Calvary Road Baptist Church


Philippians 1.10

Please turn in your Bible and read Romans 5.6 with me: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” This verse shows us three things about unsaved people. First, it shows us that they are ungodly. Second, it shows us that they are without spiritual strength, which is to say, they are spiritually impotent. They cannot really do right even if they want to. However, third, it shows that Christ died for ungodly sinners. Now turn to Romans 6.19: “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh.” The one thing I want you to come away from this verse with, which describes people who are Christians, is what is termed “the infirmity of your flesh.” The word “infirmity” in this verse translates the same basic Greek word that “without strength” translates in Romans 5.6.[1] My point being, before a person becomes a Christian he is spiritually impotent. No strength to do things pleasing to God. However, notice that after becoming a Christian that same person, though now saved with sins forgiven, is still spiritually impotent. No wonder the Apostle Paul prayed so much. He knew, in his head, and in his heart, and in the depths of his soul by revelation from God, that if he ever expected to accomplish anything for God with the Philippians, or with anyone else, he needed to get on his knees and prayerfully ask God to do, for those Philippians and for others, what he could not possibly do for them himself.

Turn in your Bible to Philippians 1.3. When you find that verse, stand and read with me what the Apostle Paul said about his habit of praying for those beloved Philippian Christians:

3      I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

4      Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

5      For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

6      Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

7      Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

8      For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

9      And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

10     That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

11     Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

In verses 9-11, Paul gets somewhat specific about his prayers for the Philippians. We learned in verse 9 that he wanted their love to “abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.” That is, he wanted their already abundant love to continue to grow along the guidelines of an increasingly thorough understanding of spiritual things and the spiritual coordination, if you will, to function spiritually, which is what judgment refers to. Those two things Paul asked for would lead, he knew full well, to two consequences, to two effects, as God was faithful to answer his prayers. My friends, I, too, want God to answer the prayer request of verse 9. I want your love to abound yet more and more, I want your comprehension of spiritual reality to develop, and I want you to progress in all judgment. Too many people claim to be Christians who confuse sentiment for love and exhibit no real knowledge of spiritual things, and no judgment. I want better than that for you, but I will not get better than that for you apart from praying as Paul prayed.

Perhaps I can persuade you to pray for yourselves as I pray for you. Would you be willing to make verse 9 a pattern of your praying? In addition, as you pray for the things of verse 9, pray that those two causes will produce the two effects of verse 10 in your lives. Notice the twofold results of love and knowledge and judgment increasing in a church member’s life.

First, there comes spiritual discernment. “That ye may approve things that are excellent.” Listen closely as I explain this phrase, because it shows that you are to do something as spiritual Christians that unsaved people howl about. Do you see the word “approve?” It refers to testing, analyzing, and accepting as approved.[2] It means you are supposed to scrutinize and evaluate things. “Oh, that sounds too much like judging, and you’re not supposed to judge. That’s wrong. How dare you make moral evaluations? You Christians are all judgmental.” My Christian friend, if you do not learn to judge, to evaluate, and to analyze, it is only because you are stunted in your spiritual growth, if you are truly a Christian. Precisely what is it you are supposed to approve of? “Things that are excellent.” Though elsewhere in scripture we are expressly commanded to judge the behavior of others, and to judge the rightness and wrongness of other people’s beliefs, what is specifically referred to here in this verse, “things that are excellent,” is learning to test according to a standard, to evaluate, and to decide between things that are okay and things that are better, things that are good and things that are best. This may not seem critical to you who are unconverted or to you who are spiritually immature, but it is a crucial skill to sharpen in the life of a growing and maturing believer. You see, a growing Christian, someone who is thriving spiritually, will never seek to justify his behavior when it is questioned by asking, “What’s wrong with it?” That is the type of question asked by people who do not have the discernment to analyze, to approve of things that are excellent. What is proper, rather, is to ask, “Of these two or three options, which is best, which is most pleasing to God, which is most clearly beneficial to the cause of Christ?” The unsaved person, or the immature Christian, would say, “What’s wrong with watching that television program?” The Christian with discernment will ask, “Is watching this program better than reading a good book or actually doing something productive?” Another example would be, “What’s wrong with hanging around him? He’s my friend. I like him.” The spiritually discerning person would look at it this way: Are you hanging around a guy who challenges Christianity, who criticizes your pastor, and who encourages you to do things you know are wrong? You see, if you really want to do him some good then you will witness to him, you will challenge his worldliness, and you will separate from him when he does not respond in order to demonstrate to him that your loyalty to Christ is more important to you than his friendship. That is the first result of God answering the prayers of verse 9, spiritual discernment.

