Romans: The Clearest Gospel of All
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

#14 – Baptized into Christ
(Romans 6:3-6)

“Our first baptism was not genuine.  Some of us were forced into it; some of us were pressured by our friends; some of us were baptized because our classmates were baptized.  But one thing we all have in common:  we did not understand the meaning of baptism.  And so would you please rebaptize us?  We want it to be genuine.”

This was the request of 450 young people who wanted to be rebaptized.  They had not experienced the new birth.

Unfortunately, that experience is not unique.  There are a great number of Christians, in all denominations, who have been baptized, but who were “buried alive.”  I remind my pastors when I train them, that it is a crime to bury anyone that is alive.  A pastor only has authority to bury dead people.

I would like, therefore, to look at Romans 6:3-6 which is the clearest explanation of the significance of baptism.  As a people, we have put tremendous emphasis on the mode of baptism.  Even though you may have the correct mode, that doesn’t mean that you have the truth.  The mode is correct only when it signifies the truth.

Many Christians have not understood the true meaning of baptism.  I had the same experience.  I was taught — and I was 25 — that baptism is a memorial service.  I can’t find a single text that says that.  Baptism is not a memorial service; the Lord’s Supper is, yes.  Baptism is a confession service.  It’s a public confession of a very special experience the believer who is baptized has experienced.  We are looking now not at the mode, but at the truth.  For Jesus said in Mark 16, where he gave the great commission in verses 15 and 16:

...Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Now baptism as an act is done by the pastor.  He baptizes you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Baptism as a truth is not done by a pastor; it’s done by the Holy Spirit.

Turn to 1 Corinthians 12.  I want you to notice how Paul explains, (at least, he doesn’t explain, but he states) the true significance of baptism.

The thief on the cross, whom Christ promised heaven, may not have gone through the act of baptism, but he certainly had to go through this, because it is this that Jesus meant.  The act doesn’t save anybody.  The truth saves.  The act becomes important only when it’s accompanied by the truth.  1 Corinthians 12:13:

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Baptized not by one man (and please notice, the Spirit is in capital S, referring to the Holy Spirit) but we were all baptized into one Body, and that body refers to Christ.  Now this is the truth of baptism, but this is the foundation.  Let us now turn to Romans 6 and look at it in detail.

Now I’m ignoring the context.  I will come to the context later.  But Romans 6:3 begins with a statement:  “Don’t you know?”  And the tragedy is that many Christians do not know.

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus....

That’s the first thing I want to start with:  baptism is always into Christ Jesus.  It is not into the Seventh-day Adventist church or any other denomination, because no denomination can save you.  It is into Christ Jesus.  Yes, the pastor baptizes in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but the truth of baptism is always into Christ Jesus.

Now what did Paul mean by being baptized into Christ Jesus?  Well, I’ll give you a text that will help you.  That’s Galatians 3:27.  Here Paul explains what it means to be baptized into Christ Jesus, because he uses the same phrase, but he also amplifies on it.  So we read in verse 27 of Galatians 3 these words:

...For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Some translations read that those baptized “have put on Christ.”  They have become one with Christ.  That’s what it means to be baptized into Christ.

Let me explain this.  In order for Christ to save us, in order for Him to be our Savior, He had to identify Himself with us.  He had to take us unto Himself.  In order for that salvation to become effective, in your case, in my case, we have to identify ourselves with Christ.  It has to be reciprocal.  Why?  Because God is love.  And even though He has redeemed all men in Christ, that redemption can only become effective when you accept that identification with the holy history of Christ.  Because God is love, He is not a Marxist.

You see, Marxism believes in sharing, but it shares at the point of a gun.  God doesn’t give you His Son at the point of a gun.  He says, “I have given you my Son at infinite cost to me, but it is a gift to you.  You have two choices:  you can accept it or reject it.”  And so it has to be reciprocal.  That is why Jesus said in John 15:4 to the Christian:

Remain in me, and I will remain in you....

