Love and Philemon


Introduction: Book of Philemon

1. On more than one occasion Paul referred to the love of Philemon (vs. 5, 7, 9).
2. In fact, he said he had “great joy and consolation” in that “love” (v. 7).
3. But why did Paul have that “great joy and consolation?” What would be comforting about knowing about Philemon’s love? The answer is be­cause he knew what love would do.
4. Philemon is a prime example of the love that Paul described in First Corinthians 13:4-7.
5. In the man Philemon we have an application and a demonstration of First Corinthians 13.
6. It is no wonder then that Paul appealed to Philemon to receive Onesimus back “for love’s sake” (v.9).
7. It is no wonder that Paul says,” Therefore (i.e. because of your love and faith)….I appeal to you…..” (v. 7-9). He knew what love would do.
8. In this study we will look at Philemon in light of what Paul said about the characteristics of love in First Corinthians 13:4-7.


In First Corinthians 13:4-7 Paul lists 15 characteristics of love that would be encouraging to Paul in sending Onesimus back to this man of love. Paul had great joy and comfort in the love of Philemon because love:

1. Suffers long – Paul knew that Philemon would be longsuffering with Onesimus. Philemon loved “all saints” (v. 5).

2. Is kind – Paul was kind to Onesimus because he loved him (v. 12), and he knew that love would cause Philemon to be kind to him.

3. Does not envy — Paul didn’t mind sending Onesimus back because Philemon would not be jealous over the fact that Paul had converted Onesimus, nor would he be jealous or envious of the new relationship of Paul and Onesimus.

4. Does not parade itself – Philemon, because of his love, would not parade him­self before Onesimus as if he were better than he and would not boast of any superiority.

5. Is not puffed up – Paul knew Philemon would manifest a spirit of humility toward Onesimus and be humble in his dealings with him.

6. Does not behave rudely – Paul knew that love would keep Philemon from being harsh, rude or discourteous in his treatment of Onesimus.

7. Does not seek its own – Paul was unselfish in sending Onesimus back (v.13,14) and he knew that Philemon would not be selfish in dealing with him. A selfish person would have to get even for the wrong done, but not one who loved like Philemon.

8. Is not provoked – Paul knew Philemon loved and, therefore, he was no hot head or one who flies off the handle at the drop of a hat. He would not be easily angered in dealing with Onesimus.

9. Thinks no evil – Paul knew Philemon wouldn’t mark up all the wrongs done against him by Onesimus or plan evil toward him.

10. Does not rejoice in iniquity – Philemon was not the type who like to see people in sin – he did not delight in seeing one like Onesimus do evil.

11. Rejoices in truth – Philemon would rejoice that Onesimus was now practicing truth.

12. Bears all things – Philemon would bear the wrong done to him and also bear with Onesimus. He would protect and stand by him.

13. Believes all things – Paul had confidence in Philemon (v. 21) because he cared about him (v. l) and he knew that love would cause Philemon not to doubt, distrust, or be suspicious of Onesimus. He would look for the best in him.

14. Hopes all things – He would not only look for the best in Onesimus, but he would also desire and expect it.

15. Endures all things – He would endure any wrong done by Onesimus and would stand by him and with him because of his love for him. He would not expect Onesimus to be perfect, but would support him in every way he could.

Conclusion: It is no wonder Paul had “great joy and consolation” in the love that Philemon had for all saints. It is no wonder he wanted to send Onesimus back to a man who loved like this. Paul knew what love would do. Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway

