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The Power of the Cross: 120th Edition, March 1, 2020


Mike Cleveland
 

The Power of the Cross: 120th Edition, March 1, 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:


This week we have the privilege of hearing from one of Setting Captives Free mentors, who has translated our courses into Russian. Yuri is a great recipient of the power, freedom and love that the cross of Jesus Christ provides, and it shows in everything he says and does.


Here is a teaching that Yuri gave to the Setting Captives Free mentors on our Flock group:


“Greetings, my beloved and precious brothers and sisters!


We are not pioneers in the faith of Christ, so it is written to us: “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ {is} the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.” (Hebrews 13:7-9)


Previous generations of Christians, thanks to the firmness of their faith, were able to convey to us the true Teachings of Jesus Christ. It was they who laid down their lives for Holiness, for faith, for the gospel. Thanks to them, we now have the Holy Scripture, and we have it in our own or at least in languages that we understand.


If earlier Satan deprived people of the opportunity to have the Bible in a language they understand, today in countries that are safe for Christians, Satan simply distorts the Bible. If earlier everyone could not interpret the Scripture, then today even those who have not read the entire Bible once, and even those who are not related to the Church, including the enemies of the Church and Christ, take up this task.


The freedom to interpret Scripture is a great privilege of modern Christians, but it requires learning: “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude1:3,4)


Satan is well aware that learned Christians are the guides of Truth to this world: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. {We are} destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and {we are} taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Preaching the gospel in word and deed turns people's thinking, and the kingdom of darkness in their minds and hearts cannot stand. But all that Satan has built up in the minds and hearts of people, all this is broken by the power of the gospel!


The focus of the gospel is not talking about the good, about the Church, about the existence of God, about the Bible and other Christian and near-Christian topics, but the focus and Foundation of the gospel is the Cross of Jesus Christ, where our salvation was accomplished. There was sacrificed “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). When we come to the Cross of Christ and look at the Crucified Christ, there is no desire to pervert His Teaching, to seek advantage, and to turn the grace of God into an excuse for debauchery. At the cross, the madness of this world ceases, wanting to use our flesh against God: “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.{Act} as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but {use it} as bondslaves of God.” (1 Peter 2:15,16)


Do not go on about errors, do not believe the deception of Satan one iota, do not compromise the principles of Holiness and loyalty to God.“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:16). The world attacks us with an abundance of information and teachings, even in the Church, but “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.” (1 John 5:4). Faith in Jesus Christ, “11 For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”(Romans 10:11)”


Testimonies:


Patrick writes, "Before taking the Setting Captives Free Purity Boot Camp course, I knew that Jesus had forgiven my sins, but I didn't feel as a forgiven person should. I had shame and despair. I was set free, but I needed to walk out of the jail cell.


When I was in bondage to sin, I kept on thinking "What did I do that caused this sin?" thinking that maybe getting to bed at the wrong time or other unrelated reasons were the cause. I now know that my shame and bitterness were holding me back.


In this course, I learned that I needed to replace my old sinful lifestyle with a new one where I deny myself. One of the mistakes I used to make was thinking that if I surrendered once, I had lost completely and might as well give up again. But now I know that Christ has already won the battle. In the past, I was surrendering to the losing side, but not anymore.


With the help of God and Setting Captives Free, I have been set free. I encourage others to take this course and have their heart changed and be set free from the shame of their past.


Halle writes, "Since taking the Purity Boot Camp course, I haven't been acting on my sinful thoughts or feelings. I am learning to see myself as Jesus sees me and not how I see myself. I'm not so quick to be negative all the time or hard on myself.


I've also learned to discipline myself in certain areas that I never did before. I've learned how to rely on Jesus's strength instead of my own. I've learned to turn to Jesus instead of trying to figure things out on my own.


I've learned that with Jesus, I can have the victory! I've learned how to wash at the cross and the importance of continuing to do it. I am cleansed and purified because of washing at the cross. I been warring against my flesh more and not giving in to it. I have been walking in the Spirit more and implementing my battle plan, which is helping me to win the war against my flesh.


I pray and talk to Jesus a lot more now. I've been working on not rejecting or pushing people away but instead learning how I can trust and let people who care about me love me.


I've learned that my identity is in Jesus, and my sin isn't who I am. My past doesn't define me; Jesus does. I've learned how to humble myself and let people help me and be there for me instead of doing everything and going through and dealing with things on my own.


If you are struggling with impurity, I recommend that you take this course. When I started the course, I did think it was going to help or that I would learn anything, but after doing this course and just taking it one day at a time, it really helped me to make progress and experience significant changes in my life. If it can help me, then it will help you too. This course taught me so much, and I learned more than what I thought I ever could or would."


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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