It’s a two-way thing for the picture to become complete.

So while it is true that all men have been legally justified in Christ, even though it is true that all men have already been reconciled in Jesus Christ, that salvation has to be made effective by faith and baptism.  And baptism is simply the public confession of a faith union with Jesus Christ.  That is what it means to be baptized into Christ.

Now let’s go on to the second half of Romans 6:3.  Our union with Christ in baptism is not in any vague manner.  It is very specific:

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Which means that we accept His death as our death.  It is crucial that we know this, otherwise, there is no effective justification.  (I’ll bring it out in a moment.)  But first, what kind of death did Christ die?  Paul explains that in Romans 6:10:

The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

So His death was to sin.  What does that mean?

The law of God says, “The wages of sin is death.”  And it is a tragedy in our church that anyone does away with the legal framework of the atonement.  The law demands a death.  Hebrews 9:22 says:

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood [death] there is no forgiveness.

As it says in Ezekiel 18:4, “The soul who sins is the one who will die.”  That’s the clear teaching of Scripture.

Christ did not come to change the death sentence.  If He changed the death sentence, He would be breaking His own law.  He came to fulfill the death sentence.  And, on the cross, He died to sin.  He met the justice of the law.  And, when He rose again, He left sin in the grave, not for three days but forever.  That’s why Paul says He died once.  You cannot die the second death twice.  The second death you can only die once, because it’s good-bye to that sinful life forever.

And when Christ rose up, says Paul in Romans 6:10:

The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives [now, the life of the resurrection], he lives to God.

What does He mean by that?  What did sin do to Christ?  It separated Him from God.  Sin separates you from God.  Do you know what that means?  It means that it separates you from the source of life, of peace, of joy, of happiness.

And that’s why Christ cried out in agony, with sweat of blood, “Father, Father, Why?  Why have you forsaken Me?”  He was experiencing the curse of the law.  But never again will Christ be separated from His Father.  Never again!

And so I go to verse 11.  Romans 6:10 deals with Christ’s death.  But remember, a Christian is baptized into His death.  Therefore, in verse 11 Paul says:

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

In other words, just as Christ brought sin to an end on the cross, now, by being baptized into Christ, you have said in your heart good-bye to sin.  You have left it on the cross.

By the way, it is this that was nailed on the cross.  It was against us, it was contrary to us, it was condemning us, it was nailed with Christ.  And you, in baptism, have put it there of your own choice.  You have said, “This life of sin deserves to be on the cross and nowhere else.”

Now you can live unto God.  For it says in the second half of verse 11 that you are “alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Do you know that God will never separate Himself from you who have been baptized into Christ?  There will never be a separation.  Yes, there will be a separation for those who ultimately, persistently reject the gift of Christ at the end of the millennium.  God will withdraw Himself and, when He does that, the source of life is gone.

But with you who have been baptized into His death and have been raised with Christ there will never be a separation, because God has promised that.  But now let’s go on.  Let’s go back to Romans 6:4:

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

What do you do with a person who is dead?  You can keep him for awhile, but, eventually, he has to go down under.  You have to bury him.  And in this context I want you to know what Ellen G. White said.  She was not commenting on this passage; she was applying it to this church.  She says:

“The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world.  This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches.  Many, so many who assume the name of Christ, are unsanctified and unholy.  They have been baptized, but they were buried alive.  Self did not die and, therefore, they did not rise to newness of life in Christ.”

May I warn every theological student here, don’t you ever bury anyone alive.  You have no right to.  Make sure that you confront them with the cross of Christ.  They may say yes to the 13 points of [Adventist] doctrine, but if they say no to the cross of Christ, you have no right to baptize them.