Let Go and Let God

          I read an interesting article recently about a lifeguard and the many challenges he faced while serving in that role. Of course, his main duty was to “guard life” which meant that there were times when he had to rescue those who were drowning.
          A statement he made about dealing with drowning victims is worth repeating here. He said, It is quite impossible to rescue someone who is drowning when he is trying to save himself. This person is in a panic mode and is fighting so hard that the lifeguard knows the potential exists for the one in trouble to drown them both!” “However,” he added, “if he will allow the lifeguard to put his arm around him and not struggle against him, he can rather easily be pulled to safety.”
          When I read this story it reminded me a lot of our spiritual struggles. First of all, there comes a time when every person sinks because of sin (Rom. 3:23). Then, when we realize our plight, we also realize our need for salvation. But struggle or fight as we may, we are incapable of saving ourselves by our own merits (Eph. 2:8-9). Thus, we are in need of a Savior and, thankfully, a Savior we have (Matt. 1:21). However, he will not save us as long as we are trying to be our own savior.
          I am aware that in Acts 2:40 Peter was inspired to say, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” But reading the full text still illustrates the same point, namely, we save ourselves by surrendering to the will of the Savior. When man tries to reach God by his own devices, he ends up only sinking deeper into sin (cf. Prov. 14:12; Gal. 5:4). On the other hand, when we surrender to God’s power and will, we then allow Him to pull us from death to life (Eph. 2:1-10).
          The lesson here is not a new one- – just one that mankind has wrestled with since the Garden of Eden. It seems the general rule followed has been: “I can handle this job all by myself!” Whereas, the rule that should be followed is: “Let go, and let God.” Let go of trying and struggling to save ourselves and let the “Life Guard” do His job. Thank God for Jesus!
Wayne Dunaway

A Drill Bit and Calvary

A Drill Bit and Calvary

When a man goes to the hardware store to buy a “drill bit,” he does not actually want the drill bit. What he really wants is a “hole.” That is why he buys the drill bit. The drill bit is the means of getting what he really wants.

In the same way, God came to the earth not primarily because He wanted to die for our sins…but because He wants an “intimate relationship” with us. But in order to have the “fellowship” He must take care of the problem that has separated people from Him—which is sin (Isaiah 59:1-2).

It is important to understand that salvation from sin is not primarily what God had in mind for mankind. The main thing God has always wanted was “fellowship” with His creation. Salvation through Christ is the means by which that “fellowship” is possible.This is what the book of Revelation emphasizes. The book of Revelation ends with “the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:3, 22-23).

A “loving relationship” with His creation is what He has always wanted and coming to the earth to suffer and die is the length He would go to in order to get and maintain that “intimate relationship.” Creating the human race and putting them in the “garden of Eden” did not accomplish what His heart really desired, so He came Himself to the “garden of Gethsemane” in order to win our hearts and cause us to love Him like Adam and Eve should have loved Him in the beginning. He went to “Calvary” to “draw” (not drag or drive, but draw) all men to Himself. Christ allowed Himself to be “drilled” on earth because God wanted to “hold” His creation in an intimate loving relationship forever in Heaven.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will DRAW all peoples to ME. This He said, signifying what death He would die (John 12:32-33).

We love him BECAUSE He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway

When "Impossible" becomes "Him-possible"

