Calvary Road Baptist Church


Philippians 1.9-11

In Romans 5.1, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” By means of faith in Jesus Christ, a sinner is “justified.” “Justification is a legal, or forensic, term, and is used in Scripture to denote the acceptance of any one as righteous in the sight of God.”[1] In other words, when a sinner comes to Jesus Christ by faith, he receives the benefit of something the Lord Jesus Christ has done for him, not the benefit of something the Lord Jesus Christ does to him. Note that distinction. At the point when “justification” occurs, then, the redeemed sinner is now heaven-bound. In a very real sense, he is no different by his felt experiences than he was a moment ago when he was fully deserving and bound for Hell. What has changed his destiny is having the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to him, credited to his account, so to speak. Only when “justification” is understood in this way can it rightly be recognized to be an event that occurs in but a moment, and not a process that is drawn out over time. However, this event identified as “justification” is just the beginning of the works that God does in the life of a sinner who comes to Jesus Christ by faith. Once “justified,” the redeemed sinner is immediately set upon a process of personal change and alteration that will result, over the course of his lifetime and at that great day of Jesus Christ, in that redeemed sinner being a spiritually, morally, and experimentally perfect individual. This process is called “sanctification.” Whereas “justification” is an event that occurs at a moment and does not render the individual to be morally or spiritually improved in any way, though his destiny is forever changed, “sanctification” is a process that does not occur at a moment in time, but does gradually render the individual to be morally and spiritually improved over time.

One of the great errors of Roman Catholicism lies in its false belief that “justification” is a process and not an event. This, of course, comes from their view that salvation is by works, which have to be performed over time. One of the great errors of Pentecostalism lies in its false belief that “sanctification” is an event and not a process, and the crazy notion that someone can instantaneously become super-spiritual and spiritually matures when he has received what they falsely call the baptism of the Holy Ghost. So much for background. This evening we are going to look at the entirety of Paul’s prayer effort on behalf of the Philippians. As we review that prayer, I want you to reflect on the fact that such a prayer as Paul is praying in Philippians 1.9-11 does not make any sense until this thing called “sanctification,” becoming a holy individual, is recognized to take place over time. As a matter of fact, the entirety of the Christian life is involved in being “sanctified,” and the process of “sanctification” is never fully completed in any Christian’s life this side of heaven.[2]

Please turn to Philippians 1.9-11. When you find that passage, please stand for the reading of God’s Word:

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.

There are seven parts to the account of Paul’s prayer. I will review parts one through four, and then expand on parts five through seven, which are new to us. Though this is Paul’s prayer for the Philippians, let me suggest that each of us apply what we deal with in this message to ourselves and to our church. First, pray that your love and the love of our church members will abound yet more and more. This is the first part of verse 9. Not that you do not exhibit love now. However, love is a grace that God gives with inexhaustible supply. Therefore, since love is bound to obedience to God, it is something God is delighted to give in answer to prayer. Prayerfully ask, then, that you will love God more and more, and that your fellow church members will love God, will love each other, and will love lost sinners, more and more. Second, ask for an increase in our knowledge and all judgment. Of course, our desire should not be limited to knowing more facts, but that we will know God better. Our desire should not be that we would know more things about the Savior, but that we would know Him more intimately. A more thorough understanding of spiritual things is what we each need, along with the judgment, the spiritual coordination, to use what we have come to know correctly. Is it so hard to imagine why a man, who learns more about his own depravity, more about the wickedness of his own sins, more about the holiness of God, more about the Savior’s love, when he brings these areas of understanding together in all judgment, will end up loving God more and more? I do not think it is at all hard to understand. Third, verse 10, pray that we may be better able to approve of things excellent. That is, that you, and I, and we, become more discerning and expert in knowing which things are merely good and which things are best, and that we would choose those things that are best, and not settle for those things that are only good. Take the best course of action. Wait for the best candidate to come along to marry. Do not settle for the merely good. Always take the spiritual high road. Fourth, our goal is perfection. Recognize, no child of God will attain unto sinlessness in this lifetime. No child of God will even get close to sinlessness. However, it is our destiny and it is what we are to strive for, by the grace of God. The second half of verse ten refers to moral and spiritual excellence; being unsullied and clean is what “sincere” refers to, and not creating problems for others by our lives is what “without offense” refers to.[3] What are you like when you are held up to the light for careful examination? That is what “sincerity” refers to. Do you cause others to stumble by your words or deeds? That is what being “without offense” refers to.[4]

