The Shared Life

The Shared Life

In connection with some our recent thoughts regarding taking care of each other in the body of Christ in our Sunday services, I wanted to share with you our denomination’s statement on “The Shared Life,” and what it means to be brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. If you are interested in knowing more about what the Bible Fellowship Church denomination believes, you can see our full statement of Faith and Order here.

Article 103-6 – Shared Life

103-6.1 Each believer belongs to Jesus Christ and to every other believer.1  This belonging is a relationship to God the Father,2  God the Son,3  God the Holy Spirit4 and to all who belong to God.5  This relationship is not the result of human effort, but begins with being born from above6 and is the living out of the divine nature7 under the Lordship of Christ and the authority of His revealed Word.8  It unites all believers to one another and causes them to be different  from their world.9

103-6.2 The union with the Lord and with one another is spiritual. The relationship of each believer with the Lord is the basis for the relationship between believers10 in sharing truth,11 love,12 and possessions.13 It is dependence, not self-sufficiency, and inter-dependence, not independence.14 Participation in this life affects every believer and church15 and impacts their ministry in the world and to the world.16

103-6.3 Shared life is a privilege and a responsibility.17 The life of the church, therefore, must be a renewing, God-glorifying celebration of life in Christ and a spiritual participation with other believers.18 Sharing this life in the presence of God is worship19 and demands the loving exercise of spiritual gifts20 as well as realization that we are responsible to one another before God.21 The exercise of these gifts builds up one another and equips the saints for the Lord’s work.22 Because this responsibility and accountability are necessary for the church to grow in godliness,23 discipline must be practiced in every community of believers.24 Not to do so brings the very name of Christ into dishonor.25

103-6.4 Responding in mercy, carrying each other’s burdens,26 is also a responsibility and privilege of all believers to one another, and causes them to love, care, share, and be involved with one another.27 All believers, and the church as a body, must recognize, accept, and practice the spiritual responsibilities of being one in Christ, no matter how deeply a fellow believer has fallen into sin or the miseries of this world.28

103-6.5 Every believer is a member of the body of Christ and must be joyfully and personally responsible to live a life of loyalty to the Lord of the church,29 to His Word30 and involvement in its ministry31 and purpose.32 This responsibility, although primarily focused on the local body, extends beyond the particular church to other bodies of believers.33 Because this is true, the shared life of the church breaks down the barriers of race, class, culture, ethnicity, gender, and geography, for all believers are one in Christ.34

1  Rom.1:6; 12:4,5
2  1Jo.1:3
3  Rom.6:3,4
4  1Cor.12:13
5  1Pe.2:9,10
6  John 3:3,5
7  2Pe.1:4
8  1Jo.1:7
9  1Cor.10:14-22; 2Cor.6:14,15
10 Eph.2:11-16; Rom.15:5-7
11 Eph.4:14-16
12 1Jo.3:13-18
13 Acts 4:32-35; 2Cor.8:1-5
14 1Cor.12:14-27
15 Acts 2:44-47
16 2Cor.8:23; Phil.1:5; Phile.6; Heb.13:16
17 Gal.5:13-16
18 1Jo.1:1-4
19 Rom.12:1,2
20 1Pe.4:10
21 Rom.12:3-13:10
22 Eph.4:11-16
23 1Tim.6:11,12
24 1Cor.5:12,13
25 Acts 5:11
26 Gal.6:2; Heb.13:16
27 Eph.4:31-5:2
28 2Cor.2:7,8; Gal.5:25-6:2; Phile.10,11,15,16
29 1Cor.12:6-11
30 John 10:3-5
31 Phil.1:27
32 Acts 11:19-26; Phil.4:14-16; Col.2:1,2;1Pe.5:9
33 Acts 13:1-4
34 Gal.3:27,28; Eph.2:14-16

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