Beginning in a few weeks, Aspen Ridge Church will embark on a new series entitled “Coming to Terms with Resistance.” Our mission is clear… we exist to glorify God by inviting neighbors to find a home in Christ together. However, there are many neighbors who are resistant to our invitations, or to the Christian faith. Sometimes this resistance comes in our own families. Understanding this resistance is important in learning how to carry forward as heralds and ambassadors of Christ with confidence. Sometimes we think the resistance is our fault, or other times we think it is God’s fault! Without having a settled assurance on this matter, we may lack the boldness or confidence to continue forward as God intends.
To help each of us come full circle on this, I introduce this new series on Romans Chapters 9-11. The theme of these chapters is understanding the resistance to the Christian message that comes from ethnic Israel. On Paul’s missionary journeys, it was not uncommon for ethnic Israel to resist or even oppose his message of the gospel. Since Israel comprises God’s covenant people, believers need to understand this resistance so as not to lose faith in God’s purposes. Further, the sweeping statements at the end of Romans 8 about no one or thing being able to separate us from the love of God in Christ cause us to ask how anyone could resist such an offer of unconditional grace?
In the same way our series has three chapters, so we will have three helps (all beginning with the letter “e”) to come to terms with resistance. First, one must understand the doctrine of Election to understand the problem of resistance. We will explore this theme through the month of February in Romans 9. Second, one must understand the practice of Evangelism to know God’s solution to the problem of resistance. Our preaching team will explore this theme in March through Romans 10. Finally, one must understand Eschatology. A great revival will occur in Israel in the time leading up the second coming of Christ. This will be the theme of our exploration in the month following Easter.
Our leadership has in mind to build a 40-Day prayer initiative alongside this series and leading up to our celebration of Easter. Please look for an upcoming blog or communique to describe such opportunities to be a part of God’s answer to the problem of resistance.
Warmly, Jeff Clark