When “Impossible” becomes “HIM-possible.”
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).
There are many things that are simply impossible for us to do. With men it is impossible to:
1. Live without sinning. (Rom. 3:10; Ecc. 7:20)
2. Live absolutely righteous. (Rom. 3:10; Ps. 143:2).
3. Stay “up” all of the time. (2 Cor. 4:8; 7:6).
4. Always please/get along with everyone (Rom. 12:18; Gal. 1:10).
5. Keep people from talking bad about us. (Lk. 6:26)
6. Be perfect as God is perfect (Matt. 5:48).
7. Be right about everything (2 Pet. 2:1; Rom. 14-15).
8. Save ourselves by keeping law (Rom. 3:20; Eph. 2:8-9).
But it is possible to be saved in spite of these weaknesses because Jesus is the great I AM” (Jn. 8:58). He turns “impossible” into “AM-possible.” The “impossible” becomes “Him…possible.” The things that are impossible for us to accomplish in our own lives…are made possible when Jesus comes into our lives. He makes it possible for us be saved without us having to do the “impossible.” Observe the following points.
 It is impossible to live without sin…but His blood makes it possible for us to be continually cleansed from our sins (1 Jn. 1:7). It is impossible to live absolutely righteous…but He makes it possible for “His righteousness” to be imputed (counted) to us (2 Cor. 5:21). It is impossible to stay “up” all of the time…but He makes it possible to stay saved even when we are down (2 Cor. 4:8)–as well as comfort us during these down times (2 Cor. 7:6-7). It is impossible to always get along with others…but He makes it possible to please God without pleasing others (Lk. 17:1; Gal. 1:10). It is impossible to keep people from saying bad things about us…but He makes it possible to be blessed regardless of what said about us (Matt. 5:11-12). It is impossible to be “perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect”…but He makes it possible for every person to be “perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28). It is impossible for any human being to be right about everything…but He makes it possible for us to be saved in spite of our ignorance and misunderstandings (1 Pet. 2:1; 1 Cor. 8:7). It is impossible for us to save ourselves by what we do…but He makes it possible for us to be saved by what He has done (Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 2:8-9).
These things that are impossible with men…are possible with God through Christ. If the only reason Jesus died is to make it possible for “us” to live “righteously” by keeping His law… then He died in vain (Gal. 2:21).
“Who then can be saved?” the disciples asked (Matt. 19:25). Jesus answered, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).
He makes salvation possible. The angel said, “And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for HE WILL SAVE His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, LOOKING UNTO JESUS, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Looking to Jesus for salvation makes the “impossible” become “HIM-possible.”
Wayne Dunaway

Can You Recommend Your Religion?

Can You Recommend Your Religion?
Introduction: Acts 26:27-29
1. Paul has been arrested. He has appealed to Caesar (Acts 25:9-11). Festus, the governor, does not know what to accuse him of, so he wants King Agrippi (who was visiting him at the time) to listen to Paul and advise him on what to write (Acts 25:26-27).
2. Acts chapter 26 is Paul’s defense before Agrippa. It is during this time that Paul said: “I wish all of you were AS I AM” (Acts 26:29).
3. In other words, I wish all of you were like me…except I don’t wish you were a prisoner.
4. Paul was recommending his religion to Agrippi and to all who heard him.
5. James 1:27 speaks of “pure religion” and that is what Paul was recommending.
6. But can you recommend YOUR religion in light of:
1. Paul’s religion was based on what Moses and the prophets taught about Jesus (Acts 26:22-23).
2. He wanted King Agrippa to “believe the prophets” and what they said about Jesus and salvation (Acts 26:27).
3. Jesus appeared to Paul to teach him about “forgiveness” and the “inheritance” in heaven that God provides (Acts 26:18).
4. Can you recommend your religion in light of the Bible? Is it based on what the Bible says about salvation in Christ?
5. Is it by trusting in Christ and baptism into a relationship with Him (Galatians 3:26-27)?
6. Is your religion based on your “personal relationship with Jesus” or on “works of law”…rules, regulations, restrictions and requirements? (Phil. 3:3-11; Rom. 3:20).
1. Can your recommend your religion in light of your behavior?
2. Paul wanted people to follow him because he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
3. Jesus left us an example to follow (1 Peter 2:21).
4. Paul told the Philippians to do what they had seen him do (Phil. 4:9).
5. Our lives are to “adorn the doctrine.” We are to make Christianity attractive (Titus 2:10).
6. Richard O’Conner spoke about the change Christianity makes in our lives when he spoke to us at Ohatchee not long ago.
7. We are to lights to world (Matthew 5:16)
8. In Titus 1:16, Paul speaks of some who profess to know God but do not practice following God.
9. But we need to be able to recommend our religion in light of our behavior. 
1. Finally, can you recommend your religion in light of its benefits?
2. We not only need a religion to uphold, but one that upholds us!
3. We have all spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph. 1:3). Among these are: salvation (2 Tim. 2:10); help from the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26); all things working for our ultimate good (Rom. 8:28); and the hope of heaven (Rom. 8:24; Heb. 6:19-20).
4. Paul knew Jesus would support him when he needed it (Philippians 4:13).
5. He knew that he was being “renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
6. When “life tumbles in” does your religion help you “climb back out?”
When you are at the end of your rope does your religion help you “tie a knot and hang on?” When you are flat on your back does your religion help you see that everything is “looking up?” When you are left barefooted does your religion help you see that you are “back on your feet?” When you fail or fall, does your religion help you realize that failure is not fatal or final?
7. Can you recommend your religion in light of the benefits?
Conclusion: If you and I were before Agrippi could we say, “I wish you and all who hear me were SUCH AS I AM?” Has Christ made a difference in me? Can I recommend my religion in light of the Bible? Do I believe in the Christ of the Bible? Can I recommend my religion because Christ has made a difference in me? And, finally, can I recommend my religion because of the great blessings and benefits I have in Christ?
Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).
Wayne Dunaway

