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The Power of the Cross: 112th Edition, January 5, 2020


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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Announcement: The Spanish volunteer translation team has now completed the Purity Bootcamp course in Spanish. The course is now live and available on the homepage of Setting Captives Free. We want to take a moment and acknowledge the tireless work done by Harold, Sylvia, and others to finish this work to the glory of God. 

Announcement: We are currently working on “Weight Loss Follow-Up” as our next course. It is a 60-Day course, carrying over the principles from the Weight Loss course and adding specific eating and exercising plans.

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Teaching:

The Bible teaches all throughout its pages, that purity and freedom are found at the cross. They are not found by human reason, man’s programs, or New Year’s resolutions, but rather the power to crucify our flesh and die with Christ, and rise to live differently is all found at the cross!

Notice one place this is taught:

Ezekiel 24:13 (NIV) "Now your impurity is lewdness. Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided.” 

The nation of Israel was impure in their rebellion, and God sent His prophet Ezekiel to warn them of His coming wrath, and to turn them from their sin. But they refused to listen to either Ezekiel or God who sent him, and as a result God pronounced doom on them and warned them that they would remain impure until His wrath was fully exhausted, until His anger against sin had subsided. 

Think of this phrase: "you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided." What does this mean? What can we gain from this?

First, there would be a time coming when God's wrath would be exhausted. He would fully pour it out and it would fully subside.

Second, at that time, when God's wrath was subsided, the people would be clean. Their impurity would be removed and their sin would be absolved in the wrath of God, and they would be without spot or blemish, clean at last!

Friends, what a wonderful teaching about the power of the cross! For when Jesus came He went to the cross. God, Himself, took the punishment of sin that should have been poured out on the sinners. The cross for Him was a cross of wrath, but for us is the cross of love. On the cross Jesus removed the sin of all people and suffered under the wrath of a holy God. He was crushed and striped, bruised and plowed, pummeled and killed. All while enduring an eternity of God's wrath and anger against sin. 

As Jesus hung on the cross, the Father turned His face away, not able to bear the sight of His sinless Son hanging in shame, our sins upon His shoulders. Then, Jesus drank the cup of God's wrath, every last drop (Mark 10:38), and breathed His last. And what happened? A whole world of impure people were made clean. Not just the nation of Israel, but every believer who ever lived is declared to be "holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation" (Colossians 1:22), clean and pure. 

Yes, God's promise was fulfilled on the cross: "you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided." On the cross God's wrath was fully poured out, completely exhausted, and you are cleansed from all your sin, made holy, and declared to be without any blemish at all. Free and pure. Clean and new. That's the power of the cross!

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Testimonies:

Kelly writes: "The Looking to Jesus devotional is so encouraging, wonderful and needed. I love how it takes the stories of the Bible and shows how they are applicable to all the issues of life that we face. I m studying it with friends, and they are all saying I never knew the cross dealt with the issues of my life like this. I m sending all my students to this for a follow up study. Kelly” (Mentor and Mentor Coordinator with Setting Captives Free). Here is a link to the devotional. 

Willie writes, "I find the principles taught in the Purity Boot Camp course very helpful in my walk with Christ.  When I wash at the cross, Christ by His power through the Spirit enables me to fight against the flesh and win.  My walk with Christ would fall apart without any one of these principles.

Through this course, God has changed me to be more like Christ.  He has strengthened me to fight the fleshly urges of sexual immorality and win.  One of the other significant changes besides that is that I am free from bitterness; I didn't even know I had it until it was gone.  My prayers have changed too.  God is showing me that life isn't all about me.
I recommend this course.  No matter where a person is in on the spectrum of sin, Christ's power through the cross can transform them into new people.  These lessons point to Christ and His work.
"

Roland writes, "I was involved in sexual impurity (pornography and self-gratification) from an early age. These sinful behaviors increased through the years, and soon, I was in bondage to the lust of my flesh. I eventually became involved with homosexuality, which left me traumatized and disturbed.

Deep down, I knew I could never be happy with another man, but I didn't stop feeding my lust for years. My life was full of shame, and I even felt suicidal.

I wanted to believe that change is possible, but I couldn't. I started to communicate with Christians online because I always considered myself a Christian, even though I had a lot of doubt and insecurities in my faith. Someone recommended the Setting Captives Free Purity courses for me, and I started to complete the lessons. I didn't know what to expect, but these lessons began to change my heart.  I thought maybe there is hope for me, maybe God doesn't hate me, and perhaps finally I can be free from my sins.

Slowly, but surely, my perspective changed. I started to believe that my Lord Jesus truly loves me and gave Himself to me, a terrible sinner. He died for me on the Cross. I didn't get what I deserved, Jesus took the punishment, and if this is not enough for me to be free, I don't know what is.

This course taught me that my job is not to try to be free from sin alone. When I tried to get free on my own, I always failed. Jesus already washed away my sin, and I have to do is believe it, wash at the Cross, walk by the Spirit, and then I can war against my flesh. I am not perfect at this, but I already started this journey, with Jesus Christ on my side. Honestly, He is the most important person to me now.

I recommend this course to anyone who wants freedom from sexual impurity of any kind. I was in a hopeless place, depressed, full of insecurities and anxiety, plus deeply involved in sexual impurity. I believe that if Jesus could give me hope in my previous devilish mindset and set me free, He can give you hope and rescue you from the bondage of sin too.

I don't feel that terrible power of sin anymore, and I feel more hope and rest about my purity than I ever did in my life. Jesus is my Lord, and nothing is impossible for Him. He defeated every evil in my life when He died for me on the Cross. I praise the Name of Jesus, and I believe His Word.Here is a link to the Purity Bootcamp course.

Diana writes, "Being in ministry with my husband for the past 25+ years I have witnessed so many hurting people. People looking for help from all the wrong places. I myself have been through some terrible circumstances and have looked for help from the world or from Christians who told me just to pray more. None of these things have worked. When I started setting captives free for depression my whole world began to change. I have been a believer for a very long time and I have never experienced the cross and what was done there in such a way as you have shared it. I poured myself into the scriptures and my mentor was so helpful. I know so many that struggle and that Jesus is the only answer. I want to give to others what has been given to me; a life of peace, comfort and meaning.” (New mentor with Setting Captives Free). Here is a link to the Depression course. 

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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