Now look at verse 11. We look at these three items for the first time. Fifth, I want you to ask God, as Paul prayed, that our church would be “filled with the fruits of righteousness.” “Being filled” shows us that, over time, God works to crowd out that which is not pleasing to Him by replacing it with that which is pleasing to Him. It is ever the experience of the growing Christian that the good gradually crowds out the bad. Bad use of money is crowded out by the demands of good stewardship. Wasting of time is crowded out by the demands on your time of a good family life, serving God, and doing a good job for your employer. The “fruits of righteousness” refer to the righteous deeds of a righteous man. Not a man who is righteous in his own right. Remember, we are told in Romans 5.1 that the righteousness which we have is the righteousness which is by faith. However, after we have been given the righteousness which comes by faith, we are called upon by God to live right, and to do right, and to be right. Not perfectly or completely in this lifetime, but gradually, over time, with the things of God crowding out the old man, one right decision at a time, one courageous step at a time, one act of faith at a time, those evidences of genuine conversion becoming more and more and more prominent in our lives. Therefore, pray that you and we will become more like what God has already declared us to be; saints. Sixth, “which are by Jesus Christ.” Do we need to be reminded that everything we have that is good and wonderful has come to us through the mediating office of our marvelous Savior? Though every good and perfect gift comes from God the Father, every good and perfect gift comes to us by and through Jesus Christ. Let us be reminded that man’s great failings includes our poor memory. For this reason, we must continually remind ourselves that what we are and can ever hope to be is by the grace of God in the person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore, pray that you and we will continually look to our Lord Jesus with gratitude and appreciation as the Author and Finisher of our faith.[5] Finally, ask God that your life and our testimony as a church will redound to the glory and praise of God. “Glory” refers to having a high estimation and opinion of God; giving Him the place that is due Him in our lives.[6] “Praise” refers to a congregation’s corporate bragging on God.[7]

Let it never be said that Calvary Road Baptist Church is a great church. We are not a great church. Our goal is not to become a great church. Our desire is that one and all would see how great is our God and heavenly Father. Of course, we recognize that the ultimate fulfillment and answer to Paul’s prayers for the Philippians will be seen on that great day of Jesus Christ, when the King of kings and the Lord of lords returns to earth to establish His 1000 year reign of righteousness. However, progress could be made by the Philippians, and was expected by the apostle to be made by them until then. The same is true here at Calvary Road Baptist Church. Sinlessness here? Never happen. Perfect in love? Not in your lifetime. But progress. Growth. It is called sanctification. It is what Paul prayed for every single time he lifted up his voice in prayer at one of his personal prayer times. It is something that you can certainly do once a day.

“Dear Father, would you please bless us at Calvary Road Baptist Church? Would you give each of us more love, and more knowledge, and more insight? Would you enable us to approve of things excellent, so that we might be sincere and without offense? As time passes, Father, would you fill us with the fruits of righteousness more and more? And keep it ever before us that everything we are and ever hope to be is because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray this prayer for only one reason; that You might be glorified and praised in my life and through our church. In Christ’s name and for His sake, Amen.”

Folks, do not engage in the vain repetition of the heathen by merely repeating words over and over again. However, you get the essence of it. Six or seven sentences. Prayer for your own church. Prayer that is essentially for yourself, as well. Prayer that, when answered by God, will benefit you, your family, your friends, your loved ones, and everyone around you. Dads, moms? This means that once each day you gather your family together, perhaps at a meal. Then you ask God to bless this church in this way. Is that so hard? No. I generally pray something like this at one of our meals. Pray like this, and mean it, and watch what God will do in our lives as we approach our entrance to heaven.

Consider, for just a moment, the two things which must occur for you to someday stand before the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. On one hand, you must be justified in the sight of God through faith in Jesus Christ. That is, through faith in Jesus Christ, God must do something for you that results in you having the legal standing of a righteous man before God. On the other hand, also through faith in Jesus Christ, God must do something to you over a period of time that results in you actually becoming sinless and spiritually perfect, by experience. What God does for you immediately is called justification. What God does to you gradually is called sanctification. Both of these great works of God are channeled to a saved person, if you will, through the One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. However, to and for an unsaved man neither of these things is done by God. We know from First Corinthians 14.33 that God is not the author of confusion. However, sin and Satan do create a great deal of confusion. Therefore, unless you are someone who does not see the complexities of dealing with sinful perversions and distortions of the truth, you can imagine the problems that come about when God presents the simple but powerfully saving gospel to sinners, in all their depravity, but that simple gospel is tragically misunderstood.