"Too Easy: Divorced and Remarried "

A comment about my book on MDR.

One good friend of mine was told that my book on “Just As I Am: Married, Divorced and Remarried” just made it “too easy.” Since I really do not know what was meant by “too easy,” and neither did my friend, I may not know how to respond. But I can understand why this would be said especially when brethren have only been taught one view of the issue. All of us who believe the Bible are opposed to unlawful “divorce” and we all believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman for life. But the “ideal” does not always work. Furthermore, when some of us think of divorce we usually only consider someone leaving a “faithful mate” for someone else, which is always wrong. However, as we all well know, that is not always the reason for divorce in the real world. There are also those faithful mates who are simply abandoned or abused and left “divorced” through no fault of their own without anyone else being involved. Therefore, my response may be of interest to others on my email blog list. So I will ask, “Too easy to do what?”

1. Does my book make it “too easy” for MDR couples to “be forgiven?”

First, is it harder for the blood of Jesus to pay for MDR sins than for other sins? Does His death provide the atonement for all sins except for marital sins or sins against marriage? Doesn’t grace apply to those who have come to Jesus for forgiveness who have made marriage mistakes just as it does for everyone else and their sins? Why would teaching sinners to “come to Jesus” for forgiveness of “any” sin ever be referred to as making it “too easy?”

Second, this is my main reason for believing that the church has mistreated those divorced and remarried and/or in some cases is simply prejudiced against them. When the woman “caught” in the “act of adultery” (which of necessity involved violating a marital covenant), the Pharisees did not want her to be forgiven…they wanted her stoned! Simply forgiving her would most likely be making it “too easy” in their opinion (Jn. 8:4-11). If not stoned, she should at least be shunned. The Lord cannot just say, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more!”
(Perhaps they said something like I have heard concerning the divorced and remarried in the church: “Adultery involves the violation of a marriage covenant in some way (which she was guilty of doing). Sins against marriage are serious sins. Sins against marriage will lead to the breakdown of society and destroy family life. Adulterers sin against marriage! And all You say is, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” That’s ‘too easy.’ We cannot understand mercy being extended to an ‘adulterer’ or those who have sinned against marriage. It’s just ‘too easy’…‘too easy!’ If you simply forgive them, You will be making it ‘too easy’ for others who want to do the same thing. At least, make them pay for their sin in some way. At least tell them that they cannot have sex anymore because they must remain single! Since they have committed adultery they have forfeited their right to be married!”)

This is the way the church sometimes comes across in our teaching and preaching concerning almost all those divorced and remarried—even those who are unjustly put away or deserted or abused and did not want to be divorced—but are still told to remain single…regardless!)

