Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Walking as he Walked

Author: Dr. Joel R. Beeke
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books and Bryntirion Press (2007)
ISBN-10: 1601780109
ISBN-13: 978-1601780102

Here are four excellent sermons preached by Dr. Beeke at the Aberystwyth Conference in 2006 under the title, “Walking as He Walked”. There is also a helpful Study Guide after the sermons. Pastor Geoffrey Thomas in his introduction to the book says, “Dr. Beeke is in a class of his own when it comes to exegetical and expository preaching. He never disappoints. He is always fresh, illuminative, and instructive”. To this assessment we would concur.

The theme “Walking as He Walked” is drawn from 1 John 2:6, which reminds us that those who abide in Christ should “walk, even as He walked”.

Dr. Beeke quotes the Puritan William Fenner, “None of us in this life will walk so purely, so unspottedly, so steadily, so effectively as Christ walked, although this is our goal while running the Christian race”. How adequately this sums up our daily walk as Christians.

In these sermons we are shown how we can be more conformed to the image of Christ in four of the most difficult areas of the Christian life: cross bearing, office bearing, sorrow, and endurance.

In the first sermon on “Cross Bearing”, Dr. Beeke considers, from Mark 15:24 and Luke 23:26, how Simon of Cyrene carried the cross of Jesus before the crucifixion. We are shown Simon as a cursed, coerced, and conquered cross bearer.

We are reminded of Charles Simeon, preacher at Holy Trinity, Cambridge for fifty four years, who had been feeling very discouraged for some time in 1796. He had felt “persecuted on all sides”, and had asked, “What is the point of going on?” He wanted to resign his position, but then, he read Mark 15:21, “Simon bore his cross after Jesus”, and so Charles Simeon continued on in his ministry at Holy Trinity.

We are called upon to bear our cross, willingly without complaining, and without shame. We are to keep our eyes on Christ, and on the joyful promise of His reward, the crown of life.

Bearing our cross as “Office Bearers” is the theme of the second sermon. We are referred to Luke 22:31-32, where we read of the sifting of Simon Peter by Satan. We who are leaders in the Lord`s work are encouraged by Dr. Beeke to daily flee to Christ, and to defy Satan, remembering Romans 16:10, “the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all”.

The third sermon concerns “Sorrow”, and we are asked to consider the Saviour`s “tears” from John 11:35 at Bethany, Luke 19:41 at Jerusalem, and Hebrews 5:7 at Gethsemane. Allow me to quote Dr. Beeke, “What about your tears; are they motivated by sympathy for those in need? Are you truly touched by their circumstances? Does your heart go out to the mourning, the needy, the handicapped, and the lost? Do you have a big evangelistic heart? Are you walking as Jesus walked?

The last sermon concerns “Endurance”. We are shown from Hebrews 12:1-3 how to endure as a Christian. We are reminded that in the letter to the Hebrews there are ninety six references to “endurance”. The Christian life is like a race, we must lay aside every weight that might hinder us in our spiritual progress, upon which Dr. Beeke quotes Dr. Ollyott, who says, “For some of you this will mean cancelling your subscription to the internet, getting rid of your TV, not reading certain books and magazines.
For others it may mean giving up football, or some other sport. It is SIN that is the great enemy in the Christian race!”

It is to be noted that each sermon includes an invitation to the unsaved to follow in the Saviour`s steps.

May I add a personal note of delight to see the Scripture references in this new book taken from the Authorised King James Version (1611) especially on the eve its four hundredth anniversary.

As the Rev. Maurice Roberts observes, “we are encouraged to gird up our loins, take up His cross, and press on through the thorns, until we come into His glorious presence above: no cross, no crown”.

May the love of Christ constrain us to follow in the Master`s footsteps until we see His blessed face.

Gary A Jerrard