The Power of the Cross


Mike Cleveland
 

The Power of the Cross: 199th Edition, September 26, 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.

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Announcement: New course just released: Marriage and the Gospel! Come join Erick and Sylvia Hurt as they share how the gospel of Jesus Christ saved their marriage from impurity, disrespect, adultery, bankruptcy, anger, and rage. See how Jesus raised them up from their dead marriage and were given the power to live and love again. Our prayer is that you will likewise experience the gospel's power in your marriage and fall in love all over again.

 

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The audio version of this newsletter can be found here.

 

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Teaching:

We now come to a section of Galatians that contains some practical instruction but remember these verses do not stand alone. All instruction, exhortation, and correction in the New Testament are rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let's read Galatians 6:1-2.

"Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV) 

This text is talking about someone caught in a sin trap. Another translation says "overtaken by a sin," as if someone were running a race and a faster runner overtakes them so that they lose. Sin can overtake any Christian; we are all susceptible to the tricks of Satan and the weakness of our flesh. But sin only overtakes or traps us as we believe the lies of Satan, the world, and our flesh.

Maybe you can think back on lies you believed, so that sin overtook you as it did me. When I was 40-50 pounds overweight, I thought of myself as a "foodie" who had an "addiction to food." That is such a lie, and it will keep anyone in bondage who believes it. The truth is that I was gratifying my flesh instead of crucifying it. Or how about if we were in bondage to pornography or sexual impurity, what lies were we believing then? That we were "addicted" to the rush, the thrill, that the next image would satisfy us. Lies! Bondage! Slavery! 

So, what needs to happen to those who are believing lies and living in habitual sin? Galatians 6:1 says, "you who are living by the Spirit" [as opposed to those living by the flesh] are to restore them gently and humbly, watching out that we don't start believing the lies they believe, or we'll fall too. Spiritual people walk by the Spirit in the gospel, free from habitual sin, carefully, gently, and humbly restoring those overtaken (trapped) by sin. 

Verse 2 continues this theme by calling us to carry each other's burdens. One in bondage to sin is burdened by the strength of temptation and the weakness of their flesh, and they need someone to come and lift that load off of them and help them carry it. But how do we do that?

Galatians 6:2 explains, "in this way, you will fulfill the Law of Christ." This little phrase reminds us of Jesus' words to His disciples in John 13:34, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." Jesus instituted this new command by what He did for us on the cross when He loved us to death and back. When this world was overtaken in sin, believing lies and languishing in sin, overburdened by guilt, Jesus came and took that load right off us. Jesus was made to be sin for us and condemned in our place. He nailed our sins to the cross, and buried our guilt in the grave! 

When we are overtaken by sin, we need someone to come to us and point our eyes to Calvary, encouraging us to look at Jesus, who removed our burden and set us free through His death and resurrection. We need an invitation to, as the old hymn says: 

"Cast your care on Jesus today, 
Leave your worry and fear
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near." 

We bear one another's burdens of sin by taking one another to Calvary, where Jesus broke sin's power for us and paid our sin debt. And in this way, we fulfill the Law of Christ. 

One quick example: the woman caught in adultery was burdened with sin and guilt, under condemnation and awaiting execution. But Jesus came and stood between her and those who would stone her, rescuing her from death, assuring her that she was not condemned, and encouraging her to go and leave her life of sin. That is how we help those overtaken by sin.

Question: How is this gospel method of helping people caught in sin different from the world’s method?

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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  

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Testimonies

Abi writes, "During the Weight Loss Bootcamp course, I got to know the Lord at a deeper level.  I experienced a greater understanding of God's love for me through what Jesus did for me at the cross, and I got a deeper understanding of the significance of the cross in my walk with God.

 

I was moved to tears many times through washing at the cross. The best part is that this refreshing is not a one time thing. It is a continuous washing at the cross, submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit that helps me to deny the gratification of my flesh as I look forward to the day that I will be done with sin in the mighty name of Jesus.

 

I have learned to eat when I have hunger pangs and stop when I feel comfortably full. This shift is huge for me because, in the past, I would continue eating after I was full, which led to overeating and weight gain. I have learned to include exercising in my battle plan. I am also working on having a healthy sleep pattern of about six hours every night.

 

I feel lighter because I learned to lay down my burdens at the cross and exchange them for the easier yoke that Jesus gives to me. My clothes fit better. I feel confident, and I feel that I am in God's will for losing weight and developing a healthy, God-honoring way of eating. I am thankful to Jesus for allowing me to experience this liberation from bondage.

 

The Weight Loss Bootcamp course was a wonderful course that helped me apply what Jesus did for me at the cross to my daily life. It showed me how God's word and His gospel address my sin of overeating and many other sins with a sense of hope, strength, and claiming victory along the way by the power of the Holy Spirit and the mighty name of Jesus."

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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 would you consider setting up a monthly tax-deductible donation of any amount? www.settingcaptivesfree.com/donate. Thank you in advance. 

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For wonderful, powerful, gospel-full writings, we recommend subscribing to http://theperfectoffering.com/

 

New course just released: Marriage and the Gospel! Come join Erick and Sylvia Hurt as they share how the gospel of Jesus Christ saved their marriage from impurity, disrespect, adultery, bankruptcy, anger, and rage. See how Jesus raised them up from their dead marriage and were given the power to live and love again. Our prayer is that you will likewise experience the gospel's power in your marriage and fall in love all over again.


Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free