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Overcoming the World: Grace to Win the Daily Battle Paperback – March 4, 2005
The Amazon Book Review
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"A book on worldliness seems strangely out of fashion today. Talk of holiness and separation from the world seems to belong to another age. Joel Beeke provides a dose of purity and sense, like a glass of clean fresh water, in the murky pools of today's talk about holiness. The book is not only timely; it is also essential reading for every Christian who is serious about following Christ." Derek W. H. Thomas
"Why is worldliness such a serious matter for the individual Christian and the church? Beeke does us a great service by answering this and other crucial questions about worldliness in a biblical, practical, and insightful way. I am glad that this book is available for my own spiritual growth and ministry, and for the benefit of others who will be blessed." Wayne A. Mack
"Every Christian is called to a pure life. These chapters define a worldly spirit, and then exhort us to pursue victory over this impure world with a single-mindedness." Geoff Thomas
"Overcoming the World is not only a brilliant exposition of the meaning of worldliness, but a very practical guide. John Calvin is shown to be a man who was a great reformer with intense concern about basic spirituality as it affected the believers' relationship to the world. We need Joel Beeke's book--we need to read it, imbibe it, practice it, and commend it wherever we can." --Martin Holdt
About the Author
Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, where he also serves as professor of systematic theology and homiletics. He is the author of several books, including Truth That Frees, The Quest for Full Assurance, and A Reader's Guide to Reformed Literature.
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Striving,Fighting,Wrestling...are part of the Christian life.Striving to love God more and the things of this world less(only to love them as they provide for our needs and are useful in our service to our Lord)there is a love of complacency in things that are lawful,but we must guard our hearts in keeping how we view the things of this world and,by God;'s grace keep a proper perspective towards them.Our hearts have a tendency to value,the temporal things of this world,more than we should.-"By grace,one who would overcome the world strives for allegiance to God rather than the world."
Does the world still hold any attraction for believers,and if so,why? When a person is born again,by 'The Spirit Of God',the sinful fleshly nature is not removed,or even refined(not in this life)-"we who are believers carry a piece of the world within us." This is the battle every child of God is daily engaged in(to overcome the lusts of the flesh which our sinful natures crave for and delight in).Joel Beeke gives us an excellent question one can ask re-the entertainment they choose-"Does it glorify God or ignite fleshly lusts?" To walk by faith will enable us to be overcomers.Faith looks at 'This Present Evil World' in the light of God's Holy Word.-"Faith refuses to love this present evil world." Through faith we are enabled to see something of the emptiness and futility of this world.
Mr.Beeke notes that Calvin believed that Theology and practical piety were inseparable.Our ultimate priority should be to seek a true knowledge of God and of ourselves-"...but there is no true knowledge where there is no true piety."
There is a correlation between worldliness and holiness.In the chapter 'How To Cultivate Holiness' there are seven headings upon which Pastor Beeke briefly expounds.The fifth heading is 'Flee Worldliness'.Worldliness gains a foothold on our actions via our thoughts.The author uses Daniel's godly example as one way to combat 'A Worldly Influence' -'Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the King's meat....' A few of the other headings for cultivating holiness are-Know And Love The Scriptures,Be Dead To Sin,Alive To Christ and Commit Completely To God.
In our present generation of Christian authors Joel R.Beeke is one of 'The Bright Lights'.His books will help promote godliness and spiritual maturity.'Overcoming The World' is a great example of how helpful his books can be.
'When we surrender to the devil's temptation, that failure is rooted in unbelief.' p 36
'Friend, if you marry the spirit of this age, you'll find yourself a widow or a widower in the age to come.' p 37
Quoting Calvin on election:
'We shall never be clearly persuaded...that our salvation flows from the wellspring of God's free mercy until we come to know the very sweet fruit of God's eternal election.' p 72
'The worship of God is always primary, for one's relationship to God takes precedence over everything else.' p 73
'But Calvin helped Christians understand that the pious live Coram Deo, 'in the presence of God', from the heart and in daily life. Piety is, therefore, voluntary and unforced, motivated by delight in God.' p 73
'As Stephen Charnock concludes: 'This is the prime way of honoring God: we do not seek to glorify God by elevated admirations, or eloquent expressions, or pompous services for Him, as when we aspire to conversing with Him with unstained spirits, and live to Him in living like Him.' p 83
On battling perfectionism:
'In the meantime, brotherly love for fellow Christians dissipates and becomes strained. We no longer love them enough to bear with their sinful tendencies.' p 118
On our dependency on the Holy Spirit:
'The Spirit uses means to enable us to be examples - means rooted in our private lives.' p 120
A long hard look at mature Christian conduct.
'You have heaven to win or lose for yourselves as much as others.' Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor p 72