Third, and most importantly, even those guilty of marital sins come to Jesus because they need forgiveness and healing. Those who have hurt others (or those who have been hurt by others) in a failed marriage relationship and started over need help and healing when they come to Jesus for forgiveness and/or strength just like everyone else. They do not need “stones!” Those who have started over in a new marriage surely do not need to be told to “do it (divorce) again!” Jesus told this guilty woman to “go and sin no more.” In my judgment, this is exactly what He says today to those who have committed marital adultery against a mate and have come to Him for forgiveness. “Neither do I condemn you” for the sin of divorcing and remarrying, so “go and do not sin by divorcing again!” I know that that may sound “too easy” for some, but that does not change the Lord’s message of mercy in the least. Simple forgiveness for such a serious sin takes a special sacrifice…and that sacrifice has been made!

2. Does my book make it “too easy” to divorce?

First, it was not written to married people who want to divorce! I make that clear more than once—especially at the beginning of the book. I point out that pardon for marital sins is not the same as permission to commit marital sins. Furthermore, the title of the book specifies who to whom it was written. The title is not “Just as I would like to be,” but “Just as I Am: Married, Divorced and Remarried.”

Second, it is specifically “dedicated” to those involved in divorce and remarriage…not to married people who want to divorce. In fact, I encourage those who are having marital problems not to read the book, but rather to seek marital counseling. The main objective of the book is to prevent divorce and abuse of the marriage covenant and reassure those involved in MDR that they can be forgiven without divorcing the faithful mates they are married to—even if it is a second or subsequent marriage.

Third, Jesus Himself made it “easy (?)” to divorce a fornicator who refuses to repent and even those who hold the “only exception” view acknowledge this. In these cases involving fornication, are they making it “too easy” for the “innocent victim” to divorce and remarry or are they simply recognizing that Jesus authorizes (gives the right to) one to divorce a mate who has breached the marriage covenant in this way? Note: I know that married couples should try to work it out and avoid divorce even in these cases of “sexual unfaithfulness” if possible—even if it involves more than one instance of fornication—and I teach that very thing! I believe that couples can/should work through it and I believe that it can done in some (maybe most) cases with the Lord’s help. But that is not always possible! And in those cases where the innocent victim divorces an unfaithful partner and marries another if it sounds “too easy”…so be it! And most all leaders in the Church agree with this. Are they making it “too easy?”

3. Does my book make it “too easy” for an “innocent victim” who has been “abandoned” or “deserted” by an unbelieving mate to simply let him depart? Paul said, “If the unbelieving depart, let him depart…” (1 Cor. 7:15). I admit that that does actually sound “easy” enough…but I did not cause that to be written, God did. Do we believe that HE just makes it “too easy?” A faithful mate who is abandoned by a mate who has breached the covenant by deserting him/her will have a hard enough time without us adding to the problem. I personally think is it “too easy” for us to sit on the sideline and tell those innocent victims who are “deserted” to stay single. I believe that part of the real problem is that we have made it “too easy” on those of us who demand “celibacy” of those not “gifted to be celibate” (1 Cor. 7:5-7) to bind our views on forgiven people who are already struggling and in many cases have already been hurt enough!

4. Does my book make it “too easy” for the wife of a “violent abusive husband” (who, in some cases, is afraid for her life and the life of her children) to get out of that abusive relationship and find someone who will be faithful to her in a marriage covenant? I know personally of one husband who murdered his pregnant wife. According to some, she could not have divorced him for his “violent abuse” and even if she did she must remain single for the rest of her life all because she married an abusive man and did not know it until it was too late. The violent husband who murdered her can get remarried, but had she divorced him for his violence, she would have had to remain single according to some. I do not believe that that can possibly be true. We all know of cases where something similar to this has happened and is happening as I write these words. I do not believe that the Bible teaches us to put up with marital abuse and never has. I personally believe it is “too easy” for us to sit on the sideline and tell those who were/are in an abusive marriage that they must stay in that “abusive marriage” and be “abused,” or else “stay single” for the rest of their lives. I believe that part of the real problem is that we have made it “too easy” for those of us who demand “celibacy” of those not “gifted to be celibate” to bind these unscriptural and unmerciful traditional views on other Christians!