But when I read, “This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches,” I know why so many ministers have to lose their hair, trying to solve the perplexities, put out the brush fires, everywhere in the world.  And that is why many ministers are giving up.  They can’t take it.  But I thank God that the grace of God is able to keep them.  Now let’s finish verse 4, which says:

  1. You died with Christ.

  2. You are buried.

There is a very interesting society in England that prevents the premature burial of people who have not died.  They give several incidents in their literature.  One of them occurred right here in America, in California.  They buried a man, he was covered and everything and, in the middle of the night, the man who was in charge of the cemetery was walking along and he heard some noise.  It was right where the person was buried.  He rushed to the police and they dug it out.  It was too late.  They opened the coffin.  Obviously, this man came back to life and was trying to come out.  He pulled his hair out.  He was frantic.  He was buried before he died.

That was a tragedy.  But, I’ll tell you, it’s a worse tragedy when people are buried when they’re not spiritually dead.  Because they do come out.  They don’t remain in the grave.  They come out.  But the trouble is, they give the pastors and every other member headaches.  We need to remember this.  That is why the next quotation from E.G.  White is:

“The accession of members who have not been renewed in heart and reformed in life is a source of weakness to the church.  This fact is ignored.  HENCE, MANY JOIN THE CHURCH WITHOUT FIRST BECOMING UNITED TO CHRIST.”  [Emphasis by Pastor Sequeira.]

Was your baptism a union with Christ crucified and buried?

But I thank God it goes on:  not only do we die with Christ, not only are we buried with Him, but [Romans 6:4]:

...Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Every true Christian must say with the Apostle Paul what he says in Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ....

Not “Christ died in my place.”  That is a false concept of substitution.  The death of Christ was a corporate death.  One man cannot die in the place of another.  The law won’t allow that.  Unless you die with Him, that death doesn’t become legal to you.  (I will come to it when we come to verse 8.)  But there it is.  We have died with Him, we are now to rise in newness of life.  And Paul says [all of Galatians 2:20]:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

“I am crucified with Christ, but I am still living! Now, it is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me.  And the life I now live, I live by faith in the One Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

Let me jump now to Romans 6, verse 7.  I made a statement, I want to back it up from scripture:

...Because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Now that’s what your English Bible says.  That’s not what the Greek says.  You see, the word “freed” appears three times in Romans 6.  The first time is in verse 7, the second time is in verse 18, and the third time is in verse 22.  But verse 18 and verse 22 use the same word; verse 7 has another, completely different word.  In fact, if you want a word in your English Bible that is identical to the word Paul uses for “freed” in verse 7, look at Acts 13:39 where the word is “justified”:

Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.

The King James Version puts Romans 6:7 this way:

He that is dead is justified from sin.

That’s the word Paul used:  dikaiouno.  That’s the Greek word He used:  “justified,” not freed in the other sense.

Now what does it mean by the word, “justified”?  Well, the translation “freed” is correct, because the word “justified” does mean “freed.”  But free in what sense?  Two things:

  1. You are free from the rulership of sin.  Remember, in Romans 3:9, where Paul concludes the sin problem, he says, “The whole world is under sin, ruled by sin, slaves to sin.”  (Romans 7:14 brings that out too.) But now you and I are no longer under the rulership of sin.  Why?  The sin has died.  The sin that rules over us has been crucified with Christ.

  2. But there is a second sense where Paul is using the word “justified” which we need to know.  Please notice, the law says, “The soul who sins is the one who will die” [Ezekiel 18:4].  The moment you are born in this world, even though your parents and your friends and your relatives and the visitors said, “You are a beautiful baby,” the law said, “You must die.”  We are born in death row because of the fall (see Romans 5:12-21).  We are born under the condemnation of the law, by one man’s sin.  And that law is relentless, will not give up, until you die.  And when you die the law says, “Now I’m satisfied.”  If I steal $10,000 and I’m caught and sent to the penitentiary for five years, after those five years in prison, when I come out, no law can touch me for that crime.  If the policeman tries, I can say, “Look, I am a free man now.”  And it is in that sense that the law is satisfied.

