FREEDOM IN CHRIST – SOUTH AFRICA

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Blessings

Jonothan Christie – FIC Rep in South Africa

This is the third version of the Freedom In Christ Course. Previous versions have been used by well over 300,000 Christians and translated into 30+ languages. It is published in two versions: by Bethany House for N. America and by Monarch for other English-speaking countries. The main changes in this version are summarized below:

  • There are now ten main sessions rather than thirteen (plus the optional Introduction Session and The Steps To Freedom In Christ) which makes it easier for most churches to fit it into their schedule. We have been careful to preserve the logical progression of previous versions that works so well and to keep all of the main teaching points, though some are necessarily covered in less detail. To make up for this, two additional short teaching sessions have been included on the optional app that participants can watch in their own time. These are signposted in the main teaching material.
  • The notes in the Participant’s Guide have been considerably lengthened in order that participants can use them to revise the material more easily and do not have to take so many notes as they go through the teaching.
  • The addition of an excellent app with lots of additional information, extra teaching films, daily nuggets of truth, and a “stronghold-buster builder” will help participants hugely as they go through the course, especially in the crucial area of renewing the mind. It has a similar format (but different content) to the much-loved app that goes with disciple (our discipleship course for 18s to 30s) that participants have rated extremely highly. 
  • An album of new songs based on the teaching in the course has been specially produced in Nashville by professional musicians who have had their own lives changed by the Freedom In Christ message. Lyric videos are available for download (the first three are included on the DVD and in FreedomStream and the others can be purchased). Each session has had one or two songs specifically written for it which significantly enhance worship in small group settings. Participants find them really helpful in their own devotions. As they listen to the songs and use them in worship, the truths taught go that much deeper. They are also ideal for your church’s general worship to help spread the key truths taught across the whole congregation.
  • The Pause For Thought questions have been thoroughly revised and a new Reflection section included at the end of each session to make space for personal response to what has been taught.
  • The video presentations are still available on DVD but churches can now sign up to FreedomStream, a subscription-based on-demand service that gives online access to the video component from all of Freedom In Christ’s discipleship courses for a low monthly subscription. We are delighted to have a whole new batch of amazing filmed testimonies from all over the world to illustrate the teaching points.
  • The video sections are not presented by Steve Goss alone. He is joined by Nancy Maldonado and Daryl Fitzgerald for the main teaching and by Neil Anderson for The Steps To Freedom In Christ session. Steve says, “Nancy brings a lovely female perspective and Daryl brings a great injection of vibrant African American culture. And it was wonderful to be joined by Neil for The Steps — he brings so much wisdom and experience.” 

The Sessions

Introduction: Why Believe The Bible?

This optional session is designed to introduce the course and create a sense of expectation but there is one overriding thing we want to achieve: to help participants understand that it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the Bible is God’s message to the people He created. Without this, as the course progresses, participants with very little Christian background may struggle to understand why we put so much emphasis on the truth in the Bible. This session pre-empts the legitimate questions they are likely to have. 

Part A — Key Truths

Jesus said that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free! In the first two sessions we look at some of the key truths we need to know about what it means to be a Christian. 

Session 1: Who Am I?

When Adam and Eve were created, they had life in all its fullness. They were perfectly accepted, secure, and significant. When Adam sinned, they lost their relationship with God. The result for us is that we were born physically alive but spiritually dead and with a huge need for acceptance, security, and significance. Jesus came to restore the very same life, acceptance, security, and significance that Adam and Eve had originally, and those who receive His free gift of life become brand new creations in Christ. Knowing that we are now “holy ones” who can come boldly into God’s presence without condemnation changes everything. 

Session 2: Choosing To Believe The Truth

Everyone lives by faith, even those who are not Christians. It’s who or what we put our faith in that determines whether or not it will be effective. As Christians, it’s essential that what we believe is in agreement with what God has revealed in His Word which shows us how things really are. 

Part B — The World, The Flesh, And The Devil

Every day we struggle against three things that conspire to push us away from truth. Understanding how the world, the flesh, and the devil work will enable us to renew our minds and stand firm.

Session 3: The World’s View Of Truth

The world tries to make us look at reality in a way that is opposed to how God says it actually is. It makes its appeal to us through “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life”. It also paints a complete but false picture of our reality — our worldview — that varies according to where and when we were brought up. When we become Christians we need to make a radical decision to stop looking at the world in the way we used to and start seeing it from God’s perspective by adopting the Biblical worldview which is “how God says it is”.