What must you do to be saved, my sinful friend? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now. He will save you, He will save you, He will save you now. However, as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, there are three things I must tell you:


In Matthew 24.23-24, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of false christs that would come on the scene in the future. He also warned against following those masters of deceit. Therefore, it is obvious that part of the Satanic plan to bring false christs on the scene to confuse and lead men astray in the future is to prepare for such deception by creating great confusion about Christ in the here and now. Therefore, recognize that just because the one who you are trusting is referred to as Jesus Christ is no guarantee that He is the Savior pointed to in God’s Holy Word.

To be the saving Person referred to in scripture: First, He cannot be God. Some nondescript god does not save anyone from their sins. The good news is not that God saves sinners. Next, He cannot be the Holy Spirit. There is no reference to the Holy Spirit of God saving sinners anywhere in the Bible. Third, He cannot be the Father. Virtually every child at Calvary Road Baptist Church knows that God the Father does not save sinners. The Father did not become a man. Therefore, the Father does not have precious blood with which to wash away sins. Fourth, He cannot be the Catholic Jesus. The Jesus of the Catholic Church is offered up in the sacrifice of the Catholic Mass daily. However, the Savior of the Bible was offered up but once, Hebrews 9.28: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” Fifth, He cannot be the Mormon Jesus. The Mormon Jesus is said by them to be a half brother to Satan. The Mormon Jesus is said by them to be a created being. The Mormon Jesus is not coequal with the Father, but is His descendant. Sixth, He cannot be the Jehovah’s Witness Jesus. Their Jesus is a created being. Their Jesus is thought by them to be the archangel Michael in disguise. Seventh, He cannot be the Adventist Jesus. Their Jesus is not the sin-bearer. Seventh Day Adventists believe Satan became the sin-bearer for sinners. Therefore, they think Satan plays a part, with Jesus, in saving sinners. Eighth, He cannot be the New Age Jesus. You see, the Jesus of New Age religionists is confused by their Eastern pantheism with creation. Jesus is not at one with His creation. He is distinct from His creation and not to be confused with it. To be more precise, Jesus is presently in heaven, He is not floating around.[8] Finally, He cannot be the new-evangelical Jesus. Their Jesus does not sit at the right hand of the Father. Their Jesus does not save sinners from sins, but supposes to save sinners in sins.[9]

Does this seeming confusion frustrate and anger you? It ought to. Satan has thrown up this distracting array of confusion for the express purpose of blinding your mind, Second Corinthians 4.3-4:

3      But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4      In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

My friend, consider the Person you must trust to be saved from your sins: He must be the Lord Jesus Christ, the Jesus of the Bible. The Lord Jesus said of Himself and the Bible, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”[10] Jesus the Savior, must not only be the Savior found in the Bible, He must be the Savior found only in the Bible, the God-Man. Nowhere but in God’s holy and infallible Word will you find true testimony concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Depart from the Bible and you depart from the Savior. For only in scripture do you find the One Who is God’s satisfaction for your sins and mine.


Suppose you have a clear and Biblical understanding of Who and What the Lord Jesus Christ really is. That is wonderful. According to this same Lord Jesus, however, there is still a vital consideration you must deal with. In Matthew 7.13-14, the Savior issued a warning:

13     Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14     Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The path you are on leads to one gate or the other. Which gate is it?

The broad gate, the wide gate, which leads to destruction, which is the gate most pass through, admits to a variety of false and errant approaches to the Savior. Examples:

What about works righteousness? This is the path which relies upon a person’s good works or obedience to the ten commandments to get him into heaven. The only problem is that no one, according to God, is capable of doing works that are esteemed by Him to be good, Romans 3.12. As for striving to obey the ten commandments, or some other aspect of the Law of Moses, Romans 3.20 and Galatians 3.11 forcefully show us that “by the law is the knowledge of sin,” not salvation from sins, and “no man is justified by the law in the sight of God.”

What about baptism? A number of denominations and religions believe that baptism washes away sins and is necessary to get into heaven. However, the thief on the cross was not baptized, though he was saved. What about Abraham and David? They were saved without baptism. Besides, is not baptism a work of righteousness? Titus 3.5: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

What about membership in a church? Roman Catholicism, Church of Christ, Adventists, and Mormonism thinks that there is no salvation outside of their membership. However, is not Jesus supposed to be the Savior? How, then, can salvation be had by church membership in only their kind of church?