So sin can no longer destroy you.  Not because you’re good, but because you have already died in Christ.  (We will touch that when we come to Romans 6:14.)  But now I want to go to Romans 6:5:

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.

The word that Paul uses is the word we use today for grafting, where you take two branches and join them together as one.  That is what baptism is.  It is our grafting into Christ, crucified, buried, and resurrected.  So:

If we have been united with him like this in his death [which is to sin], we will certainly [guaranteed, folks] also be united with him in his resurrection.

In other words, if your baptism is genuine, God says to you what Christ said to the thief:  “Today, heaven is yours!”  Your resurrection is guaranteed.  But I want to make one thing very clear, and that is brought up in verse 8 of Romans 6:

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

I want you to notice very carefully what Paul is saying here.  Because what he is saying here is in complete contradiction to our natural situation.  Because, in this world, we begin with life.

Now don’t ask me:  when does life begin?  That’s the big argument over abortion.  I believe life begins the moment conception takes place.  But I’m not a medical man and I won’t argue with you.

But you begin with life, you end up with death; that’s the natural order of things.  In the gospel, it is the opposite:  you begin with death and you end up with life.  And the word “if” in these two texts means that if you don’t die, you don’t live!

Let me give you another text that is much stronger.  It’s a text given to Timothy.  And I know why Paul gave it to Timothy.  It was because Timothy was young and many young people think they will never die.  Don’t kid yourselves, folks, you can die even as a kid.  But turn to 2 Timothy 2:11 and listen to Paul’s statement:

Here is a trusthworthy saying:  if we died with him, we will also live with him.

Please notice, if you refuse to die with Christ, you will not live with him.  And if you were buried alive, you don’t have to go through the act again.  I discovered the meaning of this passage 10 years after my actual baptism.  I was already a minister for five years.  Can you imagine what would happen if this minister would be rebaptized?  There would be tongue-wagging:  “I wonder what he did wrong?”

No, I had done nothing wrong; I just discovered the truth.  So there in Uganda I did not ask for rebaptism.  I went under a fig tree, very symbolic, and I said, “God, You have opened my eyes, I want to surrender to the truth.  From now onwards, Lord, it is no longer I but Christ Who must live in me.”  And that must be the goal.

Now please remember, Romans 6 is dealing with attitude.  Paul realizes that even though in your heart you have died to sin, you are still struggling, you are still falling, but in your heart you have said good-bye to sin.  We will deal with that in more detail when we come to the actual study of the passage in its context.

But one thing is clear:  there is no resurrection with Christ unless you first die with Him.  It’s as simple as that.

Then we go to Romans 6:6:

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin....

The King James Version reads:  “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him.”  I’ve always hated that phrase in this text, because Paul did not use the phrase “old man.”  When I was growing up, my brother and I, when we always talked about my Dad, we called him the “old man.”  So when we were doing something mischievous, my brother would say, “The old man is coming around the corner.”

We were smoking in the bathroom.  Don’t you ever try it, young folks; it wasn’t worth it.  We used to collect the stubs from my fathers cigarette.  And he would smoke, but he wouldn’t allow us to smoke.  What an example! Anyway, he wasn’t a heavy smoker.

Please remember the “old man” is not your father, it is your old life.  That’s why the New International Version of the Bible says your “old self.”  That’s your old life that you were born with, that stood condemned, which had to die, which was crucified with Christ.  Here Paul uses the phrase “old self,” but in Galatians he uses the word “I,” the old self-life.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with [or destroyed]....

But that’s not what Paul says.  So I will need to explain this.  The actual thing that Paul says is:  “...that the body of sin might be deprived of its power or may be rendered powerless.”  That’s what the Greek word says.

