Please Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-6
We want to study the subject of baptism from the example of Israel in our text. The Israelites were only baptized figuratively when they passed through the Red Sea. We must bear in mind that Bible types and figures are not perfect, but they simply illustrate certain aspects of the truth they typify. This figure of baptism in our text, however, is a good illustration of the true meaning of water baptism. We want to notice several thoughts from our text about the meaning and importance of baptism to a believer.
1. First, we are baptized unto Christ our Lord and Saviour.
The Israelites were baptized unto Moses.
Moses was their Spiritual leader and they followed him in their deliverance out of Egypt. This deliverance began with the Passover supper, which prefigured the sacrifice of Christ, and faith in that sacrifice for their spiritual deliverance. Therefore, the Israelites already pictured their spiritual deliverance by partaking of the Pascal lamb, which typified Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.
Today, believers are baptized unto Christ our spiritual Leader.
We trust in Jesus for salvation complete; past, present, and future. He led us to believe in Him as our Passover Lamb, who was sacrificed for our sins. Who was buried and rose again from the dead. Who now leads us on our spiritual journey to the promised land of heaven. Therefore, before we are baptized, we must have saving faith in Jesus Christ. Only those who partook of the Pascal Lamb were baptized in the sea. Likewise, only those who have saving faith in Christ are fit subjects for baptism.
Like Israel was baptized unto Moses, we are baptized unto Christ.
Jesus is our spiritual Leader, as well as our Saviour. Yes, beloved, Jesus is both our Lord and Saviour. Baptism is a testimony of our allegiance to Jesus our Lord and spiritual Leader. Thus, baptism is symbolic of the Christian uniform that identifies believers with Jesus, the Lord and Captain of our salvation (Gal. 3:27).
2. Secondly, baptism pictures death, burial, and resurrection.
In crossing the Red Sea the Israelites pictured a death, burial, and resurrection.
As the children of Israel passed through the midst of the sea with the waters walled up on both sides and a cloud of water over them, they were completely immersed in their watery grave. When they came out on the other side, they pictured their resurrection to a new life of liberty to serve the Lord.
In the same way, baptism also pictures a watery grave.
In baptism the believer shows forth death, burial, and resurrection, when they go down into the water, and come up out of the water (We see this in Acts 8:37-39). That is why baptism by total immersion in water is essential to properly picture a death, burial, and resurrection.
-That is why sprinkling or pouring water on a person’s head is not baptism.
-The fact is, the very word baptism means to dip or immerse.
Moses was Israel’s deliverer, and in many ways he was a type of Christ.
He pictured his own death, burial, and resurrection when he crossed through the sea. Baptism pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus our deliverer, who died for our sins, was buried in the tomb, and rose again the third day for His people. Thus in baptism we identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for our sins, and picture our union with Christ through baptism into His death. Therefore, baptism pictures what our faith is in for salvation.
Baptism also pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of believers to a new life.
The children of Israel pictured their own death, burial, and resurrection to a new life, when they passed through the sea, and came out on the other side. Likewise, in baptism believers picture our death to sin and the old flesh, and resurrection to live a new life of righteousness unto the Lord.
3. Thirdly, baptism pictures separation from the world, and unites believers with the Lord’s New Testament church.
Now, the Israelites were brought up to the banks of the Red Sea.
Figuratively they were already spiritually delivered by the Pascal lamb, but their lives were not yet delivered from Pharaoh and Egypt, which are a type of the devil and the world. Upon crossing the Red Sea, however, they were delivered from Pharaoh and the world. Upon crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites were now separated from the world to form their own distinct nation.
In like manner, the souls that have trusted in Jesus are spiritually delivered from the bondage of their sins through faith in the Lamb of God. But physically our lives still need to be delivered from the devil and the world. We are brought to stand before the waters of baptism, as it were, which upon crossing through our lives are delivered from the devil, and from the world, and separated unto union with the Lord’s church.
Similar to Israel, the church is a local, visible body of baptized believers.
When we are saved through faith in Christ our Passover Lamb, we are still in the world. But in baptism we are separated from the world, unto union with a local New Testament church. Like Israel was protected by the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day, the Lord’s churches are protected and preserved by the special power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Like Israel ate manna in the wilderness, the local church feeds on Christ, the true and living Bread from Heaven, and enjoys all the blessings of God from His storehouse of grace. And like Israel drank water from the rock, which was symbolic of Christ, the local church drinks the living water of truth and understanding of the Word of God.
