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The Power of the Cross: 79th Edition, May 12, 2019

Mike Cleveland
 

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.

One quick note before the teaching; please see the attachment for a feature update to the Setting Captives Free website.

Here is the teaching for this week:

Do you know that the cross of Jesus Christ truly changes hearts and lives? Maybe you’ve imbibed the toxic lies of the world, “once an addict always an addict”, or maybe you are a spouse that doesn’t believe your husband/wife will ever change, or maybe you think you were born a certain way and therefore cannot change.

If you’ve had any of those thoughts, let’s see what God says:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Paul lists many sins that are in the church today, maybe sins that you, yourself have committed or are in bondage too. But then he says, “such were some of you!” Were! You USED to be, but you are not now! Why? What happened?

“You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified…” This all happens as we come to the cross and see Jesus’ dying for us and being buried in a tomb and rising for us. At the cross Jesus became, as it were, “dirty” in your sin so that you would be washed, cleansed and made new! At the cross Jesus was set apart (sanctified) for death in your place so that you would be sanctified, set apart from your previous life of sin. At the cross Jesus was condemned that you would be justified, declared to be right with God. 

Look at this tremendous change! Look at how different these people are! And that is what happens to all who come to the cross and look, and believe the message they are hearing!

Here are a few examples:

Mentorship course graduate Femi writes, "I had lost 113 lbs by counting calories and exercising but gained back about 59lbs. Now, by savoring Christ, sharing in His suffering and focusing on the Cross, the Holy Spirit is leading me on an easy path. Effortlessly, without any scare, I eat when my body demands it, and am losing weight. Oh! Freedom is sweet! Our Lord is so, so good!” 

I have been set free from the captivity of Food through walking with the Holy Spirit, savoring Christ, and sharing His suffering. I was totally lost in captivity but my Lord shed His blood to save me. I must therefore spread this good news to the world Mark 16:15. Also, there are so many people out there who would benefit from what I have. I do not want to be like those who left the wounded by the roadside in Luke 10:25-37. I want to share the Love of God to others by pointing them to the cross just as I was. The whole world need to know that the gospel is all we need…."


A United Front course graduate Nay writes, "When I first started the Setting Captives Free A United Front course I was angry and bitter. Nothing in me wanted to save my marriage. I had so many questions with no answers. I was not even sure why I was taking the course. I felt that things would never get better for my family.

However, as I began to read and open my heart, God opened my eyes to the truth. All the negative thoughts were from the enemy. There is hope for my family in Christ Jesus because of His death on the cross and His resurrection.

I have been changed in a way I did not think was possible. I now know that with God all things are possible. God did great work in my heart and life. I desire to and am becoming a united front with my spouse. I refuse to allow the devil to destroy my family. I am determined to do things God's way.”

Purity Follow-Up graduate Philip writes, "I started looking at porn from an early age. I had reached puberty and had experienced self-gratification. I  would wake up early in the morning and turn on the TV to watch the “soft core” porn. I continued in this habit, and my involvement with impurity escalated when I received a smartphone.

I had been brought up in a Christian household and felt guilty about my sin, but I was in chains to my sin and desired more of it. It wasn’t until college, and I was on my own that the Spirit began to convict me of my sin. Even though I “knew the gospel” and believed I was a Christian there was no understanding of the power of the gospel and no real relationship with Christ in my life.

The Spirit convicted me, but I believed that by my strength I would break my chains. I spent six years saying, "Today is the day I am going to stop." I would pray that God would give me the strength; I would put up blockers and buy phones with no internet, but because I relied on myself I failed again and again.

Years past and I got married and thought this would give me the motivation to change, but it only lasted for a week and a half. My prayers began to change at this point to me asking God to do something because I felt hopeless. I had become someone full of deceit, pride, hypocrisy, lies, and all types of sin because of my sin and shame. My only hope was maybe one day this will get better, but I just continued to pursue my sin that kept me chained and in deep, deep bondage. I searched for porn wherever I could, and I began to look at it at work because it was hard to hide my use from my wife.

It was at this point that God stepped into my life to free me. He allowed my sin to be exposed at work, and they removed me from my position that same day. I had to tell my wife that same day too and both parts of my life, my work-life and home-life were shattered. God had placed me where I could not run, and I had to confront who I was. I responded by leaning into God. I spent the next few days exposing my years of sin to my wife and asking for forgiveness. By the grace of God, she decided to stay and support me.

I would pray and read the Bible for hours. My dad recommended the Setting Captives Free Purity course, and I was so broken that I said I would try it. I was expecting the course to tell me to throw away everything causing you to sin and try with all your strength to stop. But how glorious was the gospel presented!

The gospel message in this course changed my world; it was as if a switch had been flipped from dark to light. Like chains shattering. I knew I was free because Jesus had paid the price to free me, that by His death he had ransomed my life and had killed the old man inside of me. This is the first time in over 14 years that I have felt free, and it is all because I have relied on Jesus. He has done all the work for me, may His name be praised forever!"


Oh how true it is that when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. 

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Friend if you find you are in agreement 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. https://settingcaptivesfree.com/donate. Thank you in advance.


Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free