Now let me explain what he’s saying here.  The Greeks believed that matter was evil.  The Bible doesn’t teach that.  This body of ours is not evil.  The problem is not my body.  The problem is the driver.  He is the rascal.  Say we were to go in a long bus ride; it’s a long way, so we have two drivers.  The first driver is very reckless, he takes corners on two wheels, and every time he takes a corner, your heart is in your mouth because he’s taking it on two wheels.  You have no peace.  The problem is not the bus; the problem is the driver.  When he steps off and the new driver takes over — and he’s a very careful driver — you sit back and relax and say, “Boy, this is a good driver!”

Well, “the flesh” is your old driver.  And every day you have to remind him, because he has died on the cross as far as you are concerned — only by faith, and faith is not reality.  He is still alive and, given the chance, he wants to pop his ugly head up.  And I’ll tell you the worst form of his ugly head:  when he comes up in the guise of religion.  He acts like a very “holy Joe.”  But he is the flesh.  And so I have to remind you of the words of Jesus to Nicodemus [John 3:6]:

Flesh gives birth to flesh....

He may be able to do many good things.  He may be able to do many religious things.  But he’s always motivated by self.  So our works are polluted, filthy rags in God’s eyes.  It is only the Spirit, the new driver, that can produce righteousness in us.  So we must say, everyday, “Not I, but Christ.”

Paul says, “Do not walk in the flesh but walk in the Spirit” because the flesh is crucified.  Galatians 5:24 says:

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Please notice:  the old man is crucified; therefore, this human body, which in itself is not sinful, has been deprived of its power of sin.  The driver is dead.

Romans 6:6 ends:

...that we should no longer be slaves to sin....

Please don’t come to me and say, “Pastor, I can’t help it.  I have a sinful nature.”

I would say, “Friend, you need to be baptized.”

Because, it is no longer “I, but Christ” Who must walk in us.  And I’ll tell you, the Christ of 2,000 years ago has not changed.  He is the same today, tomorrow, and forever.  And the life He lived, the life of love, the life of caring, the life of self-giving, He can live today in you.  And the world needs to see that.

Well, I have given you a study; now I want to give you some examples from the Bible.  Because the Bible uses this truth from many various angles.  The first example is from the exodus.  In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul takes the experience of the Jews, and links it with salvation.  I read in verse 2 that, Moses being a type of Christ:

They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

And in verses 3 and 4:

They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink....

Please notice the symbolism here of the Lord’s Supper.  They ate and they drank the spiritual food.  And then he defines what he means by this [in the rest of verse 4]:

...for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

But I want you to notice verse 5:

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

You see, the exodus out of Egypt was a symbol of salvation.  Egypt represents the world.  Pharaoh represents Satan, the enemy of God.  And the crossing of the Red Sea represents the baptism.  Now they are heading for Canaan — the promised land — and, while they’re going there, they are living on the spiritual food:  the bread and blood of Jesus Christ.  Now, there was a problem.  They did not say good-bye to the life of Egypt.  So while they were physically out of Egypt, there hearts were still there:  “Oh, I wish we could go back.  We miss the cucumbers, and the leeks, and especially the Kentucky Fried Chicken! We miss it.”

Therefore, their baptism was a sham.  And you know what happened?  They died in the wilderness.  There are three kinds of people who will die:  those who are unbelievers, those who are believers, and those who are in the wilderness.  Of the three, the wilderness people are worst.  I’ll tell you why.  Those who are in the world, they at least enjoy the world before they die.  Those who are Christians will die, but then there’s a resurrection, and eternal life.  But in the wilderness, you have neither of the two.  You don’t even enjoy the world fully, because every time you enjoy it, you’re full of guilt.  And you don’t even enjoy heaven because you were buried alive.

So what did God do?  He did not bring them back to Canaan until they were rebaptized.  He did not take them the easy way, He took them through Petra.  And those of you who have ever been through Petra know it’s rocky, it’s mountainous, it’s really rugged.  And they walked through that, and they came to the Jordan.  Joshua 4:1-9:

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose 12 men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”  So Joshua called together the 12 men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan.  Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you.  In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord.  When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.  These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”  So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them.  They took 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down.  Joshua set up the 12 stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood.  And they are there to this day.