5. Does my book make it “too easy” for divorced and remarried people to stay married?

I certainly hope so! If not, I wasted a lot of time! I hope they find it “easy” to stay married and remain faithful to the covenant they are in and that they made to each other in their present marriage relationship (whether first, second or subsequent). I hope that after reading my book they will find it “easy” to accept God’s forgiveness and move forward in their lives and neglect the advice of those in the church who tell them to divorce the faithful mates they are married to and thus destroy their families and leave their children with divorced parents. I hope they find it “easy” to be faithful to the vows they have made to the mate they are married to. People need to stop divorcing faithful mates, period! God hates it and always has (Mal. 2:16). This is what my book is about and if that makes it “too easy” to stay married…then I believe that that is a good thing! The truth is that we have made it “too hard” on those MDR couples who want to come to Jesus for forgiveness by adding our human opinions and manmade traditions to the “gospel.” We have evidently found it “easy” to “bind heavy burdens, hard to bear” on others (Matt. 23:4) and failed to recognize that we have “neglected” the matter of “justice and mercy and faith” ourselves (Matt. 23:23) when it comes to dealing with others.

Those who believe in “destroying marriages and breaking up established families” obviously must be true to their convictions if that is what they truly believe. If they can sleep at night with a good conscience knowing they have refused to baptize those who seek forgiveness but refuse to divorce; or if they can have a clear conscience after seeking to break up established families; or if they can simply “avoid” teaching those caught up in these cases then that is between them and God. That is their business. But it is not for me! (By the way, if anyone does not want to teach them about Jesus and baptize them…send them to me! I will! Gladly! And so will many (perhaps most) others among us!)

One other positive note: Some (perhaps many) brethren secretly practice (or at least want to practice) what I preach…but they will not/cannot (for whatever reason) preach what we practice! And that too is up to them and I am happy when leaders refuse to break up established families…regardless of the motive. The church has made a lot of progress along these lines and for that I am thankful. But again, we all must live with the decisions we make—good or bad, sensible or senseless, consistent or inconsistent! Personally, I find it “too hard” to break up established families and if that seems “too easy” for others…so be it!

God bless us every one as we seek to serve Him based on our degree of faith and level of understanding at any given point in our spiritual journey on this or any other subject!

Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway

No Hope In America

No Hope in America!

My hope is not in America. America is a great nation. I am proud to be an American. I am not one of those who believe that the “sky is falling” or that the things going on in our country and the world are necessarily the “signs of the end.” So I am not saying that I believe that there is no hope “for” America, because I believe that fervent prayers of righteous people are powerful (Jam. 5:16) and there are also a lot of positive things going on in our great country. So this not about gloom and doom for America…even though, like most believers, I would like to see a change in the moral climate and direction.

What I am saying in this article is that our hope as believers is not “in” America. I believe that the recent decision to change the definition of marriage is a bad decision, but, in my judgment, it is not as bad as the decision on abortion and we are surviving and dealing with that and hopefully something will change for the better at some point in these and other areas. But the greatest nations in the world have fallen at some point and so will this one. Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome and numerous other nations have “bit the dust” or fell from prominence because no earthly nation is eternal or beyond destruction. It is also interesting how believers are led to respond in different ways to the “issues before us,” but evidently they all may be needed and according to the plan. Amos and Hosea had a different approach in dealing with the “issues in Israel” just as believers have different convictions on how to respond/react to issues we face in America. Some of us have responded rather aggressively; some more moderately; and some respond with a “softer” approach to the issues we face. We all respond according to our convictions and all are privileged to be “fully convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5). But the main thing that all believers must keep in mind is that America is not our hope. Our “hope” is “laid up” for us “in heaven” (Col. 1:5). We are “sojourners and pilgrims” (1 Pet. 2:11) on earth no matter what nation or country we live in and this is simply a temporary place to live while we prepare for the “Land that is fairer than day.” Believers are “in” the world (whether America or somewhere else) but we are not “of” the world (Jn. 17:14) no matter what the location.