Session 4: Our Daily Choice

Christians have a new heart and a new spirit, but we still struggle with many of the unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving that we grew up with (a primary characteristic of what the Bible calls “the flesh”). However, we don’t have to give in to the flesh. We can choose day by day and moment by moment whether to live according to the flesh’s urges or according to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Session 5: The Battle For Our Minds

It’s important to understand that we are in a spiritual battle, and that it is a battle between truth and lies with our minds as the battleground. Every day we face a battle for our minds. However, understanding how Satan works and our amazing position in Christ will equip us to win. 

Part C — Breaking The Hold Of The Past

God does not change our past but by His grace He enables us to walk free of it. In this section of the course we look at how we can take hold of what Christ has done for us in order to do just that. This section includes going through The Steps To Freedom In Christ.

Session 6: Handling Emotions Well

We can’t control our emotions directly but they are, in a general sense, the result of what we choose to believe. If we don’t have a proper understanding of God and His Word, and who we are in Christ, or if we have developed faulty life-goals, it will be signalled to us through our emotions. Failure to handle emotions well may make us vulnerable to spiritual attack. The more we commit ourselves to the truth and choose to believe that what God says is true, the less our feelings will run away with us. 

Session 7: Forgiving From The Heart 

Our relationship with others must have the same basis as our relationship with God. Nothing keeps you in bondage to the past more, or gives the enemy more entrance to your life, than an unwillingness to forgive. The crisis of forgiveness is not so much between you and the person who has offended you, but between you and God. Learning to forgive from the heart sets us free from our past and heals our emotional pain. It’s really for your own sake that you do it. 

Leading People Through The Steps To Freedom In Christ

This is the “ministry” component of the course. Participants will be led through a confession and repentance process using The Steps to Freedom in Christ, so that they can resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts by submitting to God and resisting the devil, and thereby experience their freedom in Christ (James 4:7). It is a straightforward process that is kind and gentle. During the process participants will uncover strongholds that have developed in their thinking that they can work on in the future.

Session 8: Renewing The Mind

The environment in which we grew up, traumatic experiences in the past, and giving in to temptation have led to the development of “strongholds” in our minds, which prevent us living according to the truth, and we probably became aware of some of these during The Steps To Freedom In Christ. We can demolish strongholds by choosing actively to renew our minds to the truth of God’s Word and we will learn a strategy — stronghold-busting” — to help us do this. Walking in freedom now needs to become a way of life.

Part D — Growing As Disciples

Having taken hold of our freedom in Christ, we now need to concentrate on growing to maturity. In this final section we will understand the critical importance of relating well to others, and how to ensure that we stay on the path of becoming more and more like Jesus. 

Session 9: Relating To Others

The one thing that Jesus prayed for those who came after His first disciples — that’s us — is that we would be one, so that the world would know that we are His disciples. His great commandment says we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. A right relationship with God should lead to a right relationship with our neighbours. In this session we will consider rights, responsibilities, judgment, discipline, and the needs of others.

Session 10: What Next?

God’s life-goal for us is that we become more and more like Jesus in character. Bringing our own goals into line with that will enable us to live a life of true freedom. If we want to be truly successful, fulfilled, and satisfied, we need to uncover and throw out false beliefs about what those things mean and commit ourselves to believing the truth in God’s Word. In this session we will examine what we believe concerning eight aspects of our own personal lives in the light of God’s Word. The purpose is to help participants understand how faith works in their daily lives, and to encourage them to stay on the path towards becoming more like Jesus. 

The Freedom In Christ App

The Freedom In Christ app is a fantastic help to participants on the course. It helps keep them motivated, encourages them to think a little every day about what is being taught, provides a really useful tool for “stronghold-busting”, and has some great additional teaching on key areas.

  • Enter the start date of your course and the app will send you a daily nugget of truth tailored to where you are on the course.
  • Access the three key lists of Biblical truths.
  • Extra teaching films:
    • Overcoming Temptation (Steve Goss)
    • Taking Personal Responsibility (Steve Goss)
  • Powerful Stronghold-Buster Builder tool: find your Bible verses, create your stronghold-buster, and set when you wish to be reminded to use it.
  • Meet the presenters: see a filmed introduction to Steve, Nancy, and Daryl.
  • Extra testimony films to encourage you: there is a particularly helpful longer version of the testimony of escaping from the clutches of porn addiction used in Session 4.
  • Sample the Freedom In Christ songs.
  • See films of the song writers, Wayne and Esther Tester and Nicole C. Mullen, sharing why Freedom In Christ is so important to them personally and why they wanted to write the songs.
  • Get the daily devotional from Neil Anderson.

The app is free to download and use. There is a small charge to unlock some of the content. 

Elements

The course consists of:

Leader’s Guide (download a sample session)

Participant’s Guide (download a sample session)

Video teaching on DVD / FreedomStream

The Steps To Freedom In Christ book

The Steps To Freedom In Christ video on DVD / FreedomStream