The Priesthood of All Believers - Radical

The Priesthood of All Believers

When we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, it wires us to build faith in others. As believers, how to we take the way that we have been poured into and pour it back out? In this message, Pastor Jim Shaddix describes how Christians can use their spiritual gifts to build up the Church and the kingdom of God. When we are equipped with our giftings, and with the confidence of our identity in Christ, we do not have to be afraid of failure. Every believer is able to build one another up, as we know that Jesus is holding us up all the way.

  1. Is God’s Spirit Guiding You?
  2. The Priesthood of All Believers
  3. Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts
  4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

Watch Full Message Of “The Cross and Christian Gifts: The Body

In closing, let me step outside the exposition of the scripture and draw some practical application that I want to be clear to underscore that that’s what I’m talking about here. I want to say a word to you about the task of desiring, discovering and developing spiritual gifts. But I want you to understand that what I’m about to give you is one of a lot of possibilities on how you could go about doing that. But I don’t want to leave this study without giving you that practical handle.

Is God’s Spirit Guiding You?

So I want you to look at the bottom of your worship guide there for a minute, and let me just walk you through five steps of just tackling this task of desiring, discovering, developing spiritual gifts that I hope will be a help to some of you. So step number one, ask God’s spirit to guide you in the journey.

Well, duh, that’s a no-brainer, isn’t it? The risk of stating the obvious. If these are spiritual gifts that the Spirit gives to the body, then let’s leave Him out. This is not a guessing game. He gives you gifts, but He’s not just sitting there trying to say, “I’m going to see if they can figure it out and I’m going to see how many times they miss it.”

And that kind of… He wants you to know this. So immerse this journey in sacrificial, intentional prayer. That goes for however you go about the discovery process from this point on. Pray about it. Okay? Secondly, stop being concerned with labels and definitions. Want to encourage you to minimize your, you’re you’re, you’re putting yourself in a box with labels and definitions. I also want you to hear me say spiritual gifts, inventories, assessments and surveys have value. Hear me say they have value.

We use them here at Brook Hills. We use them in our new member course. Many of you have gone through. I want you to know they have value, but they also have limitations. Every spiritual gift inventory is based on two assumptions. Number one, that all the gifts in scripture are exhaustive lists. We have them. So there’d be about 22. Number two that we know the precise definitions of those. And the fact of the matter is we’re not guaranteed of either one of those. And because we’re not guaranteed of either one of them, it puts limitations. So don’t limit yourself to labels and definitions and categories that you might find. I’m not saying don’t use those. I’m just saying don’t limit yourself to those. And then number three, and this is where we make it really practical, explore how God’s wired you to build faith in others.

The Priesthood of All Believers

Explore how God’s wired you to build faith in others. So how do you go about doing that? I want to introduce you to a simple little tool, an acronym based on an idea at first Peter chapter two, in which God says, we are priests in his kingdom. Every one of us, not just the preachers or the musicians, every one of us as individuals in the body of Christ are priests in the kingdom of God who serve God and serve people in that context.

So there’s a parallel here between our spiritual gifts because they involve us serving one another and serving the body and us being priests. So I want to take that acronym. I want to encourage you to ask some questions about ministry, things that you’ve been involved in and that you’ve been exposed to. Maybe haven’t been involved in, but you’ve seen them done so you’ve had experience in them or you’ve had exposure to them.

And I want you to think about service opportunities both inside and outside the church. Don’t limit it to some church role, but think about those and then ask yourself these questions. What you might do is take six sheets of paper and put one of these on each one of them. So the first one would be passions. Okay? That would be at the top of your first sheet of paper. What lights you up? Bible says “Delight yourself also in the Lord, he’ll give you the desires of your heart.” So as you delight yourself in the Lord, what kind of service things have you seen? Have you done or you’ve just thought about that just turns you on? That just gets your motor running. List those things on that piece of paper. Second list. Second piece of paper. Reputation. What do others see in you?

Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts

If spiritual gifts are given to the body and for the body, doesn’t it make sense that the body will, to some degree, recognize them? So why don’t you include some other people in your journey? Find some people that know you well and walk with God and ask them a question like this. What do you see in me? What do I bring to the table that encourages you, that strengthens your faith? And make a list of those things.

All of us have seen people who’ve discovered gifts or so to speak, supposedly independently. Ever heard the guy that said, “I’ve got the spiritual gift of teaching.” Until you heard him teach and you thought not so much. That can happen with any gift, any area, any one of us. Include some people. What’s your reputation among other believers with service. Interest. What intrigues you? These are not necessarily things you’ve done, but what kinds of things have you seen done?

Maybe you’re walking downtown, you saw some people serving at a soup kitchen and you thought, “Man, that looks kind of cool. I think I’d like to try that.” Or you saw somebody exercising a gift in the church. You’ve never done that, but you thought, “You know what? There’s something about that I’m just drawn to. I’m interested in that.”

What intrigues you? Experience? What have you done? What kind of service opportunities have you actually been engaged in inside the church where you have done things that the intent of which was to help others make a list of all those things. And then success. What have you done fruitfully? Not just things you’ve done, but what have you done that you’ve actually seen actually help some people. Make a list of those things. And then the last one, talents. What abilities do you have? Now, let me be clear to tell you. I don’t believe talents and spiritual gifts are synonymous. Lost people have talents.

But I also want to tell you, when the spirit of a living God gets inside of a person and takes up residence, he can concentrate everything about that person to be used for his glory and the benefit of his body. And so while we don’t make a one-to-one equation with talents, neither do we ignore them. So what abilities do you have both natural and learned? What kinds of things can you do that could be used to help other people?

And then that brings us to number four on the list. Take those six sheets of paper, spread them out and look for general themes that keep showing up. Step back away from them and see if you can identify some general themes that maybe they don’t show up on every gift, but they show up quite a few times. And you look, say, “You know what? I’ve been involved in, or I’ve been interested in. I’ve seen some success in things that have to do with organizing stuff.”

Or “I’ve been in leadership roles,” or “I’ve been up in front of people instructing them and helping them.” Or “I’ve been behind the scenes in support roles that have just helped other people do other things that were more…” See if you can identify some general themes and then finally bring that back into the body of Christ and do some trial and error with related ministries.

Do some trial and error with related ministries. In other words, you find some of those general themes. You begin to look around and ask the question, how can this be used? What’s in place at Brook Hills, for example, that I might be able to explore whether I could be used in that area or what kinds of things Brook Hills hadn’t even thought about that I could be used to encourage the larger body of Christ?

Do Not Be Afraid Of Failure

What kinds of things are out there or need to be out there in which I could take these general categories and begin to do some trial and error? And listen, don’t be afraid to fail. Get some counsel and begin to try some things and see how God may bring to the surface some place, a place or some places for you to be used. Check with people at the access corner. Go to the kiosk, talk to your small groups, interact with other people, and engage this journey as part of the body of Christ.

When we grow from childhood to adulthood, that’s somewhat of an organic journey. We do some trial and error. We succeed at times. We mess up sometimes, but they all move us along to maturity and growth, and that’s really the way it is with spiritual gifts.

God doesn’t give us an envelope when we get saved and say, “Here’s your assignment.” It’d be real easy. But you know why, or at least one of the reasons why? He does better, He says, “I’m going to give you myself, I’m the divine gift giver, and we’re going to walk this journey together.” And so guess what? In the process along the way, you get to know more of Him, and you get to know more of how He has wired you to use you to make Jesus look right and act right in this world.

Jim Shaddix

Jim Shaddix is a professor of expository preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as a pastor in Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, and Colorado, and as dean of the chapel and professor of preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Shaddix is the author of several books, including The Passion-Driven Sermon: Changing the Way Pastors Preach and Congregations Listen.


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