The Dead Will Rise – Pastor Ben Sanders

We continue our series called “A Clear View of Heaven” in order to help us see what lies ahead for believers in Christ. We want to again see that there are things in our life now that the Bible spoke about and that there are things we live today that point to what is coming. It’s important to know what lies ahead in order to live our lives in such a way that we receive God’s promises for His children.

We will look again at the story in Exodus that describes just that…the Exodus of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. After the very last plague which was the death of the firstborn children, Pharaoh was furious! Remember, God provided protection for the Israelites as long as they put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts. The death Angel passed over them and their children were safe, but all the firstborn Egyptians were killed. Pharaoh told Moses to take his people and go.

The Israelites had been instructed to be ready to go and they were. However, Pharaoh quickly realized he had just freed ALL of his slaves and that they no longer had workers. Pharaoh gathered a small army and chased after them. Moses and his people were surrounded by mountains on each side, the angel of God in the form of a cloud in the front and the Egyptian soldiers from behind. God performed a miracle and split the sea so they walked on dry land, but released the sea in time to kill the soldiers.

In this story, the cloud that was in front was the manifest spirit of God. How powerful would that have been?! In the story the cloud moved from in front of them, to over them to behind them. Essentially, the Israelites went through the cloud before going through the sea. The sea represented their freedom because everything they once were had been washed away. The slave owners were dead and they were no longer runaway slaves. Their identity went from that of slaves to an entire nation.

Now we move to the Old Testament and the story of Nicodemus. He was a Pharisee which meant he was a very religious man who was quite proud of his understanding of the Mosaic laws. He witnessed regular people getting baptized and miracles and could not understand. He spoke with Jesus about it and asked Him to explain these things. In John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” Here we see that not only is trusting and accepting Jesus crucial, water baptism is as well.

When we repent and turn our back on our old ways, it leads us to the waters of baptism. Baptism does absolutely nothing if you have not repented and given your life to Jesus. There is nothing magical about the water, but there is certainly something supernatural about it! It represents the remission of sin or the forgiveness of sin.

In another section of scripture in Acts 2:37-38 we see Peter on the day of Pentecost preaching to the Jews. He explained that this Jesus that they crucified was in fact the Messiah and that He indeed died, but was resurrected and ascended into Heaven. “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This was a powerful moment because this was the start of the church! It says that 3000 people accepted his message and were baptized that day.

The other amazing thing about baptism is that you have a change in family identity because you take on the identity of Jesus. What a powerful combination…accepting Jesus and being forgiven of our sins and then baptism into the family of God.

When we accept Jesus and decide to live for Him, the natural progression should be to show the world that we belong to Him through baptism in water. Please take some time to study these examples from the Word of God. If you haven’t been water baptized talk to your pastor or find a church that can help you take the next step in your spiritual journey of obedience to the Lord.