This last one is a shocker. What about prayer? Is not prayer a good deed, a work of righteousness? How many people do you know prayed something they called the sinner’s prayer, but they are today just as lost and wicked as any other unsaved man or woman? These are just a sampling of the wrong paths that do not lead to an acceptable approach to the Savior, but rather lead to the broad gate of destruction. Are you on one of these wrong paths?

What is the strait gate? Notice the spelling in Matthew 7.13-14. S-T-R-A-I-T is a word that refers to something that is very narrow. The approach to the Savior is extremely narrow. That means there is only one way to approach the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. What way is that approach? Again, Romans 5.1: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The only way is the way of faith. Not faith plus good works. Not faith plus baptism. Not faith plus church membership. Not faith plus anything. Only faith. And the faith must be faith in the Jesus of the Bible. Not faith in the Catholic Jesus, or the Mormon Jesus, or the new-evangelical Jesus, or the New Age Jesus. Faith in the Jesus of the Bible. That is the only acceptable approach to the Savior. To put it very simply, listen to what Paul and Silas said in answer to the Philippian jailor’s question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved . . . .” Faith that comes to Jesus, faith that clings to Jesus, and only faith. The saving path is the path of faith. Only the path of simple, childlike, faith takes the sinner to the strait gate, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.


Suppose you are someone who seems to have a Biblical concept of the Savior, and who seems to understand that you can only come to Jesus by faith. How do you explain the fact that you are, for all intents and purposes, no different than any lost man, though you claim to be saved? Three things to remember in answering that question:

First, a fact.

Second Peter 1.3-4: 3       According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

4      Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Second Corinthians 5.17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

It is a fact that genuinely saved people, each and every one of them, have been given everything they need to be godly, are partakers of God’s Own divine nature, and have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is also a fact that someone who is saved becomes a new creature in Christ. You decide what you think that means. I have decided that what I think that means is that when you are saved your entire life changes and you start acting like you are really and truly saved.

Second, a fallacy.

First Corinthians 6.9-10:   9      Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10     Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5.3-5:    3      But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

4      Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

5      For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

It is a fallacy to think that you can live the kind of lifestyles described in these passages and expect anyone to believe that you are genuinely saved. Maybe the kind of Christianity you subscribe to allows for the kind of vile wickedness that is indistinguishable from unsaved people, but not the kind I subscribe to, and not the kind the Apostle Paul subscribed to. The Lord Jesus Christ is supposed to make a difference.

Finally, the fruit. What kind of fruit is there in your life? Since saved people partake of God’s nature, are promised possession of everything necessary for godliness, and since it has been shown to be a fallacy to claim to be a Christian but to live a life that is unchanged, what can be concluded by a complete absence of spiritual fruit in your life? Jesus told us that by their fruits we would know them.[11] What that means is, if everything else seems to be right, but you simply do not, over a long period of time, produce the spiritual fruit found in the life of a redeemed, and empowered, and regenerated individual, you were not in fact saved. Salvation is not an automatic thing. It is not a formula that is to be followed. Salvation is salvation from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and eventually from the presence of sin. So, if over the long haul you do not live like you have been saved from the penalty and power of sin, guess what? You were never saved.

Folks, words have meaning. Saved means saved. It means rescued. It means delivered. Therefore, if you have not been delivered from sins, you are not saved. Not a popular concept of salvation in the minds of many adulterous and wayward members these days, but nevertheless, true to God’s Word. You either do not know Who Jesus is to come to Him for salvation, or you do not know how to approach Him with childlike faith, or something else is terribly wrong.

Know this: When you come to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, plus nothing and minus nothing, you will be saved from your sins. If you were not saved from your sins, obviously saved from your sins, you were not saved at all. That means you still need to be saved.

[1] James Buchanan (1804-1870), The Doctrine of Justification: An Outline of Its History in the Church and of Its Exposition from Scripture, (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2006), page 226.

[2] Philippians 3.12-14

[3] J. B. Lightfoot, St. Paul’s Epistle To The Philippians, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1953), page 87.

[4] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 545.

[5] Hebrews 12.2

[6] Gerhard Kittel, Editor, Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament, Vol II, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1964) pages 247-251.

[7] Ibid., page 588.

[8] Psalm 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; Luke 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; Revelation 5.6

[9] Matthew 1.21

[10] John 5.39

[11] Matthew 7.16, 20

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