Since our citizenship is in Heaven that is where our hope lies (Phil 3:20-21). And while we are obviously concerned about the things going on “around” us, our “hope” is on things “above” us (Col. 3:1-2). Our passion is compassion and our mission is submission because the destiny of the faithful has already been determined. Along with salvation comes a reservation!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, RESERVED IN HEAVEN for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory (1 Peter 1:3-8).

Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway

Five Facts About A Friend


Like everyone else, I have had friends of all types. I have had: School friends, Social friends, Casual friends, Church friends, Business friends, Fair Weather friends, Good friends, Bad friends, Male friends, Female friends, Friends in high places and Friends in low places. And friends are important. In fact, unless you plan to be cremated, you will have to have six! “It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of the all time classic movies that first appeared in 1946, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. One of the main lessons in that movie is the statement that the angel (Clarence) made to George, “No man is a failure who has friends!” A cartoon in a newspaper had the first frame showing a thief who was wearing a mask, and his gun was pointed toward a frightened victim. In the next scene the robber is holding out a sack and saying, “Give me all of your valuables!” In the next scene the victim begins stuffing all of his friends into the sack. Friends are one of our most valuable possessions. But we need to know how to be a friend if we are going to have friends. The book of proverbs states “A man who has friends must himself be friendly (Prov. 18:24). An unknown author said:

I went out in the world to find a friend.
And I could not find one there.
Then I went out to be a friend.
And friends were everywhere.

In this article, we will refer to five words to help us understand what a true friend is and how to be a true friend.

1. JOY. A true friend is a “joy.” Webster’s definition of a friend is “one attached to another by affection or esteem.” Close friends are a JOY to have. “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel” (Prov. 27:9). This verse indicates, among other things, that as perfume brings “joy to the heart,” so does the “pleasantness of one’s friend.” Think about friends like “Andy and Barney,” “the Lone Ranger and Tonto,” or “David and Jonathan.” Think about husbands and wives, who are both “friends and lovers.” Think about what the married woman, in the Song of Solomon, said about her husband, “His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem” (ch. 5:16). My wife is my very best and closest friend in the world. It is a joy to have a friend like her and to be a friend to her. When I think of the word friend, I think of the word Joy.

2. ENCOURAGES. The second word is “encourages.” A true friend encourages. Barnabas is known in the Bible as the “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:25). And he had plenty of dear friends. When the church at Jerusalem was sending a letter to the Gentile churches, they “all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul” (Acts 15:25). Barnabas was a dear friend to a lot of people because he was an encourager. He believed in others. When Paul wanted to join the church at Jerusalem, they were afraid of him because of his previous life. But Barnabas took up for him and encouraged them to accept him, which they did (Acts 9:26-28).

3. SUPPORTS. The third word I think of when I think of a friend is “supports.” A friend is one who supports and helps. If one falls down, his friend can help him up But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up (Eccl. 4:10). The Beatles had a song about friends that was really famous at one time in this country. Remember what it was? “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

4. UNDERSTANDS. The fourth word I think about when I think about a friend is the word “understands.” A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Prov. 17:17). A friend loves at all times because he understands. We all have “fair-weather” friends who split when adversity strikes. But there is a big difference between a “fair-weather” friend and a “faithful” friend. Someone has said, “A friend is a person who knows all about you, yet loves you anyway.” There was a contest to define the word “friend” and the winning definition read: “A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”

5. STICKS. The fifth and final word is the word “sticks.” A friend sticks with you regardless. “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov.18:24). Like Garth Brook’s song, we may have some friends who get in “low places,” but they are still our friends. Another story drives this truth home even more deeply.

