Demas Forsook The Lord Because Of Covetousness.

2 Tim. 4:10a “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world…”

1. God’s Word warns us against worldly infatuation.

1 John 2:15a “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…”

Col. 3:2 “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Please note that First John 2:15 does not tell us that it is wrong to possess things of the world. It does say however, that we are not to be in love with them. As I’ve stated before: There is a big difference between a Christian possessing things, and things possessing a Christian. Being covetous of what the world has can be deadly.

Recently I laid a small circle of poison around a hill of stinging ants. Thinking the tiny granules of poison were food, the ants began to pick them up and carry them throughout the colony.

I returned later to see how well the poison was working. Hundreds of the stinging ants were carrying the poison down into their hill. Then I noticed a hole in the circle of poison. Some of the poison was moving the opposite way—away from the hill. Some smaller, non-stinging ants had found this “food” and were stealing it from their ant neighbors. Thinking they were getting the other ants’ treasure, they unwittingly poisoned themselves.

When we see someone with more than we have, we must beware. The hunger to beg, borrow, or steal our way into what is theirs may poison us spiritually.[1]

2. Riches and worldly goods are unstable investments.

1 Tim. 6:17 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”

Prov. 23:5 “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”

No matter how much money or things a person is able to accumulate they won’t be able to keep it.

If thou art rich, thou art poor, for like an ass whose back with ingots bows, thou bearest thy heavy riches but a journey, and death unloads thee.[2]

3. Ultimately worldly gain is not important.

Matt. 6:31 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matt. 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

The fact is that riches cannot give lasting satisfaction. It seems that no matter how much we have, we always want a little more.

The story is told of an English teacher who told her class to write a composition on, “What I would do if I had a million dollars.”

After the students had been working on the assignment for about thirty minutes, one young man approached the teacher’s desk and very quietly said, “A million dollars is not enough! I have gotta have at least another hundred thousand!”[3]

B. Demas Forsook The Lord Because Of Corruption.

1. Demas’ love for the world said something about his love for Christ.

Matt. 7:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

1 John 2:15b “…If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

2. Worldliness had corrupted Demas’ heart, and held him in its control.

Ex. 20:3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

James 4:4 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

Dear Christian, if you are going to be the kind of servant of Christ you should be, you must be sure that nothing usurps Christ’s rightful place in your heart.

If I had a brother who had been murdered, what would you think of me if I ...daily consorted with the assassin who drove the dagger into my brother’s heart; surely I too must be an accomplice in the crime. Sin murdered Christ; will you be a friend to it? Sin pierced the heart of the Incarnate God; can you love it?[4]

Too often Christians excuse their constant absence from God’s house by saying that they’ve got to make a living. No one would deny anyone the right to provide for their needs. But folks, when work leaves no time for God, something is wrong. Perhaps they need to be more concerned with making a life than making a living.


2 Tim. 4:11b “…Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”

A. Mark Was The Servant Who Ran.

1. He began his service under Paul and Barnabas.

Acts 12:25 “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.”

2. Not long into his missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas, Mark turned back.

Acts 13:13 “Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.”

Why did Mark quit so soon? I suspect it was due to the fact that he had just witnessed Satanic resistance to Paul’s attempt to preach the Gospel, which resulted in Elymas the sorcerer being struck temporarily blind (Acts 13: 4-12). This probably burst Mark’s bubble about the ministry. It may have been more excitement than he had bargained for.

B. Mark Was The Servant Who Was Restored.

1. Mark was eventually restored to service through Barnabas’ patience.

Acts 15:36 “And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;”

2. Later, Mark became a profitable helper to Paul.

2 Tim. 4:11b “…Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”

Just because a brother or sister has failed at some point in their Christian walk, doesn’t mean they can never be used again. Just because a person is down, doesn’t mean they’re out. The Bible says that we ought to seek to restore the one who has failed (Gal. 6:1).

Some of the greatest spiritual leaders mentioned in the Bible were those who experienced failure toward God. The Apostle Peter denied the Lord three times, yet repented and was used greatly of God thereafter. Moses killed an Egyptian, yet after God dealt with him; he not only led God’s people, but also was used of God to pen the books of the Law.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” Edison spent more than $100,000 to obtain 6000 different fiber specimens, and only three of them proved satisfactory. Each failure brought him that much closer to the solution to his problem. His friend Henry Ford was right when he said that failure was the “opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”[5]


2 Tim. 4:11a “Only Luke is with me…”

A. Luke Was A Steadfast Servant.

1. While he was in a Roman prison, everyone except Luke had left Paul.

2 Tim. 4:10 “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. 11a Only Luke is with me…”

Spending time with Paul in prison wasn’t a very glamorous thing to do. But Luke knew that faithfulness is often about the small things in life.

Fred Craddock, in an address to ministers, caught the practical implications of consecration. “To give my life for Christ appears glorious,” he said. “To pour myself out for others. . .to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom—I’ll do it. I’m ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory. “We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking [a] $l,000 bill and laying it on the table—‘Here’s my life, Lord. I’m giving it all.’ But the reality for most of us is that He sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $l,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there; listen to the neighbor kid’s troubles instead of saying, ‘Get lost;’ go to a committee meeting; give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home.

“Usually giving our life to Christ isn’t glorious. It’s done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it’s harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul.”[6]

2. When it came to God’s work, Luke was a faithful and persistent person.

I Cor. 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

I Cor. 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Folks, let me tell you something: This church survives because of God’s faithful servants. It is God’s faithful servants who are here every time the doors are open. It is God’s faithful servants who consistently support God’s work with their tithes and offerings. It’s God’s faithful servants who do what needs doing, so that God’s work can be carried on.

B. Luke Was A Smart Servant.

Ps. 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth forever.”

In Deuteronomy 4:5 & 6, Moses told the children of Israel that if they would be faithful to keep God law, they would be viewed as a wise and understanding people by their neighboring nations. The same is true today. Those who remain faithful servants to God are demonstrating real wisdom. It is in faithfulness to God that one reaps the greatest reward from life.

[1] Bob James.

[2] William Shakespeare.

[3] Source unknown.

[4] C. H. Spurgeon.

[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, Confident Living, September, 1987, p. 22.

[6] Darryl Bell.

© Donnie L. Martin