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The Power of the Cross: 119th Edition, February 23, 2020


Mike Cleveland
 

The Power of the Cross: 119th Edition, February 23, 2020


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:


At Setting Captives Free, we proclaim the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only method of true freedom from sinful bondage. The Bible contains serious warnings about error and tells us how Satan wants to invade the church with it. Our enemy does this sometimes through blatant false teaching and other times by twisting the Word of God slightly. Our enemy is devious. We must guard our hearts and minds against his methods, or we will remain in bondage to sin.


Notice how Paul pulls the curtain back on Satan, exposing what our enemy is trying to do to us:


"For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. 3 But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. 4 You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed." 2 Corinthians 11:2-4 (NLT)


Paul's heart burned when he wrote this passage, for he saw people who had been espoused to Christ now listening to the serpent. The Corinthians "put up with" whatever anyone told them. They listened to the Bible but also the devil, to God but also false teachers, etc.


In this passage, I see four main things that Satan wants to do in the church.


  1. Cause us to be spiritual adulterers. "I promised you as a pure bride to one Husband." We are pledged to Christ, engaged to Him, and devoted to Him, but Satan wants us to look for another husband and commit adultery with the world through its' teaching.

  2. Corrupt and divide our pure devotion to Christ. "But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted…" People are devoted to whoever changes their lives, transforms them, save their marriages, gets them sober, etc. One thing you find within 12-step groups is devotion to the group and/or organization.

  3. Deceive us. "... just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent." The devil transforms himself into an angel of light, a worker of good, a herald of truth that helps people get sober, lose weight, and be in recovery. One of the ways he carries out this deception is through the dividing of justification and sanctification. He is perfectly fine if people limit the message of the cross to only that which removes the vertical alienation, as long as they put their trust elsewhere to be free from unwanted behaviors.

  4. Proclaim a different gospel and a different spirit. "You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed."


Oh, friend, we must categorically reject any teaching not centered on the message of the cross, instruction that does not give us resurrection power to be free from sin. We must turn from all counsel that leaves us "in recovery" for years or the rest of our lives, and instead, embrace the resurrection power of Jesus Christ that transforms our hearts and every area of our lives. Freedom comes as we view the cross and our hearts are cut, crushed and comforted, and we are raised up from sin in resurrection power. The world and its teachings have none of this.


"I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come." Ephesians 1:19-21 (NLT) 


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Andy writes, "Of all the principles taught in the Purity Boot Camp course, washing at the cross stands out the most for me. Previously, I had not considered the necessity of coming and washing (looking at the cross) to be reminded of Christ's sacrifice for me. The result is that I will have a greater love for Christ and will lead to walking in the Spirit and warring against my flesh. Very helpful!


Sometimes on this walk, we can get dusty on this journey, and we need to be reminded that there is a place to wash and be renewed. It is at the foot of the cross, seeing Jesus.


This course has been a great encouragement to my walk with Christ. I needed refreshment in Him.


I encourage everyone to take this course, to sit long at the foot of the cross until they feel His precious blood flowing over them, cleansing them from their sin. This inside out way of the cross truly works! First, our heart is cleansed, and then the wonderful freedom of Christ flows out to the rest of our lives!"


Aaron writes, "I had taken the Setting Captives Free 1.0 courses in the past, but like so many others, I found out that radical amputation and abstaining built up my pride. And my pride led to a fall back into sexual sin. I came back to the new Setting Captives Free 2.0 last year.


The most significant discovery to me in the new course was the revelation of how I was not cherishing Jesus Christ. I thought I was, but after going through the Purity courses, I found out I was not.


I intentionally took my time going through each lesson because I wanted to hear from God and have Him transform my heart from selfish, prideful, and arrogant to one that reflects His love. So, the most significant change I have seen in my life since taking this course is an ever-growing dependence upon God's grace to keep me away from sin and in the love of Christ.


Another big thing I learned is love. Previously I had not taken the time to focus on the gospel every day. The whole gospel of Jesus Christ is about His love for sinners like me. When I take the time to not rush through this part of my day, it is a chain-breaking experience.


For me, a lot of my Christian life and experience was all about obedience and growing, but I was failing in both, and now I know why. I never drank deeply at the cross. We need to receive the revelation that Jesus loves us to the uttermost every day. When I bask in all the details of Jesus’ love and sacrifice, then all my temptations melt away. I need to grow more in this area, but I know the Lord will help me.


I recommend this course to others because it is the only course where you will find out how to use the gospel to get free from the grip of sin and leave it behind."


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




Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free