“Out of the furnaces of war come many true stories of sacrificial friendship. One such story tells of two friends in World War I, who were inseparable. They had enlisted together, trained together, were shipped overseas together and fought side-by-side in the trenches. During an attack, one of the men was critically wounded in a field filled with barbed wire obstacles, and he was unable to crawl back to his foxhole. The entire area was under a withering enemy crossfire, and it was suicidal to try to reach him. Yet his friend decided to try. Before he could get out of his own trench, his sergeant yanked him back inside and ordered him not to go. “It’s too late. You can’t do him any good, and you’ll only get yourself killed.” A few minutes later, the officer turned his back, and instantly the man was gone after his friend. A few minutes later, he staggered back, mortally wounded, with his friend, now dead, in his arms. The sergeant was both angry and deeply moved. “What a waste,” he blurted out. “He’s dead and you’re dying. It just wasn’t worth it. “With almost his last breath, the dying man replied, “Oh, yes, it was, Sarge. When I got to him, the only thing he said was, ‘I knew you’d come, Jim!’”

One of the true marks of a friend is that he is there when there is every reason for him not to be. As Proverbs 17:17 puts it, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Remember these words when you think of a friend: A true friend is a Joy because he Encourages, Supports, Understands, and Sticks. Now I must admit that I have not always been the friend I should have been. I have let my friends down more times than I like to admit. But this article is really not about us. It is about Jesus, our Savior and Friend. Do you remember that Jesus was known as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matt. 11:19). And when I think of the word FRIEND, I think of JESUS. That’s J.E.S.U.S. He is the perfect and the ideal friend. The words that we have used to describe a real friend describe Him exactly. He is a JOY to us because He ENCOURAGES us, SUPPORTS us, UNDERSTANDS us and STICKS with us. When you spell His name you can be reminded of these words:

J oy. Joy to the world, the Lord has come (Luke 2:10).
E ncourages. The words I have spoken are spirit and are life (Jn 6:63).
S upports. The Lord is my helper (Heb. 13:6).
U nderstands. He can sympathize with our weaknesses (Heb. 4:15).
S ticks. He said, I will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5).


Wayne Dunaway

Obedience is not a Bad Word

“Obedience” is not a “Bad Word.”

Obedience is not a bad or ugly word. I have never seen the word “obedience” written on a bathroom wall. However in today’s world it may show up, because it does not have a very positive connotation in the Christian religion. This may be because we focus on the rules/commandments rather than on the One who gave us the commandments. But for whatever reason obedience has suffered a “fall from grace” with some who emphasize that it is all about grace.

However the word “obedience” is a very good word. The mistake we make sometimes is thinking of God as a dictator or drill sergeant who demands obedience because of His “authoritarian” rule and anything but “strict conformity” will bring His wrath. This is perhaps because of the way some in authority (such as our parents, teachers, rulers, bosses, preachers, elders, and others) have exercised authority in a hateful authoritarian way during our lifetime and therefore they have helped to form and fashion a very negative view of obedience in many cases. We have allowed the “dictator” mentality to define our view of obedience to mean simply, “do it or else” with no question or hesitation or suffer the consequences!

But this is not the way we should view our obedience to God. He does not want us to view “keeping His commandments” as simply authoritarian demands that we “keep or else!” It is when we consider obedience to God as our loving “response” to what God wants for us and what is best for us that things change in us. “Trust and obey” should convey the idea of trust and respond to Jesus the Son. We trust in what He approves because He wants to help us to improve. Being in “His kingdom” (Col. 1:13) necessitates giving up control of our lives to His care and direction for our lives. When we are in control we are in spiritual darkness,but when we submit our lives to His care (otherwise known as obedience)it is a sign of spiritual smartness.

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— (Romans 16:25-26). If you know these things, BLESSED are you if you DO them. (John 13:17). When God tells us to do something, it is for our own good. He is really saying, “Do yourself a favor.” When He tells us not to do something, it is something we don’t need to do anyway. He is really saying, “Don’t hurt yourself.” Remember, no good thing does He withhold, and it’s always best to do as we’re told. He never withholds from us anything good, and He always wants us to do as we should.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD From those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11).
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today FOR YOUR GOOD? (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).

Wayne Dunaway