of Solomon 5:1, Luke 7:34,
We live in a world of
acquaintances, and allies, but very
few true friends. True friends are
the ones who are there not just in
the bright days but in the darkest
loneliness days of life. Many of us
have had the experience of
disappointment when those whom we
thought were friends were otherwise
when the storm clouds gathered.
There is a statement, “A friend in
need is a friend indeed”, and it can
be taken in two ways. When you are
in need and the individual sits and
cries with you that is a friend
indeed, on the other hand, there are
those who when in need profess
friendship to receive something from
The Psalmist and the Lord knew the darkness of being bereft of
family and friends. When our Lord was here not one of His
brethren believed in Him (Jn. 7:5). Judas betrayed him for a
paltry thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:15), and when the
motley throng came to Gethsemane to take Him, all the disciples,
“forsook Him, and fled” (Matt. 26:56). He could have recounted
the experiences of Old Testament saints and said:
“Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat
of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psa. 41:9)
How plaintive are the words: “Lover and friend hast thou put far
from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness” (Psa. 88:18).
Again, “I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl
of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house
top” (Psa. 102:6, 7).
The greatest friend a man could have
while he walks this scene of time
(Song of Sol. 5:16) was left
friendless and bereft of the dearest
to His heart. Why? It was part of
His training to be our Great High
Priest so that when we walk that
lonely pathway, we are not alone,
for He is with us all the way. How
beautiful are the words of the hymn
of long ago:
Can it be
true the things they say of you?
You walked this earth, sharing with
friends you knew
All that they had, the work, the
joy, the pain
That we might find the way to heaven
Can it be true, the things they did
The death, the shame, and were your
Yet you returned again alive and
Can it be true, my Lord, it had to
However, there was another fellowship which was closer than that
of any human relationship. It was His fellowship with God. But
there came a time when, while that fellowship was never broken
or strained, yet He knew what it was to be forsaken by God.
This was no act of cold indifference by God to the sufferings of
His perfect Servant, but the activity of immeasurable love for
humanity. I have one son, I love him dearly, and I would never
ever let him suffer and die for another individual, much less an
individual who could care less for His sorrows and
aloneness. How great then is God’s love for us, the ungrateful
and uninterested, that He should forsake His Son and
deliberately punish Him for our sins? Dark beyond words was
that experience when after three hours of darkness, in multiple
levels He cried: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
(Matt. 27:46). Well might the hymn-writer pen the words:
“On such love, my soul, still ponder,
Love, so great, so rich, so free;
Say, while lost in holy wonder,
Why, O Lord, such love to me?”
The answer is so beautiful and awesome. The Lord suffered
unspeakable sufferings because He wants me to be His friend.
The Lord Himself said: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I
command you” (Jn. 15:14). What is it He commands us to do?
We are to believe on Him, depending on God for salvation through
the finished work of Christ at Calvary. How wonderfully
comforting are His words: “And
this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth
the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life” (Jn.
It does not say believe about Him, but believe on Him,
that is, putting one’s full dependance for salvation and Heaven
all on Christ.
Since Christ has paid such a cost to be a Friend to me, how can
I not be a friend to Him? He has told us how we can be His
friend, that being, by keeping His commandments. The question
is, “What are His commandments?”
When preaching the gospel and individuals get saved, it is the
speaker’s responsibility to let the individual know they are now
disciples and exhort them to be disciples. But, what is a
“disciple”? It is one of a company adhering to a teaching of a
spiritual leader. The scriptures inform us of John’s
disciples. They were those who adhered to His teaching
concerning the Lord. As disciples, every believer is part of a
doctrinal movement, of adherence to the commands of the Lord.
Another command is for those who have accepted the Lord as
Savior be baptized. Biblical baptism is not being sprinkled by
water as a little baby, it is the decision of an individual who
has fulfilled the words of Philip to the eunuch. When the
eunuch asked Philip: “What doth hinder me to be baptized?”
Philip answered: “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou
mayest.” The man confessed: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the
Son of God”. Then note the words of scripture, “they went down
both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he
baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water
(Acts 8:36-39). Baptism is full immersion, that is His command.
Of course one can be His friend and not get baptized, but the
friendship and fellowship will not be as deep as it could be.
Baptism is not just a ritual, it necessitates a way of life. As
Paul writes to the Romans, it is “to walk in newness of life”
(Rom. 6:4), which means to live life showing the characteristics
of the Lord.
Another command is: “Remember me”. On the night of His betrayal
and on the evening before his crucifixion, the Lord gathered
with His disciples and instituted that which is commonly known
as the Lord's supper. Taking a loaf of bread in His hand, He
broke it, and said: "This is my body, which is broken for you"
(1 Cor. 11:24). Then He took the cup of wine, and said: "This
cup is the new testament in my blood" (1 Cor. 11:25). In 1
Corinthians 11 we are told very distinctly he also said: "In
remembrance of me" (1 Cor. 11:24, 25).
Imagine me standing by the bedside of my father as he died, and
taking off his watch he hands it to me and says, "Son, take
this, and never forget me". How precious that symbol of his
love would be to me, and as long as time lasted, every time I
would look at that watch I would remember him.
I count it a privilege, and an honor, to be able on the first
day of the week to meet with other believers and remember the
Lord in the breaking of the bread and drinking of the cup, but
this also commands a certain lifestyle. Can I be His friend and
not remember Him? The answer is “yes”, but if I do these
things, how much deeper that friendship can be.
There is another commandment which He gave, and it was: "That ye
love one another; as I have loved you" (Jn. 13:34; 15:12, 17).
One of the great tragedies I see amongst nominal christians
(even amongst those who have been saved for many years) and
professing church leaders, is the reality that they know little
of love. We can speak about it, sing about it, preach it, and
teach it, we can read 1 Cor. 13 and expound it, and yet know so
little about it. How cruel so-called Christians can be to each
other. The Holy Spirit bears witness to the reality, even
amongst believers, they can bite and devour one another (Gal.
5:15), that is, they can be like dogs, for dogs bite, and they
can like lions, for lions devour. The result of doglike
behavior of one saint to another is hurt and pain. The result
of lion like behavior is to make it as if the Christian never
existed. I ask the question, “where's the love?” Recently I
was asked if I would speak to the administrators of a local
church and if the family could have the funeral from the
church. The man and his wife had been members of that
congregation for many years, but because of his moving to
another part of the country without telling them, they were
for he had not submitted to their authority. The family waited
for three days for a response and none came, so other
arrangements had to be made. What was ironic is that at that
same time they were studying 1 John, and
the passage under consideration said: “My little children, let
us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in
truth” (1 Jn. 3:18), and yet they wouldn't help the family in
their hour of deepest need. I have to ask, "Where was the
love?" How can these men say they are in fellowship with God
and friends of God? It is a question I have no answer for.
May God help us to live in such a
way that we, like Abraham, may be
called the “Friend of God” (Jam.
. . . Rowan Jennings