Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Book Review: Walking As He Walked

Walking As He Walked. Joel R. Beeke. 2002/2007. 133 pages. [Source: Bought]

Walking As He Walked is a collection of four sermons preached by Joel R. Beeke all inspired by 1 John 2:6. In the book he argues that walking like Christ walked is not an optional "extra" for Christians; being a Christian by definition means walking like Christ walked. His point is not to expect perfection and instant victory. No, his point is that believers should want--should desire--to grow in Christlikeness, to aspire to a closer walk, a holier walk. We should strive to run the race, in other words. So what does it mean to walk like Christ? Here is how Beeke describes it:
Walking as Christ walked means making Jesus’ priorities my own by faith (John 6:38). It means delighting in and keeping God’s law as Jesus did (Ps. 40:8). It means having compassion for others, repaying evil with good, and acting in love (John 13:15; 1 Pet. 2:23; Luke 23:34). It means despising the same pleasures and vanities of this world that He despised, speaking and living the same truths that He spoke and lived, and being led by the same Spirit that led Him (Rom. 8:14).
The first chapter is on cross-bearing (Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26). The second is on office-bearing (prophet, priest, king). The third is on tears (John 11:35, Luke 19:41, Hebrews 5:7). The fourth is on endurance. Each chapter focuses first on Jesus: how he lived, how he "walked" before moving onto what it means for us, how it applies to how we live our lives, how we walk in this world.

I would have to say that I found his sermons thought-provoking. For example,
When we have an encounter with Jesus Christ, our lives are changed once and for all. Every time we hear the gospel, our path crosses the path of a crucified Jesus, who is now exalted and walks among us in the garments of the gospel. Each encounter will be either for our salvation or our damnation. It will soften or harden us—never leaving us exactly the same.
Too often we Christians expect too little of Jesus and too much of each other.
If you think that God does not care about your sorrows and that Jesus is insensitive to your suffering, your concept of God needs correction. Perhaps dullness, blindness, or unbelief makes you feel this way. We are told that “Jesus wept.” The message of those two words is that God cares for us.
If you will not think of Him or of yourself, then consider the tears of Jesus. He wept for those who would not weep for themselves, who did not think that they had anything to weep about. He mourned for those who were going down the broad road that leads to destruction; He wept for the perishing! Jesus wept because God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He wept for hell-worthy, perishing sinners. The fault for your unbelief is yours; there is no one else in the entire world you can blame it on. But note this: though Jesus wept because of your willful unbelief, He did not excuse you from punishment.
What do we weep over? If we each had two bottles, and into one we put all the tears we shed for ourselves in the past ten years and, into the other, all the tears we have shed over lost souls, which bottle would be fuller? Do most of our tears spring from selfish, earthly concerns, or do they spring from concerns for the eternal souls of those around us? Have we shed any tears we could claim before the Lord, as David did: “Put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” (Ps. 56:8).
And I loved how full of quotes this one was!
Samuel Rutherford; he learned so much in the school of Christ that when he saw another affliction coming, he’d say, “Here comes my Jesus!”
And as Martin Luther used to say, “Letting God be God is half of all true religion.”
Dear friends, as we listen to the claims of the devil, we must say with Luther, “We tremble, for so much of what the devil says is true. The devil has enough strength in his tail to knock my conversion out of me.”
Daniel Smart, a nineteenth century Baptist preacher, once remarked, “The sweetest tears a believer sheds are always in relation to the precious blood of Jesus Christ.”
“Sin,” as John Owen put it, “is always at our elbow.”
Bunyan once said that if sin knocks on your door and you open the door, you have not sinned as long as you shut the door as soon as you recognize sin for what it is. We fall into sin when we welcome sin into the home of our minds and dwell upon it.
Luther was so encouraged by the Psalms when he was going through his own trials that he said, “I can scarcely see how you can be a Christian without David being one of your best friends.”
Luther quipped: “Some of my best friends are dead ones.”
I loved this one. I just loved, loved, loved it. This would be a great introduction to Joel Beeke. It is perhaps a tiny bit more reader-friendly than R.C. Sproul's Pleasing God which I reviewed earlier this year. Both books are on sanctification. Both have some great insights.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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