Over at SBC Today I have offered an essay about the Christ-conferred authority of the local congregations. The essay is more exegetical and theological in nature. Here I would like to provide a few words about the practical worth and devotional effect of those theological sentiments. In other words, presuming that I believe those thoughts to be true, how do I act differently because of them and how is my relationship with Christ furthered by them, in my estimation.
I will offer just one example. This week a member of our congregation asked that the elders (pastors) of our congregation gather with him in accordance with the James 5 model to pray with him for his deliverance from alcoholism and for his forgiveness of the sin of drunkenness and the many other sins that accompanied and issued forth from that sin. James 5 is another of the passages that relies specifically upon the leadership of the local congregation being expected by Christ to function in a specific role to which they have been authorized by Christ.
While praying, I made specific reference to Christ's promise that any two of us could gather in agreement and depend upon the power and authority of heaven to be behind us. I then prayed with all of my heart for this brother's deliverance. I believe that the full power of heaven was moved in response to our prayers, and that it was moved in a way that it would not have been moved by my solitary prayer for him. This realization causes me to find value in exercises of the James 5 type, and it gives me a greater love for Christ and desire to serve Him to know that He listens and acts in the midst of such circumstances, even when they are populated with believers as frail and flawed as we are.