Study Guide: Our One Foundation

Sunday April 15, 2012 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

We see a lot of Christians base their lives on different things. Some base them on wayward things, such as government, the economy, their own job, or their health—the things that are here one day and gone tomorrow. However, Jesus says that he is the one foundation. In this sermon, Greg talks about how we are to base our lives upon Jesus, and also shows how Woodland Hills has done this.

Extended Summary:

Woodland Hills Church is part of the worldwide church. We believe in the dogma that all other Christians believe in, namely the Apostles’ Creed. Yet, we’re kind of an odd duck in this flock. We tend to focus on issues that many churches in America don’t want to focus on. During this series called Tapestry, we are looking at the different Christian traditions that we draw from and focus on. Whether it’s the reformation, the Anabaptists, the pietistic movement, or the charismatic tradition, we didn’t just make up our understanding of the mission of our church.

In this sermon, we wanted to focus on the foundation of Woodland Hills Church, and our foundation is the person of Jesus Christ. In everything we do or say, we want to point back to his teachings, life, and our communal relationship with him. In Jesus, we find the foundation of our faith and what we draw life from. We don’t draw it from attendance, our preaching, our ministries or missions. We draw it from Jesus.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s never fickle, petty, self-centered, hypocritical, or stupid. He’s eternally solid, sure, steadfast, and trustworthy. Don’t base your faith on any one church. Instead, base it on Jesus Christ. God uses Woodland Hills Church, but we’re a church full of small rocks, while Jesus is the giant boulder upon which the church is built.

There is a great deal of diversity in the church. This is a beautiful thing, but it can be an ugly thing. It is beautiful when people come together, humbly, and share their opinions and views while still having their foundation on Jesus Christ. The problem becomes when people make their opinions and views more important than Jesus. We have distinct beliefs at Woodland Hills Church, and there’s nothing wrong with this. However, our beliefs are not what we base our church on; we base it on Jesus Christ.

We put the importance of our beliefs in their proper place while we endeavor as a church. At our center is the person of Jesus Christ. Next, we have the dogma of the church. We believe this is best represented by the Apostles’ Creed. We believe this dogma to be the true teaching of the church. Next we have our doctrines. These are the way that we live out our lives as a church. Finally, we have our opinions. When we have these concentric rings of understanding, we can hold in check our desire to be right all the time. We know our opinions aren’t as important as the dogma of the church. We know that Jesus is greater than our doctrines, and when they don’t line up with him, we need to change them.

It is important to have a sure foundation in our faith. That foundation is Jesus Christ. Our life does not come from our opinions, beliefs, or our dogma. It comes from Jesus. The church was built by Jesus, for Jesus, and is owned by Jesus. As we continue in our Tapestry series, keep in mind that other Christian denominations are part of this universal church. They have good parts and bad—just like Woodland Hills Church. And while we may disagree with them on some doctrines and opinions, we also share some doctrines, opinions, and dogma with them. But most importantly, we share the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ with them.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What additional questions and comments did you have about the sermon and supporting texts?
  2. What did you learn about your own faith while listening and thinking about this sermon?
  3. Were you surprised by anything?
  4. Humans tend to put their opinions, doctrine, and dogma before Christ when dealing with other humans. Why is it so difficult to look past these things? How have you seen yourself put these things before Jesus?
  5. Some churches have different doctrines, dogmas, and opinions (women not allowed in ministry, picketing funerals, prosperity gospel, Calvinism/Open theism, etc…). However, they would say that they follow Jesus. How do we work with them as part of the unified church? How do we hold to our beliefs without creating division with them?