In this passage we see Paul’s closing remarks to the church in Colossae. In verse 14, Paul continues to share greetings from those who are helping his ministry in Rome while he is in prison: “Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.”

Paul identifies Luke as a doctor. Paul didn’t frown upon doctors or medicine. Luke traveled extensively with Paul and no doubt had occasions where he treated the Apostle for afflictions. Luke was a first-hand witness of much of Paul’s travels and shared hardships with him. He was used of the Lord to write almost a quarter of the New Testament; the Gospel of Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles.

Paul next mentions Demas. He was also with Paul in Rome. There is a contrast between Luke and Demas at the end of 2nd Timothy we should take note of. It is Paul’s last letter, and he is in a later imprisonment he knows will end shortly in his execution. Luke is there with him, but Paul says Demas deserted him, “for he was in love with this present world.”

Other helpers left Paul because of the severity of the persecution. Paul prayed for them. Demas alone is said to have left because of love of the world. This is a devastating indictment from the Apostle Paul. To equate a soul with loving the world is to say their faith was spurious, or not genuine. In first John 2, we read, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them.”

Paul is placing Demas in this category. Demas left Paul because Christ was not his chief portion in life; the world was. Matthew Mead wrote: “When the Lord designs to work grace in a heart, and redeem a soul to himself, he first weans it from the world. This is how God dealt with the prodigal son. To forsake God to live upon earthly pleasures is a great loss.”

The man of faith should enjoy blessings in this world with thanksgiving, yet never let pleasures or enjoyments in the world supersede the affection he has for God. They then become vanities or idols that take us away from the joy of walking with the Lord, or worse take the place of the Lord.

Demas is a standing warning to Christians to be watchful and pray; not be double minded but pure in heart; to keep our eyes upon Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Demas heard the best teaching (the Apostle Paul) and witnessed first- hand the miracles that attended Paul’s ministry.

He saw an example in Paul of how to walk with Christ in plenty and in want, how to abound and be abased. Yet for all this, Demas loved the world and left the faith. Remember his name when you get too attached to the things of this world. You do not want to hear the Lord say after he says your name that you loved this world rather than him.

In verses 15-17, Paul speaks of the local churches in Laodicea and Colossae. I want to point out a couple of important points. One is the centrality of the Word of God in the church. Paul says: “When this letter is read among you, have it read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that that you also read the letter from Laodicea.” 

No matter the present state of the world, or the circumstances the church may find itself in, there is always the command for the Word of the Lord to be central to the people of God. The Scriptures should be read and taught in the church and the home of every Christian. We can’t believe or honor the Lord without hearing and applying his Word. Make sure you read (and hear) the Bible.

Also, we are reminded to serve the church. Paul writes: “Say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received from the Lord.” Archippus was probably a minister or leader in the church, but the Lord says to all of his people: “See that you serve the church with the gifts you have.” It is a great privilege he gives to his people. And no service is in vain.

The last words of Paul in the letter to the Colossians are: “Remember my chains. Grace be with you.” ”Remember my chains” reminds us the Apostle had many tribulations, yet was faithful. We can be too, if we have grace. Grace be with you is a comforting benediction. Satan and the world will never vanquish a soul armed with true grace.