The Power of the Cross: 194th Edition, August 22, 2021


Mike Cleveland
 

The Power of the Cross: 194th Edition, August 22, 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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**You are invited to a Bible study today, Sunday the 22nd at 4:00 PM Pacific time, on Zoom. Feel free to join early to test audio/video if you would like. Here is the link to join: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86137567786.**

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The audio version of this newsletter can be found here.

 

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Setting Captives Free’s Blog. Check out all our authors (mentors with Setting Captives Free) who are writing gospel blogs. It will be a feast for your soul!

 

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Teaching:

This week we will see that embracing the message of the cross keeps us from believing false teaching and frees us from bondage. 

Galatians 5:7-10 (NLT) 7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. 9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! 10 I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you.

Here Paul highlights the results of believing false teaching. To what false teaching is Paul referring? It is that the Old Covenant is still in effect and necessary for godliness. We have seen this repeatedly through the letter to the Galatians. To teach that believers are under Law is false because the truth of the gospel is that Jesus obeyed, fulfilled, and ended the Law. “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness” (Romans 10:4) 

Ephesians 2:14-15 (NLT) 14 Jesus “united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of Law with its commandments and regulations.”

When Jesus died on the cross, the whole system of Law and commandments ended, meaning that the 10-commandment Law has been "nullified, abolished, or destroyed." Teaching people the need to obey the Law is to deny the work of Christ on the cross, and THAT is what makes it false teaching. 

And what are the effects of believing this false teaching? Paul tells us that it is enslaving and confusing. Paul asked, "Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn't God, for he is the one who called you to freedom." God in the gospel calls us to freedom, but the Galatians were going back to the Law, which equals going back to slavery. So the effect of believing false teaching about the Law is that it is enslaving. 

It is also confusing. Galatians 5:10 says, "I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you."

How is false teaching about the Law confusing? The gospel teaches that Jesus died to make believers right with God, but the Law teachers said, "you must obey the Ten Commandments to be right with God." Paul taught the Galatians that Jesus' death on the cross opened the way for all believers to be in God's family, but the Law teachers said circumcision was necessary to be part of God's family. False teaching minimizes the work of the cross, and that's why Law-teaching is false teaching and why Paul asked, "who has kept you from obeying the truth?"

What can we learn from our passage today? We learn that the good news message for believers is about the perfect life of Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the Law for every believer! It is about a crucified Lamb who bled to atone for our sins, whose death makes us righteous, whose blood frees us from the burden of the Law and from bondage to habitual sin, and that by believing this message, we, like Abraham, are counted righteous.  

Question: How does believing the message of the cross keep you, personally, from believing false teaching?

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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

Patti writes, "After taking the Weight Loss Bootcamp course, I have seen the following changes in my life:

 

When I started this course, I was only reading the Scripture in the study. 

However, I now see how important it is for me to open the Bible every day and feast on His Word. What Truth I am finding there! I have a renewed desire for God's Word.

I am more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and am hearing His leading when temptation comes. 

This course has helped me to see my bitterness and pray for God to take it from me. 

This course has uncovered idols and sins in my life that I hadn't seen before. Some "dots" have been connected, and I see how to escape from habitual sin in a new way.

In the past, I have doubted God's goodness, that He is for me. Through this course, I have been reminded of who He is and how He loves me. He wants me to be free more than I do! I have hope that, by walking free from habitual sin, my life will move forward from the suffering of these past three years. 

I have peace, and my focus has changed in regards to my appearance. I have begun to focus on my heart appearance rather than my physical appearance. I want a beautiful heart regardless of how I look on the outside. Jesus wasn't the perfect human specimen physically, but His heart was beautiful. I want to be more like Christ!

 

Physically, my clothes are feeling looser. I have more energy; my skin is clearer and more healthy-looking. Jesus has removed my guilt and shame, so I'm not grieving about it anymore.

 

I recommend this course! This world, our flesh, and the evil one lie to us. The ONLY way to counteract the lies is to experience the power of the cross and the truth of the gospel. This course is filled with the message of the cross!"

David writes, "Wow, before the Purity Bootcamp course, I was coming to a point in my struggle against sexual impurity (lust and porn) that I was finally admitting, "God, I don't know what to do. Please help me be free." My friend suggested I start this course, and from the first lesson about looking at the cross and God's forgiveness as we trust Jesus, I caught a whiff of the joy of salvation I remembered from when I first began walking with Christ 13 years ago. 

 

So what has changed? Well, I am bursting with joy in Christ most of the time now and telling almost everyone I meet about the hope of the gospel of how Jesus bore all our sins on the cross. 

 

I used to pray, "God, help me love you, love others, and walk free from lust," and as genuinely as I desired those things, the reason I wanted them was so that I could have some assurance that I was in Christ. But as I worked attentively, prayerfully, honestly, and desperately through this course, my eyes have been fixed repeatedly on our "Bronze Serpent," seeing that "The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." 

 

Fixing my eyes in trust on the cross has led to freedom from sin that I confidently know I have through simple trust in Christ, not through trust in how many days or weeks I've gone without sinning. 

 

Trusting God's forgiveness from all condemnation because Jesus was condemned with my punishment has also caused temptation to roll right off my back! When I'm tempted now, I message my trusted brothers in Christ, asking for prayer, but even before they respond, I've been finding that simply thinking about the cross and God's forgiveness for the sake of Christ's blood takes ALL the allure right out of sin. 

 

I used to look within at my own heart toward God and backward at my track record of good actions and avoidance of bad actions to evaluate whether I was in Christ. Back then, my trust was in my faith rather than in Christ, but now I look at the cross. I ask God to help me remember and believe and be freed through faith, and He does! 

 

I still have A LOT of growing to do. A few ways God has been showing me I need to grow are in delighting in His will and dying to self, craving His word and taking it in, and walking in intimacy with God by faith.

 

But even with these areas, I am not going to turn to the law to try to change me; "The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age..." Titus 2:11-12 So, I know God's grace will train me for this. 

 

Praise God for His grace and faithfulness and for redeeming me (and all of us) with His precious blood!"

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For wonderful, powerful, gospel-full writings, we recommend subscribing to http://theperfectoffering.com/

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Here is a wonderful gospel sermon for your encouragement today: https://www.sermonaudio.com/solo/agc/sermons/73121552394890/ 

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Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free