God said to Joshua, “Do two things, when you cross the Jordan [which is their rebaptism].  When you cross the Jordan take 12 stones from the wilderness, and put them in the middle of the river.  And take 12 stones from the river, and take them to the promised land and build an altar.”

What did those 12 stones represent?  “Twelve” represents the church.  What God was saying to Joshua was, “The life of Egypt, which they brought with them, cannot go with them to Canaan.  It must be buried in the Jordan.  And the life of mine, which you must resurrect, must be taken to the promised land.”  And so Jordan becomes the true baptism.  That’s why Jesus was baptized not in the Red Sea, but in the Jordan.  Remember what He said to John the Baptist?  “You must baptize me to fulfill all righteousness.”  Because that’s the true baptism.

In 1975, I was crossing the Jordan with my family; they have a bridge now, so you don’t have to wait for the waters to separate.  I stopped in the middle of that bridge and I looked down at that dirty water.  It’s very clean at the source in the Golan Heights, but when it comes to where the Jews crossed it in the exodus it’s quite dirty.  And an Israeli soldier came with his rifle and bayonet and he dug me in the shoulder, in the waist.  And I jumped, I said, “What’s up?”

He said, “What are you looking for!?”  He thought maybe I was an Arab or somebody.

I said, “No, I’m looking for the stones.”

And he said, “What stones?”

I said, “The Bible says it’s ‘there unto this day.’  Don’t you know your history?”

And he said, “Oh yes, my mother believed in that stuff.  I don’t.”

And I said, “Too bad! That’s why you’re losing the war.”

And he said, “Get along!”

And I said, “Okay sir.”  Too bad, folks.  He has given up the truth as it in Christ.

In 1981, I took a week of prayer in Middle East College and one of the young men requested baptism.  He was a Marionite, which is an offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church.  It’s a Middle East religion; it’s a Christian church.  His parents were furious, absolutely furious.  So the father came up to me, and he said, “Do you know what you’re doing?”

I said, “Yes, I’m baptizing your son.”

He said, “Let me tell you, when my son was two months old, I drove — at tremendous risk to myself — I drove all the way to the Jordan.”

Now he was a Lebanese in the Arab camp.  Don’t you ever call a Lebanese an Arab, because they are Phoenicians.  But he said, “I drove all the way to the Jordan.  And I took a barrel of Jordan water, and I baptized my son in the very water in which Christ was baptized, and now you baptized him in this dirty Middle East College water.”

“Retrogression,” he said to me.

I said, “You may have baptized him in the water, but may I ask you one question?”

He said, “Yes.”

“Did your baby, did this boy cry?”

“Yes,” he said, “he yelled his head off.”

“I’ll tell you why,” I replied.  “He was rejecting that baptism.  Now he is accepting it.  That’s the difference.”  And I explained to him the truth.  He wouldn’t accept it.

He yelled, “You Adventists!”

Well, have you been buried alive?  It is important that we know the truth of baptism.

I want to conclude with an experience I had in Ethiopia.  I hope you don’t have to go through that experience.  I’m especially talking to the young people.  I took a week of prayer at the Adventist college in Ethiopia, and I gave the kids time for questions.  There was an Egyptian there, a Janan Egyptian.  His name was Dahoud; he was a student of mechanized agriculture.  He was a senior.  Apparently, in the class, they had an argument with the teacher, a discussion, “Should Christians carry arms?”

Now in Egypt you have to serve two years in the military.  And they don’t have, like you have in this country, a medical corps.  You have to carry guns.  So this Egyptian said to me, “Is it a sin for a Christian to carry arms?”  Now he knew what the teacher had told him, that it is not right.  But, unfortunately, the teacher had quoted Ellen G. White, and he wanted me to prove it from scripture, which is pretty right for him to ask.

