The Power of the Cross: 92nd Edition, August 11, 2019

Mike Cleveland
 

Greetings friends,

Welcome to the new subscribers just joining us. We publish once per week on Sunday. The newsletter shares short gospel teachings and testimonies from Setting Captives Free students. We hope you will find the newsletter helpful and encouraging.


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You are invited to a group weight loss study using the Setting Captives Free Weight Loss material. Here is the information:


Location:

Providence Bible Church, 

17211 Greens Corner Rd, 

Culpeper, VA 22701


Dates: September 3, 2019


Contact Information: 

Contact Lesley at 1ofhislamb@....


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Have you checked out Setting Captives Free’s newest study called “The Gospel and the Church”? This is a powerful course, written by Erick Hurt, and is receiving great reviews, such as this:


"I am so impressed with the simplicity, sincerity and profound nature of this material. Very well done! Please pass this along to others in this ministry. I am excited to see us use this as a tool to equip our people and train them in righteousness." -- Peter Ernst, Pastor/Teacher Family Bible Church, Kingman, Arizona


The above church is using this material to train their leaders for ministry. Would you want to encourage your church to consider this as well? Why not suggest it to your pastor or elders as a resource for training future servant/leaders? 

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Teaching:


To be free from habitual sin requires the help of the Lord; this is obvious to many of us who have tried to break free by our own efforts, or through the programs of man. 


This is the lesson the nation of Israel learned as well, and the Psalmist wrote:


Psalms 124:1-5 (NIV) If the Lord had not been on our side—let Israel say —2 if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, 3 they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; 4 the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, 5 the raging waters would have swept us away.


Isn’t this the experience of all who have tried to escape the trap of sin on their own? For years I was attacked and “swallowed alive”, engulfed in the torrent of temptation that swept over me, carried away in the raging waters of unbelief and pride, lust and impurity, gluttony and laziness and so many more. I could not escape any more than one who is overcome by a tidal wave. Sin’s power was too strong for me.


But that is because I was living in bitterness, having turned away from the Lord and rebelled against Him. I made sure that “the Lord was not on my side” through living in open defiance of His revealed will, living to gratify the lusts of my flesh, in complete disobedience to what I knew was right. 


But then I saw the cross! In God’s timing God opened my eyes to the suffering of Jesus for my pardon, His death on the cross to set me free, and His resurrection from the dead to justify me before God. I saw that Jesus was attacked by both God and man, falsely accused of my sin, and then hung up on the cross to rescue me. I saw that He was engulfed by the waters of God’s wrath against sin, and as He hung on the cross He was overcome and baptized by the raging waters of sin, all that I might be ransomed from sin’s penalty and sin’s power. Then He was taken down from the cross and swallowed up by the grave, buried because of my wrong doing! Finally He rose on the third day, the payment He made for my sin having been accepted by God. He rose in power, having defeated sin and Satan at the cross, and death at the resurrection.


This scene came before my eyes and cut me to the core of my being. It hurt my heart and humbled me. I saw that it was out of love that Jesus suffered death and the shedding of His blood to forgive me. And further, I saw the cross as proof positive that God was now on my side. Keeping this scene before me and being actuated by its truth, I began walking out of my own tomb of sin. 


Oh friend, have you been to the cross and watched the scene play out? Have you seen the innocent and holy Son of God be treated as a sinner that you would be declared “not guilty” and go free? Have you seen your sin hanging on the cross, dying with Jesus? Have you seen your guilt nailed to the tree? Has it cut your heart, hurt and humbled you, then healed and raised you? If so, then know that God is on your side now, for Jesus has removed His wrath from you and taken your punishment. Rise up from the tomb of sin and walk out! 


Romans 8:31-32 (NIV) What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?


And if God is now on your side, note how the Psalmist finishes his writing:


Psalms 124:6-7 (NIV) Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. 7 We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.