The second result of God answering in a believer’s life the prayers of verse 9 is spiritual attainment. “. . . that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” Would you notice, before we go any further, that spiritual advancement has to do with the quality of the Christian’s life, not the various quantities in the Christian’s life? I am reminded that the Judgment Seat of Christ will be concerned with the quality of the Christian’s service (gold, silver, and precious stones preferred to wood, hay, and stubble) without any reference to quantity, First Corinthians 3.12-14. So many people whose Christian lives focus on the number of supposed decisions for Christ they have led people to make think that spirituality has to do with the number of notches they have in their gospel gun belt. However, notice here that increases in love, knowledge, and judgment does not translate into the number of professions of faith someone leads people to make. To be sure, getting folks saved is why God left us here after we trusted Christ. That said, spiritual growth is a qualitative matter, not an issue of quantity.

Let me be specific. The first spiritual attainment is “that ye may be sincere . . . till the day of Christ.” The word “sincere” translates a Greek compound word that is made by joining the Greek word for judging something to the Greek word for the sun in the sky. Here is the idea. How much better can you see and evaluate the quality of something in sunlight than when you are indoors where there is no good light? As well, how much worse was it in Paul’s day when they had only poor lamp light indoors? Therefore, the word “sincere” conveys the idea of taking something outside and holding it up to the sun to look for defects, to look for impurities, and to look for flaws.[3] Thus, Paul’s desire is for the Philippian’s motives to be unmixed and pure. No hidden motives or pretense for them. The first spiritual attainment from the discernment that comes into the life of someone whose love grows, and whose knowledge and judgment grows, is a life that can stand up under scrutiny. This is the person who with both humility and confidence by God’s grace, is unafraid of others looking closely at his life, scrutinizing him, or looking for reasons to find fault with him. Will faults be found? Of course, they will. “But you should have known me before I met the Savior.” However, that is not all. There is a second attainment. “. . . and without offense till the day of Christ.” If being “sincere” has to do with the quality of your spirituality, being clean and unsullied, then being “without offense” shows the benefit of your spirituality in the lives of others. “Without offense” means no one has stumbled over you. It means that you have been a roadblock in no one’s life. You have not even been a speed bump in the parking lot of life.[4] What a comforting thought to be so acknowledged “till the day of Christ,” always a blessing.

What do we see from Philippians 1.10? We see several things I would like to point out before proceeding: We see that the consequence of spiritual growth has to do with quality, not quantity. As a believer grows, within the context of his church, sitting under the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, being involved in evangelism and giving, you will become more discerning. You can make better choices. As you make better choices, you progress in your spiritual attainments. Then, when comes “the day of Christ,” you will be seen to have been sincere and without offense. Folks, those are things related to the quality of your Christian life. Take the long look.

There is coming a time referred to in the Bible as “the day of Christ.” What your life is now is important. However, what is of paramount importance is what your life will end up being like on that day. It is in the book of Job that reference is made to the heavenly host rejoicing when God made the physical universe in which we live.[5] Note that God made only one universe, by the way, so there is no parallel universe as is fantasized by some scientists and science fiction writers. That is why it is call a universe, uni referring to one existence or one creation. It is in Luke 2.13-14, when the shepherds were told of the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem, that suddenly the heavenly host began their paean of praise. Thus, we know of two significant events in which God’s holy angels celebrated, if you want to use that word, something wonderful and significant; the creation of the universe and the birth of the Son of God. Of course, we celebrate the birth of the Son of God every year, but this thing termed “the day of Christ” will be an even bigger celebration than the two previously mentioned in God’s Word. Despite the fact that celebrating the birth of the Son of God has caught on and for reasons related to greed and materialism has morphed into the very popular holiday we know as Christmas, “the day of Christ” will be a very different celebration in that not everyone will be allowed to participate in it. In addition to the holy angels in heaven, only genuinely converted people, only those who are truly saved, will rejoice on “the day of Christ.” Getting ready for “the day of Christ” is something everyone who is wise will want to tend to.

