From 27-28 July, Dr Joel Beeke (Grand Rapids, USA) paid us a visit at the Evangelical Reformed Church, Lauriston Road, Hackney, for a two day conference entitled ‘True living’. 150-180 people attended over the course of the two days.
Day 1 started at 3.00pm with a topical sermon on Ephesians 5:25, entitled ‘True living in the home’. In this, Dr Beeke covered issues of marriage and courtship.
The primary reason we should want to marry is for the glory of God. Other biblical reasons are for procreation, to curb sinful passions, and to comfort and serve one another.
In marriage, husbands should love their wives sacrificially and purposefully, even as Christ loved the church. Husbands should also love realistically and expect and bear with faults and weaknesses.
Wives should submit to their husbands, but that doesn’t mean they can’t express their view or opinion. They must be willing to allow their husbands the greater weight of responsibility in making decisions.
Marital love should be founded on Christ. Both husband and wife must love the Lord and help each to live holy lives, while bringing up their children in the fear of the Lord.
In the second part of day 1, Joel Beeke preached from Philippians 1:21 on ‘True living in your personal life’. He spoke about John Paton and his life of devotion and missionary service to the cannibals.
Christ is our life. He has provided justification for us. We have been credited with his obedience and declared righteous because of him. Like Paul, we are constrained by the love of Christ and, when our hearts are humble, loving and serving, the ‘aroma of Christ’ is spread by us.
For the apostle Paul, to die was gain. Death brings us into the presence of Christ and perfect communion with him, as we behold him face to face. The problems of sin and sufferings will be gone. We ought not to dig our tent pegs too deep into this world’s ground, as we are pilgrims looking for a better country.
On day 2 (the Lord’s Day), Dr Beeke preached at the morning and evening services. The morning sermon was ‘Running the best race to the end’, based on Hebrews 12:1-2.
We must ‘keep on keeping on’ as Christians in the race set before us. This means using all the means of grace and ‘laying aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us’. There must be mortification of sin; we must shut the doors and windows of our souls to sin.
Our great motivation for running is Jesus Christ. He endured to the death of the cross for us and was willing to suffer shame, for the crown of joy and glory that would follow. We are also motivated by remembering the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ who went before us in this race and who endured by faith (Hebrews 12:1-11).
Dr Beeke’s Sunday evening sermon was on ‘True living in the love of God in heaven’, based on Revelation 21:23. He spoke on God’s love towards his people, love within the Trinity and God’s love as shared between believers.
Heaven will be far better than our present experience, because faith will become sight and God will be known better. Our loving engagement to Christ will turn into a perfect marriage, and the saints will experience cumulative satisfaction, as God reveals more and more of his glory throughout eternity.
Heaven is a place of perfect love, with Christ the lamb at its centre. There will be no more sin, pain or sorrow and we will be in God’s presence to enjoy, love and praise him for ever.
After the conference, Dr Beeke answered various questions from the youth, including on seeing angels in heaven, God’s invisibility and how Christ as a man experienced death in our place. His time with us and sermons were of great profit and encouragement to us and we look forward to having him with us again.