Freedom is the result of God being for us, not against us. God has not let sin’s teeth tear us to shreds, but instead Jesus was torn to shreds for our healing. We have escaped the trap of sin, like a bird from the fowler’s snare, because Jesus was trapped in it and nailed to the cross. The snare of sin was broken when Jesus’ body was broken, and we escaped when He died!


This is the power of the cross! The power of the resurrection! The power of the Holy Spirit! It sets captives free, like a bird being released from the trap of the fowler. 


The Psalmist summarizes like this:


Psalms 124:8 (NIV) Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.


Yes, God came to our rescue and in Jesus’ name, and through His substitutionary death we are set free! Will you see the scene of the cross and believe this message today? Will you accept your freedom purchased at such a high price? Will you believe God has rescued and redeemed you through the blood of His Son? Set you free by putting His Son to death in your place?


May I encourage you to watch this song and pay close attention to the words? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS1IsA7y3JY 


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Testimonies:


Mike writes: "When I started the Purity Boot Camp course, I wasn't able to resist the temptation to view pornography most of the time; Not anymore. The power in my salvation was almost zero; now, I am excited about what Jesus' death did for me. The time I spent learning about the Word of God was limited to less than an hour Sunday mornings, but that has also changed. If I don't spend more than an hour a daily studying and learning what the Word has for me, I miss it. I also have a new understanding of the value of prayer in my life.


I have learned to wash at the Cross, which reminds me of the reason for Jesus dying on the Cross - to pay the penalty for my sins. I've learned to walk by the Spirit; the Spirit guides me in the way I should go. He teaches me how to resist temptation and how to live a life honoring to my Heavenly Father. And I've learned to war against my flesh.  I have received my battle plan from the Lord on how to fight for a life free from habitual sin. I now know how to put on the full armor of God, and I do it.


This study course is for you if you would like to start a new life in which you will be set free from impurity. You will learn how to live a life honoring to our Heavenly Father, a life that reflects the Love Jesus Christ has for you and me. You will have the ability to resist the temptation to sin because of the Power of the Holy Spirit in you. Most importantly, you will have an assurance of salvation and be made sin-free before God."


Merry writes, "I was enslaved to lust and self-gratification for several years. I felt locked into it. It was something I was very ashamed of as a Christian. I fell into deep despair and depression. My sin made me feel so dirty. I went through Setting Captives Free 1.0 s Way of Purity course, and my chains were broken, praise God. I walked in freedom for several years. I felt light and free and was fruitful in my walk with God.

But then, I joined an online dating site and got involved with a man bound by sexual lust. Although at first, I resisted the temptation, I eventually fell into sin with him online. I was deeply grieved and repented. I immediately came to Setting Captives Free and enrolled in the new purity course because I didn t want to stay in the sin that I knew led only to darkness and despair. I ended the relationship with the man but gave him the link to The Setting Captives Free course. I don t know if he ever looked into it. 

Setting Captives Free 2.0 was more wonderful than ever with the focus primarily on the cross of Jesus Christ. I realized why I had fallen into sin and the reason I became bitter against God: there was a relationship with a Christian man previously that did not work out. I took my eyes off Jesus. In going through the Setting Captives Free course again, I fell deeper in love with Jesus and had an understanding of His redemption work like never before. As I meditated on the lessons and fed upon them, my eyes were fixed on the cross, and what Jesus did for me, my heart was set free. 

I have come to realize that no matter how life may disappoint me, it is never enough to turn my heart away and forget the sacrifice Jesus made for me. Even though I do not deserve it, He forgave my sins and freed me from the chains of sin and darkness. His love will never fail me. He is always there for me. I plan to sit at the foot of the cross daily and keep my eyes fixed on my beautiful and wonderful Savior."

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Friend if you find you are in agreement with the mission of Setting Captives Free, to see the gospel of Jesus Christ change hearts and lives, would you please consider helping us to continue reaching people with the gospel? Please pray for us, and also consider setting up a monthly tax-deductible donation of any amount. https://settingcaptivesfree.com/donate. Thank you in advance.

Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free

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