The Power of the Cross: 205th Edition, November 7th, 2021


Mike Cleveland
 

The Power of the Cross: 205th Edition, November 7th, 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:

A Setting Captives Free mentor and his wife have united their talents of photography and calligraphy to create calendars with beautiful pictures of flowers paired with Scripture verses written in calligraphy. These calendars are a beautiful and wonderful daily reminder of God’s Word. To view or purchase from their Amazon store, please click here

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The audio version of this newsletter can be found here.
 
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Greetings! This past week, in the Living and Growing in the Gospel course, we studied through 1 Corinthians 1 (Lesson 3 is now live!); let's summarize what we learned.

The chapter starts with a declaration of who the Corinthians were in Christ, Paul's thankfulness for their gifting, and an assurance that God would keep them blameless to the end because of His faithfulness to His people. 

"He will also keep you firm to the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful..."

Next, Paul addressed the first problem of the Corinthians - divisions over leaders! He ran right to the cross to deal with divisions when he asked, "Was Paul crucified for you?" His point is that we don't want to separate into groups by "following" specific people; instead, believers unite at the cross. 

The cross is where we gather to worship "the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world" with one voice. Pastor Eric Mockaitis put it this way, "How can a lion lay down with a lamb or a child play in the hole of a cobra's den? Only the cross can accomplish that!" Yes, lambs and lions, children and cobras, can live together in peace at the cross.

Then Paul uses the Corinthians themselves as an illustration of the cross. He said, "Think of what many of you were when you were called." In the past, I would separate this statement from the message of the cross by saying, "Oh yes, I was weak, lowly, miserable, and despised when God called me." But now I understand that Paul was using who we were as a word picture of the cross. Notice:

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise," just as He chose the foolishness of the God-Man hanging on a cross to bring salvation to the world. And "God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong," just like Jesus being beaten nearly to death and dying on a cross in weakness opened the way for you to enter into God's presence, something no strong man could ever do. God chose "the lowly things" like Jesus treated as though he were a worm, and "the despised things" like Jesus dying on a criminal's cross and "the things that are not" (Jesus was not a sinner) "to nullify the things that are" (Jesus paid our sin debt, removed our shame, and neutralized our guilt).

As we close our summary of 1 Corinthians 1, stand with me at the foot of the cross and consider these words from “The Cross” by John Miles:
Can anything be worth such pain?
What on the Earth is worth this cost?
For these God's spotless Lamb was slain,
How greatly He must love the lost
Gethsemane's prayer, it echoes still
No other way but Calvary's hill

Question: How does the message of the cross, shame the wise?

And if you want to take part in our Marco Polo groups where we will interact around the study, you can join the appropriate groups through the links below:

Join the Men's Marco Polo Discussion Group
Join the Women's Marco Polo Discussion Group.

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Testimonies

Lawrence writes, "I could write a book what has taken place in my life.

During my journey through the Purity Bootcamp course, I learned the significance of trusting Jesus by fully understanding what Jesus did on the cross for me. His sacrifice allowed me to be pardoned of all my sins past, present and future. Whenever I am tempted, all I have to do is remind myself of what Jesus did for me. By continually walking with the Spirit, I have a Helper to help me to turn from temptation. The Spirit is always with me to recognize any temptation and teach me how to flee from it.

This course has also helped me to make a battle plan to fight against lust and pornography. While taking this course, I began sharing my struggle with pornography with my wife. I also shared what I had learned from Setting Captives Free and how it made me realize how much I had damaged our marriage. I asked for my wife's forgiveness and her help. Not only has she forgiven me, but she has encouraged me to share my struggle so she can help me. Only through God's grace has He shown me what a precious gift my wife is.

Setting Captives Free has given me the understanding, the encouragement, and the tools to fight against the sin of sexual impurity. By continually focusing on the cross of Jesus and relying on His strength, I will finally win this battle.

I recommend this study because God used it to save my spiritual life and my marriage.”

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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 would you 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