So I said to him, “Dahoud, any Egyptian who does not fight for his country should be ashamed of himself.”  And he liked that.  But I said, “I’d like to ask you a question.  Are you a Christian?”

He said, “Yes.”

Then I said, “Have you seen any dead Egyptians fight for his country?”

He said, “No.”

I said, “If you’re a Christian, you are dead to that old life that belonged to Egypt.  And you were raised in newness of life in Christ.  And by the way....”  Now this may not mean anything to you, but to him it meant something.  “By the way,” I said, “Christ was a Jew.”

Have you told an Arab that he’s a Jew?  He didn’t like it.  He said, “No, I’m not dead!”

I said, “Well, I don’t want you to argue with me.  I can give you a whole host of texts.  Let me give you just one.  I gave him Colossians 3:3.  I said, “Please read it from your Bible, your Arabic Bible.”  And he read it.  And Paul says there:

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

He refused to accept it.  I said, “Okay Dahoud, I’m not going to argue.”  So I left; I went back to Addis Abbaba, which was 150 miles away.  Two weeks later, just two weeks after the week of prayer, he and one of his instructors were testing out a John Deere tractor.  Most of our colleges in Africa are on hills.  They were trying this tractor, they were coming down this hill, and the brakes failed.  Dahoud was sitting on the fender, and the driver, his instructor, was sitting on the seat.  When the brakes failed, the tractor began gaining momentum because it was downhill.  In his panic, he tried to slow down the tractor by bringing it to a lower gear, and the gears weren’t synchronized, so the moment he got it into neutral, he could not get it into a lower gear.  It just wouldn’t go.  So the momentum increased, and he went faster and faster, and the driver was white.  He jumped off.  “Save thyself.”  Dahoud froze on that fender.  He was scared, too.  He should have jumped.  He didn’t.  The tractor hit a tree and he was pinned under it.  It took them 20 minutes to lift that heavy stuff and pull him out.

We had a nurse there, she examined his heart beat and said, “I’m afraid he’s dead.”  He was crushed.  His whole chest was crushed.  There was a hospital three miles away and they rushed him there.  The kids went into the chapel and began praying.  Two doctors — one a Swede, the other an Ethiopian trained in the U.S.  — examined him, and they both admitted that he was dead.  They asked the nurse to take care of his body, and she went with a bed sheet to cover his body and, as she was covering his head, his eyes blinked.  She cried out, “He’s alive!”

The Swedish doctor said, “I guess you’re imagining things.”

The Ethiopian doctor said, “Let me examine him again.”  He used his stethoscope and examined him again and heard a faint heartbeat.  Well, they didn’t have the needed equipment so they radioed our headquarters because we had a mission plane.  We sent our plane and they brought him to our hospital in Addis Abbaba.  He was there, unconscious, for about two weeks, all bandaged; they had done surgery and everything.  Two weeks later he gained consciousness.  So I went to visit him.

His face was all covered with bandages.  All there was open were his eyes and his mouth.  He looked at me, and I looked at him, and I bent down to his ears, and I said, “Dahoud, how are you?”

He whispered to me, “Dahoud is dead.  You’re talking to a Christian.”

He told me later on that God had taught him the hard way the truth as it is in Christ.  He went back to Egypt, but refused to carry arms because he was a Christian.

I hope that you don’t have to go through that experience.  It was bitter! He had scars for the rest of his life.  But if you were buried alive, your baptism was a sham.  It is my prayer that you will surrender to the cross today.  Let us pray:

Loving Father, we thank you that Jesus was willing to go to the cross.  Not for any sin that he committed, but to meet the justice of the law, to bear the pain, the anguish of the second death for us.  But Lord, we realize that unless we identify ourselves with Him crucified, buried, and resurrected, that great, supreme sacrifice is only a theory that has not yet been made effective in our lives.  We ask you, Lord, that Thou wilt take us today, make us willing to be one with Christ, in His death, that we may be one with Him in His resurrection, is our prayer in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


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