Therefore, I will me describe for you two important things related to being prepared for “the day of Christ.”


You know, of course, that nothing happens by accident. You realize that everything unfolds according to a predetermined plan that was ordained before the foundation of the world. A wrong response to God’s predestinating purpose is to throw up your hands and say, “If everything is predetermined, why not just sit back and let it happen?” God’s plan and purpose, as it is worked out through the Savior’s program, never results in such fatalism and giving up on the part of those who understand it properly. The right response to discovering God’s purpose and plan being worked out through the Savior’s program is to take advantage of the program and seek to secure the blessings of God.

Six marvelous and stupendous events culminating in “the day of Christ.”

First, there was the Incarnation. The incarnation refers to God becoming a man. John 1.1-3 shows the Word to be God:

1      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2      The same was in the beginning with God.

3      All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1.14 shows that this same Word became flesh: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” This is speaks to the Lord Jesus Christ taking upon Himself human form and human nature. This is what we celebrate at Christmas time, the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.

Next, after maturing to adulthood and conducting His brief earthly ministry, in which He fulfilled His office of prophet, there came the crucifixion, at which time the Lord Jesus Christ died on Calvary’s cross and shed His precious blood, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, John 1.29. Although the Lord Jesus Christ did many important things during His earthly ministry, such as teach, preach, heal, raise the dead, and found His church, His primary purpose for coming to earth was to take upon Himself sinner’s sins and satisfy with His own shed blood the Father’s righteous demand of payment for your sins and mine. That is why He is described as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.[6] This is what we celebrate when our church observes the communion of the Lord’s Supper, that Jesus died for us, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God who trust Him.[7]

Third, there would be no celebration of the crucifixion, however, without Christ’s glorious resurrection. As He predicted He would, the Lord Jesus Christ, proving Himself to be the resurrection and the life, rose from the dead after three days and three nights, bodily.[8] Among the most well attested facts of ancient history is the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ. Anyone who tells you that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead is either ignorant of the truth or is a liar. Don’t believe him.[9] By the way, when a hopeful convert is being baptized he is, in a sense, celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and his own personal identification with that resurrection when he is immersed and then raised up out of the baptismal water.

Event #4. After the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, more than 500 people saw him at one time. Then, after a period of post-resurrection ministry, He ascended to heaven to sit at His Father’s right hand, where many verses in God’s Word show He is currently enthroned.[10] Think about the Savior’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Making a sacrifice for sins, and then rising from the dead and ascending into heaven to offer His Own precious blood for the remission of our sins, is the work of what office? That is a priestly function. During His earthly ministry, He fulfilled the prophetic office. His sacrifice for our sins fulfilled the priestly office. The Lord Jesus Christ is the great high priest of those who come to Him by faith.[11] As well, since He is the only mediator between God and man, He and only He can be approached by faith by the sinner who wants access to God.

The Lord Jesus Christ ascended to His Father’s right hand almost 2000 years ago. Since then He has sat in session for us as our intercessor. The next event on the prophetic calendar, the fifth phase of the Savior’s program, is what we refer to as the Rapture. The Rapture is actually the first part of the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. During the first part of His second coming the Savior comes back invisibly, in the air, and snatches away all those who on earth are saved, First Thessalonians 4.15-18:

15     For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16     For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17     Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18     Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

By accomplishing this glorious rescue, the Lord Jesus Christ brings to an end the age of the churches. God’s dealings with Israel as a nation will then resume where things left off when the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophesy about the 70th week of Tribulation.[12] I am persuaded the Day of Jesus Christ begins at this point, most particularly when those caught up in the Rapture are presented faultless before Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ.[13]

With church age believers gone from earth, at least seven years following the Rapture and the beginning of the Day of Christ, and with the seven year tribulation period concluded, the Lord Jesus Christ completes the second part of His second coming, which is His visible, physical, return to earth to save His people Israel and establish His millennial kingdom on earth in fulfillment of the promise made so long ago to Abraham.[14] The Apostle John’s words in Revelation 19.11-16:

11     And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

12     His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

13     And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14     And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15     And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16     And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Notice that at His second coming the Lord Jesus Christ functions in His office of King. Indeed, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. With the second coming of Christ being the sixth portion of Christ’s program, our review of the Savior’s prophetic program concludes. In case it was not obvious to you as I reviewed the six events, keep in mind that the only opportunity you will ever have to prepare for the Day of Christ will be during the course of your life here on earth. It is before you pass over to the eternal state that you must turn from your sins and come to Christ, or forever suffer the wrath of a scorned Savior.


