Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST

Philippians 1.6

Is it not amazing that the Apostle Paul is able, by God’s grace, to write to the Philippian congregation from Roman imprisonment, not only extending to them his wishes for them to experience grace and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, but to also joyfully express his gratitude to God for their involvement in the gospel ministry and in his life? I find it remarkable when I think of Paul’s circumstances that his full attention is not directed to his own situation, that he is not fully absorbed by consideration of his own pressing issues, and that he is genuinely concerned about the spiritual welfare of those precious people in Philippi. However, the first six verses of Philippians gives good indication of how Paul can avoid being caught up in the immediate and was not so susceptible to the tyranny of the urgent.

Turn to Philippians 1.1 and stand with me for the reading of God’s Word:

1      Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

2      Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

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.

This morning, we saw the immediate benefits that accrue to the Christian when he endures trials and afflictions. His faith is tried, patience is wrought, the believer becomes perfect and entire wanting nothing, which is to say he is strengthened and matured. As well, the Christian who suffers in his Christian life, and who endures for his Savior, develops a greater love for Christ. Therefore, as James directed those he wrote to to count it all joy, we should not be surprised that the Apostle Paul expressed joy in what he wrote.

There is no question about Paul’s understanding of the benefits of the believer’s faith being tested, since he endured tremendous temptations and afflictions over the course of his Christian life. As well, remember that by this time Paul had already benefited from an amazing experience, being caught up to the third heaven where he heard astonishing things he was forbidden to share with others.[1] There can be no doubt that what God revealed to him at that time was profoundly useful in shaping his attitude toward the sufferings he endured. He knew how everything for the Christian would end, and that the news at the end was good news. Through his experiences, he never lost sight of the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, which I dealt with last week and the week before from Philippians 1.6, “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it.” What I did not much deal with last week, that I would like to concentrate on this evening, is connected to the message I brought to you this morning. Notice the last phrase of Philippians 1.6: “the day of Jesus Christ.”

Whatever this good work is that God does in believer’s lives, it will continue until “the day of Jesus Christ.” As well, if you remember from the message this morning taking James 1.12 as my text, I made reference to when the crown of life would be given to those who love Jesus, but put off my answer to that question until this evening. Philippians is the last of Paul’s letters in which reference is made to “the day of Jesus Christ” or its equivalent. In Philippians 1.6, Paul writes, “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” In Philippians 1.10, he refers to it again: “that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.” His final use of the phrase is found in Philippians 2.16: “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”

Whatever Paul means by this phrase, it is clear that it is important to him and that it should be thought important to those he writes to. What is also interesting is that he has written of the Day of Jesus Christ before, to the Thessalonian congregation, and in both letters to the Corinthians.[2] What I propose to do this evening is describe the Day of Christ by addressing three main issues related to the Day of Jesus Christ:

First, THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE TERMINATION OF CHURCH AGE BELIEVER’S JOURNEY ON EARTH

That is, when the Day of Jesus Christ comes, we are out of here:

The first comment the Apostle Paul made about the Day of Christ is found in Second Thessalonians 2.2: “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” The Apostle Paul had instructed the new believers in Thessalonica, had left others to teach them, and had written his first letter to them. Somewhere in that instruction he had set before them God’s prophetic plan, which I believe to be the Rapture of Church Age believers, followed by the 70th week of Daniel (the seven years of tribulation), then the second coming of Christ in power and great glory to establish His millennial kingdom on earth for 1,000 years. However, someone had sent a counterfeit letter to the Thessalonians causing them to think the Rapture had already occurred and they had been left behind. In the verse we have just read, Paul put that notion to rest.

Paul next brought up the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Corinthians. In First Corinthians 1.7-8, we see that the Day of Christ is linked to the coming of Christ:

7      So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

8      Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice the parallelism of the two verses, verse 7 mentioning “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and verse 8 referring to the same period in different words with “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” First Corinthians 5.5 is Paul’s disposition of the Corinthian fornicator, looking ahead from his excommunication from the church to that day of culmination when our deliverance from the very presence of sin takes place, by which time Paul sincerely hopes the young man will have been genuinely converted to Christ: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” In Second Corinthians 1.14, Paul anticipates the Day of the Lord Jesus as a time of rejoicing that will take place (verse 13) at the end, presumably at the end of this Church Age: “As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.” For reasons that I hope will become more clear as we proceed, I place this rejoicing as taking place when believers are removed from this wicked old world to a better place in that event we call the Rapture.

Next, THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST INCLUDES THE JUDGMENT OF CHRISTIANS BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

Turn to Second Corinthians 5.10, where admittedly there is no direct reference to the Day of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, those who are consistent in their approach to interpreting the Bible historically and grammatically place the Judgment Seat of Christ that is here referred to as occurring subsequent to the Rapture of the Church Age believer: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

Though he did not specifically mention the Rapture in his first Corinthian letter, it seems clear that Paul did anticipate that blessed event that takes place during the Day of Christ. That said, Paul did reveal to the Corinthians what would take place at the Judgment Seat of Christ. He did that in First Corinthians 3.12-17:

12     Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13     Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14     If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15     If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16     Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17     If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

My opinion is that “the day shall declare it” in verse 13 is an allusion to the Day of Christ.

