Calvary Road Baptist Church

“IS THIS THE SAVIOR YOU KNOW?”

Philippians 3.7-8

Turn to Philippians 3.7-8 and stand for the reading of God’s Word:

7      But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8      Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ

I think we would all agree that there is a great difference between the Christianity of the Apostle Paul, which is real and genuine, and the Christianity of most modern day so-called Christians. Most modern day so-called Christians make a great deal of escaping Hell and make much ado about going to heaven. However, it must be admitted that with the Apostle Paul it was all about “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,” Philippians 3.8. You see, for Paul, salvation, Christianity, being a believer, being a saint of God, being born again, being justified, was not primarily about some benefits package you would receive if you did this and prayed that. For Paul it was all about knowing Jesus Christ, Whom to know is life eternal, and the forgiveness of sins, and justification in the sight of God.

When I was in the secular work world I had my share of idiot supervisors and disgruntled coworkers, just like you are probably experiencing where you work. And I can remember the grumbles that could be heard at break time when the boss or the boss’s boss made some decision that benefited one guy over the rest of the workers. Sure enough, when something like that happened, no matter what the reason for it, someone would invariably grumble, “Just goes to show you that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Workers may complain about a work place that operates on the principle of who you know instead of what you know or what you do, but you will never hear a genuinely saved person complain about that principle being observed with regard to Biblical Christianity. Quite to the disgust and dismay of the wicked and the sinful who, because of bloated pride and arrogance, thinking they have somewhat to commend them to God, do not realize that all that matters, all that matters, is whether or not you know Jesus Christ the Lord.

Quite aside from the pure ecstasy of knowing Him Whom to know is life eternal, the delight in being at one with Him, the joy unspeakable and full of glory of being in Him Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, there are some practical consequences of knowing or of not knowing Jesus Christ.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW JESUS CHRIST?

Everyone is aware of the destiny of those who do not know Him. However, oftentimes you do not know the why related to it. It is your sin that separates between the sinner and your God.[1] It is your sin that condemns your soul to the endless torment of God’s just wrath.[2] But why is it that not knowing Jesus Christ is so tragic? There are three reasons why not knowing Jesus Christ is so very tragic:

Because, first, of the value of your position. In the Bible we are told that “There is none righteous, no, not one.”[3] However, righteousness, in the Bible, does not refer only to the way a person behaves or to his moral goodness. Righteousness, in the Bible, also speaks to the issue of whether or not the sinner has standing before God. That is, does he have position before God? You, sir, are declared to be a person with no righteousness. That means, you have no standing before God, you have no position in front of Him. By implication, it also means you have no access to Him whatsoever. You cannot ever come before Him except to be finally judged. Whatever position in life you will ever achieve, whatever standing before some you may acquire, the one thing you will never have, not knowing Jesus Christ, is position with God. You will never be where He is. Never. Why? Because, not knowing Jesus Christ, you have no righteousness. And, being a sinner, you have no hope of ever getting any for yourself.[4]

Why is not knowing Jesus Christ so tragic? Second, because of the value of your performance. Obviously, there is something of an overlap in my observations. Life cannot be completely compartmentalized and segmented. Though not exactly the same things, there is an intimate relationship between righteousness as a position and righteous behavior. People who are righteous behave righteously, and people who are not righteous do not behave righteously. However, your performance has more to do with what you do than with where you stand in God’s sight. How do you perform? What is your behavior like? Are you a person who misses church in order that you might work? Ah, then you are what the Bible would label covetous.[5] You are greedy of filthy lucre. You would rather make money than gather with those who worship the true and living God. Are you a person who misses church in order that you might rest, in order that you might relax, in order that you might sleep? Ah, then you are what the Bible labels a sluggard or a sloth. [6] You are a lazy sort, who values your own comfort over worship of the true and living God. Are you a person who misses church in order that you might play or engage in some form of amusement? The word muse refers to thinking[7] and the letter a, from the Greek a, is a negation. Have you ever thought of amusement as really being thoughtless activity, mindless entertainment? If you miss church to play, to simply recreate, then you may be someone who is simply foolish, who does not know how to make wise decisions based upon the information at your disposal. Want to know why not knowing Jesus Christ is so tragic? Because no matter what your performance, even if you are surpassing in your morality, it is still not sufficient to merit salvation. This is because the best performance you can muster is still counted as so many filthy rags by God.[8]

Third, there is the value of your persuasion. How persuasive can you possibly be to One Who refuses to hear you speak? Remember? “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” And again, “We know that God heareth not sinners.”[9] Listen to the vain and fruitless attempts at persuading the Savior that you, yourself, may someday attempt, Matthew 7.21-23:

21     Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22     Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23     And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Begging, pleading, persuading, and cajoling. None of it will do a bit of good if you do not know the Savior. And if you do know Him, none of it will be needed. My friend, you have no capacity to persuade a God you have repeatedly sinned against, Who has refused to hear you, and Who you otherwise have no access to. The result will be, the condemnation under which you were born into this world, will see your soul consigned to Hellfire. A tragedy, all because you do not know Jesus Christ.

BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DO KNOW JESUS CHRIST?

Then things are so much different.

First, take the value of His position. You have no position before God on your own. However, when you close with Jesus Christ by faith, when you come to Him by faith, He will impute to you His Own righteousness.[10] That is, He will give to you His Own standing with His Father. So effective and fulfilling is this imputation of Christ’s righteousness that when you know Jesus Christ you can actually come to the Father any time you want to. Any time you want to. Not as one filled with terror for your soul at coming before a holy God angry with your sin, but as a little child coming before his heavenly Father with boldness, Hebrews 4.16: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Next, take the value of His performance. Instead of relying on the feeble attempts of one who is dead in trespasses and sins, when you know Jesus Christ you benefit from His full and complete work for the atonement of your sins. Consider what the Lord Jesus Christ has done. Visualize His performance. He left the throne room of heaven to be born of a virgin named Mary. He lived a sinless life of obedience and service in preparation for His saving work on the cross. On that cross, in fulfillment of prophecy, He took upon Himself your sins and suffered, bled, and died in payment of the righteous demand that your sin be punished. Raised from the dead after three days and three nights, Jesus Christ then ascended to heaven as our great high priest and sprinkled the blood of the atonement for our sins. Thereafter, when the sinner comes to know Christ, he receives the benefit of Christ’s shed blood and his own sins are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.[11] And how effective is the Savior’s performance? God has promised that the one who knows Jesus Christ, his sins and iniquities will be remembered by God no more.[12]

Finally, take the value of His persuasion. How futile we have seen are the attempts of sinners at persuasion concerning their salvation so long as they know not the Savior. God will not listen to those who are not saved, and Jesus Christ remains steadfast in His insistence that He will not speak for anyone He does not know. However, what about those Jesus Christ does know? What about, say, if you came to Him by faith? What would be the value of His persuasion on your behalf? Remember, the Father said, “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”[13] Is the Father persuaded concerning you by His Son? Only if you know Him, my friend. Only if you know Him. But if you do know Him, this can be said about Jesus Christ for you, First John 2.2: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Know what propitiation means? It refers to satisfaction. When you know Jesus Christ, God is satisfied by His blessed Son Jesus Christ for your sins.

So many who would claim to be preachers will stand before you and fill you up with details and doctrines, will prescribe for you sinner’s prayers and other spiritual potions. But the effect of what they say and do is to convey to people that the Christian faith is all about rules and observations and benefits. My friends, such is not Christianity. Christianity is Jesus Christ. The faith once delivered to the saints is wrapped up entirely in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is it, front to back, top to bottom, side to side.

Yes, there are details and instructions. But what the Apostle Paul knew should be realized by all. Do you know Him? You see, if you know Him you cannot be casual about Him. If you know Him you cannot help but be impressed by Him, overwhelmed by an appreciation of Him, enamored with Him, staggered by Him, in wonder of Him, transfixed by His beauty, and committed to His service. He is not one you can know and be casual about. If you are casual about the Savior it is only because you do not know Him, or you have spent little time with Him recently. My friend, is this the Christianity you are familiar with? Is this the Savior you know?



[1] Isaiah 59.2

[2] Ezekiel 18.4, 20; Romans 6.23

[3] Romans 3.10

[4] Ephesians 2.12

[5] Luke 16.14; 1 Corinthians 5.10-11; 6.10; Ephesians 5.5; 1 Timothy 3.3; 2 Timothy 3.2; 2 Peter 2.14

[6] Proverbs 6.9; 26.13-14; Matthew 25.26; Romans 12.11; Hebrews 6.12

[7] Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1996), page 1184.

[8] Isaiah 64.6

[9] John 9.31

[10] Romans 4.6

[11] 1 John 1.7

[12] Hebrews 8.12; 10.17

[13] Matthew 3.17



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pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org