Remembering that “the day of Christ” is the ultimate in the Lord Jesus Christ’s vindication and victory, it stands to reason that those who are His enemies and those who did not come to Him will not celebrate His great majesty in that day. However, since every saved person who will be celebrating that great day came into this world a sinner, it is crucial that you understand the logical process that will transform a sinner awaiting God’s wrath into one of the celebrants on “the day of Christ.”

First, of course, there is the condemnation of sin. Do you think you are okay? Do you think you are relatively free of sin? Let me ask you this: Have you committed but one sin in your entire life? Will you admit to one sin? Then consider James 2.10: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Like it or not, the person who has told but one white lie in his entire lifetime is as much a sinner in the sight of God, as much a breaker of God’s holy Law, as a mass murderer.

Next, though all men are condemned by their sin, you may not be convicted of your sin. In John chapter 16, the Lord Jesus Christ described the Holy Spirit of God’s ministry of convicting (convincing is a more recognizable word) of sin, righteousness, and judgment. What is the Spirit’s ministry of convicting? Listen carefully. It is not ministries of making anyone feel bad or of producing certain emotional responses in people, though that is sometimes a byproduct of conviction. Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit, usually in response to Bible preaching, to convince you beyond any shadow of doubt that you truly are sinful, that you truly are deserving of whatever punishment God puts on you, and that you truly are helpless to save yourself from your sins. Some who are so convinced by the Holy Spirit react in an obviously emotional way, while others do not. The emotions are not the significant thing produced by the Holy Spirit. What is significant is that when convicted, when convinced, you are persuaded of your sinfulness as you have never before been persuaded of anything in your life.

Third, the purpose of the Holy Spirit persuading you of sin is to show you that Jesus Christ is your only hope of salvation, so that you will trust Him and experience the conversion of salvation. What can you do for yourself, sinner? Nothing. How can you help yourself? You can’t. You need Another. It is only when a sinner is so convicted by the Holy Spirit and becomes convinced of his own helplessness that he will be persuaded to turn by faith to Jesus, Who is his only Savior. Will you come to Jesus this day, my friend?

Fourth, if you come to Jesus Christ by faith, He will save you from your sins, making you what the Bible refers to as a saint. What is a saint? A saint is a sinner who has trusted Jesus. A saint is someone whose life is hid in Jesus Christ. A saint is someone whose sins are forgiven. A saint is someone who can have confidence of heaven and rejoicing on the Day of Christ that rests not in yourself or your own attainments, but in Jesus Christ, the Savior.

Christian’s celebrate two great events each year, the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas and the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. However, there is another great celebration party that has been planned since before time began, the Day of Jesus Christ. Would you like an invitation to that great celebration? It comes when you turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Ponder your present spiritual condition. There is a great deal more going on than most people realize. However, if you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, everything that needs tending to will be tended to by Him.

Place into His hands the safekeeping of your eternal and undying soul. I promise that you will never regret having done so.

[1] Asqenwn in Romans 5.6 and asqeneian in Romans 6.19, both related to incapacity. See Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), pages 142-143.

[2] Bauer, pages 255-256.

[3] Ibid., page 282.

[4] Ibid., pages 125-126.

[5] Job 38.7

[6] Revelation 13.8

[7] 1 Peter 3.18

[8] John 11.25-26; 1 Corinthians 15.4-8

[9] William Lane Craig, The Son Rises: The Historical Evidences For The Resurrection Of Jesus, (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2000)

[10] Psalm 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; 22.69; Acts 2.33-34; 7.55-56; Romans 8.34; Ephesians 1.20; Colossians 3.1; Hebrews 1.3, 13; 8.1; 10.12; 12.2; 1 Peter 3.22

[11] Hebrews 4.14

[12] Daniel 9.24-27

[13] See footnote for Philippians 1.6 from John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), page 1820.

[14] Genesis 12.1-3, 7; 13.14-17; 15.1-21; 17.1-21; 22.15-18

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