May I point out a few things for you for later study and verification? First, Paul is writing to the Corinthian church, identified in this passage as the temple of God, with the temple of the Holy Spirit in First Corinthians 6.19 being the believer’s physical body. So, the congregation is “the temple of God.” Second, the Christian’s works (the phrase every or any man’s works is mentioned four times in three verses) will be evaluated and rewarded based upon the quality of the materials used to construct the temple of God he is laboring to build. Thus, judgment will be rendered to those in the congregation based on the quality of their work to build up the congregation, identified by Paul here as “the temple of God.” Third, the judgment will not determine eternal destiny, since even those whose works are consumed by the fire of judgment will be saved, and with this judgment taking place after the Rapture when the believers being judged are already in heaven. However, good quality labor (described as gold, silver, and precious stones) will be rewarded. The very worst thing that can happen to a believer is to be in heaven, but with no rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Finally, take a step back and consider the context in which all this takes place. The only issues that are judged according to this passage are those directly related to building “the temple of God,” which is the church congregation. With respect to a believer’s devotion to areas of Christian service unrelated to the church to which he belongs the Word of God is silent. Church member, your rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ will depend upon your service in your church, “the temple of God,” not freelance Christianity or parachurch ministry efforts.

Finally, THE DAY OF CHRIST WILL ALSO INCLUDE THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB

Turn to Revelation 19.7-9, where reference is made to the marriage of the Lamb and also to the marriage supper of the Lamb:

7      Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

8      And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

9      And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Since the book of the Revelation is written in chronological order, according to Revelation 1.19, it is clear that the marriage of the Lamb takes place after the Rapture and before the Second Coming of Christ in power and great glory, referred to in Revelation 19.11 and following. The sequence of events is portrayed in the handout the ushers are passing out to you now. The Rapture occurs at which time the Bridegroom catches up the Bride of Christ (Church Age believers in Jesus Christ) and takes her/us to heaven. That is the next event on the prophetic calendar in the Bible. The Judgment Seat of Christ takes place in heaven, Christians are judged and rewards are given. Some Christians, though they are saved and by this time in heaven, will receive no rewards, according to First Corinthians 3.15. The third event related to us to take place is the Marriage of the Lamb, which will take place in heaven because no other location would be appropriate for a heavenly people, Philippians 3.20: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” The fourth event will be the Second Coming of Christ, Revelation 19.11-21. You can read that lengthy passage on your own. After His Second Coming, the Lord Jesus Christ will establish His millennial kingdom on earth, He will sit on the throne of the His father David, and He will preside over the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

A few concluding remarks about the Day of Jesus Christ. First, make sure you do not confuse the Day of Jesus Christ with the Day of the LORD, a term first introduced by the prophet Joel in Joel 1.15 that refers predominately to events related to the covenant people of Israel. The Day of Jesus Christ refers only to Church Age believers in Jesus Christ.

That said, shift your thinking to the Apostle Paul as he was writing Philippians from Roman imprisonment and the Philippian congregation as this Philippian letter was read to them. From Paul’s difficult situation, God reached out to bless His children in their own difficulty in Philippi with words of grace and promise from their beloved Paul. In a pressure cooker environment, perhaps some feared they would fail under the assault of persecution or the various other difficulties of life. How their hearts must have been encouraged by Paul’s confidence about their perseverance, that God would finish the good work in them that He had begun, and that the Day of Jesus Christ was something every believer should look forward to.

You face difficulties and challenges, my Christian friend, just like believers of all ages. Thankfully, we have grace and peace available to us from our God and from the Lord Jesus Christ. If you think your situation is bad, remember what it was like before you came to Christ, before your sins were forgiven, before you had peace with God and the peace of God. You know as well as I do how miserable they are who do not know the Savior. We remember. However, now we can pray to our Father and know that He hears us. We can ask of Him and He will answer. Further, we know the joy that does not depend upon circumstances, but is based on the indwelling Spirit of God who produces joy during the most difficult trials. Finally, we can be confident as Paul was confident, knowing that our God began a good work in you that He is determined to finish, and that we who know Christ will each experience the triumph that only Christians can anticipate come the Day of Jesus Christ. Though he had great and life threatening issues to address in his own life, Paul received grace from God to not only address his own issues, but also to minister grace to other believers and to reach lost people who were within reach. The same is true of you and me, Christian.

Grace and peace. That is what we have who know Christ. Grace to deal with our own issues while at the same time being a blessing to others, and peace with God that enables the peace of God to reign in our hearts. To be sure, we have as many problems as anyone else does, except for the big problem. The big problem is the sin problem, the spiritual death problem, the eternal life problem, the where will you spend eternity problem. That issue is settled for the Christian. It now remains for us to get ready for where we already know we are going, and to help others along the way, by God’s sufficient grace.



[1] 2 Corinthians 12.1-7

[2] 2 Thessalonians 2.2; 1 Corinthians 1.8; 5.5; 2 Corinthians 1.14



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pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org