The Power of the Cross: 184th Edition, June 6, 2021


Mike Cleveland
 

The Power of the Cross: 184th Edition, June 6, 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: The newest course from Setting Captives Free is now live.  The Freedom from Substance Abuse course is designed to help men and women to freedom from substance abuse (alcohol, smoking, drugs, etc.).  

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Spanish version of newsletter: El Poder de la Cruz: Edición 183

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Teaching:

It can be very discouraging when believers in Christ discover that they still have flesh and still sin. Sin in the life of a believer, especially habitual sin, can cause us to:

1) Question our spiritual status. We might begin to wonder, "Am I even saved? Am I even in the family of God?" Sin brings feelings of insecurity.

2) Feel naked and exposed to God's judgment. We might believe God is angry with us and that He will punish us, so we withdraw from Him.

3) Experience disunity. Sin makes us combative and defensive; we get at odds with other people very easily.

We can see all three of these struggles in the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned. They had previously walked with God confidently because they were His children, created in His image, but they hid from God after they sinned. 

Possibly Adam and Eve thought, "Maybe we are no longer His children since we have marred His image so much through our sin." Sin revealed their nakedness; they felt exposed to God's wrath. In fear, they set about to work to cover themselves with fig leaves. 

And finally, there was no longer unity between Adam and Eve. Adam accused Eve and blamed her for his fall. He used to say his wife was "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (Genesis 2:23), and now she's "this woman" (Genesis 3:12). What happened to the love, unity, and oneness they shared? Sin was a barrier in their relationship.

These struggles are all part of the disheartening reality that believers face when they sin. 

The Galatians knew this experience of ongoing sin, and some false teachers came along and taught them that obedience to the Law would perfect them and reassure them of their standing as children of God. If they kept God's Law, they would no longer feel naked and unclothed, exposed to God's hatred of sin, and they would have fellowship with all other people who were likewise obeying God.

But notice what Paul says in Galatians 3:26-29: 

"So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

First, let's notice how we should find our assurance that we are in the family of God. Galatians 3:26 tells us we  "are all children of God through faith." Jesus was treated as if He no longer belonged to the family, abandoned by God on the cross so that God would bring us into the family when we believe the gospel. We are children of God through faith in Christ's sacrifice, not through our efforts at obedience.

Second, Galatians 3:27 states that we "have clothed ourselves with Christ" when we believed and were baptized. Previously, we were naked in our sin. There was in us this horrible blindness, ignorance, contempt, and hatred of God; uncleanness, greed, gluttony, dishonesty, etc. This corrupt and sinful nature we received from Adam and is called "the old man." 

But look at the cross with me and see Jesus suffering in our place. Having become sin for us, He was naked in our sin, exposed to all the wrath of God for us (Romans 5:9) so that we would be clothed with Christ, robed in righteousness (Revelation 19:8), wearing the garments of salvation (Isaiah 61:10). 

Third, Galatians 3:28 declares, "you are all one in Christ Jesus." All who believe are of the same family. In John 17, we read Jesus' prayer: "that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity." He prayed for our unity, and then He died to make us one. In God's kingdom, there are no denominations, nothing that separates us one from another, only one big family of God, "brought to complete unity."

Ongoing sin is dealt with in the same way that we dealt with it at the very beginning of our Christian life: through faith in the Son of God, His death and resurrection in our place. The cross transforms our discouragement with our weak flesh into hope and victory in Jesus.

Question for this week: how does faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ provide everything needed to perfect us?

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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

Gail writes, "Through the principles taught in the Weight Loss Follow-Up course at Setting Captives Free, I now have a closer and more intimate walk with my Savior daily. My focus is back on Christ. Daily I wash at the cross, am strengthened by the Spirit's power, and can better fight sin in my life. I feel God's love deep in my soul, and my love for Him has grown and blossomed. I am at peace with many areas of my life that I surrendered to Him during the two Weight Loss courses. What Great Love the Father has shown to me through Jesus, my Lord and Savior. I walk now by the strength of the Spirit in me and not by my flesh.

 

During these two courses (Weight Loss Bootcamp and Follow-Up), my daily devotions have been so rich. My focus is on my Savior and His great work of love He did on the cross. Daily I run to the foot of the cross to be washed clean of my sins. I let His blood flow over me. He's forgiven my sins, broken the chains that held me, and now my soul flies free. I rely on the Spirit in me to give me the strength to fight temptations daily. Each day I ask for my plan. God has shown me that to lose weight, I must eat much less at each meal than I was eating before.

 

I have lost a few pounds and have maintained that loss. My clothes are looser, my blood glucose numbers have been better, and I feel so much better when I eat according to my plan each day. Now God is teaching me that accepting what I weigh now is where I need to focus and not on if I lose anymore. I now know how to prepare myself each day to keep my eyes on Jesus in this lifelong journey and not turn back to worldly ways of losing weight. I am free from the scale, tracking, and counting every little thing I eat.

 

The two main things I have gained from these two classes are freedom from making food an idol in my life and, most important, a deeper and closer walk with Jesus.

 

I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to base their weight loss on Biblical principles. That desire is what led me to this course. I found so much more than just weight loss in this program. I found out how to fly free from the world's hold on my life. I learned that God's great love extends to all parts of my life. I found the way I want to live for the rest of my life - in the love of my Lord Jesus Christ."


Dominic writes,Up until December 31, 2020, I had been in an adulterous affair, I had been viewing pornography, I had been pursuing women to satisfy an emptiness inside. I was a Christian for over 20 years, involved in my local church, and married, but I had never conquered sexual temptation.

 

By the end of 2020, things had come to a head with my wife filing for divorce; I was ready to walk away from Christ forever until a friend recommended this amazing course.  So, on New Year's Eve, with God's help, I repented. I stopped the adulterous affair and signed up for the Purity Bootcamp course because I wanted to start the new year of 2021 free!

 

What makes this course different, effective, and supernatural is it is Christ-centered. It will point you back to the cross of Jesus, where you can obtain real victory.

 

It's day 30, and I have been free from sexual sin for the first time in a long time. Praise God!  I had days where it felt effortless and days where it felt all of hell was against me. But if God is for us, who can be against us! This course taught me how to draw close to God and use the right weapons to ensure victory.

 

No matter how bad your situation is or how long you've been bound, God has a purpose for you still and can totally turn your life all around. This course is incredible because it brings us back to the prison breaker - King Jesus! It put the spotlight on spiritual truths I had glossed over previously.

 

If you have not been experiencing real freedom in Christ, this course is for you. If you have hit rock bottom like I had because of the shame of your sins, there is help in this study. This course is different! Jesus is at the center. "Who the Son sets free is free indeed!" If this is not a reality in your life, get on this course now!”

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

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For the audio version of this newsletter, click here. 


Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free