Please don’t misunderstand me!
There certainly are saved people who are not a part of a true church, but it is also certain that they don’t have the same special care of the Holy Spirit, nor the understanding of the Word that one receives from the Lord in His church. If this were not so, why then did the Lord build His church in the first place, and pour His Holy Spirit out upon it on Pentecost, and perpetuate it unto this present day?
4. Fourthly, we are baptized unto holiness.
We are baptized unto living separated, holy lives unto the Lord.
I emphasize the importance of love in our church, but let me balance that with the importance of holiness among God’s people. Not many professed believers today want to hear this part of the whole council of God, because they are too caught up in the world and its sinful lusts!
But Paul said in verse 5, that God was not well pleased with many of them (READ).
As a result of their sins, it says that He over through them in the wilderness. Beloved, there are times when God is not pleased with His people! He is not pleased with us when we sin against Him, and go contrary to His revealed will. Some Christians today think that they are exempt from God’s displeasure and His anger. But my Bible teaches that “judgment begins in the house of God, and if it begins with us, what shall the end of them be who obey not the Gospel?” (1 Pet. 4:17).
Someone might say, “That was Old Testament times. God deals differently with His people today.”
Beloved, don’t be so sure about that! (Read verse 6 again). If I’m not mistaken, Paul is saying that these are warnings to us today, so that we won’t commit the same sins that the Israelites committed. So that we won’t lust after those things that they lusted after.
Don’t think that God will accept our lazy excuses for why we don’t read His Word, and why we don’t obey the warnings and the judgments contained in the Scriptures. Ignorance will not be a good excuse for His people, but He will hold us accountable both for knowing and obeying His Book.
Furthermore, all who hold to antinomian theology, need to take heed!
All who think that God doesn’t judge sin in His people today, need to think again! God has not changed! His holiness hasn’t changed! His hatred of sin hasn’t changed! And His judgment upon His people who sin hasn’t changed either!
Paul went on to give four specific examples from the history of the children of Israel, which he said were given to us for our admonition and warning.
1) In verse 7 he said “Be not idolaters” (READ).
2) In verse 8 he said “Neither let us commit fornication” (READ).
3) In verse 9 he said “Neither let us tempt Christ” (READ).
4) In verse 10 he said “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured…”(READ).
For all of these grievous sins, the Israelites suffered great loss of life, and were caused to wonder for 40 years in the desert wilderness. Yes, I’m afraid God takes His warnings far more seriously than His people do!
Beloved, baptism is a testimony that we are going to walk in newness of life, and that we are going to yield our members unto serving holiness and righteousness. May God help us to live up to our commitment that we make to Him in baptism.
In conclusion, we are baptized unto Christ our Lord and Saviour. When we surrender to Scriptural baptism, we are saying that Jesus is our Lord and Master, and that He is our blessed Saviour.
Is Jesus your Saviour this morning? Are you trusting in His sacrifice on the cross for your sins? Have you come to see that His death, burial, and resurrection was for you?
Do we understand that baptism pictures Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for us? Do we also understand that baptism pictures our death, burial, and resurrection to our old sinful nature, and our commitment to walk in newness of life, and to serve the Lord faithfully in His church?
Have you been separated from this old sinful world through faith in Jesus? To serve Him properly, you must be Scripturally baptized into His church.
Are we living holy lives that are pleasing to the Lord. With many of the Israelites God was not well pleased. Is He pleased with us?
In Numbers 21 God sent fiery serpents to bite His people because of their murmurings. God told Moses to make a serpent of brass and put it on a pole, and all that were snake bit, if they looked on the brazen serpent, they would live!
May the Lord reveal your sin-bit condition this morning! Can you see that you are a sinner, and that you are in danger of eternal death? Can you see Jesus lifted up upon the tree of Calvary, dying there for your sins? Can you see Him buried in the tomb? And can you see Him risen again from the dead the third day for you?
“Look and live, my brother live, look to Jesus now and live!” Look, and see Jesus by the eye of faith. Look, and believe that He died for your sins, was buried, and rose again the third day for you! Believe that Jesus did all of this for you, and He will save you now.