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The Power of the Cross: 101st Edition, October 13, 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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Teaching:

Transformation is by Free Grace, and Comes by Washing at the Cross

In 2 Kings chapter 5 we have the story of Naaman, a very important man from Aram, who had been used by the Lord to bring great victory to his country. But he had leprosy. His servant girl, from Israel, stated that if he went to Israel to see God’s prophet he could be healed of leprosy, so he loaded up with silver, gold and clothing to take to the prophet, and went to be healed. 

Naaman, not knowing any different, sought to purchase his healing with money and clothing. He did not understand that God will not be a debtor to any person, and that healing comes by free grace. It also comes through humility.

See Naaman was somebody, a wealthy and important man, and he thought his status and money would be sufficient to purchase his healing. But the prophet of God was dismissive of Naaman, didn’t even come out to meet him but instead sent a servant out to tell Naaman to go wash in the Jordan river seven times to be healed.

Naaman was incensed! He was enraged! He expected to be well-received, to be honored and to purchase his healing. And what did he discover? His status and his money would not merit his healing. He had to learn that all healing is by free grace, and includes us humbling ourselves.

See the Jordan river was known to be muddy, and Naaman objects to it and states he could just as easily have washed in the rivers of Damascus, which were known to be better than the Jordan. In stating this, Naaman misses the point. The point is that when we desire to be cleansed and healed, we do not get to dictate the terms, nor the means used in our healing. We must humble ourselves to receive free grace, and we must learn that to be clean there must be a washing.

Just as Naaman didn’t understand the value of washing in the Jordan, so today there are those who don’t understand the value of washing at the cross. That is, of coming to the cross as unclean, seeing Jesus shedding His blood to forgive and remove our sin, and receiving, by faith, our cleansing and healing at the cross. And doing this over and over, even as Naaman had to dip seven times in the Jordan.

Yet, this humbling ourselves at the fountain of the cross is exactly what is needed to cleanse us from sin and to free us from its power. 

"On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. “On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land.” (Zechariah 13:1-2).

Oh friend, look at the cross of Jesus Christ just now and see it as a cleansing fountain that will wash you from both impurity and idolatry, and humble yourself to wash there. Let the cleansing fountain wash over you, seeing that Jesus has taken your sin and guilt off of you, that He has removed your shame and is dying your death. This is the fountain that is despised by the world but loved by believers, for there we are cleansed and healed of sin-sickness, and freed from sin’s shackles.

When Naaman accepted that he could not buy his healing, when he understood that he could not dictate the terms of his healing, and when he humbled himself to wash in the Jordan, he was transformed:

"So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy” (2 Kings 5:14). 

Friend, the cross is the place of salvation and transformation. It is the place of sanctification and growth. Come to it today, and experience its transforming power, and be cleansed and be free.

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Testimonies:

Brad writes, "I thought this was going to be another one of those self-help courses, but lesson one proved me wrong. The Setting Captives Free Purity Boot Camp course has gotten me into some very good habits. I now seek Jesus daily. I feel a lot more freedom now. I no longer have anything to hide from my wife. I don't get worried when she asks to look through my phone. I have an excellent accountability system in place.

I feel like Peter after Jesus called him out of the boat to walk on water. When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he cried for help, and Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed Peter out of the water. I feel like Jesus has grabbed me out of my sin and darkness and is helping me back to the boat.

Daily washing at the cross keeps me walking in the Spirit. I have good days and bad days, but I can say that thanks to learning to wash at the cross and walk in the Spirit, I am pornography free for the last 30 days. The cross makes warring against the flesh so much easier once you're continually washing at it.

Jesus has set me free over these last 30 days. It has been an amazing and challenging experience. I still stumble, but I feel Jesus keeping me up. This course has brought me so much closer to Him.

I most definitely recommend this course to ANYBODY that is struggling with sexual sin. This course has walked me through how and why we wash at the cross, walk in the Spirit, and war against the flesh. To anyone that thinks they have messed this up so bad that it can't be fixed, I have wonderful news. Jesus can and will fix your situation with His grace and mercy. As Christians, we serve an amazing God.

If you're struggling, do not give up! Be aggressive with your prayers! Go big! If you pray, according to God's will, He will make it happen! Also, be vigilant. Satan lurks behind every corner. He will throw things at you to trip you up and try to make you fall. Gaining freedom requires discipline. You're going to have to make a lot of changes, but it is going to be worth it.”

Christina writes, "Praise the Lord Jesus! Before taking the Setting Captives Free Weight Loss course, I didn't realize to what extent I had been in bondage to and obsessing over food. Sin is so deceitful.

I learned that eating when not hungry is gluttony, and it's ok to wait until belly pangs and hunger sets in to eat.

At the end of this course, I feel closer and more intimate with the Lord Jesus, and I enjoy the taste of food more. I got to goal weight, which I couldn't do when I was tracking my diet and exercise for more than a year before this course. My clothes feel great, and I no longer have a fear of food. The scales do not stress me, which is impressive because, in the past, seeing them brought about a defeated attitude.

I want to retake this course as I can't say I'm always in touch with the stomach pangs but would like to suffer more for Christ and grow even more in savoring Him and walking in the Spirit.

I highly recommend this course to everyone even if you're not overweight. Society pushes food as the answer to comfort and pleasure and finding satisfaction to the point of savoring food. This course teaches us to savor Christ and will completely change your mindset about food to where you have the freedom to enjoy food even more as you put it in its proper place and grow in a deeper intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ."

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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