The Power of the Cross: 187th Edition, June 27, 2021


Mike Cleveland
 

The Power of the Cross: 187th Edition, June 27, 2021

 

Greetings friends,

 

Welcome, new subscribers! This weekly newsletter shares short gospel teachings and testimonies from Setting Captives Free students. We hope you will find it helpful and encouraging.

 

----------

 

Announcement: The newest course from Setting Captives Free is now live.  The Freedom from Substance Abuse course is designed to help men and women to freedom from substance abuse (alcohol, smoking, drugs, etc.).  

 

----------

 

Spanish version of newsletter: El Poder de la Cruz: Edición 186

----------

Teaching:

The effects of believing the gospel are powerful and evident in people’s lives. And so are the effects of being under the Old Covenant Law. In today’s study, we get to see both.

Paul writes to the Galatians: “I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4:12-16).

Paul preached a pure and vivid gospel to the Galatians, and believers of the gospel genuinely love those who preach it to them. The gospel message stirs their hearts with love; it helps them know their forgiveness and right standing with God; it makes Jesus very precious to them. For all these reasons and more, believers appreciate those who preach the message of the cross to them.

Notice the effects of the Galatians believing the gospel when Paul preached it to them.

  1. They welcomed Paul as if he were Jesus Christ (vs. 14).
  2. They blessed him (vs. 15).
  3. They would have plucked out their eyes and given them to Paul (vs. 15). 

These results are striking:

  1. The Galatians heard from Paul that because Jesus was rejected and died on the cross, they were fully accepted and welcomed into God’s presence. The effects of believing this message were that they received others, opening their lives, in this case to Paul.

  1. Secondly, they heard that Jesus took their curse when He died in their place so that they could receive the true blessing (Galatians 3:13-14), and in return, they blessed Paul for helping them understand this life-giving news.

  1. Finally, they heard that God loved them so much that He plucked out His own heart, plucked out His beloved Son from heaven, and sent Him to earth to live and die in their place, and out of overflowing gratitude, they would gladly respond in the same way. They would have plucked out their eyes and given them to Paul if it could have helped heal his illness.  

Seeing the cross of Christ in such vivid color powerfully works in the hearts of people, setting them free from sin and the Old Covenant Law. Appreciation for those who preach it to them wells up in their hearts, making them welcoming, causing them to bless those who preach it, and putting a desire in their hearts to give of anything precious to them since they saw God giving His beloved Son for them. 

Setting Captives Free mentor and supervisor, Kelly said it well the other day on our Discord channel: "What a costly price that He paid and such gut-wrenching pain that He would endure seeing the treasure of His heart ripped from the arms of His love to become a curse for us." Amen.

But now let's notice what happened when the Galatians began turning back to Old Covenant Law: "Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16). What? Were they treating Paul like an enemy now? What happened to their welcoming and blessing him and being willing to pluck out their eyes for him? Paul asked the Galatians to consider the Law's effects on them, consider the change that happened to put them at odds with him who brought such good news to them. 

Behold the effects of both the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Old Covenant Law!  Living under law brings division and difficulty but the gospel gives life and produces love in the heart of the believer.

Question of the week: As you reflect upon your own life: are you experiencing the benefits of the gospel or the burden of the law? How can you tell?

----------

Setting Captives Free has free, interactive Marco Polo studies that correspond to the teachings in this newsletter. If you’d like to join the discussion, click one of the following links on your smartphone: 

To join one of the men’s groups, click this link: https://onmarcopolo.com/groups/Va6HzPIPDxWU/4-scf-mens-group   

To join the female (only) group, click this link: https://onmarcopolo.com/groups/Zv8WlxPaMZuu/scf-womens-group-1  

----------

Testimonies

Veronica writes, "In the Setting Captives Free Weight Loss courses, I learned to wash at the cross, to walk by the Spirit, and to war against my flesh. God gave me a battle plan that I was able to implement. 

I didn't weigh myself much during the course as this was another area where it could become an unhealthy focus, but even more importantly, the changes in my thinking have been more remarkable. By walking, washing, and warring daily, my focus was on more than the number on the scales.

 

Physically, I have more energy! I have lost weight - about 10 kilos. I am consistently exercising; I even participated in a trail running event of 11 km! My clothes are fitting better. I recently had my doctor do a check-up, and all my lab levels are in the normal range. I physically feel better than I have for a long time. 

I appreciate the freedom I now feel at not having to look at ads for weight loss. I can now dismiss them as irrelevant. I no longer have to experience the anxiety and the sense of failure I would feel after trying a diet and not sticking with it. I no longer feel like a failure. Daily washing at the cross, walking by the Spirit & warring against my flesh are lifelong keys to my freedom."

Helena writes, "I took the A United Front course, and my husband took the purity course, and these last 30 days were a time of becoming a united front.

 

In this course, I formed new habits. I laid down shock, fear, pain at the foot of the cross and took up forgiveness, peace, faith, hope, and love through the gospel. As a result, I am learning to listen to my husband from a place of thankfulness - refreshed and filled up by remembering what Jesus did for me at the cross.

I now desire to fight the good fight for my marriage, speak lovingly to my husband and remember that there is power in my tongue to bring life and love or death.

My husband and I are no longer taking each other for granted and are checking in with each other nearly every day when traveling separately. We are nurturing, watching out for, and seeking to protect each other, praying and worshipping Jesus together, and growing and hungering for the Word. Taking communion has become very powerful for us.

 

The Setting Captives Free courses reminded us about Jesus, our first love! The lessons are powerful and full of Holy Spirit wisdom. We have been refreshed, refined, and revived through these studies. We are so thankful."

----------

Friend, if you find you agree 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 consider setting up a monthly tax-deductible donation of any amount. www.settingcaptivesfree.com/donate. Thank you in advance. 

----------

For the audio version of this newsletter, click here
For a wonderful sermon showing how the Law of God is to be used under the New Covenant, click here.

Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free


Join main@SettingCaptivesFree.groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.