Joel Beeke, a minister in Grand Rapids, USA, gave four messages on ‘Walking as he walked’ (1 John 2:6) at the Evangelical Movement of Wales annual conference at Aberystwyth in August 2006. This book consists of these sermons.
In the first chapter, Beeke defines cross-bearing as ‘a metaphor for suffering and burden-bearing’ – taking Simon of Cyrene, who bore Jesus’ cross, as an example of how we should bear Christ’s cross ‘willingly, without complaint and without shame’.
The second chapter on office-bearing is rooted in Jesus’ prayer for Simon Peter in Luke 22:31-32 and develops three aspects of leadership – prophetic admonition, priestly intercession and kingly commission.
In the third chapter the author links three texts that focus on Jesus’ tears – at Bethany, over Jerusalem and in Gethsemane. He applies his message evangelistically in the following way:
‘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; though Jesus wept because of your wilful unbelief, he did not excuse you from punishment. It is not by tears of repentance or by our prayers that atonement is made for our souls, but only by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ’.
The fourth chapter explains the mission, manner and motives of endurance from Hebrews 12:1-3. ‘Our perseverance is a fruit of God’s preservation, but that perseverance is still ours’, Beeke explains.
I agree with Geoff Thomas’ commendation in the preface when he says this book ‘is easy to read, immediately impacting, spiritually uplifting, and results in sheer joy and pleasure’.