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The Priesthood of All Believers

• Greg Boyd

Ministry is not the work of seminarians or professionals. It is the job of each and every one of us. Jesus is the Hope of the World. But God is not coming to rescue us out of the world; he is rescuing the world through us. Today, Greg urges us to find our particular passion or gift and get to work!

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Concluding our Throughline series, which focuses on the consistent ideas that have always run through Woodland Hills Church, today we talked about the important parts we all play in building the Kingdom.

A few months ago, Greg’s daughter, who is a runner, was training for a race when she stubbed (or broke) her little toe. It seemed of little consequence because it was just her little toe, but that sore toe caused her to change the way she was distributing her weight with each step, so after several weeks, this added stress on the other side caused her to throw out her knee, so she could not run the race.

This story teaches us about the importance of even the smallest of body parts and even the smallest of people. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:12, 18, 22 that we are all parts of one body – the body of Christ, which is the church. Just as every organ and every toe is essential to a body, so each one of us is essential to the church.

In Matthew 16:13-18 Jesus states that he is building his church, and what is built here will be built in Heaven. He is building one body, where He is the head and we (the church) are the body. So WE are the means by which he advances his Kingdom on earth. God has chosen to use ordinary people like you and me to accomplish his will.

Jesus is the Hope of the World. But God is not coming to rescue us out of the world; he is rescuing the world through us! This means we cannot sit and simply pray for Jesus to come and “fix” the world for us. Because Christ is the head, but WE are the body. Waiting for Jesus to come and do the kingdom-building for us is like asking our head to run a race for our body. The body has the legs, so the head won’t get too far on its own!

Each one of us, even if you feel small or not especially gifted, each of us is a vital and indispensable part of the body. You have a part to play. This body, headed by Christ, is the Hope of the World, and everything – the Kingdom – hangs on it, on us.

So we each, every single one of us, need to find our gift and our passion and get to work. It all starts with a vision, this is what motivates action. So start building your own vision: what is God’s plan for the world? What is a tangible example of what that could look like? What small thing can you do tomorrow to help pave the way? Start dreaming and get fired up about this vision. What we have now may be good but how much better could it be?

It can be hard to know what our role is in something so much larger than us. Search your heart, pray, and talk to Kingdom friends to find it. If after all that, you still don’t know, then just start doing something. Anything! The only thing not to do is nothing!

Sometimes when we are wounded, we retreat to heal. And this is right and appropriate. But it can also be dangerous because it’s comfortable. This is why after surgery hospitals make you walk before you feel ready. We need to fight atrophy. Get back into the game, and that itself can make you ready. So just get out there and get out of your comfort zone.

Greg’s challenge to us is to start now. Pray each morning about this for the next month and each day commit anew to a Godlike vision of the kingdom and your part in it. Start leading, start serving, start giving. Whatever your gifts and passions, start using them. Woodland needs you and the body of Christ needs you. You are the little toe that makes this body whole!

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Topics: Calling, God's Will, Kingdom of God

Sermon Series: Throughline

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Focus Scripture:

  • Corinthians 12:12, 18, 22

    12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

    18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

    22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable...

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"My almost-three-year-old asks every day if we can go to church. Thank you, Woodland Hills, and all the Heroes Gate volunteers for creating such a great environment for kids. My husband and I met at WH six years ago and now our son counts down the days until we get to go again. My heart could burst."

– Lindsey